On Science and Nonscience

On Science and Nonscience
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Today, I’m going to write about science. This won’t be a technical paper. It won’t be full of numbers or equations. Instead, I’m going to look at science from the generalist point of view. I’m going to ask questions like: What is science? How useful is it to the making of decisions, including political ones? And, how can we tell good science from bad?

 

What is science?

 

According to Webster’s, science is: “knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws.” The way I see it, science is a method of discovering truths. For the idea to make any sense at all, though, we need first to agree that scientific truth is objective. Now, a particular truth or fact may of course be unknown, or poorly understood, or wrongly apprehended, at a particular time. But in science, one man’s truth must be the same as another’s.

 

Those of certain philosophical tendencies, such as postmodernism or cultural relativism, like to pooh-pooh science. They dispute its objectivity and neutrality. They point out that scientists have their own agendas, and that the scientific establishment is politicized. But I think they bark up the wrong tree. As criticisms of how science is actually conducted by some who call themselves scientists, their points may have merit. But they do not tarnish one whit the idea of science itself.

 

The scientific method

 

Properly done, science is conducted according to a procedure known as the scientific method. The details may vary a little from one discipline to another; but the basic scheme is the same. Here’s a brief outline of the steps within the scientific method:

 

  1. Pose a question, to which you want to find an answer.
  2. Do background research on that question.
  3. Construct a hypothesis. This is a statement, giving a possible answer to your question. In some circumstances, you may want to take someone else’s hypothesis for re-testing.
  4. Develop testable predictions of your hypothesis. For example: “If my hypothesis is true, then when X happens, Y will happen more often than it does when X doesn’t happen.”
  5. For each prediction, formulate an appropriate null hypothesis, against which you will test your prediction. For example: “X doesn’t influence whether or not Y happens.”
  6. Test the predictions against their null hypotheses by experiment or observation. If you need to use someone else’s data as part of this, you must first check the validity of their data.
  7. Collect your results, and check they make sense. If not, troubleshoot.
  8. Analyze your results and draw conclusions. This may require the use of statistical techniques.
  9. Repeat for each of the predictions of your hypothesis.
  10. If the results wholly or partially negate your hypothesis, modify your hypothesis and repeat. In extreme cases, you may need to modify the original question, too.
  11. If the results back up your hypothesis, that strengthens your hypothesis.
  12. If negative results falsify your hypothesis, that weakens or destroys the hypothesis.

 

I see the construction of the null hypothesis, which is to be upheld when a prediction fails, as one of the most important steps in this procedure. I think of the null hypothesis in science as somewhat akin to the presumption of innocence in criminal law!

 

Rules for the good conduct of science

 

It’s very easy to get science wrong. In fact, it’s even easier than getting mathematics wrong. And, having been trained as a mathematician, I know well how easy that is! In science, there’s always a possibility of error in your measurements, or in your statistics, or in your deductions. Or of insufficiently rigorous testing or sampling. Or of bias, whether conscious or unconscious.

 

To minimize the chances of getting science wrong, and to enable others to build on its results, there are a number of rules of conduct which scientists are expected to follow. Here is a list of some of them:

 

  1. Any hypothesis that is put forward must be falsifiable. If there’s no way to disprove a hypothesis, it isn’t science.
  2. Data must not be doctored. Any necessary adjustments to raw data, and the reasoning behind them, must be fully and clearly documented.
  3. Data must not be cherry picked to achieve a result. Data that is valid, but goes against a desired result, must not be dropped.
  4. Graphs or similar devices must not be used to obfuscate or to mislead.
  5. Enough information must be supplied to enable others to replicate the work if they wish.
  6. Scientists must be willing to share their data. And code, too, when code is involved.
  7. Supplementary information, such as raw data, must be fully and promptly archived.
  8. To identify and quantify the error bars on results is important. (For example, by stating the range within which there’s a 95% chance that a value being measured lies.)
  9. Uncertainties are important, too. They must be clearly identified and, if possible, estimated.
  10. Above all, the conduct of science must be honest and unbiased. In a nutshell: If it isn’t honest, it isn’t science. It’s nonscience (rhymes with conscience).

 

A failure to obey one or more of these rules of conduct doesn’t necessarily mean that the science is bad. However, it does raise a red flag; particularly in cases where there may be a suspicion of bias or dishonesty. And if a sufficiently skilled person, with sufficient time to spare, doesn’t have enough information to check the validity of a scientific paper, or to attempt to replicate the work it describes, then there’s a very good chance the science in it is bad.

 

Peer review and spear review

 

In the world of scientific journals, there is a quality control mechanism known as peer review. The idea is that a number of independent experts scrutinize a proposed paper, check its correctness and its utility, and suggest changes where necessary. But peer review doesn’t always catch issues with papers before they are published. This is a particular problem when the reviewers work or have worked closely with the authors, and share their conceptual framework. Indeed, where a group of experts on a subject have formed a clique, it’s easy for groupthink to develop. In such a situation, only those ideas with which clique members are comfortable are likely to pass muster and get published.

 

In recent times, there has been a great increase in informal papers on scientific blogs. The usual procedure in these circumstances is one I call “spear review,” in which commenters provide comments in response to a blog article. It does have some drawbacks. One is that not all the commenters actually have much, if any, expertise in the subject they are commenting on. Another is that some commenters are biased or trolling. A third is that the process can often resemble a pack of dogs chasing a cat. But when it’s done by people who are trying to be objective and helpful, it’s very useful. Particularly in determining whether a scientific idea is good enough to be worth trying to publish through more formal channels.

 

Paradigms and consensus

 

At any time and in any area of science, there is almost always a particular paradigm. This is a framework of concepts, thoughts and procedures, within which work in that area is generally confined. Past examples are Ptolemy’s earth-centred model of the universe, the phlogiston theory of combustion, and the “luminiferous aether” which was said to carry light waves.

 

Within such a paradigm, there is usually some kind of consensus. Hypotheses, which have been repeatedly confirmed, can aggregate into theories; and such theories can be agreed on by all or most practitioners in the area. However, in an area of science which is advancing, there will always be parts that are disputed. There will be different hypotheses, and different interpretations of the results of experiments or observations. Moreover, there will be parts on the “cutting edge,” which are still under investigation. And in any area of science, there is always a possibility of a previously unknown factor being discovered.

 

Thus, however mature the science in an area may be, it can never truly be said to be “settled.” There is always a possibility of altering or overturning the consensus in an area of science, or even of overturning the paradigm and creating a new one. For example, Galileo’s telescope observations overturned Ptolemy’s geocentric model. Michelson and Morley’s measurements on the speed of light overturned the idea of the aether. And Einstein’s theories of relativity provided a more accurate replacement for Newton’s laws on the dynamics of bodies in motion.

