Roger Pielke Sr. wrote on June 4th 2009 a short piece on how “climate science” papers, if there is such a reputable thing, are short circuiting the scientific method so causing falsehoods and a dangerous trend in science that deserves attention from taxpayers, grantors and others interested in good science, properly done, factually accurate and useful for humankind.

Pielke points out, as others and I have in the past that much if not all the “climate science” is based in assumptions and built out using computer modeling.  No experimentation is done.  No testing, no verifiable conclusions, no facts.

But Pielke goes a little further, he’s calling to account the publishers of the “climate science” to adhere to the minimum standards of the scientific method.  With peer review responsibilities on his resume’ Pielke has good reason to see the problems of credibility when peer review journals and the following media rush to print sensationalism rather than science.

I repeat here again, a computer model is not a fact.  The reliance on computers, programs and the assumptions or data input is only, at best, a speculation.  Pielke offers the six steps common to describing the scientific method condensed by as:

  1. Ask a question
  2. Do background research
  3. Construct a hypothesis
  4. Test the hypothesis with experimentation
  5. Analyze the data for conclusions
  6. Communicate the results

But today, the peer review publishers are short-circuiting the scientific method.  Having read a few it’s much more like: pose a conclusion, construct a hypothesis, prove it with your computer and press release your results.  Its insulting, to the informed readers, the scientific institutions providing the resources and others researching properly.

What’s lost is accurate descriptions of how the real world functions.  When one has a hypothesis that can withstand testing one has a fact, until a test comes along that unravels the theory.  That’s how humanity got out of the wild into civilization.

I am sort of implying that “climate science” isn’t civilized.  Its not.  “Climate science” is much more appropriate for story tellers shocking and frightening listeners over the campfire.  It has no place in the scientific press or in reputable news.  It’s junk, not even junk science, an idiot’s term to describe falsification either of the data or the process.

The worry is that most any journal will publish a “climate science” paper with sensational press releases beforehand.  The depth of the corruption includes such estimable journals like The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, on to the more popular Nature and Science Magazine.

In a general sense, all those “climate science” papers are predictions, which have no place in the science literature.  It’s a scandal that things have gotten this far.  Its well past time for some self police work to be applied, such papers must not only be stopped from being published, the junk must be excised from the body of work loaded now.

To quote Mr. Pielke, “What the current publication process has evolved into, at the detriment of proper scientific investigation, are the publication of untested (and often untestable) hypotheses.  The fourth step in the scientific method “Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment” is bypassed.
This is a main reason that the policy community is being significantly misinformed about the actual status of our understanding of the climate system and the role of humans within it.”

I agree, but find it still a weak point.  It should never have happened.  All science is based on replicable results, if not replicable, why not is the issue.

A dire sense of dread should be moving through both the science literature community as well as “climate scientists.”  The computer models are not, never, nor will save careers.  The lesson to learn is that computer models might be fine for a way to grasp concepts, but for facts, they at best are predictions, no better, and likely worse than picking stocks or the trends in commodity prices.

So far the science journal community has let slip only the “climate science” – as far as we know.  That point, “as far as we know,” is the true problem to solve.  If the science literature community can’t be trusted on climate science what other fields have cracked into illegitimate publication?

It’s a matter of trust, in competence, confidence and reputation.  The depths of the wounds are becoming more broadly seen, and it’s long overdue.  I’m waiting for the admissions and the repairs to begin.  Anyone care to guess how long that will take?

Just for fun, someone will run a computer model showing how much money has been frittered away.  It’s going to be big – and inaccurate – but illustrate a disappointment in human character.

That’s what history will remember, part of the developed, educated (highly educated at that) population of the world bought into theory unprovable except by the “consensus.”  But only part bought the lie.  We’re still choosing where to sit, with the imagined consensus believers or with the skeptics looking for proof.

The worst part is the behavior of the believers.  It’s a sad state when “science” relies on the condemnations of believers upon the skeptics.  That’s the conduct that makes history.  It won’t be the warming or the cooling of the atmosphere that makes history – it will be how we treat each other that’s remembered.


3 Comments so far

  1. Matt on June 12, 2009 5:21 AM

    It’s interesting that scientists assault Intelligent Design for this exact problem. ID proponents cannot test their hypothesis.

    But, the Climate Change proponents get a pass because it’s politically correct scare mongering and not Science.

  2. Al Fin on June 12, 2009 11:41 AM

    Anthropogenic climate change is a politico-scientific economic movement. You cannot separate the “scientific” from the economic and political components.

    The editors of Science and Nature who apply a double standard to publication of studies that adhere to the “creed” vs. studies that demonstrate reasons to be skeptical of the creed, are operating as political and economic actors.

    Their futures in the publishing industry are somewhat at stake here, so they must “do the right thing” in a “Spike Lee” sense of the term.

  3. Musson on June 14, 2009 7:42 AM

    Three scientists were stranded on a desert island when a can of beans washed up and they had to figure out how to open it.

    The physicist said, ‘Climb a tall palm tree and toss the can at a sharp rock. The force of the can hitting the rock will cause a pressure wave that will open the can.

    The chemist said, ‘Place the can in a tidal pool where the corrosive action of salt water will eventually eat through the metal of the can.’

    The climate change scientist said, ‘First let us just Assume a Can opener!’

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