Volume 85 Issue 44 | p. 2 | Letters
Issue Date: October 29, 2007

Global Warming Straw Man

Department: Letters

Funding of Science

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences has formed a committee to study alternative ways to identify, invest in, and manage high-risk, high-reward research and to further the research of early-career faculty. Spurring the study is a growing recognition that current federal funding mechanisms are not always supportive of high-risk, high-reward research and that many early-career scientists find it increasingly difficult to sustain their research after their start-up packages are exhausted. Nobel Laureate and Howard Hughes Medical Institute President Thomas R. Cech is leading the committee, which invites input from the public across all disciplines concerning alternative investment policies, federal funding mechanisms, and management processes that can improve the success of early-career scientists and of scientists with high-risk, high-reward research proposals. Please submit ideas, comments, and suggestions by Nov. 30 to John C. Crowley at jcrowley@mit.edu.or Katie Donnelly at kdonnelly@amacad.org.

Rudy Baum's criticism of global warming skeptics trots out some well-known diversionary tactics (C&EN, Sept. 10, page 5). First, accuse your opponents of some characteristic that would make them untrustworthy, such as "do not like being pinned down in making their arguments," as if to make them seem slimy or disreputable. Then throw out some disconnected assertions to "prove" the idea that they're not credible, such as some skeptics argue that CO2 "isn't a greenhouse gas." Then go on to cite a couple more irrelevant argument points just to confuse things.

 
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