There are quire a few things worth noting in the Science and Technologies report, most interestingly their discussion of the (in)famous quote “hide the decline”:
“We are content that the phrases such as “trick” or “hiding the decline” were colloquial terms used in private e-mails and the balance of evidence is that they were not part of a systematic attempt to mislead. Likewise the evidence that we have seen does not suggest that Professor Jones was trying to subvert the peer review process. Academics should not be criticised for making informal comments on academic papers…”
The denial movement has turned the out-of-context quote “Hide the decline…” into a lucrative meme. Not only has it been a handy quote to throw around, they’ve branded publications, websites and t-shirts with it (kaching!):
Let’s not forget how much money people like Lord Monckton made on their recent speaking tour “down under” (about $100,000 according to the organisers themselves).
That the denial of a movement tells us to “follow the money” and then sells gimmicky products and charges hundreds of thousands of dollars for their speakers is an irony too rich to ignore.How much does the average scientist make? Have a look at New Scientist Jobs. A specialist in earth or environmental science can earn a decent salary of $94,802 per annum. Think of the years of training, the dedication to honing their skills and the sacrifices an individual would have to make in order to enter science. Does $94,000 sound a lot to you?
Science is not the easy path to riches.
Graduates starting in banking and finance with just an undergraduate degree can expect to earn that much in their first year out of university. Now contrast those figures with the unqualified Monckton who charges tens of thousands for one speaking gig.
It’s time to quash these ridiculous memes and remove them from the popular debate. We need a good counter-meme. My suggestions:
- No decline to hide
- It’s your decline
- We’ve followed the money
Comments and suggestions welcome.Next week I’ll be looking out how the denial movement will spin this defeat. A counter-attack is inevitable.