Friday funny – The Shy Scientists

Josh writes: Roddy Campbell emailed me to say –

The decent mass of scientific society, in a quiet but significant majority, getting on with it in a civilised and peaceful fashion in the library/laboratory/Antarctica/satellites/rain forest/literature, no shouting please, debating what works and what is right.  The righteous Union of Concerned Climate Hawks with their megaphones, degrowth manifestos, 100-denier underwear, dinner inspections, LSE platforms and disinvestment petitions.  Who wouldn’t be a bit shy?


Many thanks to Roddy for the idea of Shy Scientists being like Shy Tories, a phenomenon used to explain that abysmal polling in the UK General Election. So scientists won’t say what they really think when there are so many vocal alarmists ready to shout them down.

The background to the cartoon is the Lew paper which Richard Betts critiques here and which is being discussed over at Lew’s blog here.

Cartoons by Josh

PS  I am currently trying to set aside time to put some of the cartoons into a book so if you feel you can donate then please do – any support would be greatly appreciated! The link above goes to my Donate page – many thanks. Josh

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Bloke down the pub
May 15, 2015 6:46 am

Scientists who are not in the lime light know that, given time, Gaia will sort it all out one way or another, so why stick your head over the parapet and get it shot off?

May 15, 2015 6:50 am

Reminds me of a phenomena electoral pollsters used to call the Bradley affect. After weeks of having the media tell them that the only reason why someone wouldn’t vote for Bradley (first black mayoral candidate for Los Angeles) was because they were racists. Voters were afraid to tell perfect strangers that they weren’t going to vote for Bradley. As a result in every election in which he ran, Bradley’s election totals were always 10% or more below where he’d been polling.

Reply to  MarkW
May 15, 2015 10:15 am

In the UK it is Shy Tories, the Conservative party is to the right of UK politics and held to be a nasty party by the left wing politicians and press. When surveyed a proportion of people who later vote tory claim to be undecided or supporters of other parties (not UKIP though). Similar to your Bradley Effect.

Reply to  SandyInLimousin
May 15, 2015 2:31 pm

In fairness, the Tories were named “The Nasty Party” by Theresa May.
And she did have inside knowledge, being a senior Tory Cabinet Minister.

Dave Lowery
Reply to  SandyInLimousin
May 15, 2015 11:39 pm

There isn’t much of a left wing press in UK. Grauniad? Yes. Others… Mail, no. Express, no. Sun, no. Torygraph, no. Times, no. Independent, no.
The press in UK is predominantly right wing. BBC more left and that’s about it.

Mr Green Genes
Reply to  SandyInLimousin
May 15, 2015 11:48 pm

MCourtney –
A pedant writes, ‘To be strictly accurate, she didn’t. She said that many people thought that the Tories were the nasty party’.
On the other hand, she didn’t say whether or not she was one of the many people 😉

Reply to  SandyInLimousin
May 15, 2015 11:53 pm

“Shy Tories” who don’t exist do not explain a polling error that did not occur.
Please see my submission to the Polling enquiry that is posted on WUWT here.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  MarkW
May 15, 2015 10:29 am

Expect the same if a women (any woman) runs for President of the USA.

May 15, 2015 6:51 am

I love Richard Tol’s comment over there:

I’ve now read the paper. It does not offer any data or analysis, just opinion and a few anecdotes.
Global Environmental Change used to be a good journal, but then it drifted into a softy-softy space. I once had a paper rejected there with the comment “no data please”. It seems not to have regained itself.


May 15, 2015 7:01 am

Since my name is almost synonymous with the title – I wonder if perhaps the big issue is in fact the Shyt Scientists?

May 15, 2015 7:06 am

Roddy & Josh,
Shouldn’t the scientist have a passing resemblance to Roger Bacon (1214 – 1292)?

Janice Moore
Reply to  John Whitman
May 15, 2015 9:48 am
” … ‘They agreed.’ And I should care because….?”
Roger Bacon 😉

Reply to  John Whitman
May 15, 2015 12:46 pm

Janice Moore on May 15, 2015 at 9:48 am
– – – – – –
Janice Moore,
Following quote is attributed to Roger Bacon.

“Prudens quaestio dimidium scientiae.”
“Half of science is asking the right questions.”

Bacon is a transitional figure from the Medieval Scholastic Mind to the Renaissance Mind.
He comes to my mind when looking at Josh’s cartoon because he had to tippy toe around the Church doctrine wrt emerging modern science promotion. And he seems to have done so fairly effectively.

