Quote of the week – beyond 'noble cause corruption'

qotw_popcornA lot of popcorn is being consumed these days watching the wailing of the Lewandowsky lemming team as they furiously throw themselves over cyber-cliffs in support of a retracted paper that was doomed from the start by it’s own ethics violations: diagnosing people in absentia as having mental disorders, then using a science journal as a bully pulpit to name and shame those people.

I had the good fortune of having dinner with Steve McIntyre last night, who was in California doing some consulting on mining interests. While most of the conversation was about that topic, invariably the topic turned to the Lewandowsky “Recursive Fury” fiasco. The other people at the table, not knowing any of the history, were incredulous that Steve and I (and others) were the subjects of this paper without our giving consent to be studied as psychological subjects.  That conversation coalesced some thoughts for me.

The journal Frontiers in Psyschology obviously thought Lewandowsky et al had gotten consent, otherwise they would not have published it in the first place. Once alerted to that fact, by Steve, myself, and others, they had no choice but to do the right thing: let ethics rules guide the decision to either repair or retract. Obviously, they couldn’t repair the damage, so retraction was the only viable option.

Now, there’s a great disturbance in the farce, as Lewandowsky’s slimetroopers deploy their ultimate weapon, hate, against the editor of the editor of the Frontiers in Psyschology journal who dared to fire back about the hype being generated over the retraction.

One of the slimetroopers, an errant and hateful independent scholar/anthropologist/archaeologist in Minnesota, who shall remain nameless here because he deserves no attention, decided that he was going to take this paragraph, a comment on the recent statement Rights of Human Subjects in Scientific Papers made by Frontiers editor Henry Markram, and “fisk” it for politically correct AGW behavior:

Markram writes at 10:14PM 4/14/14 (bold mine):

My own personal opinion: The authors of the retracted paper and their followers are doing the climate change crisis a tragic disservice by attacking people personally and saying that it is ethically ok to identify them in a scientific study. They made a monumental mistake, refused to fix it and that rightfully disqualified the study. The planet is headed for a cliff and the scientific evidence for climate change is way past a debate, in my opinion. Why even debate this with contrarians? If scientists think there is a debate, then why not debate this scientifically? Why help the ostriches of society (always are) keep their heads in the sand? Why not focus even more on the science of climate change? Why not develop potential scenarios so that society can get prepared? Is that not what scientists do? Does anyone really believe that a public lynching will help advance anything? Who comes off as the biggest nutter? Activism that abuses science as a weapon is just not helpful at a time of crisis.

Yes indeed, who does come off as the biggest nutter?

So what does the slimetrooper in Minnesota do? He takes up that challenge and calls Markham a climate change denialist! See below:


Wow, just wow. The lack of self awareness here is stunning.

It used to be that we thought people who are out to “save the planet” at all costs, leaving destruction in their wake were driven by “noble cause corruption“, i.e. the end justifies the means. This phrase was coined to describe the behavior seen in some police departments, where they’d do anything to get the bad guys, including setting people up to commit crimes, making false statements, and planting evidence to get a conviction.

Equally bad, Lewandowsky’s naming people in a science paper as having a psychological affliction without their consent was just another means to an end. Better to get the “deniers” out of the way while the slimetroopers march toward their claimed noble cause of saving the world.

Sadly, watching what has transpired over the Lewandowsky Recursive Fury paper, now it seems that there’s no “noble cause” left in this particular form of “noble cause corruption”, just corruption.

I’ll bet somebody could write a psychology paper about this.



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Some years ago that Minnesota professor had a debate with Christopher Monkton. It seems to have affected him on a deep psychological level.

