Sunday, September 25, 2011

Roy Spencer: the unacknowledged legislator of the world

This quote has been making the rounds, but for anyone who missed it:

Roy Spencer: “I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government.”

Seriously. He said that. He doesn't even deny saying it. And is apparently deaf to the irony.
This the guy who raged:

Politicians formed the IPCC over 20 years ago with an endgame in mind: to regulate CO2 emissions. I know, because I witnessed some of the behind-the-scenes planning. It is not a scientific organization. It was organized to use the government-funded scientific research establishment to achieve policy goals.
Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But when they are portrayed as representing unbiased science, that IS a bad thing.

The most vocal climate scientists defending the IPCC have lost their objectivity. . . .
ClimateGate doesn’t prove their science is wrong…but it does reveal their bias.
 This is a classic terrorist/freedom fighter cognitive blind spot. Spencer sees his mission in science as defeating the campaign for certain policy choices . . . specifically emissions cuts. Yet he does not see his own explicit political goals as making him "biased." They did it first! You are hysterical, he is passionate! Roy destroyed scientific objectivity in order to save it!

"I don't have the votes. Time for a filibuster!"

It's a common cognitive glitch, but it is still surprising to see it developed to the point at which he would be denouncing scientists for (supposedly) trying to "achieve policy goals" and then be calling himself "a little like a legislator."

"Seriously, dude, you went too far."
Nothing says scientists can't or shouldn't participate in the public debate. They are citizens, and the democratic ethos, since Athens, has held that whatever your day job, you have the right, and sometimes the responsibility, to be part of the discussion. But you shouldn't see that as your job, "supported by the taxpayer." The only people paid by the taxpayer to be policy advocates are politicians. Roy Spencer is paid by the taxpayer to do science. One wishes he would work a little harder at that, even at the expense of his legislative ambitions.

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