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Of Diamond Planets, Climate Change, and the Scientific Method

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the science-is-awesome-when-it-agrees-with-me dept.

Earth 821

A few weeks ago, we discussed the discovery of a diamond planet in orbit around a pulsar. One of the researchers behind the discovery has now written a followup article about reaction to the news from the media and laypeople. Quoting: "The attention we received was 100% positive, but how different that could have been. How so? Well, we could have been climate scientists. ... Instead of sitting back and basking in the glory, I suspect we’d find a lot of commentators, many with no scientific qualifications, pouring scorn on our findings. People on the fringe of science would be quoted as opponents of our work, arguing that it was nothing more than a theory yet to be conclusively proven. There would be doubt cast on the interpretation of our data and conjecture about whether we were “buddies” with the journal referees. If our opponents dug really deep they might even find that I’d once written a paper on a similar topic that had to be retracted. Before long our credibility and findings would be under serious question. But luckily we’re not climate scientists."

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821 comments

"But luckily we’re not climate scientists." (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385412)

Not everybody has any gripe with climate scientists because they are climate scientists. However, if a scientist, be they even climate scientists, decide to turn political, then they should expect to be treated just as any other political personality. That includes crap, hate-mail, scorn, etc. Sorry, but such is life. You don't like the smoke, stay out of the damned kitchen.

Re:"But luckily we’re not climate scientists (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385430)

Eat shit and die, AC. You should've stayed out of the kitchen.

So climate science is politics? (5, Insightful)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385440)

Really, just because climate science has immediate implications in the real world doesn't make it politics nor the scientists doing that research political. People need to get their heads out of their butts and realize that science is science and if they don't like the implications of that then it is their own tough crap. Not that this will ever happen or that any climate scientists can ever expect to actually be treated in a fair, rational, or even civil manner by the barbarian hordes.

Re:So climate science is politics? (-1, Flamebait)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385752)

Science is science?

AGW folks remind me of the old blood cultists from South America. They did nothing but spread fear among the people, telling them that if the Gods didn't have human hearts to eat and blood to drink that there would be no rain, that the sun wouldn't rise the next day, etc. This is very nearly the exact same thing. A privileged class of priests/climate scientists listen to the ramblings of an oracle and then interpret it to say whatever they want to say. We've been told forever that unless we stop our "sinful ways" we will "anger the gods" who will in turn drag us to "hell" by heating up our world. Indeed, the models they created to interpret the words of the "Oracle" were slanted so severely that no matter what data was inputted, a hockey stick graph was the output.

They point to rising temperatures, but ignore the fact that this type of temperature rise has happened many times before, and generally abates when we reach temperatures somewhat above current, before descending into the next ice age. But I guess it is easier to suggest a linear trend over this length of time than it was back in the days of the blood cult, who would wait until late at night and claim that if they didn't sacrifice someone, that the sun wouldn't come back.

But hey, let's all plunge ourselves into eternal poverty to satisfy the egos of a few climate cultists. Nevermind that CO2 production is inversely correlated with poverty and starvation, and that by instituting all these laws and regulations to "stop" climate change they will instead impoverish nations and starve vast numbers of poor people. Just new sacrifices for the blood cult, I guess. At least the pre-Columbian cultures had the decency to cut their hearts out, rather than starving their victims to death.

Of course it's politicized. All of science is (-1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385754)

Right, after all, scientists can be trusted.

Did you know that medical scientists, at least the ones with docter degrees, don't just have the academic punishments to threaten them into correctness. They swear the hippocratic oath.

Here's how that worked out. [wikipedia.org]

And, frankly, anyone who doubts the influence of society on science should simply look into "debates" that have been settled. Psychology is a really, really great science to illustrate this problem, because there's plenty of stuff we really don't like about ourselves. A number of questions are entirely settled science, and yet it is constantly challenged, attacked and worse.

A few settled psychological facts :
1) violent tv causes people to act violently, whether we're talking adults or kids, low or high iq, ... the smaller the kids, the more pronounced the effect, but there is a definite effect even on 50-year-olds
2) violent computer games are much, much worse than tv, and also cause violent behavior. Including adults
3) the basic principle of communism "to each according to need, from each according to ability" doesn't work. At all. In every conceivable test, everybody finds ways to improve their needs and decrease their abilities ... A majority of people will lie to claim more entitlements, in some studies up to 90%.

Given the nature of these debates, including the fact that several "honorable" institutions have been caught falsifying data to negate these conclusions (especially point 3 is bad in this manner. Even today, you find no shortage of papers claiming how people do not lie to claim entitlements, openly falsified).

So how can one possibly defend the claim that something like climate science isn't massively influenced by societal pressure ?

Re:So climate science is politics? (1)

CubicleView (910143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385774)

If I mentioned that funding for scientific research often involves politics would that make me a member of a barbarian horde? It's unclear to me, is that because my head is up my butt?