Dana Nuccitelli is really not helping, by calling Frontiers liars:
I’ve put a few of his quotes under the line at Frontiers:
Seriously (for Frontiers) Dana wrote an article that briefly appeared at Skeptical Science (reported here)
(long enough for Google to cache it) before it was deleted from Skeptical Science and it appeared in the Guardian,
which was prior to Frontiers Retraction Notice. From that article it looks like he was well briefed by the ‘Fury’ authors (Lewandowsky, Cook, or Marriott, all involved, like Dana with Skeptical Science). and that the authors had a PR campaign ready to go (plus The Conversation articles by Elaine, and a video by Prof Lewandowsky, and interviews)
Now he says this, is it just Dana speaking, or Lewandowsky, Cook, Marriott by proxy?
15 April 2014 3:51pm
“Markham is either clueless or lying in these comments. Just as one example among many, ‘refused to fix it’ is an outright lie. He knows the authors submitted a revised version that de-identified the subjects, as Frontiers requested. This is really appalling behavior on his part.” – Dana Nuccitelli
John Cook is the founder of Skeptical Science.
Professor Lewandowsky and John Cook are co-authors of this:
Dana Nuccitelli (Sceptical Science contributor/author/admin) seem to be fighting Prof Lewandowsky’s and John Cook (founder of Skeptical Science) battles (by proxy) in the Guardian, which I do not think is very wise.
Dana flat out says that Henry is lying or clueless?!!
“And I’m less than impressed with the editor. He’s either clueless or outright lying in these comments.” – Dana Nuccitelli
Maybe Frontiers should consult their lawyers..
I’m not sure how Prof Lewandowsky can remain involved with Frontiers, in respect of the Chief Editor seemingly thinking he ‘made a monumental mistake’ that they refused to correct’ as this indicates that the Editor in Chief does not trust prof lewandwsky’s judgement..
previously Lewandowsky:
“I have continued to serve as a co-editor of a forthcoming special issue of Frontiers, I accepted a reviewing assignment for that journal, and I currently have another paper in press with Frontiers. After the retraction, I was approached by several Frontiers editors and authors who were dismayed at the journal’s decision. In all instances I pointed out that I continued to serve as author, reviewer, and co-editor for Frontiers.

If someone were to write a psych paper about the Lewandowsky crowd’s behavior, I would suggest
that it would likely find a receptive audience over at Frontiers in Science : Ethics of the AGW
Believers : A Study in Denial. Frontiers’ Markham may even be sugesting such a piece to one of his non-AGW regular contributors.

Old Hoya

Imposing hackneyed bourgeois values (“ethics” “objectivity” etc) on efforts to root out denialist scum is itself denialism.
Clueless in Minnesota

Pamela Gray

Must obtain permission from the herd of climate catastrophy scientists to include them in a paper diagnosing their tendancy towards exaggerated alarmism lacking scientific defensible observation or model. Easily swayed comes to mind. Weak minded. Greedy. Follow the herd or get left behind. Means justfies an unconnected end? Criminal thinking? With so many variables you would have to have a large subject pool. Done. We have that in spades.

The Minnesota Vileness isn’t a professor. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure he has any visible means of support. ‘Slacker’ is probably the most appropriate job description.

I just finished reading a paper by MIT prof Jay Forester who is known for his work on Limits to Growth in the 70s, but less well known for the adaptation of his work to K-12. Back in 1991 he was describing the intent to target students’ mental models and supply them with the framework to see facts through and to do lots of computer simulations to reenforce.
Beyond greed or naivete or the search for grant money, constructivism in math and science in K-12 and higher ed from the 90s on and this interest in pushing systems thinking and simulations as reflections of reality have created many adults now with a greatly diminished ability to accurately perceive the world as it actually exists or contemplate what is really possible or likely consequences. The computer scenarios have become reality and anything in variance like skeptic blogs are just treated as either places of ignorance or partisanship. Grounded in emotions, facts cannot get through.
As a cognitive science prof Lewandowsky is aware of every thing I am writing about. That’s the basis for that discipline, trying to consciously socially engineer mental models to make behavior predictable and to ground knowledge in emotions instead of reason so that the mindset becomes almost impenetrable to facts. Cognitive science is intricately related to systems science and treating the social sciences as capable of producing predictable results on a par with the natural sciences. That is only possible if psychology and the school curriculum are used to literally get inside the Black Box of the mind. That is how the cog sci researchers describe it too.


Henry Markram is now a skeptic. Like most of the readers here, I’m sure, he started out wanting to get a little more information on the “science” of climate change, or in this case the “ethics” behind a paper in his journal. The response is one that skeptics are familiar with. To ask questions is to be branded a denier. Welcome to the club. We are not nutters or ostriches. Quite the opposite, we are mostly engineers, chemists, physicists, psychologists, geologists, and laymen with an interest in science all of whom are environmentalists who are curious about how the science got “settled” when no one was looking.

