In Case You Think We’re Making Progress

Lubos Motl may not be correct about earth science but as for the politics around it he has a point. Intelligent lay people are not buying what we are selling. Lubos points to the technorati discussion about Vaclav Klaus’s recent Motlesque writings on climate change. It’s sobering indeed.

Update: Lubos comments that I must be a propagandist because I linked to an obscure environmentalist website (which he characterizes rather harshly) to illustrate what Klaus has been saying. Fair enough, here’s a link to more of what Klaus has to say from Lubos’ own blog, to balance that. The point is not just that the president of a small country has bizarre opinions. That’s bad enough but I have posted on that already. The point is that non-specialists who are interested enough to post a position on the subject increasingly tend to line up behind those bizarre opinions, which is very disconcerting.

Why is science losing to propaganda? Remember Mamet’s Law:

“Law, politics and commerce are based on lies. That is, the premises giving rise to opposition are real, but the debate occurs not between these premises but between their proxy, substitute positions. The two parties to a legal dispute (as the opponents in an election) each select an essentially absurd position. “I did not kill my wife and Ron Goldman,” “A rising tide raises all boats,” “Tobacco does not cause cancer.” Should one be able to support this position, such that it prevails over the nonsense of his opponent, he is awarded the decision. …

“In these fibbing competitions, the party actually wronged, the party with an actual practicable program, or possessing an actually beneficial product, is at a severe disadvantage; he is stuck with a position he cannot abandon, and, thus, cannot engage his talents for elaboration, distraction, drama and subterfuge.”

— David Mamet in “Bambi vs Godzilla: Why art loses in Hollywood“, Harper’s, June 2005.

Also, it looks like I won’t be making any money of Google AdSense. (See the sidebar on the right.) So far in just one day my page has been polluted both by GGW Swindling and by tasteless Gore-baiting. I’ll let it run for a bit but I’m guessing I won’t be able to stomach it. Update: It’s gone. I would need much more traffic to make it worth considering. Definitely not worth the space for a few cents a day.

Who pays for this stuff? When will they have the decency to stop?