Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Climate scientist leaves academia and government, citing honesty issues

original article: JC in transition
January 3, 2017 by Judith Curry

Effective January 1, I have resigned my tenured faculty position at Georgia Tech.

Before reflecting on a range of things, let me start by answering a question that may have popped into your head: I have no plans to join the Trump administration (ha ha).

Technically, my resignation is a retirement event, since I am on the Georgia State Teachers Retirement System, and I need to retire from Georgia Tech to get my pension (although I am a few years shy of 65). I have requested Emeritus status.

So, I have retired from Georgia Tech, and I have no intention of seeking another academic or administrative position in a university or government agency. However, I  most certainly am not retiring from professional life.

Why did I resign my tenured faculty position?

I’m ‘cashing out’ with 186 published journal articles and two books. The superficial reason is that I want to do other things, and no longer need my university salary. This opens up an opportunity for Georgia Tech to make a new hire (see advert).

The deeper reasons have to do with my growing disenchantment with universities, the academic field of climate science and scientists.

Wrong trousers

I’ve been in school since I was 5 years old. Until a few years ago, I regarded a tenured faculty position at a major university to be a dream job, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Apart from my own personal career trajectory and the ‘shocks’ that started in 2005 with our hurricanes and global warming paper, and the massive spike in 2009/2010 from  Climategate, I’ve found that universities have changed substantially over the past 5-10 years.

At first, I thought the changes I saw at Georgia Tech were due to a change in the higher administration (President, Provost, etc). The academic nirvana under the prior Georgia Tech administration of Wayne Clough,  Jean-Lou Chameau  and Gary Schuster was a hard act to follow. But then I started to realize that academia and universities nationwide were undergoing substantial changes. I came across a recent article that expresses part of what is wrong: Universities are becoming like mechanical nightingales.

The reward system that is in place for university faculty members is becoming increasingly counterproductive to actually educating students to be able to think and cope in the real world, and in expanding the frontiers of knowledge in a meaningful way (at least in certain fields that are publicly relevant such as climate change). I’ve written on these topics before, I won’t belabor this here.

So why not try to change the system from the inside? Well, this is not the battle I want to fight, apart from any realistic assessment of being able to shift the ponderous beast from within.

Or maybe it’s just a case of ‘wrong trousers’ as far as I’m concerned. Simply, universities no longer feel like the ‘real deal’ to me (note: this criticism is not targeted at Georgia Tech, which is better than most). It’s time for me to leave the ivory tower.

A deciding factor was that I no longer know what to say to students and postdocs regarding how to navigate the CRAZINESS in the field of climate science. Research and other professional activities are professionally rewarded only if they are channeled in certain directions approved by a politicized academic establishment — funding, ease of getting your papers published, getting hired in prestigious positions, appointments to prestigious committees and boards, professional recognition, etc.

How young scientists are to navigate all this is beyond me, and it often becomes a battle of scientific integrity versus career suicide (I have worked through these issues with a number of skeptical young scientists).

Let me relate an interaction that I had with a postdoc about a month ago. She wanted to meet me, as an avid reader of my blog. She works in a field that is certainly relevant to climate science, but she doesn’t identify as a climate scientist. She says she gets questioned all the time about global warming issues, and doesn’t know what to say, since topics like attribution, etc. are not topics that she explores as a scientist. WOW, a scientist that knows the difference! I advised her to keep her head down and keep doing the research that she thinks interesting and important, and to stay out of the climate debate UNLESS she decides to dig in and pursue it intellectually. Personal opinions about the science and political opinions about policies that are sort of related to your research expertise are just that – personal and political opinions.  Selling such opinions as contributing to a scientific consensus is very much worse than a joke.

Stepping back from all this, I reminded myself that I was a tenured faculty member – in principle I could do whatever I wanted. The intellectual pursuits that now interest me are:

  • Assessment of climate science in a manner that is relevant for policy, with full account of uncertainty
  • Explore philosophy of science issues as related to epistemology of climate models, reasoning about uncertain complex issues
  • Decision making under deep uncertainty
  • Sociology of science and experimenting with social media

When I first started down this new path in 2010, I published papers that could be categorized as applied philosophy of science (e.g. uncertainty monster, etc). This seemed to be a path towards maintaining academic ‘legitimacy’ in light of my new interests, but frankly I got bored with playing the game. Why go to the extra effort to publish papers, wrestling with reviewers who (usually) know less than you do about your topic (not to mention their biases), having to pay to get an article published some months in the future, so that maybe 100 people will read it?  Not to mention the broader issues related to coping with the university bureaucracy, government funding, etc.

Once you detach from the academic mindset, publishing on the internet makes much more sense, and the peer review you can get on a technical blog is much more extensive. But peer review is not really the point; provoking people to think in new ways about something is really the point. In other words, science as process, rather than a collection of decreed ‘truths.’

At this point, I figure that I can reach more people (including students and young researchers) via social media. Do I pretend to have any answers to all this? No, but I hope I am provoking students and scientists to think outside of their little bubble.

The real world

So my fall from the ivory tower that started in 2005 is now complete [link to my 2006 AGU presentation agu_integrityofscience_curry] .

slide1

What next?

I am interested in figuring out new and better ways to apply weather and climate data, weather forecast information and future regional climate scenarios to supporting real world decision making to manage risks and associated with weather and climate variability.

I became interested in such applications over a decade ago, and Peter Webster and I founded a company Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN) to do just that. If you haven’t checked out our website (ever or even recently), check it out – cfanclimate.net – I spent my entire winter break revising the website using some good suggestions from Larry Kummer of Fabius Maximus fame.

CFAN started as a university start-up company in 2006, and didn’t have any full time employees until a few years go. We now employ 7 Ph.D. scientists (in addition to myself and Peter), plus software engineers, etc. With my retirement from Georgia Tech, we are spinning up the company into a new phase to explore new forecast product developments and decision support tools, new markets, new partnerships, new regions.

So far, most of CFAN’s revenue comes from the ‘weather’ side (days to seasons), with a few projects on developing future climate scenarios (I wrote about a current project here Generating regional scenarios of climate change).

I find all this tremendously interesting, challenging and rewarding. Not to mention enormously time consuming (CFAN needs to make more money so that we can hire more people to take some of the load off myself and the other managers, all of whom are wearing too many hats). I am learning a huge amount about decision support, management, marketing and sales, finance, etc.

At this point, the private sector seems like a more ‘honest’ place for a scientist working in a politicized field than universities or government labs — at least when you are your own boss.

Social media

So, where does all this leave my endeavors with social media (including Climate Etc.?) Resigning my faculty position and taking on a full time plus position in running CFAN actually means less time for blogging, rather than more (at least in the near term).

I remain very interested in the interactions afforded by social media. However, over the past year I have devoted considerably less time to writing original material for Climate Etc. Apart from being really busy, I have been spending more time on twitter (which is a much smaller time investment).

I will be starting a new blog for CFAN, more focused on weather and shorter-term climate issues (I will cross post any relevant posts at Climate Etc.)

I will also try to write more frequent but shorter posts at Climate Etc., with short excerpts and brief comments on some of the articles that I am tweeting about. I will be relying on guest bloggers to provide more technical analyses. So I definitely intend to keep the blog going, but in context of managing a very busy schedule.

We’ll see how all this plays out, but I figured I’ve earned the right to explore and do what I want.  This is my definition of academic freedom (and I’m not asking anyone else to pay for it).

climate change, corruption, education, environment, science, scientists

Filed under: climate change, corruption, education, environment, science, scientists

Science accidentally shows the preborn child is a distinct individual person

original article: Scientists discover cells of aborted babies living in their mothers’ brains
January 3, 2013 by Jill Stanek

Scientific American termed the research findings another way: “Scientists discover children’s cells living in mothers’ brains.”

