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Atomic bomb explosion

The following is an article from therapist Jack Surguy’s new series, “Confronting Reality,” in which he’ll aim to debunk psychological, scientific, political and social theories that are commonly endorsed within the Western cultural milieu.

A malevolent union has taken place within the last two generations. This union, literally born in fire, has the greatest potential to deceive and cause immense pain and suffering. This union is one of power and authority. Together, they proclaim what’s truth and reality. I’m of course talking about the union of science and government.

The Manhattan Project

During the Second World War, scientists from across Europe and the United States came together and worked on the Manhattan Project. The fruit of their labour was demonstrated on July 16, 1945, at Trinity Site near Alamogordo, New Mexico. It was here that scientists and government leaders convened to watch the detonation of the world’s first atomic bomb.

It was also during this time that scientists, backed with an almost unlimited source of funding, realized what could be accomplished when a powerful and wealthy government funded scientific research. Many assumed that other important advances in science could be made when governments funded the research. Many forgot that the scientific discoveries that made the Manhattan Project successful had come almost exclusively from autonomous academic institutions and industries.

Perhaps the most important dynamic that scientists failed to consider is best expressed by author Robert Evans Wilson Jr. in Psychology Today, “The more controlling a business or a government becomes, the more it stifles creativity, innovation, and its ability to adapt to change. … Political and social power is the ultimate form of control.”

Government influence on scientific research

To what extent does government influence affect science and scientific research today? According to reports from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the federal government is providing almost $140 billion a year for research and development. This is down from the $160 billion that was spent in 2010.

With governments paying the bill, they often insist on influencing what information is included in reports and journal articles and how the information is presented to the general public. Consider the following quotes:

There was a huge pressure to spin findings to fit their agenda.

There was a lot of dialogue … between us and the DoH before it was published to ensure they did not look bad. They wanted certain wording changed so that it was most beneficial from a PR and marketing point of view; and they wanted certain things emphasized and certain things omitted.

The individual who had demanded … this analysis to be removed from the Executive Summary and the main report—he argued that this would not put the program in the ‘best-light’ … the whole [department’s] project management team continued to send emails and make phone calls … demanding its removal. In the end, this data was removed from the Executive Summary …

These are quotes from researchers found in the article “Evidence-based politics. Government and the production of policy research.” published by the U.K.’s LSE GV314 Group.

According to this report, the authors “found evidence of government seeking to pursue political objectives at all stages in the policy process.” While the pressure may not stifle critical first drafts, in the end, researchers’ involvement in press statements or how the data is interpreted and presented to the public is nominal.

Peer-reviewed journals: The “golden ticket” for researchers

Peer review is designed to assess the validity, quality and often the originality of articles for publication. Its ultimate purpose is to maintain the integrity of science by filtering out invalid or poor quality articles. From a publisher’s perspective, peer review functions as a filter for content, directing better quality articles to better quality journals and so creating journal brands. Running articles through the process of peer review adds value to them. For this reason, publishers need to make sure that peer review is robust. – Wiley Author Services

Denialists point to their own research studies—typically funded by fossil fuel interests, performed by non-climatologists and published in non-peer-reviewed journals—that pick away at the scientific consensus. You wouldn’t think such an anti-intellectual and grossly irresponsible movement would have much success in the court of public opinion. You would be horrifyingly wrong…. (Dan Turner, “Michael Mann’s counterstrike in the climate wars,” Los Angeles Times 2012).

Peer review is not, never was, and never can be a general protection against prejudice, error, or misconception about scientific matters. That it seems otherwise to some people is a misapprehension on their part, reflecting widespread myths about the reality of human investigations into the natural world. …

… Peer review proves to be an often biased, prejudicial, and perfunctory process contrary in every respect to popular expectations about science (Christopher Essex and Matt Ridley, “IPCC, Climate Science and the Crisis of Peer Review,” 2016).

An article published in a peer-reviewed journal is purported to be the “golden ticket” for researchers today.

