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To keep politics out of science, scientists need to be more scientific, not more political

Since when was science “political?” Answer: It’s not, but the institutions and bureaucrats who pretend to be scientists are. In the past, partisan scientists would at least try to hide that and keep up the dispassionate persona that marks a seeker of the truth. Now some scientists wear their bias like a badge.

How do we stop the politicisation of science? Not this way. Daniel Sarewitz argues (weakly) in Nature that we need scientists of both political sides in “expert” panels:

The US scientific community must decide if it wants to be a Democratic interest group or if it wants to reassert its value as an independent national asset. If scientists want to claim that their recommendations are independent of their political beliefs, they ought to be able to show that those recommendations have the support of scientists with conflicting beliefs. Expert panels advising the government on politically divisive issues could strengthen their authority by demonstrating political diversity. The National Academies, as well as many government agencies, already try to balance representation from the academic, non-governmental and private sectors on many science advisory panels; it would be only a small step to be equally explicit about ideological or political diversity. Such information could be given voluntarily.

He’s missing the point

“Expert” science panels should only ever be judged by their science not their politics. A successful panel can judge theories by objective criteria: do they predict the world around us, are they strictly logical, and do they have observational evidence (data) to back them up? With so many incompetent professors and meaningless Nobel Prizes, qualifications don’t guarantee ability anymore. The idea that we could ask “experts” how they vote or tally up their donations to political parties is profoundly unscientific. Nature has lost the plot.

If Daniel Sarewitz wants people to perceive scientists as rising above politics, I hate to say the bleeding obvious, but scientists need to actually rise above politics. Scientists need to stop being activists and start holding logic and evidence above all else, and speak cautiously about their ability to predict the world until they can demonstrate their ability to do it.

What we need are not Democrat-scientists or Republican-scientists, we need scientist scientists.

When some scientists are caught hiding declines, honest upstanding scientists need to denounce them. When good scientists don’t speak up about the bad ones, is it any wonder the public assumes that all of science is as corrupted, sick and self serving as every other human institution?

In climate science the self-correcting mechanism of reality takes an age to winnow the trash from the treasure. Billions can be wasted in the meantime. Compare that to the wizards of Silicon Valley whose products are tested day after day. Who cares about the political inclinations of those technologists? It works, or it doesn’t.

When scientists predict that there will be no more snow, and it snows, there ought to be a price. When a scientist can tell us the rains won’t fill the dams and that our cities need expensive desal plants, and he’s proven wrong yet suffers no loss of reputation or stature (or funds), what does it mean to be a scientist? Nothing. The people trashing the reputation of all scientists are the ones who stay silent while charlatans steal the brand-name and good will of science, and get away with profoundly unscientific behavior.

Government science will end up advocating “big-government”

While real science is apolitical, the human machinery of science has been politicized by the funding mechanism adopted since WWII.

Science is an expensive business. The easiest way to get funded is to ask the government– look how many scientists are doing privately funded research. Since scientists are largely dependent on big-government, it follows that they like big-government, and it’s inevitable that science institutions will gravitate towards supporting big-government parties. It only makes it worse that academia is also a big-government culture, and scientists taught in government schools usually graduate from government funded universities (even if they are private, most of the research funding is from government), and go on to work in government funded research, surrounded by other people who’ve traversed exactly the same path. They all sit around in tea-rooms telling each other why “conservatives” are wrong, but they’ve hardly ever met one, let alone had repeated exposure. Some are such political pre-schoolers they think the “Tea Party” is extreme rightwing because they’ve no idea of what a libertarian is. Those who do know keep their mouth shut, lest it give away any politically “incorrect” inclinations. With few exceptions academia is almost a perfect filter for personality types who don’t compete well in the free market, who have no business experience, are not entrepreneurs, and have little inclination to take risks. The dominant culture keeps the other voices silent (read the comments on the Nature article where non-leftie academics don’t dare reveal their political leaning publicly).

Mark Steyn so aptly quoted Kate McMillan:

“What’s the opposite of diversity?

University.”

Roger Peikle Jnr writes that scientists need a new year’s resolution not to be partisan. He correctly points out that science associations like “Science” are only concerned about scientific integrity of the White House when the president is a Republican. What he doesn’t point out is that this demonstrates these institutions have become political first, scientific second — and that means they aren’t “science” associations anymore and therein lies the problem. Is it worth trying to save them?

Statements like, “science has become aligned with the Democratic party” are a part of the problem. It’s not “science” that’s aligned with any party, it’s the bureaucracy of science that has aligned itself with the Democrats.

The only way to keep politics out of science is to make the science in Science stronger, not the politics. The best way to do this is through the power of reputation and shame. Scientists who use ad hominem attacks or argue from authority ought be shamed by colleagues for being illogical and unscientific. Likewise science journalists ought to know they will be laughed at if they resort to such anti-science posturing. Instead science associations  themselves break laws of reason, and use name-calling to put down independent scientists and whistleblowers. “Denier” has no place in science, and praise for “consensus” science is something only a political activist would do, never a scientist. Where are the associations calling for scientists to speak accurately?

If the public lose respect for science associations it’s because the public are smart enough to spot the fakes. When science associations start acting scientifically they’ll earn respect. Until then, stacking panels with fake scientists of two political extremes will only prolong the mess.

What stops the rot?

Since the institutions of science will always lean towards big-government, ask yourself what force counteracts that? It ought to be the media, it ought to be good science journalists who expose the charlatans, but they are rare. What’s left?  An unfunded rabble of independent thinkers. Thank God for the Internet. Perhaps it’s time we figured out a way to support a bigger pool of independent thinkers — they’re the only thing standing in the way of the unholy-anti-science-alignment of Bad-Science, Bad-Politics, and Bad-Journalists.

 

 

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194 comments to To keep politics out of science, scientists need to be more scientific, not more political

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    Universal rule: Follow the money!

    As long as “science” is funded by Government, it will deliver what the Government wants. Truth, honesty, honor, and reality be damned. The money drives the results.

    What Government wants today is what Government’s have always wanted: more power, more control, more Government, and a more submissive governed. You don’t blame a skunk for smelling like a skunk nor should you blame Government for being what it is either. However, you should no more invite Government into your life than you would a skunk and then expect them to be anything other than what they are.

    “My bottom line is that if an activity can’t be sustained by private voluntary funding then it should not exist. If that were the case then roughly 98% of academia and Government would be out of a job and likely unemployable. However, the rest of us would be wildly more wealthy and productive. More importantly, we would be free to live our lives without the overhead of and interference from all the academic and Governmental parasites. Imagine, actually implementing respect for the individual owning HIS life, HIS liberty, and HIS pursuit of happiness.” From “Pure” Science


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    • #

      I agree, Lionell.

      The other part of the problem: After the Second World War ended, government scientists received public funds to inflate the egos of world leaders and make them believe they could control

      a.) Earth’s climate and
      b.) Earth’s inhabitants.

      Both lies are being exposed as falsehoods, but society is still bearing the brunt of the damage.

      http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-1936


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      • #

        Science decided the winners of the Second World War, and scientists were at the apex of their political power when the war ended.

        They had demonstrated the utility of science to world leaders by releasing over Hiroshima the energy (E) stored as mass (m) from the cores of uranium atoms.

        Feelings of elation and omnipotence are dangerous for those plagued with selfish, self-centered personalities – a not uncommon trait among leaders of nations and organizations.

        Therefore it is not surprising that scientists and politicians took mutual advantage of the other’s vanity – as scoundrel weavers did in Hans Christian Anderson’s story of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

        http://deoxy.org/emperors.htm

        The main difference: World leaders and leaders of the scientific community are now proudly parading stark naked before society displaying the awards and prizes they gave each other.

        What a sad, sad day for science and society.

        With deep regrets,
        Oliver K. Manuel
        PhD Nuclear Chemistry
        Space Physics Research
        Former NASA Principal
        Investigator for Apollo


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    • #
      Cookster

      Lionell,

      What Government wants today is what Government’s have always wanted: more power, more control, more Government, and a more submissive governed

      I am pro market, but I am not sure it is realistic to expect the majority of science” to not be funded by Government?

      Privately funded science would still need to be government regulated in some way. “Government” includes the non elected public sector workers and their elected bosses (‘Ministers’ in Australia). “Government” desire for increased power, control and more government is in turn is a product of the politicisation of the public service. Public Servants – including scientists – are supposed to operate apolitically. Unfortunately it does not seem to work out that way.

      Just as science and politics needs to operate at arms length, the elected government and the non elected public sector workers including scientists need to behave as if arms length or “above politics” as Jo puts it. If someone can work out how to do that the resulting ‘service’ (and science) might actually improve plus Western taxpayers might get more bang for their buck.


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      • #

        There is no practical difference between Government Funded and Government Regulated. The Government makes all the choices at the point of a gun. The thoughts, choices, purposes, and individual rights of either the source of the funds or the targets of the regulation are considered to be irrelevant, immaterial, and otherwise not necessary to respect. No good can come of this because it is anti-life and anti-mind from the get go.


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        Sean

        “Privately funded science would still need to be government regulated in some way.”

        Why, Cookster.

        You float your hypothesis, on which your whole argument hinges, but provide no rational for why scientific inquiry “needs to be regulated by the government”.


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          Cookster

          To Lionell & Sean:-

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing – just putting forth a statement that I feel would be similarly asked by others who do not frequent this site. I have never worked for the government but can still see Bulldust’s point of view.

          Why is science for example any different to say Corporations ? There is a whole Corporations act regulated by ASIC in Australia and the SEC in the USA to regulate the Corporate Sector in the best interests of investors, creditors etc. If Science is to be privately funded should not we expect science to be regulated so that output is objective and conforms with the scientific method etc? Would you like science to be manipulated by who has the most money? Of course not – that is just as bad as science being manipulated by elected Politicians with agendas and driven by their own political ideology.

          As I understand it the issue is not government Vs Private but the seperation of powers between elected politicians and those in the public service who act upon instruction of which ever political power is in office. The Public Service is supposed to act apolitically. Today, at least in Australia, I feel public sector workers are becoming more captive to the left of politics. Not sure how this can be broken but to me this is the root cause of the issue.

          Also, there is good regulation and bad regulation. Not all regulation is bad.


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          • #

            There is no such thing as a good regulation. Regulation assumes the government has the right to dictate behavior beyond prohibiting violation of individual rights. That is in itself a violation of individual rights. By regulating private choice and action the government has become the primary violator of individual rights.

            Each and every individual has a RIGHT to HIS life, HIS liberty, and HIS pursuit of happiness. No one, even government, has the right to violate rights!

            Just because you don’t like what someone does doesn’t make it any of your business. That is unless and until that someone uses physical force to violate YOUR rights. Then and only then is there room for proper government action to prosecute the offender.


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        CameronH

        I think that you will find that most major industries, for example process industries like Alumina production, mining, fossil fuel generation, chemical production, stopped going to Universities for “scientific research” many years ago. If you read this article you will find that bogus science has even crept into the medical and cancer research areas and private companies who rely on this research are starting to question their continued involvement with these now almost universaly corrupt institutions.

        Government money always corrupts as it is seen as free money and the strings attached are always politicized because governments, by their nature, are political organisations.

