Environment

The Combustible Climate Debate

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorFeb 22, 2012 2:08 PM

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The Peter Gleick shocker is dominating conversation in many science circles this week. That's understandable. It's as if he emptied a can of lighter fluid on an already flammable climate debate. To make matters worse, the most partisan and shrillest voices are fanning the flames in spectacular fashion, as they downplay/justify/praise Gleick's action. It's tribalism gone amok. I'll have more to say on all this, plus some of the outstanding questions that remain, tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Atlantic's Megan McArdle (her latest on the affair) has a must-read piece that touches all the right bases. Hers is a voice of reason, sanity, and perspective. She also probes some of the oddities of Gleick's explanation that many of his sympathizers conveniently ignore or dismiss. In a normal world, that would be known as healthy skepticism. Anyway, just before this crazy story got crazier with Gleick's admission, I took stock (over at the Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media) of the "anti-science" meme that has become much propagated. I examined it in the context of recent remarks made by Nina Fedoroff, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). I wrote that it was important to recognize "that unscientific thinking on numerous issues clouds the minds of both liberals and conservatives." Have a read and let me know what you think.

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