May 15, 2015 7:25 am

Almost all of the scientists I know/work with are outspoken critics of the current AGW hype. But most of them don’t get interviewed or asked.
That 97% stat is outright fraud; a misrepresentation of what many scientists believe.

Janice Moore
Reply to  DrTorch
May 15, 2015 9:54 am

Indeed, Dr. Torch:
Here are 97 articles which agree with you:

P R Belanger
Reply to  DrTorch
May 15, 2015 10:13 am

The sad aspect of this is, of course, Is President BO will stand and comment upon the “science is settled” consensus with a straight face!

Reply to  P R Belanger
May 15, 2015 12:50 pm

And if you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.

Reply to  P R Belanger
May 15, 2015 10:14 pm

He doesn’t have a “straight face”; it’s as crooked as his tongue.

May 15, 2015 7:38 am

“….No experimental proof,
So the hypothesis is flawed;
In the archive of failed theories
It needs to be stored.
But this is not about science,
It’s about Agenda 21,
The UN quest for world governance,
And it’s already begun…..”
From “The Integrity of Real Science” More: http:///

Kevin Kilty
May 15, 2015 7:43 am

So, they are shy and keep their heads down? Yes, I have seen some of that among colleagues. However, the more important question is, “when the stakes become high enough, will they step up for truth?” In other words, if a noisy lot were demanding an immediate end to fossil fuels (think Bill Mckibben), or and end to free speech as we know it in the U.S., would the shy lot step up and say that is a daft plan to reverse hundreds of years of progress, or would they continue to keep their heads down? My experience with faculty in cases laden with real ethical concerns is they will always keep head down, and try to get along. Put bluntly these people are not shy but something more akin to cowardly. It is always a determined, mature minority who end up fighting the noisy, loud, immature, aggressive minority. The latter often win. This is how places like Nazi Germany or North Korea manage to exist.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Kevin Kilty
May 15, 2015 11:07 am

Good point. And perhaps most of us have looked the other way a time or two when it would have been better to stand for truth.

Tom G(ologist)
May 15, 2015 8:06 am

It is one of the few advantages of being a scientist in the private sector – I don;t rely on grants to make the weekly bread money. I jut have to produce consistent and useful results regardless of what they are and I get paid.

Janice Moore
May 15, 2015 8:35 am
“Lol. ‘One fact. … just one fact.’ Truth wins. Every time. ~Albert Einstein
(Nice cartoon, Josh. ~ A.E.)

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
May 15, 2015 8:42 am

Oh, btw, men and women of science. A LOT of people called me “crazy.” Heh. Given my critics’ intellectual abilities and political motivations, I took it as a compliment. ~A.E.

May 15, 2015 9:04 am

perhaps laws of physics are there to give us a false sense of security ?

May 15, 2015 9:11 am

Scientists as the silent majority and climate scientists as the nattering nabobs of negativism?

May 15, 2015 9:35 am

From a career perspective, it takes a great deal of courage for scientists to express CAGW skepticism.
$Billions of CAGW grant funding are at stake, so few scientists wish to throw away their careers by expressing serious skepticism of CAGW. Even if their research isn’t directly involved in CAGW, their institution likely receives huge sums of CAGW grants and no one wishes to upset the status quo and risk torpedoing their career.
It’s far easier to either play the system or play dumb…
There is, however, a fast approaching point of singularity where CAGW projections will start exceeding reality by 3 SDs for over 25 years, at which point it will be impossible to remain silent and have any scientific integrity. Once that singularity is reached, there will be growing number of scientists expressing serious CAGW skepticism and then it’s game over.
Senator Inhofe is already calling for Senate hearings on NASA’s blatant temp data manipulation and such hearings will only increase the longer and larger the discrepancies between CAGW projections and reality become.
At some point in time, it’ll be a better career move to express CAGW skepticism than to remain silent.

Reply to  SAMURAI
May 15, 2015 11:52 am

I doubt it will ever be a better career move to express climate skepticism, more likely the mass will move on to the next ‘Planetary Emergency’ 🙂
There will be another one, wont there ?

James Schrumpf
Reply to  SAMURAI
May 16, 2015 5:38 am

Senator Inhofe is already calling for Senate hearings on NASA’s blatant temp data manipulation and such hearings will only increase the longer and larger the discrepancies between CAGW projections and reality become.

