Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Witches of Climate Science

Below, a Pajamas op-ed that provides an excellent example of the rampant dishonesty in climate science: an article published by the National Academy of Science purports to assert the credibility of global warming based on number of articles published by any "researcher", concluding that 98% of real climate scientists support global warming. Everyone else are quacks. In a further dishonest slap, the online version provides a link to a blacklist of the 496 dissenting scientists whose opinions we should avoid.

The analysis goes something like this:

Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin'd.
Harpier cries:—'tis time! 'tis time!
Round about the caldron go;
Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

You get the idea.

The article was written by William R. L. Anderegg, James W. Prall, Jacob Harold, and Stephen H. Schneider.

A biologist, an electrical engineer, an activist, and a professional liar, who proceed to assert that anyone who isn't a full-fledged climate scientist is a liar.

Are they doing this tongue in cheek?

Their basis is the number of publications, and the number of times those publications were cited by other professional liars.

One could make the same case for the validity of flat Earth theories in the year 1200, based on the number of proponents in the Holy Roman Church.

The "paper" in this Diet of Worms was co-authored by Bishop Stephen Schneider at the Diocese of Stanford, so I suppose one must consider the source.  But get this conclusion:
Publication and citation analyses are not perfect indicators of researcher credibility, but they have been widely used in the natural sciences for comparing research productivity, quality, and prominence (21–24).
Of course, a researcher into the mating habits of Euplanaria Tigrina likely has no worms to grind. 
Furthermore, these methods tend to correlate highly with other estimates of research quality, expertise, and prominence (21–26). Furthermore, these methods explicitly estimate credibility to other academics, which might not directly translate to credibility inbroader discourse, polls suggest that about 70% of the American public generally trust scientists’ opinions on the environment, making this assessment broadly relevant (27).

Regarding the influence of citation patterns, we acknowledge that it is difficult to quantify potential biases of self-citation or clique citation in the analysis presented here.
You see what's coming?  They acknowledge it...
However, citation analysis research suggests that the potential of these patterns to influence results is likely to decline as sample size of researchers, possible cliques, and papers analyzed for citations considered increases (22, 25–28).
In other words, you get enough monkeys...
By selecting an expansive sample of 1,372 researchers and focusing our analysis only on the researchers’ four most-cited papers, we have designed our study to minimize the potential influence of these patterns.
...and the probability of an asthmatic gibbon declines. Yes, an expansive sample will solve everything...
Ultimately, of course, scientific confidence is earned by the winnowing process of peer review and replication of studies over time. In the meanwhile, given the immediacy attendant to the state of debate over perception of climate science...
You can see the full method of a self-licking ice cream cone at work here.  What's left out of the equation?  How about

3.)  Originality and independent thought;
2.)  Quality of Reasoning;
1.)  Money. Prestige. Influence.

Did 98% of the "credible" scientists do anything original, or just copy the other lemmings?

Did 98% of the "credible" scientists do any good thinking, or did they offer just faux research like counting someone else's publications?

Did 98% of the "credible" scientists get government grants for their research, and would that lifestyle be jeopardized by expressing a dissenting opinion?

After Climategate, even I was a little shocked at how corrupt the profession of science has become. Theoretical physics has long been in a state of complete collapse, but we may now be at the cusp of collapse in applied physics, which too often today mimicks the epistemology of astronomy under the ancient Ptolemies, who contrived a system of circular reasoning to preserve their system of circular reasoning -- that the Heavens revolved around the Earth, not the other way around.  So it is with science today, when facts come into conflict with theories and political agendas.

Writing for PJM Helped Make Me Enemy of the State Number #38

As a scientist who dares to "think different" and "question authority" on global warming, I'm in good company.

July 7, 2010 - by Frank J. Tipler
The National Academy of Sciences, in its official journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has just published a list of scientists whom it claims should not be believed on the subject of global warming. I am number 38 on the list. The list of 496 is in descending order of scientific credentials.