 

The example of Einstein, who was a patent clerk when he published his ideas on special relativity and the equivalence of matter and energy, shows up another important feature of science. In science, it doesn’t matter who you are. You don’t need to be a credentialled “scientist” to contribute to science. All that matters is whether or not your science is right.

 

And the converse applies, too. In science, even the acknowledged experts aren’t always right. As Steven Weinberg put it: “An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.” In fact, it’s worse than that. Experts in a paradigm often tend to form a clique to defend that paradigm, and may ignore or even try to suppress ideas contrary to it. And most of all, when their livelihoods depend on the paradigm being maintained.

 

Science and decision making

 

Science is useful in making many decisions. Engineers, for example, use it all the time. They depend on the science, which they use to make their design decisions, being right. If it isn’t, their machines won’t work; with potentially disastrous consequences.

 

A relatively recent phenomenon is to attempt to apply science to political decisions. If difficult decisions must be made, there is a lot to be said for using science in making and justifying them where appropriate. As climate scientist Hans von Storch has put it: “Science is supposed to provide coldly, impassionately, knowledge about the options of policymaking.” But he added the caveat: “There should be a separation between scientific analysis and political decision making.” In other words, to be useful in any political context, science must be completely non-politicized.

 

Since in science one man’s truth is the same as another’s, it’s hard to argue against a decision that has been honestly made on the basis of accurate, unbiased science. If, of course, the science really is accurate and unbiased; and the decision has been made honestly. Those are big, big Ifs.

 

Science, properly and honestly done, can supply data to the “business case” for a decision. In particular, it can help to estimate the likely costs and benefits of a range of actions being considered. But this can only work when the science is completely honest, accurate and unbiased, and the error bars and other uncertainties are fully accounted for. For when it comes to adjudicating costs versus benefits, as every mathematician knows, subtracting one uncertain number from another often leads to orders of magnitude more uncertainty in their difference. Even the sign of the result may be unclear. In which case, that piece of science is useless as any guide to a decision in that case.

 

Politics and science

 

There are several cases from the past, in which those in political power have rejected good science; or they have been negatively influenced by, or even driven by, bad science. Galileo’s persecution at the hands of the Catholic church is one case in point.

 

Another example is provided by Lysenkoism in Soviet Russia. The paradigm that the methods of Comrade Lysenko radically improved plant yields became so politically strong, that those who dared to question it were fired from their jobs, imprisoned or even executed.

 

And even in the West, the shameful misuse of science is not unknown; as shown by the Eugenics movement. This movement began in the early 20th century, when genetics as a science was in its infancy. Eugenics became a respected academic discipline at many universities, particularly in the USA. Even though the whole idea was (wrongly) based on genetic determinism; if not also on racism.

 

The eugenics agenda re-defined moral worth in terms of genetic fitness. And it allowed doctors to decide who they thought was fit to reproduce or not. Moreover, this agenda was actively supported by the mainstream scientific establishment. And it numbered among its supporters, in the UK alone, prime ministers Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill, economist John Maynard Keynes, and architect of the welfare state William Beveridge. The results? Tens of thousands of people forcibly sterilized in the USA, and thousands in Canada too. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands who suffered when the nazis got their hands on the idea.

 

To sum up

 

Science is a method of discovering truths, using a procedure called the scientific method.

 

There are a number of rules for the good conduct of science. These aim to enable others to check the validity of, and to build on, the work of scientists. Failure to adhere to these rules may well be a sign of bad science. And the conduct of science must always be honest and unbiased. If it isn’t honest, it isn’t science; it’s nonscience.

 

Peer review aims to improve the quality of science. But it doesn’t always work, particularly when a clique has formed.

 

Most of the time, each area of science operates within its own current framework or paradigm, and there is a level of consensus among scientists in the area.  But paradigms can be overturned. And importantly, in science, it doesn’t matter who you are. All that matters is whether or not you’re right.

 

Science can be helpful in making decisions, even political ones. But any science to be used in such a context must be completely honest, accurate, unbiased and non-politicized. And the record of the politically powerful in matters of science is, historically, not a good one.

 

Comments

Even A Broken Clock Added Jan 5, 2018 - 3:22pm
Neil, I must admit that you don't take on trivial or simple topics for your posts. Congratulations on being one of the deeper thinkers I've encountered on this forum.
 
One very minor quibble on your listing of items for the scientific method. On number 8, instead of "This may require the use of statistical techniques", I would replace may with will. In my own work in chemical plants in support of Phd's experiments, it was essential to use statistics, and I'm having a hard time coming up with any sort of experimentation that would not use statistics. But that is a very minor quibble.
 
On the subject of peer reviewed journals, are you aware of the growing number of journals where you can pay to publish? In fact, if you want to generate items for your curriculum vitae, they will even provide sample submissions that you may append your name to. There's a few in India using that model, and honest scientists are trying to eliminate this as a business model.
 
Good article. Looking forward to those who will attempt to refute the validity of science, and believe me, they will come.
Wayne McMichael Added Jan 5, 2018 - 3:39pm
Politics renders science irrelevant, corrupted. Example, the IPCC and their BS peer review process of ONLY allowing their politically favorable friends to sign off on their AGW fraud. They have a "peer review club". That ain't science, especially since the IPCC states that it is a political org, NOT a scientific org, and does whatever, says whatever, their politicians pay them to say.
TexasLynn Added Jan 5, 2018 - 3:47pm
Neil, great post.  As one who has been very critical of the "science" behind a certain hot-button issue; my doubt comes precisely from the fact that the rules and methods used break with accepted scientific procedures (and ethics).  I now find myself using "quotes" so as to differentiate this questionable "science" and "scientists" with honorable, respectable, thorough, real science.
 
There are a few bad actors out there in it for the social and political agendas if not the money.  It is regrettable that they tarnish the centuries old honorable profession.
A. Jones Added Jan 5, 2018 - 5:33pm
Science is a method of discovering truths, using a procedure called the scientific method.
 
Sorry, but I completely disagree with those two statements. I would agree with philosopher of science Karl Popper on this issue:
 
Science is a method of solving problems (not "discovering truths") by inventing hypotheses that we attempt to falsify by means of increasingly harsh tests known as "experiments"; thus, the real purpose of an experiment is to attempt to falsify — disprove — a hypothesis, not to "prove" it. If we fail to falsify the hypothesis it really means that the experiment wasn't rigorous enough, but until the time when a more rigorous experiment can be conducted, we can hold the hypothesis as "tentatively true" and raise it's status from "hypothesis" to "theory".
 