Mike M

“I’ll bet somebody could write a psychology paper about this.”
… and Jonestown as a comparative analysis of abuse of using psychology as a weapon of mass delusion. http://www.apa.org/monitor/nov03/jonestown.aspx
“In as-yet unpublished research, Zimbardo has found that Jones quite possibly learned his ability to persuade from a famous social thinker: George Orwell.”


rats fighting in a sack is always ‘fun’ for those not in it .
But you hope others would look at this and say , do we really think this is OK ?
Sadly for too long one of the worst elements of ‘the cause ‘ has been the silence of others working in science to the PP behaviour and outright poor scientific pratice of ‘the Team ‘ and its followers and for that we may all end paying the price.


What’s good for the Soviet is good for the world. We own an academic enclave, are supported by central planning governments, pop culture and media tools of all kinds.
Science is a triviality in practice.


Mr. Markham says:
” The planet is headed for a cliff and the scientific evidence for climate change is way past a debate, in my opinion. Why even debate this with contrarians? If scientists think there is a debate, then why not debate this scientifically? Why help the ostriches of society (always are) keep their heads in the sand? Why not focus even more on the science of climate change? Why not develop potential scenarios so that society can get prepared? Is that not what scientists do?”
Mr. Markham, an editor of a journal devoted to psychology, does state his opinion about climate change. Like him, many others state their own opinions, too, contrary to his.
Yet somehow THEY are viewed by Mr. Markham as “ostriches of society” who “keep their heads in the sand”. While not exactly of a personal nature, Mr. Markham’s comment certainly appears intended to denigrate other people with whom Mr. Markham disagrees.
Seems the old saying, “birds of a feather flock together” has some validity.

James Strom

In one of his online comments Lewandowsky gloated that his activities were causing the “deniers” to waste a lot of time dealing with his various assertions. Sorry, no link, but Steve so quoted Lew in one of his CA discussions. Judged by this standard, Lew ought to be considered one of the most successful participants in the climate discussion, having arguably wasted more of people’s time than anyone else.


“I’ll bet somebody could write a psychology paper about this.”
You could have an entire conference on this!

James Ard

The noble cause corruption angle has always been much too kind. There are very few true believers in the faulty science, just a bunch of money grubbing jerks.


“I’ll bet somebody could write a psychology paper about this”

Already been turned down for a grant by UWA


I’d really like to see the Lewandowsky methodology reprised with a different set of conspiracies. Anti-corporate urban legends that tend to fit in with the CAGW proponent worldview and that free-market advocates might tend to be skeptical of, including,
Kerr-McGee (nuclear energy division) murdered Karen Silkwood?
General Motors killed local electric train/public transportation
DuPont Chemical orchestrated the “ozone hole” scare in order to sell patented Freon II when the patent on original kinds of Freon expired.

Bruce Cobb

Lew must have learned everything he knows about ethics from Gleick.

Peter Miller

That darn ideated recursive fury seems to get everywhere these days.


Surely Dana’s antics at the Guardian / SKS are now bringing Tetra into disrepute?


If you are one of those scientists who devotedly believe in anthropogenic warmageddon, who is certain that there should not be any debate, and an editor from a scientific journal asks you to review a paper from some other scientist whose basic message is that we are doomed… and you know that nobody will ever know that it was you who did the review… what are the chances that you will actually do your job in trying to ensure that the science presented is sound? Now imagine that you have a good understanding about who the author could be, and it’s one of your colleagues, one you get on well with, you are together in “the cause”. Wouldn’t you let him know that it is you who are going to review his paper? And wouldn’t you make sure that he is aware in the future of any papers you send for publication, just in case he is told to review them?
This is why the peer-review system in its current form is useless and so much crap passes the filters. It’s pal-review driven by noble cause corruption.

It’s funny, I wasn’t sure this would happen, but Lewandowsky and his allies have now done far more to damage themselves, with the whining and sniping about this ridiculous paper, than their opponents could have ever done to them. It’s the ultimate Own Goal.


Oops. I didn’t finish the point.
My hypothesis, which I would like to confirm or refute using Lewandowsky’s methods, is that those who share James Hansen’s distain for “business as usual” in the 21st century will be much MUCH more likely to “believe” in the tale of evil corporations manipulating the fates of citizens, while those who are inclined to distrust governments, the UN, and the IPCC are more likely to doubt the conspiracy, and believe the standard consensus explanations for, the death of Silkwood, the bankruptcy of streetcars, the policies on CFCs, etc.
Propensity to accept “a conspiracy theory” therefore depends on the political slant of the conspiracy in question, I suppose.
If anybody has a big check from a government, corporation, NGO, or thinktank ready to help me survey 5 pro- and anti- CAGW website denizens for attitudes to these or similar conspiracies, please let Anthony know.

