A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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The bureaucratic science-machine broke science, and people are starting to ask how to fix it

Science is broken. The genius, the creative art of scientific discovery, has been squeezed into a square box, sieved through grant applications, citation indexes, and journal rankings, then whatever was left gets crushed through the press. We tried to capture the spirit of discovery in a bureaucratic formula, but have strangled it instead.

There are no shortcuts to the truth, or to status, and no easy way to figure out which projects should be funded. Every time a decision is crowd sourced — via committee, panel, or “consensus” — the responsibility for thinking gets divided and avoided.

The modern bureaucratic process of science is now not even trying to search for the truth. It’s hunting instead for an impact factor, for attention, for headlines, and inevitably, for funding.

It is good to see people starting to discuss it — including the Lancet Editor, Richard Horton, who wrote in April that he could not name names, but it needed to be said:

“A lot of what is published is incorrect.” I’m not allowed to say who made this remark because we were asked
to observe Chatham House rules.  Those who worked for government agencies pleaded that their comments especially remain unquoted…

…[it is] one of the most sensitive issues in science today: the idea that something has gone fundamentally wrong with one of our greatest human creations.

The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.
Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts
of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has
taken a turn towards darkness. As one participant put it, “poor methods get results”.

Richard Horton is talking mostly about biomedicine, but the problem is endemic:

Part of the problem is that no-one is incentivised to be right. Instead, scientists are incentivised to be productive and innovative.

More red tape won’t set science free

I don’t think his suggestions are the answer, and even Horton seems to agree with that. A Hippocratic Oath for science, will help, but not much. Similarly, writing regulations to insist on a certain percentage of replicability in grant applications is only tinkering at the edges. As is emphasizing collaboration rather than competition, or insisting on “preregistration of protocols”. Likewise, rewarding “better pre and post publication peer review”, or improving research “training and mentorship”. None of that will make discovering the truth the main game again.

Lets start the list of what we need

What we need (for starters) is better training in logic and reason, and it needs to start in primary school. All kids need to know what an ad hominem argument is, and to spot the weak argument from authority. I shouldn’t need to explain what those are to a science graduate, a science communicator, a science journalist, or a science minister. A professor who can’t reason, shouldn’t be a professor.  Actually I shouldn’t need to explain these fallacies even to a 12 year old, because it should be rote learned by 10.

Then we need to fix the incentives. We need to find a way to reward creative genius which breaks assumptions, rather than the sort that just fits in the box. We need to let genius flourish again, instead of bureaucracy.

To fix science we also need to fix science journalism, and science communication. Because these ought be another layer of protection. Good journalists and interviewers shouldn’t let scientists get away with dumb answers. Good science communicators serve the public, not the bureaucratic science-machine. Instead our supposedly best science magazines just report smear by association: see New Scientist: The Age of Name-Calling.

Vox published a longer article on this two weeks ago. Matt Briggs wonders if the Lancet editor was underestimating the problem.

Posts on logic and reason.


H/t Steve (2 weeks ago),  Catallaxy,  David, Jim, Willie.

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The bureaucratic science-machine broke science, and people are starting to ask how to fix it, 8.7 out of 10 based on 90 ratings

192 comments to The bureaucratic science-machine broke science, and people are starting to ask how to fix it

  • #
    Leo Morgan

    It’s sad.
    Climate Science archives it’s data less than any of the sciences that Feynman assailed as ‘Voodoo Sciences’.
    It has responded to its critics with personal attacks rather than addressing the issues.
    Horton thinks biomedicine is half wrong? Compared to Climate Science, it’s a paragon. That’s very broken indeed.


  • #

    If a report is false (not the same as wrong), blackball the authors. Disallow them from ever working on a funded project again.

    Yes, I know. Of course this won’t work. A report, particularly one regarding climate, may need to be false in order to satisfy the funding activity. This is definitely the case when that activity is the agenda-driven government. There is no solution for that. It is more reasonable to expect such compliant authors to become heads of their departments than to suffer the shaming of their peers.

    There is no effective solution that does not include a better educated populace but since they are educated according to a government agenda that is also doomed to fail. An ignorant population is the engine that powers government influence. You see, the science is settled.


    • #
      Kevin Lohse

      Profoundly cynical, but too much of an element of truth in what you have written. Even scientists have to eat, and we daily see the silencing of scientific enquiry by powerful ideological and political vested interests. The adherents to the NWO are now so powerful that they can ignore the truth as unhelpful to their aims and ambitions. Jo’s list is interesting, but begs the question of how we re-establish a civil society where such virtues as she promotes are once more held in esteem.


      • #

        Profoundly cynical …

        No, it’s NOT

        But there’s the issue, right there

        The people who are actually doing this, constantly trying to shape the beliefs of a majority the populace with marketing techniques, are the cynics

        Yet people who point this out are the ones called cynical

        Since this is obviously upside-down, I’ve tried to understand how it can be. The closest I’ve come so far is that most people simply refuse to believe that they can so easily be lied to (ie. vanity)

        So we go Through the Looking Glass with Alice, over and over


      • #

        Kevin Lohse at#2.1

        “…[it is] one of the most sensitive issues in science today: the idea that something has gone fundamentally wrong with one of our greatest human creations.”

        If something has gone seriously wrong with the great human achievement that is science then something has gone seriously wrong with our capacity as a society to judiciously and intelligently apply reason to the challenges we face, i.e. human reasoning capacity itself is in a condition of decline and decay, therefore our society, our civilisation is in decay and is sliding inexorably into the chaos and barbarity of a new dark age. Simply put, if we cannot do science anymore we cannot do civilised society anymore.


        • #
          Rereke Whakaaro

          I totally agree.

          We are on the slippery slope to universal ignorance where only opinion matters, and the truth is whatever the consensus believes it to be, today.

          How long will that last, do you think? And what proportion of the population will not be part of the universal ignorance?

          I think it will last, for as just as long as you can get electricity out of the wall.

          If you can’t get electricity, you can’t communicate, and if you can’t communicate, you can’t organise, and if you can’t organise a New World Order, the default will automatically be, to revert to what we have now, because at least everybody knows it works, even if they don’t like it.

          It will be painful, but not deadly.

          We have the civilisation we have, because it works. It may not be the best possible civilisation we could have. But the pain of finding the best possible civilisation would be too much for people to put up with.

          At the moment the luvvies are dabbling their toes in the water, and thinking how great it would be to jump in for a swim. But at the first sign of a shark fin, and they will be running back to the SUV, and making for the nearest bar.


      • #
        Geoff Sherrington

        Kevin L,
        No, no, no. Jo’s piece is not profoundly cynical.
        Yet it illustrates a big cynical problem that is crying out for a big fix.
        The problem is that for decades now, the generally poor work that calls itself climate science has been deflecting criticism by diversion. Divert criticism of the science by attacking the people who are critical. Do his over and over until new generations of emerging scientists believe through rote that climate science is surrounded by evil people who must be silenced.
        Even my old mate Mosh – who is not a scientist and can be pardoned a little – has now become a routine attacker in this way.
        When was he last time you saw some genuinely scientific responses to thoughtful scientific queries? Is it also your experience that you are more likely to see messengers attacked than straight science answers?
        Here is one such question. We use the expansion of liquids like mercury or alcohol as proxies for atmopheric temperatures. We read that oceans expand with global warming. How then, does climate science explain that the thermal expansion history of classic thermometers is a poor match to the thermal expansion: history of the oceans? Which is the best guide to global warming and why?


    • #

      The distrust all this has formed is now so great that the term “peer reviewed” now means rubber stamped or whitewash or you’re a member of the club,.
      Peer review can no longer be used as the guidance to veracity or accuracy,the damage is so great that some other form of review is needed and unfortunately that will end up being a govt review platform which is jumping out of the frypan and into the fire.

      The science community is entirely to blame,there are no excuses.
      A short while back I cited a CSIRO paper on copper deficiency in cattle,I had a small involvement with that operation ,that was hard science getting out and conductiong experiments on pastures and blood tests and finally following through when the cattle were slaughtered ,both the subject cattle and controls,and yet this all came about because of a chance when the scientists were doing a different test into I think internal parasites of cattle.(it was over 40 years ago)
      I loved science but now it seems to be a domain of greed covetousness and seekers of renown.


      • #
        Geoff Sherrington

        Likewise, in the 1960s in CSIRO we isolated a toxin from a naftural sheep pasture legume, Neptunia amplexicaulis. It was classic science with a clear classic result. The plant accumulated selenium and sometimes incorporated it in protein where sulphur should have been.
        Such classic scientific outcomes are some much more satisfying, probably to all concerned, than the multiplicity of vague ramblings we now see, like 57 varieties of guesses why there is a global SAT hiatus .. or maybe there is not one at all.
        The classic big one has to be the attribution of global warming last century, to X% natural and Y% manmade, when nobody has yet worked out a scientific way to tell the difference.
        I can imagine fronting our then CSIRO boss with “Someting poisonous is killing our sheep but because of shortage of funds so far we are not sure if it is toxic.”


  • #
    A C Osborn

    It appears that Science is so broken that Scientists are no longer “Inventing” or “Creating”, they are attempting to make everything fit in to the current Paradigms.
    Looking for that “thing” that will confirm the currently held consensus and make them famous amongst their peers.
    The way that we have arrived here seems to have thrown away a lot of what at one time was accepted as alternative science, but is now so frowned upon and castigated that nobody dare research it for being ridiculed.
    For some examples take a look at Tim Cullen’s MalagaBay site.


  • #

    Defund the bureaucracy. Problem solved.
    If a problem is large enough then the private sector will find and answer, as it will create the opportunity for profit.


    • #

      I don’t think that would work. We have a core problem stemming from our entire education system, primary to university, not just research establishments. Where do research establishments get their staff? At the end of the formal education process – universities. The education system is in many ways broken because it has been taken over by the Left and effectively become an activist organisation.

      Many years ago, I was discussing climate change with the child of a friend of ours (a very bright kid) who was questioning the mantra being foisted on them by their school about man made climate change. They were right up against the system even at that stage and this one in particular was extremely frustrated because no alternative views were accepted.

      The problem is that the activism of universities simply flows back to the very beginning of the education process.


      • #

        bemused it’s not just that the unis have been taken over. Having worked in them at senior level for nearly 20 years, I can assure you that there are too many unis, too many time serving pretend researchers who will never contribute anything of lasting value and FAR too many decisions by committees which result in scare resources being distributed far too thinly to allow any real work to be done by the few able to produce results.


      • #

        I was discussing climate change with the child

        How interesting. Much the same experience here. When it comes to exams where causes of climate change may be explored, any self-researched ‘alternative’ answer that deviates from the required mantra gets an ‘F’. Reasoning is excluded in favour of the required recantation of statist propaganda . But……many of the smart kids know this, which is particularly reassuring because in the future, they will not only continue their natural motivation to search out the arguments but they’ll possess a marvelously refined intellectual antenna that will readily detect the odour of propaganda that they know so well, having been brought-up on it.


        • #

          Same here…grandchild pulling rueful face about having to make ‘correct’ answers in exams!


      • #
        Graeme No.3

        For a different view try the following, especially the comments.


      • #
        Andrew McRae

        Hello, bemused.
        Could you clarify that it is not activism itself that is the problem, nor even that universities produce activists, but that it is universities encouraging Leftist activism exclusively which is problematic?


        • #

          I used the term ‘activism’ fairly loosely to reflect the attitudes prevalent in academia, in the way that the education system is against anything of a conservative nature or alternative to Leftist views, even when it comes down to something as basic as the Three Rs.

          You could possibly wordsmith this forever, but it’s clear that everything about academia nowadays is entirely Left leaning.

          And when you’re Left leaning to such an extent, real science finds it difficult to maintain a foothold because it generally tends to question orthodoxy. And isn’t that last concept ironic, when the Left always claim that they are the bastions of questioning orthodoxy. :)


  • #

    “…because it should be rote learned by 10.”

    Mhmmmmm, no. Nothing should ever be taught in a fashion that leads to “rote learning,” ever. In fact, trying to teach logic by “rote” is impossible because the one most important element is the ability to think critically. Rote teaching methods fail at that and have for -literally- centuries. You may doubt this but read Bacon’s New Organon, think about what he was saying in the late 16th and early 17th centuries and consider where we are now. The typical mindset at a modern university encourages a “scholastic” out look in the very pattern that Bacon criticised. Medicine stagnated for centuries because Galen was the “last word.” Every fundamentalist movement on the planet, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Sikh, is “fundamentalist” because they froze their dogma at the final revelation by a prophet, philosopher, ?, or guru. That is what leads to “rote” learfning and what “rote” learning leads to.


    • #

      Duster, I want kids to know the phrase “correlation is not causation” by rote. We teach them “reduce, reuse, recycle”, by rote, so why not the main fallacies?

      It would be even better if we also teach philosophy, and they practice debating so they learn to apply those phrases. But it would be a start for children to at least know the terms and their definitions. How many kids learned the meaning of “the greenhouse effect” before they learned “ad hominem”?


      • #

        Learned “what the greenhouse effect means and how it applies to the world in general” or that “we’re doomed to extinction by CO2 through the greenhouse effect”? Knowledge being different than understanding.

        At any rate, the little dears are too busy being turned into global citizens to worry much about philosophy. And if they started to worry we’d have to provide safe places and flag the trigger words. Western education is taking a hit these days.


      • #

        I couldn’t agree more with Jo this.
        There is IMHO a place for learning by rote those things we know to be immutable. Basic things such as the times tables, basic correct English (or whatever language is yours), and fallacies.
        However, Duster is also right, in that in matters of science, rote has no place (i.e. dogma).


      • #

        Absolutely Jo.
        Bradford Hill’s criteria of causality a superb place to start.

        Understanding how specific observations eventually lead to laws and theories through inductive reasoning, and how subsequent theories and laws may be used to provide predictions and explanation through deductive reasoning is vital. The more complex the theory the more possibility it offers of falsification.

        ‘Climate change’ is therefore a considerably more idiotic political label than ‘global warming’ as it offers innumerable opportunities for falsification. But if you have progressive science in bed with the precautionaries, and the whole lot holding hands with the funders and policy makers, scientific progress becomes an oxymoron. Someone somewhere will eventually need to reinvent the wheel. ‘Climate change’ has the undeniable catch-all generalisability that global warming lacked. The purveyors of the eco-gospel were badly caught out when global warming failed to oblige. Nevertheless, once institutions and governments encouraged by the eco-marxists and a failed fourth estate latched onto CO2 the rampant addiction to taxation and control became increasingly difficult to conceal. After all, CO2 is nothing less than pure political heroin.


      • #

        Very true, but to address another of your points, Jo:

        “The modern bureaucratic process of science is now not even trying to search for the truth. It’s hunting instead for an impact factor, for attention, for headlines, and inevitably, for funding.”

        There is an even larger problem that we in Canada call the “globe & mail test”; every decision made by bureacracy has to pass the globe and mail test – how will it look on the front page of the Globe & Mail newspaper. When every decision is based on PR, with a highly biased media involved, we are in serious trouble.


      • #

        Jo, normally I think you are spot on in your thinking, but I have to disagree on this point. You can’t teach “correlation is not causation” to someone not born with that natural intuition. Well, you can, but it won’t be effective. You can teach a parrot to say phrases, but you can’t teach it to engage in conversation. Same principal applies. Creative geniuses are born, not made. You can emphasize teaching critical thinking skills in schools. In the end only those born with the right traits will use them in life, and they will do this whether taught or not. The rest are parrots – you can teach them to say the words, that’s as far as it will ever go. A wise person once told me that when working with people, rather than focusing on putting in what nature left out, it is far better to work on bringing out what nature put in. Our modern education systems would do well to adhere to this principal.


      • #

        I guess I would add, I don’t recall ever being taught the meaning of ad hominem, but that really doesn’t matter, as when someone resorts to insults in a logical debate I can see that is a problem. In fact, when someone uses the phrase I have to go look it up (as I just did). If people would instead just say “resort to insults” instead of saying “resort to ad hominem” it would be easier (for me). :-) Same thing goes for “correlation is not causation” (at least I don’t have to go look that one up), people either naturally get that having two things happen at the same time doesn’t mean one caused the other, or they don’t. Learning the phrase would seem to make little difference (to me anyway).


        • #

          I agree, but would simply it further: “coincidences happen”, when they do we (science) has to look closer rather than claiming one event causes the other. There is a famous description by Robert Heinlein that says it all…about how the beating of drums during a total solar eclipse brings back the sun.


          • #

            I would also add that when the opposing side resorts to insults rather than facts, they have already lost the debate…they just refuse to face the facts. American comic Jeff Foxworthy has a funny routine that covers it well by providing the perfect response: “Here’s your sign” (meaning that dumb people should be wearing signs to indicate their status so we can pick them out of the crowd before having to deal with them.)


    • #

      Repeat 25 times a day –
      “I must learn by reasoned logic, not by rote”



    • #

      One aspect I found from looking at Stephan Lewandowsky’s surveys is the paradox of the the USA. The country has every shade of Christian fundamentalist views. For the last 50 years over half of all Nobel Prizes in science, plus much of the recent technological revolutions have come from a country with less than 5% of the global population. By your perspective this cannot happen. Unquestioned beliefs in one area means a mindset in other areas. But scientific advance means questioning the accepted views about the world. Having strong beliefs that are impervious to refutation, but are separate from the area of study, means that questioning of existing beliefs is possible. But climatology, as a basis of study, demands belief in the core conclusion – catastrophic global warming – along with the core policy conclusion of curbing global greenhouse gas emissions. When we question global warming / climate change, we are doing the equivalent of suggesting that Jesus was not the Messiah, or Mohammed had no divine inspiration in writing the Koran. In climatology, the world fits into the theory, along with logic and the definitions of terms. The way to evaluate the the evidence is not by coherence to the real world – a standard scientific definition – by by coherence to a belief system.


      • #
        Graeme No. 3

        Recently, from feelings of grandeur and arrogance I volunteered to give 2 talks to the University of the Third Age about the discovery of dinosaurs and the changes in public perception that resulted.

        200 years ago there was no such thing as a dinosaur and the debate was about whether animals could become extinct and how, since the world started in Oct. 4004 B.C.
        150 years ago dinosaurs were large bulky, slow moving monsters, and the debate was whether they had evolved.
        100 years ago they were slow moving, bulky, cold blooded creatures, and the science was settled.
        50 years ago it here was little debate as the science was settled.
        25 years ago there was lively debate as to whether they were warm blooded, active creatures, as portrayed in Walking with Dinosaurs, Jurassic Park etc.
        Nowadays both films/documentaries are obsolete, opinions have changed again.

        This is because Science, real Science, is driven by fact. Change the facts and the interpretation/ theory must change. Climate “science” isn’t driven by facts, it ignores them. The only thing accepted is that the hypothesis must be true. It is just a dogma of convenience.

        Shortly, the climate will change and the whole idea will become an embarrassment to those who espoused it. They will find some other reason to claim that they are Enlightened Ones, whereas they are the barnacles on the bottom of progress. (That’s as polite as I can put it).


      • #

        “scientific advance means questioning the accepted views about the world”
        Much of the scientific and technical development in last 50 years comes from one country with 5% of the global population. Lewandowsky is clueless. Unfortunately (for the USA) history has shown time and again that empires are temporary. And we see here yet another example unfolding before our eyes.