Aside from the dual activities of inventing hypotheses and attempting to falsify them in experiments — activities that Popper calls "Conjectures and Refutations" — there simply is no such thing in a formal sense as "the scientific method."
 
I agree with your statements on peer review, but keep in mind that none of the great scientific achievements before WWII — Newton's theory of Universal Gravitation, his theory of optics and color; Lavoisier's achievements in the new science of chemistry; Einstein's writings on Special and General Relativity; Planck's writings on black-body radiation and the new, disturbing idea of the "quantum"; etc., — none of those things were "peer reviewed". They were published because the editors who worked for scientific journals thought they were interesting.
 
Science doesn't need "peer review"; it doesn't need a bunch of guys who are already committed to one hypothesis, theory, or point of view sitting in judgment of a newcomer's more innovative hypothesis, theory, or point of view. They not only stand in judgment of the newcomer, but they have the power to affect his career by acting as "gatekeepers" to the major publications. And like all gatekeepers in any profession, they're main function (which they discover upon become members of the gatekeeper clique) is to protect the status quo, and to approve only very small, incremental changes to the prevailing paradigms.
 
Physicist Frank Tippler at Tulane University has a number of pointed things to say about the entire process of peer review — a process that didn't really start until after WWII, when a lot of scientific research came under government scrutiny. Before that time, it was simply the magazine editor who decided if an article by a newcomer was worthy of publication or not. No one told Einstein in 1906, "Not sure I understand what you mean by relativity. I suggest you make the following changes and resubmit your article for further consideration by our committee."
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 5, 2018 - 5:36pm
Excellent post Neil. Not too long ago, I picked apart a "study" that said marijuana and methamphetamine were substantial causes of schizophrenia, with a sampling of  somewhere around 150,000 emergency room patients in California emergency rooms. The problem was that they didn't go into the history of the patients who were showing signs of schizophrenia. The only conclusion that I could draw from the study (often quoted by those who are against legalization of marijuana) was that schizophrenics liked to take meth and marijuana.
One of the biggest flaws was that people in their late teens and early twenties like to experiment with drugs. It so happens that schizophrenia also shows its signs at that age as well. I did not say the study was completely false, only that they needed more research if they were going to convince me of it. (I'll see if I can find it in my archive.) The same goes with global warming. We have had three or four ice ages in the last 250,000 years, and, to my knowledge (and the case made by my physical geography professor who refused to teach the chapter on global warming) that no one has the definitive reason for these ice ages, when there certainly weren't any humans burning fossil fuels. I am not completely denying the meth schizophrenia study or global warming, it is just that neither have been proven when approached and considered in the context in which they occurred.
A. Jones Added Jan 5, 2018 - 8:52pm
Physicist Frank Tipler on Peer Review
 



"The notion that a scientific idea cannot be considered intellectually respectable until it has first appeared in a 'peer' reviewed journal did not become widespread until after World War II. Copernicus’s heliocentric system, Galileo’s mechanics, Newton’s grand synthesis—these ideas never appeared first in journal articles. They appeared first in books, reviewed prior to publication only by the authors or by the authors’ friends. Even Darwin never submitted his idea of evolution driven by natural selection to a journal to be judged by “impartial” referees. Darwinism indeed first appeared in a journal, but one under the control of Darwin’s friends. And Darwin’s article was completely ignored. Instead, Darwin made his ideas known to his peers and to the world at large through a popular book: On the Origin of Species.
 



I shall argue that prior to the Second World War the refereeing process, even where it existed, had very little effect on the publication of novel ideas, at least in the field of physics. But in the last several decades, many outstanding scientists have complained that their best ideas— the very ideas that brought them fame—were rejected by the refereed journals. Thus, prior to the Second World War, the refereeing process worked primarily to eliminate crackpot papers.
 






Today, the refereeing process works primarily to enforce orthodoxy. I shall offer evidence that 'peer' review is not peer review: the referee is quite often not as intellectually able as the author whose work he judges. We have pygmies standing in judgment on giants.
 



Philip Anderson, a winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics opines that 'in the early part of the postwar [post-WWII] period [a scientist’s] career was science-driven, motivated mostly by absorption with the great enterprise of discovery, and by genuine curiosity as to how nature operates. By the last decade of the century far too many, especially of the young people, were seeing science as a competitive interpersonal game, in which the winner was not the one who was objectively right as [to] the nature of scientific reality, but the one who was successful at getting grants, publishing in Physical Review Letters, and being noticed in the news pages of Nature, Science, or Physics Today.... [A] general deterioration in quality, which came primarily from excessive specialization and careerist sociology, meant quite literally that more was worse.'"








A. Jones Added Jan 5, 2018 - 10:42pm
They're constantly improving their system. And the results are trustworthy.
 
And we know that must be true because scientists themselves have said so . . . and why would they mislead us about their own integrity and intentions?
 
Puhleeeez! Scientists aren't like other kinds of people. They're not driven by ignoble motives such as career, glory, money, reputation, status, or the desire to be a good provider for their families. They are nothing but dedicated, committed, seekers of Truth. I know all of this because a scientist told me.
 
"Special pleading"? What's that?
Autumn Cote Added Jan 5, 2018 - 10:46pm
No interest in engaging your commenters?
A. Jones Added Jan 5, 2018 - 10:53pm
Here's an unbiased collection of a variety of viewpoints on peer review. It gives a much more objective image of the state of peer review
 
Here's an unbiased viewpoint on peer-review:
 
"Today, the refereeing process works primarily to enforce orthodoxy. I shall offer evidence that 'peer' review is not peer review: the referee is quite often not as intellectually able as the author whose work he judges. We have pygmies standing in judgment on giants."
— Frank Tipler, physicist, Tulane University
Neil Lock Added Jan 6, 2018 - 4:21am
Autumn: I always prefer to engage with my commenters in batches. Where I can, I do it in the morning UK time, when my brain is fully in gear. When you made your comment, it was a quarter to three in the morning where I am!
Neil Lock Added Jan 6, 2018 - 4:27am
Broken Clock: Thanks for the compliment. Yes, I suppose you do need statistics if you are going to do much more than draw a trend line. The point I was trying to make was more that sometimes, you need statistics in order to draw out any results at all.
 
