I’m a ‘scientist’ — a label that has lost its luster

By Art Robinson, Ph.D.

“Let’s Send a Scientist to the Oregon Senate” headlines a flier for my State Senate campaign. We are considering dropping “Scientist.”

Scientists enjoy learning new facts about the physical world. They have been respected largely because some of their discoveries have led to engineering and medical discoveries that markedly enhanced people’s lives.

Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were all scientists – Franklin rated to be the greatest scientist of his century. Yet, their great legacy to our nation was not based on science. It was based on their knowledge of history, their Judeo-Christian ethics and their resulting wisdom about the government best suited to enhancing the gift of life human beings have received.

When I completed my formal scientific training at Caltech and then at the University of California at San Diego, I was appointed to the UCSD faculty. My reaction? “This is great! I get to play all my life, and people are going to pay me for it.”

The idea that I was suddenly qualified to tell those people how to live never entered my mind. That would be ridiculous.

It is useful to know truths about the physical world when deciding how to live one’s life, but those truths do not reveal the “how.”

For a long time medical doctors have been admired, and to a lesser extent, scientists also have been admired. In “Fiddler on the Roof,” the poor villager Tevye wishes for wealth – not for the things he could buy, but instead because the villagers would respect him and seek his advice.

Now, the wealthy have been demonized; the medical doctors are being incapacitated by government; and scientists have lost respect because the name of their profession has been hijacked.

How many articles have you seen recently that begin, “Scientists say …”? The list of these seems endless. The remaining respect for “science” is being used as an advertising ploy with which to control people.

When I say “science,” I mean the study of facts about the physical world and, perhaps, the discovery of some especially useful ones. I think of the value of “truthful” (we now need this unfortunate qualifier) scientific facts about the physical world and the fun and satisfaction of finding those facts.

When I think of a real scientist in politics today, I think he can be useful in correcting falsehoods that people claiming to be “scientists” (some of whom even having college degrees in science) have spread among the voters.

Yes, the sea level is rising – at a rate of 7 inches per century. This is a scientific experimental truth. Yes, this has been going on at this rate for 200 years, as Earth temperature recovers from the Little Ice Age and toward the natural mean that has held for 3,000 years. No, it has not been affected at all by atmospheric carbon dioxide.

So, if you want your beach house to last for 200 years, position it a foot or so above the current safe level. The current rate of sea level rise will probably decrease, but why take a chance? And, do not worry about massive seas inundating a nearby city. There is not a scintilla of factual evidence that this will happen.

The trouble comes because politico’s have hijacked our name – “scientist.” They have used false “facts” that they say are “scientific” to generate fear with which to manipulate voters.

I think that Oregon voters would be benefited by sending a scientist to their State Senate in order to correct the lies that are being told there – lies that parrot the pronouncements of unethical and untruthful “scientists.”

The political trouble for my campaign is that the voters are beginning to realize that “scientists” are not telling them the truth. Moreover, they are not in the least interested in having scientists and technologists telling them how to run their lives.

This is causing a lot more trouble than higher fuel taxes for Oregonians (a proposal now before the Oregon Legislature). The entire energy system of our nation is at risk.

These pseudo-scientists are proclaiming that our hydrocarbon energy should be scrapped. They are promoting this with false representations that the habitability of our entire planet is at risk. This unprincipled use of fear is very dangerous.

Almost the entire human race depends for its existence on machines powered directly or indirectly by hydrocarbon fuels. If these fuels are abruptly diminished, Americans will be significantly harmed. Elsewhere in the world, there are still hundreds of millions of people trying to lift themselves from poverty and tyranny using hydrocarbon-fueled machines. With diminished hydrocarbon fuel, these people will slip backward into poverty and death.

When we put “scientist” on our campaign flier, we were thinking of doing a public service by correcting some of these lies in the minds of our state legislators. We are thinking of true facts about the physical world. Yet, many voters are suspicious. People calling themselves scientists have been insisting that those voters live in ways that they do not want to live – and probably should not live.

There are now three political classes of “scientists” (based on their formal college degrees) having opinions on “climate change.”

Most scientists belong to a group that avoids any comment at all. They do not want to have their careers and work endangered by this controversy. There is a second much smaller group that argues publicly against the false statements about climate that are being made to manipulate the voters with fear.

And, there is a third group (the smallest of all) that promotes false statements about climate change for notoriety and personal and professional gain, taking tax-financed grants and other perks. The socialist media promote this group.

We were able to convince 31,000 scientists from the first two groups to sign our mail petition against the false representations of the third group – in order to negate their claim of a “scientific consensus” in their favor. Scientific truths are not determined by polling.

Entrepreneurs, medical doctors and scientists are losing credibility with the public. Please don’t let this continue to happen!

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