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Educating the Uneducated

Educating the Uneducated

Scientist must come together and educate their representatives!

Originally shared by Jason Davison

Unscientific Politics

American politicians have claimed an ignorant stance on science because of their lack of education, there are only 6 scientist and 5 engineers in congress. However, we have 225 lawyers and 201 businessmen leading congress. While I don’t expect every member of congress to read (and understand) the most recent studies in Nature, I do expect them to call their local university faculty for scientific advice. 

The current GOP strategy against climate change is pure ignorance:

John Boehner: Listen, I’m not qualified to debate the science over climate change.

Rick Scott: I’m not a scientist.

Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist. I’m not qualified to make that decision.

Battle of the Climate Minds

A group of ten scientist in Florida tried to educate Rick Scott with a short course on climate change. They personally sent a letter to the Governor:

In short, Florida is one of the most vulnerable places in the country with respect to climate change, with southeastern Florida of particular concern.

This is not a hypothetical. Thousands of scientists have studied the issue from a variety of angles and disciplines over many decades. Those of us signing this letter have spent hundreds of years combined studying this problem, not from any partisan political perspective, but as scientists — seekers of evidence and explanations. As a result, we feel uniquely qualified to assist you in understanding what’s already happening in the climate system so you may make the most effective decisions about what must be done to protect the state, including reducing emissions from fossil fuel burning power plants.

After receiving the letter, Scott agreed to a 30 minute information session from three environmental professors. Now Scott can’t claim ignorance, the unbiased experts told him the facts. Rick Scott can not disagree with the scientific consensus in future debates or policy because of his unscientific credentials. 

The scientific community must come together and educate their representative.



Join the Conversation


  1. Of course the climate changes constantly, that’s why we point and laugh at people who say that even a 5 year cooldown (as has happened many times in the past century, and that we don’t have right now) is proof that global warming isn’t happening.


  2. Daniel Taylor It’s not even a cooldown. It’s simply slowing in the rate of warming in the atmospheric temperature record.  We should have a cooldown due to La Nina and the slight decrease in solar output: we’re still warming. 


  3. Denzil Barr When “Almighty GOD” gives you cavities I’m sure you go to a dentist to have your teeth fixed. When God brings down the rain you find a roof to shelter you. When GOD creates a harsh winter you wear warm clothes and heat your house. 

    I suspect that “GOD” is just fine with humans treating the Earth with the respect any guest treats the home of a generous host. Well, any god worth worshipping would at least. Why bother with the other kind? 


  4. Anyone who doesn’t believe man can affect the climate should google the dust bowl also known as the Dirty Thirty’s

    Congress wouldn’t listen until the dust from Oklahoma actually darkened the sky of Washington DC while they were on the Senate floor claiming man couldn’t possibly affect the climate! And when it finally hit them in the face (LITERALLY) of course they switched to the “there is nothing we can do about it” argument. But there was, and we did, and now it’s history. But while History doesn’t repeat itself, it often rhymes.


  5. Good points, except that two of the three references are to Salon articles. Salon is known for several things, but balanced reporting is not one of them. It is “Progressive”, which is the opposite extreme from “Tea Party”.

    What’s the bottom line? Remember the Bill Nye – Ken Ham “debate” on evolution?  If one wants to convince relative moderates that one extreme is wrong, DO NOT use references from the other extreme.


  6. I’m sorry, comparing a progressive as an equal opposite extreme to the Tea Party is just not correct.

    Progressives are not extremists. The conservatives keep on pushing a stronger right agenda shifting the current balance in politics.


  7. Stefanie Dugger  The environmental sciences are always connected to politics. Us (the earth scientists) study the environment and try to determine how much damage is too much damage to the environment or towards human health. 

    After our research, we must approach policy makers to create new standards. Our work is inherently political. 


  8. Zaiga Loco Your view is quite realistic. While we still have morons in power, it is only going to get worse. There are people who deny scientific evidence and try to hinder innovation, case in point: There are plenty who protest that we are teaching Evolution in schools.


