51 Comments

Dead on. Let's face it, point 2 has the most power to influence positions and choices. We'll have to change human nature before we can cleanup science.

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Mar 24·edited Mar 24

Framing this as a food fight is interesting if somewhat questionable. The lab leak theory is the more likely explanation than zoonotic release based on the incredible improbability of rapid evolution that it deserves serious consideration. How many serious virologists and evolutionary biologists WITHOUT a funding mechanism dependent on not questioning the status quo within the university biological research structures are there? Beyond a few loud trolls on the lab leak side, I can think of no research scientists there who have acted like children who've had their all day suckers taken by a bully. Overtly liberal/progressive scientists in more than one sphere have exposed their lack of interest in Ratio decidendi or reason in defending their positions. You are a bright spot in an otherwise nearly barren desert of reasoned discourse. Kulldorff, Batacharya, Eric and Bret Weinstein, Iaonnidis, McCullough and many other scientists are now dissident in their desire for truth and most would not consider themselves conservative.

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If one mentions factors counter to a narrative, one is supporting the wrong side, is the logic (dialectic) currently being pushed.

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Mann owes $400k to a Canadian widow that he is not paying up. Disgrace to the Profession indeed.

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I especially like Footnote #5.

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When trying to sort the true from the false, it is absolutely essential to live, breathe and die by the following motto:

"In God we trust. All others bring data."

Ad hominem attacks are not data. Guilt by association is not data. Character assassination is not data. Those who peddle ad hominem attacks, guilt by association and character assassination are not seekers after truth. They are bottom feeders pandering to the worst in human nature.

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Mar 18Liked by Roger Pielke Jr.

Roger, your experiences over the last decade gives you a right to write about these issues. You are gracious, when no one would blame you if you weren’t. Thank you for your example, your erudition.

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author

Thanks Stephen, you are very kind, and made my day!

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[Kristian] Andersen.

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Really to understand this onerous behavior of Science & Medical journals and establishment scientists & medical doctors, you need to look at the broader political context of what is actually happening in the World.

One of the best descriptions of the myriad levels of deception going on is by Mike Benz in his recent Tucker Carlson interview:

https://rumble.com/v4e8hof-tucker-carlson-on-x-episode-75-mike-benz-on-the-national-security-state.html

These are CIA color revolution methods applied on a global scale. Science & Medicine are very much included in that.

To prove that fact you need only look at where you see this degeneration of traditional scientific discourse and conduct. I think you will find it is entirely in fields that have high geopolitical importance, that means especially in Covid/bioweapons research, Energy, Climate Change & Economics. Do you ever hear of such bad behavior in Mathematics? Astronomy? Chemistry? Geography? Material Science? Theoretical Physics? Astrophysics? I don't think so.

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If you see a broad pattern of members of the Left systematically undermining science, should you not question your own allegiance to that same ideology?

After all, this behavior is not restricted to scientific debates, and this behavior gives clear indications that "good intentions" are not their principle motivation.

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author

Michael, I see plenty of undermining science from people of all political persuasions. In 1986 I registered as an Independent in Colorado and remain happy with that, and I expect I will. My own politics are probably a bit heterodox issue to issue, but you can see how I came out on a little 2x2 survey at the bottom of this post: https://rogerpielkejr.substack.com/p/end-the-week-with-thb

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Fair enough. Your political beliefs outside the domain of this Substack are your own. I too am a heterodox thinker and registered Independent.

And, yes, there is plenty of "undermining science from people of all political persuasions", but it is hard to miss that over the last 10 years, it has become the default position on the Left. And that the behavior goes way beyond science.

I have also noticed a pattern of Center-Left experts who clearly see the negative effects of ideologies of the Left within their field, but then never question the Left's policy stands in other policy domains. I think it is largely a lack of moral courage and honesty to maintain their social status.

You have, however, shown great moral courage and honesty in your Substack column, so that is good enough for me.

Keep up the good work!

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Spot on. Adherence to a belief system makes it very difficult to see obvious calculations within your own peer group. It's little different from family members incapable of calling out their own failings because of a pack mentality. I have experienced this pride in my wife's family and it quickly gets unpleasant to be around.

Left or right, dispassionate review of reasonable theory is the only way to avoid catastrophe.

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When discourse devolves into ad hominem attacks, it’s no longer meaningful discourse. It’s so easy to stereotype with a single word and to choose a disparaging word. It’s a game partisans play. It’s an ineffective game.

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Roger, I would personally like to thank you for your courageous stand for truth. I don't know where else I would go if it wasn't for you, Steve Koonin, Mark Mills, Bjorn Lombjorg, and a number of other brave souls who have accurate, real-science data instead of the virtue-signalling tripe that is all over the internet. Thank you so much!

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I wonder why one solution isn't for the Science Establishment - people who hire scientists- to adopt an "online conduct policy". It's not that hard to not say mean things. Many of us do it, online, daily. I don't think it would be difficult once people got into the habit. Many institutions already have ethics policies that target professional behavior (as Curry pointed out in the Mann case) but they don't enforce them. Someone in Science writ large needs to stand up and say "this behavior is unprofessional. We have to pick a lane.. either we are trusted sources of info, even as we disagree, or political hacks by proxy. As professions we need to stop and model decent online behavior for everyone else." It's not that hard.

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Sharon

That sounds like an idea that could have legs. These organisations should have conduct policies or policies that prevent that particular establishment being brought into disrepute by employees / associates.

Again, in my sector - the much maligned oil & gas industry - you wouldn't get anyone in the upper echelons of BP or Exxon using similar invective against their competitors or indeed Greenpeace, FOE or UEA (for example). Staying well clear of social media is a sensible professional strategy in the private sector because when it goes wrong it's generally a career ending event.

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For me, it's a matter of courtesy, respect and professionalism. Academia seems like a breeding ground for this kind of behavior, I don't see it as much in my research federal colleagues. I also think different disciplines have different cultures. Maybe some STS grad student could do a Ph.D. I would say that the closer the discipline is to the (perceived) access to political power, the worse they are. Think climate and Covid. I think of some ""the Jerk Factor: How Disciplines Vary in Nastiness of Online Dialogue."

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Mar 18·edited Mar 18

100% in agreement. I also wonder if some responsibility should be laid at “the other side” many of whom don’t go out of their way to keep the temperature of discussions cool thereby contributing to an overall culture of polarization that even esteemed organizations like the New York Times cannot resist responding to in kind.

Like the parrot said, “Peeple of zee wurl, relax.”

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Research that encourages funding - especially from government - is desired. Research that jeopardizes funding is discouraged, even ending careers. Eisenhower warned us about this 65 years ago. Research has become a business model, not a road to knowledge.

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Another well written article. I would also like to think that "science journalism should facilitate the opening up of spaces for legitimate disagreement." Yet with climate science and the origins of covid it has failed and instead pushes narratives the ruling party wants. Don't even get me started on IQ research and Charles Murray.

When will the good science drive the bad science out?

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When those controlling the bad science run out of money. All about the Benjamins.

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