Yes, I do know about pay-to-publish journals. I'm not sure how well they work (merely because I haven't looked into the matter). But I suspect they will re-inforce my point of "it doesn't matter who you are, only whether your science is right."
Neil Lock Added Jan 6, 2018 - 4:32am
Wayne McMichael: You're right that, if political operators can influence the science, they will corrupt it. That's why Hans von Storch was dead right when he used the words "coldly, impassionately," and stressed that science and politics must be kept separate.
Neil Lock Added Jan 6, 2018 - 4:37am
Lynn: I can guess which hot button issue you mean: CAGW! :-) And I agree with you that what certain groups of "scientists" in that area do isn't science. I am planning to address that issue on this forum; but I have a few other subjects to discuss before I get there...
Neil Lock Added Jan 6, 2018 - 4:43am
Chris C: I didn't know about the NAS. And I'm glad to learn that "we don't know" is considered an acceptable answer in such circles.
 
On your example of setting a course to another planet, if someone had been trying to do such a thing in, say, 1900, they would have used Newton's Laws in their calculations. And they would have got them wrong, because they wouldn't have been able to make the necessary corrections for relativity. Admittedly this is a bit of an artificial example; but Newton's Laws are a very clear case in which science, that was thought to be settled, turned out not to be.
 
As to climate change, please see what I said to Lynn above.
Neil Lock Added Jan 6, 2018 - 4:59am
A. Jones: Yes, we are trying to disprove our hypothesis. That's why we form a null hypothesis to test it against, and why we give the null hypothesis the benefit of the doubt. And if we fail to disprove the hypothesis, that does indeed, as I said in my point 11, strengthen it.
 
And thanks for the link to Tipler on peer review.
Neil Lock Added Jan 6, 2018 - 5:01am
Jeff J: Thanks. In science, skepticism is always healthy, even on those occasions on which it finds nothing wrong with the established view.
Neil Lock Added Jan 6, 2018 - 5:04am
Chris C: Certainly the record of postwar science is an excellent one.
 
Have you heard of Andrew Wakefield and his fraudulent paper in the area of vaccines?
opher goodwin Added Jan 6, 2018 - 5:06am
Neil - as a scientist I thought that was pretty good.
Science is based on what can be observed (measured) and can be repeated. There are no facts. It is an attempt to understand the universe and what goes on in it.
It has not been going long. Up until recent times science has always been hampered and restricted by religion. It is only following the enlightenment that we entered the age of science. It is quite remarkable the body of knowledge that we have produced in such a short time and the amazing technology that has come out of it that we take for granted.
Because there are no facts and various hypotheses vie for prominence there is always debate, discussion and doubt. That is good. It takes us forward to test our hypotheses more thoroughly. Out of that comes greater understanding.
Undoubtedly there are some immoral scientists who fiddle their results and undoubtedly there are politicians who select the data they want to use. Hence we get fake news and eugenics. They use the fact that there are no facts to fit the view they want to project. So a climate change denier will home in on the few scientists who produce data denying the change and conveniently ignore the vast majority who have compiled data showing a trend towards global warming. Likewise creationists and evolution.
The truth is that despite the fact that we are at the beginning of science we know a tremendous amount and are pretty clear on what is going on.
There is still much to be learnt. There are no facts. All we know is that already science tells a far better picture of the universe than religion ever did. 
Neil Lock Added Jan 6, 2018 - 5:08am
Mike H: The posters who want "substitutes" for Scientific Method do so because their pseudo-science won't pass the muster or rigor of it. I agree. And so called "post-normal science" seems to be no more than a way of trying to justify political action in cases where true science wouldn't.
Doug Plumb Added Jan 6, 2018 - 5:13am
re "Steven Weinberg put it: “An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.” In fact, it’s worse than that. "
 
That is a great thought.
  Science gives us "maxims of judgement", not laws. We interpret the maxims of judgement as laws when they seem to be indisputable.        
 Law comes from reason which doesn't have any precepts. So we can have mathematical laws and of course the common law of the West - the thing that created the West, or made it possible. Imagine if we did math with the scientific method. Imagine if law was created that way. The science of jurisprudence is based on reason alone, its not like the physical sciences.
  Science will not get you through a minefield. For that you have to know the philosophy of its builder.
  The best overall explanation of science can be found in the second part of Kant's 3rd Critique IMO- of course the best always comes from Kant. I explain, prove, and demonstrate what Kant said in my movie "Dialectic" on my youtube channel.
opher goodwin Added Jan 6, 2018 - 5:23am
Doug - surely science has produced mine detectors that enable you to get through a minefield?
Doug Plumb Added Jan 6, 2018 - 6:03am
Sure, but a minefield is by definition a field where you can't see where the mines are. If you have a mine detector, you no longer have a minefield and the detector is being used through reason, not experimentation. The detector brings a problem of science into one of reason - transforming the problem. Hard problems get transformed into simpler ones - that is engineering.
opher goodwin Added Jan 6, 2018 - 6:16am
Doug - I'm not sure that I follow your logic. A minefield that you can see is still a minefield. Science is reason. That is what it's about. Out of that reason comes technology. Science finds a way through a minefield by developing technology to do so. That's how it works.
Doug Plumb Added Jan 6, 2018 - 6:36am
You missed the point: Science doesn't lead to truth, it explains observations. Sometimes this doesn't work.
A. Jones Added Jan 6, 2018 - 11:00am
So your "unbiased" means "agrees with me".
 
Actually, that's your Standard Operating Procedure in almost every article and comment you've posted on WriterBeat.
 
And while there's nothing dishonest about providing opposing biases in the same post, it doesn't make the post "unbiased."
A. Jones Added Jan 6, 2018 - 11:27am
Actually, there are quite a few more, but they remain a small fraction of the tens of thousands of papers published every year.
 
Actually, intentional fraud is not the main problem today in the "hard", quantitative sciences (physics, chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology). The problem — greatly aggravated by the processes of peer-review, the "publish or perish" mindset within academia, and government-grant-seeking — is that the majority of science being done today is mediocre, and the majority of findings published in the peer-review technical journals are false.
 
For details on the latter, read this paper by a professor of medicine and statistics at Stanford University:
 
"Why Most Published Research Findings Are False"
 
"There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false . . .
 
. . . Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias. In this essay, I discuss the implications of these problems for the conduct and interpretation of research."
 
The mediocrity of most scientific research since WWII — when public grant-seeking, academic publish-or-perish, and peer-review really took off — is deftly summed up by a story attributed to Nobel laureate physicist, Wolfgang Pauli:
 
Like most scientists, Pauli had to teach for a living, and part of his duties was to act as an advisor to graduate students during their Ph.D. sequence. A colleague asked him about the quality and relevance of a dissertation by a doctoral candidate Pauli was advising. In response to the question, Pauli lit his pipe and shook his head sadly: "It isn't even wrong."
A. Jones Added Jan 6, 2018 - 11:33am
All we know is that already science tells a far better picture of the universe than religion ever did.
 