        As for the public service, the politicization is now done in the Universities. In times past the public service was recruited primarily from school leavers and there was quite a good system of internal training that focused on “Public Administration”. They are now drawn from all sorts of Humanities, social sciences and other “Complacency” studies courses run by anti western and anti capitalist ideologues whose only refuge from the unemployment lines is in the universities. Until all Government funding is stopped for research, and also the universities, the degradation of both science and public administration will continue.


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      Kevin Moore

      “My bottom line is that if an activity can’t be sustained by private voluntary funding then it should not exist.

      If that means no corporate funding, that is good.

      Benjamin Disraeli write in his book “Coningsby” :-

      “The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes.”

      Those doing the governing control both government and private enterprise.


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    • #
      Bulldust

      Speaking as a government employee who is frank and fearless (despite the obvious career limitations of this approach), I find comments such as 98% of us would be unemployable and out of a job somewhat, let’s say “amusing” to avoid too much rancor. I have been both employed and self-employed before entering government, and a university lecturer to boot. I have walked a few paths and lived in a few countries as well.

      Anywho, long story short, it is clear that government is required under a number of circumstances such as providing public goods (e.g. defence, police etc), regulation of some market processes where externalities are proven to exist and so on. But those thinngs best handled by an efficient market should be left as such, and the market unfettered from government regulation where it is not needed.

      Railing against a particular group, in this case government for the sake of railing just isn’t productive.


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      • #

        “regulation of some market processes where externalities are proven to exist and so on.”

        Everything that is produced has “externalities” (“carbon” foot print for example). Hence, by your principle, everything must be regulated by Government. How is that different from the oppressive situation we are in already?


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          Bulldust

          Hence the keyword “proven.” Also a little common sense is required in application – not all externalities are significant in size and/or impact.

          The case for smog causing ill health in the olde days is unequivocal (or present day in China), but the case for CO2 causing significant negative externalities is clearly not made by any stretch of the imagination. I find it grates every time I hear a politician saying “carbon pollution.” Firstly it is carbon dioxide, so they fail on scientific grounds, and secondly it is clearly not a pollutant in the traditional sense of the word.

          You will find that much of the bile that many here feel towards the institution of government should be aimed at the political masters and their political appointees at the top of government departments. Those further down the food chain are usually quite cycnical of their masters, but relatively powerless to change the situation. Ultimately chane has to originate with the electorate. If enough people stand up and say the “carbon tax” is crap, then the politicians will take notice. To date this really hasn’t happened.


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          • #

            “Those further down the food chain are usually quite cycnical of their masters, but relatively powerless to change the situation.”

            You are not powerless. You could quit and find a real job. If you can’t, then my statement about the likely unemployability of the majority of government workers in the private sector stands.

            Yes, there are legitimate Government jobs but they are a minute fraction of the jobs currently filled. The main consequence of the latter jobs is to make it nearly impossible for the productive few to create the wealth to pay for them.

            Government is a very dangerous servant and a lethal master. It has genuinely earned every bit of disrespect and anger it receives and more.


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            Bulldust

            I think I’ll leave it here as you are clearly driving an agenda of your own regardless of the facts.


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          • #

            I suggest YOU also have an agenda and are ignoring a massive amount of relevant facts! YOU have no more right to violate MY rights than I have to violate YOUR rights. By your living off the proceeds of stolen wealth (taxes) you are in gross violation of nearly everyone in society.

            Simply because you can’t think of any way to have things your way except by using the gun of government, does not mean you are innocent in the matter.


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      Delory

      As with any institution…If it is ‘too big to fail’, then it is probably too big a risk to be allow to continue to exist in its current form…. ‘It’ should be carved up, decentralized, redistributed and the resources re-allocated into sub-units that are no longer ‘too big to fail’


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        Kevin Moore

        Too late,Australia has already failed.

        There is the land mass commonly known as Australia, and the corporation called “Commonwealth of Australia” whose interests are their own profit and money – Do a search of Commonwealth of Australia at:-
        http://www.sec.gov/.


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      sophocles

      I must disagree with your thesis Mr Griffiths. Governments are probably the best source of funding for research as they are significantly more disinterested in the results and far more transparent in their practices. The rider is: as long as they allow the research organisations and the researchers to maintain their independence. The sentiment of “who pays the piper calls the tune” actually, from my experience, applies far more to private funders, who do invariably have an axe somewhere to grind, than I have ever seen to governement. I draw your attention to the corrupt practices of Big Tobacco who paid handsomely for research where the results apparently vindicated the funder.

      The “markets” are even more corrupt than “democratic” government because they do not have to answer to an electorate every few years. Government at least has that safety valve of electoral backlash which has no effect for private funders—they can keep anything and everything they want to secret.

      If “market forces” are so fantastically good then why does so much law have to be continuously created to try and keep them honest?

      Markets are only interested in this year’s bottom line. Any research which can’t be brought to the bottom line this year or next year won’t be considered. The market stakeholders (aka the speculators) won’t have a bar of it.

      What is really wrong with research now are the effects of some so-called “reforms” imposed by Governments around the world to impose so-called “market efficiencies” on the Universities and their researchers at the cost of their independence early last decade.

      They are a disaster. They were imposed to turn every thing into a “market.” and research into a “business,” without any thinking of it through. But then, we know Pollies can’t think, they just cling to their Chicago School of Economix mantras like the faithful believers they are.

      1. Research suddenly had to be capable of (ugly American word follows) being “monetised.” In other words, researchers had to find research which could be turned into a money-making enterprise, then apply for “research” funding. No money out? Come back next funding round.

      2. Research funding is now performance-based. The more papers a researcher is able to claim as previous research outputs, the greater the probability of that researcher’s grant application’s being successful and the greater the probability of full sum of the grant applied for being granted. (eg a psychologist’s “research” into climate denialism fits these constraints to a high level of confidence … ) Just having an idea to look into and asking for help with it is no longer enough, no matter how good that idea is.

      Can you spot the corruption of research from those two points?

      These are what I have seen:

      The first one means so-called “blue sky research” is so much less likely to be funded you may as well not bother asking. Yet it’s “blue sky” research which makes the big breakthroughs which underlie most of our present day technologies and which they rely on. Without further blue sky research, there is a very limited and decreasing window of opportunity for more breakthroughs. Consider Einstein and his Special and General theories of Relativity. No nuclear reactors for power generation. No sling-shotting space probes around the Sun and the planets to get them where their drivers wanted them to go. Over even the small scale of the Solar System, pure Newtonian mechanics was not up to the job.

      If James Clark Maxwell was not funded for his research into light, we wouldn’t have electricity, electronics, computers or satellites, global telephone networks, radar, radio, tv, nor radio telescopes, to mention a few of the main derivative technologies. Maxwell’s Equations were the result of “blue sky” research and were a huge breakthrough. At the time Maxwell derived his equations, no one could foresee TV and Radio Broadcasting in the future. Marconi was one of the first to apply them in 1901 some 45 years later when he set up the first coastal radio safety service for England. He couldn’t have done it without Maxwell’s Blue Sky research. Britain’s development of radar gave them a significant advantage in WWII. Again, without Maxwell it could never have happened.

      Point two is turning research into Trivial Pursuits. A researcher’s job is, typically, split between researching and teaching. Now it’s finding funding (40% of their time) researching (includes publishing papers, 40% of their time) and teaching (50% of their time). Yes, the arithmetic is correct. ;-) The overflow may justify the (low paid) services of a post graduate student, or even two, to cover some of the classes and do marking. So the research and the teaching both suffer.

      Researchers are having to come up with topics from which they can wring out the maximum possible number of papers. Anthropgenic Global Warming has proven a gold mine of opportunity for these researchers. Quick: make a parameterised computer (mathematical) model. Design it so it is highly sensitive to CO2 changes. Sit at a computer and run it over and over again, while playing with some of the parameters. Publish a paper about each run and the effect of modifying, slightly, a specific but different parameter. Call every result a “catastrophe” to ensure more funding for “improving” the model. Calculate the certainty or confidence level for each run within the context of the model. Look out the window? Why? Use real observations? No, those are

      obviously wrong

      In a nutshell, it’s now quantity which counts. To a “hot place” with quality.

      Those are just two aspects which have had a huge impact. Non-scientific and non-academic politicians have not heeded academic advice and imposed their own screwy market-oriented dogmas on the Universities.


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      • #

        “The sentiment of “who pays the piper calls the tune” actually, from my experience, applies far more to private funders, who do invariably have an axe somewhere to grind, than I have ever seen to governement.”

        Yes but you are not forced to fund the private activity if you don’t wish to do so. With Government, you have no choice. The Government takes what it wants at the point of a gun. If you don’t believe it, try not paying your taxes. THAT makes all the difference. That your are given the facade of having a vote does not change the picture. The mob rules over the individual because of the gun of Government and its willingness to use it.

        THIS is the ultimate of ax grinding that out grinds anything a private individual or group could ever hope to grind.


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          sophocles

          you are not forced to fund the private activity if you don’t wish to do so. With Government, you have no choice.

          Bad luck with that one. Any service provided by government which you benefit from, whether you use the service directly or not, then you should and must pay for your share of it. Otherwise you are a feeloader.

          Government’s job is to stop freeloaders from freeloading, hence the reservation to itself of the right to force you to pay.

          If you don’t like it, then you will have to find somewhere which is not a democracy to live. Taxes are for payment of services the government provides, such as law enforcement, justice, public education, public health, civil aviation, road transport safety, fire service and many other things.

          All citizens benefit indirectly and directly from these services so they are funded from taxes. It’s actually cheaper to fund them that way, which is why it is done that way. The services are provided at cost. There is only need for one-off investment in the service’s infrastructure and equipment as there is only one provider.

          Private services mandate a profit. Private services have to provide their own infrastructure and equipment for the service. When compared with at cost provision, the profit requirement makes the comparison a no-brainer, because there is no room for “competition” to keep the cost of provision down. It’s darned wasteful and very much more expensive to provide duplicate infrastructure + equipment for each competitor. Prohibitively expensive.

          Without competition, a private provider is a monopoly and monopoly pricing is effective at once. Government would then have to regulate it. But it would still have to allow a profit so which ever way you try to argue it, it is still more expensive than to have it as a tax-funded government at cost service. Monopolies rapidly become arrogant. I would rather headbutt with government over a service than a private monopoly. At least there is due process and rules the government has to abide by. Monopolies ignore the rules and do what they want to do, regardless.

          Why do think company’s like Serco are so keen to buy up publicly owned infrastructure?

          You benefit from the services even if you think you don’t do so directly. Is it safe to walk down the street in your neighbourhood, or do you need to drive a minitank, armed to the teeth, every time you go out? Is your abode an armed and armoured fortress or is it a “normal” unreinforced unarmed dwelling? If it’s safe and you don’t live in a fortress, then you are a significant indirect user of the law enforcement and justice services whether you have dealt directly with any officers of those services or not. And you should pay your fair share of the cost of those services whether you want to or not.

          A country where it almost all government services, except for the Secret Police, are privately provided (and this includes the wonderfully corrupt gaols …), is Haiti. (Wonderful place. It’s in the Caribbean so it’s a great climate: warm and sunny. Has occasional disasters like centennial earthquakes, and hurricanes every eleven years, but those are free.)