Re:So climate science is politics? (-1, Flamebait)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385814)

So, parsing your statements:

Climate Scientists (& subset: those who follow (worship?) them/their findings/beliefs) = The Elite

because

All Others = "barbarian hordes"

Hmm. Way to create a new religion there, L. Ron! Or - was your post just a bunch of hyperbole? Yet it has been modded "+4 Insightful" - WTG, mods!

Re:"But luckily we’re not climate scientists (5, Insightful)

alci63 (1856480) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385468)

Galileo once "turned political", that is he described scientific facts that had a political impact. No wonder he was treated like a political ! Damned pseudo scientists that go into politics !

"Turn political" (2, Flamebait)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385500)

The problem is that to climate denialists, once you are a climate scientist you've already "turned political." It's inherent to the profession according to their view (although oddly enough, the few scientists (maybe I should put quotes around that) who put forward theories that suggest that the currently accepted theories are flawed never get this label...).

Re:"But luckily we’re not climate scientists (2)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385652)

That's like saying a congressman becomes a scientist when he mentions inertia. Your flawed logic does not work here.

Re:"But luckily we’re not climate scientists (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385914)

His logic is not flawed at all. It's your analogy that's broken. To be more apt, your comparison would need the politician mentioning inertia and demanding all of science do something differently that is also costly right now. Remember when someone from Indiana tried to change the value of Pi, think more along those lines.

And yes, that is what some climate scientists are/where doing in the name of their science. James Hansen comes to mind directly, but the CRU climate research unit had some similar models of political punditry. The IPCC was pretty much a political organization with the intent of showing a connection between global warming and humans. Only the true believers refuse to see that most of climate science has been politicized when it comes to global warming

Politics (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385424)

Well...yea. The discovery of a diamond planet isn't used by politicians to create bad policy that doesn't properly address the concerns created by the discovery, and cost people unnecessary amounts of money.

Re:Politics (5, Insightful)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385474)

Wouldn't it make more sense, then, to attack the policy and politicians, rather than deny the science ?

The big difference (5, Insightful)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385442)

The difference is that when a scientist says "we believe that there is a diamond planet" people either say "cool" or "I doubt that, but it doesn't really matter". When climate scientists say is often used to justify restricting in various ways things that most people either rely on or enjoy. That's the difference.

Re:The big difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385492)

so, what your saying is you don't believe climate science even though it is overwhelmingly verified & agreed upon because it would make you uncomfortable & maybe inconvenience you a little bit?

So blind, egotistical, self-interest trumps good science. Yeah, that'll work

Re:The big difference (3, Informative)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385530)

so, what your saying is you don't believe climate science even though it is overwhelmingly verified & agreed upon because it would make you uncomfortable & maybe inconvenience you a little bit?

So blind, egotistical, self-interest trumps good science. Yeah, that'll work

Try reading my post again. I have expressed no opinion on whether the science is right or not. I am saying that the stakes are much higher for the average person than for other areas of science.

Re:The big difference (3, Insightful)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385846)

It is neither overwhelmingly verified nor agreed upon. Even if it was, so was terracentrism.

And what is uncomfortable and inconvenient for Americans is deadly for poor people around the world. I guess you forgot that not everyone is as rich as you are, or that the primary purpose of the economy is to ensure that everyone's desires are met, most especially the stringent desire to live. But you would ignore that based on some mumbo-jumbo about how the Earth is going to do SOMETHING to make things somehow worse, ignoring the fact that the "solution" is far, far worse than the "problem".

So blind, egotistical self righteousness trumps brown people getting enough food to eat. Yeah, that'll work.

Re:The big difference (0)

pays-vert (1182777) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385546)

So what you're saying is, because the truth is inconvenient, it has to be denied?

Re:The big difference (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385672)

That is if you want to take the pessimistic view.

North Korean made cars only sold in North Korea are spontaneously exploding. Interesting, but not a practical concern for most people unless North Korea begins duck taping the cars to missiles. A banning or detailed study of these cars does what? We could ban what other products of trade we have with North Korea? Meh. (Diamond Planet).

Chinese made cars from a line of cars sold only in China are spontaneously exploding. Interesting. Oh, the factory makes cars from another line of models that get shipped to the U.S. If the government allows that shoddy of construction, what about the other non-car products? Any banning or halting of goods runs across political and economic factors and a possible trade war. (Climate).

While I believe in climate change from man, I can see this is bordering apples/oranges comparison.

Re:The big difference (2)

vyvepe (809573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385676)

No, what he is saying is: "If your paper should result in policy changes which rise our cost of living now, then you better be right."

Re:The big difference (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385804)

My interpretation was more that because the truth is inconvenient, people will be inclined to deny it. I don't think the GP really presented any explicit position on whether or not this is desirable.

You're Wrong to Target the Scientists (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385596)

When climate scientists say is often used to justify restricting in various ways things that most people either rely on or enjoy.