    • #

      Rote works,from rote learning springs.


    • #
      Angus Black

      There are lots of things worth learning by rote: this is the secret to professional competence. The obvious example is the “times table”. Learn it by rote, repeat it until it is in your bones and mental arithmetic is yours for life.

      In the following, the masculine should be taken to include the feminine.

      You can see the power of rote learning very obviously in sport: how many times in every training session do you suppose a soccer forward practices (say) centering the ball – in a game, he doesn’t then have to think how to do it, he just has to think where the ball should go and the body takes over… I’d like to hope that my surgeon had learned and practiced cutting and sewing until the mechanics were automatic.

      With greater focus: I’d like to hope that a scientist would have internalised research method and design fundamentals so that his focus was on exploring or solving a problem effectively and, most importantly, that the report of the research would conclude with a critical review of generality and applicability of results and suggestions for future work to increase confidence, generality or specificity of application, etc etc


  • #

    there are several contributions to this problem:

    1) Academic status is determined by pubs count, citation index, and impact factors. – This incentivizes to publish, publish a lot, and publish a lot in such a way that colleagues will agree with you and cite your work

    2) Academics are under more pressure to gain this status. – Universities have added a huge overhead load of administration in recent decades, and professors are asked to make up the difference (lower pay, higher teaching loads, more pressure to get outside grants).

    3) Govt funding agencies have evolved from providing long-term (e.g. 5 year) funding of a semi-open-ended nature to providing shorter term directed funding. Candidates thus spend more time working on grant writing.

    What can be done?

    #1 is the result of specialization — in the sciences, much work is now so specialized that even your close colleagues can’t properly evaluate it. they then fall back on contrived metrics that can be gamed. One (long term) solution might be for institutions to evolve towards concentration in specializations…where a physics or a bio department had a strong concentration in one specialization, and the colleagues could realistically evaluate each other for promotions etc without resorting to artificial metrics.

    #2 is political — universities pad the middle management with administrators because nobody is stopping them. it is empire building at the dean and provost level, assumed micro-management of department issues, and the need to manage an overabundance of externally imposed rules (e.g. equal-opportunity review of job searches and such). This has an immediate easy fix – fire 50% of all university administrators immediately (for a start). Functions that go unserved fall back under the autonomy of academic department heads.

    #3 is political also — govt funding is appropriate for some long term R&D, but more consistency is required. longer grant durations will free up professors to concentrate on research and on students instead of grant renewals.


    • #
      Graeme No.3

      When I was at University there was a Statistics Officer**.

      Just before I retired there was a bit in the paper I chanced to see, the same chap now had 17 staff.

      When the British Eight Army (coming from Egypt) met up with the First Army (after 2 years stationary in Britain) in Tunisia in 1943, there was some remarks made about the respective sizes of the General Staffs. The Eight Army never had more than 280, whereas the First Army required about 7,000. See also Vladimir Peniakoff (Popski) on the Statistics Section, where a young sub-altern rose to Brigadier as the Section grew.

      ** Young, helpful.


      • #

        I was a purchasing officer in Forestry in the sixties. The boss was an ex-quartermaster in the army. We had a staff of 7.
        In the nineties I dropped in, i couldn’t count the number – maybe 25 or so.
        Externally we had the exact same function as in the sixties.
        That’s the difference between being led by someone who knows exactly what he has to do.
        By the way, he used to slip out to the newsreels, and leave me with the phone number of the theatre. I had to phone and ask the theatre to page him, if he was really needed.
        He never was.


    • #

      One thing that is needed is a proper entrance exam for University.
      Get rid of the majority of courses that go under “Arts Degrees”,make them Diplomas.
      People need to earn a place at University and bring back the Higher School Certificate,here in Victoria we have the VCE,that came in under a leftist govt because too many little darlings couldn’t pass HSC,it mas the usual leftist lowest common denominator tripe.


  • #

    When science gets stuck in a mire,
    All those it concerns would require,
    A course in deduction,
    And reasoned induction,
    Then empirical logic acquire.


  • #

    There are a few ways to improve science.
    First is to promote ways to evaluate scientific evidence. There are simple contrasts and perspectives I looked at a while ago, including:-
    - Positive v. normative views. Science looks at the former and tries to distance
    - Trivial v. non-trivial.
    - Quality of the evidence. Relevant evidence, especially a track record of predictions, despite being unlikely, coming true is necessary to establish empirically-based research programs. Arguments about consensus, and junk sociology need to be rejected out of hand, just as hearsay is rejected in a criminal court.
    - Boundary Conditions. Nobody makes clear the difference between science, policy-making, ethics, and policy implementation. Being an expert in one does not mean expertise in another.
    - False Positives and False Negatives. This is quite crucial to empirically-based sciences such as much of medical research.
    - The Null Hypothesis as the default position. In science you explain nothing without verification.

    Within science, there is little incentive to say you have found nothing, or to simply replicate the methods of others on different data sets. In both cases, you are unlikely to get published, as there is nothing new being said. Yet, when I have recently looked at complex surface temperature data. I am coming to the view that checking of results; reconciling differences between the raw data and the homogenized data; and understanding the biases in any homogenization methods are all necessary for validating the results. But nobody has any incentive to do the work, nor is it a job for scientists who like to modify and tinker. It is akin to letting PhD Engineers maintain your car. They will understand a lot, but will end up “improving” rather than maintaining.


  • #

    Ideas matter. Fundamental ideas matter the most. Especially the unexamined implicit ideas that drive one’s fundamental, almost automatic, choices. If the implicit ideas are coherent with reality, the tendency will be to make good choices. If not, no matter how good the explicit ideas, the tendency will be to make bad choices and to fail.

    The answer is then, if we are going to get better results, we are going to have to make better choices. If we are going to make better choices, we are going to have to start with better ideas. Especially, all those unexamined implicit ideas we have lived with all our lives. That is difficult enough do to do that work for one’s self, how does one do it for the population of a nation?

    The uncomfortable starting point is to look in the mirror and start working on the person looking back at you. Then get better results and use that to convince someone else to do the work so he can make better choices.

    I offer a five step program:

    1. Say what you are going to do.
    2. Do it.
    3. Make sure you did what you said you were going to do.
    4. Figure out how to do it better,
    5. Go to step 1.

    Repeat these five steps often enough and the problem is solved. Then pass it along.


  • #

    A call for a meaningful definition of CLIMATE.. Science communication is not possible without a clear language. Clear and unambiguous definitions of all terms used are a prerequisite for any meaningful communication, and for sound scientific work. See:

    Back in 1984 Carl Wunsch observed that “climate” means so many things to different people (depending upon their particular interest; Source: ed. John T. Houghton, “The Global Climate” 1984, Ch. 10 – The ocean circulation in climate, Cambridge, p. 189ff. 30 years later the term climate is still a layman’s term, and science has done nothing to define it in a reasonable scientific manner.

    Article 1 of the UNFCCC providing definitions offers none on the term “climate”, and if it had been based on the common explanation on “average weather”, the word “weather” would have required a definition as well. That the drafters failed to do so is a clear indication that they either lacked the scientific competence to do so, or they knew it would make no sense, because ‘average weather’ is statistics, and remain statistics regardless of any name given to the set of statistics. Instead the UNFCCC defines in
    • Para. 2. “Climate change” means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.
    • Para. 3. “Climate system” means the totality of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere and their interactions.
    Both explanations explain nothing. It is nonsense to say: Climate change means the change of climate, while ‘climate system’ does not say anything more as the interaction of nature. Science is using layman’s terms without being able or willing to define them in a scientifically reasonable manner, or not to use them at all. More here:

    Does it make sense to say that climate is average weather? Not if it is not said what “weather” is! The glossary of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) explains “weather” as: “The state of the atmosphere, mainly with respect to its effects upon life and human activities”, breaking it down to:
    • The “present weather” table consists of 100 possible conditions,
    • with 10 possibilities for “past weather”, while
    • Popularly, weather is thought of in terms of temperature, humidity, precipitation, cloudiness, visibility, and wind.
    Even if the AMS-Glossary is silent on “future weather”, the nonsense get a face. If the “weather” consists of 100 possible conditions, how can “past weather” consist only of 10 conditions?


  • #
    Ron C.

    At least regarding climate science, the root lies long ago.

    Rational discussion of the climate issue was cut off at the knees from the beginning. This is the observation from the Hartwell paper.

    “Climate change was brought to the attention of policy-makers by scientists. From the outset, these scientists also brought their preferred solutions to the table in US Congressional hearings and other policy forums, all bundled. The proposition that ‘science’ somehow dictated particular policy responses, encouraged –indeed instructed – those who found those particular strategies unattractive to argue about the science.

    So, a distinctive characteristic of the climate change debate has been of scientists claiming with the authority of their position that their results dictated particular policies; of policy makers claiming that their preferred choices were dictated by science, and both acting as if ‘science’ and ‘policy’ were simply and rigidly linked as if it were a matter of escaping from the path of an oncoming tornado.


    • #

      It is time for a clean house!! Anyone that has worked in Atmospheric physics or modeling, Climatology, or Meteorology, especially those having any government funding, must be cut off from doing any such further work by law. There can be no half steps here, nothing voluntary will work! Let them flip burgers if they qualify. Let some aircraft engineers audit the last 35 years of sloppy work, specifically to itemize each mistake especially any that was influenced by this fraud! It will take someone competent of how this atmosphere may work.±.


  • #
    Leonard Lane

    It is not something one person can do. It is a fool’s errand if you try to do it yourself.

    So here goes. Science is a search for the truth, never finding, but ever closer.
    On these two concepts hang the definition and rules of science.


  • #
    Gary Hoffman

    #10, I would amend your definition (recognizing that it is over-broad even as amended) by adding that the scientific search for truth differs from other disciplines in that it applies the scientific method to the effort.


  • #
    Dean from Ohio

    The Judeo-Christian world view birthed empirical science. Because God was rational, his creation also is rational and can be rationally understood by the pinnacle of his creation, man and woman, made in his image.

    By jettisoning this world view, the Secular Left that controls the culture of the West has lost science as well. It’s also lost life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, except where might makes right in support of transient pleasure.

    Science is now what the totalitarian Left says it is, and that is the short path to power. As soon as they think they can get away with it, they will put people like me in internment camps, where they will shortly afterward disappear us.

    Without repentance, the American experiment in self-government and ordered liberty is over.


    • #
      Leonard Lane

      Dean. Thank you.


      • #
        Greg Cavanagh

        We seem to have a massive influx of Red Thumbs. I wonder if this is the result of the John Cook education program.


        • #

          Greg Cavanaugh,

          If you go up and down the page you’ll notice that all those red thumbs are concentrated between the comment by Dean from Ohio and the replies connected to it.

          It appears that while skeptics are united in their position denouncing climate change(tm) and the pseudo-science that supports it, they are divided in their ‘belief in a creator’.

          As if that belief or lack of it had anything to do with the assault by the progressive eco-loons on the social, societal, and economic structure of the western world. If any of them were to read this section of this thread, they would begin to drool uncontrolably as they observe how such an inconsequential (relative to CAGW) detail can so easily set us one upon the other.

          I’ve said this before.

          They don’t care if you’re left wing or right. They don’t care if your religious or secular. They don’t care if you’re rich or poor. What country you live doesn’t interest them nor do they care if you’re male, female, young, or old. (there are skeptics in all of these groups)

          They want control. Control of our resources, our livelyhood, our education, our freedom. That’s all they want.

          As long as we keep bickering amongst ourselves over those things that make us individuals, they’ll continue to push forward unimpeded with their program.



    • #
      llew Jones

      Yes Dean my observation is that the edict given to man to subdue the Earth and have dominion over it was the rationale derived from the then existing cultural matrix that drove the scientific and industrial revolution.

      It is telling that Paganism is now the driver, particularly of the alarmist sect of climate science in which the worship of nature is now the dominant religious/scientific cultural matrix.


      • #
        Greg Cavanagh

        Timothy II
        3:1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 3:2For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3:3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 3:4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 3:5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

        I view the phrase “Having a form of Godliness”, as the same mantra as “Save the Planet, save the animals, save the children, ect.”. It is a form of Godliness only…


    • #
      David Smith

      Please leave fairytales out of this.
      The ecomentalists have their green religion. Real scientists don’t set any store by some sort of ‘higher power’. You only have to read stories of innocent young children being viciously abused to realise that there is no ‘loving god’ who cares about us all.

      Belief in a god was just ancient man’s attempt to explain away everything that happened around him that he didn’t understand. We have science to help us understand things now, and the beauty of it all is that we will never understand everything. That is what makes a life lived in science so fascinating.


      • #
        llew Jones

        I think you miss the point. If you care to check you will find most of the European Enlightenment Scientists were either theists or deists. The incomparable Isaac Newton was a cross between a theist and a deist (a creationist that believes God does not intervene in history. Many of the greatest scientists of and post that era have been theists.

        What determines a top scientist is his intuition and natural brain power. Whether he is an atheist or from atheistic religions like Buddhism or Paganism or even from Christianity is observably inconsequential.

        The point that should be obvious, even to those limited in brain power but with some knowledge of the Enlightenment and the subsequent IR history is that the prevailing religious culture, which most of the Enlightenment scientific community embraced, gave free reign to exploiting the Earth and it resources for human improvement.

        That once dominant Christian cultural matrix no longer exists. My observation is that the soft sciences like ecology are dominated by Pagan concepts. That religion is prominent in Sir James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis, which idea is taken up by alarmists like Tim Flannery who postulates that the Earth is some sort of spiritual entity.

        My suggestion is it is that dominant aspect of Paganism which ,if one scratches below the surface is , apart from the money, that which is the prime motivation for the activism of many of the climate scientists who predict catastrophe caused by human use of certain of the Earth’s resources.

        (Incidentally two of my favourite climate scientists are Evangelical Christians vis. John Christy and Roy Spencer. Brain power yes but their science does not require one to be a Christian to evaluate their science).


        • #
          David Smith

          Okay, I’m back in the room (so to speak). Neighbours next door to me had a party until 3am, so I’ve been catching up on sleep!

          What determines a top scientist is his intuition and natural brain power. Whether he is an atheist or from atheistic religions like Buddhism or Paganism or even from Christianity is observably inconsequential.

          Inconsequential is the keyword. Religion does not need to be brought into this. It should be left at the door when we start discussing science.


          • #
            Greg Cavanagh

            Science is the study of things.

            Discussion of science is just that; a discussion. Why should we leave out discussion of religion any more than we should leave out discussion of motivated reason or bias?


      • #

        David Smith,

        You wrote:

        Please leave fairytales out of this.

        Please refrain from hidden insults. A persons religious beliefs are theirs and theirs alone.

        You wrote:

        Real scientists don’t set any store by some sort of ‘higher power’.

        The fact is that until the twentieth century, most of the greatest breakthroughs in science were made by men of faith who did exactly that. Ever since then, progress in science has mostly stagnated and what you and others perceive as ‘scientific breakthroughs’ are in fact ‘technological breakthroughs’. A world of difference between the two.

        You wrote this:

        Belief in a god was just ancient man’s attempt to explain away everything that happened around him that he didn’t understand.

        And this:

        We have science to help us understand things now, and the beauty of it all is that we will never understand everything.

        The second statement does not follow from the first. They contradict.

        The first statement is the true fairytale because it cannot be verified via the scientific method. See my reply to Dean from Ohio. It’s also the foundation of atheism, a rationally untenable position, and the basis for socialism/communism.

        The second statement has always been within the purview of all people of faith. We accept that we cannot and never will know everything. It’s the eco-loons that believe they know it all and that therefore the science is settled.

        Science by consensus is by science by committee is science by decree. This view of science can only come from a world view that there is no creator and therefore humans can decide for themselves what is right and wrong, including science, by the edict of the ruling clan.

        You absolutely have to read and fully comprehend Hume and the problem of induction; how it eventually leads to solipsism; how Popper’s falsifiabilty saves us from that solipsism; how Feyerabend takes the opposite view from that of Popper and leads us beyond solipsism into ‘there is no truth’ and therefore ‘science says what we say it says’, by decree.

        Only then will you have a starting point to comprehending how progressives, what you call the left, have completely adopted the views of Feyerabend, become influential and well entrenched in education, government, and media, and intend to hegemonize their hold on society via the UN and it’s numerous sub-committees like the WMO, ICLE, UNEP, UNESCO, IPCC etc. etc. etc.



        • #
          Gee Aye

          Well Abe, let’s debate this.

          A person’s religious beliefs are theirs and theirs alone

          But it was Dean who thought that the religious beliefs somehow were important. You provided no substance to the debate apart from confected indignity.

          what is the faith advantage?


        • #
          Geoff Sherrington

          or”A person’s religious beliefs are theirs and theirs alone”

          Apart from he deadful use of English expression here, one can question this assertion with logic and observation.
          Surely a major aim of people in most religions is to encourage more people to share their religious beliefs. This aim is hard to achieve by the “theirs and theirs alone” approach.
          What is the technical term for a belief system with a membership of one? Is it a sustainable concept and therefore a trendy concept?

          Jokes aside, there is NO reason for the conduct of science to be related to any religious belief system. Scientific thought can and should proceed, unaffected by personal religious thought; or by attitudes to ornamental body piercing; or a preference for cold pies with warm beer; or whether pigs have wings.
          Science is to religion as Beethoven is to cooking.


          • #
            David Smith

            You said it way better than me!


          • #

            Geoff Sherrington,

            You wrote:

            ”A person’s religious beliefs are theirs and theirs alone”

            Apart from he deadful use of English expression here,

            Can’t figure out how that statement is dreadful. I’m always prepared to learn.

            You wrote:

            Surely a major aim of people in most religions is to encourage more people to share their religious beliefs.

            You missed the point completely. My full statement was: “Please refrain from hidden insults. A persons religious beliefs are theirs and theirs alone.” In the context of the first sentence, the second makes perfect sense. If you say that a persons religious belief is a ‘fairytale’ you imply that the person believes in fairytales. That’s an insult to the person holding that belief, unless you can prove either rationally or scientifically that a belief in acreator is a fairytale.

            If you know of any scientific proof that ‘there is no creator’, please provide it. Oh wait, you can’t. Remember, science can either prove (provisionally) or disprove (definitively) a positive assertion, not a negative one. Basic stuff here.

            While an adherent to a given religious belief, such as ‘there is a creator’, may or may not go out and promote that belief, that doesn’t take away from the fact that a persons personal beliefs should be respected. That’s the whole point of free speech.

            There are ways to discuss the issue of the ‘existence of a creator’ without resorting to insults. It’s a bit difficult to have a discussion with someone when you begin by insulting them. And there are ways to discuss whether or not and/or to what extent, a person can promote their personal beliefs. Your personal beliefs are one thing, your right to promote those beliefs are another. Two seperate issues.

            Finally, and most importantly. It’s well known from past comments on this subject, that Jo and the moderators would prefer that this discussion not take place here on this blog. It’s hard enough dealing with the patently false pronouncements of the CAGW cultists. I agree with her/them. OTOH, when I see the same behaviour that skeptics criticize the warmists for, being used by skeptics, I write.



