Enlightened Activist Scientists Dim Society
Perhaps it's simply a consequence of modern society or an outworking of today's educational philosophy on professionals, but progressive activism is making its mark and taking its toll on the U.S.
There are activist judges who impose their brand of "justice" on the rest of us, progressive congressmen who represent only themselves and limit our choices to their choices, and unelected czars who dominantly project their vision of the future on the citizenry's reality, so why not scientists who engage in the same kind of activism with their "science"? Such activist scientists believe they have a lofty knowledge of, say, the workings of nature and humans' culpability in its destruction. Then, imbued with some sort of terrestrial spirit, they are energized to practice their science that seeks support for their planetary doctrines and that documents reasons for their imposition of their position on the less suffused.
How did the modern activist-scientist attitude develop? Its origin and growth likely stem from long-term progressive nurturing. From grade school through graduate school, one of the constant "facts" inculcated in students is that people are destroying the planet and time is running out to rescue the globe. Consequently, pupils are instructed to do their part to tread lightly upon the terra firma, or at least urged to worry about their and their parents' selfish use of nature's resources. Man's destruction of his environment is not debatable. The time to act is now.
In college and graduate school, some students sufficiently indoctrinated may devote their academic careers to redemption of the earth. They get plenty of encouragement and resources to carry on the good fight. The one thing the eager students typically do not get, however, is a perspective on the environmental issues they have chosen to tackle, unless they are in an engineering or physics program.
In general, environmental science, issues, and policy programs tend to be more qualitative and subject to hand-waving arguments, hyperbole, and unsupported extrapolations. In addition, these fields lend themselves more to science based on emotion rather than on reason. The results are graduates with a narrow view of our world and our place in it that unduly limits the thoughtful use of resources and actions that improve the condition of all humans and their surroundings. Graduates tend to be, at least in mindset, minions of the activist progressive environmental groups that are fueled largely by political wood, hay, and stubble, rather than a desire to preserve and cultivate the most precious part of nature -- people.
Meanwhile, we are assured by an elite group of mainly academic scientists, operating with lavish government funding, that weather disasters await us unless drastic and enormously expensive measures are taken to reset the future climate charts. But, a ship that sets sail with a boatload of cash into the unchartable climate is susceptible to the storms of reality. Such tempests carry not only unknowable meteorological conditions, but also known tendencies to keep the ship laden and steady with its valuable cargo.
The future global climate 10, 50, 100 years out is unknowable at any practical level, and therefore maps displaying temperature and precipitation conditions at those future times are pure fantasy. Yet billions of dollars are spent not only to research such conditions (which is fair enough from a need to enrich our knowledge base), but to also rework societies because super-endowed mortals have magically seen the future. And, those who bestow endowments are happy to keep the cash stream flowing as long as the prognostications substantiate government largesse and largeness.
Ultimately, activism in the name of science takes its expensive toll on society. Trillions of our dollars may soon be given away to the United Nations and others because of those who believe that, when it comes to the mysteries of nature, they are brilliant. But, rather than brilliant, the science luminaries have only at best a dim enlightenment. And, unfortunately for the rest of us, we will likely see the global politicians wastefully use the money to continue the entrenchment of their own power and as usual will ignore the planet's needy as more cash will be diverted to address future climate chimeras.
Anthony J. Sadar is a certified consulting meteorologist specializing in air-quality issues and primary author of Environmental Risk Communication: Principles and Practices for Industry (CRC Press/Lewis Publishers, 2000).