I challenge you to present me one published paper where a climate scientist tells me what I can and can't do. Or even where they merely suggest restrictions of what a person can do. All the papers I read say things to effect of "In X years, the northern ice cap could recede to Y size [upi.com]" or "Greenhouses gases have contributed to a rise in temperatures." What you want to do with that information is up to you. It's not the place of scientists to call for political or even international policy on carbon credits or cap and trade or whatever you want to do to control this problem. So why do the scientists get attacked? Attack the politicians and say "I'm okay with fucking up the Earth for my children because I want the freedom to buy a Hummer that gets 8 miles to the gallon." Use your voice and stand up for yourself, don't attack the scientists. They aren't setting the policies, they're just telling you what is happening. What's that? That sentence makes you sound like an idiot? Well, go ahead and attack the scientists then but be warned you've got an awful lot of targets [wikipedia.org].

Re:You're Wrong to Target the Scientists (2)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385748)

True, but he didn't say that the climate scientists were restricting that. Only that what they say is used to do so, typically by politicians and pressure groups.

Nevertheless, I'm sure that there must be a science paper somewhere that speculates that in order to prevent severe environmental damage, we should reduce use of fossil fuels. The option to cause severe environmental damage can't really be considered a "choice". "Do this or something terrible will happen" does essentially translate as "you must do this"

Re:You're Wrong to Target the Scientists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385832)

Climate scientists have no impact on policymaking, are you sure about that?

No climate scientists at the EPA? None at all?

Re:The big difference (4, Insightful)

Nickodeimus (1263214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385746)

You are dead on. The majority of people will say to an announcement like this: what does this mean to me. Diamond planet - cool, that's an interesting thought. wonder what it looks like. etc. It has no meaningful impact to our lives. Climate change, on the other hand, has a potentially large impact on our lives all the way down to the poorest person on the street. Carbon credits, government taxation, cap and trade, etc. It has a direct impact on how we live our lives. And by and large, people do not like change.

Proximity (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385460)

Tell a man there are a billion stars in the galaxy and he'll believe you; tell him the paint is wet and he'll touch it to find out....

Re:Proximity (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385528)

If only that could fit into 120 characters...

Re:Proximity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385788)

Just reword it slightly:

Tell a man there's a billion stars in the galaxy...he'll believe you; say the paint is wet...he'll touch it to find out

Re:Proximity (1)

Restil (31903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385840)

If I told you I ate eggs for breakfast, you'll probably believe me. First off, there's no compelling reason for me to lie about it, and secondly, there's no reasonable way for you to prove me wrong, and even if I WAS lying about it, it certainly wouldn't be worth the effort to expose my perjury on that issue. As for the wet paint, if I believe you're right, I won't attempt to prove you wrong. However, if personal observation or specific knowledge of the painting event leads me to believe that the paint is in fact dry, there's a very easy way to test it.

-Restil

I've Tried This Logic with Resulting Low Impact (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385470)

Not even a month ago I tried this same logic in a post [slashdot.org] (and probably in earlier posts):

The climate scientists are the experts. You're not suddenly compelled to rip apart the latest Computer Science study as an armchair computer scientist because you haven't studied it. Why are people suddenly compelled to call climate scientists -- who are basically the same figureheads in academia that computer scientists are -- into question? When did everyone get PhDs in climate science? Why wasn't I given one? And why are all the major journals publishing and defending global warming studies only to be ignored?

Surprise surprise, no one cares. You can point out the scientific consensus [wikipedia.org] or ask why there are no political witch hunts in other fields [slashdot.org] and people just don't seem to even respond to my concerns because they just saw a two minute YouTube video and suddenly they're informed and ready to discredit someone who has devoted their life to studying this field and reading papers. CFCs were bad, that was okay, everyone gobbled that up. Everyone saw maps of the ozone layer and totally trusted the scientists that it was CFCs doing it ... not just a regular natural process. Show someone a map of ice coverage on the Arctic Circle [upi.com] and tell them it's greenhouse gases at work. Suddenly the same scientists are lying to them. What the hell is different about these two scenarios? I've pretty much given up the fight ...

Re:I've Tried This Logic with Resulting Low Impact (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385638)

You have already been answered by fridaynightsmoke. To summarize: CFCs were easy to replace, fossil fuels are not. And no, this does not mean we shouldn't try and replace fossil fuels, just that they will be harder to replace. If I was a cynical man - which I am - I'd say the only way you will get people to reduce their carbon footprint is by giving them easy, simple and cheap alternatives so it doesn't matter if they believe in climate change or not.

Re:I've Tried This Logic with Resulting Low Impact (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385690)

We also see the same thing when it comes to nuclear power. People who know basically nothing about the subject insist that it MUST be unsafe.

The reason noone is getting upset by the "diamond planet" is because noone really cares all that much - it doesn't affect them in their day-to-day lives. If it actually affected them (face it, very little of the work of modern science has much effect on even other scientists, much less the rest of us), then they'd be just as much up in arms about it as they are about nuclear power or climate change.

Re:I've Tried This Logic with Resulting Low Impact (2)

neyla (2455118) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385830)

Yeah. But it's slightly different. Because they've heard it before, the claims that it's safe, and then they've lived with a decade of restrictions on picking berries or eating certain meat. And that's people 2000km away from the accident.

