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Bullying is everywhere and it works — even on surgeons

Global Warming, Bullies, Kevin Rudd,

The evidence is overwhelming right?

Civilization is a pretty thin veneer, really.

Bullying and coercion is not just a school-yard thing. It’s everywhere and even at the highest levels.

This report on Australian surgeons was released a few months ago, uncovering bad behaviour from people we would normally think of as being outstanding and pretty darn smart. So bullying works even on people at the top of the pecking order, and in supposedly the most caring of professions.

We humans are a gregarious lot, and we pretend we’re all rational, but the pressure to conform and fit in is intense. Even for rational souls it’s easier to say nothing. No wonder the climate science debate is loaded with namecalling, bad manners, and petty mockery. Politicians and newspaper editors often don’t speak up because they are afraid of being called stupid or a “denier”.


Bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment are rife in the surgical profession, a damning report has found.

Half the surgeons and trainees who responded said they had been victimized.

We are winning the debate on the science, but we need to win the social war too:

Although about three out of five registered trainees surveyed said they’d been bullied, making complaints was widely believed to be “career suicide”.

Sexism was entrenched and endemic and sexual harassment pervasive, with women reporting they felt powerless to protest.

Skeptics often undervalue the networking and social effects. But it’s not enough to get the physics and the facts right, we need to reach the crowd.
Never underestimate the impact of sending emails and letters of support to the people you see taking that risk. (Heck, praise, approval and fear of retribution is what keeps most of the global scare campaign running — that and a few billion). Keep writing the letters to the editor, complaining to your universities and adding your comments to news stories. You may never get acknowledgment but it sucks the confidence from offenders and bolsters those who fight back. Bullies are stopped by third party observers who speak up.
It’s a self esteem thing. Many of our most successful people in society hide their lack of confidence with science — they’re the ones deferring to “experts” (ain’t it especially so with science-journalists?)
They need to know that climate science is so awful, that the holes in it are so wide, that we only need common sense to see them, no PhD required.


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