A significant part of the universe — especially the area currently occupied by human beings — is moral and teleological in nature: it deals with "good and bad", "ought and ought not", and "goals and purposes."
 
Science has nothing to say on those matters. Religion has plenty to say.
A. Jones Added Jan 6, 2018 - 11:35am
as a scientist I thought that was pretty good.
 
You mean, as a high-school science teacher. That's scarcely the same thing as being a scientist.
 
You say you're a scientist? Show us some published research (it need not be in a "peer-review" journal).
Doug Plumb Added Jan 6, 2018 - 11:49am
"A significant part of the universe — especially the area currently occupied by human beings — is moral and teleological in nature: it deals with "good and bad", "ought and ought not", and "goals and purposes."
 
Science has nothing to say on those matters. Religion has plenty to say. "
 
That's it right there and some people will never ever get it.
 
Wayne McMichael Added Jan 6, 2018 - 12:05pm
Chris Crawford. The denier community has leveled a barrage of accusations against the scientific community for what it claims to be scientific misconduct. Not a single one of those accusations has ever been corroborated by an independent agency...
 
What a ridiculously false statement. NOTHING regarding AGW and it's pirates has been verified. There is no 97%. That has been thoroughly debunked. Every single aspect of it has been debunked. None of the prediction have proven true. None of the plaything models have proven to be even close to accurate. I understand if you believe that silliness. Cognitive dissonance is a real thing.
 
In an unprecedented move Wednesday, the Norwegian Nobel Committee rescinded the Peace Prize it awarded in 2007 to former US vice president Al Gore and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, amid overwhelming evidence that global warming is an elaborate hoax cooked up by Mr. Gore. 
target="_self">press release from the committee quotes a chagrined Rajendra Pachauri, the UN climate panel’s chair, who claims that he was the victim of a “cunning deception spanning decades”:
 
A leaked copy of the world’s most authoritative climate study reveals scientific forecasts of imminent doom were drastically wrong.
The Mail on Sunday has obtained the final draft of a report to be published later this month by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the ultimate watchdog whose massive, six-yearly ‘assessments’ are accepted by environmentalists, politicians and experts as the gospel of climate science. 
They are cited worldwide to justify swingeing fossil fuel taxes and subsidies for ‘renewable’ energy.
Yet the leaked report makes the extraordinary concession that over the past 15 years, recorded world temperatures have increased at only a quarter of the rate of IPCC claimed when it published its last assessment in 2007.
 
A leaked copy of the world’s most authoritative climate study reveals scientific forecasts of imminent doom were drastically wrong.
The Mail on Sunday has obtained the final draft of a report to be published later this month by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the ultimate watchdog whose massive, six-yearly ‘assessments’ are accepted by environmentalists, politicians and experts as the gospel of climate science.
They are cited worldwide to justify swingeing fossil fuel taxes and subsidies for ‘renewable’ energy.
Yet the leaked report makes the extraordinary concession that over the past 15 years, recorded world temperatures have increased at only a quarter of the rate of IPCC claimed when it published its last assessment in 2007.
 

Global warming alarmists are scrambling to save face after hackers stole hundreds of incriminating target="_blank">e-mails from a British university and published them on the Internet.


The messages were pirated from the target="_blank">Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia (UEA) and reveal correspondence between British and American researchers engaged in fraudulent reporting of data to favor their own climate change agenda.
 
While the global warming alarmists have done a good job of spreading fright, they haven't been so good at hiding their real motivation. Yet another one has slipped up and revealed the catalyst driving the climate scare.
We have been told now for almost three decades that man has to change his ways or his fossil-fuel emissions will scorch Earth with catastrophic warming. Scientists, politicians and activists have maintained the narrative that their concern is only about caring for our planet and its inhabitants. But this is simply not true. The narrative is a ruse. They are after something entirely different.
If they were honest, the climate alarmists would admit that they are not working feverishly to hold down global temperatures -- they would acknowledge that they are instead consumed with the goal of holding down capitalism and establishing a global welfare state.
 
Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme:
“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized ( western ) civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”
Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Rajendra K. Pachauri:
“We are an intergovernmental body and we do what the governments of the world want us to do.
If the governments de
opher goodwin Added Jan 6, 2018 - 12:12pm
A.Jones - Def: a person who is studying or has expert knowledge of one or more of the natural or physical sciences. Bsc (hons) Zoology London University. I think that qualifies me. We've already been through your stupid and arrogant attitude. Where's your credentials for being a twat?
Try putting up a post yourself instead of vomiting on everybody else.
opher goodwin Added Jan 6, 2018 - 12:16pm
Doug - I think you will find that religion has lots to say only if you think the ignorant views of archaic people are of any importance. Personally I think they're best left in the bin of history and brought out as interesting artifacts rather than being taken seriously.
If we believed in religion we'd still be believing in flat earth, sun orbiting us and the planet only being a couple of thousand years old. Fortunately we've got science and we've learnt a hell of a lot more in a short while that religion ever taught us in millennia. Or are you still waiting for the second coming?
Neil Lock Added Jan 6, 2018 - 1:38pm
Wayne McMichael: Be of good cheer. I plan to answer Mr. Crawford, in my own way, in due course.
 
But after your first paragraph, your latest comment becomes unverifiable, if not also incomprehensible. I'll ask you, please, to stick to the topic in future.
TexasLynn Added Jan 6, 2018 - 2:46pm
Neil >> I can guess which hot button issue you mean: CAGW! :-) And I agree with you that what certain groups of "scientists" in that area do isn't science. I am planning to address that issue on this forum; but I have a few other subjects to discuss before I get there...
 
Good luck with that.  The problem you'll run into is that the hot button issue has evolved into a religion... even for many who disavow religion and embrace the label of scientist.  Logic and objectivity go out the window when defending matters of faith (whether you acknowledge it as faith or not).  Eventually your either preaching to the choir or arguing with someone who considers you a heretic.
Neil Lock Added Jan 6, 2018 - 3:18pm
Lynn: I well understand what you say. (I have a couple of headposts at wattsupwiththat.com already!) But it's a cop-out not to try.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 6, 2018 - 6:45pm
The challenge for scientists is always the argument that the "science is not settled" on some particular issue.  In particular this has been used as an argument for doing nothing about the poisoning of our planet.
 
To say such a thing betrays the lack of understanding of scientific method.   Science is never settled for anything.   The best that you can hope for is a model of the workings of the world that is a could predictor of future events.  When that model no longer works well as a predictor, then a search is made for a better one.
 
