Home > Academia, ClimateGate, Global Warming, IPCC, Scientism > Physicits slam CRU and AGW

Physicits slam CRU and AGW

The Brits seem to be on the cutting edge of Global Warming research, both in the advocating and in the criticism. British Parliament, in reaction to the CRU ClimateGate scandal, has accepted commentary from the scientific community about the implications of the CRU scandal.

Here are the comments from the non-profit Institute of Physics.

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.

We know they aren’t forgeries or adaptations, Phil Jones has come out and said as much. He, of course, maintains that they are taken out of context, but that still means they are very much real and accurate. As the IOP says, it has created a credibility problem for climate scientists.

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.

Very much what I was saying in my other post on the subject. Without the ability to be falsified, it’s not science, it’s dogma.

The second category relating to proxy reconstructions are the basis for the conclusion that 20th century warming is unprecedented. Published reconstructions may represent only a part of the raw data available and may be sensitive to the choices made and the statistical techniques used. Different choices, omissions or statistical processes may lead to different conclusions. This possibility was evidently the reason behind some of the (rejected) requests for further information.

There is also reason for concern at the intolerance to challenge displayed in the e-mails. This impedes the process of scientific ‘self correction’, which is vital to the integrity of the scientific process as a whole, and not just to the research itself. In that context, those CRU e-mails relating to the peer-review process suggest a need for a review of its adequacy and objectivity as practised in this field and its potential vulnerability to bias or manipulation.

Fundamentally, we consider it should be inappropriate for the verification of the integrity of the scientific process to depend on appeals to Freedom of Information legislation. Nevertheless, the right to such appeals has been shown to be necessary.

There is a reason why there are “lies, damn lies and statistics.” Statistics requires that various assumptions be made when trying to deal with chaotic systems. When those assumptions work, we can have a little faith that the results are accurate. When those assumptions are bad, we can’t be reasonably assured that the results are at all accurate. Climate science is based on lots and lots of assumptions. When science is done right and proper, the bad assumptions are weeded out by the review and falsification process. When the science isn’t done right, they refuse to release the data they used, like CRU did.

As a step towards restoring confidence in the scientific process and to provide greater transparency in future, the editorial boards of scientific journals should work towards setting down requirements for open electronic data archiving by authors, to coincide with publication. Expert input (from journal boards) would be needed to determine the category of data that would be archived. Much ‘raw’ data requires calibration and processing through interpretive codes at various levels.

In other words, make the data available to everyone that wants to see it. It shouldn’t matter if the person is a PH.d. or not. The hording of information is a symptom of totalitarianism and has no place in science at all!

The scope of the UEA review is, not inappropriately, restricted to the allegations of scientific malpractice and evasion of the Freedom of Information Act at the CRU. However, most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other leading institutions involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change. In so far as those scientists were complicit in the alleged scientific malpractices, there is need for a wider inquiry into the integrity of the scientific process in this field.

This is the tip of the iceberg. If scientists as CRU were doing this kind of skulduggery, we might want to look into the assertions of the rest of the “consensus” as well. Personally, I think this isn’t an isolated indecent. There has been malfeasance exposed over at GISS with Dr. James Hansen. How many more high profile and powerful scientists have been doing the same thing?

I don’t want anyone to come away thinking I’m against science. I’m not. I love science. I believe that science can help improve everyone’s lives. It pains me to see science misused and misrepresented. Because of that, I loath Scientism. By Scientism, I mean the misuse of science to further political or religious motives and the appeal to scientific authority.

Scientists are people too. They are subject to the same temptations as anyone in a position of authority, the same lust for recognition, lust for fame and the lust to be “right.” Those are powerful incentives that can and has distorted science since the Enlightenment. We need to acknowledge that and deal with it rationally. Unfortunately, I feel some people are dogmatic about science. Which, to me, is about as unscientific as you can get.

HT/ Hotair

  1. February 28, 2010 at 00:08

    I have also written on the topic of Scientism and now suspect most papers that come out of the scientific community, it’s such a shame. The global warming scam has me digging further for the truth in politics as well, I am not happy with what I’ve found.

    Thanks for the info from The Institute of Physics, even though the diehard AGW alarmists won’t except anything short of the whole body of climate and atmospheric science coming out with a clear, unified statement that the weather is not man made. Go figure?

