We are now soon in the third months of KLIMAZWIEBEL, and I found the discussions on this blog enlightening, helpful and often even pleasant. In general an adequate level of politeness and respect prevailed. We had brave and open presentations of concepts, of views and observations. That was good. But we also had what Werner Krauss has called "Stalinists", most of the time anonymous "Stalinists".
Before KLIMAZWIEBEL I knew alarmists within the ranks of climate scientists, their motives and logics, their entrenchments and loyalities, their inability to accept the simple fact that science is a social process and that our thinking is culturally conditioned.
I had at several occasions (e.g., "Global Warming - Scientific Controversies in Climate Variability" International seminar meeting at The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden, September 11-12th 2006; "Kyoto - Klimaprognosen - Aussagekraft der Modelle und Handlungsstrategien", Friedrich Naumann Stiftung, Gummersbach, Germany, 18-20.2.2005) the opportunity to also meet and listen to sceptics, real hard sceptics, and to learn about their motives and logics, their entrenchments, their inability to accept the simple fact that science is a social process and that our thinking is culturally conditioned. Usually they are not well versed in the field of climate science, but physicists, chemists, engineers or geologists, who simply believe they would know it better than those in the field. Myanna Lahsen studied three prominent ones (Lahsen, M., 2008: Experience of modernity in the greenhouse: A cultural analysis of a physicist "trio" supporting backlash against global warming. Global Env. Change 18: 204-219) – I know, the skeptics of this blog will not accept her analysis, because – see above.
Earlier in this process I compared the two extremists as in principle similar; as two groups who need each other, who live from the existence of the other group. For such statements I was criticized because there would be many people among "the sceptics" who would just left out, who have not received appropriate answers to their legitimate questions and discussion of their views. Sceptics, who want to be taken seriously and be part of the debate. This critique was adequate. I had overseen that many are not satisfied with the depths of the discussions, with the answers and even the questions. That is one reason why we set KLIMAZWIEBEL up.
I also understand that sometimes some anger has to be vented, but I do not understand those who join our discussion without saying their names, and just making harsh claims of definite knowledge. Opinions are fine, and phrasing one's views as opinion is fine as well – but to be carried away by the arrogance of claiming to know the fundamentals and thus the specifics is simply poor and disappointing.
The worst of all errors among such difficult participants (of both types) on this blog is the failure to understand the cultural dynamics in the present discussion. A special at KLIMAZWIEBEL is that we do not only have physicists but social and cultural scientists participating in the discussions. This puts us in a unique position. This access to knowledge about the cultural dimension may help us to overcome to stupid claims making, which we have seen all too much so far.
And, damn it, give your names, when making strong statements. When you have an opinion, then you should have also a name.