Monday, August 24, 2015

What Motivate$ Scientists?

I've been looking forward to sharing this short video for a while.  Enjoy.

Prof Alley gets passionate about the motivation of scientists. 
Climate change is real, so why the controversy and debate? 
Learn to make sense of the science and to respond to climate change denial in Denial101x, a MOOC from UQx and edX.
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18:20  Richard Alley:  We scientists do know where our funding comes from. We try to do research, which is responding to the desires of our funding agencies. If the government says, we, as the federal government, would like to know about x, we try to do the research to tell them. Just in terms of total money, if one were to compare, the biggest corporations tend to be fossil fuel things. Often they are not poor. Our impression as scientist is that if we were really, really interested in money, there would probably be other ways to do it.  

The structure of science—think for a minute about Newton and Einstein. Suppose that Einstein had stood up and said, "I have worked very hard. I have discovered that Newton got everything right and I have nothing to add." Would anyone ever know who Einstein was? 

Scientists, at some level, have to have a little bit of ego. The job description is very clear; It is learn what nobody else knows.

If you look at that and say, "All I want to do is cheer for other people," you're probably not going into that field. If you go in that field, there is a little bit of ego to learn what nobody else knows.  We've all got it however well we've tamped it down.  

The idea that we wouldn't want to be Einstein—if we could overturn global warming, if we could prove that CO2 was not a greenhouse gas, if we could prove that we can burn all we want and not worry about it, how exciting would that be? How wonderful? How many prizes? How many people would invite me out to give talks if I could prove that you didn't have to worry about this? 

Is there any possibility that tens of thousands of scientist, there isn't one of them that's got the ego to do that? It's absurd. It's absolutely, unequivocally absurd. We're people. We've got it in us, the way people do.

The fact is that nature pushes us to the reality that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it's real. 

Here's a look at the basic science lesson 
that our profits-obsessed right-wing crowd refuses to understand

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