Response to Ravetz and post-normal science

Response to Ravetz and post-normal science“. Professor Jerome Ravetz’s ‘post-normal science’ posts on Anthony Watts’ blog have elicited another obtuse response, this time from professor Jaap Hanekamp (advisor to several denialist/libertarian entities such as Heidelberg Appeal Nederland and the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow).

His conclusions (I think)? Politics restrict the areas of study, CO2‘s role as the primary cause of climate change is a political simplification, the push for regulation of CO2 is “undemocratic” repression, deception is practiced and justified by climatologists because of the perceived environmental risks, the scientific “majority” are hindering relevant theories, the worldview of climatologists is distorting their science, climatologists are arrogant.

Dr. Hanekamp flash of insight is this:

theories should be accepted only in the light of considerations that involve transparent and reproducible empirical data, other (accepted) theories, and cognitive epistemic values such as consistency, simplicity, transparency, and descriptive, explicatory and predictive power. Worldview (political and ideological) considerations, but also appeals to authority, consequences, force, and popularity – to name some of the argumentation fallacies – are illegitimate ways of deciding between theories.

Welcome to “Science” Jaap! This is how it is already done. The problem we face is denialist resistance to climatology because they find the implications politically unacceptable. Your 5,200 word departure from reality is a collection of accusations and mischaracterizations that end in a demand for current scientific practices to continue!

Dr. Hanekamp does have some useful admissions to make though (Anthony Watts take note):

Bloggers have a similar obligation as scientific experts, at least if they want to enter or be part of the debate with the focus on scientific content instead of rhetorical contentment.

2 thoughts on “Response to Ravetz and post-normal science

  1. I read Hanekamp’s excerpt on his blog. He started by writing about the normal science pathway (which he labelled as Science 1, 2, 3 and 4) and a short discussion of reductionism. Then he made an amazing leap to say that the effect on the earth’s climate of CO2 emissions are ‘provisional’ and the the statement of fact of global warming is ‘laughable’.

    Without any intervening argument, he jumps from what started as an article that possibly could be termed science philosophy to a purely political article with no logic or foundation. [This is the “miracle occurs here” part of the argument! – Ben]

    At the bottom of the article it said it was an excerpt from a PhD thesis. If the PhD was awarded on the basis of this writing, then standards must be slipping badly.

  2. I have had several run ins with Hanekamp here in Holland, most especially when I debated him in 2002 and skewered his simpleton view of ecology. And he most certainly is not, as far as I know, a Professor. He has only 20 publications in his scientific career with 98 citations. In other words, nothing. Pithy. IMHO he’s a quack.

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