I’m going to use this as a segue to ask a question I’ve been wanting to ask here for a while now, but we haven’t had an “open thread” for me to do so. Last week or so CNN online had a story about how NOAA reported the first quarter of 2015 was the hottest on record, with a link to the NOAA release. It was all you’d expect with “hottest March ever” and “no pause in warming.” That story is here. The NOAA release is here.
Then a strange thing happened: CNN pulled the story from the front page, and I never heard anything more of it. Fox never picked it up; no one here mentioned it at all. I would have thought such a release would have generated a lot of noise, but nothing. Of course, UAH and RSS readings for the quarter and month showed no such record — not even close to one — but given the propensity for the AGWsphere to trumpet such news, what happened?

May 15, 2015 9:44 am

Scientists are happy to say what they really think. They just load in a number of qualifications that pollsters don’t hear and don’t want to hear. So what a scientist thinks in a nuanced fashion, loaded with pros and cons, is pruned of the nuancing in favor of what ever the pollster expects or the journalist thinks will make the best story. Then too, because many scientists read the poll, note the fashion the questions are posed in a way that creates a misleading set of constraints they inherently avoid in their own work, they may not even bother to answer the poll.

Dave Worley
Reply to  Duster
May 15, 2015 10:01 am

Correct, those with some form of ethics simply do not respond, thus skewing the poll.

Janice Moore
May 15, 2015 10:05 am

And a little P.R. for one of the good guys:

I am currently trying to set aside time to put some of the cartoons into a book so if you feel you can donate then please do – any support would be greatly appreciated! The link above goes to my Donate page – many thanks. Josh

Best wishes, Josh!
(When I land a job, I will donate!! (grr, one of these months years….))

May 15, 2015 11:59 am

Denier /ˈdɛnjər/ or den (abbreviated D), a unit of measure for the linear mass density of fibers, is defined as the mass in grams per 9000 meters. The denier is based on a natural reference: a single strand of silk is approximately one denier; a 9000-meter strand of silk weighs about one gram.
Watt’s an educational site !

Gunga Din
May 15, 2015 12:36 pm

We all have to deal with our own “Dark Side”. (Thank you, Adam.)
The problem illustrated here is those working in the field having to deal those who have gone over to “The Dark Side”.
One’s ego is a not a guiding light. For too many ego, greed, envy, “the end justifies the means”, is the only light they are guided by.

Follow the Money
May 15, 2015 8:40 pm

There’s a delusion of grandeur I believe no one has picked up here or prior. Not only does Mr. L. overrule the IPCC’s begrudging acceptance of the pause, despite not forwarding one iota of scientific reasoning why the IPCC should by ignored here, Mr. L. literally usurps the role of the IPCC himself. He calls his advance notice of his own article an “Executive Summary.”
Think on that. Has a sole scientist (I know, he ain’t) ever proffered an “Executive Summary?” Mr. L. thinks he is synthesizing his own paper for the perusal of Corporate executives and their governmental factotums?? “Executive summary” is only appropriate for grand projects, such as the IPCC reports. Since IPCC executive summaries notoriously overstate the underlying science product, I await the comparison of Mr. L. final product with his “summary.”
BTW, when has and “Executive Summary” ever been released first? Not only does Mr. L need possible institutionalization, he thinks he is of institution breadth importance. Institution Napoleon complex..?

May 15, 2015 9:44 pm

Rather like tennis? A few polite claps, and certainly no discord.

May 15, 2015 10:25 pm

Follow the Money
You ask

BTW, when has and “Executive Summary” ever been released first?

I answer, every so-called “science” Report except the first from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Each IPCC Summary for Policymakers (SPM) is agreed “line by line” by politicians and/or representatives of politicians, and it is then published. After that the so-called ‘scientific’ Reports are amended to agree with the SPM. This became IPCC custom and practice when prior to the IPCC‘s Second Report the then IPCC Chairman, John Houghton, decreed,

We can rely on the Authors to ensure the Report agrees with the Summary.

This was done and has been the normal IPCC procedure since then.
This custom and practice enabled the infamous ‘Chapter 8′ scandal so perhaps it should – at long last – be changed. However, it has been adopted as official IPCC procedure for all subsequent IPCC Reports.
Appendix A of the most recent IPCC Report (the AR5) states this where it says.

4.6 Reports Approved and Adopted by the Panel
Reports approved and adopted by the Panel will be the Synthesis Report of the Assessment Reports and other Reports as decided by the Panel whereby Section 4.4 applies mutatis mutandis .

PS. And who is Mr L.?

May 19, 2015 5:48 am

Taken me ages to find this…this *IS* funny…

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