|How Americans view climate scientists|
I hope you read the entire piece because I don't want to be accused of taking quotes out of context, but here are some of the "high" points. Dr. Edwards writes:
I believe advocacy by climate scientists has damaged trust in the science. We risk our credibility, our reputation for objectivity, if we are not absolutely neutral. At the very least, it leaves us open to criticism. I find much climate scepticism is driven by a belief that environmental activism has influenced how scientists gather and interpret evidence...
Even scientists who are experts – such as those studying the interactions between climate, economy and politics, with "integrated assessment models" – cannot speak for us because political decisions necessarily depend on values...
To me, then, it is simple: scientists misuse their authority if they publicise their preferred policy options.To be fair, I can't tell if Dr. Edwards is only applying this argument to climate scientists. I don't know where she stands on the American Academy of Pediatrics' advocacy for mandatory vaccines to enter public schools, or the National Science Teachers Association's public position on teaching evolution and not creationism in public schools, or even Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson's public opposition to cuts in NASA's budget. Maybe she thinks these specific policy issues aren't multifaceted or don't require "values" to debate.
I do agree with Dr. Edwards about something: trust in science has been diminished in the debate over climate. But it's for two specific reasons. First, too many climate scientists are actually taking Dr. Edwards' advice and sitting out the difficult conversations where leaders hash out actual, specific solutions. Second, the "advocacy" from many climate scientists has just plain sucked. A disorganized group of people with little to no experience in communications or politics have prioritized mediocre tactics and scattershot messaging over a coherent and well-executed campaign strategy. In my experience as a communications professional, I think you lose virtually all your credibility not by having a "skin in the game" or an interest to disclose, but by outlining a problem without suggesting a solution.
Meanwhile, climate science's opponents have virtually no credible analysis on their side, yet they continue to just plain crush this community through a multi-faceted campaign of mass communication, obfuscation, intimidation, and lobbying.
Sadly, I think essays like the one written by Dr. Edwards is just the latest example of climate scientists being figuratively beaten into submission. Standing up for your beliefs is a courageous thing to do, and we need those who have the most knowledge on this topic to stand with us.