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The Significance of the Hamburg Workshop: Post-Normal Science and the Maturing of Science

Jerome Ravetz

Keywords: CLIMATE SCIENCE; NON-VIOLENCE; POST-NORMAL SCIENCE; QUALITY

Abstract

In this essay I review my own involvement in climate science, and attempt to draw some useful lessons. I start with a critique of the theory of post-normal science (PNS). This is derived from the experience of the effective criticisms of PNS that were made on the blogosphere. I proceed to a critique of climate science itself, which might be described as the attempt to solve a post-normal problem by "normal science" methods. Since quality, in a variety of aspects, became crucial in the Climategate debates, I analyze that concept in the fraught context of a politicized, contested science. Such sciences have the seeds of tragedy for those who innocently engage with them believing that their task is simply to speak truth to power. Finally, out of my personal history I suggest that we keep in mind the personal investment of anyone holding a contested view, and respect their struggles to maintain integrity when their core beliefs are under attack. This motivates the fostering of non-violence in debates on policy science issues.

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