This is Michael Crichton of Andromeda Strain, Jurassic park, and other stories. Fantastic story teller, he absolutely nails his subject. The original was on his website, and I grabbed a copy from here.
One of the wonderful quotable paragraphs within is this:
And so, in this elastic anything-goes world where science?or non-science?is the handmaiden of questionable public policy, we arrive at last at global warming. It is not my purpose here to rehash the details of this most magnificent of the demons haunting the world. I would just remind you of the now-familiar pattern by which these things are established. Evidentiary uncertainties are glossed over in the unseemly rush for an overarching policy, and for grants to support the policy by delivering findings that are desired by the patron. Next, the isolation of those scientists who won’t get with the program, and the characterization of those scientists as outsiders and “skeptics” in quotation marks?suspect individuals with suspect motives, industry flunkies, reactionaries, or simply anti-environmental nutcases. In short order, debate ends, even though prominent scientists are uncomfortable about how things are being done.
When did “skeptic” become a dirty word in science? When did a skeptic require quotation marks around it?
A real scientist is, by its own very definition, a skeptic.
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