    • February 28, 2010 at 01:20

      AGW alarmism isn’t about science it’s about dogma. It’s a belief system all of it’s own, complete with High Priests, Sacrifice, etc.
      Ultimately, I think science will be able to purge itself of this newest round of scientism as it’s done before. It’s just going to be a bumpy ride along the way.

  2. zero132132
    February 28, 2010 at 02:16

    If there’s a problem with the three main surface temperature records (GISS, HadCRUT, and NCDC), then it should be fairly easy to demonstrate this.


    Perform your own data analysis. If there’s disagreement, find out where these disagreements come from. Accusations of bias are ad hominem attacks; these shouldn’t be involved in any rational argument. If you’re unwilling or unable to do so, then you should consider whether you’re the right person to be discussing this issue.

    • February 28, 2010 at 18:41

      How far do those temp data go back? The point of contention on AGW is whether or not this warming is unprecedented and the sole result of man. Your temp data neither prove or disprove anything in that regard.
      Besides this post was about what happened at CRU, which your comment doesn’t address at all.
      Bias is not ad hominem, bias is a fact of life, everyone has bias. By your argument, no one is ever allowed to call someone on their bias because that would be improper. Bullshit! Calling someone out on their a priori is not the same as guilty by association (ad hominem attacks like calling someone a flat earther or denier)

      • zero132132
        February 28, 2010 at 19:58

        What exactly is the problem with the CRU? The entire manufactured controversy was primarily focussed around trying to discredit the surface temperature record. That’s why people are talking about the CRU.

        Calling someone a flat earther/denier/whatever isn’t an ad hominem argument. Ad hominem arguments rely on some characteristic of a person to invalidate their argument. Someone calling you names is insulting, but it doesn’t really relate to any rational argument. Conversely, you are trying to say that because some people are unreliable (a dubious claim), everything they’ve ever said is false. You’re attributing the falsehood of an argument to a personal flaw; this is what ‘ad hominem’ means.

        I don’t think that no one should ever call anyone out on bias, but it still isn’t a particularly relevant claim. No scientific argument should ever rely on allegations of bias, but rather on what the observations actually show. If bias leads someone to a false conclusion, you don’t show the conclusion to be false by accusing them of bias, you prove the conclusion to be false by uncovering contradictory data.

  3. yttik
    February 28, 2010 at 11:33

    Al Gore just wrote an article in which he says, “From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption.”

    Whoah! Redemption is a religious concept, not a scientific one. And the last thing we want is the rule of law being used as an “instrument of human redemption.”

    • February 28, 2010 at 18:46

      There are so many things wrong with Gore’s statement, redemption being only one of them. I get tickled at how the “secular” party always wraps themselves in religious rhetoric. It’s amazing how dogmatic the language being used is.

  4. February 28, 2010 at 20:32

    zero132132 :

    Manufactured controversy….that’s a nice touch. So ethics in science don’t matter? How can science further our knowledge when the scientists involved suppress evidence to that are contrarian to their beliefs? Are you saying that doesn’t bother you one bit? How reliable is the data you hold is such esteem if it hasn’t been scrutinized over and over again by it’s critics? What makes you think the surface temp record is the be all end all anyway? Do you trust those that took the measurements 100%, that they recorded everything verbatim and didn’t fudge anything? Again if you trust those 100% but think anyone that is skeptical is full of bullshit, that’s fine by me but don’t expect everyone to be that gullible.

    Calling people deniers and flat earther is a form of ad hominem, because the connotation in those names will result in people automatically disregarding anything those people are saying. Name calling is me calling you an asshole. That doesn’t mean everything you say is wrong, just an opinion.
    You are correct in my usage of bias to an extent. I don’t mean that everything that came out of CRU is automatically wrong, but that we need to be more careful in our trust of what their conclusions are.
    There is a big difference between automatically disregard and wanting verification. So if my posts come off like I’m trying to disregard everything they say, then I apologize and thank you for the criticism.

    “No scientific argument should ever rely on allegations of bias, but rather on what the observations actually show.”