But I wanted to drive home a touching point: Mothers who terminate their pregnancies apparently don’t completely rid themselves of their babies. The cells of murdered children live on inside their mothers to help – or perhaps – hurt them:

Cells may migrate through the placenta between the mother and the fetus, taking up residence in many organs of the body including the lung, thyroid muscle, liver, heart, kidney and skin. These may have a broad range of impacts, from tissue repair and cancer prevention to sparking immune disorders.

It is remarkable that it is so common for cells from one individual to integrate into the tissues of another distinct person. We are accustomed to thinking of ourselves as singular autonomous individuals, and these foreign cells seem to belie that notion, and suggest that most people carry remnants of other individuals.

I need to stop and note that this politically incorrect article correctly defines preborn babies as “distinct person(s),” “people,” and “individuals.”

Moving on….

As remarkable as this may be, stunning results from a new study show that cells from other individuals are also found in the brain. In this study, male cells were found in the brains of women and had been living there, in some cases, for several decades. What impact they may have had is now only a guess, but this study revealed that these cells were less common in the brains of women who had Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting they may be related to the health of the brain.

We all consider our bodies to be our own unique being, so the notion that we may harbor cells from other people in our bodies seems strange. Even stranger is the thought that, although we certainly consider our actions and decisions as originating in the activity of our own individual brains, cells from other individuals are living and functioning in that complex structure….

They examined the brains of deceased women for the presence of cells containing the male “Y” chromosome. They found such cells in more than 60 percent of the brains and in multiple brain regions. Since Alzheimer’s disease is more common in women who have had multiple pregnancies, they suspected that the number of fetal cells would be greater in women with AD compared to those who had no evidence for neurological disease. The results were precisely the opposite: there were fewer fetal-derived cells in women with Alzheimer’s. The reasons are unclear.

A post-abortive mother who gives any of this much thought will reach either distressing or comforting conclusions, depending on whether she has made peace.

 abortion, babies, biology, children, medicine, pro-life, prolife, science, scientists

Filed under: abortion, babies, biology, children, medicine, pro-life, prolife, science, scientists

How to be anti-science while pretending to be pro-science – a look at abortion rights

For years you’ve believed telescopes helped us learn those white fuzzy lights in the night sky are stars and galaxies. You’ve believed math showed us the universe is intelligible. And you thought ultrasounds showed a heartbeat of the child growing in the womb.

Well, surprise, all that might just be anti-science! The Atlantic has a new article written by Moira Weigel telling us ultrasounds in fact don’t show us a heartbeat, that such an idea is just an illusion. Keep in mind she is not a scientist, but she’s a woman so she can comment as if she were a scientific expert. According to Weigel, you shouldn’t believe your eyes when you see an ultrasound of a pregnancy (which is real time imagery of what’s going on inside the womb).

Contrast Weigel’s article with a recent scientific study in Nature showing the autonomous nature of the embryo from its inception. The study reveals new knowledge on the nature of the human condition, with implications on questions of human life and reproductive rights. Another woman, Ana Maria Dumitru, writing for Public Discourse, wrote a piece on this study. If Weigel, a woman getting a doctoral degree in comparative literature is qualified to write on the scientific nature of the subject of abortion, surely Dumitru (a fifth-year MD/PhD candidate at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College) is qualified to do the same.

Weigel’s article appears to be an anti-science diatribe attempting to get you to dismiss what you see with your own eyes, urging you to dismiss the evidence and focus on the politically correct opinion to hold (that a woman’s right to kill her unborn child is sacred). Dumitru has some interesting and far more reasonable insights on abortion, bioethics, and science (such as the interchangeability of concepts like autonomy and personhood) and attempts to show how a Planned Parenthood type ideology actually corrupts one’s view of the evidence and indoctrinates even scientists. Give her article a read.

Science, Embryonic Autonomy, and the Question of When Life Begins, by Ana Maria Dumitru.

abortion, corruption, culture, ethics, ideology, indoctrination, medicine, political correctness, pro-life, relativism, science, scientists

Filed under: abortion, corruption, culture, ethics, ideology, indoctrination, medicine, political correctness, pro-life, relativism, science, scientists

Identical twin studies prove homosexuality is not genetic

A controversial point, certainly. But not an irrelevant one. Why bother bringing up this discovery? Because intellectual honesty requires an honest look at the facts. Most people don’t really care about who people have sex with but none-the-less don’t like being lied to. The biggest lie on gay issues is that any and all disapproval of homosexuality is essentially hate or phobia.

This lie rests on the premise that gay people are “born that way” or “God made them that way”, as if it were no different from black people being born black. This is the prime reason gay activists have tried to politically and morally tie the gay agenda to the civil rights movement. If this myth weren’t so important it wouldn’t have been used as the predominant line to push the gay agenda.

As a result of this lie, laws have been put in place which are designed to persecute people who don’t approve of homosexuality. Now the US government is intruding upon the definition of a religious institution – a curious thing in a nation which supposedly values the separation between church and state. Ironically, those pushing the gay agenda are the most intolerant of dissent, the least open minded, and the most oppressive of speech they dislike – they act like fundamentalists. On the other hand people supporting gay marriage continually claim to adhere to “science” when championing said laws when any pseudo-science which supports their cause is lauded as legitimate, and any science contradicting their cause is cast aside as pseudo. And if it didn’t really matter if homosexuality is genetic supporters of gay rights wouldn’t have tried to find genetic explanations for it in the first place.

People have been persecuted for supporting the ancient and common meaning of a one man/one woman model of marriage. If there were not so much bullying in defense of so called gay rights it really wouldn’t matter if gay people are really “born that way”. But there is a lot of bullying and fascism in defense of the gay agenda. If we’re going to have laws about this sort of thing and pretend to be a more enlightened society we should at least get the science right.

original article: Identical twin studies prove homosexuality is not genetic
May 13, 2013 by Mark Ellis

See Dr. Neil Whitehead’s synopsis here.

Eight major studies of identical twins in Australia, the U.S., and Scandinavia during the last two decades all arrive at the same conclusion: gays were not born that way.

“At best genetics is a minor factor,” says Dr. Neil Whitehead, PhD. Whitehead worked for the New Zealand government as a scientific researcher for 24 years, then spent four years working for the United Nations and International Atomic Energy Agency. Most recently, he serves as a consultant to Japanese universities about the effects of radiation exposure. His PhD is in biochemistry and statistics.

Identical twins have the same genes or DNA. They are nurtured in equal prenatal conditions.  If homosexuality is caused by genetics or prenatal conditions and one twin is gay, the co-twin should also be gay.

“Because they have identical DNA, it ought to be 100%,” Dr. Whitehead notes. But the studies reveal something else. “If an identical twin has same-sex attraction the chances the co-twin has it are only about 11% for men and 14% for women.”

Because identical twins are always genetically identical, homosexuality cannot be genetically dictated. “No-one is born gay,” he notes. “The predominant things that create homosexuality in one identical twin and not in the other have to be post-birth factors.”

Dr. Whitehead believes same-sex attraction (SSA) is caused by “non-shared factors,”  things happening to one twin but not the other, or a personal response to an event by one of the twins and not the other.

For example, one twin might have exposure to pornography or sexual abuse, but not the other.  One twin may interpret and respond to their family or classroom environment differently than the other. “These individual and idiosyncratic responses to random events and to common environmental factors predominate,” he says.

The first very large, reliable study of identical twins was conducted in Australia in 1991, followed by a large U.S. study about 1997. Then Australia and the U.S. conducted more twin studies in 2000, followed by several studies in Scandinavia, according to Dr. Whitehead.

“Twin registers are the foundation of modern twin studies. They are now very large, and exist in many countries. A gigantic European twin register with a projected 600,000 members is being organized, but one of the largest in use is in Australia, with more than 25,000 twins on the books.”

A significant twin study among adolescents shows an even weaker genetic correlation. In 2002 Bearman and Brueckner studied tens of thousands of adolescent students in the U.S.  The same-sex attraction concordance between identical twins was only 7.7% for males and 5.3% for females—lower than the 11% and 14% in the Australian study by Bailey et al conducted in 2000.