Mark Bofill

Do you suppose people like the slimetrooper in question are ignorant of history, or are they aware of what sort of world they are promoting?

You have to punish not only the traitors, but even those who are indifferent; you have to punish whoever is passive in the republic, and who does nothing for it.

St. Just, Committee of Public Safety, October 10, 1793

Actually, it would be very interesting to study common characteristics of climate alarmists. IMO, some commonalities i have noticed, IMO, is poor impulse control, a sense of grandiosity, are manipulative and lie easily, tend to exaggerate, and tend to be involved in drama, including litigation.
I guess I rather be a “conspiracy theorist” then um, whatever conclusion one may draw from those shared commonalities…

Oh,for giggles, compare this article with your favorite alarmist


The Lewandowsky affair is a sign of a larger sickness in modern politics. Today, politicians don’t debate the merits and demerits of their proposals and those of their opponents; they attempt to DE-LEGITAMIZE their opponents words in the public marketplace of ideas. By calling you and Steve “anti-science” and “den^ers”, but they convince people to ignore the fact that you are (probably) better termed lukewarmers with great respect for science. Lewandowsky is merely the lowest blow in the battle to de-legitimize honest skepticism about climate change. I wrote the editor of Frontiers expressing this point of view. The following passage is from a David Brooks editorial based on the experiences of a former academic turned politician describes the problem:
“[Ignatieff] learned that when you are attacking your opponent, you have to hit his strengths because his weaknesses will take care of themselves. Political discourse, he came to see, is not really a debate about issues; it is a verbal contest to deny your opponents of standing, or as we would say, legitimacy.”

Anthony is in fine form today. Great article!
Markham says:
…the climate change crisis… (T)he planet is headed for a cliff… (W)hy even debate this with contrarians?… a time of crisis… denialists… denialism… science denialists… you actually ARE a denialist… denialists… denialist. And so on.
Besides being a real parody of Chicken Little [Chicken Licken to our UK cousins], Markham refuses to think for himself. When Markham falls back on his pointless and hateful ad hominem labels and name-calling, that covers up the fact that he has no credible arguments. His name-calling takes the place of thinking.
What are skeptics supposedly denying? In reality, it is the alarmist clique itself that refuses to believe that the climate ever changed prior to the industrial revolution. Mann’s hockey stick chart supports their crazy belief; the shaft of the stick is flat, until evil mankind invented “carbon”.
Finally, Markham advises not debating “denialists” and “contrarians”. The reason is clear to readers here: the alarmist side has always lost debates with skeptics. So now they hide out from debating. Andrew Klaven reveals their current tactic.
I would enjoy debating Markham. ‘Twould be a piece of cake, since his beliefs stem from emotion, not from reason. In fact, that is the problem with the whole ‘carbon’ crowd. They are frightened of something for which there is no evidence at all.


Robin says:
April 15, 2014 at 9:22 am
I just finished reading a paper by MIT prof Jay Forester who is known for his work on Limits to Growth in the 70s, but less well known for the adaptation of his work to K-12.

What’s the name of that paper, Robin?

Sherry-no need to theorize about conspiracies. Just refer to the bibiography at the end of reports and then go to what is cited in turn. Very open declarations of coordinated efforts. For example, the cited paper in the body of IPCC Chapter 20 on Adaptation in turn cites this paper http://www.kosmosjournal.org/article/personal-to-planetary-transformation/ as what is meant by the language about personal transformation as the desired Adaptation.
Plus to avoid the notorious C word you can simply substitute coordinated cabal once you can cite conferences or edited books with intentions etc.

Ron Clutz

Lewandowsky and his followers present a case study in what psychologists call “projection” (different from the IPCC kind). In psychological projection you see things like:
Claiming to be a victim of bullies, while at the same bullying others to get what you want;
Claiming that others have conspiracy theories, while firmly believing in a vast right-wing denial effort financed by Big oil and the Koch brothers;
Claiming that others are denying settled science, while agreeing with people who have trashed basic meteorology and atmospheric physics, not to mention biased statistics;
Claiming that others are unethical, while subverting the ethical procedures of your own profession;
And so on.