Yes, this time it's different. I actually *do* believe that current nuclear is safe enough to be recommendable. But I can understand those who're not feeling calm about it. (I live in Norway, it's a *long* way from Chernobyl, nevertheless the consequences here where noticeable for a decade)

Re:I've Tried This Logic with Resulting Low Impact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385718)

I'd be interested to know if you could use your computer science qualifications to prove that chaos theory does not apply to climate models. Are climate models really so special that they are immune to the mathematical laws regarding accumulation of error? Or is it just a "witch hunt" to say so?

Sometimes the scientific consensus is wrong. Sometimes an entire scientific discipline is corrupt. Climatology has more in common with paranormal investigation than physics or chemistry.

Re:I've Tried This Logic with Resulting Low Impact (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385770)

If you posit that chaos theory disproves climate science, it is your job to prove that. It is not eldavojohn's job to disprove your disproof.

Re:I've Tried This Logic with Resulting Low Impact (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385778)

You're not suddenly compelled to rip apart the latest Computer Science study as an armchair computer scientist because you haven't studied it.

Obviously he's new to slashdot

Re:I've Tried This Logic with Resulting Low Impact (5, Interesting)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385866)

It's Al Gore's fault.

Imagine yourself as an Average Joe who just managed to grind his way through a few basic high-school science courses. You don't know or care about science, it was just a course you had to take, and ideally would have liked to skip. Sort of like gym class is to geeks.

Most people were first introduced to the theory of global warming by Al Gore (already a Bad Guy to conservatives) telling them that their Dodge 3500 is killing polar bears and going to flood New York. BUT, they could prevent this by buying carbon credits (I think we can all agree that the current implementations of carbon credit schemes are...flawed, at best). Oh and he owns a carbon credit company but he didn't mention that bit. Then he flies off in his private jet back to his giant house with a heated pool. Oh and by the way, solving this problem will involve CHANGE and might require HIGHER TAXES.

So now Joe Average understandably thinks this whole global warming thing looks mighty fishy and doesn't like the implications. He goes online to do a little research and has a few choices where to get his info from (assuming he didn't unintentionally use a biased search string like "global warming scam"): he can go to these sciencey websites using gigantic words, or he can go to these little blogs that say CLIMATE CHANGE IS A SCAM and are reinforcing all his worst suspicions. He spends the night reading through these blogs, and it all makes sense! That science stuff is confusing but this explains the whole conspiracy in a language he can understand. And look! Just follow the money! As long as this climate change thing is real that means money for scientists researching it and for renewable energy companies! It HAS to be a scam!

And a climate denialist is born.

Re:I've Tried This Logic with Resulting Low Impact (0)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385880)

One of the problems is the feedback in the politics/science loop. You have politicians that by their nature want power. Assume all scientists started their investigation unbiased (I know bad assumption). You have different results from studies. The politicians pick the ones that give them more power and fund those exclusively. Then you end up with a scientific consensus.

My personal view on the topic is that until all raw data and all algorithms and code are made public I don't trust a bit of it. The one objective measure is the satellite data. It maps lots of points all through the atmosphere all the time. But trying to match that with hand recorded surface stations (http://www.surfacestations.org/) where someone installed an A/C compressor 10 feet away or put one in a waste water treatment plant (yes these both are official temperature recording stations) is problematic. Even worse is trying to match it with tree ring data.

diamond planet (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385522)

There's a big difference, I'm surprised the 'Scientist' failed to see it. In one case the U.N. I.P.C.C. has never - ever - had a prediction come true, in fact quite the opposite. In this case, there is a much greater possibility that this author actually got it right and there is indeed a 'Diamond' planet.

Enough Already (0)

Agent Z5q (144666) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385532)

What's the deal with these types of posts. I don't care about climate change, politics, or whether the science curriculum in some state is anti-evolutionary. If I want to read that type of news, there are thousands of other websites that I would visit. I come to slashdot for "News For Nerds, Stuff that Matters." Get back to the regularly scheduled programming already.

Re:Enough Already (0)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385584)

Fine. And when the anti-science morons come a-rumbling with their pitchforks ready to skewer Nerds for being "All smart 'n' stuff", don't say you weren't warned.

Duh. (1, Insightful)

therealkevinkretz (1585825) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385544)

Nobody's demanding trillions of dollars in infrastructure changes because of the diamond star. Nobody's using the coercive force of law to dictate what mileage automobiles get becaus of the diamond star. Nobody's outlawing 100W incandescent light bulbs because of the diamond star.

Re:Duh. (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385618)

So because the science says something you don't like, it's wrong.

Re:Duh. (1)

therealkevinkretz (1585825) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385776)

Of course not. But ramifications like that will certainly cause more people to have an opinion, and question, and create controversy. Regardless whether those opinons are solidly based, nobody gives a crap about a star made of diamond, so of course people aren't upset about it.

Re:Duh. (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385918)

A grown up, when presented with an problem, attempts to solve it.

A child might attempt to deny the problem exists.

Re:Duh. (1)

tenchikaibyaku (1847212) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385664)

Can you see a problem with attacking the science just because you don't agree with the policies people are trying to push based on it?