In the identical twin studies, Dr. Whitehead has been struck by how fluid and changeable sexual identity can be.

“Neutral academic surveys show there is substantial change. About half of the homosexual/bisexual population (in a non-therapeutic environment) moves towards heterosexuality over a lifetime. About 3% of the present heterosexual population once firmly believed themselves to be homosexual or bisexual.”

“Sexual orientation is not set in concrete,” he notes.

Even more remarkable, most of the changes occur without counseling or therapy. “These changes are not therapeutically induced, but happen ‘naturally’ in life, some very quickly,” Dr. Whitehead observes. “Most changes in sexual orientation are towards exclusive heterosexuality.”

Numbers of people who have changed towards exclusive heterosexuality are greater than current numbers of bisexuals and homosexuals combined. In other words, ex-gays outnumber actual gays.

The fluidity is even more pronounced among adolescents, as Bearman and Brueckner’s study demonstrated. “They found that from 16 to 17-years-old, if a person had a romantic attraction to the same sex, almost all had switched one year later.”

“The authors were pro-gay and they commented that the only stability was among the heterosexuals, who stayed the same year after year. Adolescents are a special case—generally changing their attractions from year to year.”

Still, many misconceptions persist in the popular culture. Namely, that homosexuality is genetic – so hard-wired into one’s identity that it can’t be changed. “The academics who work in the field are not happy with the portrayals by the media on the subject,” Dr. Whitehead notes. “But they prefer to stick with their academic research and not get involved in the activist side.”

For those who are looking for Dr. Whitehead’s writings on his research visithttp://www.mygenes.co.nz/download.htm

homosexuality, research, science, scientists

Filed under: homosexuality, research, science, scientists

Meet Bill Nye, The Anti-Science Guy

original article: Meet Bill Nye, The Anti-Science Guy
December 17, 2014 by Robert Tracinski

I’ve never been a fan of Bill Nye “the Science Guy.” Partly it’s because I’m from a different generation. I grew up with Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan as my introduction to science, and Nye always struck me as a cheap substitute. I find something condescending in his hyperkinetic manner, as if science couldn’t actually be interesting and exciting in its own right, as if it could only be interesting if the guy trying to explain it to us is bouncing off the walls. It all seems like Science for People with Attention Deficit Disorder. So you get travesties like Bill Nye supposedly explaining evolutionusing emojis. It’s as dumb as it sounds, which is a shame given how important the theory of evolution is.

All of that is harmless enough, I suppose—more a waste of an opportunity than any active kind of evil. If not for the fact that the “science guy” is out undermining the basic creed of science.

Nye has joined with 47 “scientists, science writers, and other experts” who issued astatement “taking the media to task for using the phrase ‘climate skeptic,’ saying that the word ‘denier’ is more accurate.” From their statement:

Proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims. It is foundational to the scientific method. Denial, on the other hand, is the a priorirejection of ideas without objective consideration.

So they smear all critics of the global warming theory as anti-science dogmatists. But then they try to walk this back a bit:

Not all individuals who call themselves climate change skeptics are deniers. But virtually all deniers have falsely branded themselves as skeptics.

All right, so who are the “deniers” and who are the mere “skeptics”? Will this committee issue us a list describing which objections to the global warming theory are scientifically valid, and conversely telling us which critics are the “deniers” to be blacklisted? Because that’s the only way the media can actually comply with their demand.

Oh, and the name of this group: the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. George Orwell, please call your office.

Now here’s the twist on this story. It turns out that Bill Nye is himself a “skeptic” challenging the established scientific consensus on another issue: genetically modified organisms. This is described as being “much to the dismay of the plant science community,” and the justification Nye gives is more than a little vague: “although you can know what happens to any individual species that you modify, you cannot be certain what will happen to the ecosystem.” So to the “consensus” that says GMOs are safe, he replies with a vague wave of the hand: who knows, maybe you’re wrong.

Apparently, when he does this, it’s “skepticism.” If you or I or Senator James Inhofe do it, it’s “denial.”

Somebody’s in a state of denial, I can tell you that.

It would be easy to complain that they just don’t make public advocates of science like they used to. But my own generation of scientific heroes had their own blind spots. Sagan pushed the dubious “nuclear winter” theory—as if an atomic war wasn’t horrific enough on its own and had to be embellished—and was responsible for helping tolaunch the global warming dogma. Isaac Asimov bought into the overpopulation hysteria, hook line and sinker, declaring in 1988 that it was going to “destroy it all” for mankind. Since then, the global population has risen roughly from five billion people to seven billion. The US population has grown from less than 240 million to more than 300 million. In both cases, the average person is wealthier, healthier, and better off than they were before. I find it particularly amusing that Asimov used the analogy of people sharing a crowded bathroom, given that the average house is larger than it used to be, with more bathrooms, while the average family size is smaller. So don’t worry. There’s plenty of room in the bathroom.

The old Malthusian notion that population is doomed to increase faster than our ability to find and exploit natural resources has long been refuted (see Julian Simon’s The Ultimate Resource) , and one of those refutations was the spectacular fizzle of the “population bomb.”

Sometimes, it seems like we need to save science from its popularizers.

The lesson here is not that science is worthless or that its popularizers are frauds. Even geniuses can make errors and go off the rails, particularly when a theory seductively reconfirms their existing political prejudices. The history of science is full of bogus ideas and quack remedies that seemed to be the best “science” had to offer at the time. The unique achievement of science has been its ability to correct itself. Every conclusion is subject to testing and independent confirmation—and it is open to being overthrown by any cantankerous skeptic who can put together the data to disprove it.

But this only happens when respected, famous figures—or some guy who’s been on TV a lot—don’t try to set themselves up as unquestionable authorities. It only happens to the extent that “skeptics” are not rebranded as “deniers” and then thrown out of the discussion.

That’s what Bill Nye is trying to do, and that makes him an anti-science guy.

bias, bigotry, climate change, corruption, discrimination, elitism, environment, fraud, global warming, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, science, scientists

Filed under: bias, bigotry, climate change, corruption, discrimination, elitism, environment, fraud, global warming, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, science, scientists

The Climate Wars’ Damage to Science

original article: The Climate Wars’ Damage to Science
June 19, 2015 by MATT RIDLEY

For much of my life I have been a science writer. That means I eavesdrop on what’s going on in laboratories so I can tell interesting stories. It’s analogous to the way art critics write about art, but with a difference: we “science critics” rarely criticise. If we think a scientific paper is dumb, we just ignore it. There’s too much good stuff coming out of science to waste time knocking the bad stuff.

Sure, we occasionally take a swipe at pseudoscience—homeopathy, astrology, claims that genetically modified food causes cancer, and so on. But the great thing about science is that it’s self-correcting. The good drives out the bad, because experiments get replicated and hypotheses put to the test. So a really bad idea cannot survive long in science.

Or so I used to think. Now, thanks largely to climate science, I have changed my mind. It turns out bad ideas can persist in science for decades, and surrounded by myrmidons of furious defenders they can turn into intolerant dogmas.

This should have been obvious to me. Lysenkoism, a pseudo-biological theory that plants (and people) could be trained to change their heritable natures, helped starve millions and yet persisted for decades in the Soviet Union, reaching its zenith under Nikita Khrushchev. The theory that dietary fat causes obesity and heart disease, based on a couple of terrible studies in the 1950s, became unchallenged orthodoxy and is only now fading slowly.

What these two ideas have in common is that they had political support, which enabled them to monopolise debate. Scientists are just as prone as anybody else to “confirmation bias”, the tendency we all have to seek evidence that supports our favoured hypothesis and dismiss evidence that contradicts it—as if we were counsel for the defence. It’s tosh that scientists always try to disprove their own theories, as they sometimes claim, and nor should they. But they do try to disprove each other’s. Science has always been decentralised, so Professor Smith challenges Professor Jones’s claims, and that’s what keeps science honest.