Professor Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Study, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the Royal Society, is number 3 on the list. Dyson is a friend of mine and is one of the creators of relativistic quantum field theory; most physicists think he should have shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Richard Feynman. MIT professor Richard Lindzen, a meteorologist who is also a member of the National Academy, is number 4. Princeton physics professor William Happer, once again a member of the National Academy of Sciences, is number 6.

I’m in good company.

The list is actually available only online. The published article, which links to the list, argues that the skeptical scientists — the article calls us “climate deniers,” trying to equate us with Holocaust deniers — have published less in climate “science” than believers in anthropogenic global warming (AGW).


But if the entire field of climate “science” is suspect, if the leaders of the field of climate “science” are suspected of faking their results and are accused of arranging for their critics’ papers to be rejected by “peer-reviewed” journals, then lack of publication in climate “science” is an argument for taking us more seriously than the leaders of the climate “science.”

Freeman Dyson, for example, was not trained as a physicist but as a mathematician. His contribution to quantum field theory was applying his mathematical skills to showing that Feynman’s work was mathematically rigorous and mathematically equivalent to another formulation due to Julian Schwinger (who shared the Nobel with Feynman). Freeman has spent the fifty years after this work switching from field to field, always making important contributions to these fields, and making them precisely because he has looked at the evidence from a different point of view.

Dick Lindzen actually is an insider in real climate science, but he is an insider who can’t be bought, an insider who follows the evidence rather than the grant money.

Will Happer is mainly an experimental atomic physicist, but a physicist who has a decades-old reputation for investigating extraordinary claims in all areas of physics.  Will was one of the experimentalists who exposed the cold fusion scam a number of years ago.

As for myself, I’m a cosmologist, with a special interest in the anthropic principle, as my National Academy of Sciences security police dossier correctly notes. Twenty odd years ago, I co-authored a book, published by Oxford University Press, on the anthropic principle. As my co-author and I pointed out, the essence of the anthropic principle is eliminating human bias from the interpretation of observations, and we focused mainly on eliminating such bias from cosmology.

But human bias is human bias. I myself have looked at some of the raw data from surface stations that measure the Earth’s temperature.  The raw data are from selected sites in the USA, in New Zealand, in Australia, and in Sweden. I selected these sites because I’m reasonably sure they will not have bias due to changing human habitation, or human wars, or human politics. These sites show no warming in the twentieth century. So I have to conclude that we don’t even know if there was any warming on Earth in the twentieth century.

Notice that I am not saying that there has been no warming, just that the available raw data that I’ve personally been able to check do not show it. Until all the raw temperature data are placed online, so the data can be checked by anybody, a rational person has to suspend belief in global warming, to say nothing of AGW.

The official government adjusted data for these sites do show a warming trend. All the warming is in the “corrections.” Sorry, I don’t buy it. Especially from “scientists” who are known to “correct’ their raw data to “hide the decline.”

There have been calls to silence the 496 scientists on the list. Besides “climate deniers,’ we have been called “traitors.” We all know the penalty for treason.

So far, no federal agents have come to pick me up. But nowhere in Mein Kampf does Adolf Hitler call for the extermination of the Jews. Hitler does repeatedly refer to the Jews as “tuberculosis bacilli.”  What does one want to do with tuberculosis bacilli?

I’m an enemy of the state. It’s an honor.

Frank J. Tipler is Professor of Mathematical Physics at Tulane University. He is the co-author of The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford University Press) and the author of The Physics of Immortality and The Physics of Christianity both published by Doubleday.

1 comment:

  1. Well, congratulations are in order to Dr. Tipler. I mean that without any hint of sarcasm; being named an enemy of the state is an honor in any society - a dangerous honor, but an honor nonetheless.

    I am a biochemist. In contrast to soft sciences like climatology, psychology and cosmology biochemistry is far more rigorous. We still have to provide several lines of independent evidence to publish - not just one like how the red shift ‘proves’ an expanding Universe and so on.

    “the epistemology of astronomy under the ancient Ptolemies, who contrived a system of circular reasoning to preserve their system of circular reasoning “

    They had a bit more excuse than the moderns though since at the time the evidence did seem to support (or could be contrived to support) their theory and only a couple of people ever suggested anything different.


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