So When Will It Be Fashionable For Biologists to Tell Everyone What to Do? (And Screw It All Up?)

Warning: heavy snark content.

Kevin Drum has an encouraging post about how a major global warming denialist skeptic has been forced to conclude that global warming is real (although, like Atrios, I think the lighting-stuff-on-fire industries will just find someone else to shill for them). But this was the part I found interesting (boldface mine):

Physicists are notorious for believing that other scientists are mathematically incompetent. And University of California-Berkeley physicist Richard Muller is notorious for believing that conventional wisdom is often wrong. For example, the conventional wisdom about climate change. Muller has criticized Al Gore in the past as an “exaggerator,” has spoken warmly of climate skeptic Anthony Watts, and has said that Steve McIntyre’s famous takedown of the “hockey stick” climate graph made him “uncomfortable” with the paper the hockey stick was originally based on.

Before I continue, I don’t think most physicists are blowhard assholes. But there was a period about a decade ago, possibly due to the massive physics Ph.D. glut, where some physicists entered other disciplines (including economics–got quants?) and proceed to tell everyone else they didn’t know what they were talking about, since the rest of us didn’t know math or statistics (we did, however, know those stupid fucking natural history facts). Again, some physicists. Over the last few years, the hubris disease seemed to have jumped to economists, who made the same arguments–and that worked out so well, didn’t it? Good to see Muller keeping it old school.

So what I want to know is when do biologists get to tell everyone they’re wrong about everything, and only those possessing a knowledge of biology will be able to explain anything?

Or are evolutionary psychologists already doing that?


Mas: The Krugman writes:

He [Muller] basically appears to have suffered from nothing more than characteristic physicist arrogance, the belief that people in lesser sciences just don’t know what they’re doing. (Economists experience this all the time, but we make up for it by being equally condescending to sociologists.)

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