          Do you own any land? You should, because then you effectively don’t pay tax. Most of the value of your land comes from the government services. Your land will appreciate annually, at about the same annual value as the taxes you pay. (see: http://www.politicaleconomy.org/speindex.html). Through that, you both directly and indirectly benefit from the services.


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  • #
    Michael Urry

    Surely the reason that scientists have become more political is because politics in one form or another supplies their bread and butter.


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    • #

      Not IMHO.

      The CSIRO had been a great organization doing sensational work for decades even though it was funded by govt.

      No, what’s gone wrong is anything and everything to do with “The Environment” has been taken over by enviro nazis who were educated by the hippy professors of the 60s and 70s.
      These insufferable sons and daughters of bitches have organized themselves so well that some of them are bigger than many national governments and wield enormous influence worldwide.


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    PJB

    When you follow the money, it indicates the flow of influence which leads to the source of the problem.
    Power and the desire to develop, exploit and maintain it. Power over people, things and events. The alpha-male exerts his influence to maintain his status. We, as human animals, are no different. But can we be? Do we contain the seed that expresses the need for autonomy and well-being, free of fear and oppression?
    We have ingested what we have grown in our own fertile fields and it is making us more ill every day. Whatever it is that we are waiting for, I hope that it gets here before the end…


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      john robertson

      Yes except follow the money in CAGW, govt created, govt promoted thro propaganda and govt protected.
      Our wealth, used by our agents to attack and control us.
      The very agencies we developed to protect us from the consequences of public hysteria, are causing hysteria over a manufactured scare, seeking greater control.
      I say, Let madame guillotine sing.Sometimes the mob must rule.


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    Jaymez

    What a very good article. As eluded to, the very same issues arise in our Universities as in Science; that is politicisation and group think to the detriment of academic advancement and student learning.

    Perhaps in all University courses in general, and science courses in particular, there should be a compulsory first year, first semester unit about critical thinking, the scientific method and how to spot spin and bias.

    This would of course be a follow-on from a less rigorous but equally important and compulsory subject covered at critical points of the Primary and Secondary school curriculum.

    There could be a special chapter devoted to how the world was convinced humans were causing catastrophic global warming on the strength of some weak correlations and dodgy computer models along with a whole lot of activist spin.

    Another chapter could be devoted to how most of the western world was convinced that the best way out of a financial crisis was to spend money you don’t have on things you don’t need, while making life harder for the businesses which actually contribute to jobs and the economy.

    At least armed with the basic knowledge provided by this new subject at school and university, the malleable minds of our young would not be so easily polluted. It would also set a much higher standard for all academics, journalists, scientists and yes even politicians! And we might even get a smarter less gullible voting population.

    Somehow I can’t see Gillard/Garrett including that in their Education Revolution/Crusade!


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      Sean

      Training for students in critical thinking and scientific method is a good suggestion, but I think what is also needed is a general house cleaning of teachers who’s publication track records show that they allow activist bias to color their research – i.e. the firing of academic frauds like Mr Mann and Mr Lewindowsky.


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      Louis Hissink

      U of Western Australia vice chancellor in the Lewandowsky case suggested that climate sceptics be taught critical thinking 101; Lewandowsky averred that we were too dogmatic for this to work. I think Australian Climate Madness described those comments from a FOI request he made.


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  • #
    Bite Back

    Our $64,000 question is this: how do we do something about it? How do we change the way science is going?

    Anyone?


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      Ace

      You can do nothing! Just bide your time. Wait and see how it pans out.

      Oh shit, Im about to do something Ive seen on forums so many times and until now have avoided doing myself: quoting Sun Tzu.

      He wrote…sit by the river bank long enough and you will see the bodies of yourenemies float past.

      Long enough probably means long after we are dead. But the whole fetid shit pile IS coming down eventually. How tall can a tower of dung rise (Sun Tzu should have asked that too)?

      In mostevery topic these days we see that Western societies are at the end of their long slow decline. Theres nothing that can be done but see it through.


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        ExWarmist

        …and rebuild afterwards.


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        Bite Back

        …sit by the river bank long enough and you will see the bodies of yourenemies float past.

        …or the bodies of your friends…or your own if you could see it.

        I’d rather be found dead trying to do something constructive than found dead waiting for the words of some philosopher to pan out.


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      john robertson

      Not long now, stay villigent and prepare to ruthlessly mock and ridicule the saviours when they start their next campaign for power over us.
      Archive their nonsense now and block them each time these clowns grab after council, board and parliament positions.
      The bureaucracy must be flushed out. A WUWT commenter said , by applying more of the aerosol that makes these creatures stop their gnawing on the roots of society and stumble out into the open for all to see. Lewandosky comes to mind.
      Getting your local eco-loons on camera, signing the petition to ban DiHydrogen Monoxide would be very helpful for the future.
      Keep the web free of govt control.


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    Ace

    Ive recently survived 4 years of a science degree. So what I can tell you is bang up to the minute. Its not nice. its not pretty and it means nothing you or anyone else has written to this end will count for squat.

    It is that starting from the principle that its impossible to be truly objective, it has now become a basic presupposition that ALL science has ALWAYS been conducted to advance the power of groups (and is therefore political). Moreover, the idea of “discovery” has been replaced with the notion that knowledge is ALWAYS and ONLY “CREATED”! Yes, upper case is warranted. We live in an age when the idea of objective reality has finally been declared a remnant of Patriarchal Western White Man.

    Upper case because…this shit is shoved down your throats (as an undergraduate) at every feckin turn.

    Thats the intro, more in part two…


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      Ace

      …I said there was more. Thisis my view of what has happenned to science as with everything else.

      Basically, science has been swallowed into that great wobbly mass of sub-Marxist bourgouise White Guilt that in essence has come to dominate all post-Imperial cultures (especially of the Anglo-sphere).

      During the Cold War the active and very real influence of the USSR on domestic affairs via the funding of indiginous subversives meant that these elements were closely monitored and in some cases kept out of positions of influence. Whether that was someone flunking “positive vetting” for a government post or one of the many thousands rendered unemployable in industry by being black-listed at The Economic League.

      As a sixth former I attended a security services careers talk in which it was not considered at all controversial for he spokes-lady to explain that the job consisted of keeping tabs on people.

      Then the Cold War ended, the USSR disappeared and what happenned. All the checks on subversives ceased as indeed the very concept of “subversive” was abandoned.

      Two and a bit decades on and those who would once have been listed as “subversives” and the subject of agency dossiers have filtered into the very fabric of every aspect of Western societies. It is those who would have been called “subversives” who now shape the agenda and policies in buearocracies,education and academia, indeed in government itself.

      So, such essentially Marxist dogmas as “there is no such thing as objective reality” ARE the new “reality”.

      Short of events in Europe and the USA going along the lines of the era of Latin American counter-subversive regimes (Chile, Argentina, et al) there is no prospect this will ever be changed back again.

      Unless, of course, we do see the dreaded total collapse of Western economies, in which case millions of these bastards will be out of their positions of influence, which are mostly publicly subsidised.


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        It is called Post Modern Philosophy from which Post Normal Science flows. Once you accept the premise that there can be no such thing as objective knowledge, you have destroyed your mind and have set yourself on the path to extinction.

        However, the premise started with Plato (we perceive reality as if by shadows on a cave wall) and continued through Kant (one cannot know a thing as such but can acquire social knowledge). From there, it spread like a malignant cancer through countless people, institutions, and halls of governance. The cycle of expansion has almost reached its end state.

        The reason it has been so successful? The premise seemed to free men of the responsibility to know by acts of reason (no longer was actual thinking required), it eliminated the rigor of logic applied to experience (left room for faith and belief), it permitted the seekers of power to play everything deuces wild (the end justifies the means), and it intellectually disarmed the intended victims (as in who am I to know?).


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          Louis Hissink

          Lionell,

          You might find Ravetz’s take on Post Normal Science interesting – as I understand it, this happens when a science can no longer be tested empirically etc etc.

          However as Ace comments, the horses have well and truly left the stable, and there is little anyone can do but to keep the flame alive, and wait. It’s happened before though how long this particular dark age will be with us, is unknown.


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          Andrew McRae

          the end justifies the means

          You say this sarcastically, but isn’t it literally true and logically necessary?

          Sorry, whenever I see people dissing “the end justifying the means” I have to wonder what they are actually trying to say, and if they are repeating a cliché they don’t even understand.

          Generally the “end” is the only thing that can ever justify any “means”, that’s just logical. That’s what a plan claims to be: a sequence of actions justified by an end result, which consists of both desired effects (benefits) and predicted side-effects (or costs) of the plan.

          Possibly a source of confusion here is whether “end” means intended or actual outcome. I believe in this context it means intended outcome if we are talking about moral decision making rather than history lessons and post-mortem analysis.

          When a totalitarian claims “the end justifies the means”, a rejection of their excuse does not imply that “the end justifies the means” is false generally, it means the totalitarian does not rank highly the side-effects that his particular plan has on others – e.g. preserving public welfare isn’t part of the goal when it should be. Or worse still, the dictator is a sociopath whose ulterior goal is the deplorable side-effects, with the stated benefit being a distraction to delay political opposition.

          Also, I do not see how rejection of Objectivism could lead necessarily to disregarding the consequences of one’s plans. Surely for the authoritarians it is because they simply don’t care?
          I go one step further and suggest that the totalitarian’s reliance on objective decision making can lead to them discounting consequences that can’t be measured – such as your pain, for example.


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            Means and ends are not independent choices. They are a tightly bound couple. There is no such thing as an end that can be achieved by any random means. There is also no such thing as a means that can achieve any random end. Hence, one must simultaneously justify the means and ends couplet by use of external standards.


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        Rereke Whakaaro

        … the Cold War ended, the USSR disappeared and what happenned. All the checks on subversives ceased as indeed the very concept of “subversive” was abandoned.

        The world changed when the Berlin Wall came down, and all the Communists escaped …

        I commend your comments, Ace.


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      John Brookes

      They must teach science differently wherever you did your degree. The beauty of science is that it is objective. The beauty of science is that you can have any theory you like, but nature will tell you if it is wrong.

      Having said this, climate science is markedly different from physics or chemistry. It’s different because you can’t set up experiments and see what happens, controlling for every variable except the one you are interested in. So it has an element of hit and miss about it, which makes it particularly easy to criticise.


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        AndyG55

        “but nature will tell you if it is wrong.’

        Then why do you still accept the AGW hypothesis. !!! ?????

        DOH !!!


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          John Brookes

          Because its still getting warmer, and there is no other credible explanation for it bar CO2. Why don’t you accept it?


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            AndyG55

            data says otherwise.

            but don’t let that persuade you.


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            AndyG55

            I think you meant, “there is NO warming, hence it CANNOT be CO2 that causes warming”.

            If not, then you have obviously misinterpretted the data, as usual.


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            Otter

            So it (was) getting warmer. We came out of the LIA, why would it Not get warmer?


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            Because its still getting warmer, and there is no other credible explanation for it bar CO2. Why don’t you accept it?

            Oh FFS I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Just above at 6.2 this prime example of a useless taxpayer fund sucker said..

