Now THIS is funny.
The website Nature indulged themselves in a bit of unconscious irony this week when they published an editorial entitled, “No Place for Bullies in Science.” The editorial was directed against a German research institute, where allegations of sexual harassment have ROCKED the science world, apparently.
“Picture the scene: You are an enthusiastic young scientist with, you think, the world at your feet,” the editorial board writes. “You have an exciting offer to join a world-leading research institute in another country. And then, to your dismay, you find yourself in a workplace where everything feels wrong. Your supervisor intimidates you and you receive upsetting e-mails, but the institute leadership seems indifferent. You are alone in a foreign culture, and you don’t know what to do. Your friends tell you to complain, but you are afraid of repercussions — and of losing the opportunity you fought so hard for. And, anyway, you don’t know who to trust.”
We will not be the judges of whether or not this is an accurate depiction of the Max Planck Institute in Garching, but we will take a moment to appreciate how the website Nature has NEVER, EVER run an editorial complaining about a different kind of scientific bullying – the kind that maintains that conservative/alternative viewpoints can never gain a foothold in the community.
For years, we have been told that man-made global warming represents the “consensus view” of 90-something percent of scientists. In other words, there are NO reputable scientists who believe anything other than that. If you hear of any such scientists, you can rest assured that they are pariahs lurking on the outskirts of mainstream science and merely flaunting their alternative views because they are on the payroll at Exxon. No doubt about it: Fossil fuels are wreaking havoc on the world, and the only solution is to crack down on the oil industry, switch all of our vehicles over to electric power, and start taking two-minute showers. Otherwise, the polar bears (and then people) will be doomed to extinction.
In recent years, however, we’ve learned that while the majority of scientists may agree that man-made fossil fuel usage has contributed to a very small rise in global temperatures, the taken-for-granted, doomsday predictions made by the left have failed to materialize. There is now, more doubt in the scientific community about the true horrors of climate change than there has been in quite a long time. Might these doubts have come to light earlier, had a “consensus” not formed so rapidly?
It is the job of a scientist to, above all else, keep an open mind. Science is an evolving system of inquiry where NOTHING should EVER be taken for granted. But the bullying structures in place within the community have, unfortunately, prevented true science from breaking through the accepted dogma. Without taking a stance on whatever’s happening at that research facility in Germany, we can say without a doubt that if Nature wants to identify a crisis of bullying in science, they can go much, much bigger.
If they dare.