For example, Newtonian Physics was a perfectly good model of the way that the world works for a couple of centuries.   It's principles were applied to build mush of the world around us today.
 
However, as we were able to measure to ever greater accuracy, and look at extremes of size (and smallness) and speeds... Newtonian Physics falls over.   Enter relativity theory... which has worked up until etc etc etc.
 
So you could argue, for example, that the science of gravity is not settled.  Quite right.  It isn't.   However I would not recommend you jumping out of a 20th floor window "because the science isn't settled".   Unless you are a climate change denier in which case... be my guest.
 
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 12:15am
Now, Mr. Jones, are you a scientist? My definition includes publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
 
Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Pasteur, and Einstein published nothing in peer reviewed journals. I guess by your lights, then, they're not scientists.
 
Your citation's content is theoretical
 
LOL! You didn't read it. It's not "theoretical" but statistical. The author writes about what is, in fact, the case; not what he suspects might be the case.
 
your citation serves to buttress my point that scientific misconduct is most common in the medical/pharmacological field.
 
You didn't read the article. The author says nothing about "misconduct" in the any field.
 
Here's a gentlemanly assessment of your cognitive abilities, applicable only to an urbane esquire such as yourself:
 
You're really a piece of work, that's for sure.
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 12:16am
The true test of scientific effort is whether it produces results that can be utilized in the real world.
 
No it isn't. 
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 12:17am
Biology: huge leaps in the theory of evolution
 
Is that a fact? Name one.
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 12:28am
That's it right there and some people will never ever get it.
 
Thanks. And of course this doesn't imply that one has to agree with what a particular religion concludes about good and evil, ends and means, goals and purposes. It just means that those kinds of questions — which are, after, the questions that most human beings face and struggle with most of their lives — are outside the purview of science, being the province (as well as the grave responsibility) of the humanities, especially philosophy and religion.
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 1:03am
It's good to see your tacit admission that you have no scientific credentials,
 
I take it your position is that one must have a degree in textile manufacturing and years of tailoring experience in order to point out that the Emperor has no clothes. 
 
As stated previously, you truly are a piece of work.
 
You have no credentials in science or economics, yet you bloviate tirelessly — and effortlessly, it appears — on these topics all the time. You're a virtuoso bloviator. You're the Jascha Heifetz of BS.
 
I'm merely the music critic reviewing your performance — as well as that of your accompanist, Opher Goodwin — for the local paper. Just doing my job of pointing out pretense and hypocrisy in the performing arts to spare my readership the embarrassment of demanding their money back from the box office.
 
That's what a critic is supposed to do.
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 1:03am
Biology: huge leaps in the theory of evolution
 
Name one.
Neil Lock Added Jan 7, 2018 - 6:39am
Chris C: I did a top of the head (not even back of a fag packet) calculation on how far you might be out if you went to shoot a rocket to intercept Mercury at aphelion, and failed to account for the precession effect of general relativity. I came up with something of the order of tens of kilometres.
 
As to Soon and Baliunas 2003, I am interested to find that since then the IPCC has moved back towards the idea that there was a Mediaeval Warm Period - exactly what S&B were trying to show. Were they, perhaps, right after all?
 
And when you say, "Not a single one of those accusations has ever been corroborated by an independent agency," the same could have been said of the accusations against Lysenko.
Neil Lock Added Jan 7, 2018 - 6:49am
Opher: Thank you for your kind words. I have it on my plan to write something on the relationship between science and religion (broadly speaking, there isn't one, because religion is something that exists below the level of objective knowledge), but don't hold your breath.
Neil Lock Added Jan 7, 2018 - 6:54am
Chris C: I noticed that, on another thread, I used the words "fairly earned," and you found them insufficiently precise. I duly obliged with a more precise definition. On this thread you have used the phrases "climate change denier" and "denier community." Would you please be kind enough to clarify beyond doubt what you mean by these phrases?
Neil Lock Added Jan 7, 2018 - 7:04am
Robin: The biggest difficulty of all in the interface between science and politics is the final step of comparing costs and benefits. As I said in the article, when you subtract one uncertain number from another, the result may be orders of magnitude more uncertain than either. And if there is any bias in either or both of the numbers, the problem is even worse. It becomes even harder when taking, or not taking, some political action will benefit some at the expense of others. I'm planning to write more about these aspects in a later article or articles.
 
And if I saw someone falling past my window from the 20th floor, I'd probably shout "Was hael!" :-)
 
Neil Lock Added Jan 7, 2018 - 7:12am
A. Jones: In fact, Einstein's four major papers of 1905 were, in fact, peer reviewed. By Max Planck himself and his assistant.
 
But I did enjoy your point about requiring a degree and experience before you are allowed to point out the sartorial shortcomings of the local god-emperor!
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 7, 2018 - 8:07am
Hi Neil:   There are some aspects to science which are above a cost benefit analysis anyway.
 
One scientist, whose name for the moment escapes me, was asked back in the 1950's what a new nuclear physics research project was going to contribute to the defence of the USA.   His reply was something like:  "Nothing whatsoever.  It might, however, help to make the USA worth defending".
Neil Lock Added Jan 7, 2018 - 8:47am
Robin: Oh yes, there's the search for knowledge. Either simply for its own sake, or in the hope that it may lead to new potentialities or benefits. I didn't mean at all to imply that cost benefit analysis was the only area in which science can be applied. Only that, when making a political decision, cost benefit analysis is a key aspect in which science can be helpful.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 7, 2018 - 9:54am
There is also a very mesmerising aspect to measurement.   You often hear business people say something like "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it."   It makes you sound like a "no-nonsense" sort of chap to say something like that.
 
However it often leads to a focus on aspects of a situation which as measurable to the detriment of those which are not.
 
For example, in schools, there is a focus on exam results, because these are easily measured.   However attention is lacking on building social skills... which is very difficult to measure.   Yet, in the long run, good social skills may serve a child much better that academic achievements in geography...  (all due respect to geographers everywhere..).
 
So, to a very large degree, politics must be art rather than science.   This is probably true of most areas of human endeavour.
Dave Volek Added Jan 7, 2018 - 11:30am
Neil
 
Nice article. Judging from the comments, it seems you need to work on peer review and how should a scientist with a rather novel idea get attention for that idea--when the peers are hanging on their "established truths." As an inventor of a new system of governance, I can identify with that situation.
 
You also mentioned dealing with uncertainties. I'm not sure you can enhance this concept better in this section, but maybe there is another full article you can develop along with this line. 
TexasLynn Added Jan 7, 2018 - 1:03pm
Neil >> I well understand what you say. (Futile to debate climate change) But it's a cop-out not to try.
 