An article published in a peer-reviewed journal is purported to be the “golden ticket” for researchers today. Richard Smith describes it best when he states that publishing “is the method by which grants are allocated, papers published, academics promoted, and Nobel prizes won.”

Moreover, published research is a way for scholars to demonstrate academic talent to their peers and make a name for themselves in their chosen field of study. Published research can also call attention to institutions, which may then bring in more funding.

Colleges, universities and research hospitals are increasingly using the number of publications to an individual’s credit as the measure of their competency and experience. Administrators are also using the number of publications as a core criterion during recruitment. Scholars and professionals who publish infrequently or who focus on activities that don’t result in publication, such as instructing undergraduates, often find themselves at the bottom of the list for many coveted teaching positions.

Researchers tend to have a much more critical view of the peer review process. According to Richard Smith, “[So] we have little evidence on the effectiveness of peer review, but we have considerable evidence on its defects. In addition to being poor at detecting gross defects and almost useless for detecting fraud it is slow, expensive, profligate of academic time, highly subjective, something of a lottery, prone to bias, and easily abused.”

YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

GandalfIt was indeed an intense scene in the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring when Gandalf stood on the underground stone bridge, facing down the fiery, ferocious Balrog, and bravely thundered towards the demon, “You—shall not—pass!”

Unfortunately for us, there are no real Gandalfs in the world of science. Gandalf declared his authority to the Balrog when he stated, “I am the servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor.” In science, there are no authorities that we can name to settle questions or silence debate. Instead, truth is examined based on evidence, not on someone’s name—at least, it’s not supposed to be that way. Unfortunately, science appears to have many so-called Gandalfs running around declaring who shall and who shall not pass through the gates of peer review.

“Climategate”: A blissful union of government and (pseudo) science

In exploring some of the problems with the peer review process, publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals and government influence on science, we’ll explore what’s known as “Climategate.”

In November 2009, servers at the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the U.K.’s University of East Anglia were hacked and thousands of emails and documents were stolen and published. This again occurred in November 2011, when approximately 5,000 emails were hacked at the University of East Anglia. The emails and documents exposed some highly questionable practices among climate researchers. Though some have declared the emails taken out of context and therefore consider them misunderstandings, most view the conversations as clear evidence of corruption and cover-up in climate research.

However, before exploring Climategate and the leaked emails, some background on the global warming debate will provide some context for these issues.

“Scientists agree” … a pause for reflection

The study of anthropogenic-caused global warming (AGW) has generated one of the fieriest debates in science today.

Ironically, supporters of climate change (global warming) insist that the discussion on whether the earth is heating up at an ever-increasing rate is over. One of the main arguments used to support global warming is that “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree that humanity’s use of fossil fuels is significantly contributing to the reported increase in global temperature.” That statement should be enough to give a person pause.

Science isn’t determined by consensus or vote, but by evidence.

When did science become dependent upon appeals to authority or scientific facts determined by consensus? Scientists may quote others with experience in a certain subject, but this shouldn’t be done in a manner that suppresses differing points of view. Science isn’t determined by consensus or vote, but by evidence.

However, the idea that 97 percent of the scientific community agree on something is a rather powerful statistic to use when interacting with the general public. But where did this figure come from?

In 2004, Naomi Oreskes, a professor at the University of California San Diego, reported that of 928 scientific abstracts from papers published by refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, 75 percent either explicitly or implicitly accepted the consensus view on anthropogenic-caused global warming. Twenty-five percent of the articles reviewed dealt with methods or paleoclimate and took no position on anthropogenic-caused climate change. However, the group of papers selected for this study purposely excluded several written by prominent scientists who were skeptical of anthropogenic-caused climate change.

Furthermore, Oreskes’ analysis didn’t discuss whether scientists who subscribe(d) to the anthropogenic-caused global warming theory believe(d) that it’s serious enough to merit new public policy. Perhaps most significantly, the article was published four days before a major climate conference and wasn’t peer-reviewed.

