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.
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.
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.