Agreed... Just go into it with realistic expectations... you'll get just a taste of it even with this post; with the faithful, all with their panties in a wad over any questioning of the faith.
TexasLynn Added Jan 7, 2018 - 1:04pm
 
CC >> But hey, I'm willing to talk about the science. What is your estimate of the reliability of the GRACE satellite measurements, and on what basis do you make that estimate?
 
Why... what will be accomplished discussing this particular set of data... or the next set you or I choose?  In this case I think I'll just take the advice of George Bernard Shaw...
 
The issue at hand (and the subject of the post) is about scientific method and principles.  Thus, the issue wouldn't be the "measurements" but the manipulation and conclusions "scientifically" derived from them.  Were scientific principles applied all the way through.
 
You so believe (as in faith), any questioning of the data, methods, or motivations is heretical.
 
Case in point, the Climatic Research Unit (The University of East Anglia) headed by Phil Jones who in 2009 (ahead of the Copenhagen global climate summit) applied "Mike's Nature trick" to "to hide the decline" in temperature data derived from tree ring analysis… when said data showed temperatures were actually rising.
 
In short, the data did not support Phil Jones and his colleagues hypothesis... so he found a way (a "trick") to change the data.  These "scientists" (please note the quotes to differentiate from actual scientists) did everything they could to prevent any real review of their findings, and only through a hack (or leak) did the public ever find out what they were up to.
 
But, you can be of good cheer, fellow faithful followers (the Main Stream Media, EPA and others) did extensive review and decided there was nothing to see here.
 
CC >> This refusal is the obvious result of the fact that deniers don't know anything about the science.
 
Heretics... yes, we get it. :)
 
CC >> All they know is that they don't like its political implications...
 
And you like them so much, you turn blind eye after blind eye to the disingenuousness of your prophets.
 
Before it was an impending ice age, then the population bomb, then the eminent depletion of fossil fuels, then global warming which morphed into climate change... all with the same "solution"; socialism and world government.
 
Same prophets... same followers... same solutions.  There is nothing new under the sun.
 
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 2:41pm
By Max Planck himself and his assistant.
 
No, Planck and his assistant were, in fact, the editors of the physics journal that published Einstein's early papers. Nothing wrong with that; that's what editors are for.
 
That's completely different from the post-WWII practice of what is now called "peer- review", in which the editor, owner, or publisher of a journal agrees to publish someone's paper only on condition that the paper first be reviewed and assessed by a third-party committee of "experts" in the same field. The "experts", however, are all biased toward 1) their own work, and 2) the mainstream. That guarantees that highly original, non-mainstream (not to mention controversial) ideas will not be published, at least not in the journals whose articles they referee.
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 2:57pm
That is an analogy, not a rebuttal,
 
Um, it was a rebuttal by means of analogy. Get over it.
 
I guess you're claiming that one actually does require credentials in textile manufacturing and tailoring to expose the hypocrisy and pretentiousness of an Emperor who insists everyone admire his new clothes when in fact he's butt-naked?
 
I don't think so. All one needs is to be intellectually honest. You might try that sometime.
 
If your position is correct, then so is the converse:
 
You have no scientific credentials or training at all, so you have no authority to approve of anything that goes on in science. You have no means of evaluating whether there have been, in fact, "leaps of discovery in the theory evolution." How could you possible know that without a Ph.D in biochemistry, geology, or paleontology? You can't. You're assuming there have been grand leaps because you've chosen to believe others who have made the same claim. Believing others is scarcely a credential indicating expertise.
 
The most a bloviating windbag like you can do is to tout, as a consumer, the technological fruits (if any) of scientific research. You can claim, for example, "Solid state physics seems to have really progressed! Look at how small my new iPod Nano is! And look at how long the batter life is! How wonderful!"
 
That's about it. You can speak with authority in your own narrow venue as a consumer of technology. Aside from that, you can't say anything — neither positive nor negative — about science since you lack credentials.
 
Naturally, I speak as a Gentleman Critic of Pretense to a Gentleman Bullshit Artist.
 
Your Humble Servant,
Jones
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 2:59pm
I mean a person who denies the established consensus of the scientific community regarding the science of climate change
 
There is no "established consensus" on climate change and there never has been. The original article making such a claim has itself been exposed as fraudulent and nothing but propaganda.
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 3:08pm
Go ahead and ask me a question about the principles of economics, and I shall endeavor to answer it. 
 
You've already answered various questions on the principles of economics and you've been wrong every time. For example, you goofed big time by claiming that star performers in entertainment illustrate examples of "perfect competition", then linked to a site defining that concept. In fact, star performers in entertainment illustrate the exact opposite principle: that of "natural monopoly", not "perfect competition." Michael Jackson had a natural monopoly on "the Michael Jackson way of singing and dancing" that no one BUT Michael Jackson could do. Joe Blow had a natural monopoly on "the Joe Blow way of singing and dancing". Alas, the majority of entertainment consumers preferred "the Michael Jackson product" to the "Joe Blow product", so Joe Blow went out of business and became a paralegal.
 
It's also apparent that you haven't the faintest idea as to the actual meaning of an economic concept like "Rent-Seeking", which mainly comes out the economic field called "Public Choice Theory", as well as a field called "Regulatory Capture."
 
You're utterly confused and bemused.
 
And, by the way, I'm loving it.
TexasLynn Added Jan 7, 2018 - 4:30pm
CC >> Oh, jeez, are you going to drag up that long-since refuted accusation? There were SEVEN independent investigations...
 
Yep... a veritable assortment of "independent" journalists, and peers, and bureaucrats...
 
Hillary Clinton didn't rake in millions in pay for play schemes... it's been thoroughly and independently investigated...
 
Lois Lerner (at the IRS) didn't target conservatives... it's been thoroughly and independently investigated...
 
Nothing to see here... out of context... pay no attention to the man behind the curtain... move along... :)
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 6:20pm
and my name appears as a second author on several peer-reviewed papers.
 
Link to at least one.
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 6:37pm
Regarding the "established consensus" on anthropogenic global warming (often referred to with great bravado as the "97% consensus"), see this summary:
 
"Surely the most suspicious '97 percent' study was conducted in 2013 by Australian scientist John Cook — author of the 2011 book Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand and creator of the blog Skeptical Science (subtitle: Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism.).
 
In an analysis of 12,000 abstracts, he found 'a 97% consensus among papers taking a position on the cause of global warming in the peer-reviewed literature that humans are responsible.' 'Among papers taking a position' is a significant qualifier: Only 34 percent of the papers Cook examined expressed any opinion about anthropogenic climate change at all. Since 33 percent appeared to endorse anthropogenic climate change, he divided 33 by 34 and — voilà — 97 percent!
 