          • #

            Geoff Sherrington

            IMO religion and science both look at our universe and all of nature but ask very different questions, and for very different reasons.
            Quite rightly religion asks why and who, in contrast science wrestles with asking how and when.

            Both philosophies rely on basic belief structures but their beliefs are different.

            Science has us standing on the shoulders of past giants.
            Religion has us rise through divine intentions.


        • #
          David Smith

          Please refrain from hidden insults. A persons religious beliefs are theirs and theirs alone.

          Calling religion a ‘fairytale’ is not hidden in anyway. It’s just me stating a fact. If someone is that touchy about their faith then perhaps they need to keep it to themselves.
          Equally, taking faux offence is a reaction that is too easy to conjure up. It is hanging onto this unwritten rule that no-one is allowed to criticize another’s belief. If you go down that route then you’re moving into the “no-one is allowed to draw pictures of the prophet because I’ll be offended” realm of thinking.


        • #
          David Smith

          The fact is that until the twentieth century, most of the greatest breakthroughs in science were made by men of faith…

          Just because these people were outstanding scientists, it doesn’t make their belief in a God anymore true.

          It’s also the foundation of atheism, a rationally untenable position, and the basis for socialism/communism.

          Leaving aside the fact that not all atheists are communists (I’m an atheist who is definitely from the right of the political spectrum), I wouldn’t call a lack of a belief in a creator “rationally untenable”. It’s always appeared to me that some people cling onto an untenable belief in a God because they have trouble believing that the Universe was never created, it was just always there. The concept of infinity is a concept that many people find hard to work with.


          • #
            Rereke Whakaaro

            The concept of infinity is a concept that many people find hard to work with.

            Infinity of space, infinity of time, infinity of thought, infinity of colour, circles, imaginary numbers, …

            All dimensions of infinity, and I could probably go on to infinity, finding more examples, with a little more thought.

            Why not call that concept, “God”, and define it as the absence of nothingness? Or alternatively, define “God” as everything we don’t yet know?

            It saves an awful lot of writing, and tying oneself in mental knots.

            Oh, and by the way, an awful lot of theoretical Physicists describe their work as, “understanding God”.


    • #
      Gee Aye

      Wow Dean I am reading a book about the fictional outcome of what you are now proposing; The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood.


      • #
        Peter C

        I don’t know the book. Sounds interesting.

        Could you elaborate on the fictional outcome of what Dean was proposing?


    • #

      Dean from Ohio,

      You wrote:

      The Judeo-Christian world view birthed empirical science. Because God was rational, his creation also is rational and can be rationally understood by the pinnacle of his creation, man and woman, made in his image.

      It’s good to know there are still people left in world that comprehend this basic historical fact.

      Francis Bacon:

      After his death, he remained extremely influential through his works, especially as philosophical advocate and practitioner of the scientific method during the scientific revolution.

      Bacon has been called the father of empiricism. His works established and popularised inductive methodologies for scientific inquiry, often called the Baconian method, or simply the scientific method. His demand for a planned procedure of investigating all things natural marked a new turn in the rhetorical and theoretical framework for science, much of which still surrounds conceptions of proper methodology today.

      Bacon stated that he had three goals: to uncover truth, to serve his country, and to serve his church.

      For one of his biographers, the historian William Hepworth Dixon, Bacon’s influence in modern world is so great that every man who rides in a train, sends a telegram, follows a steam plough, sits in an easy chair, crosses the channel or the Atlantic, eats a good dinner, enjoys a beautiful garden, or undergoes a painless surgical operation, owes him something.

      Although it can’t be proven as fact, his description of a utopian society in The New Atlantis, may have influenced among other things, the concept of the seperation of church and state. It can be argued rationally that this is the only morally acceptable position to take in ordering the affairs of man within society.

      You wrote:

      Without repentance, the American experiment in self-government and ordered liberty is over.

      On this I’ll have to only partially agree. (It seems to me that this is what prompted so many red thumbs) Yes, repentance is one of the ways to preserve what you describe here, what I emphasized in bold. In this frame of the thought the laws of physics are what they are because they were so ordained. All a scientist can do is discover what they are and how they work but never why they exist.

      But there is another way.

      Modern secular society must come to an understanding that, rationally, there is no way to disprove the existence of a creator. Not on philosophical grounds, and certainly not by the scientific method. On this point a thorough comprehension of the question can only lead to agnosticism, never atheism. This means that just like there is a seperation of church and state, there has to be a seperation of science and state. When science is hijacked by the state as a tool for governing people (the social structure a given society) it will inevitably lead to socalism of the worst kind. Think Lysenkoism and Eugenics just to get a feel for the evil that can derive from the usurpation of science by the ruling class. Climate Change (TM) will yet be exposed as being even more destructive than even those that went before it.

      We can take either of these two roads to release society from the bonds of eco-socialism. There is no third option.



      • #
        David Smith

        When science is hijacked by the state as a tool for governing people (the social structure a given society) it will inevitably lead to socalism of the worst kind.

        +100 Very true.


    • #
      David Smith

      Because God was rational, his creation also is rational and can be rationally understood by the pinnacle of his creation, man and woman, made in his image.

      Oh dear, we’re starting to stray into the realm of ‘young Earth creationism’.
      Isn’t it rather arrogant to believe that we’re the ‘pinnacle of creation’. What proof do you have of this? How do you know that there aren’t other life-forms in this Universe that aren’t on a much higher metaphorical evolutionary peak than us?


      • #

        David Smith,

        You wrote:

        Isn’t it rather arrogant to believe that we’re the ‘pinnacle of creation’. What proof do you have of this? How do you know that there aren’t other life-forms in this Universe that aren’t on a much higher metaphorical evolutionary peak than us?

        Hypothesis: There are other life-forms in the Universe on a higher evolutionary level than humans.
        Experiment: Any of the various observational programs that have been undertaken to date.
        A. SETI
        B. Physical proof of UFOs.
        C. Others I may not be aware of.
        Null-Hypothesis: There is observational evidence that there are in fact other life-forms in the Universe on a higher evolutionary level than humans.

        Until you can provide me with evidence for the adoption of the null-hypothesis, the original Hypothesis stands. No UFOs. No ‘signals’ from another planet, star, galaxy, dimension, parallel universe. Nothing but conjecture. Just like CAGW.

        I also find it more than a bit disturbing that you’ve presented in your comment one of the foundations of the pseudo-scientific positions of the eco-loons and their whole push for sustainability and resilience.

        They’re the ones that say that humans are no different from other life forms on the planet, that those other life forms are just as important if not more so than humans, and that because of this ‘equality’ of the species, humans have no more rights to survive than any of the others.

        They of course build on this nonsensical notion and promote the idea that we humans are nothing but a ‘cancer’ that’s better off ‘managed to a sustainable level’ so as not to endanger their beloved gaia.

        As far as your use of ‘much higher metaphorical evolutionary peak’, science doesn’t deal in ‘metaphors’. It deals with ‘data’.



        • #
          llew Jones

          It is interesting to note that atheism is a belief system which for many post Darwin believers finds refuge from any notion of Intelligent design through blind faith in an hypothesis which is not much more scientifically credible or mathematically probable than today’s CAGW.

          For those with any familiarity with perhaps the greatest scientist who ever lived, Isaac Newton, one finds that though he certainly was not a Christian in any orthodox sense he tied his understanding of the universe irrevocably to the concept of an intelligent omniscient, all powerful being.

          Of course those familiar with Newton’s Optiks would be aware of his demolition of the ideas that Darwin subsequently resurrected in his hypothesis.

          Surely Newton could not have known about evolution?

          Newton was well aware of evolutionary thinking in his day, and this is evident from what he says in the third book of his Optiks.

          Newton knew about the theory of evolution because the idea had been postulated by the ancient Greeks.

          Henry Fairfield Osborn, of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, said that Empedocles “may justly be called the father of the Evolution idea.” He further says, “in the ancient teachings of Empedocles we find the germ of the theory of the survival of the fittest, or of natural selection, and the absolute proof that Empedocles’ crude hypothesis embodied this world famous thought is found in passages in Aristotle’s Physics, in which he refers to Empedocles as having first shown the possibility of the origin of the fittest forms of life through chance rather than through design.”

          Dr. Richard Swann Lull of Yale has also said much the same, “Empedocles may be called the father of evolution.”

          G.T.W. Patrick has said, “Aristotle not only taught the doctrine of evolution, but he had, what Darwin lacked, a theory of its causes.”

          One can readily see that Newton and other creationists of his time were well aware of evolutionary teaching that had been handed down from the ancient philosophers.

          And when one looks at the quotes in his Optiks you can see that he understood evolution much the same way it is articulated today. He understood that part of the story that had the universe arise out of chaos by means of the natural laws.

          Now I’m sure the Smiths and even the Joneses in their own small way have an occasional intelligent thought but after a spending a bit of time in the company of the great Isaac’s writing this Jones has moved from an attitude of suspicion to one of,……. …shall we call it “denier”.

          Of course if Newton were alive today the same sort of treatment that skeptical scientists like Salby got for querying the CAGW faith would be meted out to the greatest scientist who ever lived by Darwin’s disciples or should that be followers of Empedocles.


    • #

      Dean, no worries mate. Remember this. Who has the guns? The right! Which side are most military snipers from? The right! What kids got beat up on the playground? The left! Who used to beat them up? The right! The day that the pusillanimous eco-nut left tries to intern anyone for refusing to follow their eco-nut thinking is the day they take their dirt nap.


  • #
    Gary in Erko

    discrimination (ignore #2, and ditto for other sociological hijacked terms)
    #1. an act or instance of discriminating, or of making a distinction.
    #2. treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit:
    racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.
    #3. the power of making fine distinctions; discriminating judgment:
    She chose the colors with great discrimination.
    #4. Archaic. something that serves to differentiate.

    Origin of discrimination: 1640-50; < Latin discrīminātiōn- (stem of discrīminātiō) a distinguishing.


  • #
    Peter Miller

    I have employed several newly qualified graduate scientists, they all had a thirst for knowledge and were all surprised


  • #

    The greatest irony IMHO is that ‘THE CLIMATE’ (whatever or wherever that is) is showing zero respect for all these institutions, bureaucratic and academic, that are claiming they need to be granted a monopoly over ‘THE CLIMATE’.
    They need this monopoly so that they can charge us for ‘THE CLIMATE’ and keep us safe from ‘THE CLIMATE’ .
    This is apparently because us naughty humans have made ‘THE CLIMATE’ really scary and unpredictable and we need to be made to pay for that.
    Please note we’re not being asked to pay ‘THE CLIMATE’ but to pay those who are demanding the monopoly.


    • #
      Rick Will

      THE CLIMATE has turned out to be the ultimate gravy train for aligned scientist and the wider community. I am personally benefitting from the con.

      The agenda is set and the “science” impregnable. Anomalies of any data, no matter how small, is evidence of Climate Change. CLIMATE Change is so much better than GLOBAL WARMING. Warming implies going one way while Change can be anything. Skeptics have accepted the language and presentation of data as anomalies. These exaggerate the minute changes and elevate the significance of something having little to no relevance to human existence ob Earth.

      Any weather Change reinforces the “science”. The weather is always changing so the “science” is constantly reinforced. No one is going to come and interview Jo Nova because the weather is the same this week as it was last week. The “scientists” are asked for a news grab any time there is a weather event that causes some inconvenience. Inevitably it is the result of Climate Change or more lately Climate Disruption caused by man made CO2. The evidence is therefore boundless.


  • #

    You have lots of very personal passion in that headline post Jo.
    More so than most of your posts.

    And a completely justified passion to boot!

    We, that is society will collectively fumble our way towards a better science system somewhere, sometime.

    Humanity has always operated on the two steps forwards, one and half steps back principle but we as a race are always moving forward towards a better world.

    What has and no doubt will continue to evolve in the science world may be ugly for starters but sooner or later in the generations to come science will be cleansed and renew the century old contract between science and society where society supports science to the level it can afford and allows the participants in science to explore the full range of the human intellect without any limits other than society’s moral and ethical strictures.

    In return science undertakes to always try to maximise the advancement of the human race. to the vert best of its capabilities.

    When that happens science once again will take its place as one of the most respected pursuits when it again places the uplifting and advancement of mankind and society and civilisation as its goal instead of the current entirely personal goals of increasing the putative scientist’s own personal standing, wealth and influence regardless of the cost to the rest of society.

    Climate alarmist science being the archetypal example of the pursuit of personal fame and wealth and influence today without any recognition of the effects of the putative scientist’s personal goals on the rest of society.


    • #

      Exactly ROM, that passion was a manifestation of Jo and David having the courage of their scientific convictions to practice what they were taught and rejected a false hypothesis that many others in all fields continue to accept out of personal ego or greed.

      Then to be one or the first to question this hypothesis via online blogging again exhibiting the spirit of scientific method while others continued into scientific mythology with seemingly little remorse.


      • #


        You wrote:

        . . . others continued into scientific mythology with seemingly little remorse.

        . . . and plenty of religious zeal.

        My apologies. Had to get that off my chest. ;)



      • #
        Geoffrey Cousens

        ” Ha!”


  • #

    Here is one attempt:

    It’s Too Soon to Call This the Anthropocene Era (

    We humans can cause earth a lot of damage, but we don’t hold the whip hand

    Each of the six elapsed epochs of the Cenozoic era—from the beginning of the Paleocene 66 million years ago to the beginning of the Holocene 11,700 years ago—lasted at least 2.5 million years, including the last two (the Pliocene and the Pleistocene), and we are now less than 12,000 years into the Holocene.

    If there is in fact an Anthropocene, it may date no further back than 8,000 years (counting since the beginning of settled agriculture) or 150 years (counting from the takeoff of fossil fuel combustion).

    Fundamental variables that make life on Earth possible—the thermonuclear reactions that power the sun, suffusing the planet with radiation; the planet’s shape, rotation, tilt, the eccentricity of its orbital path (the “pacemaker” of the ice ages), and the circulation of its atmosphere—are all beyond any human interference.

    Nor can we ever hope to control the enormous terraforming processes, the Earth’s plate tectonics driven by internal heat and resulting in slow but constant creation of new ocean floor, forming, reshaping, and elevating landmasses whose distributions and altitudes are key determinants of climate variability and habitability.
    ~ ~ ~
    “the eccentricity of its orbital path (the “pacemaker” of the ice ages)”

    Who, you may ask, is on record declaring that humans have stopped such forces?

    Speaking at the Planet under Pressure conference in London, Prof Will Steffen, a global change expert from the Australian National University, said that this period of climate change caused by humans, known as the ‘anthropocene era’, could ultimately cause the whole system of ice ages followed by warm periods, that has allowed life on Earth to flourish, to be over.
    . . .
    The sooner quacks like Steffan are called out, the better for science.


    • #

      Nor can we ever hope to control the enormous terraforming processes, the Earth’s plate tectonics driven by internal heat and resulting in slow but constant creation of new ocean floor, forming, reshaping, and elevating landmasses whose distributions and altitudes are key determinants of climate variability and habitability.
      ~ ~ ~
      “the eccentricity of its orbital path (the “pacemaker” of the ice ages)”

      Who, you may ask, is on record declaring that humans have stopped such forces?

      Speaking at the Planet under Pressure conference in London, Prof Will Steffen, a global change expert from the Australian National University, said that this period of climate change caused by humans, known as the ‘anthropocene era’, could ultimately cause the whole system of ice ages followed by warm periods, that has allowed life on Earth to flourish, to be over.”

      Says it all … and which meeja outlet, one may ask, pointed out the Insanity of the Steffen ?

      Why, none of them, of course


  • #

    Thank you Jo, for an island of tranquil sanity in a roaring sea of mendacity.


  • #

    It is not just science. People are prepared to tell outright lies.
    Consider the UNESCO report that the Great Barrier Reef is not in danger.

    The Queensland Resources Council said the UNESCO recommendation recognises Australia’s huge strides in the management of the site.
    “Pleasingly, the draft recommendation on the GBR (Great Barrier Reef) issued tonight in Paris is based on facts and science and was not diverted by the outrageous lies and distortions of certain activist organisations that have been campaigning relentlessly for the GBR to be placed on the ‘in danger’ list of world heritage properties,”

    but Greenpeace have no shame

    Greenpeace said it is calling on the federal government “to stop trying to prop up a dying coal industry and remove port expansion loopholes from the Reef 2050 plan”, as well as invest in a sustainable energy industry.

    Since when was the coal industry dying? Indonesia has rocketed past Australia to be the world’s largest exporter of coal. What is their renewables plan? If Australia’s coal industry is ‘dying’ is clearly political aim of the communist greens to cripple Western democracies. India, China, Indonesia have no such obligations despite having half the world’s population. They are even admired by Christiana Fugeres who wants to model a new world on China.

    Then they are supported by ranks of friendly faux ‘scientists’ like Tim Flannery. The definition of scientist is now so distorted that someone who has no physical science qualifications in mathematics, physics or chemistry can get a PhD in science. Tim has offered technical opinions on science from meteorology to nuclear power on the basis of his knowledge of prehistoric wombats? On generation of power from Hot Rocks, he said “the technology was relatively straightforward”. It failed, taking a $90 Million government handout with it and the investors money. The directors were on $300K salaries and Flannery spruiking the shares as safe.

    No, Science is alive and well. What is not is the hijacking of science by fringe dwellers, politicians, activists, Greens and often those who stand to benefit. For them facts never mattered. For a scientist, they are all that matter.


    • #

      People are prepared to tell outright lies

      Unhappily, large numbers of people are inclined to believe them

      See my comment at #2.1.1


    • #
      Robert O

      I listened to the speil about the Barrier Reef on ABC 24 this morning with the Federal and Qld. Ministers: they painted a rosy picture about the UNESCO decision. As well there was a spokesman for Greenpeace: his portrayal was was different and less complimentary. He warned that the reef was in danger from additional threats, apart from dredging and shipping and farm run-off; yes, you guessed them. 1. Climate change and 2. acidification of the oceans.


  • #

    The UN Bureau of Bureaucracy – Applications Department, has noted your demand but are unable to process your complaint as the department is unable to discern whether your require Form 284411 –’Universal Disruption Re-reimbursement for Non Performance’, or Form 42-666; ‘Bureaucratic Repair — Planetary Requirements, Structural Distress, and Performance’.

    Please be aware that both forms require you to fill in the online registration prior to making either of these claims but not both. Please apply for advice note 99-48 ed. 2002 annex 6Bii ‘Requirements for Application’, and attend to mandatory sections (highlighted in pale gray) to part 4,487c footnote specific particular (e.g. sanity clause signed by both grand parents). These must be annotated in MIL SPEC. No.2 INK ONLY before applicant use of online registration.

    Please call our free helpline during our office hours.

    Applications for information on Office Hours — Forms and Services, Personnel, Manual,Automated, other see …



  • #

    Unfortunate but true. I periodically worked with “Environmental Science” graduates over a number of years. I was stunned by the lack of observational skills and the almost total lack of ability to logically process any observational information gleaned during field visits. I came to the conclusion that most were yet to have their first original thought.

    There were occasional exceptions that were just so refreshing. The rest fell into the category of what I called regurgitators and extrapolators. They could simply regurgitate what they had heard, read or were taught at University.


  • #

    If this is typical of other scientific disciplines then our tertiary education system has a real problem.