            The beauty of science is that it is objective. The beauty of science is that you can have any theory you like, but nature will tell you if it is wrong.

            In other words, this otherwise unemployable drain on society is urging us to accept that an argument from ignorance is good science.

            HAVE YOU NOT READ A SINGLE WORD OF THIS ARTICLE JOHN? IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE THIS DENSE YET BE EMPLOYED IN A MODERN UNIVERSITY?


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            ExWarmist

            Ahh… the old Argument from Ignorance Fallacy

            JB – looks like you have once again missed it by that much…


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            But it is not, is it John. The data from all the formal sources says it is NOT. Yet you maintain it is. How is that? Is that the ideology of CAGW and all that comes with it is more important than the truth? Or what? Please, do share with us why you continue to insist that reality is not reality

            http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/01/06/crowdsourcing-a-temperature-trend-analysi/


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            sophocles

            But it’s still getting warmer …

            Strike 1. It’s not. Do you know something which Professor Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit doesn’t? The HADCRUT data showed the climate hasn’t warmed over the last 15 years. Therefore, if there has been no warming, it can’t be warming.

            there is no other credible explanation for it bar CO2

            Strike 2: There is. The alternative is Svensmark, Shaviv, Veizer and Marsh’s hypothesis for the Galactic Cosmic Ray flux variations and the effect of these on low tropospheric cloud cover.

            climate science is markedly different from physics or chemistry. It’s different because you can’t set up experiments and see what happens,

            Strike 3: Caught and bowled. Experiments can and have been set up—and run. Svensmark did his on a tiny budget and he proved the physics and the chemistry. You can download his papers from: his anonymous ftp server. (User: ftp Password: your email address).

            CERN’s CLOUD experiment was run on the Large Hadron Collider. It cost a lot more than Svensmarks experiments. The interesting point: it confirmed Svensmark’s experimental results completely. It clarified the chemistry, picking up a small point Svensmark missed: the tiny amount of ammonia which is always present, acts as an important catalyst. Check the experiment. I found Kirkby’s paper there somewhere. With a little effort, you might be able to, too.

            None of the AGW researchers have bothered trying to do real-world experiments. This weakens their argument(s) enormously. They mistakenly rely on their (unproven, unvalidated) computer models to do it all for them, and ignore real world obervations. However, even these are experiments. even if the results are no longer credible (real-world observations have now diverged significantly from the model’s forecasts, rendering them invalid).

            When Nature’s actions continue to agree with an hypothesis, and other experiments add to the results, then it’s a good hypothesis. When Nature doesn’t match, then the hypothesis is a Jumbly’s boat (the Jumblies went to sea in a sieve), and should be thrown out.

            Over the last 15 years, average global temperature has not increased. Over the last 15 years mankind has released CO2 at about 8-9% of the TOTAL alleged human emissions to date. Time for “it’s CO2” to be tossed out. For a trace gas, CO2 ( at less than 0.04% of the atmosphere, and it’s IR absorption and re-emission 1/7th that of water vapour—which is typically present at about 4% of the atmosphere in the tropics) has been assigned magical properties to achieve what it is being blamed for. Nature and I do not do magic.

            (You can find Shaviv’s work at his blog )

            There’s a great big ugly monster out there in space which controls our climate. This thing is huge: the Galaxy. The assumption (and it is an assumption: the IPCC in AR1, 1990, wrote: “ in the absence of any other known mechanism, it is assumed the emissions of CO2 …) any measured warming is caused by humans is the exact same mental mechanism behind every witch hunt of blame someone else.

            If you find Svensmark’s papers too indigestible (I find he writes quite well), then Nigel Calder’s blog can help you understand them. (Calder is an ex-editor of New Scientist)


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        Rereke Whakaaro

        But John,

        Climate Science is supposed to be firmly based on the sciences or Physics and Chemistry and Mathematics. That was the whole point.

        You can set up experiments in cloud chambers, and Svensmark has even done so in exploring his hypothesis regarding Cosmic Radiation acting as a condensate for water vapour.

        What your comment actually implies that climate science (your lack of capitals, not mine) is probably more related to the field of Psychology, and the sub-field of behaviour modification (nee propaganda) with in that.

        And if that was your intent, then I thoroughly agree.


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          John Brookes

          Come on Rereke. The study of climate is an application of physics, chemistry and maths. There are some definitive statements about climate that we can make, and plenty more that we can’t.


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            Mark

            No, John. The science of climate as you understand it is an nothing but an exercise in argumentum ad ignorantIum.

            You can’t blame the dog for breaking wind in the TV room simply because you can’t think of anyone (anything?) else it could be.


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            AndyG55

            “The study of climate is an application of physics, chemistry and maths”

            Then why do so many AGW disciples ignore these basics?

            Gees John, wake up dude !! you is stumbling really badly the last few weeks.


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        Crakar24

        Where would one start?

        So it has an element of hit and miss about it, which makes it particularly easy to criticise.

        And yet you support the AGW theory whole heartedly? Stand by the models that do not reflect reality, well within the standard “hit or miss” error bars.

        Having said this, climate science is markedly different from physics or chemistry.

        If Climate Science is not built upon the bedrock of Physics and Chemistry then sorry JB but it is not science, so one must ask what is it?

        Oh here is the answer

        It’s different because you can’t set up experiments and see what happens, controlling for every variable except the one you are interested in.

        Its what they call a “soft science”

        I dont normally use wiki but they do a nice job here

        Hard science and soft science are colloquial terms used to compare scientific fields on the basis of perceived methodological rigor and legitimacy.[1][2][3] Roughly speaking, the natural sciences are considered “hard” while the social sciences are usually described as “soft”.[3] Hard science is sometimes used synonymously with exact science.

        And

        Precise definitions vary,[4] but features often cited as characteristic of hard science include: producing testable predictions; performing physical controlled experiments; relying on quantifiable data and mathematical models; a high degree of accuracy and objectivity; and generally applying a purer form of the scientific method.

        Note the bold section so yes i think Climate Science fits nicely in the realms of a soft science would you all agree?


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          Louis Hissink

          This aspect of science was covered in the lead article of AIG News Issue 87; then it was not specifically cited as an example of pseudoscience, but since it now clearly is.

          It’s why Ravetz described it as post-normal-science, and as climate science was spawned from the geography departments, where the scientific method was a badly understood, and then invaded by the students from the social sciences in order to fulfil their “science” quota in the multi-disciplinary education policy since 1972, among whom the scientific method was an alien tongue, it is little wonder that it’s in a mess.

          The problem is that climate science is also joined by astrophysics, cosmology and geology and archaeology in being sciences that can’t perform in situ experiments. So how do we ensure that these soft sciences don’t go off the rails?

          Issue 87 of AIG News is downloadable from http://www.aig.org.au, for those interested.


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          John Brookes

          Yep, its a soft science. We can’t perform experiments. We can’t rely on individual results, but rather on weight of evidence.

          But that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful, and can’t make good predictions. Its just that those predictions will be statistical in nature.


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            Winston

            And the predictions are woefully inaccurate, and the statistical methodology poor (as McIntyre repeatedly demonstrates). So, what else ya got?


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            Lars P.

            John, it becomes clear why you are resistent to the scientific method and to the discussions about hard-science.
            This is indeed the main issue with “climate soft-science”. It is not science.
            It is exactly what skeptics discover with surprise. It was selled to us as hard-science, which it is not. And it clarifies why the supporters of this soft-science are to be found in other soft-science areas.


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        Bite Back

        Stop me if I’m wrong but didn’t you just contradict yourself?

        The beauty of science is that you can have any theory you like, but nature will tell you if it is wrong.

        But then when nature is clearly telling you you’re wrong, you deny it. So who is the real denier?


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          John Brookes

          You must be confused, Bite Back. At this stage nature keeps telling the “skeptics” that they are wrong. But they battle on regardless.


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            Winston

            Exactly how does nature prove skeptics wrong?

            We remain unconvinced by computer models that have demonstrated no predictive ability without constant adjustments, and we remain unconvinced that catastrophic warming of 6 degrees this century will happen, when the first 12 years of the century has shown no warming consider statistically significant.

            How does a lack of catastrophe bolster your case? How does a lack of significant increase in temperature for the last 15 years strengthen your conviction and erode our contention that your hypothesis is unproven? How does a lack of trend in disastrous hurricanes, storms or other extreme weather increase your certainty that these events will now happen at greater frequency? I think most reasonable people know you are confused, and your constant denial of the obvious certainly bolsters that particular contention.


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            Bite Back

            John,

            I despair of trying to debate with you since you refuse to debate. All you ever offer is talking points and off the wall one liners. I could get a better debate from the chair I’m sitting on right now.

            Let me (all of us) know if you ever get the bug to try using actual evidence and sound argument to support your position. In the meantime I’ll keep my life insurance paid up just in case you do and I die of shock. :-)


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        Having said this, climate science is markedly different from physics or chemistry. It’s different because you can’t set up experiments and see what happens, controlling for every variable except the one you are interested in.

        Bwahahah ahahaha bwahahhahahha oh my sides are aching.

        Let me remind you of which side of this debate continuously, relentlessly refers to the experiments of Arrhenius as proof of the hard physical basis of the greenhouse effect.
        Anyone who claims that CO2 does NOT cause warming is immediately set-upon with the “We’ve known since Arrhenius” meme.

        Yet here you are claiming that it’s not possible to set-up experiments to see what happens AND a little further down in comments claiming we don’t know what else could have caused the warming SO IT MUST BE CO2 BECAUSE ARRFRIGGINGHENIUS PROVED IT IN AN EXPERIMENT 150 YEARS AGO.

        Yep John, you belong in a university forever condemned to wear brown cardigans and sandals. An irrelevant who can’t think for himself, who can’t use logic or reason let loose in a taxpayer funded institution helping churn out the next generation of lemmings who can’t think for themselves and can’t use logic or reason.

        God help us.


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        ExWarmist

        JB says ….

        They must teach science differently wherever you did your degree. The beauty of science is that it is objective. The beauty of science is that you can have any theory you like, but nature will tell you if it is wrong.

        [1] ZZZZZzzzz – Wrong: Your theory has to be falsifiable by measurable empirical data for nature to be able to tell you that you are wrong. “Any theory you like” – just doesn’t cut it.

        [2] But let’s have it your way – you would therefore be willing to admit that the absence of a tropospheric hotspot means that there can be no dangerous man made global warming due to the absence of a measurable signal for positive water vapor feedback – let’s wait for your admission…..

        Having said this, climate science is markedly different from physics or chemistry. It’s different because you can’t set up experiments and see what happens, controlling for every variable except the one you are interested in. So it has an element of hit and miss about it, which makes it particularly easy to criticise.

        [3] Your still wrong… there are multiple predictions that were made, which have been and continue to be falsified by actual measured empirical evidence, for example.

        [3.a] Prediction of a tropospheric hot spot – not found using radiosondes.

        [3.b] Prediction that LWR would decrease at the top of the atmosphere – opposite found by the ERBE and CERES satellite systems.

        [3.c] Prediction that the world would warm 0.2 degrees Celsius from 2000 to 2010 – didn’t happen as measured by RSS, UAH and Hadcrut 4 amongst other data sets.