What went wrong with Lysenko and dietary fat was that in each case a monopoly was established. Lysenko’s opponents were imprisoned or killed. Nina Teicholz’s book The Big Fat Surprise shows in devastating detail how opponents of Ancel Keys’s dietary fat hypothesis were starved of grants and frozen out of the debate by an intolerant consensus backed by vested interests, echoed and amplified by a docile press.

Cheerleaders for alarm

This is precisely what has happened with the climate debate and it is at risk of damaging the whole reputation of science. The “bad idea” in this case is not that climate changes, nor that human beings influence climate change; but that the impending change is sufficiently dangerous to require urgent policy responses. In the 1970s, when global temperatures were cooling, some scientists could not resist the lure of press attention by arguing that a new ice age was imminent. Others called this nonsense and the World Meteorological Organisation rightly refused to endorse the alarm. That’s science working as it should. In the 1980s, as temperatures began to rise again, some of the same scientists dusted off the greenhouse effect and began to argue that runaway warming was now likely.

At first, the science establishment reacted sceptically and a diversity of views was aired. It’s hard to recall now just how much you were allowed to question the claims in those days. As Bernie Lewin reminds us in one chapter of a fascinating new book of essays called Climate Change: The Facts(hereafter The Facts), as late as 1995 when the second assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) came out with its last-minute additional claim of a “discernible human influence” on climate, Nature magazine warned scientists against overheating the debate.

Since then, however, inch by inch, the huge green pressure groups have grown fat on a diet of constant but ever-changing alarm about the future. That these alarms—over population growth, pesticides, rain forests, acid rain, ozone holes, sperm counts, genetically modified crops—have often proved wildly exaggerated does not matter: the organisations that did the most exaggeration trousered the most money. In the case of climate, the alarm is always in the distant future, so can never be debunked.

These huge green multinationals, with budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars, have now systematically infiltrated science, as well as industry and media, with the result that many high-profile climate scientists and the journalists who cover them have become one-sided cheerleaders for alarm, while a hit squad of increasingly vicious bloggers polices the debate to ensure that anybody who steps out of line is punished. They insist on stamping out all mention of the heresy that climate change might not be lethally dangerous.

Today’s climate science, as Ian Plimer points out in his chapter in The Facts, is based on a “pre-ordained conclusion, huge bodies of evidence are ignored and analytical procedures are treated as evidence”. Funds are not available to investigate alternative theories. Those who express even the mildest doubts about dangerous climate change are ostracised, accused of being in the pay of fossil-fuel interests or starved of funds; those who take money from green pressure groups and make wildly exaggerated statements are showered with rewards and treated by the media as neutral.

Look what happened to a butterfly ecologist named Camille Parmesan when she published a paper on “Climate and Species Range” that blamed climate change for threatening the Edith checkerspot butterfly with extinction in California by driving its range northward. The paper was cited more than 500 times, she was invited to speak at the White House and she was asked to contribute to the IPCC’s third assessment report.

Unfortunately, a distinguished ecologist called Jim Steele found fault with her conclusion: there had been more local extinctions in the southern part of the butterfly’s range due to urban development than in the north, so only the statistical averages moved north, not the butterflies. There was no correlated local change in temperature anyway, and the butterflies have since recovered throughout their range. When Steele asked Parmesan for her data, she refused. Parmesan’s paper continues to be cited as evidence of climate change. Steele meanwhile is derided as a “denier”. No wonder a highly sceptical ecologist I know is very reluctant to break cover.

Jim Hansen, recently retired as head of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies at NASA, won over a million dollars in lucrative green prizes, regularly joined protests against coal plants and got himself arrested while at the same time he was in charge of adjusting and homogenising one of the supposedly objective data sets on global surface temperature. How would he be likely to react if told of evidence that climate change is not such a big problem?

Michael Oppenheimer, of Princeton University, who frequently testifies before Congress in favour of urgent action on climate change, was the Environmental Defense Fund’s senior scientist for nineteen years and continues to advise it. The EDF has assets of $209 million and since 2008 has had over $540 million from charitable foundations, plus $2.8 million in federal grants. In that time it has spent $11.3 million on lobbying, and has fifty-five people on thirty-two federal advisory committees. How likely is it that they or Oppenheimer would turn around and say global warming is not likely to be dangerous?

Why is it acceptable, asks the blogger Donna Laframboise, for the IPCC to “put a man who has spent his career cashing cheques from both the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Greenpeace in charge of its latest chapter on the world’s oceans?” She’s referring to the University of Queensland’s Ove Hoegh-Guldberg.

These scientists and their guardians of the flame repeatedly insist that there are only two ways of thinking about climate change—that it’s real, man-made and dangerous (the right way), or that it’s not happening (the wrong way). But this is a false dichotomy. There is a third possibility: that it’s real, partly man-made and not dangerous. This is the “lukewarmer” school, and I am happy to put myself in this category. Lukewarmers do not think dangerous climate change is impossible; but they think it is unlikely.

I find that very few people even know of this. Most ordinary people who do not follow climate debates assume that either it’s not happening or it’s dangerous. This suits those with vested interests in renewable energy, since it implies that the only way you would be against their boondoggles is if you “didn’t believe” in climate change.

 

What consensus about the future?

Sceptics such as Plimer often complain that “consensus” has no place in science. Strictly they are right, but I think it is a red herring. I happily agree that you can have some degree of scientific consensus about the past and the present. The earth is a sphere; evolution is true; carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. The IPCC claims in its most recent report that it is “95 per cent” sure that “more than half” of the (gentle) warming “since 1950” is man-made. I’ll drink to that, though it’s a pretty vague claim. But you really cannot have much of a consensus about the future. Scientists are terrible at making forecasts—indeed as Dan Gardner documents in his book Future Babble they are often worse than laymen. And the climate is a chaotic system with multiple influences of which human emissions are just one, which makes prediction even harder.

The IPCC actually admits the possibility of lukewarming within its consensus, because it gives a range of possible future temperatures: it thinks the world will be between about 1.5 and four degrees warmer on average by the end of the century. That’s a huge range, from marginally beneficial to terrifyingly harmful, so it is hardly a consensus of danger, and if you look at the “probability density functions” of climate sensitivity, they always cluster towards the lower end.

What is more, in the small print describing the assumptions of the “representative concentration pathways”, it admits that the top of the range will only be reached if sensitivity to carbon dioxide is high (which is doubtful); if world population growth re-accelerates (which is unlikely); if carbon dioxide absorption by the oceans slows down (which is improbable); and if the world economy goes in a very odd direction, giving up gas but increasing coal use tenfold (which is implausible).

But the commentators ignore all these caveats and babble on about warming of “up to” four degrees (or even more), then castigate as a “denier” anybody who says, as I do, the lower end of the scale looks much more likely given the actual data. This is a deliberate tactic. Following what the psychologist Philip Tetlock called the “psychology of taboo”, there has been a systematic and thorough campaign to rule out the middle ground as heretical: not just wrong, but mistaken, immoral and beyond the pale. That’s what the word denier with its deliberate connotations of Holocaust denial is intended to do. For reasons I do not fully understand, journalists have been shamefully happy to go along with this fundamentally religious project.

Politicians love this polarising because it means they can attack a straw man. It’s what they are good at. “Doubt has been eliminated,” said Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and UN Special Representative on Climate Change, in a speech in 2007: “It is irresponsible, reckless and deeply immoral to question the seriousness of the situation. The time for diagnosis is over. Now it is time to act.” John Kerry says we have no time for a meeting of the flat-earth society. Barack Obama says that 97 per cent of scientists agree that climate change is “real, man-made and dangerous”. That’s just a lie (or a very ignorant remark): as I point out above, there is no consensus that it’s dangerous.

So where’s the outrage from scientists at this presidential distortion? It’s worse than that, actually. The 97 per cent figure is derived from two pieces of pseudoscience that would have embarrassed a homeopath. The first was a poll that found that 97 per cent of just seventy-nine scientists thought climate change was man-made—not that it was dangerous. A more recent poll of 1854 members of the American Meteorological Society found the true number is 52 per cent.