    • #

      Environmental Science did not exist. It is a political creation almost by definition and not a ‘hard’ science, so open to activism as the treasured rules of rationalist science and philosophy are less important than stopping change.

      By definition the world without man was ideal. Any man made changes like dams are evil and must be stopped. The fact that 99% of all species which ever existed are extinct is ignored. The fact that the world continually changes and massively is ignore. Any man made change must be stopped and that is the basis for Global Warming/Climate Change. Any change is due only to perfidious humans and not natural variation.

      So people who clear land for agriculture are evil. Farmers are evil. Miners are evil. People who have children are evil. The only good people are the holy order of environmental scientists who live in the inner city in a lifestyle only made possible by the farmers, miners and manufacturers. These foot soldiers of the people against everything are very angry, with everyone else. They will lecture you on the environment, the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef, the rapidly rising Global Temperature, the acidification of the oceans, the melting ice and ‘the science’. Their reference? The infallible scientists of the IPCC.


      • #
        Dave in the states

        And “environmental science” has become a core subject displacing traditional hard science in the curriculum.


      • #

        I’ll just throw this in here. Yes, what is today referenced to as “environmental science” is largely a political creation with most graduating being “C” students. (That’s “C” for conceded pass not credit average).

        But there really is environmental science and it is a hard science and has nothing to do with AGW. I went to school with a guy who trained and got a job in dealing with environmental controls on mining runoff and landscape remediation. One of my community associates works in fixing soil and groundwater pollution on former industrial sites (think Barangeroo site). And for myself, one of the recent projects I have contributed to involved working with real environmental scientists on bio-remediation of storm water and wetlands in Sydney park. Real environmental science is not about modelling and make believe. It is heavy on empirical evidence and getting published is not a measure of success. In real environmental science getting the sampling right, the biology right and the solutions correct is the measure of success.

        Tdef, just add the reputation of “Environmental science” to the list of things the AGW propagandists stuffed up. In the meantime while we wait for repairs, enjoy the initial results in Sydney park
        (It will be another couple of months before the aeration system in wetland 1 is installed, but it will be the hotness;-) ).


      • #
        Robert O

        I remember having a conversation with a Canberra based environmental scientist about carbon, in particular hydro-carbons. His was totally unaware that methane, ethane, with fewer carbon atoms were gases and bigger molecules such as octane (petrol) were liquid and even bigger ones solids. Can’t be taught much chemistry these days which is surprising.


    • #
      Retired now

      “If this is typical of other scientific disciplines then our tertiary education system has a real problem.”

      When I was working as a researcher in an Australian medical school I would take my observations that didn’t fit the assumptions or the “proven results” to other researchers. Almost universally I was told my observation was “just anecdotal” and didn’t count. I was always interested in what didn’t fit, in actual real life situations and observations but these were seen as being disadvantageous to the research. In one case the Dean told me I was a “stupid, stupid woman” for suggesting the received wisdom couldn’t be supported by actual life results. He was Dean, therefore he was right.

      On one occasion I couldn’t work out what my boss was expecting and I found myself saying in exasperation, “what result do you want and I’ll run the stats test to prove it!” I eventually discovered he wanted a mildly positive improvement but not a great one as that would suggest his colleagues didn’t have the best model and that would have political implications he didn’t want to have to deal with. Because I knew the consequences of not giving them what they wanted, the test was run which showed a slight, but statistically very significant improvement. (I could have showed a much better result and a slightly worse result depending on how I did it – variables used, etc.) I’m not proud of it, but one works in the system. No results, no publications, no job and no job, no income. (And no need to mention the morality, nor the integrity of the system to me. I know but we had just built the house, I needed the income for the mortgage, and I wasn’t trained for any other career. It tore me apart to have to do it.)

      I wonder if part of the problem is that with the high proportion of the population going to university, then through the system to become PhDs and on to research that we have to keep people more accountable, but accountability is always political, not based on actual research results. When my dad was a researcher in the 1950s he taught and then spent hours doing actual research followed by a mad panic write up time to get his stuff published. He knew that when he made a breakthrough in knowledge that within a month of his finding something his colleagues in the US and Russia would make the same finding and it was only the first person’s publication that would count. There were 3 units of two people doing his type of research around the world. Now there are thousands of people looking to find work in comparable fields and even more in fields where social science methods predominate.

      In addition when dad was working his research was just part of his job. When I became a researcher in the 1990s 35-40% of my research money was taken by university for overheads before I could be paid. Then the department required 35-40% of my time to be used supporting departmental administrative demands including applying for more research money. No outside money coming in, no job. No job, no money.

      Its a mugs game. I eventually retired.


      • #

        Retired now: An excellent contribution.

        _Almost universally I was told my observation was “just anecdotal” and didn’t count”. That’s exactly what I encountered. However I would counter with “anecdotal means rumored (dictionary definition), this is not rumored, it is not anecdotal it is observational and quantifiable.


    • #

      Retired now: I just re-read your comment. Your circumstances appear to not have been too dissimilar to mine. Although I wasn’t academically qualified in the area in which I was working. My qualifications were in telecommunications (PMG) and electronics (Dept of Defence). My second boss was a young “environmental science” graduate. Much of the work I was doing was in the area of fire ecology, an area that totally fascinated me. I had done a couple of presentations at symposiums which upset those with the academics, who accused me of denigrating scientists because I had said, “you won’t learn this at university, you will only learn it in the real world”. Of course I could have challenged any of them as to whether they had learned it at university.

      However I was a casual employee and my boss was so incensed that anyone should pay attention to what I had presented, even though she acknowledged that it was based on pure data. In order to rid herself of this nuisance she progressively removed my work from me until I was simply marking time. I chose to retire from that area of my employment and now still do periodic volunteer work with two of the departments leading fire ecologists, with two papers (as co-author) in the publishing pipeline. I’ll continue in this role as long as my aging body permits.


      • #
        Geoff Sherrington

        Nothing personal is intended by my comments here, which are simply that people are no more able to be predicted to be good scientists than they are to be good at golf.
        There is no value in spending more taxes to send more people to golf school. Very few aspirants ever become highly successful golfers – or scientists. My personal university qualifications are quite poor. I went from school to Uni because Dad asked me to. The after ffects of the Great Depression followed by his voluntary overseas RAAF war time service had mucked around his own education.
        I did not even know what a Ph.D. or a Master degree was until I was well into first year.
        However, for reasons ever unknown, despite Uni experiences I sleep well knowing that my career contributions to science were quite respectable; and to golf, almost non-existent.
        Point is, it is hard to turn individual experiences into generalisations useful to improve national education.
        In its broadest sense, you can blame education for the presnt state of the world, where some countries are terribly poor, yet others that were once comparable have now forged far ahead. How do you turn that global observaion into usedful education policies? I do not know, but I do know that you do not even want to try to think of use of a synthetic policy vehicle like global warming on which to practice your refinements of global or national genocide as we have seen evolve in parts of Africa.


  • #
    Brian Jones

    In order to be published the data they used should be made available to everyone.That alone would
    go a long way to making sure they were not dreaming stuff up.


  • #
    Rod Stuart

    Part of the problem is that no-one is incentivised to be right. Instead, scientists are incentivised to be productive and innovative.

    Powerful incentives are not necessarily monetary.
    Recognition is a powerful motivator.
    I find it strange that outstanding achievers in science and medicine are seldom afforded the fame of celebrity sports characters and actors.
    The tragic death of a cricket player in Australia recently resulted in what was tantamount to a State funeral.
    Incentives stem from youthful aspirations for glory, fame, and of course wealth. The result is that these aspirations stem from the near deification of celebrities.
    Yet improvements in the human condition require far more than a celebrity can contribute.


    • #
      James Murphy

      Look at the recent death of John Nash, virtually no mention (that I saw) of his prize winning work, aside from a passing mention of the “Nash equilibrium”, focusing instead on his schizophrenia, and what Russell Crowe had to say about him…


  • #

    Well said Jo.

    Strongly agree with this statement: Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. As one participant put it, “poor methods get results”.

    I get annoyed by headlines from press releases: This study has shown that eating/doing _____ will mean that you are 5 times more likely to suffer disastrous consequences. Followed by a statement to the effect that further research is required.

    What they never report is that your chances increase from 1 in 10 million to 5 in 10 million. It’s like saying that research has shown that buying more Tatts tickets increases your chances of winning. Can I get a grant for that?


  • #

    Yes, science is currently discredited. Bad things always happen when bureaucracy builds. The scientific method remains valid, but peer review and publication are part of the scientific and academic bureaucracy and have nothing at all to do with the scientific method.

    This is how the global warming hoax was able to flourish. The Alinsky methods and the “Fabian long march through the institutions” can only work when science drifts toward an institution rather than a method. After all, one of the original aims of the method was to allow a scientifically correct individual to stand against an army of consensus and groupthink. We cannot afford to lose this precious tool.

    This is where AGW sceptics come in. We have a unique opportunity to save science, and given that knowledge, an ethical obligation to do so. Yes, the fallout is going to be very ugly, but the price of not doing so is unimaginable.

    So what’s the deal? A short while ago some prominent sceptics, sadly including Anthony Watts of WUWT , had a meeting with propagandists in the UK. The meeting was held under Chatham House rules., but what they were trying was painfully obvious. They were trying to engineer a “soft landing” for this sorry hoax. At the time I called this out for the drivelling inanity it was. (Anthony was not impressed). My point was that it is not enough to end the hoax when the opportunity clearly exists to simultaneously end the tyranny of scientific bureaucracy and safeguard science against such exploitation in the future.

    So how do sceptics seize this opportunity? Simple – stop being lukewarmers. Yes, it is frighting to stray from the herd, but this is a black or white, right or wrong situation. Either adding radiative gases to our radiatively cooled atmosphere reduces its ability to cool the solar heated surface of our planet or it does not. There is no compromise position, there can be no middle ground. As I say, black or white, right or wrong and the lukewarmers are most assuredly wrong.

    The entirety of this inane hoax hangs on a single foundation claim – “The surface of our planet is a near blackbody that an average of 240 w/m2 of sunlight could only heat to an average temperature of 255K (-18C) were it not for the addition of a radiative atmosphere”. This claim is utterly false.

    The surface of our oceans act as an extreme short wave selective surface and would heat to around 335K were it not for cooling by our radiatively cooled atmosphere.

    How sceptics can simultaneously end the global warming hoax and save science -
    A. Do the research, replicate the experiments and above all abandon the frightened little lukewarmer stuff.
    B. Make sure the correct answers are published from one side of the web to the other before they are ever published in any “respected” journal.

    PS. The experiments that blow the “surface at -18C without radiative atmosphere” claims into the weeds are so simple you can build and run them yourselves -

    PPS. Every sceptic who abandons the lukewarmer position, reads up an radiative physics and above all replicates such experiments (yes, real work is required) is doing more to save the traditional scientific method than anyone publishing in a journal.


  • #
    el gordo

    Consider yourselves lucky to be in the rational minority, because global cooling is just around the corner. Temperatures only have to fall a degree to humiliate a generation of climate scientists who followed the politically correct thinking to receive a grant.

    As temperatures fall there will be much obfuscation and gnashing of teeth, but all to no avail, the peer review system is kaput and out of this mangled mess a renaissance in climate science will emerge.

    Young students should then be reminded that coincidental correlation (post hoc ergo propter hoc) is not science.


    • #

      “Temperatures only have to fall a degree to humiliate a generation of climate scientists”

      True, but that will take too long. Sceptics are being slack relying on nature to prove the climastrologists wrong.

      Temperatures will drop as we reach the middle of SC25. The reason is actually in the physics demonstrated in the two experiments I posted above. For materials that are LWIR opaque but UV/SW translucent, (like our oceans) all watts don’t heat equally. The wavelengths that penetrate deepest cause the most heating per photon. It is UV that penetrates deepest into our oceans and UV that varies the most over between solar cycles.

      El Gordo, we don’t have to wait for the sun. Sceptics just have to stop being lukewarmers, and do the repeatable empirical experiments. There truly is a hideous 80C error effecting 71% of the planets surface in the very foundation of the “basic physics” of the “settled science”. Sceptics who accept even a small part of “CO2 causes warming” are now doing just as much to prolong the hoax as alarmists. Waiting for the sun will let too many of the guilty escape and do little to defend science, reason, freedom and democracy now under assault by the AGW cult.


      • #
        el gordo

        ‘Sceptics just have to stop being lukewarmers’

        I agree.

        ‘Waiting for the sun will let too many of the guilty escape’

        First and foremost we need to get public opinion onside through the MSM. Mass delusion needs to be overcome if we are to stop the politicians, scientists and bankers misbehaving.


        • #

          ”First and foremost we need to get public opinion onside through the MSM”

          By MSM, I take it you were referring to the Lame Scream Meeja.

          I would advise – take a step back and rethink. There is a reason the majority of Australians are now AGW sceptics. It has little to do with anything said in old media, but rather the efforts of those like Jo Nova in new media. (I know who was with us on St. Crispins day). This is the age of the Internet. The Lame Scream Meeja are no longer the gate keepers of opinion and record. (much to their squealing distress).

          This has been the greatest success of the sceptics. We are winning despite all the old media microphones being hogged by GoreBull Warbling propagandists.

          This has been the greatest failure of the AGW propagandists. They tried to push on with their sorry hoax in the age of the Internet. They can scrub like Lady Macbeth. They can even use the sandpaper, but the foul stain of vilifying sceptics wilt not out.

          El Gordo, the Lame Scream Meeja are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

          As I said, take a step back and rethink.

          Forget Lysenkoism, AGW has been the greatest assault on science, reason, freedom and democracy in human history. Your “MSM” were complicit. You want to give them a “get out of jail free” card?!

          I say every pseudo scientist, activist, journalist, subsidy farmer and politician of the left who ever sought to promote or profit by this sorry hoax gets their public face, metaphorically speaking, punched to custard.

          For those who believe they can defend the “too big to fail” ideology, there is a “teachable moment” on the horizon. A storm is coming.


      • #

        Konrad, have you run those experiments?
        You say: There truly is a hideous 80C error effecting 71% of the planets surface in the very foundation of the “basic physics” of the “settled science”.
        Please report your evidence, as you suggest others should do.


        • #

          It’s a trap. It’s always a trap ;-)

          (For catching warmulonians and lukewarmers alike).

          Of course I have built and run the experiments -

          The first, “Shredded lukewarm turkey in Boltzmannic vinegar”, is the most dramatic. Build the two target blocks exactly as shown. Next illuminate both with 1000 w/m2 of LWIR for 3 hours. Both will rise to the same temperature with identical internal temperature profile (an even 80C) and in line with what the Stefan-Boltzmann calculation would indicate.

          Let the blocks cool back to ambient then illuminate again with 1000 w/m2 for 3 hours, but this time use SW not LWIR. Block B will heat exactly at as before, but Block A will run 20C hotter, with a base temperature hitting near 120C. The Stefan-Boltzmann equation cannot answer this as it treats materials as effectively opaque.

          The purpose of this experiment is to highlight the utter inanity of the climastrologists in applying the S-B equation to our deep SW translucent / IR opaque oceans. The whole “surface at 255K without radiative atmosphere being raised 33K by DWLWIR” claim is complete tripe.

          This incredibly basic physics is totally missing from the “basic physics” of the “settled science”. Not treating the oceans as an extreme SW selective surface is the critical error that invalidates not just AGW but the very notion of a net radiative GHE. In fact “critical error” is too mild. This is an extreme fist-biting mistake, one where you’re wincing while biting your fist so hard you find you’ve swallowed your eyes and are missing fingers. Yes, that bad.


          • #
            el gordo

            Nicely said, glad you’re on our side, Konrad.


            • #

              El Gordo,
              happy to read that. Sadly Anthony Watts would not agree. I believe I’m on my 4th if not 5th “lifetime ban” from WUWT :-)

              Before I ever designed these recent selective surface radiative experiments, I used repeatable empirical experiment to prove Willis (one of Anthony’s primary advisers) wrong in 2011. I have never been forgiven. So sad, too bad.

              Willis (lukewarmer) sided with the warmulonians and claimed that incident LWIR could heat or slow the cooling rate of liquid water that is free to evaporatively cool.

              The correct answer is NO -
              and NO -

              Willis has yet to concede that he was totally pwned by an engineer, and so WUWT remains a lukewarmer backwater. (I’m not happy with this, because if you know your sceptic history, Anthony started as an empiricist just like me).


          • #
            Peter C

            Thanks Konrad,

            I have most of the necessary items so I will build your experiments and report back. I don’t have a short wave lamp, so I will use sunlight.

            Glad that you explained what it is actually about.

            May be a few weeks.


            • #

              thank you for making the effort. While I may have recently attacked Anthony Watts for attempting the Lukewarmer soft landing, I never forget his initial work in defending science was in empirical experiments in surface station paint changes and crowd sourcing an army of hundreds of volunteers to make empirical observations of US surface station micro site conditions.

              I work with computer models for FEA and CFD as part of my day job, but I still hold empirical experiment higher. Empirical experiment doesn’t just answer the questions you knew to ask, It can answer or raise questions you didn’t know to ask.

              As to the SW source question, sunlight works, I know I’ve tried it. Yes, there is considerable SWIR component in solar radiation, but the SW visible far out weighs this. (for the comparison LWIR source you can just use two cheap steam irons with their bases painted with matt black high temp paint).

              “The deep black sea” is the cheaper of the of the two experiments to run, but temperature differential in a small sample size is far less dramatic than “Shredded lukewarm turkey in Boltzmannic vinegar”. If running “The deep black sea” outdoors with sunlight, chose a day with very low wind, or build insulated tubs deeper.

              “Shredded lukewarm turkey in Boltzmannic vinegar” with constant solar illumination will give an impressive average temperature differential of 20C as the blocks reach equilibrium. However the surface temp of both blocks, unlike the liquid experiment, will stabilise at near equal temperatures.

              In the liquid experiment, convective circulation allows not only higher average but higher surface temps temps in tub A even with constant illumination. To see something similar with the acrylic blocks you just need to provide intermittent SW illumination just like our oceans -
              - this rig uses 1/4 cycle halogens with IR opaque air cooled glass LWIR shields to keep the SW “Clean”.

              From experiments like these built at varying scales you can derive the five rules for SW illumination of SW translucent / LWIR opaque materials -

              I am more than happy to provide any assistance or advice to those who follow the traditional scientific method and replicate my experiments.


  • #

    For a start they should cancel all funding of the IPCC and remove any climate studies from the UN permanently.
    As Pat Michaels and others have shown the models have failed for at least 34 years, so why didn’t they question this nonsense when Gore and Hansen attempted their con in 1988?
    Or in the 1990s or 2000s? Instead we’ve spent trillions worldwide on this mitigation con and fraud for a zero return on our money.
    Of course this is just climate and we know that such a careless disregard for the scientific method probably applies to all scientific study.


  • #

    Everyone should read this post from Pat Michaels about the failure of the models etc at WUWT. When will they fess up and admit they were wrong?


  • #
    Bevan Dockery

    What I find depressing is the apparent lack of any questioning by school and university students of the lies behind the CO2 global warming fraud. Apparently they just meekly accept the gross misrepresentation of science by the IPCC in its explanation of the “greenhouse effect” (notice that this has apparently been quietly changed by the IPCC) and “backradiation”.