        But keep believing in your superstitious catastrophe dogma – it seems to satisfy some deep seated insecurity in your personality – just don’t claim that it is science.

        Cheers ExWarmist


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        Lars P.

        Come on John, do you really believe this?
        “climate science is markedly different from physics or chemistry. It’s different because you can’t set up experiments and see what happens, controlling for every variable except the one you are interested in. So it has an element of hit and miss about it, which makes it particularly easy to criticise.”

        Climate science should not base its work on experiments and observational data? You also have complex physics or chemistry where one cannot setup exactly the same experiment, but nevertheless using the scientific method science can progress.
        What is impending climate science to use measurements? To search confirmation in experiments? It does not need a second Earth for that?
        What is the heat transferred through the CO2 column through radiation in the air? Is this not a physical measurement needed for climate science? Where are those experiments? Is this not one of the major problems in climate science to use such data as input for modelling?

        Climate science is complex and needs input from many other science, physics, thermodynamics, meteorology, chemistry, why does climate science try to build a white tower only for climate scientists who have no clue how to understand many other science aspects?
        Climate science is complex and young, but it should be science.
        Unfortunately it is not. You just highlighted where the issue is.


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    Rereke Whakaaro

    I have long thought that the problem is with the funding.

    Science has, over the past fifty years, become more specialised, more expensive, more political, and strapped for cash.

    Since the Government has all the money, and since the Scientists seem to have a monopoly on bovine-based organic fertiliser, to acquire said money, we need a different funding mechanism.

    One possibility, which needs to be explored further, is to have an independent funding organisation that is outside the direct control of both the recipients of the funding (the Universities and Research Organisations), and the providers of the funding (the Government and the Philanthropic Foundations).

    One possibility would be to constitute the funding body with people who are retired, or otherwise at the end of their careers.

    These people could drawn from a range of professions — retired scientists, from a wide range of disciplines, former business executives, from a wide range of industry, former members of the legal profession, and former members of the medical profession. The funding body should also include lay-members, of retirement age, drawn from the general public, with no specific specialist skills, whatsoever.

    The wide range and levels of skills and experience represented by such a body, would require the applicant to express any request for funding in terms that can be understood by all members.

    The tenure of members could be for a fixed term, and all members would receive a fixed salary while they sit on the body, followed by a modest additional pension once they leave.

    Still a lot of thinking to do around this … and how it could be implemented in the face of the guaranteed hostile hoards has yet to be considered.


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      If there is a source of funds from the Government, the funding will NOT be voluntary nor private. It will be funds taken at the point of a gun and used for purposes the source would not want otherwise it would already have been given. The power to decide goes with the gun that enforces the taking. THAT corrupts the funding from the get go. The rest follows as if a geometric proof.


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        Mike

        It’s part of the decline of the West in general. We went down the path of Big Government after WW2. That has corrupted everything from banking to economics to science.

        Government has too much power, it’s as simple as that. It can extract wealth from the populace seemingly without end via taxes, fees, manipulating interest rates and printing money. No-one should have the power to do these things.

        Government scares us into thinking we need them. The reality is it is nothing more than a monopoly protection racket. We need competition in government, so that we can choose who we want to provide protection for us. But then I guess it wouldn’t be government any longer, just security firms competing for your business…


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          ExWarmist

          Limit government via the constitution.

          Some issues jump to mind.

          [1] The constitution will need to be tougher on government, with more extensive checks and balances, than the US Constitution is, as the guardians of the US Constitution have allowed the creation of the Leviathan US Federal Government and it’s extensive apparatus of control, murder and theft.

          [2] How do we bell the cat.


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            Kevin Moore

            The Christian Constitution says:-

            Romans 12:2,

            “And do not fashion yourself in accordance with this age but undergo a spiritual transformation by the renewing of your mind.”

            To avoid spiritual corruption, the disciples were told to,

            “Observe and take heed; avoid the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

            [Matthew 16:6].

            “Apply your mind – avoid the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy”

            Luke 12:1

            “Then they knew that He did not say to take heed from the leaven of bread, but from the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

            Matthew 16:12

            “For mystery already works of lawlessness, only He restraining now, until out of the midst it occurs when will be revealed the lawless one whom the Lord will destroy by the Spirit of His mouth……”

            2 Thessalonians 2:8


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            gnome

            If that’s what the christian constitution says, it begs the question “Was it sober when it said it?”.


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            Mike

            Where is the evidence that government’s follow constitutions?

            Doesn’t matter what you put in it, there will be a point in time where a government has to go against the constitution in order to “protect the citizens” or some such excuse. Or maybe they’ll just ignore it all together.

            We have to ask the question, why do we need a monopoly protection service with powers to make whatever laws it wants? Why not have competing services in the same geographical area that need to ask for your money rather than are able to forcibly take it, just like any other company?


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            Kevin Moore

            2] How do we bell the cat.

            http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/04-01-2013/123380-global_warming-0/

            What better way to staunch protests at worsening economic and life conditions than to make it feel like an honourable job/duty of the people to save “Gia”. At the same time, they used this “science” as a new pagan religion to further push out the Christianity they hate and despise and most of all, fear? Gia worship, the earth “mother”, has been pushed in popular culture oozing out of the West for a better part of the past 1.5 decades. This is a religion replete with an army of priests, called Government Grant Scientists


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      Ace

      Wont make a blind bit of difference. For the reasons I outlined (if you accept that thesis), in other words that the entire elite stratum from which any such body is recruited is of the same cloth. Excepting those very long retired or very senior parties who would not get a chance to be considered as they are too far “out” of the said culture.

      Theres absolutely no point trying to think of a constructive solution. Its always going to be like the police policing the police, the blind leading the blind and the Marxists assessing the Marxists.

      The only solution is wait until the whole lot comes down and something can grow in its place.


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        Ace

        …Ive a MUCH better approach (in spite of what I just wrote, although containing its own deconstructive elements):

        The notional funding panels should be recruited of members of the public who have no connection with science or politics selected at random and blind. Then anyone applying for funding will need to convince completely unbiased people who have no preconceptions and do so in totally transparent and accountable terms.If it cannot be explained in terms that an average voter can see the sense in then it probably isnt worth funding or even legitimate.

        The same process could be appliedto the hiring and administration of academics.


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        ExWarmist

        Hunker down…


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        ianl8888

        @Ace

        Ive recently survived 4 years of a science degree

        Although I think you may have drawn a long bow or two, I agree that Post Normal Science has been insidiously deleterious. It gives an almost free pass to the utterly lazy (why do I need to learn anything since it’s not real ?)

        Could you post, please, a) which Uni you completed your science degree at; b) which discipline you chose as the major ?


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    • #
      Lars P.

      “Since the Government has all the money, and since the Scientists seem to have a monopoly on bovine-based organic fertiliser, to acquire said money, we need a different funding mechanism.”
      Makes sense Rereke. One democratic way of funding science could be to define the funding quote in the budget but not the allocation.
      Every institution could ask for a budget from this general budget, but not the government but people could vote over internet directly where the budget should be allocated, each for his quota – what projects get funding and what projects not.
      Could be an interesting experiment and it could be started on a small scale, like for instance 0.01% of budget and 0.01% of voters who would register for the test – and then enlarge if it works.
      Just dreaming the perfect society …


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  • #
    tiger

    just look at the csiro ,that great institution who used to lead the world on scientific development now with most of the true scientists weeded out and just going around on the government merry-go-round


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  • #
    MadJak

    I suspect that many of the people who leant towards protesting and activism over the past 50 years were encouraged to go to university by their parents to try and avoid them becoming bums.

    Now we just have a bunch of bums in universities pretending to do science. And for the ones that aren’t self funded in some way, they’re susceptible to bias related to grants from biased funders.


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  • #
    KinkyKeith

    The first few comments above are fantastic because they show the problem quite clearly and that is always the biggest part of making changes.

    The absolute waste of human effort that has been identified in going down the path of “fighting or

    combating” CAGW is disheartening and leads to the “what if”.

    What If all of this money had been directed into progress.

    If I was able I would redirect all University Philiosphy Departments to redefine a new direction for

    Government with the aim of reducing the tax burden on workers and giving EVERYONE some useful work to do for

    the community. “No work No Pay” or in the politically sensitive version “Some Work Some Pay”.

    The dole should be completely eliminated in this new scheme

    The cash liberated by this clean out could have an appropriate stream sent to the CSIRO with the strict instruction that work on renewable energy is to commence with the aim of bringing costs to within 10% of current best practice in coal powered plants.

    No mainstream renewables are to be placed in the community until this target is achieved.

    University Commerce Departments could be put to work devising a scheme to bring tthe Aussie dollar back to something sensible, like 80 cents to the USD.

    Then we could have manufacturing and exports again instead of seeing all of our needs imported from low cost countries like New Zealand, South America and Asia.

    Dream on. The perfect world.

    KK


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    • #
      Popeye

      KK

      “The cash liberated by this clean out could have an appropriate stream sent to the CSIRO” PERHAPS to investigate this:

      If ANY of the warmists were serious about saving the planet because they forget CO2 is plant food they could think about investing research money into things like [url=http://news.newenergytimes.net/2012/11/30/report-of-lenr-session-at-american-nuclear-society-2/]LENR technology[/url] but NO we’ll miss the bus because we’ll be too busy following the warmist scam religion.

      The government could insist that Toyota use the odd $40 million we gave them to assist with [url=http://www.e-catworld.com/2012/12/report-toyota-replicates-mitsubishi-lenr-transmutation-experiment/]their investigations and experiments into LENR[/url] with us then having a finger in the pie so to speak.

      No – they’d just rather give money to despots, carbon traders and the UN for nothing with absolutely NO return.

      Bunch of fools!!!

      Cheers,


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    • #
      Ace

      Yeah, and Britain can build the TSR2 at last!


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  • #
    john robertson

    A scientists political standings have as much value as how they feel about life.
    You believe? Good for you, now prove it as a scientist.

    Science grew out of the irrational savagery of societies holding fixed beliefs.
    Praying to the Gods of Weather, sorcery, burning witches and heretics, think the Cathers in southern France circa 1300 AD,( General to Pope; How shall I discern the heretics from the faithful?
    Pope to general: Kill them all, God will know his own.) Bedlam is a noun for a reason.

    We found a method to reason together with.
    We called it the scientific method.
    Ain’t perfect, but it works better than most of mankinds tools.

    Power hungry people hate this tool. How does one demagogue their way to power with such a handicap?
    Well through watching the UN IPCC and politicians who cloak their malice in sciencey- nonsense.
    Corrupt the tool and bring back unreason, govt pays for the slant they desire, uses the slanted, twisted partial science to promote the power grab and abuses they desire.

    Works great until the public react, usually react badly to “WE had to lie to you, it was for your own good”.
    Then the politicians retire and the scientists get sacrificed to the mob. Both groups get pensions and society crumbles a little more.

    This time the over-reach is obvious and we may have to sacrifice a few more useful idiots to sooth the mob.This time I’m in the mob, nobody F…s with my religion .


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  • #
    junkpsychology

    The original point of grant or contract funding for academic research was that the equipment costs, and/or the costs of maintaining the research assistants to collect the data, would otherwise be prohibitive.

