Scientists And Public Discourse

As I’m a software developer I follow several big names of the trade, one of them being Robert Martin.

Yesterday one of his tweets caught my attention:

@badastronomer @absolutspacegrl @rationalists Snide political innuendo is unworthy of scientists. Honor your profession by speaking plainly

Which was a response to the following tweet by Phil Plait:

Via @absolutspacegrl: MT @rationalists: Santorum won 11 states. Remember that when you wonder why America ranks 27th in math and science.

Essentially a slap down of Santorum, his supporters, and the social/political environment it creates. I have no problem with a scientist commenting on politicians and issues that impact what they do. Which I tweeted to Robert Martin:

.@unclebobmartin Strange how scientists aren’t allowed a shot at a science denier. But Santorum is allowed to smear their professions/work.

This led to a small exchange of ideas on the subject between Martin and me. He even wrote an article which gives a good insight in his position and why he has a problem with scientists responding in such a way.

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Perry Doubts Manmade Global Warming

I already talked about the day of prayer governor Rick Perry took part in. And my amazement at the type of people that were attracted to the event and he associated himself with. The hint for me came that something wasn’t quite right about this association was when Vonette Bright said she wants to see the 10 Commandments and prayer in school.

So when at the Politics and Eggs breakfast in Bedford, NH, Jim Rubens noted that the National Academy of Sciences, which has advised presidents since its founding by Abraham Lincoln, has concluded that global warming is caused primarily by fossil fuels. And he subsequently asked “If observed scientific data and the National Academy of Sciences are both wrong on an issue involving thousands of scientists, and an issue as prominent as global warming, doesn’t this call into question the entire science discovery process that forms the foundation of a hundred years of America’s technological preeminence?”

The answer from Perry stunned me:

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