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November 30, 2009

Mark Steyn: The Chicago Machine Politics of International Climate "Science"

That's not actually Steyn's phrase or headline; he borrowed it from James Lewis (and I tarted it up a little too).

Steyn uses it to describe the utter corruption of the peer-review process of climate "science" -- essentially, the Climate Conspirators try to get fired any editor who publishes a dissenting article or who otherwise threatens the Grand Pretend Consensus.


Here’s what Phil Jones of the CRU and his colleague Michael Mann of Penn State mean by “peer review.” When Climate Research published a paper dissenting from the Jones-Mann “consensus,” Jones demanded that the journal “rid itself of this troublesome editor,” and Mann advised that “we have to stop considering Climate Research as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers.”

So much for Climate Research. When Geophysical Research Letters also showed signs of wandering off the “consensus” reservation, Dr. Tom Wigley (“one of the world’s foremost experts on climate change”) suggested they get the goods on its editor, Jim Saiers, and go to his bosses at the American Geophysical Union to “get him ousted.” When another pair of troublesome dissenters emerge, Dr. Jones assured Dr. Mann, “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

Which in essence is what they did. The more frantically they talked up “peer review” as the only legitimate basis for criticism, the more assiduously they turned the process into what James Lewis calls the Chicago machine politics of international science. The headline in the Wall Street Journal Europe is unimproveable: “How To Forge A Consensus.” Pressuring publishers, firing editors, blacklisting scientists: That’s “peer review,” climate-style.

...

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” wondered Juvenal: Who watches the watchmen? But the beauty of the climate-change tree-ring circus is that you never need to ask “Who peer-reviews the peer-reviewers?” Mann peer-reviewed Jones, and Jones peer-reviewed Mann, and anyone who questioned their theories got exiled to the unwarmed wastes of Siberia. The “consensus” warm-mongers could have declared it only counts as “peer-reviewed” if it’s published in Peer-Reviewed Studies published by Mann & Jones Publishing Inc (Peermate of the Month: Al Gore, reclining naked, draped in dead polar-bear fur, on a melting ice floe), and Ed Begley Jr. and “Andy” Revkin would still have wandered out glassy-eyed into the streets droning “Peer-reviewed studies. Cannot question. Peer-reviewed studies. The science is settled . . . ”

Here is my hope -- actually, my belief, because I think this is going to happen.

I think that most scientists have stayed on the sidelines on this. If you're in a different field than "climate modeling" (whatever the hell that "field" is -- it seems to be nothing but sloppy coding and using off-the-shelf statistical software) you have little incentive to get involved or speak out.

Let's face it -- your spouses and friends want to believe this, and they consider it something of a holy duty to promote the "green" agenda. Even if you know that there is something rotten and filthy going on here, what's it to you? Who can fight city hall? Or worse than city hall -- the strong sentiments of your peers and friends and wives and children. Vox populi, vox dei, the voice of the people is the voice of God.

Sure, science is being corrupted, but not your corner of it, and climate "science" isn't really even science in the first place, and their end goals are (supposedly) laudable, so....

People have very big incentives to keep out of this -- and very big disincentives to involve themselves. People always find it easier to ignore a problem and pretend it away than to confront it. And given the choice, they'll do that 99% of the time. It takes a fearless and determined individual to go against groupthink -- and even a bit of a prick, too, because, let's face it, careers can (and should!) be ruined here.

But that sort of individual is rare, unfortunately, even in science, where supposedly only the truth counts and individual relationships and colleagues' careers don't matter.

But now... I don't know if scientists have the choice anymore of ignoring the problem. This case is getting enough attention -- and the details are hair-raising enough for anyone who does science for the science and not just the paycheck -- that others will have to weigh in here, about whether the special papal dispensation afforded for climate secret science is legitimate... or if it is hopelessly corrupting.

Scientists will have to weigh in: Is it "science" when data and methodologies are kept secret and only the conclusions published, stripped of any backing evidence that can be criticized (or even merely examined)?

What the hell is that? If you want to keep your evidence secret, keep your conclusions secret too. You cannot offer naked conclusions -- assertions without a shred of evidence backing them -- as you conspire in secret to delete data rather than disclose it and "hide behind IPR claims." (Intellectual Property Rights, that is.)

Conclusions without evidence deserve the the precise level of seriousness their proponents invest them with: None at all. Because if they meant to be taken seriously, they'd offer their data and methodology to the world.

Some liberals have whined about the plight of these poor climate "scientists," being harrassed to death with thousands of FOIA requests and inquiries and pesterings about data and methods. They have so little time to deal with these things, the apologists whine; who can blame them for getting exasperated and cutting a few corners?

The only reason, however, there were so many requests and follow-up questions and inquires is because they were determined from the outset to reveal nothing. Had they simply done what all other scientists do, and reveal their data and methods upfront and without prompting, they would not have to answer all these pesky FOIA demands.

It is precisely because they are determined to conceal this stuff that it takes so much of their precious jury-rigging time. It is because they are determined to conceal that they spend so much time contriving spurious refusals to legal FOIA demands and so much time plotting to delete emails.

If they weren't spending so much time being dishonest, lying advocates, it sure would free up a lot of their time to do some actual science.

I think this is the time when other scientists get over their fear and denial and start calling out the charlatans posing as their "colleagues."


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posted by Ace at 06:27 PM

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