    Where is the next generation of Einstein’s, Darwin’s, Planck’s or Clerk Maxwell’s ?


    • #
      Retired now

      I think there have always been a small minority who question received wisdom. I think back to when I was at school in the 1960s there were very few genuine questioners. Mostly students, like most outside the school system, accept received knowledge because in the end its easier and you don’t get clobbered too hard. To survive the clobbering and still stay a questioner plus manage to get through the system with credentials is rare.


  • #

    Scientific training does not normally include any formal study of the philosophy and ethics of science. These are matters scientists are simply expected to somehow absorb in the process of obtaining an advanced degree. However, from primary school through university virtually all students are heavily indoctrinated in the politically correct philosophy and ethics of postmodernism. This doctrine specifically rejects the core scientific values of objectivity, logic and empiricism. It denies the existence of any objective truth and relegates it to merely a subjective notion subordinate to purported higher moral values as espoused by the postmodernists themselves. These are then deemed to be so beyond debate as to be unethical to even question.

    In the absence of any clearly established and widely accepted philosophical understanding and ethical standards for science, those of postmodernism have achieved strong influence in science despite their being the antithesis of the very essence of science. This situation is not just happenstance. It arose from the boom in funding and influence of the natural sciences following World War II. The social sciences and humanities made an early effort to become more scientific in their approach but soon found that logic and empirical evidence would require dismissing too much of their established canon of belief. Too much of prestige, egos and influence was at stake. The response was a rejection of the essence of the scientific method in favour of purported higher values as determined by political correctness.

    At this point in time there seems little practical hope of reform for the social sciences and humanities. However, the natural sciences might well benefit from study of the philosophy and ethics of science as an integral aspect of scientific training. Establishment of an international protocol for standards of practice in science could also be useful as might an international body constituted to offer independent assessment of the status of important matters of scientific uncertainty or disagreement.

    Science has proved to be by far the most effective methodology ever developed to understand ourselves, our world and the universe in which we exist. To have it degraded by third rate intellects righteously spewing provable nonsense for petty personal gain is truly a crime against both humanity and nature.


  • #

    What is the return on the increasing amounts devoted to scientific research? And specifically what reurn on the billions spent on global warming?
    Wikipedia lists the following major discoveries:
    1800 – Alessandro Volta: discovers electrochemical series and invents the battery
    1802 – Jean-Baptiste Lamarck: teleological evolution
    1805 – John Dalton: Atomic Theory in (Chemistry)
    1820 – Hans Christian Ørsted discovers that a current passed through a wire will deflect the needle of a compass, establishing a deep relationship between electricity and magnetism (electromagnetism).
    1824 – Carnot: described the Carnot cycle, the idealized heat engine
    1827 – Georg Ohm: Ohm’s law (Electricity)
    1827 – Amedeo Avogadro: Avogadro’s law (Gas law)
    1828 – Friedrich Wöhler synthesized urea, destroying vitalism
    1830 – Nikolai Lobachevsky created Non-Euclidean geometry
    1831 – Michael Faraday discovers electromagnetic induction
    1833 – Anselme Payen isolates first enzyme, diastase
    1838 – Matthias Schleiden: all plants are made of cells
    1838 – Friedrich Bessel: first successful measure of stellar parallax (to star 61 Cygni)
    1842 – Christian Doppler: Doppler effect
    1843 – James Prescott Joule: Law of Conservation of energy (First law of thermodynamics), also 1847 – Helmholtz, Conservation of energy
    1846 – William Morton: discovery of anesthesia
    1846 – Johann Gottfried Galle and Heinrich Louis d’Arrest: discovery of Neptune
    1848 – Lord Kelvin: absolute zero
    1858 – Rudolf Virchow: cells can only arise from pre-existing cells
    1859 – Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace: Theory of evolution by natural selection
    1861 – Louis Pasteur: Germ theory
    1865 – Gregor Mendel: Mendel’s laws of inheritance, basis for genetics
    1865 – Rudolf Clausius: Definition of Entropy
    1869 – Dmitri Mendeleev: Periodic table
    1871 – Lord Rayleigh: Diffuse sky radiation (Rayleigh scattering) explains why sky appears blue
    1873 – James Clerk Maxwell: Theory of electromagnetism
    1875 – William Crookes invented the Crookes tube and studied cathode rays
    1876 – Josiah Willard Gibbs founded chemical thermodynamics, the phase rule
    1877 – Ludwig Boltzmann: Statistical definition of entropy
    1887 – Albert A. Michelson and Edward W. Morley: lack of evidence for the aether
    1895 – Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovers x-rays
    1896 – Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity
    1897 – J.J. Thomson discovers the electron in cathode rays
    1898 – J.J. Thomson proposed the Plum pudding model of an atom
    1898 – Marie Curie discovers polonium, radium, and coins the term “radioactivity”
    1900 – Max Planck: Planck’s law of black body radiation, basis for quantum theory
    1905 – Albert Einstein: theory of special relativity, explanation of Brownian motion, and photoelectric effect
    1906 – Walther Nernst: Third law of thermodynamics
    1909 – Fritz Haber: Haber Process for industrial production of ammonia
    1909 – Robert Andrews Millikan: conducts the Oil drop experiment and determines the charge on an electron
    1911 – Ernest Rutherford: Atomic nucleus
    1911 – Heike Kamerlingh Onnes: Superconductivity
    1912 – Alfred Wegener: Continental drift
    1912 – Max von Laue : x-ray diffraction
    1913 – Henry Moseley: defined atomic number
    1913 – Niels Bohr: Model of the atom
    1915 – Albert Einstein: theory of general relativity – also David Hilbert
    1915 – Karl Schwarzschild: discovery of the Schwarzschild radius leading to the identification of black holes
    1918 – Emmy Noether: Noether’s theorem – conditions under which the conservation laws are valid
    1920 – Arthur Eddington: Stellar nucleosynthesis
    1924 – Wolfgang Pauli: quantum Pauli exclusion principle
    1924 – Edwin Hubble: the discovery that the Milky Way is just one of many galaxies
    1925 – Erwin Schrödinger: Schrödinger equation (Quantum mechanics)
    1925 – Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin: Discovery of the composition of the Sun and that Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the Universe
    1927 – Werner Heisenberg: Uncertainty principle (Quantum mechanics)
    1927 – Georges Lemaître: Theory of the Big Bang
    1928 – Paul Dirac: Dirac equation (Quantum mechanics)
    1929 – Edwin Hubble: Hubble’s law of the expanding universe
    1929 – Lars Onsager’s reciprocal relations, a potential fourth law of thermodynamics
    1932 – James Chadwick: Discovery of the neutron
    1934 – Clive McCay: Calorie restriction extends the maximum lifespan of another species
    1938 – Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner and Fritz Strassmann: Nuclear fission
    1943 – Oswald Avery proves that DNA is the genetic material of the chromosome
    1947 – William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain invent the first transistor
    1948 – Claude Elwood Shannon: ‘A mathematical theory of communication’ a seminal paper in Information theory.
    1948 – Richard Feynman, Julian Schwinger, Sin-Itiro Tomonaga and Freeman Dyson: Quantum electrodynamics
    1951 – George Otto Gey propagates first cancer cell line, HeLa
    1952 – Jonas Salk: developed and tested first polio vaccine
    1953 – Crick and Watson: helical structure of DNA, basis for molecular biology
    1963 – Lawrence Morley, Fred Vine, and Drummond Matthews: Paleomagnetic stripes in ocean crust as evidence of plate tectonics (Vine-Matthews-Morley hypothesis).
    1964 – Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig: postulates quarks leading to the standard model
    1964 – Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson: detection of CMBR providing experimental evidence for the Big Bang
    1965 – Leonard Hayflick: normal cells divide only a certain number of times: the Hayflick limit
    1967 – Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Antony Hewish discover first pulsar
    1983 – Kary Mullis invents the polymerase chain reaction, a key discovery in molecular biology.
    1986 – Karl Müller and Johannes Bednorz: Discovery of High-temperature superconductivity
    1994 – Andrew Wiles proves Fermat’s Last Theorem
    1995 – Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz definitively observe the first extrasolar planet around a main sequence star
    1995 – Eric Cornell, Carl Wieman and Wolfgang Ketterle attained the first Bose-Einstein Condensate with atomic gases, so called fifth state of matter at extremely low temperature.
    1997 – Roslin Institute: Dolly the sheep was cloned.
    1997 – CDF and DØ experiments at Fermilab: Top quark.
    1998 – Supernova Cosmology Project and the High-Z Supernova Search Team: discovery of the accelerated expansion of the Universe / Dark Energy.
    2001 – The first draft of the human genome is completed.
    2003 – Grigori Perelman presents proof of the Poincaré Conjecture.
    2006 – Shinya Yamanaka generates first induced pluripotent stem cells
    2010 – J. Craig Venter Institute creates the first synthetic genome for a bacterial cell.[5]
    2010 – The Neanderthal Genome Project presented preliminary genetic evidence that interbreeding did likely take place and that a small but significant portion of Neanderthal admixture is present in modern non-African populations.[citation needed]
    2012 – Higgs boson is discovered at CERN (confirmed to 99.999% certainty)
    2012 – Photonic molecules are discovered at MIT
    2014 – Exotic hadrons are discovered at the LHCb

    Can I see a trend of diminishing returns?


    • #

      A nice list but far too short. There is no chemistry in there or biochemistry or electronics or semiconductors (look at your phone and keyboard) or the suspension bridge or even the bitumen on which you drive your car or the humble inflatable tire invented by Dr. Dunlop because of his bad back. Mr’ Carrier’s airconditioner or Mr Kellogg’s cornflake or Edison’s recording machine or Mr Birdseye’s snap frozen fish or even the simple Aspirin or blood transfusions or antibiotics.

      Then there are the derivative inventions like jet engines, microwave ovens, disc brakes, carbon fibre, aluminum. If you plotted patents at the USPTO, you would see explosions in the names of Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Google to name a few who register thousands per year. No knowlege builds on knowledge and a triumph like the Hubble telescope took a billion inventions to work, one called the Space Shuttle, for which there is no patent and no inventor.

      The pace of invention is accelerating. However it is driven by real science, not this faux stuff of consensus. No man was put on the moon by trial and error and opinion but by exact mathematics and precision physics and that gave rise to our semiconductor revolution. Perversely, it meant changing every Stevenson Screen from mechanical to electronic in the 1980s dramatically changing the resolution from 0.5C to 0.01C and voila, Global Warming. Deus ex machina.


      • #
        Andrew McRae

        “No man was put on the moon by trial and error”???
        Tell that to Gus Grissom… oh wait you can’t.


        • #

          Who said it wasn’t extremely risky?

          Grissom died in a tragic electrical fire in the cockpit in a pure oxygen environment, not a failure in any calculations or hard science. The same with Apollo 13 and Columbia. What was extraordinary was that so many succeeded against extraordinary odds when the failure of a single calculation would have doomed them. There was no margin for error.

          You can contrast those science triumphs of computation and modelling with the climate models which have yet to predict anything correctly but which so many still believe are accurate. The cost of preventing Global Warming is already 10x that of the space program and the benefit to mankind is absolutely zero.


  • #
    Ron Cook

    Hi Jo,

    This is great post.

    you said..”What we need (for starters) is better training in logic and reason, and it needs to start in primary school

    In my first year (1962) of Applied Chemistry at RMIT they ran a 6 months course called ‘Clear Thinking” which covered all (and more) of the points raised. I have held on to that teaching for all of my career in analytical chemistry. You are absolutely right, in that, those precepts should have been instilled at a much earlier age. (In my first year at RMIT I was only 16, straight out of ‘form 4′ from Preston Technical School, here in Melbourne).

    Sadly a number of those who attended the same ‘Clear Thinking’ classes turned out differently. Why? They became teachers, joined unions and hence left wing.

    R-COO- K+


    • #

      You were lucky. I looked at the content of a more recent course that was supposed to have the same intent but it was just prayer meetings with readings from the scientism bible. No doubt, by now, it is the AGW gospel that dominates.

      How do you build in diversity? Beats me.


  • #

    Good topic. Seems to be getting some widespread traction as an idea but what to do?

    A sad, or stupid, aspect is that many academics would rather focus on teaching and spending more time talking with students. One commented to me once that he could live on just teaching pay if he was paid commercial rates. He was right. I told him what I’d recently been earning teaching introductory IT – basic database and spreadsheets – he was teaching high level maths and, according to students, was good at it.

    The internet holds potential changes. Most lectures fall well below the best available – mine too, I guess. University teaching is basically an assessment exercise. It shouldn’t matter how you came by your knowledge, just sit the tests if you want the credentials or just a reality check.

    Assessments should be from at least two markers and if they differ significantly another used and so on. Years ago as a tutor we tried each of us on a set of reports. There was greater than 20% difference in our average marks. That’s very unfair for students but it is difficult to standardise. Fortunately, on that case each student had each of us roughly the same amount so it tended to average out but that’s not always the case.

    More generally, I see plenty of evidence to suggest that few scientists are actually taught the experimental, data driven approach that underlies productive science – don’t know that it exists.


  • #

    You did mean William Briggs (wmbriggs) rather than Matt?


  • #

    Just to add to my posts above. I have long believed that our education system has shifted from one of understanding to one of remembering. This is not to dismiss the importance of rote learning of basics; that’s how we acquired vocabulary, learnt the times tables, those of us that are old enough to have done that.

    This process of simply committing facts (and sometimes error) to memory appears to come with the assumption that everything committed to memory is correct, and does not need to be tested. Any extrapolation from those alleged facts committed to memory is usually totally linear. The whole process appears to support linear thinking and appose lateral thinking, and inherently inbreeds confirmation bias.

    Fortunately there are a few people who are either too brilliant or too academically honest to be bound by such restraints. As a result science continues to progress in most disciplines other than consensus climatology. I’ll let you decide whether it is a lack of brilliance or lack of academic honesty that applies in that discipline.


  • #

    a bit of fun:

    27 May: io9: John Bohannon: I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here’s How
    Our paper was accepted for publication by multiple journals within 24 hours. Needless to say, we faced no peer review at all. The eager suitor we ultimately chose was the the International Archives of Medicine. It used to be run by the giant publisher BioMedCentral, but recently changed hands. The new publisher’s CEO, Carlos Vasquez, emailed Johannes to let him know that we had produced an “outstanding manuscript,” and that for just 600 Euros it “could be accepted directly in our premier journal.”
    Although the Archives’ editor claims that “all articles submitted to the journal are reviewed in a rigorous way,” our paper was published less than 2 weeks after Onneken’s credit card was charged. Not a single word was changed…
    With the paper out, it was time to make some noise. I called a friend of a friend who works in scientific PR. She walked me through some of the dirty tricks for grabbing headlines. It was eerie to hear the other side of something I experience every day.
    The key is to exploit journalists’ incredible laziness…

    to Rachel below: as if MSM science reporters haven’t fallen for fake CAGW studies over the years!

    28 May: ScienceNewsBlog: Rachel Ehrenberg: Attempt to shame journalists with chocolate study is shameful
    “I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here’s How.”
    That’s the headline on a May 27 article by science journalist John Bohannon that revealed the backstory of a sting operation he conducted earlier this year…
    But the “millions” that Bohannon and his partners-in-crime fooled weren’t millions of reporters, but millions of regular people, the consumers of journalism, who believed the reporters covering his study. Not only was Bohannon’s con ethically reprehensible — he lied to the public, undermining their trust in both journalism and science — but also Bohannon is guilty of the very practices he claims he exposed…
    He didn’t fool millions of reporters, the target of his con, but millions of innocent readers. He and his colleagues set out to “demonstrate just how easy it is to turn bad science into the big headlines.” Well, they certainly succeeded at that. Just not the way they intended.


    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      Perhaps Jo should contact Rachel Ehrenberg, and gently explain how she has been fooled twice: Once by multiple fake CAGW papers; and then again, by an obvious spoof, pointing out how easy it is to manipulate gullible Science Journalists.

      Perhaps Rachel’s definition of gullible, is being sea-bird friendly?


  • #
    el gordo

    ‘If current mainstream climate models cannot predict the climate, then scientists have to consider the possibility that other models, with different assumptions, can do a better job. It is no accident that Monckton, Soon, Legates and Brigg’s paper on an irreducibly simple climate model, which does a better job of hind casting climate than mainstream models, has received over 10,000 downloads. As every scientific revolution in history has demonstrated, being right is ultimately more important than being mainstream, even if it sometimes takes a few years to win acceptance.’

    Eric Worrall (WUWT)


    • #

      Oh gawd el gordo, how can you be so deluded by such monumental statistical nonsense and still regard yourself as having any semblance of “skepticism”(sic)?

      [el gordo was quoting from Watts Up With That. Perhaps you should take your complaint to WUWT, and see how you get on, over there] Fly

      (Did I understand correctly that you have no rebuttal to the article?) CTS


  • #

    Why assist the leftists by continuing to use their language, green energy, renewable energy, etc?


    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      “Ersatz Energy”, has a nice ring to it. I have always liked alliteration.


    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      And isn’t all energy renewable?

      When I was at school, I remember writing on my slate, that you can’t get rid of energy, you can only convert one type of energy into another.


      • #

        ‘Renewable’ has that wonderful religious ring to it, as in: ‘we are renewed’, implying that we are not only worth renewing but we are truly renewable. It appears to have quite a nice fit with the Gaia world view doesn’t it? Strictly speaking RW, as we all know, the renewists are not speaking about energy but about the source. They’re inclined, no, they’re reliant on nice sounding wooly marketing linguistics. Take ‘carbon’ for instance…
        On second thoughts, don’t bother, it’s Saturday evening and far better things beckon.


  • #
    Bob Malloy

    At the start of this article, Jo quotes Lancet Editor, Richard Horton, part of his quote includes,

    The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.
    Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts
    of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has
    taken a turn towards darkness. As one participant put it, “poor methods get results”.

    This is not the first time Richard has questioned modern science, as far back as the year 2000 he had the following to say about peer review.

    The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than just a crude means of discovering the acceptability—not the validity—of a new finding. Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong.


    • #
      Andrew McRae

      Horton should know.
      Wasn’t the Lancet the same peer-reviewed journal that published Wakefield’s original 1998 paper about linking MMR vaccs via GI tract infections to a rise in autism?
      We’re still dealing with the fallout from that scare campaign today. Sometimes the issue arises in unexpected ways. I found it hilarious that the person making that analogy between autism and global warming explained the autism belief as arising from a psychological need for parents to have control over the health of their children, but she didn’t realize that this undermines her climate change argument. Which side in that debate believes they have a responsibility to care for the earth and that their lifestyle actions collectively are substantially and adversely heating the planet far above what would have happened naturally? Oops.

      It didn’t help that she’s comparing belief with non-belief. Instead, if she had said those parents had an emotional need to believe in a utopic world in which everything natural was good and that harm only ever came from man-made contrivances, well then she might have a good analogy, but still not helpful for warmists.

      I hate the whole “psychoanalyzing your opponents” strategy because it is a diversion from the substance of whatever is being debated, but… when you can’t find evidential support for your opponents’ position, a psychological inquiry is a very tempting next step. In other words, this comment of mine is itself a waste of time as it establishes nothing about either MMR or CO2. (For that we’d have to turn to the high clinical success rate of MMR and by contrast the high failure rate of climate models.)


