Friday, October 22, 2004

Just because you have something to say . . .

Just because you have something to say doesn't mean that you're right or that the rest of us have to listen to you. I saw that letter in the AAS newsletter a bit ago too. I tried to just ignore it and throw the thing away like I typically do, but I think it's good of you to bring it up.

Dr. Grey-bear-garber-whatever his name may be is a war mongering, sexist, self-hating, partisan shill. Thankfully, even the Republican people of Maryland are smart enough not to even have ever noticed him. In his 3 runs for Senate he pulled in a total of 20,000 votes (I won't bother linking, because it's not worth it to me to cut and paste). I'm quite confident that I could pull in 20,000 votes over the course of 6 years. My apartment complex alone houses about 1,500 residents. With some nice leaflets, I could bring in those kinds of numbers without trying.

People like him are, frankly, weird. To run for the US Senate 3 times and not receive any popular support means that you have absolutely no ground game and you're just running to satisfy your ego and strange ideas (in much the same manner that Ralph Nader runs for President). To me, it is shocking that someone like this was allowed to get near the development of our nukular weapons. (By the way, what is it with nukular weapons and conservative cranks. Edwin Teller comes to mind.)

The fact that this letter, written by someone substantially outside of the mainstream, was able to be printed in the newsletter at all says something about the creeping "neutrality/objectivity" of the media. Even though the folks at AAS are (obviously) not part of any major media operation, the fact that they printed this garbage is telling. Not wanting to offend the community's sense of evenhandedness (or to not risk offending the other nut-cases who believe this junk), they feel obligated to print an opposing viewpoint to the AGU statement on climate change. It's not important to them to check out who the author is. It's not important to them to address the scientific viability of the studies that Grey-bear-graber references in an editor's note. It's important to them to look evenhanded and live out some radical mis-interpretation of the 1st Amendment.

The newsletter of a private membership organization can choose to print or not print whatever it chooses. It has no 1st amendment obligation. Its only obligation is to print items that are in line with the beliefs of a majority of the membership who pay for the newsletter. Thankfully, I would venture to say that the likes of Grey-bearer-garb are in the minority in the AAS (We're in the minority on education issues in the AAS, and thus you don't see anything aligned with our beliefs in there. If I wrote in a letter critical of the AAS for the garbage it prints in the newsletter from a reformed educational perspective, do you honestly believe they'd ever print any?).

Who wins when Bearer-of-all-things-Grey gets to print his mis-informed screed in the AAS newsletter? Is it the membership, because we get to participate in a lively discussion about today's issue? Hardly. I don't feel like reading 10 missives in next month's issue complaining about Grey-beard's letter. (I do wonder who they'll print, though). And do you really think that the Grey-labyrinth will change his mind through a sensible dialog?

Is it science in general, because now we get to dispense with alternative paradigms? No. Grey-Stoke-Legend-of-Tarzan's letter is wholly unscientific. They claims he makes are not based on legitimately peer reviewed work, and much more a part of the "faith-based-community". Science isn't served here. Debating the mechanisms of climate change and CO2 emissions is scientifically valid. Debating the reality of climate change and denying the negative effects of climate change if by some odd chance it is happening, is not science.

Is it really He-Man-and-the-Castle-of-Grey-skull, Exxon, Shell, W, Dick Cheney, etc. who win? Yes!!! The AAS has provided a forum for these unscietific fools to present their case unfiltered and uncontested. Yeah, the letters will reign in next month, but it won't matter. The believers of this non-sense will be fortified, and the few people that might have not really known anything about climate change and won't happen to read next month's responses might just actually think that ol' Howie's got a point. Lies presented evenly with the truth have a good chance of winning. You'd think it would be in the best interests of our community to stop that from happening.

Yes, the pursuits of science and the "truth" were injured by the AAS in its last newsletter. Hopefully, we don't let that happen again.

-hoagieboy

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