Oreskes responded to critics and stated that they were,

Quite right that understanding the results of scientific research does not implicate us in any particular course of action, and the purpose of my essay was not to advocate either for or against the Kyoto accords or any other particular policy response. A full debate on the moral, social, political, ethical, and economic ramifications of possible responses to climate change—as well as the ramifications of inaction—would be a very good thing.

However, Oreskes then added, “But such a debate is impeded by climate change deniers.”

In a 2008 survey, conducted by Professor Peter Doran and then-graduate student Margaret R. K. Zimmerman at the University of Illinois at Chicago, experts were polled and asked two questions:

  • “When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?”
  • “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?” The possible answers were, “Yes,” “No,” and “I’m not sure.”

The survey results were summarized in a paper published in January 2009, in the science journal Earth & Space Science News (EOS). Critics were very quick to point out the problems in this study as well. In fact, a number of scientists who participated in the survey wrote in to express their views.

Of 38 correspondents, 37 stated their belief that natural variability (solar factors, orbits, oceans, etc.) are the main drivers of climate change. Five responses did acknowledge some human impact, but only one response claimed that models pointed to humans as the main driver of climate change. We simply don’t know the opinions of the other 3,146 respondents. However, many wrote in to complain about the questions, stating that they were too general to be considered scientific.

Skewed statistics

According to Tom Harris, Executive Director of the climate contrarian lobby group International Climate Science Coalition, there’s another problem with the study that’s often overlooked, one which significantly compromises its credibility as a reliable assessment of climate scientists’ positions on the climate crisis.

Harris points out that for a scientist to have been included in the final list of 77 climatologists, they must have written at least 50 percent of their peer-reviewed publications in the last five years on climate change. Ironically, this could mean that a climatologist who published just three papers in the five years leading up to the study, two of which were on the subject of climate change, would’ve been included in the final 77.

The problem is that a researcher who published 40 papers within those same five years, 19 of which were on the field of climate change, wouldn’t have been included as one of the final 77 climatologists.

Despite the fact that most scientists pay little attention to these studies, personalities such as politician Al Gore and children’s entertainer/celebrity spokesperson Bill Nye “the Science Guy” routinely use the 97 percent statistic as a means of shutting down conversation and deterring debate.

Even former president Barack Obama joined Al Gore in stating that the “Climate debate is over, the science is settled.”

Al Gore and Barack Obama talk in chairs - Confronting realityAn absolutely ridiculous statement

Even more disturbing were comments from Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who stated that climate deniers should be prosecuted as war criminals. Bill Nye added to this sentiment when he said, “As a taxpayer and voter, the introduction of this extreme doubt about climate change is affecting my quality of life as a public citizen. So I can see where people are very concerned about this, and they’re pursuing criminal investigations.”

When calls for government agencies to silence opposition are made, it appears we’ve moved out of the realm of science and into the domain of fascism.

Stop and truly consider what these individuals are suggesting—if Robert Kennedy Jr. and Bill Nye had their way, anyone who questions their position on climate change would be imprisoned, possibly for life, and could even face the penalty of death as a war criminal. In fact, 20 top United Nations (UN) “scientists” called for a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) investigation into those who questioned global warming! When calls for government agencies to silence opposition are made, it appears we’ve moved out of the realm of science and into the domain of fascism.

Amazingly, however, climate scientists refuse to debate climate skeptics.

Dan Weiss, the Director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress, refused to appear on a network to debate skeptic Marc Morano. Weiss was initially scheduled to debate Morano on the show The Independents, but then refused to debate him directly and criticized the show for airing Morano’s views. When TV personality John Stossel asked more than a dozen climate scientists to debate skeptic Dr. Roy Spencer, a former NASA scientist currently teaching at the University of Alabama, they all declined.

Stossel also contacted the Union of Concerned Scientists and asked if they would debate Spencer, but they also declined, stating that doing so would give “extreme ideas credibility.” The NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies‘ climate scientist Gavin Schmidt eventually agreed to go on Stossel’s show, but insisted he’d do so only after Dr. Spencer was no longer on set.

