Science in an Echo Chamber

Source:  FrontPage

Posted By Rich Trzupek

Every time you think that the global warming crowd couldn’t be any more ridiculous or brazen, somebody manages to turn the shameless meter up another notch. This month’s offering from the alarmists is a “scientific” study that basically demonstrates that alarmists are right about climate change because alarmists who believe they are right about climate change publish a lot of papers that demonstrate how right they are about climate change. That isn’t circular logic. Circular logic would be embarrassed to be seen in the same room as this study. This sort of tortured reasoning is so twisted that M.C. Escher and Salvador Dali would have trouble coming to grips with it.

The story appeared in Science Daily [1] on Monday, June 27, entitled: “Scientific Expertise Lacking Among ‘Doubters’ of Climate Change, Says New Analysis.” That story covered a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in which the authors basically concluded that global warming alarmists are experienced, brilliant experts in their field while skeptics are hacks who probably have trouble tying their shoes. OK, I’m exaggerating a bit, but only a little. The “study” was another, predictable attempt to marginalize independent, accomplished scientists like Roy Spencer [2], Richard Lindzen [3], Jay Lehr [4] and Roger Pielke [5] who dare to question climate change orthodoxy.

A cynical fellow might wonder if a study that trumpets the brilliance of alarmist scientists and heaps scorn on skeptics is a self-serving attempt by global-warming zealots to buttress their cause. It takes very little research to confirm that hypothesis, because the authors of the study don’t attempt to hide their agenda. Those authors are: William R. L. Anderegg, James W. Prall, Jacob Harold and Dr. Stephen H. Schneider. Who are these gentlemen? Might they have a horse in this race? Let’s check.

  • Anderegg is a grad student [6] at Stanford University’s Department of Global Ecology. Based on his writings [7], it’s obvious that he passionately believes that climate change is clear and present danger to the planet.
  • Prall is a computer programmer [8] and “founding contributor” to Climate Response [9], an organization that describes its purposes thus: “…to elevate the public conversation on climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy.”
  • Harold is a fundraiser for the Hewlett Foundation [10], a liberal philanthropic organization with assets of $6.7 billion that, among other things, fights “climate change.” Harold has also worked for Greenpeace as a climate change campaigner [11].
  • Schneider, a professor at Stanford, is one of the grandfathers of global warming alarmism. Back in the seventies, he was one of the leading scientists worried about “global cooling,” [12] before flipping sides to decide that the planet is melting, not freezing.

With that line up of authors, is it any wonder they concluded that the alarmists are way smarter than the skeptics? Yet, you might be wondering, what criteria did they use to “prove” their point? The answer: the alarmists publish more papers than skeptics! Could that fact have anything to do with this sort of attitude:

“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

That’s Dr. Phil Jones of climategate fame, writing to a colleague in a 2004 e-mail. Lest you believe that Jones e-mail is an isolated example or mere bluster, take a gander at this post from Dr. Roger Pielke [13], who was identified by Schneider, et al as a skeptic. In fact, Pielke believes that humans do significantly influence the climate, but that our influence is far more complex and nuanced than alarmists would lead us to believe. (For the record, I am not convinced by, but very much respect, Dr. Pielke’s theories). Here’s what Pielke had to say about the publication process in today’s partisan environment:

“I have served as Editors of several professional journals (e.g. Chief Editor of the Monthly Weather Review; Co-Chief Editor of the Journal of Atmospheric Science) and can categorically state that any Editors who have “formed a resistance to outside points of view” should not serve in the capacity of an Editor. This is a clear example of the type of prejudice that needs to be avoided in order to preserve the integrity of the scientific process.

John Christy is correct in his statement in the news article that there is “black listing” and my son’s post [14] effectively summarizes this issue.”

To summarize: having bastardized the scientific method to the point that scientists who have contrary opinions regarding so-called climate change are routinely denied access to scientific publications, a quartet of alarmists published a study that concludes that the skeptics inability to break through that wall of censorship demonstrates their incompetence. Lovely. And, as icing on the cake, Prall has even published a comprehensive list of skeptical scientists [15] on-line. Not sure what you’d call it, but that sure looks a lot like a blacklist to me. Somewhere, Joe McCarthy is smiling.

In a way, the publication of a blacklist and of such a ludicrous, transparently biased study should warm a skeptic’s heart. Ever since climategate broke, the zealots have suffered humiliation and embarrassment time and again. The mood of the nation has changed and the alarmists know it. Publishing a research paper that purports to validate the hypothesis “we’re right because we say we are” seems to be an act of desperation. Whatever this study was, it sure wasn’t science.


Article printed from FrontPage Magazine: http://frontpagemag.com

URL to article: http://frontpagemag.com/2010/07/06/science-in-an-echo-chamber/

URLs in this post:

[1] The story appeared in Science Daily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100625185428.htm

[2] Roy Spencer: http://www.drroyspencer.com/

[3] Richard Lindzen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Lindzen

[4] Jay Lehr: http://jaylehr.com/

[5] Roger Pielke: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_A._Pielke

[6] is a grad student: http://dge.stanford.edu/people/directory/

[7] Based on his writings: http://www.takepart.com/news/2009/12/10/on-the-front-lines-the-time-is-now

[8] Prall is a computer programmer: http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/%7Eprall/Prall_CV_2010.pdf

[9] Climate Response: http://www.trunity.net/climateresponse/

[10] Hewlett Foundation: http://www.hewlettfoundation.org/about

[11] climate change campaigner: http://www.hewlettfoundation.org/news/jacob-harold-joins-hewlett-foundation-as-program-officer-for-philanthropy-and-regional-grants

[12] worried about “global cooling,”: http://www.john-daly.com/schneidr.htm

[13] at this post from Dr. Roger Pielke: http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/comments-on-the-pnas-article-expert-credibility-in-climate-change-by-anderegg-et-al-2010/

[14] post: http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Frogerpielkejr.blogspot.com%2F2010%2F06%2Fnew-black-list.html&sref=http%3A%2F%2Fpielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F06%2F21%2Fcomments-on-the-pnas-article-expert-credibility-in-climate-change-by-anderegg-et-al-2010%2F

[15] comprehensive list of skeptical scientists: http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/%7Eprall/climate/skeptic_authors_table.html

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