  9. Stefanie Dugger you raise an interesting point. First, the Science on Google+ Page and Community was set up to promote public outreach by practicing scientists. It’s a way that an expert in the field of say, climate change, like Jason Davison , can communicate the scientific consensus to the lay person.

    Second, re. your comment on “lopsided” reporting, the media has fallen prey to “false equivalence” by giving the minority view equal footing in their reporting resulting in public misinformation. Recently, the BBC Trust has recommended that “due weight” should be given to opposing views to avoid giving “undue attention to marginal opinion”. Specifically, the report stated that the media is often guilty of “false impartiality”; of presenting the views of tiny and unqualified minorities as if they have the same weight as the scientific consensus. The three examples they cite are all too familiar to us scientists: vaccines, GMO and climate change. 

    So to make it clear, our position on Science on Google+ is to present the most scientifically accurate evidence available,  whichever political group or news source reports on it.  



  10. Rajini Rao Very interesting item about the BBC.  I had not heard that, but I had heard them giving ridiculous ‘balance’ to programs.  That means they get total nut jobs (the only thing available?) to talk about the alternative view, even though the alternative view has as much connection to fact as I have to a chance of getting a Nobel Prize.

    They would have been better having somebody to explain how the earlier hypothesis had fallen down rather than somebody claim why the earth was, actually, flat. 


  11. Jason Davison

    Here’s the problem: Would you trust an article from a consistently biased right-wing source? If not, then why trust an article from a consistently left-wing source? I have much less trust for articles from with of those types of sources. If one is trying to convince people right of center that your views are correct, don’t use consistently left-of center sources, and vice versa.


  12. Rajini Rao

    I agree, especially when it comes to anecdotal interviews that are so common in the U.S. media, for example, on NPR. However, read what I wrote to Jason Davidson. Sources that consistently promote one political viewpoint will not be trusted by those with alternate political viewpoints, and unfortunately climate change has been politicized. To get people to see the evidence on an even keel, get sources on an even keel.

    FTR, I’m a biologist.


  13. It also depends on what the source is. If it was from the Washington Post or the Wall Street Journal I would trust most of it. If it was Fox news I would not.

    However, the sources used are just for the quotes and the journalistic information. This same information could have been posted on any news site.


  14. Jason Davison

    On this i disagree strongly. In fact, your reply shows your own biases.

    How are Progressive extremists? Saliva tests for ideologic purity and attempts to reconstruct U.S. culture completely are hallmarks of both Progressives and Teabaggers. I am a left-wing extremist to Teabaggers because I am anti-death penalty, I support gun registration, I am certain of global warming, and I believe government should help the poor get back on their feet. I am a right-wing extremist by a Progressive because I am pro-life, I have no problem owning pistols or rifles, I believe churches have a right to comment on what they perceive is injustice, and I believe that government should be fiscally responsible. So what’s the difference, Jason?

    You confirmed your own biases when you essentially said that conservatives are the same as Teabaggers: “Progressives are not extremists. The conservatives keep on pushing a stronger right agenda shifting the current balance in politics.” It’s obvious you consider yourself a Progressive. Now I know why your sources were from Salon and not, say, from Nature or Science.

    Thus, I ask: Are you really trying to convince those who don’t accept climate change that their view can not be supported by the data, or are you just trying to build a wall of “us-versus-them”?


  15. Daniel Taylor

    If global warming has been disproven, show me the evidence, not some anecdotal comment from what you know of the weather in your region for the last few years. Cite some reliable references.


  16. Wales Nematollahi, lets keep this about the policy and not about what I am or my views. 

    Having uneducated decision makers is going to produce uniformed policy. Currently the policy is focused on big corporations and not on helping the environment. 

    One method that I proposed, is for scientist to go out and inform their local leaders. This way politicians can’t argue that they don’t know better.


  17. You have an odd perspective Wales Nematollahi. Explain, precisely, how the radiative forcing of the 42% extra CO2 (280 to 400 ppm) humans have added to the atmosphere is political. 

    It’s a measurement. 

    That’s why we call it climate change denial. It’s because scientists have taken a massive number of data points showing that the radiative forcing of CO2 added to an atmospheric gas mix is indeed warming the planet. 