As such, what “official” climate scientists demand is that no one questions their interpretations. If someone does, then the government should step in and arrest them, so that the “real” scientists aren’t bothered with having to answer any questions.

Some have gone so far as to claim that anyone who questions climate change has a mental illness.

Kari Norgaard, a professor of sociology and environmental studies, stated that skepticism towards climate change is a mental problem that must be “treated.”

The journal Psychology Today published an article that listed warning signs of a person living in “climate change denial.” The article went on to state that if you’re not mad enough about it, or you’ve opted out of the political fight over it, then you’re “mental.” Similarly, Gina McCarthy, Barack Obama’s former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief, has said that climate deniers aren’t “normal” people.

Greg Fishel, Chief Meteorologist at WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina, posted a charged criticism of those who question global warming on his Facebook page:

You know everybody reaches their breaking point and quite frankly I have reached mine with the folks who post all over the internet about the scientific fallacies of man induced climate change. … None of this stuff has ever been published in a peer reviewed atmospheric science or climate journal. But we live in an age today where higher education and research are no longer respected. Heck, think of all the money my parents wasted on my education when I could have waited for the age of twitter and Facebook and declared myself as an expert in the field of my choice.

Unfortunately for Mr. Fishel, he’s correct in saying that higher education and research are no longer respected—at least, not as much as they used to be.

However, Mr. Fishel, despite the amount of money his parents spent on his education, made use of the same fallacy others often do when criticizing climate deniers. It’s important to note that the term “denier” was chosen specifically to try and relate those who question human-induced climate change to those who deny the Holocaust.

Should we consider a person who engages in character attacks, instead of focusing on the science and data, a true scientist?

Climate change belongs to many fields of scientific study

Fishel seems to hold a belief that the study of climate change belongs solely to those who study atmospheric science or climate. While this may seem to be a logical conclusion, it’s far from the truth.

Scientists who study tree rings actually contribute to the scientific study of climate. Researchers will, at times, travel to various regions just to study the rings of ancient trees, which can provide clues about the climatic conditions from thousands of years ago. Ice also contributes to the study of climate. Scientists will travel to perpetually frozen regions and cut ice that’s buried deep in the ground. When this ice is thawed and analyzed, it can provide data on the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that was in the atmosphere thousands of years ago.

Oceanographers, physicists and paleontologists all contribute to the study of climate, too. Furthermore, Fishel actually makes an appeal to authority—namely, scientific journals. Instead of focusing on any of the arguments put forth, Fishel condemns certain scientists for not being published in any peer-reviewed atmospheric science or climate journals.

Again, we’re all told, time after time, that the science is closed. We’re told over and over that the scientific evidence is so overwhelming that no one can rationally deny the fact of anthropogenic-caused global warming.

“Climategate” emails

On July 8, 2004, Phil Jones, a prominent scientist at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit wrote an email to Michael Mann, another leader in climate research:

The other paper by MM is just garbage—as you knew. De Freitas again. Pielke is also losing all credibility by replying to the mad Finn as well—frequently as I see it. 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! Cheers.

In this case, “MM” refers to [Ross] McKitrick and [Patrick J.] Michaels.

Other emails that were leaked further exposed problems within the climate research community:

Mike, The Figure you sent is very deceptive…there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by the IPCC. – Tom Wigley

I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI [Freedom of Information] Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process. – Phil Jones, United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get—and has to be well hidden…I’ve discussed this with the main funder (U.S. Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data. – Phil Jones.

With respect to Peiser’s guest editing of Energy and Environment and your review, following up on Kevin’s suggestions, we think there are two key points. First, if there are factual errors (other than the fraud allegation) it is very important that you point them out now. If not, Keenan could later allege that he made the claims in good faith, as he provided you an opportunity to respond and you did not. Secondly, we think you need to also focus on the legal implications. In particular, you should mention that the publisher of a libel is also liable for damages—that might make Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen be a little wary. Of course, if it does get published, maybe the resulting settlement would shut down Energy and Environment and Benny and Sonja all together! We can only hope, anyway. So maybe in an odd way it’s actually win-win for us, not them. – Michael Mann

