Scientists betraying science 179

Although this article from PowerLine by Steven Hayward, referring to another in Nature, doesn’t deal specifically with retractions of scientific papers on climate change, it provides a needed lesson to those warmists who argue that consensus is in itself a scientific proof.

[B]ehind at least half of [the retractions] lies some shocking tale of scientific misconduct plagiarism, altered images or faked data — and the other half are admissions of embarrassing mistakes. But retraction notices are increasing rapidly. In the early 2000s, only about 30 retraction notices appeared annually. This year, the Web of Science is on track to index more than 400 — even though the total number of papers published has risen by only 44% over the past decade.

There’s a lot more here to ponder, such as the essentially hollow and meaningless nature of modern peer review, and the increasingly tribal and ideological drift of much of the academic scientific establishment. …

Elsewhere in this week’s issue of Nature, Dan Sarewitz of Arizona State University, one of the truly honest brokers in the academic science and policy world, offers a terrific essay on what’s wrong with so-called “consensus” science reports. …

When scientists wish to speak with one voice, they typically do so in a most unscientific way: the consensus report. The idea is to condense the knowledge of many experts into a single point of view that can settle disputes and aid policy-making. But the process of achieving such a consensus often acts against these goals, and can undermine the very authority it seeks to project. . .

The very idea that science best expresses its authority through consensus statements is at odds with a vibrant scientific enterprise. Consensus is for textbooks; real science depends for its progress on continual challenges to the current state of always-imperfect knowledge.

Yet it was probably peer review criticism that revealed the errors in at least some of the retracted papers. The fact that so many more papers are being retracted is a healthy sign. To what extent, one may wonder, is the international row over climate-change claims and counter-claims responsible for the rise.

What seems to have happened with the papers on man-made global warming (AGW) is that a politicized posse of immoral scientists did everything they could to silence criticism.

They wanted AGW to be believed like a religion, with faith rather than reason. That made them betrayers of science itself, its enemies: anti-scientists.

If their thesis was true, why did they need to fake data (the “hockey-stick” graph), suppress facts (the Climategate emails), and conspire to block criticism?

Because – one must conclude – they wanted “scientific fact” to support policies that mattered more to them than truth. See here and here and here.

Change happens. Warming happens. It’s the causes of change that are in dispute – and whether it is a threat, so serious that impoverishing redistribute policies must be enacted by governments to save the earth from doom. In regard to which, there is this statement (from this source):

In the room where you are sitting right now, the temperature difference between the floor and the ceiling is about one degree. That’s the kind of imperceptible change we’re talking about — over the next century!

Arguments supporting and disputing that are invited.