Does Being a Nice Personable Scientist Make Sense in Trump's America?


In the history of science, there is no shortage of melodramatic, self-promoting, politically active, profiteering, egomaniacal, or just plain angry scientists.

And there is no shortage of charlatans, doomsayers, false prophets, disgraced scaremongers, and falls from fantastic achievement to crank (hello, James Watson).

So no, being a "nice personable scientist" does not make sense in Trump's America, or in any other America either, because the mindset or politics or religion of a scientist is utterly irrelevant to reproducible results or predictive theories.
This is quite different in experience from what I understand a scientist's existence to be. A[n] (empirical) scientist's role is to develop and/or test refutable hypotheses and report the results. Certainly if the results are interesting and compelling she may choose to present them through good story telling, should she have the means, but that is secondary to the remit. Those in the scientific community of which I am a part, mostly geologists and some social scientists, mostly economists, recognize the anthropogenic changes we are seeing and are quite interested in observing the impacts such as they are and such as they can be ascribed to global climate change. Fear is not something I've witnessed. Uncertainty about the outcomes sure, but not fear. That isn't rational in this context.

The global moment may indeed be awful for those Americans alarmed by the election of Trump, a group I myself am in but anthropogenic climate change has been occurring for at least 150 years and will continue regardless of who is in the White House. As of yet there has been little political appetite across the spectrum and across the world to make carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions more expensive which is required to limit their growth. Until then, scientists should continue to report their findings dispassionately and offer mitigation and adaption strategies as best they can.
@2 "At least scientists reported data in a dispassionate and apolitical manner" - Historians in 2117, while the world is literally on fire.
@2 In addition to that, I think many among us have reasoned that scaring people just doesn't work on this subject. If it worked, we'd see wholesale adoption of alternate energy strategies and the less than enthusiastic embrace of what consumers can access to reduce their carbon footprint.

Scaring people about home and personal security does work, hence why so many people insist on home security system, panic rooms, and personal fire arms. This is in part because being robbed or harmed or both are not abstract concepts to the average citizen in American society. Climate change (which is not weather) is way more abstract because receding glaciers, disappearing ice shelves, and incremental changes in the intensity of one summer globally are all things happening other places and maybe to other people but none of these things are at this moment threatening the amount of blood in the average citizen's body or the number of dollars in their bank account. The fragmentary nature of climate studies is overwhelming, confusing, and dispassionate way scientists are trained to speak about data reads as ivory tower condescension to many.

The only way that this becomes less abstract is one climate change is affecting the blood and dollars quotent in people's lives. Until then, we're going to go round and round with deniers.
the world will still be beautiful


Before we debate political tactics, it should be noted that a lot of scientists are a bit nonplussed when an activist demands they produce solutions to the political problems presented by anthropogenic climate change.

I mean, sure, we're all political animals, but that's kind of outside the scope of a scientist's training, isn't it?
only when Mar-A-Lago goes under will we know it's real. until then, it's just so fragmentary and confusing and overwhelming.

Yes, yes, we all know the chorus. That'll be the day I go back to Annandale.

Can you stop humming it now, please?
Well, is it true or is it false that there is a significant chance the world will be rendered uninhabitable?

The scientific community seems quite coy when discussing worst case scenerios. "We don't need to talk about that stuff, it's scary enough already." Just spit it out already.
The world may still be beautiful without us, just like a desert has beauty. I wish there will still be family and love, however there wasn't enough family and love for all the Jewish people, homosexuals, and disabled people who perished in the Holocaust. And even today, we see that we have a hard time as a species caring about each other, in the famines, war, and poverty that are happening right now. Sarah Myhre is luckey that she lives in the US, instead of Syria, or Afganistan, or the Sudan. As far as the future, nobody knows exactly how it will turn out, but I am not hopeful.