Climate Change science gets a stern talking to

I won’t bore you by recounting the various, glaring missteps the climate change science community has made recently. I think those discrepancies have been broadly covered, dismissed by the believers and slavered over by the uber-skeptics. Indeed the pundit shit flinging merrily continues unabated months after the breaking of “Climategate,” especially excited by a series of winter storms that put snow on the grounds of 49 American states on the same day.

I will say that the clannish, arrogant nature of the scientists engaged in monitoring and explaining climatology to the world has been their undoing. Proclamations of fact in a science heavily reliant on hypothetical, seemingly malleable computer simulated projections along with a lack of transparency, a rather unscientific element of advocacy and the poisonous nature of their handling of skeptics have lent the concept of climate change an identity more closely related to religious orthodoxy than actual science. The message came to be more important than the method.

It was on the matter of method that the Institute of Physics in the UK addressed the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry. I believe this is the first time a scientific organization has weighed in in such a critical fashion. A snippet:

<blockquote>1. The Institute is concerned that, unless the disclosed e-mails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and for the credibility of the scientific method as practised in this context.

2. The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law. The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital. The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner. This extends well beyond the CRU itself – most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other international institutions who are also involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change.</blockquote>

I’ve chosen the first two statements purposefully so as to avoid “cherry picking.” There are additional observations a bit more damning of the CRU’s methods and I’d encourage a full read of the statement. It’ll be interesting to watch where both the science (assuming it’s reformed accordingly) and the politics regarding climate change head in the near future. It’ll also be interesting to see, if transparency and independent review are allowed, how long the current consensus holds together.

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12 Responses to Climate Change science gets a stern talking to

  1. david says:

    I think Environmentalism really is best understood as a New Religious Movement. It’s no surprise that Environmentalism has taken root precisely in the secular post-Christian western elite. Nature abhors a vacuum and as Christianity has been pushed out, Environmentalism has filled the void. You have a fallen world (technological progress), an Eden-like idyllic past, human sin (pollution), penance (recycling), prophets (Al Gore), and Armageddon (Global Warming/Climate Change). In many ways it’s a modern mash-up of old-fashioned nature worship, laid over the leftover structure of Christianity, and topped with a thin veneer of Science for cover.

  2. McKellar says:

    David: granted that many parts of Environmentalism are best understood as a religious movement, how does that affect the production of the science?

    And isn’t the ‘spirit of capitalism’ that opposes Environmentalism just as much of a religious movement? How do those beliefs affect our economists and political scientists?

    The big danger I see here is that as we politicize our academies (as they become politically and socially more relevant, and their funding contingent on their relevance), we also run the risk of straitjacketing them into various dogmas and popular heresies, making reasonable debate impossible.

  3. david says:

    McKellar: I think our academies politicized themselves a long, long time ago. In fact, that’s what ClimateGate has exposed so clearly. The environmentalists and academics treated critics as, literally, heretics. And you don’t argue with heretics or give them the benefit of the doubt — you destroy heretics. And that’s exactly what Al Gore, the academics, and the religious eco-zealots have tried to do.

    The eco-Left is very good at pointing out the hypocrisies, rigid thinking, religious dogma, and foibles of the religious right, but seem unable or unwilling to see their own.

  4. Mrs. Davis says:

    They haven’t been off the payroll since WWII, their protests in the 1960s to the contrary notwithstanding. Take away their access to the Federal teat and they look like…Hillsdale.

  5. McKellar says:

    I’m wary of lumping all the scientists in with the ‘eco-left’, even if most scientists personally hold such beliefs, methodological demands and the deliberative nature of the academy would keep dogmatic thinking to a minimum, which of course is what the above inquiry was all about. There’s a big difference between making a political statement and doing science, though both can be done with the ardor of religious practice. The question here isn’t whether or not the scientists who study climate change are biased (of course they are, we all are), but whether or not the practice of science has been corrupted by political concerns, and if so, how do we fix that.

    The problem in this case seems to stem from the generally abysmal quality of journalism nowadays, especially when it comes to science reporting. Scientists are afraid to release complicated, seemingly contradictory findings since they know those findings are just going to get amplified and distorted in the media, with political consequences. Climate data should really be fodder for expert discourse, and journalists who understand that discourse, not Drudge Report headlines.

  6. wren says:

    Well I guess that does it for the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment. Good on.

    In other news I was driving through Scarsdale and passed St. Pius X School! Imagine. No sorry I forgot you’re not allowed to.

  7. Gore and The UN IPCC should be forced to give back their Nobel Peace Prize. The flaws in Gore’s film and the errors in the 2007 UN IPCC Report that have been discovered since the award was given should disqualify both parties. Irena Sendler who risked her life daily during World War II to save the lives of over 2,500 Jewish children is much more deserving. Please sign the petition to demand that Gore and the UN IPCC have their award taken away. http://www.stripgore.com

  8. Master Cook says:

    Environmentalism has become a religious movement, opposed by followers of Capitalism, which has also become a religious movment.

  9. Pingback: Getting it together? « The World According to Me…

  10. Edward says:

    Assuming that there even is global warming, er “climate change,” I think we could easily adapt to slight temperature variances. I mean, there have been many climate changes before man, and I just read that the Chilean earthquake actually shifted the Earth’s axis (albeit minutely.) It’s sheer folly and vanity on the part of these Eco-progressives to think that man has the power to, and ultimately is the greatest threat to our planet. And if there is some warming, it’ll probably be good for Northern crop growing seasons.

  11. McKellar said:

    The question here isn’t whether or not the scientists who study climate change are biased (of course they are, we all are), but whether or not the practice of science has been corrupted by political concerns, and if so, how do we fix that.

    Agreed and I’d add the element of self preservation as well. Skepticism isn’t just a threat to the supposed scientific consensus it’s a also a threat to careers.

    The problem in this case seems to stem from the generally abysmal quality of journalism nowadays, especially when it comes to science reporting.

    Disagree to an extent here. Yes there’s shit journalism and yes journalism has a tendency to embrace and report stories on the basis of ratings rather than accuracy. However the media tends to favor tragedy and so the dire predictions stemming from climate change science were right up their alley.

    The problem is rooted within the people embedded in the science who have been proselytizing as they educate. The onus here isn’t on the media but on those presenting the science.

  12. Please may I add to your excellent article the following thought.

    There is a joke about an office man who opens his sandwiches every day for six months, wrinkles up his face and says ” Peanut Butter – again?” His colleague is so fed up he asks “Frank if you are fed up with peanut butter why not ask your wife to make you something else?” To which he responds – “My wife? I make these sandwiches.”

    The environmental scientists could do us all a favour and tell us what the ideal atmospheric mix is and what we have now. Without stating those two things, instead of just one of them, the latter, we cannot come up with answers.

    For example, if we remove all the carbon dioxide we would all be dead in a while.

    So, scientists, please complete the following statement – ‘The amount(percentage) of CO2 that we need to remove from the atmosphere is X%’

    And for bonus points here are the other figures of what needs to be done.

    As it stands, the only people finding solutions are scientists who are keeping the hole cards covered in order to protect their jobs, even if we all die.