2. Intellectual Inertia

An Uneasy Tension between Collective Validation of the Known and Encouraging Exploration of the Unknown

  1. Thomas J. Sauer1,
  2. John M. Norman2 and
  3. Mannava V. K. Sivakumar3
  1. John M. Norman

Published Online: 7 JUN 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470960257.ch2

Sustaining Soil Productivity in Response to Global Climate Change: Science, Policy, and Ethics

Sustaining Soil Productivity in Response to Global Climate Change: Science, Policy, and Ethics

How to Cite

Norman, J. M. (2011) Intellectual Inertia, in Sustaining Soil Productivity in Response to Global Climate Change: Science, Policy, and Ethics (eds T. J. Sauer, J. M. Norman and M. V. K. Sivakumar), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470960257.ch2

Editor Information

  1. 1

    US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, Ames, Iowa, USA

  2. 2

    Department of Soil Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA

  3. 3

    Climate Prediction and Adaptation Branch, World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

Author Information

  1. Department of Soil Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 7 JUN 2011
  2. Published Print: 15 JUL 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470958575

Online ISBN: 9780470960257

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Keywords:

  • Intellectual inertia;
  • climate change science;
  • bias in science;
  • integrity;
  • defining intellectual inertia

Summary

Science is a powerful human endeavor for exploring the unknown; it includes a dynamic balance between the stabilizing influence of intellectual inertia and the destabilizing role of innovation and creativity. The term “intellectual inertia”, which is used but rarely defined, is explored and some historical examples of its formidable influence on the conduct of science included. Climate change science is viewed as having an unavoidable excess of intellectual inertia, and some suggestions are forwarded for moderating the excessive influence of this intellectual inertia.