On January 20, 2005, Wigley suggested in an email that he and some other scientists contact the publisher of Geophysical Research Letters, the American Geophysical Union, in an effort to have an editor fired for allowing a publication:

This is truly awful. GRL has gone downhill rapidly in recent years…Proving bad behavior here is very difficult. If you think that [the objectionable editor] is in the greenhouse skeptics’ camp, then, if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official AGU channels to get him ousted. – Tom Wigley

In an email from July 3, 2003, Michael Mann states:

It seems to me that this “Kinne” character’s words are disingenuous, and he probably supports what De Freitas is trying to do. It seems clear we have to go above him. I think that the community should, as Mike H has previously suggested in this eventuality, terminate its involvement with this journal at all levels—reviewing, editing, and submitting, and leave it to wither way into oblivion and disrepute. – Mike

In an email on March 11, 2003, Mann had said, “This was the danger of always criticizing the skeptics for not publishing in the ‘peer-reviewed literature’.”

In “Money corrupts peer-review process”, Bob Carter, palaeoclimatologist at James Cook University in Australia and Chief Science Advisor to the International Climate Science Coalition, wrote:

Many scientific journals, including prestigious internationally acclaimed ones, have now become captured by insider groups of leading researchers in particular fields. Researchers who act as editors of journals then select referees from within a closed circle of scientists who work in the same field and share similar views.

What happened to science? Follow the money!

What happened to the peer review process? Has science really been hijacked by a select few who can really have that much influence?

What would the motivation be? One motivation could be the fact that the climate change industry is now a $1.5 trillion dollar business—that’s $1,500,000,000,000 dollars!

Al Gore was estimated to have been worth around $1 million when he left the White House, but now reports indicate that he’s made around $200 million off of climate change.

At one point, climate change consultants were estimated to have made $1.9 billion in total. Even Al Gore joined the carbon trading industry, and his business, Generation Investment Management LLP, has racked up revenues of $63.28 million. In fact, Al Gore was estimated to have been worth around $1 million when he left the White House, but now reports indicate that he’s made around $200 million off of climate change.

Since around 1989, the U.S. government has put more than $32.5 billion into climate change research. Michael Mann, one of the most criticized personalities in the field, has himself received over $6 million in government grants, as well as $500,000 in federal stimulus money.

Of course, $32.5 billion is a small amount when compared to the $15 trillion Al Gore recently requested to fight climate change. The Energy Transitions Commission (ETC), of which Gore is a member, released a report in April requesting an annual investment of up to $600 billion a year for the next two decades.

The report went on to say that the extra $300 to $600 billion wouldn’t pose a major challenge to the global economy. According to the report, the $15 trillion would be for investments in low-carbon technologies and more energy efficient equipment and buildings. Many people are still unaware of the 2009 Obama-backed stimulus that set aside $80 billion to subsidize preferred energy projects.

So far, over 1,900 investigations have been opened to look into waste, fraud and abuse within the industry—nearly 600 convictions have been made. Of the original $80 billion, at least 10 percent has gone to companies that have already gone bankrupt. The proposed solution? Throw more money at it.

“Corrupted” skeptics

“The climate skeptics are being paid by the evil fossil fuel companies!” This is a baseless accusation often directed at anyone who questions the science of AGW. These scientists and skeptics are then compared to the malevolent scientists who defended the tobacco industry—who knew tobacco caused lung cancer, right?

Cigarette package with surgeon general's warning about lung cancer - Confronting realityAccording to the American Cancer Society, the number of cases of lung cancer started to increase between 1945 and 1950. The rate of lung cancer cases continued to climb well into the 1990s.

I’m well aware of the cost of lung cancer after seeing my mother pass away from the terrible disease. My mother was a lifelong smoker. Ironically, my aunt, my mother’s sister, also died of cancer—yet, she never smoked. This is just anecdotal evidence; yet, I must admit, I’ve known quite a few smokers and only one of them has passed away from lung cancer.

