The Warning Signs

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.

6 thoughts on “The Warning Signs”

  1. Something I don’t understand is why any science based on the use of computation and data selection is not required by all periodicals to publish not only the results but also the codes. In a science or engineering paper the train of thought, usually expressed in mathematics, has to be given and arguably complete to pass peer review. But when there is the possibility of mistakes in the codes, and that’s always going to be a issue, how can a peer reviewer know if the results, the most important information contained in the paper, are real? I’ve found errors in papers where the computation is easy to replicate, but when you’re dealing with massive code suites representing man years of work there simply isn’t enough time to get for the average grad student (or researcher) to replicate.

    I think some kind of “truth in computational science” conference should be scheduled and a new set of guidelines established to assure something which appears to have slipped out of the grasp of many scientists due to computer modeling, assured transperency and reproducibility.

  2. “We should have seen this debacle coming.”

    What do you mean “we”? AGW looked and smelled like BS from the start. Anytime they want to tap your wallet bigtime but try browbeating you into going along rather than showing data and analysis, the way to bet is the data don’t actually say what they claim.

    The only thing this file dump changes is that skepticism will finally be respectable. “Denialist”, my backside. Unmitigated gall on steroids… Which reminds me, I’m due a lot of cheap amusement now watching true believer heads smolder as their cognitive dissonance handling hits redline overload. Chortle.



  3. I always thought they protest to much at any dissension to their attitudes and opinions. Sort of like the spouse who’s been cheating that when confronted blows up and turns the accusations about. It was always an odd reactions in my mind amongst a archetype that mostly indemnifies a Spock like affect.

  4. Well… tons of people did see this coming. The ones who were paying attention — that isn’t to say that there’s something wrong with the people who weren’t. There’s so much horrific corruption going on right now that it is impossible for any one person to keep track of it all. But I know enough about statistics, weather, space, and the scientific method to smell a rat every time I read anything about global warming.

    OTOH, I had no idea what ACORN was until the past year.

    I just never thought we’d get such amazing confirmation of this level of corruption. I figured it would be 50 years and people would notice the world wasn’t under water and life was hell from what the warmers did to us. (And and everyone starved from bad crop yields because it actually got colder…)

Comments are closed.