Plus, they are often very hard to pin down - we pick up some story (or rumour) about a new danger, and try as reporters to get their take on it, but as often as not, they can't even give a simple yes or no answer. It's all "likely" this and "probable" that, and "statistically significant" or "balance of the evidence" or whatever. Lots of "on the other hand" until you just don't have enough hands, or even fingers, to count the different angles they want to look at.
Now and then I think we'd almost rather not have those black and white answers that scientists hate to give. Take global warming, for example: if this is real, it's going to be quite a nuisance -- 'inconvenient,' so to speak. I mean, think about our lifestyle! It could cramp our ability to drive vehicles as big as some people's houses for personal security and -- let's face it -- ego gratification. I think a lot of us would just rather not know.
So now, we have to deal with scientists who keep coming out and saying 'yes, this is a real problem' - over and over again. They keep putting out declarations and open letters telling the world that our greenhouse gas emissions are already changing the climate, and forecasting that the problem has to get a lot worse if we keep on at the current rate. This is the problem with the IPCC - behind all the "very likelys" and "probables," they basically say the same thing: this is a real problem. This same theme keeps coming up in declarations signed by thousands of scientists - over 5000 of them, on eight statements issued since December 2009.
Okay, scientists, now you're just starting to scare us. You're also sounding uncharacteristically decisive. Those of us who aren't comfortable with your message may have to do something about this. Here are some of our options:
- call your views "alarmist"
- claim you are now too unified, so this must be 'group-think' and you're just bullying the numerous dissenters that we can't seem to find
- find the handful of you who don't see the problem, and get them on TV a lot - a whole lot
- take out full-page ads in the NYT saying you are wrong, signed by over 100 non-experts
- get Rush Limbaugh to call you "socialists" and imply you want the UN to run everything
- host a string of anti-conferences with lots of non-experts, to make you look less convincing
- if all else fails, we can turn to Fox News!