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What Are Climate Scientists to Do?

Keller, Evelyn Fox (2011) What Are Climate Scientists to Do? Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science, 5 (1). pp. 19-26. ISSN 1913-0465

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Abstract

The campaign to discredit predictions of man-made global warming—originally organized by readily identifiable vested interests—has by now recruited a large popular constituency of declared “skeptics” increasingly disposed to “take a stand”: some of them opposed to government regulation in general, some resistant to any claims to intellectual authority (perhaps especially scientific), and some mobilized by a version of the right to individual freedom of opinion. As a result, confidence in the expertise of scientists has reached an all time low: Internet sites, radio talk shows, and television channels preferentially transmit “contrarian” attacks on the credibility of climate scientists. Even our most responsible newspapers and journals, in their very commitment to the traditional ethic of “balance,” sometimes contribute to the widespread misimpression that climate scientists are deeply divided about both the extent of the dangers we face and the relevance of human activity to global warming. Not knowing who or what to believe, the natural response for most people is to do nothing, and the consequence, as Thomas Homer-Dixon wrote last year for the New York Times: “Climate policy is gridlocked, and there’s virtually no chance of a breakthrough” (2010). Meanwhile, as evidence both of the role of human contributions to global warming and the dangers of that warming continues to mount, consensus among climate scientists grows ever stronger, and those of us who attend to that evidence are increasingly alarmed.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Keller, Evelyn Fox
Keywords: Scientific Realism; Epistemic Issues; Epistemology of Science
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Technology
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Jordan Miller
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2021 02:22
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2021 02:22
Item ID: 17881
Journal or Publication Title: Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science
Publisher: The University of Toronto
Official URL: https://spontaneousgenerations.library.utoronto.ca...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.4245/sponge.v5i1.15165
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Technology
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 30 September 2011
Page Range: pp. 19-26
Volume: 5
Number: 1
ISSN: 1913-0465
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17881

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