The Best Science Problem Ever

The Best Science Problem Ever

John Reid


Science isn’t about finding solutions.

It’s really about finding problems.

I am talking about the taxpayer-funded science that is done in universities and government science agencies. If you are a working research scientist and you happen to solve a long-standing problem, how are you going to justify your funding for the next triennium? On the other hand, if you come up with, or participate in, a good Problem, it can keep you, your students and your institution funded for decades to come.

Climate Change is a wonderful science Problem with a capital “P” because it feeds into Western cultural preconceptions about guilt and redemption, about the fundamental wickedness of humankind and about the ultimate perfectibility of Man and Society. In the West there has always been a breast-beating minority with an exaggerated sense of sin, who wish to change the world before some imagined apocalypse overtakes us all. They tend to take the moral high ground and villify those who would question their baseless beliefs. Nowadays they are called “the Greens”.

Climate Change is the outcome of an unholy alliance between Problem-seeking scientists and Green zealots. Some people are both. Green scientists are the ones who are “saving the planet”. The rest of us are still trying to understand it.

The real beauty of the Climate Change Problem is that it can never be solved while at the same time it provides endless material for breast-beating media pronouncements.

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