But science has proven that smoking causes cancer, right? Well … no, it hasn’t. In fact, scientists have all but failed to cause lung cancer in any animals, even when they were subjected to enormous amounts of cigarette smoke. Some studies have even shown a decrease in malignant lung tumors in mice after they were subjected to cigarette smoke for six hours a day, five days a week, for 26 weeks.

Even more perplexing, Japan and Greece have the highest numbers of adult cigarette smokers in the world, but have the lowest incidences of lung cancer. Interestingly, the U.S., Australia, Russia and some South Pacific island groups have the lowest number of smokers, but the highest incidences of lung cancer. How can this be?

To try and answer this, perhaps we should examine when the rates of lung cancer started to increase: between 1945  and 1950.

Science and government: A truly malevolent union

When the intensity of the light had diminished, I put away the glass and looked toward the tower directly. At about this time I noticed a blue color surrounding the smoke cloud. Then someone shouted that we should observe the shock wave traveling along the ground. … The permanence of the smoke cloud was one thing that surprised me. … It slowly assumed a zigzag shape because of the changing wind velocity at different altitudes. – K. Greisen

This was a report given on July 16th, 1945, at the aforementioned Trinity Site near Alamogordo, New Mexico. The first dirty bomb was detonated over New Mexico with a force of approximately 20,000 tons of trinitrotoluene (TNT). Instantly, billions and billions of deadly radioactive particles were absorbed six miles (approximately 9.7 kilometres) up into the atmosphere, where high-speed jet streams carried the invisible, tasteless and odourless cancer-causing particles far and wide.

A single microscopic, radioactive fallout particle, if inhaled, does cause lung cancer. Every mouse or rat exposed to radioactive particles has contracted lung cancer and died. Records indicate that our governments have launched 715 billion (715,000,000,000) lethal doses into the atmosphere, with each particle possessing a radioactive half-life of 50,000 years. Science and government—a truly malevolent union.

Now, the U.S. government firmly established that tobacco causes cancer, correct? The government response? Taxation. According to reports, in the Fiscal Year 2010, the federal excise tax on cigarettes brought in more than $15.5 billion.

In summary, the government, along with the media and government scientists, waged an intense war against the tobacco industry, claiming that tobacco caused cancer and that “Big Tobacco” needed to pay—which they have. So far, tobacco companies have paid more than $100 billion to state governments as part of the 25-year, $246 billion settlement. This money wasn’t spent in the way it was said it would be. Instead of directing it towards health care costs, governments ensured that potholes were filled instead.

And what’s happened to scientific truth? It’s still found in the lab, where researchers continue to try and cause cancer in mice and rats with tobacco smoke, only to increase the animals’ resistance to cancer.

The deniers

Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers – Ellen Goodman, The Boston Globe, 2007

We have Holocaust deniers; we have climate change deniers. And to be honest, I don’t think there’s a great deal of difference – Bill McGuire, University College London, 2006

Would the media insist on having a Holocaust-denier to balance any report about the Second World War? – Caroline Lucas, U.K. Green Party MP, 2007

Who, exactly, are these uneducated, pseudo-scientific deniers anyway? Here’s a list of those who are more well-known:

  • Judith Curry, Professor and former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
  • Freeman Dyson, Professor Emeritus of the School of Natural Sciences, Institute for Advanced Study; Fellow of the Royal Society (He also worked with Einstein).
  • Ivar Giaever, Norwegian-American physicist and Nobel laureate in physics (1973).
  • Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and member of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Patrick Moore, former president of Greenpeace Canada.
  • Nils-Axel Mörner, retired head of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics Department at Stockholm University, former chairman of the INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution (1999–2003).
  • Garth Paltridge, retired Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research and retired director of the Institute of the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre, visiting fellow at Australian National University.
  • Anastasios Tsonis, distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
  • Timothy Ball, historical climatologist and retired Professor of Geography at the University of Winnipeg.
  • Ian Clark, hydrogeologist and Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa.
  • Chris de Freitas, Associate Professor, School of Geography, Geology and Environmental Science, University of Auckland.
  • David Douglass, solid-state physicist and Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester.
  • William Happer, physicist specializing in optics and spectroscopy, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University.
  • Ole Humlum, Professor of Geology at the University of Oslo.
  • Wibjörn Karlén, Professor Emeritus of Geography and Geology at the University of Stockholm.
  • William Kininmonth, meteorologist, former Australian delegate to World Meteorological Organization Commission for Climatology.
  • David Legates, Associate Professor of Geography, and director of the Center for Climatic Research, University of Delaware.