The second source of the 97 per cent number was a survey of scientific papers, which has now been comprehensively demolished by Professor Richard Tol of Sussex University, who is probably the world’s leading climate economist. As the Australian blogger Joanne Nova summarised Tol’s findings, John Cook of the University of Queensland and his team used an unrepresentative sample, left out much useful data, used biased observers who disagreed with the authors of the papers they were classifying nearly two-thirds of the time, and collected and analysed the data in such a way as to allow the authors to adjust their preliminary conclusions as they went along, a scientific no-no if ever there was one. The data could not be replicated, and Cook himself threatened legal action to hide them. Yet neither the journal nor the university where Cook works has retracted the paper, and the scientific establishment refuses to stop citing it, let alone blow the whistle on it. Its conclusion is too useful.

This should be a huge scandal, not fodder for a tweet by the leader of the free world. Joanne Nova, incidentally, is an example of a new breed of science critic that the climate debate has spawned. With little backing, and facing ostracism for her heresy, this talented science journalist had abandoned any chance of a normal, lucrative career and systematically set out to expose the way the huge financial gravy train that is climate science has distorted the methods of science. In her chapter in The Facts, Nova points out that the entire trillion-dollar industry of climate change policy rests on a single hypothetical assumption, first advanced in 1896, for which to this day there is no evidence.

The assumption is that modest warming from carbon dioxide must be trebly amplified by extra water vapour—that as the air warms there will be an increase in absolute humidity providing “a positive feedback”. That assumption led to specific predictions that could be tested. And the tests come back negative again and again. The large positive feedback that can turn a mild warming into a dangerous one just is not there. There is no tropical troposphere hot-spot. Ice cores unambiguously show that temperature can fall while carbon dioxide stays high. Estimates of climate sensitivity, which should be high if positive feedbacks are strong, are instead getting lower and lower. Above all, the temperature has failed to rise as predicted by the models.

Scandal after scandal

The Cook paper is one of many scandals and blunders in climate science. There was the occasion in 2012 when the climate scientist Peter Gleick stole the identity of a member of the (sceptical) Heartland Institute’s board of directors, leaked confidential documents, and included also a “strategy memo” purporting to describe Heartland’s plans, which was a straight forgery. Gleick apologised but continues to be a respected climate scientist.

There was Stephan Lewandowsky, then at the University of Western Australia, who published a paper titled “NASA faked the moon landing therefore [climate] science is a hoax”, from which readers might have deduced, in the words of a Guardian headline, that “new research finds that sceptics also tend to support conspiracy theories such as the moon landing being faked”. Yet in fact in the survey for the paper, only ten respondents out of 1145 thought that the moon landing was a hoax, and seven of those did not think climate change was a hoax. A particular irony here is that two of the men who have actually been to the moon are vocal climate sceptics: Harrison Schmitt and Buzz Aldrin.

It took years of persistence before physicist Jonathan Jones and political scientist Ruth Dixon even managed to get into print (in March this year) a detailed and devastating critique of the Lewandowsky article’s methodological flaws and bizarre reasoning, with one journal allowing Lewandowsky himself to oppose the publication of their riposte. Lewandowsky published a later paper claiming that the reactions to his previous paper proved he was right, but it was so flawed it had to be retracted.

If these examples of odd scientific practice sound too obscure, try Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC for thirteen years and often described as the “world’s top climate scientist”. He once dismissed as “voodoo science” an official report by India’s leading glaciologist, Vijay Raina, because it had challenged a bizarre claim in an IPCC report (citing a WWF report which cited an article inNew Scientist), that the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035. The claim originated with Syed Hasnain, who subsequently took a job at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Delhi-based company of which Dr Pachauri is director-general, and there his glacier claim enabled TERI to win a share of a three-million-euro grant from the European Union. No wonder Dr Pachauri might well not have wanted the 2035 claim challenged.

Yet Raina was right, it proved to be the IPCC’s most high-profile blunder, and Dr Pachauri had to withdraw both it and his “voodoo” remark. The scandal led to a highly critical report into the IPCC by several of the world’s top science academics, which recommended among other things that the IPCC chair stand down after one term. Dr Pachauri ignored this, kept his job, toured the world while urging others not to, and published a novel, with steamy scenes of seduction of an older man by young women. (He resigned this year following criminal allegations of sexual misconduct with a twenty-nine-year-old female employee, which he denies, and which are subject to police investigation.)

Yet the climate bloggers who constantly smear sceptics managed to avoid even reporting most of this. If you want to follow Dr Pachauri’s career you have to rely on a tireless but self-funded investigative journalist: the Canadian Donna Laframboise. In her chapter in The Facts, Laframboise details how Dr Pachauri has managed to get the world to describe him as a Nobel laureate, even though this is simply not true.

Notice, by the way, how many of these fearless free-thinkers prepared to tell emperors they are naked are women. Susan Crockford, a Canadian zoologist, has steadfastly exposed the myth-making that goes into polar bear alarmism, to the obvious discomfort of the doyens of that field. Jennifer Marohasy of Central Queensland University, by persistently asking why cooling trends recorded at Australian weather stations with no recorded moves were being altered to warming trends, has embarrassed the Bureau of Meteorology into a review of their procedures. Her chapter in The Factsunderlines the failure of computer models to predict rainfall.

But male sceptics have scored successes too. There was the case of the paper the IPCC relied upon to show that urban heat islands (the fact that cities are generally warmer than the surrounding countryside, so urbanisation causes local, but not global, warming) had not exaggerated recent warming. This paper turned out—as the sceptic Doug Keenan proved—to be based partly on non-existent data on forty-nine weather stations in China. When corrected, it emerged that the urban heat island effect actually accounted for 40 per cent of the warming in China.

There was the Scandinavian lake sediment core that was cited as evidence of sudden recent warming, when it was actually being used “upside down”—the opposite way the authors of the study thought it should be used: so if anything it showed cooling.

There was the graph showing unprecedented recent warming that turned out to depend on just one larch tree in the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia.

There was the southern hemisphere hockey-stick that had been created by the omission of inconvenient data series.

There was the infamous “hide the decline” incident when a tree-ring-derived graph had been truncated to disguise the fact that it seemed to show recent cooling.

And of course there was the mother of all scandals, the “hockey stick” itself: a graph that purported to show the warming of the last three decades of the twentieth century as unprecedented in a millennium, a graph that the IPCC was so thrilled with that it published it six times in its third assessment report and displayed it behind the IPCC chairman at his press conference. It was a graph that persuaded me to abandon my scepticism (until I found out about its flaws), because I thoughtNature magazine would never have published it without checking. And it is a graph that was systematically shown by Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick to be wholly misleading, as McKitrick recounts in glorious detail in his chapter in The Facts.

Its hockey-stick shape depended heavily on one set of data from bristlecone pine trees in the American south-west, enhanced by a statistical approach to over-emphasise some 200 times any hockey-stick shaped graph. Yet bristlecone tree-rings do not, according to those who collected the data, reflect temperature at all. What is more, the scientist behind the original paper, Michael Mann, had known all along that his data depended heavily on these inappropriate trees and a few other series, because when finally prevailed upon to release his data he accidentally included a file called “censored” that proved as much: he had tested the effect of removing the bristlecone pine series and one other, and found that the hockey-stick shape disappeared.

In March this year Dr Mann published a paper claiming the Gulf Stream was slowing down. This garnered headlines all across the world. Astonishingly, his evidence that the Gulf Stream is slowing down came not from the Gulf Stream, but from “proxies” which included—yes—bristlecone pine trees in Arizona, upside-down lake sediments in Scandinavia and larch trees in Siberia.

