Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Young scientists better not step out of line

Ten years ago I posted this, which looked at the dark underbelly of how the "Scientific Consensus" is enforced.  Sadly nothing has changed in the past decade, except the public has shoveled $30B down the rathole of the scientific establishment.  The only thing I'd change since then is that I said this was "probably" the greatest scientific scandal of all time.  I think that we can now strike that "probably" - this is definitely the greatest scientific scandal of all time.

Originally posted 18 February 2010.

"Nice career you have here. It'd be a shame if anything happened to it."

Someone left an anonymous comment to my post about Global Warming and the canals of Mars. I'm reproducing it here in full:
I am a scientist, in the alternative energy field. Every conference I go to, people are afraid to speak about AGW - except in their papers and presentations, which invariably use AGW as justification for their research.

Nobody believes in it, everybody knows it's a lie, but that's where all the money is coming from. If a scientist publishes a paper that doesn't affirm AGW, not only is that paper less likely to get published but any other future papers are in question as well. And he can forget about grants, forever.

Who controls the textbooks owns the next generation, and who controls the science funding gets to dictate what "science" says. 
I don't find this at all surprising. While you usually have to take anonymous comments with a grain of salt, if the commenter actually is a scientist, he (or she) certainly would have strong motivation to remain anonymous. Consider:

It's widely discussed that climate scientists are nervous about being seen to stray off the :consensus" reservation. I posted about that six months ago:
You can almost smell the fear - the article discusses a series of climate changes over the centuries (not a surprise to either of my regular readers), strongly correlated with changes in Solar activity. But the author feels the need to add a non sequitur about Carbon Dioxide. E pur si muove, indeed.
As to the funding, there's a lot of it, so long as you toe the line. As I said in Make Big Money Doing Climate Change Research From Home:
Well, I don't know about the "work from home" part, and whether you need to stuff envelopes, but the money's sweet: $79B since 1989, just from the US Fed.Gov. Add in the fellow traveler Euro.Govs and you've maybe doubled that.
As to the peer-review process and the motivation to keep the "doubter" bullseye off your career, we've seen example after example of subversion of peer-review in the ClimateGate emails. This one is particularly interesting, from a very prominent scientist (who presumably has little to fear, as he is retired):
Thanks for the extensive and detailed e-mail. This is terrible but not surprising. Obviously I do not know what gives with these guys. However, I have my own suspicions and hypothesis. I dont think they are scientifically inadequate or stupid. I think they are dishonest and members of a club that has much to gain by practicing and perpetuating global warming scare tactics. That is not to say that global warming is not occurring to some extent since it would be even without CO2 emissions. The CO2 emissions only accelerate the warming and there are other factors controlling climate. As a result, the entire process may be going slower than the powers that be would like. Hence, (I postulate) the global warming contingent has substantial motivation to be dishonest or seriously biased, and to be loyal to their equally dishonest club members. Among the motivations are increased and continued grant funding, university advancement, job advancement, profits and payoffs from carbon control advocates such as Gore, being in the limelight, and other motivating factors I am too inexperienced to identify.
As the Mythbusters would say, Anonymous' comment sure is plausible - each of his points is confirmed by independent data. And data from a two-bit blogger like me - imagine what you could find in a well funded and strongly motivated investigation from, say, the National Science Foundation.

But we won't see one, will we? And that is what's at the heart of the issue now - the public distrusts the scientific community on Climate Change. Not only does this issue poll very poorly, but there's a political revolt in progress against the policy agenda that uses Climate Change as its justification:
AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline)-The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency relied on flawed data to issue its endangerment finding that greenhouse gases pose a public health risk, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said Wednesday.

In a lawsuit against the federal government, the Republican attorney general said that the Lone Star State's economy could be harmed as the result of the EPA's finding, issued in December.
And while we can thank the Lone Star state for leading the way, other, lesser states look like they're falling in line, too:
The federal government's ruling that greenhouse gases are a public health threat is based on erroneous science that will destroy jobs, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said Wednesday.

Speaking at an afternoon press conference in Richmond, Cuccinelli said the Environmental Protection Agency is relying on "unreliable, unverifiable and doctored" science in its bid to regulate greenhouse gases.

He was referring to the work of the International Panel on Climate Change, which shared a Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore in 2007 for linking greenhouse gases to global warming. The IPCC came under fire last year, however, after irregularities and errors were found in its reports.
"Irregularities"? Boy, howdy - it's much, much more than that.

Quite frankly, the public should feel skeptical. Not only do we see repeated mistakes that a High School student knows not to make (I'm looking at youIPCC AR4!), not only do scientists refuse to release their data even under Freedom of Information Act requests, not only have the scientists (repeatedly) lost the data.

Most significantly, anyone who questions the "consensus" is not met with reasoned, scientific arguments.  Shut Up, they suggested.  Hey you Denier, get off my lawn! The public is right to smell a rat.

I believe that this is probably the greatest scientific scandal of all time. An entire field has probably been subverted by a political agenda backed by crates of Government funding, to produce spurious theories and results in support of the agenda. It's Lysenko on steroids, and if the scientific community doesn't come clean on this, then the relationship between the community and the public will never be the same.

Those on the left like to say that it's Republicans who are a threat to science, with creationism and stem cell research*. They should look at the polls, about how the public does not believe the reported "science" by a huge margin (more people believe in UFOs than in Man-made Global Warming). Then they should look in a mirror.

Yeah, I'm more than a little steamed about this.

Thank you, anonymous, for giving us the view from inside the House Of Mirrors.

* Yes, yes, I know that it's not this simple: embryonic vs. mature cell lines, yadda yadda.


Glen Filthie said...

The same thing happened to the church 50 years ago. The leadership became infested with perverts, grifters and corruption - and people threw their faith out in droves and quit. It is still a huge problem for certain groups today.

My personal belief is that those exiles found a new faith in environmentalism, and promptly corrupted the science the same way they did with their faith. They worked it the same way: heretics became the guys that dared to challenge the hucksters and grifters at the top, and were silenced or exiled. The normie that just wants to live and be left alone will need to be converted to the new faith, and the faithful will invoke Gaia the same way they did with God to shame and win over new converts.

All of this is about money and power. None of it is driven by altruism, or science. This is the way the human animals rolls.

Richard said...

How much of the Global Warming stuff is driven by leftist journalists rather than actual scientists. I can't help but notice that a lot of the stuff that gets talked about (storms, hydrology) is not even addressed in the climate models.