I mean, if someone claims that the fact that the earth orbits around the sun means that we must adopt communism, the right thing to attack is the said "communism policy" by point out the step where they go wrong in their logic ("The earth does indeed go around the sun, but this is why I think this should not lead to communism.").

The wrong thing to do is to start to spew nonsense about how the sun is actually orbiting around the earth.

Re:Duh. (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385682)

Nobody's outlawing 100W incandescent light bulbs because of the diamond star.

What is it with the goddamn light bulbs? You really think incandescent light bulbs are a civil rights issue?

Re:Duh. (1)

therealkevinkretz (1585825) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385818)

In a very broad sense, maybe. But certainly to some people, it's an annoyance - and the point was that the authors' discovery of the diamond star didn't result in policies that annoyed (or interested) anybody. So it's silly to wonder why one issue attracts more attention, and controversy, and zealotry on both sides than the other.

Re:Duh. (4, Interesting)

ajo_arctus (1215290) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385728)

Hmmmm.

demanding trillions of dollars

Ah

coercive force of law

Yep

to dictate what mileage automobiles get

I see

outlawing 100W incandescent light bulbs

With hyperbole like that, I take it you're somewhat against the idea of reversing man-made global warming and trying to save our planet. Look, I'm sure you're an intelligent person. If you can't see that it is totally insane to continue using 100W light bulbs, there is no hope for any of us. You can light an entire house using less energy than that single 100W bulb would use, and the little photons of light would be perfectly adequate.

Look around you. See what is happening and get a god damn clue. Once you've done that, stop using the idiotic language you used above and become part of the solution, not part of the problem.

My apologies if you were trying to play devil's advocate (though if that's the case it was a bit pointless -- I don't think the scientists are asking why the climate scientists get so much stick -- I think they know already), but it didn't come across that way. If you were just trolling, grow up and do something useful.

Re:Duh. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385912)

I take it you're somewhat against the idea of reversing man-made global warming and trying to save our planet.

Well, I'm going to post AC since I'm not really want to deal with the possible flaming I'm going to get.

The answer to your quote:

Yes. Despite what "Captain Planet" and Al Gore says, yes. Humankind is a part of the environment and there's no such thing as pristine natural environment much like the Rosseau Noble Savage didn't exist. The planet doesn't need to be saved, it's not a living being, it's not a citizen of any country and it doesn't have political rights. I do not deny that mankind actions have a reflection on it's environment, if the climate scientists say so, how am I to doubt, a lowly materials scientist with only a MSc. But, as a citizen, I argue against it's political implications.

A country, or any group of people, should assess what those changes means for them and act accordingly. If a country most covered in tundra gets a huge agricultural boom for a few more degrees in the world mean temperature, you're going to say that climate change is bad for them? Because it's not.

"Reversing the trend" is actually just desire to keep the status quo. You want the beautiful autumn leaves to keep falling in the same time of the year, and the same regions to keep their agricultural output. It's impressive the amount of funding American farmers give to NGO in the third world to save the rainforests. It's not about conservation. It's about the status quo.

Obviously, different groups will have different reactions to the climate change, and some might be justified in their desired to keep the climate as it is currently. A international forum to discuss this and keep the agreements between countries and political entities in a civilized way would be nice. But don't try to paint what you want as "saving the planet" because it's not. It's your desire and nothing more. It's no better than evangelical Christians wanting to "save the family" with pro-life legislation. I'm not saying who is wrong and who is right, but get off your high horse because you're not better than anyone and you are being delusional.

Re:Duh. (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385758)

So, the likelihood of scientific research being right or wrong depends on what actions might be taken based on it? Wow.

Re:Duh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385922)

Nobody is forcing white Suburbians back into cities to be minorities' bitches because of the diamond star.

DeBeers (1)

thryllkill (52874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385554)

I'm pretty sure diamond planets are just an evil scientist plot for wealth redistribution, primarily to put DeBeers out of business. ...there, happy? ;)

Good One (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385560)

Great thread !

There's a reason for that (1, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385564)

The reason is that the diamond planet is not being used to advance a political objective. Climate science is. It's always unfortunate to see science politicized, but global warming mongers are abusing science to create an atmosphere of urgency in order to pass legislation to satisfy a leftist agenda. Sorry to say, but that's the truth. All of science suffers, but to global warming proponents it's worth the cost if they win.

Re:There's a reason for that (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385674)

That's a bizarre argument because it assumes that the political goal is to get people to use CFLs and move to non-fossil fuel power sources for no reason at all. Because (you say) science isn't driving the decisions but instead the decisions are driving the science, there has to be a non-scientific explanation for the "leftist agenda" that doesn't involve global warming. The claim that half the politicians are part of some conspiracy to make us all communists wouldn't make this any less bizarre.

Re:There's a reason for that (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385738)

So accuse others of introducing introducing political slant, and then do it yourself. Great!

Re:There's a reason for that (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385742)

The reason is that the diamond planet is not being used to advance a political objective. Climate science is.

