We should have seen this debacle coming:
Given the recent events, though, it seems to me that we need to develop methods that can alert us to situations where the consensus position is faulty. In the case of climate research, there were numerous such clues that were available five or more years ago which should have made people look much more carefully at the consensus. Here are some red flags in the behavior of mainstream scientists that could be used as prompts for examining more carefully the consensus position.
(1) Consistent use of ad hominem attacks toward those challenging their positions.
(2) Refusal to make data public. This has been going on in this area for some time.
(3) Refusal to engage in discussions of the actual science, on the assumption that it is too complicated for others to understand.
(4) Challenging the credentials of those challenging the consensus position.
(5) Refusal to make computer code being used to analyze the data public. This has been particularly egregious here, and clear statements of the mathematics and statistics being employed would have allowed the conclusions to be challenged at a much earlier stage.
(1) and (4) are strongly related, of course. If anything, what this episode proves is that the global warming debate was never really about science, since they’re determined to move on as though this didn’t happen, and ignore the fact that the science has been perverted.
[Update a while later]
More thoughts from (real scientist) Frank Tipler:
I am automatically skeptical of any claim that by its very nature cannot be replicated by other scientists. What keeps scientists honest is not that scientists are more honest than other people — we aren’t — but that we know our colleagues are looking over our shoulders. Everyone is honest when he knows he is being watched.
We must seriously question whether climate “science” is, or even can be, a true science if skeptics cannot check its experimental claims. The only way climate “science” can approach being a real science is for all of its raw data to be made available. Only then is it possible for outsiders to check, at least partially, the claims of the insiders.
The second reason this conspiracy has been able to survive so long is simply that climatologists are now trained to believe in global warming theory. Remember the overwhelming urge of scientists to believe in their own pet theory, to believe that the data simply must confirm the theory, to believe that the only valid data points are those which confirm the theory? Data that are inconsistent with the theory are not recorded by believers, or not published. To true believers, such data are obviously due to an error in making the measurements, and so need not be recorded.
This human failing is why we need outside non-believers to check the theory against all the data — not just the data selected by the believers.
Of course, in order for us as a society to learn a lesson from this, it has to first be properly reported.