Part 2 of my interview with Dr. Curt Stager, author of Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life On Earth. Don’t forget to check out Part 1 of the interview from yesterday. Answer the trivia questions at the bottom of this post for a chance to win a free copy of Deep Future.
BD: On pgs 239-241 of the Epilogue, you talk about your discomfort with what you call “aggressive activist stances among prominent scientists,” but at DeSmogBlog we’ve heard from dozens of climate scientists who are simply fed up with lawmakers and the media ignoring the science or hiding behind “Climategate” myths. In a world where about half the lawmakers in the U.S. completely reject the preponderance of peer-reviewed climate science confirming manmade global warming, how can a scientist remain silent and simply press on while being ignored?
CS: Scientists are human beings who reflect a diversity of opinions and attitudes. Of course most of us are fed up with this ridiculous situation, so it’s not surprising that you hear from so many who express those concerns. I’m fed up, too, but I’m also not alone in my preferences for refraining from “aggressive activist stances.” I do so because I value science itself more than any individual topic that it addresses.
I consider science to be one of the most valuable inventions of human civilization, and I recognize how precious and vulnerable to corruption it is as one who believes in objective reality, the fallibility of human perception, and the need for objective methods of seeking truth. I also recognize that public trust in science itself depends heavily upon trust in the objectivity of those who pursue it. We must walk a fine line between defending truth and trying to force it on other people, and I personally choose to take a cautious approach in walking that line.
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