Crank of the Week - July 27, 2009 - The International Council for Science
We have all become familiar with the sloppy, bureaucracy driven science promulgated by the UN IPCC. Now a another organization, the International Council for Science (ICSU), is vying for leadership in ruining free scientific inquiry world wide. “Natural sciences should no longer dictate the Earth system research agenda,” proclaimed their manifesto, which appeared in the July 17, 2009, issue of Science. “Social sciences will be at least as important in its next phase.”
After praising how the IPCC helped move the issue of global warming from lab benches to national capitals (turning climate science into a political circus in the process) and was recognized for its efforts by the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize (they conspicuously didn't mention Al Gore), a troika of ICSU leaders—Walter V. Reid, chair of the ICSU Earth System Visioning Task Group, Catherine Bréchignac, president of ICSU, and Yuan Tseh Lee, president-elect of ICSU—have plainly stated their future intentions: the creation of a single research framework for the natural sciences world wide. According to them:
In the past, a small group of scientists would be charged with determining the most pressing research questions. But new communication technologies now allow the wisdom and expertise of a far broader global community of natural and social scientists, technology experts, decision-makers, and citizens to play a role.
This is socialist thinking at its finest, instead of that “small group of scientists” being allowed to determine what subjects to investigate, which questions to ask, they will be directed by the “wisdom” of the “broader global community.” A community not just made up of muzzy headed bureaucrats, masquerading as scientists, but by a whole cadre of non-scientists: social scientists, who don't know jack about the physical sciences; technology experts, who presumably have products they will want to sell; decision-makers, meaning politicians and other government functionaries; and citizens, like Al Gore, Sheryl Crow and Bono each with their own personal agendas no doubt. To give their effort a egalitarian sheen the public is invited to comment and “vote” on their website.
“There is an urgent need and a unique window of opportunity to engage, promote, and develop Earth system research for the benefit of society,” said Dr Reid. “This online consultation is the first step towards meeting that need.” According to the ICSU press release on the visioning process, “the current research structures do not provide the integrated approach required to answer the most pressing societal issues—protecting the planet and ensuring sustainable human development.” In other words, we can't let those scientists do whatever they want! No, we need to tell them what they should be working on. After all, look what a bang up job the IPCC has done with global warming.
It's easy to promote a new agenda for others when it is your ideas being promoted—but who said that your ideas are the correct ones? Or the public's opinions for that matter? This past year has seen suggestions about how to obfuscate global warming science using “common climate language” and how to shift the burden for CO2 reduction to individuals by blaming the world's “top billion polluters,” now this. Seems that the Earth systems crowd is trying to cash in before the global warming scare goes bust.
Why is it that these scientists-turned-bureaucrat and social sciences types are always trying to grab control of real working scientists' laboratories and research agendas? Sorry, but science is not an audience participation sport. If you wish to be involved in doing real, meaningful research then forget your degrees in sociology and political science. Get an education in something useful, like physics, chemistry, biology, oceanography, geology, atmospheric physics, solar physics, or paleontology (the list goes on from here). Stop attending politically motivate conferences held by agenda driven organizations and do something useful with your lives.
When will the world's bureaucratic bozos learn that science only works when inquiry is free and unfettered. You can't negotiate with nature, it is what it is, and science is driven by nature. You can tell science what your polls and organizations want it to study, but that has no bearing on what science should study. So, for trying to encumber science with your personal political prejudices, this Crank of the Week is all yours ICSU.