    Stephan Lewandowsky and co-principal investigators have used grant money to pay research assistants when the kind of survey research they were doing didn’t require any research assistants, and the equipment cost was essentially nil.

    What’s wrong with this picture?


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  • #
    Manfred

    In a nutshell Ace, you have described nicely why this site, and many others like it have become a potent Unterklasse, driving an irrepressible response to the unsustainable intellectual, scientific and (a)moral shackles imposed by

    great wobbly mass of sub-Marxist bourgouise White Guilt

    Unsurprisingly, the following hackneyed techniques will NOT work indefinitely:

    …The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over..

    …Think of the press as a great keyboard
    on which the government can play…

    …The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it…

    …If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth…

    (attributed to JG)


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    • #
      Kevin Moore

      Who controls propaganda?

      Propaganda, by Edward L.Bernays

      PROPAGANDA AND POLITICAL LEADERSHIP

      THE great political problem in our modern democracy is how to induce our leaders to lead. The dogma that the voice of the people is the voice of God tends to make elected persons the will-less servants of their constituents. This is undoubtedly part cause of the political sterility of which certain American critics constantly complain.

      No serious sociologist any longer believes that the voice of the people expresses any divine or specially wise and lofty idea. The voice of the people expresses the mind of the people, and that mind is made up for it by the group leaders in whom it believes and by those persons who understand the manipulation of public opinion. It is composed of inherited prejudices and symbols and cliches and verbal formulas supplied to them by the leaders.

      Fortunately, the sincere and gifted politician is able, by the instrument of propaganda, to mold and form the will of the people.

      http://www.whale.to/b/bernays.pdf


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  • #
    amcoz

    The CSIRO is a classical example of how ‘scientific institutions’ have been corrupted by the guvmint: ‘if ya don’t give’us wot we won’t ya don’t get the lollies for ya follies’. Cy-Roh used to be a per-eminent place of extraordinary, intellectual originality but since the guvmint of either persuasion in recent years, IMO, it has been gutted of any real scientists because there’s no money in real science these days. Such a pity.


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  • #
    Bruce

    “With so many incompetent professors and meaningless Nobel Prizes, qualifications don’t guarantee ability anymore.”

    I know this your hobby horse but Nobel prizes do mean something and it is trite to say that many professors are incompetent.

    What is true is that the possession of a Nobel prize does not guarantee that the individual is very bright nor able to make serious judgments on matter outside his narrow field.

    Many suffer from the Stockholm syndrome which overcomes some Nobel laureates after accepting a First class airfare to Sweden. This malady takes many forms, one of which is to display a sudden omniscience.

    As in every field, even blogers I dare say, only a few percent of the group is highly competent, the others to varying degrees are incompetent. So it is with professors.


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  • #
    junkpsychology

    How about Nobel Peace Prizes?

    Surely many of these have been worthless.


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  • #
    Aussieute

    Guinness Book of Records now involved in pseudo-science
    Given personal involvement in submitting records where direct verification, audit, observation and control of such events it would be interesting to follow up with said organization to provide similar evidence for their Climate Change claims


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    • #
      Richard the Great

      The 2013 edition of the GBR has reproduced MM’s hockey stick graph in all its glory sans MWP and MM. The comment is that it is “contentious”. Pathetic, really. Debunked pseudosceince and thoroughly I would say.


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  • #
    Ian H

    The fault for this postmodern rubbish lies with the sociologists who claim to study the sociology of science. It is hard enough for scientists to remain scientifically ethical without these devils chanting in the background that objectivity and rationality are myths, everything is political, and science is just one of many “equally valid” “ways of knowing”.


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  • #
    handjive

    From Pravada.com:

    Global warming, the tool of the West

    ❝ “The US alone spends $7 billion each year on warming “studies”, which is, in truth, nothing but a huge money laundering operation, as no real science is conducted and vapid alarmist reports the only product generated.

    This is a religion replete with an army of priests, called Government Grant Scientists.

    Various groups have fought back.
    This is including Russian hackers, who published a huge database of UK government, scientific and university emails depicting the fixing of data to sell Global Warming, er Climate Change (as if it never changed on its own).” ❞


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  • #
    Speedy

    And what’s the opposite of Progress? Congress.


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  • #
    Ross

    Steve McIntyre has returned from his trip and his first new blog is about thw AGU conference he attended. His comments confirm the thrust of Jo’s on this thread. He reports how Peter Gleick has been “welcomed back into the fold” without any repercussions for his indentity fraud episode.

    http://climateaudit.org/2013/01/05/agu-honors-gleick/


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  • #
    C.W Schoneveld

    @ Joanna Nova “meaningless Nobel Prizes”. Please insert the word “Peace”.


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  • #

    The answer is promoting critical thinking, its not hard to learn, http://www.triviumeducation.com is a free web site that teaches it. Challenge non thinkers to spend a few hours learning what their 15,000 hours at school missed.


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    • #
      Ace

      You can take a horse to water, but….

      In my experience, if someone cannot think critically you best either appreciate their other qualities or just ignore that they exist.


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    • #
      Louis Hissink

      Critical thinking therapy was proposed by the UWA vice chancellor for the sceptics in emails between her and Lewandowsky – see Aus Climate Madness for details.


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  • #
    J Cuttance

    A stock-take of the court intellectual-backed government service shows us that half of our labour is coerced and its fruits are handed to the privileged.

    The most precious commodity stolen is our time.

    It’s called slavery.

    What Joanne Nova is so bravely fighting for is our emancipation, and I sincerely thank her on behalf of all serfdom.


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  • #
    martinX

    Part of the problem is that Americans wear their politics openly, loudly and permanently tied to one side or t’other. In many states, when registering to vote, one may declare (at no cost) an affiliation with a political party, which enables them to take part in the primaries (with as much hoop-la as a football game). Add to that their propensity to have an election for just about any publicly-funded position (one county even has elections for the position of dog catcher), and you have a large chunk of the population that feel they have to “support their team” no matter what.


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  • #
    Neville

    Another informative video from Bob Tisdale comparing climate model predictions with real observations.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/01/06/drought-hurricanes-and-heat-waves-2012-in-perspective/#comment-1191658


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  • #
    bobl

    Actually, I think there is an unintended consequence of a drive back in the days Dawkins/Hawke destroyed higher education in Australia. The requirement was that universities became “Self Funding” both through the introduction of Fees(HECS) and targeted (paid) research. From that time forward research got done on “Whatever pays” rather than performing science for science sake (so called Pure Research / Blue Sky Research). I think it is the enforced linking of science to capitalism that created the conditions for the rot and we now reap what we sow.The CSIRO is certainly a victim of that change – I watched in happen from inside academia (where I was working at the time) If pure research was the Norm, The aim becomes “To be correct” and not Cost/benefit (Ie Grant dollars earned). Research would be done equally on AGW and other GW causes because the profit motive is gone and the competition is to be the first to be right!. University research should solve interesting problems, not seek a cost benefit. Business/Government can fund it’s own research outside the academic network to invent CD players and Flash memory and promote government mythologies.

    I think we need to separate public sector science from business/government, and Universities should be given Block grants to administer themselves, rather than money with all sorts of (Government Policy tow the line) strings attached.


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  • #
    Bulldust

    Completely O/T, but of vague interest I am sure – it appears that our friends at the ABC think they should be above the law, or the FOI Act to be precise:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/media/broadcast/abc-fights-to-keep-top-staff-pay-secret/story-fna045gd-1226548580475

    If you get paywalled just Google the title of the article and follow the obvious link for the full story.


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  • #
    Alice Thermopolis

    Thanks Jo

    Great post. Timely and insightful.

    Rise of activism in scientific organisations resembles greening of religion last decade or so. Everyone now chasing alarmist “market share” and political influence.

    Battle lost at AGU, where many members are part of IPCC Club.

    Judith Curry(Climate Etc): “I am 200% opposed to this new level of activism by the AGU, but I seem to be in the minority among AGU members.”

    “It’s not something the old AGU would do,” Rutgers’ Alan Robock said from the floor, but AGU Executive Director McEntee’s statements received an overwhelmingly favorable reaction from those in attendance” [at the Fall meeting last December in San Francisco.]

    Magna est veritas, et (hopefully) praevalebit!

    Alice


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  • #
    warren raymond

    A system that forces Jack to pay for John can always rely on John’s vote.

    A science that is dependent on government handouts will produce nothing but government conform tosh.

    If you really listen to these moochers, you’ll find that they do nothing other than create problems only they can solve, with your money.

    We need to pull the plug on this rort.


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  • #
    Bulldust

    Uusal tripe from political advocates arguing the wether is due to climate change case:

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4455022.html

    My answer:

    “Why is the ABC once again presenting blogs from advocates posing scientific arguments? How does this help advance the scientific conversation?

    BTW Tony, if you mean warming say “global warming.” Climate change is ambiguous and only a disingenuous advocate would use such a term to mean global warming.

    Oh and Tony, care to say how much the global warming has been over the last 15 or even 150 years? Not enough to be be noticeable, mate. Not by an individual without the aid of a temperature measuring device of considerable accuracy. To even suggest that a heat wave (aka weather) is somehow linked to climate change is grossly unscientific.

    Hi ABC mod squad – this comment is copied elsewhere.”

    Copied here in case the ABC mod squad “moderate” it…


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    • #
      Popeye

      Bulldust,

      Your comment at the link has been posted with a few comments added including mine as below.

      Bulldust,

      How very correct you are.

      ANY increase in the last 150 years CANNOT be distinguished from the background noise.

      That is why they NEVER use a graph starting from “0″ degrees – if they did so people would not be “alarmed” at all.

      Cheers,”

      Cheers,


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    • #
      Bob Malloy

      Dont know if i’ll get up, just posted the followingfromtwo of Jo’s past posts.

      It is as if history is being erased. For all that we hear about recent record-breaking climate extremes, records that are equally extreme, and sometimes even more so, are ignored.

      In January 1896 a savage blast “like a furnace” stretched across Australia from east to west and lasted for weeks. The death toll reached 437 people in the eastern states. Newspaper reports showed that in Bourke the heat approached 120°F (48.9°C) on three days (1)(2)(3). It stayed above 100 degrees F (38.8°C) for 24 days straight.

      and this from Sturt’s log

      Sturt seems to have been at Buddah lake early to mid Dec 1828 and in case you missed that temperature: that’s 129 degrees or 53.9 °C.

      Theres more to my post about taking the time to check for yourself, but the above is what I believe important for an ABC audience.


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      • #
        Bob Malloy

        I hope you forgive me for not giving due credit, Jo and Lance, just that every time I include a link at aunty, I don’t get published, not one of my post have got up in over twelve months there.


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  • #

    Jo,

    I agree with much of what you write, but the solution is far from complete. In particular the comment:-

    If the public lose respect for science associations it’s because the public are smart enough to spot the fakes. When science associations start acting scientifically they’ll earn respect. Until then, stacking panels with fake scientists of two political extremes will only prolong the mess.

