Climate Scientist says "Scientists should consider stretching the truth": Stephen Schneider

deirdre

Senior Member.
Claim: (my paraphrasing) Stephen Schneider, a well known climatologist and IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) author advocates lying about the science of climate change.

Starting as early as a month after the initial publication of an interview in Discover Magazine (October 1989 vol. 10 no.10) and continuing to Yahoo news CC comments today (Sept. 21, 2015), an out of context/misrepresented/often partial quote by Schneider is being used by climate change 'denier' articles, books, blogs, comments etc to imply climate scientists should lie to the public about the science of climate change.


examples:

1989 Detroit News
Detroit News Editorial, 22 November, 1989
“Loads of Media Coverage”
On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method. … On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. … To avert the risk (of potentially disastrous climate change) we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public imagination. That of course means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. …Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective, and being honest. --Stephen H. Schneider, author of the book Global Warming (Sierra Club), in an interview in Discover Magazine, October 1989.

The next time you hear about some scary environmental horror on the nightly news, keep that quote in mind. It goes far to explain the debasement of American environmental science into cheap political theater. Apparently “being honest” is no longer the test of a good scientist. It must be balanced” with “being effective.” Stephen Schneider is a government-funded climatologist who has become the lion of Capital Hill
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1996
APS News article (March 1996, pg. 12)
apsss.PNG

Aug 2015

Given that most all climate research funding comes from public alarm-dependent agenda-driven government sponsors, and their ideological green activist acolytes, there should be little surprise that so many researchers bend objectivity and science to oblige.

As the late Stephen Schneider who authored important parts of three U.N. IPCC reports has explained, "like most people, we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change.”

Schneider argued that, “To do that, we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of the doubts we might have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”
http://mycommonsensepolitics.net/in...ate-alarm-industry-is-scientifically-bankrupt
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Rebuttals of this claim by Stephen Schneider:

Before Stephen Schneider passed away in 2010 he wrote several rebuttals to these accusations. In general he explained the topic of the Discovery interview the quote comes from, which was the problem scientists face in media with limited time slots available to discuss complex scientific issues. Most often the last line(s) of his quote is omitted.
The last lines being:
"This 'double ethical bind' we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both"





Nov 1989 full rebuttal to Detroit News (above): here's a small piece
ss.PNG
http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/DetroitNews.pdf


1996 full rebuttal to APS (above), where they also added the bogus line "Scientists should consider stretching the truth". Schneider includes the full quote: [bold text mine]

"On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but - which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts.
On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we'd like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public's imagination.
That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This 'double ethical bind' we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both."2 (quote from Discover article Oct 1989)


Vested interests have repeatedly claimed I advocate exaggerating threats.
Their "evidence" comes from partially quoting my Discover interview, almost always -like Simon - omitting the last line and the phrase "double ethical bind." They also omit my solutions to the double ethical bind: (1) use metaphors that succinctly convey both urgency and uncertainty (pg. xi of Ref. 3) and (2) produce an inventory of written products from editorials to articles to books, so that those who want to know more about an author's views on both the caveats and the risks have a hierarchy of detailed written sources to which they can turn.3,4,5
What I was telling the Discover interviewer, of course, was my disdain for a soundbite-communications process that imposes the double ethical bind on all who venture into the popular media.

To twist my openly stated and serious objections to the soundbite process into some kind of advocacy of exaggeration is a clear distortion. Moreover, not only do I disapprove of the "ends justify the means" philosophy of which I am accused, but, in fact have actively campaigned against it in myriad speeches and writings. Instead, I repeatedly advocate that scientists explicitly warn their audiences that "what to do" is a value choice as opposed to "what can happen" and "what are the odds," which are scientific issues (e.g. p. 213 of Ref. 3). I also urge that scientists, when they offer probabilities, work hard to distinguish which are objective and which are subjective, as well as what is the scientific basis for any probability offered. For such reasons I was honored to receive, in 1991, the

AAAS/Westinghouse Award for the Public Understanding of Science.

2. J. Schell, Discover, pp. 45-48, Oct. 1989.
http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/199608/environmental.cfm
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