Knowledge from atomic physics can be used to create horrific bombs or batteries that power deep sea fiber optics.
How the science is used is irrelevant to it's validity.

Re:There's a reason for that (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385780)

Please expand on this "leftist agenda." Otherwise, you're a fucking loony like the rest of the teabaggers.

Re:There's a reason for that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385828)

The first two sentences are correct. The rest is just shake your head sad.

Re:There's a reason for that (2)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385868)

global warming mongers are abusing science to create an atmosphere of urgency in order to pass legislation to satisfy a leftist agenda. Sorry to say, but that's the truth

I'll repost a link that I found above listing the complete agreement between virtually all countries academies of science that global warming is real...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change#Statements_by_concurring_organizations [wikipedia.org]

Then ask you: Where do you get your "truth"?

"They must find it difficult...
Those who have taken authority as the truth,
Rather than truth as the authority."

-G. Massey, Egyptologist

Re:There's a reason for that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385896)

Well I'd rather have science used to push a leftist agenda than religion used to push a rightist one...

Re:There's a reason for that (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385932)

the political objective becomes a logical product of the climate science. you are suggesting the science is being used by leftists. what if the science just naturally and inevitably supports what leftists are saying?

example: evolution. the idea we evolved from now extinct species that were more like apes, then rodents, then sea slime, challenges religious beliefs that posits that, for example, a god made man in his image. a religious scholar might comment that atheists are using evolution to destroy religion. but what if evolution just naturally and without any prompting, challenges age-old religious beliefs?

at some point, you are going to have to concede that the science challenges your political beliefs, without any contrived or phony effort or dubious agenda. then you are going to have to give up your political beliefs, or continue to cling to them in denial of what science says. not because leftists have won, but because reality has won

Fossil fuel == MONEY (1, Flamebait)

OutSourcingIsTreason (734571) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385574)

It's to be expected when scientists piss off the the billionaire planet-raping fossil-fuel mongers such as the Koch bastards.

Re:Fossil fuel == MONEY (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385812)

And lets not forget George Soros. Oh wait he just crashes economies for his personal gain. Sorry, my mistake.

Irrelevant comparison? (1, Interesting)

xyourfacekillerx (939258) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385586)

Not sure what the discussion of climate science has to do with the discovery of a diamond planet, except clearly the author is bitter about how the public has scrutinized climate science. Yes, the "method" of science is similar in the disciplines of astrology and climate science - in general - but not even close in practice. Yes, the public has not widely adopted what the majority of scientists believe about global warming (and what the majority of scientists believe depends on which scientist you ask!) But so what? There's good reasons for that.

This whole "If you're not a scientist, then you can't possibly disagree with what a scientist says" mantra is getting really old. It's wrong. Regardless where I stand on man-made global warming, no matter what, scientists and science are not infallible. I don't blindly have to accept whatever Mr. Scientist lists as absolute fact just because I have no degree. More importantly, statistical methods and conclusions from correlated data (as in the global warming debate) just DON'T carry the same logical force as objective, emperical, experimental science - they couldn't possibly.

Besides, the author ignores the fact that the public and media scrutinity occurred because scientists themselves can't agree on the facts. Either side you look at is calling the other side straight up bad scientists. Fake scientists. Or they'll ignore that the other side has scientists at all and say "oh, it's just news pundits and politicians who don't know anything saying we're wrong". However, the media for the most part simply framed debates occurring within the realm of science itself. Scientist vs. scientist, not Stupid Joe Plumber vs. Scientist. Sorry, but scientists brought this one on themselves, and lashing out by calling the public clueless mental midgets like this jerk in the article suggests we've been, that's not going to help you out.

Re:Irrelevant comparison? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385688)

Not sure what the discussion of climate science has to do with the discovery of a diamond planet,

It's called "trolling".

Science depends on stats (5, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385706)

statistical methods and conclusions from correlated data (as in the global warming debate) just DON'T carry the same logical force as objective, emperical, experimental science

Do you really believe that statistical analysis is unique to climate science? What do you think CERN publishes? What do you think its terabytes of storage are for? What do you think biologists, and epidemiologists, and biochemists, and evolutionary biologists, and developmental researchers, and medical researchers publish in their journals? What about chemists? What do you think these guys did to pull the tiny variances in data out that betrayed the existence of a planet made of diamond?

You really have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

Besides, the author ignores the fact that the public and media scrutinity occurred because scientists themselves can't agree on the facts.

The fraction of climate science researchers who come down on the side of anthropogenic global warming is over ninety eight percent. You won't find a stronger concensus on a front-line research issue anywhere. There is no scientific debate on this issue. It's settled.

Re:Irrelevant comparison? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385894)

Because the diamond planet has one hell of a carbon footprint.

Re:Irrelevant comparison? (0)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385908)

clearly the author is bitter about how the public has scrutinized climate science

Clearly the author is bitter because he selected a field that no one really cares about. Its cool work, but right or wrong it'll have no substantial effect on my life.