    I agree with you 100% on that. Unfortunately, my opinion of human nature is that bias plays a part in what gets written down in the first place. People had to manually write the numbers down, are the numbers 100% accurate. Did they properly take into account urban island effects? If so were their assumptions reasonable or did they low/high ball the coefficients to fit the data to the model? How often were their instruments calibrated? Were the standards or methods used to calibrate the best ones or were they ad hoc?
    My point is there is too much variability inherent in the system, too much systemic error. The only way to compensate for systemic error is to have full transparency and let everyone comb through to find those errors. That is something CRU has never allowed. Something that GISS only reluctantly did, and had to make corrections in the data set because of it. Of course you know that.
    There is an ideal of what science is and then there is reality. Reality is full of self interested people, doing the research that will get them grants, fame and prominent positions of power.
    I fully accept that I can be wrong, only time and more data will tell. Are you ready to accept that you can be wrong?

    Thanks for your comments, even though we don’t agree, you gave me some food for thought and I thank you for that.

  5. PJ
    February 28, 2010 at 22:38

    I’m most concerned about what happens now. As has been said over and over again, the people pushing the AGW movement want to make a lot of money without helping the planet at all. And then there are the “true believers”, “bots” if you will who resemble people in a cult. I just read a comment by TL and I was thinking, wow, Woodhull was so right when she said that he is so dug on in on this thing. An otherwise intelligent (though not as intelligent as he thinks he is) person who sounds a little bit like a nut when it comes to AGW. If he was into traditional religion, he would be talking about the rapture with the same zeal.

    VERY stupid question: People weren’t around to take the earth’s temperature to see what it was doing without people on it all those years. So how can we compare the temperatures now to then? We don’t have data to compare it to. Wouldn’t it be just a guess? I imagine there is some complicated formula for determining this and my question is indeed stupid.

    But let’s just say that human beings have caused horrible damage to the planet. Can people really undo it? I find that kind of arrogant. The term for a person thinking they are the center of the universe is “narcissistic”. What is the term for a person thinking that people are the center of the universe?

    • PJ
      February 28, 2010 at 23:34

      To further my point, we’ve all seen representations of the earth’s timeline but here is a reminder : http://www.worsleyschool.net/science/files/time/line.html. The human race is a speck much like an individual is a speck.

      • March 1, 2010 at 00:00

        Ha ha And we are arguing over the temperature over the last 100 years, it’s amazing isn’t it?

  6. yttik
    March 1, 2010 at 09:50

    I still love Carlin’s “Saving the Planet.” Be warned, it’s got lots of bad words.

    • PJ
      March 1, 2010 at 18:56

      Ha! Great find yttik!

      Human beings are not in control of everything. Now THAT’S an “inconvenient truth”!

      • March 1, 2010 at 21:03

        It’s the arrogant ones that think they are, and they always brings the shit storm to everyone else.

        PS…notice the crickets over at LR?

  7. PJ
    March 1, 2010 at 21:58

    I have – what is that about?

  8. Woodhull
    March 2, 2010 at 06:22

    PJ :I have – what is that about?

    It’s about losing the serious interest of anyone who has an open mind or the ability to actually discuss (rather than argue) an issue. We saw the same thing during the ’08 primaries and GE. If a group becomes too polarized and unable to admit (as in admitting evidence or an opposing viewpoint) it becomes an echo chamber of agreement and devolves into inane chit chat and emoticons.

    ZH: Did you read NQ’s most recent post on GW? It was about Gore’s Op-Ed in the NYTs. Seems like this issue is coming apart at the seams. And it goes back to the old adage that it’s not so much what you say as how you say it. TL and others like him lose their credibility when they turn a topic into a battering ram. I used to lurk on JWS, but no more — not after I read TL’s recent post about religion. He’s got some major baggage and he’s been using JWS’s blog to work through his personal stuff. I don’t know how he comes up with his oracle-ness, but apparently he thinks he is a know-all.

    • March 2, 2010 at 08:43

      No I hadn’t seen that NQ thread. I like it though. Thanks

      I still read there and comment everynow and then but it’s dead. Like it was co-opted by TL and Anon. The discussions that I used to love aren’t there anymore.

  9. PJ
    March 2, 2010 at 12:54

    I think you’re exactly right, Woodhull. I think you may be right too, ZH. It looks pretty dead to me.

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