The democratisation of science

Any one of these scandals in, say, medicine might result in suspensions, inquiries or retractions. Yet the climate scientific establishment repeatedly reacts as if nothing is wrong. It calls out any errors on the lukewarming end, but ignores those on the exaggeration end. That complacency has shocked me, and done more than anything else to weaken my long-standing support for science as an institution. I repeat that I am not a full sceptic of climate change, let alone a “denier”. I think carbon-dioxide-induced warming during this century is likely, though I think it is unlikely to prove rapid and dangerous. So I don’t agree with those who say the warming is all natural, or all driven by the sun, or only an artefact of bad measurement, but nor do I think anything excuses bad scientific practice in support of the carbon dioxide theory, and every time one of these scandals erupts and the scientific establishment asks us to ignore it, I wonder if the extreme sceptics are not on to something. I feel genuinely betrayed by the profession that I have spent so much of my career championing.

There is, however, one good thing that has happened to science as a result of the climate debate: the democratisation of science by sceptic bloggers. It is no accident that sceptic sites keep winning the “Bloggies” awards. There is nothing quite like them for massive traffic, rich debate and genuinely open peer review. Following Steven McIntyre on tree rings, Anthony Watts or Paul Homewood on temperature records, Judith Curry on uncertainty, Willis Eschenbach on clouds or ice cores, or Andrew Montford on media coverage has been one of the delights of recent years for those interested in science. Papers that had passed formal peer review and been published in journals have nonetheless been torn apart in minutes on the blogs. There was the time Steven McIntyre found that an Antarctic temperature trend arose “entirely from the impact of splicing the two data sets together”. Or when Willis Eschenbach showed a published chart had “cut the modern end of the ice core carbon dioxide record short, right at the time when carbon dioxide started to rise again” about 8000 years ago, thus omitting the startling but inconvenient fact that carbon dioxide levels rose while temperatures fell over the following millennia.

Scientists don’t like this lèse majesté, of course. But it’s the citizen science that the internet has long promised. This is what eavesdropping on science should be like—following the twists and turns of each story, the ripostes and counter-ripostes, making up your own mind based on the evidence. And that is precisely what the non-sceptical side just does not get. Its bloggers are almost universally wearily condescending. They are behaving like sixteenth-century priests who do not think the Bible should be translated into English.

Renegade heretics in science itself are especially targeted. The BBC was subjected to torrents of abuse for even interviewing Bob Carter, a distinguished geologist and climate science expert who does not toe the alarmed line and who is one of the editors of Climate Change Reconsidered, a serious and comprehensive survey of the state of climate science organised by the Non-governmental Panel on Climate Change and ignored by the mainstream media.

Judith Curry of Georgia Tech moved from alarm to mild scepticism and has endured vitriolic criticism for it. She recently wrote:

There is enormous pressure for climate scientists to conform to the so-called consensus. This pressure comes not only from politicians, but from federal funding agencies, universities and professional societies, and scientists themselves who are green activists and advocates. Reinforcing this consensus are strong monetary, reputational, and authority interests. The closing of minds on the climate change issue is a tragedy for both science and society.

The distinguished Swedish meteorologist Lennart Bengtsson was so frightened for his own family and his health after he announced last year that he was joining the advisory board of the Global Warming Policy Foundation that he withdrew, saying, “It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy.”

The astrophysicist Willie Soon was falsely accused by a Greenpeace activist of failing to disclose conflicts of interest to an academic journal, an accusation widely repeated by mainstream media.

 

Clearing the middle ground

Much of this climate war parallels what has happened with Islamism, and it is the result of a similar deliberate policy of polarisation and silencing of debate. Labelling opponents “Islamophobes” or “deniers” is in the vast majority of cases equally inaccurate and equally intended to polarise. As Asra Nomani wrote in the Washington Post recently, a community of anti-blasphemy police arose out of a deliberate policy decision by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation:

and began trying to control the debate on Islam. This wider corps throws the label of “Islamophobe” on pundits, journalists and others who dare to talk about extremist ideology in the religion … The insults may look similar to Internet trolling and vitriolic comments you can find on any blog or news site. But they’re more coordinated, frightening and persistent.

Compare that to what happened to Roger Pielke Jr, as recounted by James Delingpole in The Facts. Pielke is a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado and a hugely respected expert on disasters. He is no denier, thinking man-made global warming is real. But in his own area of expertise he is very clear that the rise in insurance losses is because the world is getting wealthier and we have more stuff to lose, not because more storms are happening. This is incontrovertibly true, and the IPCC agrees with him. But when he said this on Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website he and Silver were savaged by commenters, led by one Rob Honeycutt. Crushed by the fury he had unleashed, Silver apologised and dropped Pielke as a contributor.

Rob Honeycutt and his allies knew what they were doing. Delingpole points out that Honeycutt (on a different website) urged people to “send in the troops to hammer down” anything moderate or sceptical, and to “grow the team of crushers”. Those of us who have been on the end of this sort of stuff know it is exactly like what the blasphemy police do with Islamophobia. We get falsely labelled “deniers” and attacked for heresy in often the most ad-hominem way.

Even more shocking has been the bullying lynch mob assembled this year by alarmists to prevent the University of Western Australia, erstwhile employers of the serially debunked conspiracy theorist Stephan Lewandowsky, giving a job to the economist Bjorn Lomborg. The grounds were that Lomborg is a “denier”. But he’s not. He does not challenge the science at all. He challenges on economic grounds some climate change policies, and the skewed priorities that lead to the ineffective spending of money on the wrong environmental solutions. His approach has been repeatedly vindicated over many years in many different topics, by many of the world’s leading economists. Yet there was barely a squeak of protest from the academic establishment at the way he was howled down and defamed for having the temerity to try to set up a research group at a university.

Well, internet trolls are roaming the woods in every subject, so what am I complaining about? The difference is that in the climate debate they have the tacit or explicit support of the scientific establishment. Venerable bodies like the Royal Society almost never criticise journalists for being excessively alarmist, only for being too lukewarm, and increasingly behave like pseudoscientists, explaining away inconvenient facts.

Making excuses for failed predictions

For example, scientists predicted a retreat of Antarctic sea ice but it has expanded instead, and nowadays they are claiming, like any astrologer, that this is because of warming after all. “Please,” says Mark Steyn in The Facts:

No tittering, it’s so puerile—every professor of climatology knows that the thickest ice ever is a clear sign of thin ice, because as the oceans warm, glaciers break off the Himalayas and are carried by the El Ninja down the Gore Stream past the Cape of Good Horn where they merge into the melting ice sheet, named after the awareness-raising rapper Ice Sheet …

Or consider this example, from the Royal Society’s recent booklet on climate change:

Does the recent slowdown of warming mean that climate change is no longer happening? No. Since the very warm surface temperatures of 1998 which followed the strong 1997-98 El Niño, the increase in average surface temperature has slowed relative to the previous decade of rapid temperature increases, with more of the excess heat being stored in the oceans.

You would never know from this that the “it’s hiding in the oceans” excuse is just one unproven hypothesis—and one that implies that natural variation exaggerated the warming in the 1990s, so reinforcing the lukewarm argument. Nor would you know (as Andrew Bolt recounts in his chapter inThe Facts) that the pause in global warming contradicts specific and explicit predictions such as this, from the UK Met Office: “by 2014 we’re predicting it will be 0.3 degrees warmer than in 2004”. Or that the length of the pause is now past the point where many scientists said it would disprove the hypothesis of rapid man-made warming. Dr Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, said in 2009: “Bottom line: the ‘no upward trend’ has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.” It now has.