Speaking of edited books it is in a 1991 book edited by Kenneth R Manning called MIT: Shaping the Future. Bought it used as I have been tracking what Digital Promise and the White House are pushing as part of the League of Innovative Schools. LIS’ research in K-12 classrooms reports to none other than John Holdren.
The actual paper is called “System Dynamics: Adding Structure and Relevance to Precollege Education.” The paper is exciting for me because it links this then ‘radical vision’ to what is being mandated in K-12 now. One memorable sentence that shows how Forrester envisions the world is his statement that “the dynamic structure that causes a pendulum to swing is the same as the core structure that causes employment and inventories to fluctuate in a product-distribution system and in economic business cycles.”
No, actually it is not, but try telling that to someone who got an MIT degree or has been taught by someone who has. Cog sci is about the deliberate creation of erroneous mental models to try to influence future behavior. It’s why Lew’s shenanigans do not surprise me in the least.

Obviously I failed the close italics lesson for today.
[ reply: OK, fixed. -ModE ]

Kevin Kilty

April 15, 2014 at 10:01 am
From your citation

…People who do it out of a sense of selfishness and vanity, often give up, because the life can be miserable. The people who sustain are usually motivated by a sense of service, and by evidence of the good that laws and programs can do. …

For some reason I see this as the inverse of what is actually true. The worst of them seem to remain forever.


I think that in 50 years time, when this AGW madness has been debunked from top to bottom (perhaps it will take just 20 years), then there will be no end to the number of papers analyzing what went wrong – psychologically, scientifically, politically, and so on.
I have my own feelings about this. I feel that academia today is populated by individuals with education, knowledge and degrees, but lacking integrity, deep intelligence, wisdom and most of all, humility, the ability to acknowledge uncertainty and failure. These flaws have always been part of politics, but the same flaws have now infested academia and almost all other walks of life as well. The lack of humility in today’s leaders is the biggest reason for the debacle we see today. Overall, the voices of those preaching the core values of science are drowned out by the voices of those who preach nonsense.
There are a lot of reasons for this, one of them being that higher education has been dumbed down, another is political correctedness, another are the results-oriented business-like publish or perish attitude that has infected academia, and probably various others as well.

Give people enough rope to hang themselves. Those fueled by hate caused by ignorance will make errors and demonstrate their failure for all to see which can then be documented.
eco terrorism is up there with jihadi fanaticism
“The FBI credited eco-terrorists with 200 million dollars in property damage between 2003 and 2008, and a majority of states within the USA have introduced laws aimed at eco-terrorism.”
“Eco-terrorism, is a form of radical environmentalism that arose out of the same school of thought that brought about deep ecology, ecofeminism, social ecology, and bioregionalism.”
is eco terrorism too strong a term? Maybe. But put in the context of the deluge of calls for executions, imprisonments, financial ruin, sackings, barring from jobs etc for anyone who is not happy clappy about the ipcc reports or its science methods or conclusions then if that was said to any other ethnic or sexual group most countries would have laws against that. Given the consistency of their message it would not surprise me if this was planned, organised and funded.
There are no medals when standing up for what is right and being pointman will attract ‘the dark side’.
Given co2 driven change is state policy then you are up against the state apparatus and their department of dirty tricks. If so people will turn a blind eye and complaints will fall on deaf ears.


This pretty much places Greg Laden shoulder to shoulder with Peter Gleick as leaders in the field of successful but corrupt climate science clowns. When you give up your integrity and honesty to force your unpopular point on an educated audience you have nothing left to offer. This stain will follow all who continue to support either of these bozos.
It is an appropriate time to demand a statement of support or condemnation from the rest of the alarmist group regarding the question of missing ethics that is well established in the alarmist camp.


One of the funny things about this whole episode is how Frontiers has released 4 statements now (including that comment), and each statement was closer and closer to their true position on the matter, and closer to reality as well. They started out with deep deference to the authors, allowing them to rewrite the paper before any retraction occurred. When that failed, they remained generous to the authors, allowing them to agree to the language of retraction, which in itself absolved the authors of any ethical or even legal failings and referred to a questionable legal context. After being targeted in the media by friends of the authors, the journal then decided decided to protect the journals’ reputation by specifically stating it was specific ethical and legal reasons for the retraction, namely the identification of human subjects without their consent. And now, they reference the authors as “nutters” and they call the paper a “public lynching”.
That’s quite a journey Frontiers has taken.


