Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Fake News? What About Fake Science?

In 2009, the climate science community was rocked with the release of hacked emails from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University.  The emails seemed to suggest that there was a concerted effort to manipulate data and suppress deniers.  As Wikipedia reports, committees were set up to examine those claims and their findings were reported as follows:
"Eight committees investigated the allegations and published reports, finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct. However, the reports called on the scientists to avoid any such allegations in the future by taking steps to regain public confidence in their work, for example by opening up access to their supporting data, processing methods and software, and by promptly honouring freedom of information requests."
Now, fast forward to February 2017.  The prestigious scientific journal Nature announced that it would no longer publish scientific papers unless the conclusions were replicated by independent peers in the same field of science.  The basis of this decision by Nature was a 2016 survey in which scientists claimed that more than 70% of them were unable to reproduce the results of published scientific papers.  This was also the case in climate change science findings.

This also comes on the heals of two other "shocking" disclosures.

Earlier this year, Dr. John Bates -- a recently retired principal scientist at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center -- disclosed that temperature data was manipulated to hide an 18-year hiatus in global warming in advance of the Paris climate summit.  This lead directly to Obama's signature on a climate agreement that would cost this country, and the world, trillions of dollars in spending.

Then, there was the early retirement of well-known climatologist Judith Curry who wrote an essay as to why she was retiring.  Her most poignant reason follows in this quote from that essay:
"A deciding factor was that I no longer know what to say to students and postdocs regarding how to navigate the CRAZINESS in the field of climate science. Research and other professional activities are professionally rewarded only if they are channeled in certain directions approved by a politicized academic establishmentfunding, ease of getting your papers published, getting hired in prestigious positions, appointments to prestigious committees and boards, professional recognition, etc."
That brings me to a final point.  In Chinese myth, there is something called the Money Tree.  An ornate holy tree that is supposed to bring good fortune.  Today, given all of the above, the true Money Tree appears to be climate science.  As long as climate research points to climate change as a real problem, those scientists can be reassured that money will keep flowing towards them for additional research.  And, it appears that it doesn't matter if 70% of that research is flawed or not reproducible.  Thank God that Nature has finally stood up to fight this kind of Fake Science, which is another form of Fake News!


Climatic Research Unit email controversy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_email_controversy

The journal Nature is going to begin requiring reproducibility in submitted papers: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/02/25/the-journal-nature-is-going-to-begin-requiring-reproducibility-in-submitted-papers/

Most scientists 'can't replicate studies by their peers': http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39054778

Former NOAA Scientist Confirms Colleagues Manipulated Climate Records: https://science.house.gov/news/press-releases/former-noaa-scientist-confirms-colleagues-manipulated-climate-records

Is Global Warming Science Just A Fraud? http://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/is-global-warming-science-just-a-fraud/

Disenchanted climatologist Judith Curry resigns from Georgia Tech: http://climatechangedispatch.com/disenchanted-climatologist-judith-curry-resigns-from-georgia-tech/

Money Tree: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_tree_(myth)

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