Skip to main content

Grad Students Off Limits- Even if they are wrong

The boring saga of the Berkeley 45 continues, as several more have now emerged to ensure that their denial of fundamental science and deep scientific consensus is codified in the archives of time. At the same time, those on the science side of the discussion make a critical mistake-- piling on to a grad student, presumably the one that led the charge. 


Grad students make mistakes, we all do.  Our job as leaders should be to reach out, help them correct, and at worst, simply inspire their elevated thinking by doing the right thing. 

Unfortunately lots of folks have fallen into the trap of an eye for an eye.  She stuck her neck out in a poorly-advised way and now is being singled out and pummeled on blogs and in the Twittersphere in a way that could ultimately affect her long-term career options.

Some think that this is appropriate, that if she is going to make claims that run counter to science and besmirches the credibility of scientists she disagrees with, then she deserves it. What she needs is good counseling from university leadership, not potentially career-ending retribution. 

I look back on what bad people did to me to hurt me personally and professionally over the last years, and how UC-Berkeley faculty are doing it to me today.  Just do a google image search.  The good news is that I have two careers, university administrator and research scientist, that are established and successful.  So who cares who they think I work for and how they slander me daily about my science communication efforts? 

But this should not happen to a student, any of them. 

I did the right thing from the beginning by reaching out and asking them to share their thoughts with me and discuss this in a public forum as guests on my podcast.  My goal was to broadcast their views and maybe bring deeper understanding and peace to the situation. 

But the students and faculty did not accept, instead they walled off behind allegations and myth, hurling insults at me by email and posting false, defamatory links about me instead.  

None of them had the kind courtesy of send an email saying, "No thank you."

That not leadership, that is not collegiality... that is disgusting.  But they look bad for doing it. It also shows how apples don't fall far from trees. 

Again I repeat my call for taking higher roads.  As those that stand by science, we don't need to hurt others to win the debate. We're not like them.

Instead let's lead softly and effectively. Maybe the mind we'll change will be hers. 

Popular posts from this blog

Scientific American Destroys Public Trust in Science

This is a sad epitaph, parting words to an old friend that is now gone, leaving in a puff of bitter betrayal. 
When I was a kid it was common for my mom to buy me a magazine if I was sick and home from school.  I didn't want MAD Magazine or comic books.  I preferred Scientific American
The once stalwart publication held a unique spot at the science-public interface, bringing us interesting and diverse stories of scientific interest, long before the internet made such content instantly accessible.  It was our trusted pipeline to the new edges of scientific discovery, from the mantle of the earth to the reaches of space, and every critter in between.
But like so much of our trusted traditional science media, Scientific American has traded its credibility for the glitz of post-truth non-scientific beliefs and the profits of clickbait.The problem is that when a trusted source publishes false information (or worse, when it hijacked by activists) it destroys trust in science, trust in s…

Chipotle's Ag-vertising to Fix their Anti-Ag Image

After years of anti-farmer rhetoric, disgusting anti-agriculture videos, and trashing farmer seed choice, Chipotle now seems to have found a love for the American farmer that is as warm and inviting as the gooey core of a steak burrito.  Their new "Cultivate the Future of Farming" campaign raises awareness of the hardship being experienced in agriculture, and then offers their thoughts and some seed grants in order to reverse it. 

But are they solving a problem that they were instrumental in creating? 

The crisis in agriculture is real, with farmers suffering from low prices, astronomical costs, and strangling regulation.  Farmer suicides are a barometer of the crisis.  Farms, from commodity crops to dairies, are going out of business daily. It is good to see a company raising awareness. 


From Chipotle's website- The "challenge is real" and "It's a hard living"-- and companies like Chipotle were central in creating those problems. 

However, Chipotle&#…

Mangling Reality and Targeting Scientists

Welcome to 2019, and one thing that remains constant is that scientists engaging the public will continue to be targeted for harassment and attempted reputation harm.  

The good news is that it is not working as well as it used to.  People are disgusted by their tactics, and only a handful of true-believers acknowledge their sites as credible. 

But for those on the fence I thought it might be nice to post how a website like SourceWatch uses a Wikipedia-mimic interface to spread false and/or misleading information about public scientists. 

Don't get me wrong, this is not crying victim.  I'm actually is screaming empowerment.  I spent the time to correct the record, something anyone can check.  Please look into their allegations and mine, and see who has it right. 

This is published by the Center for Media and Democracy.  Sadly, such pages actually threaten democracy by providing a forum for false information that makes evidence-based decisions in policy issues more challenging.  It…