Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What passes for AGW credibility - PNAS

I refer you to the recent PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy Of Science) article here. It's a sad day that such a renowned publication would stoop this low. A few points:

- Why is it asserted that the credibility of a climate researcher is, in any way, tied to the level of his activity in publishing articles, papers, etc., which agree with the IPCC? (There is an implicit insult by this paper that those listed on the 'opposition' side are simply incompetent to the extent they cannot understand the science behind the AGW theory because they disagree with 98% on the 'credible' list.)

- Why does the PNAS have a article tag named 'climate denier'? Is this an appropriate subject category on the same level as 'citation analysis'? (Sounds suspiciously like they have 'chosen sides' in the debate. Are they developing a 'blacklist'?)

- The paper effectively divides individuals into groups - 'supporters' and 'deniers' of AGW (ACC). Why? (This will yield a list with Al Gore on one side and Freeman Dyson on the other - neither of whom is considered a specialist in climate science. In a discussion on the scientific aspects of energy transfer and its relationship or relevance to measuring the effects and probable causes of climate change - should I value Al Gore's scientific opinion as being more credible than Dyson's simply because Gore (a) agrees with the IPCC and (b) has more noses lined up behind him? Absurd. Yet, it is arguable this is the paper's objective: determining WHO should be considered as having a credible opinion. And, apparently, PNAS agrees. Sad.)

Again: Science is not a democracy. You do not advance the understanding of natural, observed Real World processes because anyone says so (no matter how many others may agree/disagree). The ONLY way to find out the answer (or check for accuracy) is to examine the a theory critically, using available evidence, with the intent to disprove. When one enters the world of human reputations, you cannot help but become tainted by bias, conflicts of interest, personality defects, political power grabs, and - yes - the corrupting influence of money (regardless of the source).

Human history has shown, time and again, that true, long-term scientific accuracy and understanding stems from AVOIDING that giant septic tank of conflicts. The pursuit of 'Science' must RISE ABOVE the realm of human frailties and insist (demand) impartial analysis of scientific Real World evidence, which can be duplicated for testing and evaluation purposes. This means you set aside guesses, estimates or output from complex computer models and consider the evidence. Really. After all, disproving a theory only requires ONE dissenting piece of evidence, from any source, even if the researcher doesn't have a laundry list of degrees and pile of publication royalty checks.

What happened to the PNAS? What happened to the Scientific Method? Egad.

- Steve

No comments:

Post a Comment