    You’re arguing with several thousand thermometers. It hardly matters if the measurements are presented in Salon or Nature. The denial is consistent no matter the source of the data. 


  18. John Poteet What did I write about the original article? “Good points, except that two of the three references are to Salon articles.” In other words, I agree that global warming and other aspects of climate change are occurring.

    Read my complete post before you accuse next time. I’m not arguing with several thousand thermometers; I’m agreeing with them.

    You have an odd perspective if you believe I deny climate change just because I don’t like politically biased sources! So do Rajini Rao and Nick James, the two people who +1’ed you, because apparently they didn’t read what I wrote either. Apparently you conclude that anyone who doesn’t respect the quality of Salon or other baised-left sources is a climate change denialist. You, Rajini Rao, and Nick James all show that Progressives are as rigid in their saliva tests as are Teabaggers. NO wonder you don’t draw more people to the truth about climate change.

    Let’s see if any of the three of you has the courage to respond.


  19. Wales Nematollahi sorry to burst your bubble, but when the notification of John Poteet ‘s comment popped up, I plussed it for his point about measurement  and several thousand thermometers. I plussed it for his observation that It hardly matters if the measurements are presented in Salon or Nature. I don’t know who you are, or what your arguments are about. I don’t have to read your comments to appreciate John’s point as a stand-alone observation. BTW, that’s quite a creative turn of phrase you have there, about “rigid in their saliva tests”! 😉


  20. Jason Davison

    I started out by trying to be helpful with constructive criticism by pointing out that if you want to get the right-wingers to listen, it is better to use a more neutral source. I also didn’t appreciate being falsely accused by John Poteet of being a climate change denialist, because I most definitely am not.

    If you prefer, I can stay away from your posts completely and participate in adult discussion and constructive criticism elsewhere. However, if you only want a club of people who agree with your views, then you should have a private chat room of your own. If you have a problem with what I wrote here, we can discuss this with the moderators of Google+.


  21. Wales Nematollahi, Rajini Rao and I moderate this page. We moderate a community of 400,000 people. We also make our own posts. 

    Following every conversation perfectly is impossible, because it requires to reread each post over and over and over again.

    We +1 a bunch of stuff, even if we don’t agree with the full comment. Don’t take things personally. 


  22. Jason Davison

    OK. I don’t +1 any comments like Poteet’s unless I’ve read the comment to which he was referring and I agree 100%. I did not appreciate being falsely accused and labeled in that broadside.


  23. Rajini Rao

    OK. I did not appreciate the false accusation applied unfairly to me, which is why I reacted strongly. My intent was originally to give constructive criticism of the sources used, because I know what people of various political persuasions will and will not accept as sources.


  24. Wales Nematollahi Just to be sure I went back to the Salon articles and did searches for the strings: dem, rep, GOP, right, and left. I found no political references in either article: none, zero. Florida Governor Rick Scott is referred to by his name and position and not his party affiliation. 

    I believe your argument is not valid sir; if you are referencing the Salon articles listed in the OP. They are not political at all. Actually, it appears the usual political referents have been stripped from the articles to emphasize the science. 

    In deference to the forum I am refraining from attaching an extended string of adjectives illuminating the ethics of your argument. I’m sure other occasions and forums will merit their deployment. Sir. 


  25. John Poteet

    I was referring to your false characterization of my position on the subject, Sir. That should have been patently obvious. I really do not care what you think of me, but whenever you try to characterize me a something I am not, expect a response, Sir. You can track me all over the web and use all the adjectives against me you wish, but that only reflects on you, Sir.

    I prefer to discuss the issues with people who (a) read what I wrote and (b) will discuss them respectfully with me, Sir. Good day.


  26. Jason Davison  “+Wales Nematollahi, please stop. I’m over this made up political garbage.” So much for that. So the bottom line is that anyone who disagrees with you is labeled a conservative, which seems to be the same to you as a Teabagger.

    If you have the power and the desire to kick me off Science on Google+, please let me know, so I can alert others to what is really going on here, which sadly isn’t as much science as something else. Make your move, but do not assume for one second you have silenced me.


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