    That is great, but there is no clear criteria for assessing what good science is like. No way to scale a piece of science by quality and relevancy. You and David Evans have provided a good general statement, but debates can degenerate into an exchange of facts.
    My own view is on a number of fronts. Climate science is multi-faceted, utilizing skills from a number of different disciplines. For instance,
    - There is a requirement for assessing often conflicting pieces of evidence. This is what historians do.
    - Also how to eliminate bias from evidence. This is what historians used to do.
    - There is a need for grading evidence, according to relevancy. This is what police detectives and lawyers do. Also for grading according to quality. In a criminal court good forensic evidence is better than eye-witness evidence, which in turn is much preferable to gossip.
    - Different philosophies of science are relevant.
    - But, from my own field, the magnitude (and for forecasts) the likelihood of the events is relevant.
    - The case needs all to be brought together by economics, evaluating the expected costs of global warming against the costs and effectiveness of policy.
    - The moral philosophies also need to be examined.
    - There is also of how to re-establish trust in science when it has been lost. Although I do not always like the result, how was trust restored in accountancy post Enron (or post Maxwell), or pharmaceuticals post Thalidomide, or in aviation safety post numerous disasters?
    The other major aspect is there is to establish that in empirical science – especially those dealing with complex, even chaotic, phenomena – there is not singularity of scientific method, statistical method, data interpretations, nor hypotheses that fit the data.


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    • #
      Ace

      It getscomplicate…BUT…basically its very simple. If it cannot be falsified then it isnt scientific.

      AGW is not scientific because it makes “both way” predictions such thatwhatever happens it can say it predicted it. Thats pseudo-science.

      The bench mark is always Popperian.


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      • #
        Crakar24

        Headlines from around the world

        Unusual cold expected to stay until February in Japan – Record snowfall in 18 locations

        1000 ships stuck in sea ice in China

        Record cold in India

        Record cold grips Korean Peninsula

        Beijing – One of the coldest New Year periods in local history

        Coldest day in New Delhi in 44 years

        Global warming strikes New Mexico (sarc)

        Adelaide reaches 44.8 C

        And according to MattB all of this is caused by AGW


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        • #
          Mattb

          Why do you think these headlines are any more reliable than the ones about hot weather?


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          • #
            Crakar24

            We are talking about vast swathes of land covered in snow (80% in Mongolia, 70 odd% in USA) we are talking about 1000 ships stuck in sea ice in China etc, etc, etc.

            This is not a regional event this is NH wide dont get bogged down with thinking this is unprecedented that is not the point i am trying to make just simply that you cannot have your cake and eat it too.

            To answer your question (not that i see the relevance) i believe both (hot and cold) to be as reliable as each other.You and i am sure many others like you claim AGW causes both, both hot and cold. Agw is causing theheat that melts teh Arctic, AGW is causing the cold that causes 1000 ships to stuck in ice. Surely even you MAttB can see the absurdity of such claims…….but alas you dont which is why you come back here day after day defending the logically impossible.


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          • #
            Crakar24

            Cant see this story from here but i can post the link

            http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/01/04/the-dr-david-viner-moment-weve-all-been-waiting-for-a-new-snow-record/

            I suspect it will generate a few chuckles


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  • #
    John Brookes

    When some scientists are caught hiding declines, honest upstanding scientists need to denounce them.

    Yeah? Then how come everyone here denounced them?

    (Except that they didn’t hide the decline…)


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  • #
    Catamon

    Since when was science “political?”

    Science isn’t, but public policy is.

    Privately funded science would still need to be government regulated in some way.

    Absolutely. The Govt’s responsibility is to look to the public good and that’s part of it.

    When some scientists are caught hiding declines, honest upstanding scientists need to denounce them.

    LoL! Rinse, Recycle, Repeat.

    Some are such political pre-schoolers they think the “Tea Party” is extreme rightwing because they’ve no idea of what a libertarian is.

    Tea [snip] {party} “libertarian”. There’s an insult to libertarians if ive ever seen one.

    The answer is promoting critical thinking,

    Absolutely. Stop falling for the emotional “outrage” generators and actually think
    about what matters. Particularly important in Oz for 2013 since its an election year.

    [Using foul names do not garner respect. Please do not persist] ED


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    • #
      AndyG55

      “actually think about what matters. Particularly important in Oz for 2013 since its an election year”

      Nice to see you advocating a vote for the Liberals. :-)

      Good boy, you are finally waking up to the fact that this ALP/Green mess MUST BE REMOVED!!!

      An early election would be a major plus for the country, the Gillard etc are there, its ALL a massive load of regressive idiocy.


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      • #
        Catamon

        Nice to see you advocating a vote for the Liberals.

        Nice to see that the New Year hasn’t changed the level of idiocy from you AngryG55. Your not a partaker of Cory B Bernardi’s kool aid are you??

        Brings to mind a comment form an associate recently.

        “Anyone who is still contemplating Tony Abbott as PM hasn’t been paying attention.”


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        • #
          Ian

          God alone knows what you have been doing for the past two years. Obviously not following the political scene in Australia. Presumably this associate of yours hasn’t been following it either. Are you sincere in your belief that Gillard and her motley crew of backflip artists, spin merchants, policy morons (think of the number of policies spruiked but which either were quietly dropped or introduced appallingly badly such as the tax on CO2 and the RPST) are worthy of another term in office? So why wouldn’t voters contemplate Tony Abbott as PM? On that note, at present more voters are contemplating that rather than those contemplating returning Gillard and company to power. Of course the ALP may well win but at the moment the numbers are with the opposition. By the way, looking at your post it appears the education revolution may have passed you by. Its “you’re not a partaker etc” not “Your not etc”.


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          • #
            AndyG55

            Gillard’s education revolution has caught him.. that’s the problem :-)

            The dumbing down of Australia is well illustrated by the likes of Cat brain and JB !!


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        • #
          AndyG55

          Poor boy, desparation showing.. you KNOW the outcome of the next election.. :-)


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    • #
      Ian

      Science became political when Al Gore got involved with his ludicrous claim “The science is settled” Anyone who is a true scientist knows that is never the case. as there are always aspects of “we don’t know what we don’t know” that have to be considered


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    • #
      Bite Back

      Catamon,

      You forget (maybe intentionally?) that it’s the public’s responsibility to keep tight control of its government. Public policy is the right of the public to review and if they need to, they can change it by throwing one group of unsatisfactory politicians out of office in favor of another more suitable group.

      It is this half of the self-government equation that has gone wrong. And when that happens self-government suddenly becomes dictatorship.

      Dictatorship = bad for everyone except the ruling class.


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      • #
        Catamon

        You forget (maybe intentionally?) that it’s the public’s responsibility to keep tight control of its government. Public policy is the right of the public to review and if they need to, they can change it by throwing one group of unsatisfactory politicians out of office in favor of another more suitable group.

        Where have i ever written anything that would indicate that?? Or are you just doing the normal and blowing a brainfart?


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        • #
          Bite Back

          Where have i ever written anything that would indicate that?? Or are you just doing the normal and blowing a brainfart?

          I’m going to make a guess and say you don’t read what you write before you push the Post Comment button. Take a more critical look at #34.


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        • #
          Bite Back

          Maybe that’s not enough. So here’s the problem. You argue that government’s job is to look out for the public good. But you can’t understand a comeback comment that there’s another part to the equation. In self-government the governed have the final responsibility for what is the public good.

          There is no magic in the fact that government has decided something is in the public interest. And many times what government decides is not in the good interest of the public at all. That is why there are elections.

          The public, however, has largely gone to sleep.


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  • #
    Mark D.

    I propose a “Separation of Science and State” clause would help solve the problem.

    Religion has apparently slipped below the point of no return so it needs a replacement anyway.


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    • #
      Manfred

      Not sure what you mean by ‘religion’ MD?

      I suspect that belief merely morphs from one vehicle that facilitates the transcendence of present moment distress (real or imagined) to another vehicle. In this case, with dwindling church attendance, the numbers appear to have crossed the aisle to Gaia devotion, together with a range of other new-age beliefs, all of which definitely do not embrace Popperian science. Religion is often fashionable, convenient and politically correct.

      Adherence to a Green doctrine has captivated the “great wobbly mass of sub-Marxist bourgouise White Guilt’…this in spite of Marx’s keen warning:

      ‘Religion is the opiate of the people ….’


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      • #
        Mark D.

        Manfred, I was twisting the “Separation of Church and State” principle. i.e. Separation of Science and State (politics)

        I don’t disagree with what you’ve said either. I am a Christian and it may be an opiate but maybe not as good as the real stuff :)


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        • #
          Manfred

          Thanks for the clarification MD. I don’t disagree with you, merely proffer a suggestion that rather than ‘slip below a point of no return’ religion is indeed alive and well, just in Green drag.
          Illustrative of this point, I recently stumbled across ‘Absolutism in the Church of Green’
          http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/absolutism-in-the-church-of-green/article6773233/
          It appears to make an attempt to understand the why and wherefore of this change, thematically…’people seek a higher calling’…that is beyond the secular…questing for the ‘greater good’. As you are likely aware, the Green delusion aspires for the notional greater good of Gaia, not for The Greater Good per se.


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            Bite Back

            Manfred,

            As I remember, someone said it this way on this blog several years ago. “Everyone is looking for a savior.”

            That rings true to me. You can explain it many ways I’m sure. But as I see it, it’s always underpinned by the need for basic acceptance and emotional security that’s hard wired into the human brain. You can see it in animals too if you look.


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            Mark D.

            Sorry Manfred, I missed your reply. I should have been more clear, I was thinking of mainstream (classic?) religion when I typed that. We’re not far apart here as I’d put the green politically active scientist right where you have. No doubt, there is a new religion. Designed that way as far as I’m concerned.


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      Bite Back

      What we need is something to replace the current separation of conscience and state. Do you realize how many times a day we are lied to from Washington DC alone? :-(

      That question was rhetorical; I know full well you do realize it. It’s become a quagmire worse than any open cesspool in the world. I simply change the channel any time a politician or anyone else starts lying to me. It has become intolerable. If lying was a fatal disease DC would be a ghost town. So would Sacramento! I don’t know about wherever you live but I suspect the same would apply.


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    Jim Stewart

    Another solid post Jo. Thanks for your continued input, great work.

    I think there are lights showing at the tunnel end [confident they are not train headlights]. The number of scientists who are going public is very encouraging and may well be helping push the positive trend in public opinion toward suspicion of the AGW ‘catastrophic’ measage from UN, Western Governments, Media and Environment activists [as well as their rising power bills].

    The growing list would include;
    The Royal Society members who pushed the Society administrators to review and better balance their report on the “knowns and Unknowns’ of climate science.
    The over 31,000 scientists in the ‘Petition’ asking the US Government to reject the kinds of AGW policies proposed by the UN and Environment extremists.
    The 700 Scientists whom Senator James Inhofe, of the US Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, published their statement challenging key claims of AGW activists.
    The 125-plus scientists who penned an open letter to Ban Ki-Moon (G-S of UN)pointing out that current scientific knowledge does not substantiate his wild assertions on weather and climate.
    The 49 former NASA group scientists, astronauts, etc, who blasted the agency’s policy of ignoring empirical evidence on AGW.
    The 13 senior scientists who wrote an open letter to the EPA (US) stating that their CO2 regulations are not based on sound science.
    Then, what can be said about Lovelock’s and Vahranholt’s defections to the ‘rebel’ side!

