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« Grundmann on Climategate and the scientific ethos | Main | On abusive analogy »
Sunday
May062012

The cost of the Climategate

Reiner Grundmann looks at different evaluations of Climategate and considers the costs of trying to brush the affair under the carpet.
In conclusion, we see a variety of approaches and evaluations of the climategate affair, emphasizing different aspects and taking care how to take a stance in this highly politicized debate. What I find most interesting is how authors have dealt with the problem of reflexivity (or not!), given that their intellectual heritage is rooted in [Science and Technology Studies] and varieties of constructivism. While this approach broadly informs Wynne and Jasanoff’s papers, they have not really examined the affair as ‘science in the making’ in any detailed way. Ryghaug and Skjølsvold provide such detail but shrink back from an evaluation in the light of what has been seen as a loss of credibility and a scandal. Van der Sluijs and Beck’s call for institutional reform of the IPCC and more openness in climate science goes further. And Ravetz steps up to the challenge of reflexivity giving a very personal account, looking into the mirror and describing the powerful social mechanisms of being coopted by the dominant discourse, which led him to suspend critical reflection for a while. If social scientists want to avoid the dilemma sketched by Wynne of either denying the authority of IPCC science or faithfully following its conventional wisdom down the corresponding technocratic policy, they had better examine climategate more deeply and ponder the lessons. We need much more reflection on this case which should not be closed off because of political expediency. The debate has only just begun.

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Reader Comments (4)

Global Weirding continues, Climategate or not....

http://fenbeagleblog.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/the-ghosts-of-kamaoa/

May 6, 2012 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterfenbeagle

Heavy fuel Bish!

Ravetz is mentioned. May I recall an old thread on the mothballed Paul Dennis blog, still live?


http://harmonicoscillator.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/jerome-ravetz-and-post-normal-science/

May 6, 2012 at 9:51 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

The full paper is much more accessible in tone than the above chunk would suggest....

May 7, 2012 at 1:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

If social scientists want to avoid the dilemma sketched by Wynne of either denying the authority of IPCC science or faithfully following its conventional wisdom down the corresponding technocratic policy, they had better examine climategate more deeply and ponder the lessons.

An appalling statement in a truly dismal piece of work. Putting aside the ludicrous false dichotomy, mightn't "social scientists" consider the possibility of educating themselves about the science? Then they would be able to make the sort of informed decisions that anyone sufficiently interested in this rather important issue can make, and wouldn't be pinned like some helpless insects onto some agonising fabricated choice. I'm very curious to know what Grundmann considers the "conventional wisdom" of the IPCC to be (heaven forbid that it might be an attempt at a comprehensive summary of the science as it stands!), and what "corresponding technocratic policy" we might have to follow if we consider it to be a pukka account.

"... steps up to the challenge of reflexivity..."; "...powerful social mechanisms of being coopted by the dominant discourse...."; "..suspend critical reflection for a while..."; "...closed off because of political expediency.... "The debate has only just begun..."

Correct me if I'm wrong but that's just a stream of platitudes

May 7, 2012 at 8:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris

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