So now the next day in this response along comes Alan Leshner, who is the chief executive officer of the AAAS, which touts itself as the world's biggest general scientific community, that publishes the journal Science. So in a fight like this you'd assume that the Hockey Mom is wrong and Mr. Scientific Community guy is the expert.
But in many ways this exchange summarizes why I don't have any clue who to believe here. We know about Palin, and her intellectual "limits." But what you may not know about Mr. Science Guy is that he has no background AT ALL in climate change. He's a psychologist, a Ph.D. in it. Now that's more of a social science. And in fact, he's a former government bureaucrat who was head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which is at the core of the Drug War, and later NIH. So first off, the guy's not a physician, but he's a brain psychology expert who focuses on addiction. He has no background in global warming other than having worked as a bureaucrat.
Secondly, it turns out that at least according to this guy who is a doctor, Mr. Science Guy may have influenced research that predisposed results to support his worldview. I'm not fucking kidding. Salon.com ran this nice little piece suggesting that Mr. Science Guy
has supported research that bolsters the administration's point of view, failed to fund projects that could undermine it, opposed research into medical marijuana and used images drawn from advanced medical technology to create misleading anti-drug campaigns.This is EXACTLY the problem that the Climategate emails have raised - that a political agenda is pushing the research not honest debate. So this guy is part of the problem posing as an objective, all-knowing scientist.
So we are left wondering who the hell to believe? A probably ditzy, self-interested politician or a guy who has a history of engaging in questionable scientific activities? That's at the core of what's wrong with all of this public dialogue AND why people are starting to doubt the validity of this stuff. If the science is not scientific, and the opponents still look like wing-nuts we're left confused and cynical.