Arg, and a lot of adjectives from a Minnesota who would like to know the identity of the Slime Trooper.
dalyplanet, I know who had the exchange with Monckton a few years ago, an exchange which came about as a result of Monckton’s presentation at a College in the same league as the School of said S.T. who idealizes himself as a member of the quick response team, and once suggested we should now have a level 6 category for hurricanes. He became a bit more quiet when a hurricane export simply said that was batshit stupid..
But, he is relatively young and is not an anthropologist or an archeologist.
So, accordingly, I am thinking it might be someone else.
Note, I have former students (now college profs) who sell the line, but when it comes to facts, it goes back to the old ‘Well, everybody says so’.
Any subtle inside hints anyone? I am trying to cross reference to individual remarks.


Just saw a chart of Global Temperatures from 2500 B.C to 2014 by climatologist Cliff Harris.What struck me was that each cold phase seem to get deeper then the last. sorry of topic

But what did you have for dinner?
The whole fiasco is just another example of how NOT to handle public relations. If they were running on such strong science, none of this would be necessary.

I keep meaning to sit down and write my own blog entry about the Lew/Frontiers fiasco, but each time before I can yet more bile emerges and the story takes off again. I bet there’s yet more to come. It’s all terribly entertaining.

Mark Bofill


Any subtle inside hints anyone? I am trying to cross reference to individual remarks.

One of the commenters on Rights of Human Subjects in Scientific Papers links through his name / handle to a blog where the fisk is conducted.

Mark Bofill

mm sorry, not through his name. He provides a link.

” beyond ‘noble cause corruption’ “ and into an unreal irrational twilight zone
Lewandowsky, Cook, Oberauer and Marriott, as unethical authors of the unethical paper ‘Recursive’ (retracted due to being unethical), are attracting very strange ethical support. Look at Laden’s support of them by attacking Markram. Laden’s statement about Markram’s comment is based only on the premise that the accusation ‘d-word’ connotes unethical. That’s it. It’s all Laden has to offer intellectually. Laden lives in a twilight zone where you are unethical to the point of being evil if you do not agree with him. The best strategy for dealing with Laden is to encourage him to stay in his unreal world.

Stephen Richards

Frontiers in Psyschology MUST be congratulated on taking a completely professional and neutral view on this paper. Too few of journals have that much integrity.


I’ve been trying to respond to Dana at Guardian under another name, and I am being censored for truthiness. My point is that essentially, Dana has appointed himself the infallible arbiter of all climate science papers and because he has superior knowledge he can tell us which ones are inferior and should be subjected to “prior restraint,” as the lawyers say. He actually admits working behind the scenes to kill papers the Climate Stalinists find discomfiting and subversive to their infallible ideology. He even maps out his methodology:
In other words, they are acting in contravention of the rules of scientific inquiry.
The problem with Climate Science, is that most papers that I’ve seen eventually devolve into speculation and conjecture about the future. Nuccitelli the Ever Vigilant believes that only papers that speculate and warn about catastrophic consequences of human-induced climate change should be published and that any paper that does not sound the warmist alarm should be suppressed.
It’s an attitude best described by Stalin:

Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas?

Will Nelson

Mark Bofill says:
April 15, 2014 at 9:52 am
Quite so.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” – You Know Who


Kevin Kilty said (April 15, 2014 at 10:35 am): “From your citation:
“…People who do it out of a sense of selfishness and vanity, often give up, because the life can be miserable. The people who sustain are usually motivated by a sense of service, and by evidence of the good that laws and programs can do. …”
For some reason I see this as the inverse of what is actually true. The worst of them seem to remain forever.
I sure agree with you – Brooks got this part wrong. “The people who sustain are usually motivated by a sense of service, and by evidence of the good that laws and programs can do” eventually get worn down by the frustration of dealing with true believers whose closed minds will probably never permit them to rationally analyze any situation. Bob Gates, the possibly the most respected official in Washington in the past few decades, hated being Secretary of Defense and agreed to serve presidents of both parties only because American soldier were dying overseas. During the Bush administration, he carried a digital clock in his briefcase that counted down the days, hours and minutes until could lay down his responsibilities at noon on January 20, 2009.
Still, the bulk of the essay seems correct: politicians and politicized scientists seek to de-legitamize rather than debate. Most activist climate scientists won’t appear on the same forum with a skeptical scientists because any debate implies that the skeptic’s arguments are worthy of rebuttal.