  • #

    A great illustration of how perverted some peer review has become particularly amongst the anti AGW rabble. Van Storch comments on Soon and Baliunas and the Journal Climate Research: the eptimony of pal review and broken science as demonstated by Chris Defreitas in his role at the journal.
    An this is not unusual from the so-called “sceptics”, with similar nonsense from Soencer and Braswell in the journal Remote Sensing called out on the review processes:
    “The editor-in-chief of Remote Sensing — an open access journal — resigned over research that cast doubt on man-made global warming. Wolfgang Wagner said there were issues with his publication’s peer review process and it “therefore should not have been published.””
    Pity all the evidence is contrary to the fantasies of the anti-AGW crowd.
    Is this a set up to advance non-peer review of any new Evans solar theory postulations, but that would be some novel conspiracy theory, perhaps?
    [I don't actually believe that you have read and understood Jo's post. This is just incoherent ranting. I am sad for you] Fly

    [Fly, why waste "sad" on someone so obviously trying hard to get in a snide remark, a put-down or a gotcha with everything he/she says; someone with no regard for accuracy or the truth?] AZ

    (I understand that it bothers you greatly that there many out there who doesn’t agree with you,that there are people in positions of science communication,who desires to suppress differing viewpoints other than their own) CTS


    • #

      You are quite scared of Evans’ new work aren’t you? It is doing well, and like all real research, doesn’t fit into boxes or deadlines. We’ll publish here and in peer review when it’s ready. If you’d like to donate you could help speed that up. – Jo


      • #

        Its a good segway to give your Evans hero status by portraying SF as being ‘scared ‘of his work on the long debunked Sun theory. Quite sad that he cant get any serious peer reviews.

        [I am impressed that you are so knowledgeable about Jo's intent, regarding her reasonable response to SF, and I am equally impressed that you can see into the future, regarding peer review of David Evans paper.] Fly

        [Since we have a predictor of the future we should to ask some of today's important questions and see what the answers are. How about this one: when will any of global warming's predictions actually come true?] AZ


        • #

          “long debunked” with no details translates to you saying you have nothing. David’s work is scary (for fans of the climate scare) because it took that “debunking” and solved it with an 11 year delay. I note that since you and SillyFilly feel qualifications, grades marks and prizes are important that you are free to share all your own personal ones with us anytime. Go right ahead…

          Your comments about peer review are similarly pure bluster.


          • #

            The list of debunked denier misinformation is almost as long as the evidence supporting AGW, why ask me for evidence ?, just look up the scientific bodies that may know something about the climate, you know , the CSIRO, NASA etc, but we’ve been here before, they’re all corrupt and are scared of the ‘real evidence’ coming from your bunker.
            It seems the more the established scientific community rejects your evidence the more it fuels your certainty, quite a dangerous feedback loop ?


            • #
              Rereke Whakaaro

              Nice try at avoiding the question, but you fall into the trap of trying to prove a negative. How can you debunk “denier misinformation” without pointing to some empirical evidence (not computer game output) that the “deniers” have overlooked, or ignored?

              The CSIRO and NASA, have some excelent raw data, I am told. But rather than release that raw data, they feel the need to “adjust” it, or “homogenise” it, or combine it with other datasets, from other sources, compiled over different timeframes, before they feel they can release it to those of us who work in other scientific disciplines, who don’t feel the burning need to put lipstick on the pig, before letting people see it.

              Working in the field of Atmospheric Physics, seems to do strange things to people. Perhaps they are sniffing strange substances in their version of “the atmosphere”.


    • #
      Eric Shandling

      Interesting twist on reality. Wolfgang resigned to take responsibility for his publication’s failure to properly vet articles for publication which provided falsified data and deliberately pushed false conclusions SUPPORTING AGW. Once again, your grade is F.


  • #

    a tale.
    hard to believe this came up at that end of an interview on ABC back in 2008, tho note O’Brien asks Davies to respond “as briefly as possible”. Davies ignores the request:

    Aug 2008: ABC 7.30 Report: Media industry in crisis as standards decline: Davies
    Kerry O’Brien speaks with investigative journalist and author Nick Davies about his new book, Flat Earth News. Davies argues that journalistic standards are declining the world over as cost cutting and government pressures take toll on the industry.
    KERRY O’BRIEN: When you talk about the role and influence of the PR industry, you give one example of a scientific report in England on climate change being seriously overcooked in a press release and what then happened. Can you just ***as briefly as possible elaborate on that story?
    NICK DAVIES: Okay so I took one example where some scientists had run computer programs to try to predict the impact of small changes in temperature. And in order to get publicity, they picked the most extreme results that they had come up with, and therefore the press release which they put out actually distorted their own results.
    That press release was then taken and distorted further by the coverage and it’s a microcosm of this kind of two-step dance that PR and journalists engage in. Where the PR people distort and then we distort further and the poor old consumer on the end, the person who has bought the newspaper who wants or needs reliable information about the world, is being terribly badly cheated.
    KERRY O’BRIEN: Is that what’s happened with the climate change debate?
    NICK DAVIES: Climate change is very interesting because what you’ve had there is a kind of three-way battle involving PR overwhelming journalism.
    So you had a big bunch of corporations led by Exxon who were in the business of denial and who spent a fortune setting up front organisations and academic think-tanks to put out reports to justify their position of denial.
    Then you had a breakaway group of corporations by Shell and BP who are much more subtle. They said okay there’s a problem with climate but we are part of the solution. And they also generate PR stories to serve their purposes.
    And then third corner you have the environmental groups, people like Greenpeace, who even though they have the scientific consensus on their side nevertheless engage, as I’ve shown in the book, in some pretty breathtaking exaggeration in order to manipulate the media to take up their position.
    In the middle of this kind of three-way fight you have the equivalent of civilians in a war zone that is to say the readers and consumers of news media, who suffer like civilians do because they’re being bombarded with misinformation and how any of us are supposed to know what the truth is about climate change and its implications when actually the news is being subverted by PR from three different directions it’s really a very worrying thing when you see the structural likelihood of media being vehicles for PR stories…

    Nick Davies: Articles on Climate Change
    An early warning of global warming (READ ALL)
    The Scotsman and the New Zealand Dominion, June 27 1988
    Failure at the heart of the fight against climate change
    Guardian, June 2007
    The great climate change screw-up
    Guardian, June 2007
    Increasing global warming (by pretending to reduce it)
    The Guardian, December 2007

    Nick Davies is not a CAGW sceptic; he was more sceptical about the financial architecture that was meant to solve the “problem”.

    to be continued.


  • #

    as 7.30 Report does not explain what study Davies was referring to in his 2008 book “Flat Earth News”, some details.

    he listed some of the MSM headlines, tho there were plenty more:

    2005: UK Telegraph: Weather trial predicts 10C rise in British temperatures
    2005: Guardian: Average temperature could rise 11C
    2005: UK Times: Global warming may be twice as bad as feared

    ABC promoted the study by airing BBC Horizon’s “Global Dimming” on “Four Corners”:

    2005: ABC Four Corners: Global Dimming (from BBC Horizon)
    The worst-case scenario has temperatures rising by up to 10 degrees by the end of the century – twice more than previously thought…
    (from transcript) NARRATOR (JACK FORTUNE): And that’s not all. Climatologists like Peter Cox (Hadley Centre, Met Office) have begun to worry that Global Dimming has led them to underestimate the true power of global warming. They fear that the Earth could be far more vulnerable to greenhouse gases than they had previously thought.
    NARRATOR: The models that everyone has been using to forecast climate change predict a maximum warming of 5 degrees by the end of the century. But Cox and his colleagues now fear those models may be wrong. Temperatures could rise twice as fast as they previously thought with irreversible damage just twenty-five years away…

    2005: BBC Horizon: Global Dimming
    Horizon producer David Sington on why predictions about the Earth’s climate will need to be re-examined.
    Even the most pessimistic forecasts of global warming may now have to be drastically revised upwards. That means a temperature rise of 10°C by 2100 could be on the cards, giving the UK a climate like that of North Africa, and rendering many parts of the world uninhabitable. That is unless we act urgently to curb our emissions of greenhouse gases.

    to be continued.


  • #

    The Independent also carried it:

    Jan 2005: Independent: Steve Connor: Global warming is ‘twice as bad as previously thought’
    Global warming might be twice as catastrophic as previously thought, flooding settlements on the British coast and turning the interior into an unrecognisable tropical landscape, the world’s biggest study of climate change shows…
    Researchers from some of Britain’s leading universities used computer modelling to predict that under the “worst-case” scenario, London would be under water and winters banished to history as average temperatures in the UK soar up to 20C higher than at present.
    Globally, average temperatures could reach 11C greater than today, double the rise predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the international body set up to investigate global warming…
    The new study, in the journal Nature, was done using the spare computing time of 95,000 people from 150 countries who downloaded from the internet the global climate model of the Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research…
    David Stainforth of Oxford University, the chief scientist of the latest study, said processing the results showed the Earth’s climate is far more sensitive to increases in man-made greenhouse gases than previously realised…
    Myles Allen, of Oxford University, said: “The danger zone is not something we’re going to reach in the middle of the century; we’re in it now.”

    so, after this study was discredited, and a year after Nick Davies “Flat Earth News” book came out, what did the MSM report?

    23 Feb 2009: WaPo: Andrew Freedman: MIT Group Increases Global Warming Projections
    Report: High odds of warming over 5°C (9°F) if no action
    The modeling experiments are not meant to provide precise forecasts of future temperature changes, but rather to serve as what one related MIT study
    calls “thought experiments” to help policymakers and the public understand how decisions regarding emissions reductions may affect the magnitude
    of climate change…
    Results of the studies are depicted online in MIT’s “Greenhouse Gamble” exercise that conveys the “range of probability of potential global warming” via roulette
    wheel graphics (shown above)…

    May 2009: Reuters: Global warming could be twice as bad as forecast
    Earth’s median surface temperature could rise 9.3 degrees F (5.2 degrees C) by 2100, the scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found, compared to a 2003 study that projected a median temperature increase of 4.3 degrees F (2.4 degrees C).
    The new study, published in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate, said the difference in projection was due to improved economic modeling and newer economic data than in previous scenarios…
    To reach their conclusions, the MIT team used computer simulations that took world economic activity as well as climate processes into account, they said in a statement…
    Without action, said study co-author Ronald Prinn, “there is significantly more risk than we previously estimated. This increases the urgency for significant policy action.”
    The study was released as U.S. President Barack Obama announced a plan to set national emissions standards for cars and trucks to cut climate-warming pollution and as a bill to institute a cap-and-trade system to curb greenhouse gases was debated in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

    Global warming may be twice as bad as previously expected
    USA Today-20 May 2009

    Climate change odds much worse than thought | MIT News
    May 19, 2009 – New analysis shows warming could be double previous estimates

    btw Nick Davies has just been in Australia for the Sydney’s Writers’ Festival. ABC’s Richard Fidler gave him an hour on “Conversations”; ABC’s Margaret Throsby gave him an hour on “Midday”, plus ABC news wrote several pieces on him. did any bring up CAGW? no, no. only Davies’ investigations & book on the Murdoch hacking story was of interest to ABC.

    not even a minute on the Trinity Mirror group hacking scandal (which i haven’t even seen reported on ABC at all) of which Financial Times reported on 22 May, in an article headed “Trinity Mirror braced for more phone-hacking claims”:

    -Evan Harris, associate director of the campaign group Hacked Off, said that Trinity Mirror had been “even worse” than News Corp in its reluctance to launch an investigation…
    The company’s current estimate of legal costs was raised from £12m to £28m this week. But that is still “out by a factor of 10”, said Dr Harris, noting that News Corp has so far spent or put aside $661m for legal matters. Up to 100 claims against Trinity Mirror are in the pipeline, and some victims are still being notified by police.
    Daniel Taylor, a partner at Taylor Hampton solicitors, whose firm represented three of the eight claimants, said he expected a “significant increase in the number of phone-hacking claims against MGN” and that the £28m set aside “will be insufficient to cover the payment of damages to victims and their legal costs”…
    Trinity Mirror’s barrister, Matthew Nicklin QC, aggressively cross-examined some victims, including Alan Yentob, the BBC’s creative director. The judge noted that the barrister’s tone was “completely at odds with the expressions of regret, contrition and apology” made by the company…
    Mr Yentob, whose phone was hacked at least twice a day for much of seven years, will receive £85,000…
    If 100 more victims are awarded an average of £100,000 in damages each, with a similar level of legal costs, that would amount to £20m — one-fifth of Trinity Mirror’s pre-tax profits last year.-

    Fidler & Throsby: couldn’t give even a mention to the Trinity Mirror scandal?

    does ABC have an agenda? don’t answer that.


  • #

    Two things that might improve matters:
    1. Break up the huge monolithic universities which keep consuming smaller establishments. This will allow some variety in academic opinion.
    2. Create an examining body independent of the teaching institutions. This will allow more variety of teaching and comparison of different approaches and success rates.


  • #

    has anything changed for the better in CAGW science/MSM reporting? from today:

    29 May: Financial Times: Climate change blamed as thousands die in Indian heat
    Victor Mallet in New Delhi
    Temperatures often rise sharply in May before the onset of torrential monsoon rains but scientists say average temperatures are only likely to rise in the years ahead as a result of global warming…
    Ramanan Laxminarayan, vice-president for research and policy at the Public Health Foundation of India, said such extreme weather events were early signs of climate change…
    In India’s vast cities, the crisis is worsened by the “heat island” effect…

    29 May; CarbonBrief: Robert McSweeney: Warming oceans could mean typhoons are 14% stronger by 2100, study says
    In the new study,published in Science Advances, researchers assessed how climate change could affect the maximum wind speed of typhoons…
    Mei, W. et al. (2015) Northwestern Pacific typhoon intensity controlled by changes in ocean temperatures, Science Advances, doi:10.1126/sciadv.1500014

    you can easily find the link for the following if you want to see the most insane graphic for this new “study”:

    29 May: WaPo: Chris Mooney: New study reaffirms the link between conservative religious faith and climate change doubt
    I’m writing on this again now because after posting about Rosenau’s work, I learned about a new academic study that seems highly consistent with his research, even as it also casts new light on the environmental side of things.
    “I think looking at that graphic, it very much resonates with our own work,” explains David Konisky of Georgetown, co-author of the new paper.
    The study, which Konisky authored with Matthew Arbuckle of the University of Cincinnati, draws on a vast dataset from the 2010 installment of the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, which not only asks people about their religious views, affiliations, and habits, but also samples a huge group of Americans — some 55,000 of them…

    as a non-religious, non-conservative CAGW sceptic, (same as many of my sceptical friends), i absolutely despise the divide & rule MANIPULATION on display in the above WaPo piece. no wonder the MSM is dying, which is basically Nick Davies message, as it happens.


  • #

    Well only a 12 months ago there was according to John Cook apparently no “slowdown” in warming, in fact it was speeding up.

    It seems the only thing that moves faster than atmospheric warming is reality.


  • #
    Owen Morgan

    In the UK Daily Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, long-time rather erratic prognosticator on the state of the euro (he has been changing his mind on whether or not the euro is doomed since the time of Charlemagne), suddenly decided to publicise a completely different PR piece, entirely worthy of his former colleague, Louise Gray:

    Basically and in a respectably green manner, AEP is recycling the same pre-Paris twaddle about the supposed extent of fossil fuel subsidies that has been circulating for weeks.

    Because his name is about as long as Chile, so everyone shortens it to “AEP”, I love the way the ipad desperately wants to turn it into Aepyornis. The ipad struggles with some pretty simple words, but triumphantly comes up with extinct birds, every time.


  • #

    Science is broken. The genius, the creative art of scientific discovery, has been squeezed into a square box, sieved through grant applications, citation indexes, and journal rankings, then whatever was left gets crushed through the press. We tried to capture the spirit of discovery in a bureaucratic formula, but have strangled it instead.

    I don’t agree that Science is broken. That’s far too harsh a judgement. Science practised as science should be, is still there, it still works. What we have seen is the phenomenal growth of what Feynman called “Cargo Cult Pseudo Science”, to the point where, in the climate field at least, it nearly eclipses what scientific work is being done. There has been little if any, truly experimental work done on the majority of CAGW results. Look at the “rediscovery of the tropospheric Hot Spot.” Risible. Did the researcher go out and find it? Of course not. Cargo Cult Science.

    If there had true application of the Scientific Method, maybe a few predictions would have had one or two hits instead of their constant failures. The repetitious runs of unvalidated mathematical models to calculate future temperatures and their interpretations are not experiment; they are not Science, and should never be proclaimed or accepted as anything but an interesting artifact. Their acclamation and the reliance on them are purely religious; the epitome of the Cargo Cult. Where are the attempts at falsification? Where is the discussion of everything peripheral and otherwise which can or could affect the accuracy (or, rather, increase the inaccuracy) such as clouds? Oh, they don’t do clouds very well. That alone proclaims Cargo Cult pseudo science

    Svensmark, with his Sky experiments, is working scientifically, and discovering both the expected and the unexpected. Kirkby et al at CERN’s CLOUD experiment are too. Who could have known tiny traces of ammonia in the atmosphere were necessay as a catalyst in the creation of cloud droplets?

    The rest can be divided into two camps: those who make all their data, methods and code freely available and who can accept they may be wrong can be said to be Scientists Then there are The Cargo Cult Pseudo Scientists. The IPCC is run by politicians and diplomats, every one of them a parasitic Cargo Cultist, with no knowledge, let alone any real understanding, of the Scientific Method and all its facets and requirements. That’s why there is no attempt at falsification, no discussion of other possible effects. Anyone who tries to is immediately buried under insult and ad hominem attacks.

    There is no room in anything but a Cargo Cult to “believe” in gravity. (“I won’t debate with anyone who doesn’t believe in gravity.”) Anyone who does believe in gravity has a problem. If they should momentarily stop believing it could be fatal. Gravity is a fact, not something to comprise a belief system. Everything on this planet is affected, influenced and controlled by gravity as all children learning to walk and run quickly discover from their personal “gravitational anomaly testing.”

    We should be neither afraid nor slow to call Cargo Cult Pseudo Science by any other name.


  • #
    Michael Maddocks

    The solution is quite simple, get Big Government out of science. Then the only incentives are to invent new products or purely out of interest. Yes this will likely produce less science, but less correct science is better than more incorrect science.

    (Okay there is still the incentive to make false claims about your product, but that would be fraud and some good court decisions should reduce that.)

    [For everyone's information, the word fraud is one that gets a comment trapped in moderation. We look at them on a case by case basis and most will not be approved or the word will be snipped. This one I'll allow because the context is what counts. But it's a good word to avoid.] AZ


  • #

    Jo, this problem has been brought about by a shift in the funding model I the 80s under the Dawkins plan that destroyed Australian higher education. What this plan did was divide funding into teaching and research pools, but the research funding comes with strings – it’s outcome focussed. To get a grant you must elucidate the outcome up front – before you have done the research. This results in researchers applying for funding for research they aready did then apply that funding to new research they haven’t done. In order to please the PTB (powers that be) the outcome has to also be pleasing to the powers. The problem is that the whole system is dishonest and it tends to turn honest people into dishonest ones because it’s the desirable outcome that decide who gets funded. So the first thing to be done is to honestly fund research without the requirement to have a predefined outcome!

