After many years unpaid work observing academia: during several different stints in University where I several times had a chance to view academic culture anew; after years on various forum, particularly BRITARCH (British Archaeology) and on global warming; after studying the development of renewable energy in the UK compared to Denmark around 2000, and now having set my mind to understand the reason for the hostility in the online climate debate, the survey of online participants to the climate debate, and the reaction to several articles, has now endorsed a theory** I have been developing describing this situation and explaining the nature of the on line debate.
That is the good news.
The bad news is that this theory which I will call “The Cassandra++ Theory”, predicts that nothing I ever write will ever be believed by academia. In other words, my current strategy is not only ineffective but is positively counter productive.
That is not to say that there may be one or two people in academia who are “oddballs” who might appreciate what I say, but in general, the very fact I am not an academic means anything I say will be seen as a threat: it will either be ignored, rejected or as in the global warming debate, viciously attacked in in person or via proxy groups.
Yes I can egg on the crowd of sceptics, yes I can create a huge fuss, but no, nothing I do will ever change the mind of academia, indeed egging on the sceptics & proving we are right will just make academics more hostile and more motivated to reject us.
Indeed, the Cassandra theory strongly suggests, that the single factor that is most likely to elicit this hostile reaction from academia is the one I thought was my strongest: my methodical and academic investigation of the subject in an entirely academic and altruistic way without working for any money at all.
The more I know, the more I will be attacked and the more vehemently anything I write will be rejected. And please note, their reaction is not “motivated” hostility or political hostility, it is simply a consequence of the situation and whilst I don’t like being attacked, I will not blame anyone for doing so. They do not know what they do or why they do it.
So, I’m going to have to think about what I do. There may be a way forward – but I haven’t yet thought of it.
However, there is a strong likelihood that I will stop blogging and it is likely I will close the Scottish Climate & Energy Forum. I also need to think hard about how I handle the survey of the climate bloggosphere. I think the results are dynamite, and there have been so many times in the last few weeks I just wanted to rub certain people’s noses in them and it was heart breaking not being able to do so. But now I realise that may be entirely counter productive.
**I use theory as the word is used in social science which is a descriptive narrative not a testable hypothesis.
++Cassandra was a Greek who was cursed by being given the gift of prophecy – so she could foretell the future, but it was ordained that she would never be believed.