Excusing failed predictions is a staple of astrology; it’s the way pseudoscientists argue. In science, as Karl Popper long ago insisted, if you make predictions and they fail, you don’t just make excuses and insist you’re even more right than before. The Royal Society once used to promise “never to give their opinion, as a body, upon any subject”. Its very motto is “nullius in verba”: take nobody’s word for it. Now it puts out catechisms of what you must believe in. Surely, the handing down of dogmas is for churches, not science academies. Expertise, authority and leadership should count for nothing in science. The great Thomas Henry Huxley put it this way: “The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin.” Richard Feynman was even pithier: “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”

The harm to science

I dread to think what harm this episode will have done to the reputation of science in general when the dust has settled. Science will need a reformation. Garth Paltridge is a distinguished Australian climate scientist, who, in The Facts, pens a wise paragraph that I fear will be the epitaph of climate science:

We have at least to consider the possibility that the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seriously overstating the climate problem—or, what is much the same thing, of seriously understating the uncertainties associated with the climate problem—in its effort to promote the cause. It is a particularly nasty trap in the context of science, because it risks destroying, perhaps for centuries to come, the unique and hard-won reputation for honesty which is the basis for society’s respect for scientific endeavour.

And it’s not working anyway. Despite avalanches of money being spent on research to find evidence of rapid man-made warming, despite even more spent on propaganda and marketing and subsidising renewable energy, the public remains unconvinced. The most recent polling data from Gallup shows the number of Americans who worry “a great deal” about climate change is down slightly on thirty years ago, while the number who worry “not at all” has doubled from 12 per cent to 24 per cent—and now exceeds the number who worry “only a little” or “a fair amount”. All that fear-mongering has achieved less than nothing: if anything it has hardened scepticism.

None of this would matter if it was just scientific inquiry, though that rarely comes cheap in itself. The big difference is that these scientists who insist that we take their word for it, and who get cross if we don’t, are also asking us to make huge, expensive and risky changes to the world economy and to people’s livelihoods. They want us to spend a fortune getting emissions down as soon as possible. And they want us to do that even if it hurts poor people today, because, they say, their grandchildren (who, as Nigel Lawson points out, in The Facts, and their models assume, are going to be very wealthy) matter more.

Yet they are not prepared to debate the science behind their concern. That seems wrong to me.

corruption, cover up, crisis, discrimination, elitism, environment, ethics, fraud, government, greenhouse, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, political correctness, politics, propaganda, scandal, science, scientists, study

Filed under: corruption, cover up, crisis, discrimination, elitism, environment, ethics, fraud, government, greenhouse, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, political correctness, politics, propaganda, scandal, science, scientists, study

SCIENTIST ADMITS INTENTIONALLY COOKING THE BOOKS FOR “POLITICS”

GLOBAL WARMING HYSTERIA: SCIENTIST ADMITS INTENTIONALLY COOKING THE BOOKS FOR “POLITICS”
January 24, 2010 by Wesley J. Smith

Disgraceful: A UN scientist has admitted he included the nonsense about Himalayan glaciers disappearing by 2035—even though he knew it had not been scientifically verified—to put political pressure on regional government leaders.From the story:

The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders. Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research. In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action. ‘It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in.’

Not only was that politics instead of science, it was a clear violation of the IPCC’s mandate:

According to the IPCC’s statement of principles, its role is ‘to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis, scientific, technical and socio-economic information – IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy’.

It is becoming almost impossible now to call these accumulating messes “isolated incidents” or “mere mistakes.”  Rather, they reflect a systemic abuse and politicization of the process that seems rife within the top echelons of the global warming-believing scientific establishment.

What is ironic here—and in other matters that touch on science covered at SHS, such as embryonic stem cell research and human cloning (the Hwang cloning fraud, etc.) —is that science isn’t being undermined by “religion” or “deniers” or “creationists,” but supposed scientists.  The time has come for heads to roll.

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Filed under: bias, corruption, environment, ethics, fraud, hypocrisy, ice sheets, ideology, indoctrination, lies, pandering, political correctness, politics, propaganda, scandal, science, scientists, study

Nobel Prize-winning scientist says Obama is ‘dead wrong’ on global warming

original article: Nobel Prize-winning scientist says Obama is ‘dead wrong’ on global warming
July 8, 2015 by Michael Bastasch

In 2008, Dr. Ivar Giaever joined over 70 Nobel Science Laureates in endorsing Barack Obama for president, but seven years later the Nobel Prize winner now stands against the president on global warming.

“I would say that basically global warming is a non-problem,” Giaever, who won the Nobel for physics in 1973, told an audience at the Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting earlier this month.

Giaever ridiculed Obama for stating that “no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” The physicist called it a “ridiculous statement” and that Obama “gets bad advice” when it comes to global warming.

“I say this to Obama: Excuse me, Mr. President, but you’re wrong. Dead wrong,” Giaever said.

Giaever was a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s School of Engineering and School of Science and received the Nobel Prize for physics for his work on quantum tunneling. Giaever said he was “horrified” about the science surrounding global warming when he conducted research on the subject in 2012.

Ironically, just four years earlier he signed a letter with more than 70 other Nobel winners saying the “country urgently needs a visionary leader” and that “Senator Barack Obama is such a leader, and we urge you to join us in supporting him.”

But by 2011,  Giaever left the American Physical Society because it officially stated that “the evidence is incontrovertible … [g]lobal warming is occurring.” The Society also pushed for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Global warming really has become a new religion,” Giaever said. “Because you cannot discuss it. It’s not proper. It is like the Catholic Church.”

Giaever argued that there’s been no global warming for the last 17 years or so (based on satellite records), weather hasn’t gotten more extreme and that global temperature has only slightly risen — and that’s based on data being “fiddled” with by scientists, he said.

“When you have a theory and the theory does not agree with the experiment then you have to cut out the theory. You were wrong with the theory,” Giaever said.

environment, global warming, government, scandal, science, scientists, study

Filed under: environment, global warming, government, scandal, science, scientists, study

Climate scientists criticize fraudulent government paper on climate

The NOAA apparently prefers “progressive science” over actual science. It knowingly altered data to match artificially warm measurements (due to ship engines) and ignored more reliable, standard data that happened to show cooler measurements.

original article: Climate scientists criticize government paper that erases ‘pause’ in warming
June 10, 2015 by Maxim Lott

Until last week, government data on climate change indicated that the Earth has warmed over the last century, but that the warming slowed dramatically and even stopped at points over the last 17 years.

But a paper released May 28 by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has readjusted the data in a way that makes the reduction in warming disappear, indicating a steady increase in temperature instead. But the study’s readjusted data conflict with many other climate measurements, including data taken by satellites, and some climate scientists aren’t buying the new claim.

“While I’m sure this latest analysis from NOAA will be regarded as politically useful for the Obama administration, I don’t regard it as a particularly useful contribution to our scientific understanding of what is going on,” Judith Curry, a climate science professor at Georgia Tech, wrote in a response to the study.

And in an interview, Curry told FoxNews.com that that the adjusted data doesn’t match other independent measures of temperature.

“The new NOAA dataset disagrees with a UK dataset, which is generally regarded as the gold standard for global sea surface temperature datasets,” she said. “The new dataset also disagrees with ARGO buoys and satellite analyses.”

The NOAA paper, produced by a team of researchers led by Tom Karl, director of the agency’s National Climatic Data Center, found most of its new warming trend by adjusting past measurements of sea temperatures.

Global ocean temperatures are estimated both by thousands of commercial ships, which record the temperature of the water entering their engines, and by thousands of buoys – floatation devices that sit in the water for years.

The buoys tend to get cooler temperature readings than the ships, likely because ships’ engines warm the water. Meanwhile, in recent years, buoys have become increasingly common. The result, Karl says, is that even if the world’s oceans are warming, the unadjusted data may show it not to be warming because more and more buoys are being used instead of ships. So Karl’s team adjusted the buoy data to make them line up with the ship data. They also double-checked their work by making sure that the readjusted buoy readings matched ships’ recordings of nighttime air temperatures.

The paper came out last week, and there has not been time for skeptical scientists to independently check the adjustments, but some are questioning it because of how much the adjusted data vary from other independent measurements.

First, it disagrees with the readings of more than 3,000 “ARGO buoys,” which are specifically designed to float around the ocean and measure temperature. Some scientists view their data as the most reliable.

