Climate science has been defined as a beautiful experiment in disbursing $80bn of research funding on one strict condition:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
There are no right or wrong answers. Just remember to have fun.
Most creative response wins a prize.
The glorious march of climate science is proof of what our top intellectuals can achieve when freed from the continual, stifling pressure to add to human knowledge, to “discover” things, to be “right” about stuff.
Nobody expects semioticians or gender theorists to produce knowledge, or even exhibit any. We value them too much for that. When we employ such thinkers we know it would be both unreasonable and oppressive—and in a very real sense, rape—to demand any epistemic bang for our buck.
But until recently scientists could only dream of the same workplace rights their humanities counterparts take for granted.
Until recently a shameful double standard has prevailed. For far too long we’ve treated half our intellectual workforce little better than slaves—toiling in a Satanic, Dickensian knowledge-mine—when their only crime was to be born on the wrong side of the Sokal divide.
With climate science, that’s changed.
If only Einstein had the slightest idea how literally his epistemological adage would one day be taken! He might’ve died happy, secure in the consolation that his ideas mattered after all.