Thanks to Joe Romm for displaying my schematic of the distribution of informed opinion from the podium at the Schneider symposium during his excellent (scary) talk.
I can’t repay the favor in any comparable proportion but let me at least display my favorite slide from his talk.
We need to talk about what the infamous “deficit model” means. Does it mean there’s not enough science for people to act? If it does, I agree with the critics. We don’t need more journal publications, more text, more explanations, per se.
Does the “deficit model” mean that people don’t understand the science well enough to make decisions? If it does, then hell yes. I support the deficit model that says, obviously people don’t get it.
Let’s talk about science to the people who need to hear it. And if and when they don’t hear us, (and many of them won’t) let’s do it again.
Anything less amounts to holding the world and its future in contempt. Science is about the best evidence about the truth. Politics and journalism are about winning and losing. Alliances and rivalries make sense. But about the emergence of truth there should be no rivalry. Science can hold us together and move us forward. Contention is necessary, but contention is only useful when it is based on a shared respect for truth among the contenders.