Friday, May 25, 2012

Knowledge Market

When discussing the issue of science-society interaction on climate change, I usually present these theses:
  • Science-policy/public interaction is not an issue of the linear model of „knowledge speaks to power“. 
  • The problem is not that the public is stupid or uneducated. 
  • Scientists have failed to respond to legitimate public questions and has instead requested. “Trust us, we are scientists”. 
  • The problem is that the scientific knowledge is confronted on the „explanation marked“ with other forms of knowledge. Scientific knowledge does not necessarily “win” this competition. 
  • Non-sustainable claims-making by climate change (stealth) advocates to the public has lead to fatigue.
  • Overselling goes with loss of “capital” of science, namely public trust. 
 Examples of other knowledge systems are provided by
  • skeptics
  • political interests (e.g., deniers, alarmists)
  • climatic determinism
  • religion


None said...

I have zero faith in current "climate scientists" to provide an objective and robust analysis of climate change (not including the fringe like Judith Curry and the Pielke Snr etc who actually strive to maintain their dignity as climate scientists). The climate science leaders have lost their credibility not because of some well oiled machine spreading misinformation but because they've been caught red handed playing fast and loose with the science and instead of objectively accepting their previous errors, attempt to excuse them while slandering/treating scurrilously those who point out their errors. Don't kid yourself that the science is not winning. The real science is winning. The previous wrong "science" of cherry picked tree cores, inverted lake sediment measurements, invalid PCA procedures etc is losing, and rightly so.

Werner Krauss said...

The comment of None #1 points to an interesting problem: he talks sarcastically about "climate scientists" in quotation marks; about a different climate science with dignity; about a "wrong 'science' of cherry picked tree cores", and finally about "the real science" which will win in the end. Science is a strange animal with many different qualities!

Science indeed is plural, it is many sciences in one. It is plural enough to give a voice to "skeptics, political interests, climatic determinism, religion" - these opinions, interpretations of believes do not necessarily, as Hans suggests, provide examples of "other knowledge systems"; instead, they all find their place IN science which is a permanent struggle for objectivity.

Be it written in parenthesis or without, with the attributes "real" or "dignity" or without; be it Science with a capital S or only science - it's all part of the same ritualized societal practice called science.

Thus, for me Hans contribution is one about the difficulties of science in a post-normal situation, which is characterized by a permanent dispute about the interpretation of climate signs (and less a contribution about the science - society interface). And it's a smart and insightful contribution about what is good and what is bad science. And I understand it as a call for reflexivity and transparency and laying bare one's opinions and context, instead of hiding them behind terms like "real" or "honest" or "objective".

(The only "other knowledge system" in the strict sense is maybe religion. This deserves an extra discussion, I guess).

None said...

The "climate scientists" wasnt sarcasm. I just find it difficult to use it without quote marks when referring to The Climate Scientists, ie Mann, Hansen, Schmidt etc, because they themselves would use the term to distinguish themselves from, for example, Lucia - despite the fact that certain aspects of climate science are very much within her circle of competence.

Harry Dale Huffman said...

Werner Krauss wrote: "...Science indeed is plural, it is many sciences in one. It is plural enough to give a voice to 'skeptics, political interests, climatic determinism, religion'..."

Science is no such thing. What you are talking about is the sociology of public debate over a scientific question (like "global warming", or more correctly, for the layperson beset by climate dogma, "runaway climate"). Science is much larger, deeper, grander than a mere concatenation of voices with different points of view. It is something entirely other than such an inharmonious concatenation, and you have wrongly identified it by accepting that concatenation of voices as science, calling it "post-normal science". It is not science at all; science simply IS NOT a "ritualized societal practice". (I suspect you are a sociologist, or merely strongly attracted to sociology, for the truth is rather that sociology is but an imitation of science--an attempt to apply the scientific method, based firmly upon objective observation, to sociological questions, but ever stymied by those questions' essential subjectivity, as exemplified by the many voices with different points of view that you refer to with such motherly concern, as if they were your children, all needing encouragement. Sociology is not a meta-science, that can subsume any and all other sciences within itself; you are fundamentally mistaken, and go beyond the bounds of competent logical debate, by assuming it can.

ghost said...


Gavin Schmidt... please, summarize his recent research. What is he doing? What is his main research direction? What are his results? What is your problem with his research?

The questions are rhetoric, because you do not know and you do not care. You know Gavin Schmidt is running the realclimate blog, very well IMHO, and therefore you think, you are allowed to insult him. Just like that.

That is my problem with von Storch theses. In some points I agree, but they are incomplete. Because, most of the debate is about the deliberately misrepresented and distorted science results and statements of scientists. Many examples show that is an important part of the debate.