    Secondly money needs to be available to fund researchers rather than projects, that is there needs to be research funding at the organisation level not tied to any particular line of enquiry. This permits investigation into interesting phenomena – so called pure research – this sort of research is dying.

    Publishing needs to change, and peer review overhauled or perhaps elliminated and replaced by expert review.


  • #
    Wayne Job

    Science was lost in the 1920ties when it was declared everything was discovered and science from then on only needed to fill in the details. No research money for anyone thinking outside the square. Sometime around the 1950ties misdirection in nuclear science occurred to protect the simple science of making an atomic bomb. The way the sun worked was changed at about the same time. The shut up and calculate syndrome set in with no new thinking allowed.

    A couple of decades ago the settled science of the universe using gravity only found that 95% of the universe was missing, rather than rethink the model unprovable dark matter and dark energy was invented. This is voodoo science much like the borrowing of imaginary particles in the bull dust particle physics.

    The science used by the global warming gurus is no less voodoo than the rest, the time is rapidly nearing for a new beginning, many are already working outside the system in all fields, the collapse of the main stream is already showing by the failures and some speaking out. Long live the revolution.


  • #
    Roy Hogue

    I’ve no doubt that science is still alive and well in many places. You only need to look at the huge variety of new products turned out regularly by business and industry, things more capable and more useful than they were in the past and things entirely new that we never had in the past to see that science is alive and well. Engineering something new requires following the scientific method — I want this new capability, I make my hypothesis about how I can get it, I test it, I refine it, I get input from others, I finally arrive at what I want and it’s rock solid. Or I find out I can’t get there and I give it up.

    You soon go broke if you don’t do honest research.

    I did this very process as a software engineer for 47 years.

    The problem is that when politics drives the agenda there is no science at all. There’s only juggling, squeezing, hammering and every other trick to make a square peg fit a round hole. We’ve seen this for years. We should not let them get away with calling it science as we’ve done for so long.

    Just my opinion for what it’s worth.


    • #
      Roy Hogue

      In other words, a healthy free market in research would be of great benefit.

      But government stifles that free market.


  • #
    Roy Hogue

    When your own skin is in the game…


  • #

    [...] Nova has “The bureaucratic science-machine broke science, and people are starting to ask how to fix it.” Science is broken. The genius, the creative art of scientific discovery, has been squeezed [...]


  • #

    Jo’s call for rote learning of the foundation stones of logic, reason and philosophy are not a call for children to turn off their minds. On the contrary, I read it as a call to get them to put on their thinking caps. There is already a heap of indoctrination loaded into the contemporary school curriculum by stealth. The introduction of the cunningly named Cultural Studies (a la the Critical Theorists of Birmingham University), into the English syllabus across Australia, was a trojan horse which aimed to get youngsters reading texts through the prism of an amalgam of essentialist feminism masquerading as gender studies, neo-Marxim as class analysis, and post-colonial studies, a hand-wringing guilt-inducing look back at the evil things white people did to all the other people. (Rabbit Proof Fence, Keith Windschuttle and the whole debate over at Bolty’s). And this as English! Maths got similarly worked over in the early 1990s. Discovery learning and group learning were just a few of the maths fads, not to mention calculators. Bright students were shepherded into Number Theory classes, as busywork, while differently able students tried to catch up. There was no repetition, times tables were taboo, and techniques, like long division, were soon forgotten. And anyway long division was considered a relic of the bad, old days:- a logarithm which did not fit into Piaget’s stages of cognitive development, way too abstract and formal an operation for Year Seven students. As if.
    So I reckon Jo’s call for giving students the tools to question the fads that come their way, is super. Our kids can get dollops of neo-Marxism, and the nebulous moral training that replaced scripture class, and also watered-down mathematics, but not training in the way to see through the dross they will be spoon fed in life, dressed up as science, by rather ordinary and mediocre people who always know better.


  • #

    When I talk about corruption of science, one of my leftard friends mocks it – “Sure, all the scientists and governments are part of a conspiracy.”

    Then the IMF pre-announces a tax roughly equal to the present value of every fossil fuel company on the planet, justified by bandying around alleged “subsidies” of $5tr a year (such “subsidies” presumably to be confiscated). Yeah, I think that would provide at least as much incentive for bias as Koch666 giving $25k to one’s employer!

    As for the scientists, they’re getting the deal offered by the Cardassians to Picard. “Say you see 5 lights, and the pain stops. You will live in eternal bliss, with tenure and grants beyond your imagination. Otherwise, you will be Lomborged for the rest of your life.” Even Picard believed he could see 5 lights at the end.


  • #
    Rud Istvan

    The eventual salvation of science lies partly in the medium that enables Jo’s post and this comment. Because it enables anyone interested to scrutinize the ‘science’. It enables communities of informed people to ‘work’ collaboratively on critiquing what is produced by ‘science’. An example in climate science is Climate Audit on paleoclimate and the hockey stick. A simple example in renewables is the trilogy we are producing for Judith Curry’s Climate Etc. True Cost of Wind is posted, Solar Grid Parity will be out shortly. Storage in process. An example in Australia is the group that took on BOM temperature records, eventually got media recognition as it achieved critical information mass, and led to a formal inquiry.
    Bad science eventually self corrects because stuff doesn’t work or is increasing obviously not true. Even in ‘politically correct’ university settings. The pause. What ‘new media’ on the www does is potentially hasten that correcting process. And MSM cannot stop it, as their share of the information pie shrinks.


    • #
      Dave in the states

      Hence the move to regulate the internet, with the ultimate goal being to control content.


      • #

        Dave in the states,

        Back in the nineties, there was a big push to get The Information Superhighway up and running. I was already an adult and so I remember who was at the forefront of getting this project under way. It was none other than Al Gore.

        Now there’s a push to get the internet regulated by none other than the FCC. And who is pushing for this ‘net-neutrality’ legislation? Right again. Al Gore.

        So. First he wants to get the whole world connected because this will be a boon to democracy, freedom, and progress.

        The whole world gets connected. The whole world gets connected but becomes dependent on it for the free flow of information that’s no longer available by any other (practical) means.

        Now he wants to get it ‘regulated’ because this will be a boon to democracy, freedom, and progress.

        Am I the only one who finds this “Uncomfortable”?



  • #

    Owen Morgan -

    thanx for the link to the Ambrose Evans-Pritchard UK Telegraph piece – Fossil industry faces a perfect political and technological storm.

    how dishonest is he?
    removing fossil fuel subsidies would help the poor (EVERYTHING CAGW IS TO ‘HELP THE POOR’…SURE, AEP)
    China has of course gone green with the zeal of the converted. (IS AEP AN ICE ADDICT?)

    -The killer point is that this architecture of subsidy is a “drag on economic growth” as well as being a transfer from poor to rich. It pushes up tax rates and crowds out more productive investment. The world would be richer – and more dynamic – if the burning of fossils was priced properly…
    This is a deeply-threatening line of attack for those accustomed to arguing that solar or wind are a prohibitive luxury, while coal, oil, and gas remain the only realistic way to power the world economy. The annual subsidy bill for renewables is just $77bn, trivial by comparison…
    It is becoming clearer that last year’s sweeping deal on climate change between the US and China was an historical inflexion point, the beginning of the end for a century of fossil dominance. At a single stroke it defused the ‘North-South’ conflict that has bedevilled climate policy and that caused the collapse of the Copenhagen talks in 2009.
    Todd Stern, the chief US climate negotiator, said the chemistry is radically different today as sherpas prepare for the COPS 21 summit in Paris this December. “The two 800-pound gorillas are working together,” he said…
    China has of course gone green with the zeal of the converted. “We are going to punish any violators who destroy the environment with an iron hand,” said president Xi Jinping in March.-

    disgusting drivel.

    mind you, Nick Davies’ brave attacks on the CAGW carbon finance architecture were all published in 2007. what happened after that? there was quite a lag before he began his murdoch hacking articles, so why didn’t he continue? was he told to back off?

    in fact, he didn’t even write a Guardian piece on his “Flat Earth News” attack on the “Global warming may be twice as bad as feared” study which The Guardian had unquestioningly reported in 2005, just as BBC had.

    Jan 2005: BBC: Richard Black: Alarm at new climate warning
    Temperatures around the world could rise by as much as 11C, according to one of the largest climate prediction projects ever run.
    This figure is twice the level that previous studies have suggested…
    The results of the study, which used PCs around the world to produce data, are published in the journal Nature. is run from Oxford University, and is a distributed computing project;


  • #

    interesting to see how many CAGW memes were in place back in 2005! denial, oil lobby funding of sceptics, CAGW a bigger threat than terrorism, ad hom attacks…

    Jan 2005: Guardian: Oil firms fund climate change ‘denial’
    by David Adam, science correspondent
    Lobby groups funded by the US oil industry are targeting Britain in a bid to play down the threat of climate change and derail action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, leading scientists have warned.
    Bob May, president of the Royal Society, says that “a lobby of professional sceptics who opposed action to tackle climate change” is turning its attention to Britain because of its high profile in the debate.
    Writing in the Life section of today’s Guardian, Professor May says the government’s decision to make global warming a focus of its G8 presidency has made it a target. So has the high profile of its chief scientific adviser, David King, who described climate change as a bigger threat than terrorism…

    ***Prof May’s warning comes as British scientists, in the journal Nature, show that emissions of carbon dioxide could have a more dramatic effect on climate than thought. They say the average temperature could rise 11C, even if atmospheric carbon dioxide were limited to the levels expected in 2050…

    One adviser is Sallie Baliunas, an astrophysicist at the Harvard Smithsonian Centre, who is linked to the Marshall Institute. In 1998 Dr Baliunas co-wrote an article that argued for the release of more carbon dioxide…

    Jan 2005: Guardian: Bob May: The climate change denial lobby – funded by the US oil industry – has now moved to the UK, warns Bob May
    In its last major report in 2001, the IPCC adopted an evidence-based approach to climate change and considered uncertainties on impact. It concluded that “overall, climate change is projected to increase threats to human health, particularly in lower income populations, predominantly within tropical/subtropical countries”, and that “the projected rate and magnitude of warming and sea-level rise can be lessened by reducing greenhouse gas emissions”. More than 2,000 of the world’s leading climate experts were involved in compiling the report – the most authoritative scientific assessment to date…
    The Daily Telegraph bizarrely used an anonymous leader on the tsunami in Asia to question the value of cutting emissions…
    But the Daily Mail seems keenest to board the well-oiled bandwagon. Fresh from its now discredited campaign against MMR, it has run six opinion pieces over the last year questioning the science of climate change. David Bellamy and columnist Melanie Phillips have perhaps predictably joined in, but more surprising has been the conversion of Michael Hanlon, the paper’s science editor.
    Last week, Hanlon cited Michael Crichton’s research for his new novel as a further indication that climate change science is a con. The theme of Crichton’s story is that environmentalists exaggerate the threat from climate change and eventually trigger its extreme effects themselves.
    It demonstrates the flakiness of the Hanlon case that he should need to rely on a sci-fi writer who has previously warned of the dangers of bringing dinosaurs back to life and of nano-robots turning the world into grey goo. All entertaining scare stories, all complete nonsense…
    (Lord May of Oxford is president of the Royal Society and was chief scientific adviser to the government 1995-2000.)


  • #

    Strangely enough, Jo, what you are talking about is a moral issue – the issue that scientists are lying and fabricating results, sometimes consciously, sometimes simply by yielding to the strong belief that results must inevitably be where none exist – being more educated in logical reasoning will not necessarily help here, if people can’t simply be truthful. More philosophy will simply give them more elaborate tools with which to lie and deceive.
    People are being propagandised from birth now in sustainability etc. and even the idea that there is such a thing as ‘truth’ or ‘honesty’ is no longer seen as an absolute.
    We are actually dealing with the crisis in wisdom and the mass manipulation of human psychology that C S Lewis predicted 62 years ago, which he described in his book, ‘The Abolition of Man.’ Where values such as honesty or truth are educated out of children, because ‘there are no moral absolutes and no Absolute’, you end up with a vacuum of values where something else has to go, such as, ‘sustainability.’ We now have adult scientists who do not have moral values – instead they have been engineered from birth to believe in sustainability & the environment, as the ultimate moral value, and so their behaviour reflects this.
    C S Lewis coined the word ‘scientism’ to describe the idea current in the 1960s that science can show us how to make ourselves into better human beings: but without a further metaphysical foundation for morals, no one has had any cogent idea of what a better human being might be. As a culture that no longer believes in any reference outside of ourselves for moral absolutes, we now find ourselves in the hands of the people with the most power and money to manipulate the most people, a very perilous situation if you value human freedom.
    And so we find ourselves in a situation where scientism (the worship of science) has replaced the honest practice of science, because many scientists no longer possess the basic virtue of honesty.


    • #


      You wrote:

      More philosophy will simply give them more elaborate tools with which to lie and deceive.

      People are being propagandised from birth now in sustainability etc. and even the idea that there is such a thing as ‘truth’ or ‘honesty’ is no longer seen as an absolute.

      Jo, in the OP:

      What we need (for starters) is better training in logic and reason, and it needs to start in primary school. All kids need to know what an ad hominem argument is, and to spot the weak argument from authority. I shouldn’t need to explain what those are to a science graduate, a science communicator, a science journalist, or a science minister. A professor who can’t reason, shouldn’t be a professor. Actually I shouldn’t need to explain these fallacies even to a 12 year old, because it should be rote learned by 10.

      I think what Jo is getting at here is that as a first step, education in rational thought and the proper use of the scientific method should begin at a much younger age than it has been. Judging from the rest of your comment, we can all agree that not only is this training no longer emphasized, it’s not even being taught.

      The current crop of establishment educators and journalists who simply follow the status quo are not going to suddenly change their spots just because you or Jo or I say they should. They will only change their ways by force of grass-roots public outcry from very large numbers of people. It’s that mass of people that we can reach by blogging and commenting here and elsewhere. The establishment know we’re here. They know what we have to say. They’re also just ignoring us at best, and ridiculing us at worst.

      Honest and direct engagement with the facts is out of the question for them because they know they can’t win.

      They have a plan. We’re just in the way.



  • #

    btw my fave excerpt from BBC article “Alarm at new climate warning” posted above:

    Richard Black: “Distributed computing has been used before, notably by the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence or Seti, where several million people have downloaded software enabling them to analyse data from observations of distant stars for signs of alien life.
    The scientists behind believe their project, because it is distributed to individual PCs, can help inform people about climate change – and that, in turn, could bring political change.”

    BBC also gave the study a further airing on BBC Have Your Say; quite a few people were sceptical:

    31 Jan 2005: BBC Have Your Say: Climate warning: Your reaction
    Average temperatures could rise by as much as 11 degrees Celsius around the world, twice that previously suggested, according to some scientists.
    The project claims there is no such thing as a safe level of carbon dioxide.
    During the World Economic Forum, Tony Blair insisted that an international consensus was emerging on climate change but governments could not be expected to push through changes that would damage their economic prospects.
    What is your reaction to the latest prediction? Should something be done to combat global warning? What are your fears for the environment in light of these predictions? Send us your views.


  • #

    The Heath Monkey Study is now notorious. The government gets the science it pays for. And in that realm some of the agencies want only one kind of science. What happens when an honest scientist, like Donald Tashkin, who is on board with the agenda discovers something that opposes the agenda? Well being honest he published. No larger studies have been done since to confirm the effect is real. So it remains below the level of statistical significance.


  • #
    Roger Knights

    Henry Bauer has written a book and article on this topic.
    Guest post by Henry H. Bauer

    WUWT readers might find some interest in my new book, Dogmatism in Science and Medicine: How Dominant Theories Monopolize Research and Stifle the Search for Truth

    Here’s a synopsis:

    Unwarranted dogmatism has taken over in many fields of science: in Big-Bang cosmology, dinosaur extinction, theory of smell, string theory, Alzheimer’s amyloid theory, specificity and efficacy of psychotropic drugs, cold fusion, second-hand smoke, continental drift . . . The list goes on and on.

    Dissenting views are dismissed without further ado, and dissenters’ careers are badly affected. Where public policy is involved — as with human-caused global warming and HIV/AIDS — the excommunication and harassment of dissenters reaches a fever pitch with charges of “denialism” and “denialists”, a deliberate ploy of association with the no-no of Holocaust denying.

    The book describes these circumstances. It claims that this is a sea change in scientific activity and in the interaction of science and society in the last half century or so, and points to likely causes of that sea change. The best remedy would seem to be the founding of a Science Court, much discussed several decades ago but never acted on.

    Reviews so far have been quite favorable, see

    Science in the 21st Century: Knowledge Monopolies and Research Cartels

    Professor Emeritus of Chemistry & Science Studies
    Dean Emeritus of Arts & Sciences
    Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University

    Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 643–660, 2004


    Supposedly authoritative information about the most salient science-related matters has become dangerously misleading because of the power of bureaucracies that co-opt or control science.

    Science as an Institution

    Dysfunction and obsolescence begin to set in, unobtrusively but insidiously, from the very moment that an institution achieves pre-eminence. The leading illustration of this Parkinson’s Law (Parkinson, 1958) was the (British) Royal Navy. Having come to rule the seas, the Navy slowly succumbed to bureaucratic bloat. The ratio of administrators to operators rose inexorably, and the Navy’s purpose, defense of the realm, became subordinate to the bureaucracy’s aim of serving itself. The changes came so gradually that it was decades before their effect became obvious.

    Science attained hegemony in Western culture toward the end of the 19th century (Barzun, 2000: 606–607; Knight, 1986). This very success immediately sowed seeds of dysfunction: it spawned scientism, the delusive belief that science and only science could find proper answers to any and all questions that human beings might ponder. Other dysfunctions arrived later: funding through bureaucracies, commercialization, conflicts of interest. But the changes came so gradually that it was the latter stages of the 20th century before it became undeniable that things had gone seriously amiss.

    It remains to be appreciated that 21st-century science is a different kind of thing than the ‘‘modern science’’ of the 17th through 20th centuries; there has been a ‘‘radical, irreversible, structural’’ ‘‘world-wide transformation in the way that science is organized and performed’’ (Ziman, 1994). Around 1950, Derek Price (1963/1986) discovered that modern science had grown exponentially, and he predicted that the character of science would change during the latter part of the 20th century as further such growth became impossible. One aspect of that change is that the scientific ethos no longer corresponds to the traditional ‘‘Mertonian’’ norms of disinterested skepticism and public sharing; it has become subordinate to corporate values. Mertonian norms made science reliable; the new ones described by Ziman (1994) do not.


    One symptom of change, identifiable perhaps only in hindsight, was science’s failure, from about the middle of the 20th century on, to satisfy public curiosity about mysterious phenomena that arouse wide interest: psychic phenomena, UFOs, Loch Ness Monsters, Bigfoot. By contrast, a century earlier, prominent scientists had not hesitated to look into such mysteries as mediumship, which had aroused great public interest.