Simple factual observations about climate are fine, until they're used to unemploy and starve my children, usually in favor of their own favored group of course, which seems to be the end goal. In defense of my own life and my childrens life, they must be faught at all costs at all times.

For a good time look at how scientists who study the relative IQ levels of nations / cultures / races are treated. Strictly numerical analysis is OK, and its all cool, until they start burning crosses and firing up the ovens, then all of a sudden its not so cool.

Ditto the economists. Draw funny graphs all you want, its real cool, at least until millions get killed in purges and gulags.

Re:Irrelevant comparison? (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385928)

Yes, the "method" of science is similar in the disciplines of astrology and climate science - in general - but not even close in practice.

I would dare to say that studying climate models is a bit more sophisticated than laying out Tarot cards and telling peoples future by their date of birth.

Just one word for this article on diamond planets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385588)

Brilliant.

Carbon taxes etc... (0)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385612)

Why should WE be restricting ourselves to "save the planet", when the Chinese are brutally raping their own landscape and polluting everything in sight to serve their rampant industrial conquest of the world... the Chinese won't bother implementing western regulations or employment laws if it means they cannot destroy our economy... In UK, our recovery is being severely stymied because of all the green taxes and levies, yet the Chinese plough on with NO CHECKS...

We're at war with the Chinese in effect, and they're winning because we insist on playing by the rules...

Re:Carbon taxes etc... (1, Insightful)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385670)

Just like the USA. And guess what? The climate change can even be noticed here in the Netherlands. There are always polluters and there are even always big polluters. But I fail to see why that is a reason to demolish your local country as well. Britain is quite beautiful if you are in the countryside.

Re:Carbon taxes etc... (1)

NickDB (1289180) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385744)

Just for arguments sake, let's say the climate scientists are right, and that if we don't stop doing what we're doing, we all die (or at least life as we know it and civilisation crumples and 95% of us die and we live in small pockets around the globe) Would you still say, why should we stop if the other people aren't?

Re:Carbon taxes etc... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385764)

"Excessive pesticide residues, low food hygiene, unsafe additives, contamination with heavy metals and other contaminants, and misuse of veterinary drugs have all led to trade restrictions with developed nations such as Japan, the United States, and the European Union." You're right - we have way too many rules, we should be more like China!
We should be restricting ourselves because it's right in the long run and because at the end of the day, health is more important than money. Move over there if you want "NO CHECKS" but don't ruin the UK for the rest of us.

Re:Carbon taxes etc... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385786)

Ah, yes.

The old "Hey, that kid over there is pissing in the pool, why shouldn't I?" argument...

Did it occur to you that maybe, just maybe, pissing in the pool was a bad idea? And that you might, perhaps, be able to help persuade that other kid to stop pissing in the pool, but only if you yourself don't piss in the pool, especially if you've got a long history of doing just that?

Re:Carbon taxes etc... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385796)

when I used to come home covered in mud and with a tear in my clothes and 'defending' myself by saying all the other kids did it too, my mother used to say 'And if all the other kids jumped of a cliff, would you follow them too?'

Re:Carbon taxes etc... (1)

risom (1400035) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385870)

Why should WE be restricting ourselves to "save the planet", when the Chinese are brutally raping their own landscape and polluting everything in sight to serve their rampant industrial conquest of the world...

Check your numbers, your average Chinese produces about 1/6 of the CO2 you produce (assuming you are from the UK).

Policy (5, Insightful)

pgn674 (995941) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385636)

The article hints at this but never says it outright: The reason climate change is controversial among those with little or no scientific background or training while diamond planets are not is because climate change research affects many governmental regulation policies. If the diamond planet idea is wrong, then corrections to theories are made, and the field moves on. If it's right, then it may contribute to the development of helpful technologies and discoveries. But if a climate change idea is wrong, then corrections to theories are made, and the field moves on, and either the world economy has suffered for no reason or people are experiencing famines that could have been prevented. Thus, controversial.

People disbelieve what they don't want to hear (1)

rollingcalf (605357) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385648)

The diamond planet created a lot of attention and excitement because people could fantasize about a mining mission to bring back tons of diamonds (even though the reality is that such travel will likely be impossible for centuries, and perhaps forever).

But climate science brings out the naysayers and layman disbelievers in hordes because it invokes thoughts of government regulations and/or taxes aimed at reducing emissions.

The difference is spelled astroturfing. (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385668)

The biggest difference is that we seriously lack any aliens trying to skew things into their own agenda when it comes to astrophysics. The oil industry and much of the rest of the energy sector pours billions upon billions into spin and astroturfing. I do not think this is normal people except for a few vacuum heads that just rolls with the flow.

Re:The difference is spelled astroturfing. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385850)

The aliens want tourism. They PLANTED the story about the diamond planet.

Falsifiability & Difficulty of the Problem (0)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385724)

Hey, no mention of the CERN experiments with cosmic rays and cloud cover. How odd...

Anyway, the main difference as far as I can tell is falsifiability. We've all read claims that the Earth will keep getting warmer. And when we actually observed that the warming trend has stalled, then a few articles will come out an admit that. Then they'll blame Chinese air pollution or ocean currents (i.e. an admission that they aren't really sure what's going on).