    These examples, and more, should give us all something more than hope that the ‘scientific’ establishment is moving to re-establish the basics of sound scientific enquiry.


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      john robertson

      Also the move by the propagandists to start blaming every storm,every wind and falling snowflake on acts of other men.
      Pure unadulterated desperation, I’m loving it.


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    Truthseeker

    As a stark example of the politics versus science debate, have a look at this article by Clive Hambler. Clear statistics and data about how bad wind turbines are for bird and bat populations.

    Here we have the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds making an application for a wind turbine on one of the bird sanctuaries.

    Money perverts purpose every time …

    Hat tip to Delingpole for this one.


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      dlb

      Hambler struck me (sorry pun) as an activist scientist, on the antiwind side of the debate. Perhaps there is a windmill in his neighbour’s backyard? Turbines will certainly kill birds & bats, but not as many as cars, powerlines, glass windows and cats.

      A very emotive and one sided piece.


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        Winston

        Cars, power lines, glass windows and even cats serve a purpose. What purpose do wind turbines serve, other than as symbolism in certain Spanish novels?


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    J.H.

    Well written Jo. You bring the issues to light so very well. If only more journalists and scientists were as you are.

    However, Like Gollum, the empowered are unlikely to cast away that which makes them powerful, irrespective if it turns them into monsters and lays waste to all around them….


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    Kevin Moore

    Strolled into a town library this morning and at the entance lo and behold, there, staring you in the face, on a shelf all on there own were about 50 or so books on climate change/global warming and other Green propaganda.


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      Streetcred

      [ ... ] there is nothing in the satellite-era sea surface temperature records and the ocean heat content data since 1955 to indicate manmade greenhouse gases had any role in their warming.


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      John Brookes

      Still looks as though they think this decade will be the warmest on record…


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        Otter

        A very, very Short record.


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        Ian

        What was the impact of humans on this warm decade? 100%, 50% 23.5% 0.1%? Its fine to say “they” still think etc but so what, what part have humans had to play? Any answer?


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        bobl

        How unscientific of you…. Warmest on record since um WHEN, by what measure. The Little Ice Age – Hmm we would hope so. Um the Start of the Holocene ? Untrue, All time – Untrue, Perhaps since 1900 probably untrue but still undoubtably the blink of an eye compared to the earths history.

        John, you are so full of communist propaganda it just dribbles out every edifice.


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    Streetcred

    Interesting … Global warming, the tool of the West … Pravda !

    [h/t Steve Milloy]


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      Bite Back

      From Pravda I would suspect that some significant part of that point of view is driven by global politics and not science. I could be wrong but the suspicion is too strong to ignore.


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    michael hammer

    I must confess to a slightly different point of view from the article. Society is a heavily feedback controlled system. Unfortunately the short term feedback often tends to be positive while the longer term feedback is negative. Thus we have fads driven to excess by the positive feedback term before rationality steps in again (the negative feedback) and returns society closer to the long term norm.

    Science and scientists are driven by the prevailing culture the same as every one else and I think what is being reflected is their response to that culture. The article advocates a self regulatory approach but I suspect that is unlikely to work. Indeed if it did I can envisage the whole field collapsing in recrimination as each scientist denounces work they disagree with on the basis it is poor science. As an example, consider Fleischmann and Pons (cold fusion). It was denounced as worthless science but more recent work suggests more and more that the criticism may have been premature. Maybe with a more liberal approach we would have made more rapid progress.

    I don’t think the problem is so much poor CAGW biased work not being called out; as skeptical work not getting a fair hearing. Skeptical scientists scared to speak out because of implied threats (usually to ongoing funding or a reputation) not from other scientists or from governments but from political activists. Consider that much CAGW propaganda and science came out in Australia under the Howard government even though it was quite obvious that Howard did not believe in CAGW. CSIRO for example was not skeptical of CAGW under Howard.

    I suspect in fact the politicians are even more intimidated by political activism (since after all they are heavily influenced by what they believe the electorate thinks). If that was not the case why didn’t Howard come out directly and say he though CAGW was wrong? Why doesn’t Abbott do so now? Consider also, current poles suggest conservative support is considerably stronger than support for labour yet try to find average citizens willing to publicly support the conservative point of view. Most keep their heads down for fear of ridicule. Look at how Andrew Bolt is treated.

    To me the problem comes when a group (or combination of groups) actively decide to seek to control or manipulate society. Most democracies have left leaning and right leaning parties and society decides each election which will govern. If that system is left alone it seems to work out reasonably well. However, when people with a specific point of view are quietly manouvered into critical positions and then use those positions to drive society in a specific direction we are headed for trouble. Sure in the longer term the negative feedback prevails and the activism is seen for what it is but that can take quite a while and much damage can be done in the mean time. It may not look like a war but there are many similarities. After all wars are fought over ideology or resources and that’s what this is about.

    Its something that democracies are particularly vulnerable to, precisely because of the freedom they enshrine, so a safeguard mechanism is needed. Normally that would be the press but in this case it is the press that was infiltrated and that’s what is so dangerous (after all, the press is the ideal mechanism for questioning anomalies and contradictions in contemporary debates). Its an infection akin to AIDS where the primary target is the protective mechanism.

    The $64 question of course is how should society protect itself against such threats. I acknowledge that the internet is one powerful way. It seems there should be a better way but I can’t think of one right now. I am reminded of the adage that freedom cannot be assumed, it has to be fought for and each generation has to fight anew. Maybe this is the current generation’s war for freedom.


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      junkpsychology

      The article advocates a self regulatory approach but I suspect that is unlikely to work. Indeed if it did I can envisage the whole field collapsing in recrimination as each scientist denounces work they disagree with on the basis it is poor science.

      I can see a need for this caution when there’s been some controversial innovation at the edge of physical science.

      But do you think it applies to studies like Lewandowsky, Oberauer, and Gignac’s? These are simple survey research, just done in ways that undergraduates are taught to avoid, and reported in ways that undergraduates are taught to avoid.


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        michael hammer

        I dont at all agree with the studies of Lewandowsky, Oberauer and Gignac. I agree they are a disgrace but the troubel is where does one draw the line. No doubt some if not many would have said (and indeed did say) the same about Pons and Fleischmann.

        To go back to the original article for a moment, it strikes me that some of the scientists are speaking out. After all the original draft of the IPCC reports (those written by the scientists) are not unreservedly supportive of CAGW in fact, as the deraft of AR5 is showing they are rather critical of it. Trouble is the activists rewrite the scientists report to suit their own agenda while still maintaining the original author list – implying that the original authors agree with what the activists have written. Some scientists have had to resort to legal action just to have their name taken off that list.

        The again lets not forget the 15,000 scientists prepared to put their name to the “Manhatten declaration?” or the other protest documents that are generated from time to time. Some are speaking out. Trouble is that the activists do all they can to supress such dissent from the cause and they have the people in key positions to be successful in such actions. Consider the activists claim 97& agreement based on a reponse from about 60 scientists yet they successfully ignor the skeptical response from 15,000 scientists as though it did not occur.

        Its really no different from any other attenmpt at a political takeover by totalitarian means.


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    Rathnakumar

    Thank you for your well reasoned critique! … I feel that the title of this post is misleading. “To get politics out of science” at first sight looks like it means ‘exploiting science for a political purpose’ (as opposed to your intended meaning of ‘separating science and politics’).


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    Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”, fiction written in the 1950s by someone who escaped from the Soviet Union, predicts this unhealthy alignment between big government, and politically motivated science. In her book, the “State Science Institute” is a mouthpiece of politicians, riding on the past merits of its figurehead founder. If she had lived to see today, she would find our present world very familiar – and more than a little like the Soviet nightmare she fled in her 20s.

    http://atlasshrugged.com


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      John Brookes

      But she was a nutter. What is weird is how many, many people who aren’t nutters find inspiration in her work (but not her life).


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        Ace

        “she was a nutter”

        Such astute and finely honed argument. A true example to us all, of something.


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        Catamon

        I read Atlas Shrugged. Later saw a comment on it (but not sure of the attribution) that seems relevant here.

        There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.


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    high treason

    Nothing so sullies the integrity of humanity as the subversion of science for the servitude of politics.


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    Andrew McRae

    Since when was science “political?”

    Answer: since forever.

    I interpret “science” to mean the actual practice of science.
    1. Humans are social animals.
    2. Knowledge is power.
    3. Modern science requires openness for repeatability and peer review.
    4. The funding of science comes with the expectation that results will occasionally be useful and inspirational.

    Therefore the practice of science has always been, and always will be, political.
    The only way around this is for scientists to work for free and never tell anyone what they discover.
    Tchya!

    But if I am being generous I could interpret “science” in the above statement to mean “the scientific method”, in which case theoretically a team of alien robots might be able to carry out science without it being political. I think even those robots might get unplugged or reassigned if they weren’t cataloguing new planets fast enough. :)


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    Crakar24

    Here is a recent political/non scientific statement

    Many of the reasons for the warmer winters can be attributed to climate change, he added.

    “The lesson for this is if you get one: embrace it, enjoy it because it is something that future generations will have be dreaming a little harder to get,” said Phillips. “We know the future is warmer and with less snow.”

    http://www.canada.com/life/theholidayguide12/Most+Canada+likely+green+Christmas+Environment/7708538/story.html

    Ok enough with the Booga Booga, reality shows us all but maybe Vancouver is deep in snow in Canada.

    May be MattB can explain the discrepency???????????????????????????????


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      Mattb

      What discrepancy? I have no idea re: that forecast or about what the snow conditions were like across Canada on December 25 2012, however if you are disproving AGW because a weather forecast was wrong then there’s not much I can do for you Crakar.


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        Mattb

        A quick google did lead me to this huffington post quote though, re: winter weather in Canada.

        “the residents of Ontario and Quebec should ready their shovels for a little more of the white stuff than normal, although they can take solace in the fact that temperatures won’t be as frigid.”

        Sorry what was that????

        “a little more of the white stuff than normal” AT THE SAME TIME AS “temperatures won’t be as frigid”

        HOW DOES THAT WORK!!!! IT’S AN OUTRAGE!!!!


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    Crakar24

    And another

    http://www.theage.com.au/environment/weather/prepare-for-more-scorchers-gillard-warns-20130107-2ccve.html

    For those too scared to read

    From the horses mouth

    Ms Gillard said extreme bushfires were part of life in a hot and dry country.

    Now turn 180 degrees

    ”And while you would not put any one event down to climate change … we do know that over time as a result of climate change we are going to see more extreme weather events,”.

    Now scroll down to the bottom of the page

    A man has been accused of starting a 10,000-hectare bushfire in southern Tasmania. Police allege a 31-year-old New Norfolk man left a campfire unattended near Lake Repulse last week, sparking the huge blaze which has burned through 10,600 hectares since Friday. Police said they would proceed with a charge of leaving an unextinguished fire unattended.

    So climate change held a gun to this mans head and forced him to leave his camp fire burning?


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    Kevin Moore

    http://www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/global/climate2.htm#global_cooling_heat-wave
    Does global cooling cause heat-waves in summer? A vexing question.


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