UPDATE: This morning (Monday) brings sad news that Dr. Schneider has died, due to complications of cancer, apparently a heart attack. I was unaware that he was ill. While I strongly disagree with Dr. Schneider’s viewpoints, I am saddened by his passing, and my best wishes and sympathies go to his family. Andrew Revkin at Dot Earth has the story. The interview in Stanford magazine below may be one of his last, if not the last one. Therefore, out of respect for his family, I have decided to close comments at this time. – Anthony
Professor Stephen Schneider in Stanford Magazine.
The professor says:
We know that there are probably hundreds of tipping points. We don’t know precisely where they are. Therefore you never know which ones you’re crossing when. All you know is that as you add warming, you cross more and more of them.
It’s a target rich quote environment in the interview that he gave, for example, “blogs may cause civil war”:
Here’s the blog problem: We build up a trust [based] on which blogs just say what we like to hear. At least in the old days when we had a Fourth Estate that did get the other side—yes, they framed it in whether it was more or less likely to be true, the better ones did—at least everybody was hearing more than just their own opinion. What scares me about the blogosphere is if you only read your own folks, you have no way to understand where those bad guys are coming from. How are you going to negotiate with them when you’re in the same society? They’re not 100 percent wrong, you know? There’s something you have to learn from them and they have to learn from you. If you never read each other and you never have a civil discourse, then I get scared.
It’s fractionation into preexisting belief without any chance of negotiation and reconciliation. I don’t want to see a civil war, and I worry about that if the blogosphere is carried to a logical extreme.
Or how about this one, dissing the average American citizen as “incompetent to judge”:
We know we have a rough 10 percent chance that [the effect of global warming] is going to be not much; a rough 10 percent chance of ‘Oh, My God’; and everything else in between. Therefore, what you’re talking about as a scientist is risk: what can happen multiplied times the odds of it happening. That’s an expert judgment. The average person is not really competent to make such a judgment.
Yes but professor, the average American citizen is chosen by government to sit on capital murder cases as jurist as part of our constitutionally protected freedoms and civic duty. Such cases involve weighing hundreds of hours of testimony, forensic science, sometimes DNA evidence, and most certainly to decide if the truth is being told or not.
Yet those same citizens are unable to decide for themselves whether climate science is proved beyond a “reasonable doubt”? They can’t decide the magnitude of risk?
Most certainly, in the same proud California sitcom tradition as the ill fated Happy Days episode, professor Steven Schneider of Stanford has “jumped the shark“.
Read the entire interview at Stanford Magazine.