There are currently more than 31,000 individuals with degrees in science, including more than 9,000 Ph.D. holders, who have signed a petition stating that a consensus on AGW doesn’t exist. In their mission statement, they say the following:

The purpose of the Petition Project is to demonstrate that the claim of “settled science” and an overwhelming “consensus” in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climatological damage is wrong. No such consensus or settled science exists. As indicated by the petition text and signatory list, a very large number of American scientists reject this hypothesis.

Problems of science illustrated through the lens of climate change

This article has examined the peer review process and the problems inherent within the scientific system. Instead of writing it, it would’ve been easier to simply list the problems that plague science at this time. But when the problems with science are illustrated through the lens of climate change, we’re more likely to engage ourselves with the information.

Bill Nye claims that climate change deniers suffer from cognitive dissonance (I guess he’s a psychologist now, as well). In describing cognitive dissonance, Nye states:

Bill Nye "the Science Guy" speaking in Pasadena, California - Confronting reality

People have a certain worldview; [then] they’re confronted with evidence that conflicts with the worldview, so they have dissonance, conflict in their minds. … [So] instead of changing your worldview, which you may have held your entire life, you dismiss the evidence—and along with that you dismiss the authorities that may have provided the evidence.

I believe there’s a lot of truth in Nye’s statement. However, I also believe that it’s being pointed at the wrong individuals. There’s overwhelming evidence that many of our current scientists and politicians are being dishonest with the world’s population.

Real scientists don’t seek to have their opposition imprisoned

Real scientists—those dedicated to truth, data and evidence—won’t proclaim themselves an “authority,” as Bill Nye so often describes himself and those who support his views.

Real scientists have no issue with publicly debating issues, letting the evidence speak and formulating an argument that strongly supports their hypothesis—that’s what scientists do!

Real scientists don’t seek to have their opposition imprisoned. They don’t seek to destroy their careers or financially bankrupt them, either.

Real scientists don’t simply label others and call them names in an attempt to discredit them without even talking about the evidence.

Science is in a state of crisis

Politicians and special-interest groups with great financial backing have hijacked the scientific process while also systematically bullying others into silence. The tide is changing, however.

As many readers will note, I didn’t directly address the science behind AGW. Instead, I allowed the evidence pertaining to how its supporting scientists violate the scientific process speak for itself.

Scientists vs. the Climatic Research Unit (CRU)

  • Scientists are transparent—members of the CRU hid and deleted information;
  • Scientists are upfront about their funding—members of the CRU rarely provide information on how they’re financially benefiting from their positions;
  • Scientists rely on evidence, not authority—members of the CRU, along with Bill Nye, insist that they’re the authorities and no one has the ability to question them;
  • Scientists debate their evidence—members of the CRU and climatologists in general refuse to openly debate the issues at hand;
  • Scientists don’t try to silence their opposition—the CRU and politicians have tried to control journals and media reports and shame those who don’t conform to their will;
  • Scientists aren’t fascists—they don’t seek to have the opposition jailed, imprisoned or prosecuted.

In the end, the truth will win out, and our dedication to the pursuit of real scientific evidence will continue to shape our world for the better.

Read the previous article in this series, DEFECTIVE SCIENCE: The Big Lebowski guides the way on how to respond to scientists’ “hurt feelings”»

images: 1. Pexels 2. Gandalf by Gage Skidmore via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) 3. public domain via Wikimedia Commons; 4. public domain via Wikimedia Commons 5. Bill Nye by Gage Skidmore via Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

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