And after that you'll get articles saying "no, the Earth is still warming."

It's frankly a confused mess.

You throw into the mix that the Earth gets warmer and cooler periodically and that 1970 is not the basis to compare every other year, climate scientists have a difficult problem to sort out. To claim that they are as certain as other branches of science seems odd since there are so many variables that interact with each other.

So when climate scientists produce models about the future AND they accurately predict the future to a sufficient degree with some specificity, then skepticism would be silly. As the articles trying to excuse the last 15 years of non-warming show, they aren't there yet.

Re:Falsifiability & Difficulty of the Problem (1)

risom (1400035) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385920)

So, the last 15 years were non-warming? That's news to me. Any source for that?

Critical thinking (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385730)

The basic "hammer" in every scientists tool-chest. It allows you to see things as they are and simply not give a shit about what anyone "thinks", no matter how many letters they have after their names. Even Nobel prize winners have said some pretty amazingly false things. It's important to focus on where they were right.

Exoplanet does not important or cost us anything. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385806)

If you found a cheese planet, it also would not be important.

However, if you found an evil planet and claimed it was a threat to the earth and needed major funding, ... Then we would question it.

If it makes you feel better, I think you are wrong about the planet being made of diamond. Maybe a mixture of stuff with an average density about equal to diamond?

Popular impact correlates with scrutiny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385810)

Even though a diamond planet interpretation might not receive the same popular scrutiny and criticism as a claim made about climate science, it isn't the popular scrutiny that says anything about the underlying science. What he's talking about is the price you pay for doing science that is of broad interest and that has big implications for society. If you play in that field, you should *expect* to be sometimes criticized for ridiculous and bogus reasons. You should *expect* to be accused of some nefarious ulterior motive. You should *expect* the reasons for your funding to be questioned. You should *expect* them to either rage on about the taxpayer dollars being spent or alternatively that you're just an industrially-funded shill (i.e. you can't win with either funding source).

There are always some nutbars out there that don't know how science works and that think anything contrary to their wishes about the world must be some "gigantic global conspiracy to silence the truth", especially if those nutbars could potentially lose a lot of money, respect, or some other psychologically worrisome thing if the science turned out to be correct. It's true, the reaction can sometimes be surprising to scientists quietly and honestly toiling away on a particular puzzle, but it really shouldn't be. Science is a threat to some people precisely because it doesn't respect political boundaries. It searches where the questions are and where the data is. Some people in power are fearful of that, and they bristle at the thought that science might intrude on their power. They'll use any trick they can to tear down the science, no matter how scientifically well-founded the interpretation may be. As a scientist you have to have the courage to say "You can personally believe whatever you want, but all the scientific data indicates 2+2=4, not 5." Sometimes the price paid for saying that publicly can be pretty high (re: Galileo back in the day), and, yeah, you can sympathize if you are a scientist that is working in a field that is more obscure and doesn't draw that kind of attention. But you have to respect the scientists that tough it out and do good science that is relevant to a lot of people regardless of the flak they are likely to endure as a result.

The way I see it (3, Insightful)

grimmjeeper (2301232) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385898)

The difference between the diamond planet discovery and climate science is politics. The reason amateurs attack the climate science has nothing to do with the science and everything to do with a political objective. But the same can be said for the supporters. Al Gore is not a climate scientist. He has a significant financial interest in climate science reaching a particular conclusion. He has significant investment in the whole business of climate change.

Now, I'll agree that most who attach climate science are kooks. But that's not the real problem. The real problem is that the whole issue is so incredibly polarized that no legitimate critique of climate science ever gets a voice because it is universally written off with the overwhelming number of idiots on the right. According to "everyone", climate science is 100% settled and there is no questioning it. But once you get past the people pushing the political agendas and talk to the real scientists, you'll find that the attitude isn't so set in stone. They want to keep studying it so they can understand more about it because they don't all believe that it's 100% set in stone.

Scientists want to learn more. They want to understand the incredibly complex system that is our environment. They want to know more about how things work so they can make better predictions about what is coming. They don't care about pushing a political agenda. But they're too busy working on research to tell the general public that the politicians are misrepresenting their findings.

Likely clueless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37385910)

Astronomy - specially when it comes to stellar evolution - is one of the few sciences where almost all we know is not directly observed, yet highly accepted as fact. Perhaps is because it doesn't really matter, but is fun and does help us understand the universe, even if some details may be proven wrong someday. Climate change science on the other hand, is still mostly theory, but has been taken over by a few who mean to get rich off it all the while using it to increase their power and control over others (and I'm talking about the scientists, here). That the scientists either fail to understand this, or have bought into the agenda (perhaps to ensure their grant $$$$), means they deserve to have their findings examined closely.

They just can't resist making it personal (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37385926)

Those who want to ignore whatâ(TM)s happening to Earth

They assume an ulterior motive for anyone who doesn't believe them. Skeptics are labeled as "deniers," purposely invoking the Holocaust.

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