    My claim here is not that UFOs or mediumship are phenomena whose substance belongs in the corpus of science; I am merely suggesting that when the public wants to know ‘‘What’s going on when people report UFOs?’’, the public deserves an informed response. It used to be taken for granted that the purpose of science was to seek the truth about all aspects of the natural world. That traditional purpose had been served by the Mertonian norms: Science disinterestedly and with appropriate skepticism coupled with originality seeks universally valid knowledge as a public good.

    These norms imply that science is done by independent, self-motivated individuals. However, from about the middle of the 20th century and in certain situations, some mainstream organizations of science were behaving not as voluntary associations of independent individuals but as bureaucracies. Popular dissatisfaction with some of the consequences stimulated ‘‘New Age’’ movements. ….

    A more widely noticed symptom was the marked increase in fraud and cheating by scientists. In 1981, the U. S. Congress held hearings prompted by public disclosure of scientific misconduct at 4 prominent research institutions. Then, science journalists Broad and Wade (1982) published their sweeping indictment, Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science. It has become almost routine to read in the NIH Guide of researchers who admitted to fraud and were then barred from certain activities for some specified number of years. In 1989, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) established an Office of Scientific Integrity. So prevalent was dishonesty that the new academic specialty of ‘‘research ethics’’ came into being. Professional scientific organizations drafted or revised codes of ethics. Various groups, including government agencies, attempted to make prescriptive for researchers what had traditionally been taken for granted, namely, something like the Mertonian norms.

    This epidemic of cheating in the latter part of the 20th century meant, clearly enough, that an increasing number of scientists were seeking to serve their personal interests instead of the public good of universal knowledge.

    Throughout the history of modern science, the chief safeguard of reliability was communal critiquing (Ziman, 2000). Science begins as hunches. Those that work out become pieces of frontier science. If competent peers think it worthy of attention, an item gets published in the primary research literature. If other researchers find it useful and accurate, eventually the knowledge gets into review articles and monographs and finally into textbooks. The history of science demonstrates that, sooner or later, most frontier science turns out to need modifying or to have been misleading or even entirely wrong. Science employs a knowledge filter that slowly separates the wheat from the chaff (Bauer, 1992: chapter 3; see Figure 1).

    This filter works in proportion to the honesty and disinterestedness of peer reviewers and researchers. In the early days of modern science, before knowledge became highly specialized and compartmentalized, knowledge-seekers could effectively critique one another’s claims across the board. Later and for a time, there were enough people working independently on a given topic that competent, disinterested critiques could often be obtained. Since about the middle of the 20th century, however, the costs of research and the need for teams of cooperating specialists have made it increasingly difficult to find reviewers who are both directly knowledgeable and also disinterested; truly informed people are effectively either colleagues or competitors. Correspondingly, reports from the big science bureaucracies do not have the benefit of independent review before being issued.


    Price (1963/1986) saw the exploding costs of research after WWII as a likely mechanism for bringing to an end the era of exponentially growing science. The mentioned symptoms may indeed be traced to the escalating costs of research and the continuing expansion of the number of would-be researchers without a proportionate increase in available funds. The stakes became very high. Researchers had to compete more and more vigorously, which tended to mean more unscrupulously. The temptation became greater to accept and solicit funds and patrons while ignoring tangible or moral attached strings.

    Unrealistic expectations coupled with misunderstanding of how science works led to the unstated presumption that good science could be expanded and accelerated by recruiting more scientists. Instead, of course, the massive infusion of government funds since WWII had inevitably deleterious consequences. More researchers translate into less excellence and more mediocrity. Journeymen peer-reviewers tend to stifle rather than encourage creativity and genuine innovation. Centralized funding and centralized decision-making make science more bureaucratic and less an activity of independent, self-motivated truth-seekers. Science attracts careerists instead of curiosity-driven idealists. Universities and individuals are encouraged to view scientific research as a cash cow to bring in money as ‘‘indirect costs’’ for all sorts of purposes, instead of seeking needed funds for doing good science. The measure of scientific achievement becomes the amount of ‘‘research support’’ brought in, not the production of useful knowledge.

    Knowledge Monopolies and Research Cartels

    Skepticism toward research claims is absolutely necessary to safeguard reliability. In corporate settings, where results are expected to meet corporate goals, criticism may be brushed off as disloyalty, and skepticism is thereby suppressed. As Ziman (1994) pointed out, the Mertonian norms of ‘‘academic’’ science have been replaced by norms suited to a proprietary, patent- and profit-seeking environment in which researchers feel answerable not to a universally valid standard of trustworthy knowledge but to local managers. A similar effect, the suppression of skepticism, results from the funding of science and the dissemination of results by or through non-profit bureaucracies such as the NIH or agencies of the United Nations.

    While the changes in the circumstances of scientific activity were quite gradual for 2 or 3 centuries, they have now cumulated into a change in kind. Corporate science, Big Science, is a different kind of thing than academic science, and society needs to deal with it differently. Large institutional bureaucracies now dominate the public face of science. Long-standing patrons—private foundations like Rockefeller and Ford, charitable organizations like the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society—have been joined and dwarfed by government bureaucracies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the NIH, and the National Science Foundation, which, in turn, are being overshadowed by international bodies like the World Bank and various agencies of the United Nations—the World Health Organization, the Food and Agricultural Organization, UNAIDS, and more. Statements, press releases, and formal reports from these bodies often purport to convey scientific information, but in reality these releases are best viewed as propaganda designed to serve the corporate interests of the bureaucracies that issue them.

    The upshot is that policy makers and the public generally do not realize that there is doubt about, indeed evidence against, some theories almost universally viewed as true, about issues of enormous public import: global warming; healthy diet, heart-disease risk-factors, and appropriate medication; HIV/AIDS; gene therapy; stem cells; and more.

    ‘‘Everyone knows’’ that promiscuous burning of fossil fuels is warming up global climates. Everyone does not know that competent experts dispute this and that official predictions are based on tentative data fed into computer models whose validity could be known only many decades hence (Crichton, 2003).

    What ‘‘everyone knows’’ about the science related to major public issues, then, often fails to reflect the actual state of scientific knowledge. In effect, there exist knowledge monopolies composed of international and national bureaucracies. Since those same organizations play a large role in the funding of research as well as in the promulgation of findings, these monopolies are at the same time research cartels. Minority views are not published in widely read periodicals, and unorthodox work is not supported by the main funding organizations. Instead of disinterested peer review, mainstream insiders insist on their point of view in order to perpetuate their prestige and privileged positions. That is the case even on so academic a matter as the Big-Bang theory of the universe’s origin.

    It is not that knowledge monopolies are able to exercise absolute censorship. Contrary views are expressed, but one must know where to look for them; so one must already have some reason to make the effort. That constitutes a vicious circle. Moreover, the contrarian view will often seem a priori unreliable or politically partisan, as already noted. Altogether, people exposed chiefly to mainstream media will likely never suspect—will have no reason to suspect—that there could exist a credible case different from the officially accepted one.

    The conventional wisdom about these matters is continually reinforced by publicly broadcast snippets that underscore the official dogma. What other reason might there be to publicize, for example, the guesstimate that global warming will cause an increase in asthma attacks (Daily Telegraph, 2004)? This is just another ‘‘fact’’ to convince us that we must curb the use of coal, gas, and oil.


    The ills of contemporary science—commercialization, fraud, untrustworthy public information—are plausibly symptoms of the crisis, foreseen by Derek Price (1963/1986), as the era of exponentially growing modern science comes to an end. Science in the 21st century will be a different animal from the so-called ‘‘modern science’’ of the 17th to 20th centuries. The question is not whether to reform the science we knew, but whether society can arrange the corporate, commercialized science of the future so that it can continue to expand the range of trustworthy knowledge. Ziman (1994: 276) points out that any research organization requires ‘‘generous measures’’ of

    _ room for personal initiative and creativity;
    _ time for ideas to grow to maturity;
    _ openness to debate and criticism;
    _ hospitality toward novelty;
    _ respect for specialized expertise.

    These describe a free intellectual market in which independent thinkers interact, and there may be a viable analogy with economic life. Economic free markets are supposed to be efficient and socially useful because the mutually competitive ventures of independent entrepreneurs are self-corrected by an ‘‘invisible hand’’ that regulates supply to demand; competition needs to be protected against monopolies that exploit rather than serve society. So, too, the scientific free market in which peer review acts as an invisible hand (Harnad, 2000) needs to be protected from knowledge monopolies and research cartels. Anti-trust actions are called for.

    Where public funds are concerned, legislation might help. When government agencies support research or development ventures, they might be required to allocate, say, 10% of the total to competent people of past achievement who hold contrarian views.

    It should also be legislated that scientific advisory panels and grant-reviewing arrangements include representatives of views that differ from the mainstream.

    Where legislation is being considered about public policy that involves scientific issues, a Science Court might be established to arbitrate between mainstream and variant views, something discussed in the 1960s but never acted upon.

    Ombudsman offices might be established by journals, consortia of journals, private foundations, and government agencies to investigate charges of misleading claims, unwarranted publication, unsound interpretation, and the like. The existence of such offices could also provide assistance and protection for whistle-blowers.

    Sorely needed is vigorously investigative science journalism, so that propaganda from the knowledge bureaucracies is not automatically passed on. To make this possible, the media need to know about and have access to the whole spectrum of scientific opinion on the given issue. The suggestions made above would all provide a measure of help along that line. A constant dilemma for reporters is that they need access to sources, and if they publish material that casts doubt on the official view, they risk losing access to official sources.


  • #
    Roger Knights

    Here’s another relevant booklet. The lead-in is by a WUUTer about 4 years ago. I assembled the quote-extracts.

    Stephan (16:47:17) :

    You will excuse me but Australia seems to be full of really dumb organizations/institutions/governments/universities run by really dumb scientists.

    Back in 1991, an experienced Australian political activist in the peace and environmental movements, Brian Martin, Ph.D. (physics), wrote a brief (69-page) paperback, Strip the Experts, that describes effective tactics that were used in struggles against technical experts in controversial matters like nuclear power, fluoridation, and nuclear winter, among others. It can be bought on Amazon & Amazon UK for about $7 new, or read free here:

    Here are extracts from its Introduction (p. 5):

    P5: “How often have you found the experts lined up against you? It happens all the time. “Don’t eat eggs – there’s too much cholesterol.” …

    “In modern society, scientific experts are the new priests. … To challenge the experts is heresy.

    “Yet it can be done. The experts are vulnerable in a variety of ways. You can dispute their facts. You can challenge the assumptions underlying their facts. You can undermine their credibility. And you can discredit the value of expertise generally. Their weaknesses can be probed and relentlessly exploited.

    “This booklet is designed for people who oppose a gang of scientific experts and want to strip them naked.”

    Here is a chapter epigraph: “No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you never should trust experts.”
    – Lord Salisbury.

    Other extracts:

    P6: I have been asked, “But surely you don’t mean to encourage challenges to every expert?” Why not? The experts have all the advantages: degrees, status, salaries, connections, positions. If they can’t defend themselves against challenges, perhaps they should retire to safer occupations. In my opinion, the more open debate, the better.

    P9: The establishment has one great advantage: endorsements. Endorsements by prestigious experts. Endorsements by eminent professional bodies. The experts don’t even need to offer evidence and arguments. They can just refer to endorsements.

    P11: Especially when a contentious public issue is at stake, experts band together. They are reluctant to publicly expose each others mistakes, since it might hurt their cause.

    P13: Whenever an expert makes a generalization, try to think of an exception. These are known as “counterexamples.”

    P14: In many occasions, experts make statements that can’t easily be shown to be wrong – but neither can they be conclusively be shown to be correct. These facts are unprovable. In other occasions, facts are misleading because they are out of context or apply only to some situations. In these cases, a good response is to “explain” what is really going on and thereby expose the limitations of the expert’s facts.

    P16: Experts try to define the issue in terms that make their own expertise central.

    P17: Raising “other facts” or shifting the focus of debate is of central importance in challenging experts.

    P19: It is also vital to study the arguments of the experts themselves. Don’t rely on what the critics say that the experts say. … If you’ve also studied the critics, you should be able to see the weak points ….

    It is essential that you check and doublecheck your facts. … Avoid super-dramatic claims and announcements and wild allegations of fraud and lying. Even if everything you say is true, it is usually more effective to avoid excesses of rhetoric.

    Pp20-21: The arguments of experts depend vitally on assumptions, whereas a few facts here or there don’t make that much difference. Assumptions underlie everything we do and say.

    P24: Counterassumptions … provide the basis for an alternative view.

    P25: One way to challenge an assumption is to say “so what?”

    Pp30-31: The care taken in designing and using the model is often forgotten in making grand pronouncements based on the results. In many cases an extra political assumption is involved ….

    Pp31-32: When they [models] become most subject to attack is when they are used in areas that have social implications. In these areas, modelers may unconsciously build in assumptions that give results they, or whoever funds them, find useful.

    P32: The biases and shortcomings of earlier models can be used as evidence against trusting new ones.

    P33: The credibility of experts as experts depends to a surprising degree upon their credibility as individuals.

    P33: Exposing failures is a powerful way to discredit experts. Nothing they can do in response is really effective.

    Pp35-36: It is relatively easy to come up with an explanatory theory afterwards. Scientists know that whatever the evidence shows, a theory can be generated to explain it. It is much harder to come up with a successful prediction.

    P36: The more prominent the expert, the more likely their views will be on record to be used against them.

    P37: Most people ignore their own inconsistencies and are not even aware of most of them. Experts are no different. To find inconsistencies, you will probably have to dig ….

    P39: To determine whether or not a small percentage of people are suffering from a fluoridation-induced health problem requires special statistical skills. The specialist required is called an epidemiologist. Most doctors have no special training in this area.

    P41: Financial interests can be indirect, in which case they can be called career or professional interests.

    P42: Then there is psychological interest. The people who back a cause frequently tie their reputations to it. Its success represents their personal success, and vice versa. As a result, they are reluctant to recognize any evidence or argument that questions their cause.

    P44: Whenever an issues enters the public debate, the “facts” presented in the debate are carefully selected and packaged for maximum effect. Inconvenient facts are brushed aside, and errors, gaps, assumptions, manipulations, extrapolations, and a whole range of operations on the facts are papered over. Sometimes the technical literature in the area is purged of admissions of shortcomings, since opponents can take advantage of the smallest weakness.

    P44: Since the experts typically claim to be repositories of unsullied truth, when you show the smirches on their truth, it rubs off on the experts themselves.

    P45: Fraud by scientists is more common than generally realized. But it is seldom exposed. To some people, McBride’s sins would seem small: he had changed a few figures. … But fraud is an extremely serious allegation against a scientist. … It took the persistence of a crusading journalist to bring the matter to public attention.

    P48: The proponents of nuclear winter have been accused of several violations of proper scholarly behavior. One of the critics, Russell Seitz, alleged that the important article by Carl Sagan and his colleagues … was helped through the refereeing process by being given only to referees chosen by the authors.

    P51: If you are effective, it probably won’t be long before the experts start to attack you personally.

    P54: “Expert: a person who avoids small errors as he sweeps on to the grand fallacy.” – Benjamin Stolberg

    P56: The concepts of paradigm and revolution have several advantages for those challenging the experts. They take orthodoxy out of the category of everlasting truth and into the category of a provisional way of doing things. They also cast orthodoxy into the role of the establishment, which ultimately can be overthrown by a revolution. Many people are suspicious of establishments and sympathetic to challengers, who are underdogs.

    P57: Every factor that is used to discredit facts, arguments, and individual experts can be used to discredit a whole body of knowledge. Paradigms can be shaped by money, possible jobs, bureaucratic vested interests, professional status, ideology, and a host of other factors.

    P57: Sociologists have also looked at the day-to-day activities of scientists. What have they found? Essentially, scientists are involved all the time in making value judgments and in persuading and being persuaded by other scientists and by outsiders. This applies to every detail, including what counts as a fact.

    P58: The point of all this is that the process of scientific inquiry is shot through with personal factors which may be influenced by the wider politics of the issue. In the case of fluoridation, the opponents argue that proper checking of claims of harm from fluoride have not been made. If so, this could partly be because antifluoridationists have little scientific credibility, or because little money is made possible for research potentially critical of fluoridation, or because scientists who do research critical of fluoridation have difficulty in their careers.

    P59: Strictly speaking, this should not discredit expertise, but simply make clear the context in which it operates. In practice, describing the social processes and political environment of science does serve to discredit it. This is because science has been sold to the public as objective knowledge that is untainted by social factors.

    P60: Most experts are remarkably narrow in training and experience. They are precisely the wrong people to be providing general direction for society.

    P61: Experts collectively have a vested interest in expertise becoming a basis for status, power and wealth. This fact provides a basis for attacking expertise generally ….

    P62: People rise to power beginning as credentialed intellectuals. Lawyers become politicians; engineers become corporation presidents; economists become government bureaucrats.

    These different groups have several things in common. They defend formal training and credentials as essential to gain entry into occupations. … Most important, they promote a kind of society in which specialist knowledge, when linked to power, is seen as legitimate and worthy of great social rewards.

    Pp62-63: For the rising New Class, the only tolerable form of democracy is one with representatives who are suitably responsive to the experts. For experts with access to power, populism is dangerous.

    Pp63-64: Experts are part of the New Class or Intellectual Class. These are names for a roughly defined group of people who use claims about knowledge to advance their status, power and wealth.

    P66 (“Tips”): Keep cool and don’t act in haste. The idea is to open up the issue, not just let off steam.

    Keep pressure on the experts. Some of them will do something foolish in anger.

    It is more important to persuade sympathetic and neutral people than to win over those on the other side.

    Pp67-69: (A good collection of References.)


  • #
    Peter Arnold Lord

    Climatology is a good example of science off the rails. I only have a very small qualification in Marine Meteorology from a Yacht Masters Certificate but it was enough to say “that’s not right!” when I heard ‘Climatologists’ pronouncing on climate change and the atmosphere. Not surprising I became a climate sceptic pretty quickly.


    • #

      Has climatology ever been on the rails? What was climatology only few decades ago?

      1969 HH Lamp explained: Only thirty years ago climatology was generally regarded as the mere dry-as-dust bookkeeping end of meteorology.
      H.H. Lamb, Meteorological Office Bracknell, Berkshire (UK), “The New Look of Climatology”, NATURE, Vol. 223, September 20, 1969, pp.1209ff;

      1979 F. Kenneth observed: This is obviously the decade in which climate is coming into its own. You hardly heard the word professionally in the 1940s. It was a layman’s word. Climatologists were the halt and the lame. And as for the climatologists in public service, in the British service you actually, had to be medically disabled in order to get into the climatological division! Climatology was a menial occupation that came on the pecking scale somewhat below the advertising profession. It was clearly not the age of climate.
      F. Kenneth Hare, 1979; „The Vaulting of Intellectual Barriers: The Madison Thrust in Climatology“, Bulletin American Meteorological Society , Vol. 60, 1979, p. 1171 – 1124
      See also #10 above:


  • #

    Don’t despair , Jo:

    Here’s a splendid example of the selfcorrecting nature of scientific publication

    [Thanks for letting us know. "Falsified by ARGO data" is extremely weak. See the recent post on Hadfield. - Jo]


  • #

    We tried to capture the spirit of discovery in a bureaucratic formula, but have strangled it instead.

    The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao

    The name that can be named is not the eternal name