***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****
I also do not find Naomi Oreske's arguments too convincing. She does
refer to MIT's famous meteorologist Richard Lindzen as an exception.
But she interprets exceptions as a historian of science in a Kuhnian
way. Perhaps she ought to have been more aware with other types of
understanding exceptions too, as, for instance, the one originating in
classical sociology (John Stuart Mill). In any case, there are much
more environmental sceptics disputing the effects of global warming
and climate change. Let me mention a few examples. One of the leading
contrarians of the scientific consensus on global warming is George
Mason University's atmospheric physicist Fred Singer, who is the
founder of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP). He
keeps on reassuring the public that future warming will be
inconsequential or modest at most because of the gaps in climate
knowledge that computer simulations reflect. British botanist David
Bellamy also disputes the alarmist scenarios based on computer
modeling. Another famous sceptic (I guess he's more known in Europe
than in the US) is the Dannish controversial environmentalist and
statistician Bjorn Lomborg, who keeps on shouting that it is not worth
spending money on climate change because the effects are expected to
be far in the future and together with a group of six American and two
other economists (including three Nobel prize winners) they have been
recommending that money should be spent on HIV/Aids and free trade
instead of climate change research. Here are some links where you can
find further information about these controversies:
Thus, often in the politics of climate change, it is a commonplace to
hear the concerns about the controversial role played by scientists.
Many claim that it is a very common practice that industry groups try
to find allies among scientists, who would validate their doubts
regarding the alarming science and would lend scientific legitimacy to
the industrial interests (Peter Newell, 2000, Climate for Change:
Non-State Actors and the Global Politics of the Greenhouse, Cambridge
University Press). As a matter of fact, the oil corporation ExxonMobil
funds several think tanks and research programms challenging
Let me finish with this. Jeff Broadbent has already announced in the
socnet mailing list that currently we are designing a policy network
research project to study climate change
through various national policy making processes (Japan, Germany, US,
Sweden, Netherlands, Greece and perhaps others). And I think the
inderdependence among different networks for "believers" and
"contrarians" of ideas about climate change would be an interesting
outcome of our work (this looks pretty similar to Pat Doreian's
analysis of "battling networks" in environmental issues). Moreover, I
believe that a challenging problem would be for us to understand
processes of maniputation through and by scientists. Unfortunately, in
network theory, what is missing is a theorem like the one of
Gibbard-Satterthwaite in social choice. As far as I know, the problem
is that network influence theories are not so useful in cases of
manipulations, hidden agendas or ambiguous strategies. The climate
change policy arena might be an interesting field for us to test new
network ideas and theories about such controversial and complex
On 7/24/06, Valdis Krebs <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> ***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****
> In today's LA Times, the author of the original study responds to the
> WSJ op-ed piece...
> > I am the author of that study, which appeared two years ago in the
> > journal Science, and I'm here to tell you that the consensus stands.
> > The argument put forward in the Wall Street Journal was based on an
> > Internet posting; it has not appeared in a peer-reviewed journal — the
> > normal way to challenge an academic finding. (The Wall Street Journal
> > didn't even get my name right!)
> > My study demonstrated that there is no significant disagreement
> > within the scientific community that the Earth is warming and that
> > human activities are the principal cause.
> > Papers that continue to rehash arguments that have already been
> > addressed and questions that have already been answered will, of
> > course, be rejected by scientific journals, and this explains my
> > findings. Not a single paper in a large sample of peer-reviewed
> > scientific journals between 1993 and 2003 refuted the consensus
> > position, summarized by the National Academy of Sciences, that "most
> > of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been
> > due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations."
> On Jul 14, 2006, at 9:47 PM, Valdis Krebs wrote:
> > ***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****
> > Opinion piece in today's WSJ claims that SNA shows that the scientists
> > whom agree on global warming are all a tightly-knit group -- a mutual
> > admiration society -- that dismiss all contrary findings without
> > consideration.
> > Here is an excerpt... Wall Street Journal; July 14, 2006; Page A12
> > > In addition to debunking the hockey stick, Mr. Wegman goes a step
> > > further in his report, attempting to answer why Mr. Mann's mistakes
> > > were not exposed by his fellow climatologists. Instead, it fell to
> > two
> > > outsiders, Messrs. McIntyre and McKitrick, to uncover the errors.
> > > Mr. Wegman brings to bear a technique called social-network analysis
> > > to examine the community of climate researchers. His conclusion is
> > > that the coterie of most frequently published climatologists is so
> > > insular and close-knit that no effective independent review of the
> > > work of Mr. Mann is likely. "As analyzed in our social network," Mr.
> > > Wegman writes, "there is a tightly knit group of individuals who
> > > passionately believe in their thesis." He continues: "However, our
> > > perception is that this group has a self-reinforcing feedback
> > > mechanism and, moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized
> > > that they can hardly reassess their public positions without losing
> > > credibility.
> > >
> > > In other words, climate research often more closely resembles a
> > > mutual-admiration society than a competitive and open-minded search
> > > for scientific knowledge. And Mr. Wegman's social-network graphs
> > > suggest that Mr. Mann himself -- and his hockey stick -- is at the
> > > center of that network.
> > Since this has become a political issue, is the opposing group also an
> > echo chamber? Similar to the red-blue political divide we see in the
> > USA?
> > Would be interesting to run Mark Newman's community algorithm on all
> > scientists/papers involved in global warming, eh?
> > Valdis
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