The ARGO buoy data do not show much warming in surface temperature since they were introduced in 2003. But Karl’s team left them out of their analysis, saying that they have multiple issues, including lack of measurements near the Arctic.

In an email, Karl told FoxNews.com that the ARGO buoy readings may be added to his data “if scientific methods can be found to line up these two types of temperatures together … (of course after correcting the systematic offsets) … This is part of the cumulative and progressive scientific process.”

Karl’s study also clashes with satellite measurements. Since 1979, NOAA satellites have estimated the temperature of Earth’s atmosphere. They show almost no warming in recent years and closely match the surface data before Karl’s adjustments.

The satellite data is compiled by two separate sets of researchers, whose results match each other closely. One team that compiles the data includes Climate Professors John Christy and Roy Spencer at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, both of whom question Karl’s adjusted data.

“The study is one more example that you can get any answer you want when the thermometer data errors are larger than the global warming signal you are looking for,” Spencer told FoxNews.com.

“We believe the satellite measurements since 1979 provide a more robust measure of global temperatures, and both satellite research groups see virtually the same pause in global temperatures for the last 18 years,” he said.

Karl said satellite data also have issues, including “orbital decay, diurnal sampling, instrument calibration target temperatures and more.”

Spencer said he agreed that those are issues, but they are less problematic than using data from thousands of ships and buoys. He added that there are a couple of satellites monitoring temperature at any given time, and that they are used to check each other.

Skeptics say there are yet more measurements, including those coming from balloon data, that line up with existing data more than with Karl’s newly adjusted data. They also note that even with Karl’s adjustments, the warming trend he finds over the last 17 years is below what U.N. models had predicted.

Some climate scientists applaud Karl’s adjustments and say they debunk the idea that the Earth has stopped warming.

“[This] points out just how small and fragile a notion that was,” Peter Frumhoff, director of science & policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told FoxNews.com

Asked about the contradiction with satellite data, he said he trusted the new paper.

“I trust the process of legitimate scientific peer review that this paper has undergone, as well as the care that its authors bring to their respected work,” he said, adding that, “the faux debate over a so-called ‘hiatus’ has been an unfortunate diversion from meaningful dialogue about how best to address the broadly recognized serious problem of climate change.”

But skeptics say Karl’s adjusted data is the outlier that conflicts with everything else. “Color me ‘unconvinced’,” Curry wrote.

bias, corruption, environment, ethics, false, fraud, global warming, government, ideology, propaganda, scandal, science, scientists, study

Filed under: bias, corruption, environment, ethics, false, fraud, global warming, government, ideology, propaganda, scandal, science, scientists, study

Just call it ‘potential marriage’

Two contemporary issues are converging more potently than ever before: homosexuality and abortion. How so?

First, unless you’ve been missing in action for a while you’re well aware of the recent push to legally compel religious people to violate their conscience on matters of what marriage means.

So you think you know what objections to gay marriage are all about?

Gay Marriage Isn’t About Justice, It’s About Selma Envy

When did ‘tolerance’ start to mean punishing people for their beliefs?

Law firms willing to work with companies dealing in tobacco, pollution, and murder – but not traditional marriage

Religious conservatives are the targets of discrimination, lawyer says

Age of intolerance: What the Indiana pizza attacks tell us about free speech

There are those who would construe the issue as though declining a customer asking for a wedding cake for a gay wedding is the same as preventing the ceremony from happening (despite the fact there is another baker just down the street who would do the job). Absurd, yes, and false, and dishonest, sure, but emotionally satisfying for those willing to lie to push for the gay agenda. What’s really going on here is not anti-gay hate but anti-religious hate. And not merely hate, we are now faced with a situation where not only are religious people being legally forced to violate their religious beliefs but this situation is also one where a constitutional right (blatantly spelled out in the US Constitution) is being entirely disregarded for a different agenda. As it stands, the law can compel people to violate their conscience if their conscience is of a religious nature.

But there is another area of life where moral objections to involving oneself in certain controversial acts are challenged.

ACLU sues feds in bid to make Catholic groups provide abortion to illegal immigrants

Twelve Nurses Forced to Take Part in Abortions

Kill or Get Out of Medicine: What Canada And Australia Tell Pro-Life Doctors

So now the situation includes forcing people to either fund or participate in abortions, despite moral objections.

What connects these issues? Conscientious objection. It’s worth mentioning conscientious objection to war and the draft was a very popular thing in the 1970s. Moral conscience was treated as a valid reason to change the law. But on the issue of being forced to participate in or contribute a gay wedding or being forced to participate in or contribute to an abortion, these objections tend to be motivated by religious beliefs. And somehow being of a religious nature makes these objections invalid.

So what can be done about this obvious double standard? An idea is already provided.

You’ve probably heard the term “potential person” being used in defense of abortion rights. But did you know that same term is being used to expand abortion rights to kill infants as well?

Modern Babykilling

Infanticide on Demand

Murder of Newborn Babies in Infanticide as Bad as Abortion

The three stories linked above are all about the same instance of a paper published by medical experts claiming infants are not “persons” yet, they are merely “potential persons”. Now it’s bad enough to claim we don’t know when life begins and then deny personhood to a child in the womb and all civil rights including the right to life (pretending we actually knew the child is NOT a person). But, and I can’t believe I’m about to say this, there is actually something worse: denying a recently born child personhood and all civil rights – including the right to life.

You thought eugenics died with the Nazis? You were wrong. And, of course, we are subjected to further distortion of language and logic trying to justify medicalized killing:

Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva are associated respectively with Monash University, in Melbourne, Australia, and with the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, at the University of Melbourne.

They argue that both the fetus and the new-born infant are only potential persons without any interests. Therefore the interests of the persons involved with them are paramount until some indefinite time after birth. To emphasise the continuity between the two acts, they term it “after-birth abortion” rather than infanticide.

Their conclusions may shock but Guibilini and Minerva assert them very confidently. “We claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk.” This assertion highlights another aspect of their argument. Killing an infant after birth is not euthanasia either. In euthanasia, a doctor would be seeking the best interests of the person who dies. But in “after-birth abortion” it is the interests of people involved, not the baby.

The astoundingly evil thing of killing children is often justified by pretending we know things we really don’t know and inventing new distinctions without real differences (medicalized killing is medicalized killing, I don’t care if the killing is done with the interests of the people involved instead of the presumptuous interests of the baby). Science cannot answer the question of when life beings, and it certainly can’t tell us when personhood begins. Science is not equipped to answer questions like these. That’s where philosophy comes in. But abortion rights advocates cop out on these questions, too, by arguing we don’t have to know the answers to these questions – we can simply ignore them by calling the child a “potential person” or the even more ridiculous term “pre-person people“. And you know what, these semantic games have worked for them pretty well so far. Why don’t we give it a try.

I propose we start calling gay marriage “potential marriage”. I don’t suggest this as a genuine position; I mean it as a means of bringing more attention to the asinine semantic game being played already in the intellectually and morally fraudulent defense of abortion. We, the defenders of children inside and outside the womb, should make the case that western society’s standard for what qualifies as injustice has been convoluted and insubstantiated and entirely undercut by pretending the killing of children merely for someone else’s convenience is a civil right. If killing babies is not evil I’m not sure how we can call anything evil. If killing children (the most innocent of us) for other people’s convenience is not injustice how can we call anything injustice?

By what standard can we say declining to bake a cake for a gay wedding is injustice when we praise the killing of children and trash those to speak out against it?

Let’s put the gay mafia and abortion mafia on defense. Call gay marriage “potential marriage” and see how they try to defend a double standard when we use their own propaganda against them. They want to play semantic games. Fine, let’s play.

abortion, anti-religion, babies, bigotry, bullies, children, eugenics, extremism, fraud, health care, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, pandering, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, public policy, relativism, scientists

Filed under: abortion, anti-religion, babies, bigotry, bullies, children, eugenics, extremism, fraud, health care, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, pandering, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, public policy, relativism, scientists

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