When David Legates, a University of Delaware professor who formerly headed the university’s Center for Climatic Research, recreated Cook’s study, he found that 'only 41 papers — 0.3 percent of all 11,944 abstracts or 1.0 percent of the 4,014 expressing an opinion, and not 97.1 percent,' endorsed what Cook claimed.
 
Several scientists whose papers were included in Cook’s initial sample also protested that they had been misinterpreted. 'Significant questions about anthropogenic influences on climate remain,' Legates concluded."
 
John Cook's knowledge of basic arithmetic almost rises to that of Mr. Crawford, Esq., who couldn't even manage to take an average of five numbers on another site.
A. Jones Added Jan 7, 2018 - 6:41pm
explain precisely that the "hide the decline" statement meant in the minds of the author and its intended reader.
 
It meant they understood that their grant money and reputations rested on promoting the idea of anthropogenic global warming. So if evidence existed indicating the opposite, it either should not be reported at all (i.e., hidden), or it must be manipulated to indicate something that it doesn't (i.e., fudged).
 
The hacked "Climategate" emails clearly prove that.
Neil Lock Added Jan 8, 2018 - 8:16am
Chris C: Mike's nature trick.
 
You claimed that the "trick" accusation had been refuted, and the scientists exonerated by "seven independent investigations." Your first claim is incorrect. There's quite a detailed article on what happened here: https://climateaudit.org/2014/09/22/black-tuesday-of-climate-science/. The two graphs at the bottom - one showing the data without the trick, one with it - are most instructive. Do you still believe there was no trick?
 
Your second claim describes the investigations as having been independent. They may (or may not) have been independent; but at least five of them were surely not impartial and honest, as they should have been. Ross McKitrick has assessed them here: http://rossmckitrick.weebly.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/rmck_climategate.pdf. He is (per Wikipedia) a Canadian economist specializing in environmental exonomics and policy analysis, and a professor of economics at the University of Guelph in Canada. I hope that you will agree that he is well qualified to report on such things.
A. Jones Added Jan 9, 2018 - 3:39am
I started to provide that link, but then I realized that you are just vicious enough to use that link to track down the PI and engage in all sorts of nasty behavior. 
 
You're too late. I found your name in a database of peer-reviewed journals and already tracked down the Principal Investigator. She confided to me in an email that in fact, your name had been expunged from the list of research contributors when it was discovered you had plagiarized all of your material and lied on your CV about your scientific credentials: apparently, you have none. Alas, the article had already gone to press, so a later retraction and apology to the journal's subscribers had to be published. I actually came across your name in an online version of the PI's retraction and apology. I started to provide a link to that, but I realized you are just self-deluded enough to use the link to track down the PI — who had to change her name from the embarrassment you caused her in the scientific community — and badger her by engaging in all sorts of self-aggrandizing behavior and witless braggadocio.
 
Go ahead, call me a liar.
 
You don't rise to the dignity of a liar. You're just a putz*.
Neil Lock Added Jan 9, 2018 - 5:38am
Mr. Jones: I do appreciate your sense of humo(u)r.
Neil Lock Added Jan 9, 2018 - 6:23am
Mr. Crawford: the posters on that blog… have been shown to engage in intellectual misconduct on a number of occasions. Accusation without substantiation.
 
You seem unaware of what the graphs actually represent. They are graphs of calculated temperatures, found by proxy from tree ring width measurements. The graph on the left shows the result using the actual tree ring data. The only “algorithm” used beyond the conversion of ring widths to temperatures is smoothing.
 
“Mike’s Nature trick” was to splice instrumental temperature data on the end, where his tree ring data left off. Phil Jones did the same thing with Briffa’s data, which inconveniently showed a drop-off in proxy temperature after 1960 or so. He even admits it in the “trick e-mail” linked from Climate Audit. Indeed he also admitted: “Each [curve] will be extended to 1999 by instrumental data for the zones/seasons they represent.” The graph on the right is the result of including these tricks.
 
The graph Jones sent to the WMO looked like the one on the right. This is clearly scientific malfeasance, as the uptick on the right has nothing at all to do with the tree ring data it purports to represent. Even Muir Russell’s review agreed that: “the figure supplied for the WMO Report was misleading in not describing that one of the series was truncated post 1960 for the figure.”
 
I was most amused by the link you provided me to John Cook’s “skepticalscience” blog. Firstly, because John Cook is not a climate scientist, but a psychologist. His Ph.D. is in “cognitive science.” Given the importance which you seem to attach to scientific credentials, I am surprised that you rely on him for information about climate! And secondly, because it says, right there on the page you pointed me to: The "decline" is about northern tree-rings, not global temperature. That makes my point for me.
 
Finally, you describe Ross McKitrick as a “denier.” That’s merely your opinion. I’d say that you yourself are the one that is a denier – a science denier. By accepting the Mann and Jones tricks, you accept dishonesty in science. But as I said in my headpost: “If it isn’t honest, it isn’t science.”
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 9, 2018 - 10:54am
Neil
 
Nice post and intriguing rules, paths and such for good science. 
 
Now, for the whammy
 
There is a lot of 'science' based either on lies or by wild extrapolation of questionable data. 
 
Examples of bad science:
 
Rachel  Carson in Silent Spring
She reversed a scientific finding in a research paper to accuse DDT of things for which she had not proof. Note that the leftist scientific organizations failed to 'correct' this blunder or falsehood.
 
Club of Rome
 
Science has progressed to lofty heights since Aristotle mismanaged the thought processes necessary to mathematically describe and unravel the laws that govern our environment. We have impressive mathematical theories and models that give us predictions like what we were prepared to experience from the Limit to Growth published at MIT in the 70s. Here, using the best minds and the power of the computer the ‘Club of Rome’ was able to confidently advise us that we would run out of oil and natural gas by 1992 and other disasters. This should have been a warning. This was hatched from hokum and blow from the beginning.
 
The details of phony science in this instance:
 
This  famous and phony ‘computer study’ was conducted by MIT in 1970  and published in a book title: Limits to Growth [1] whose sophistical computer models clearly predicted, with ringing praise from the ‘scientists,’  that we would run out of oil, copper and lead by 1992 by and natural gas reservoirs by 1993.  Apparently, they missed a few inputs as their GIGO[2] reward is all they have left as material results. I confronted the original authors in person in the 90s in an ‘innovation conference’ attended by many scientists from some major corporations where they proudly announced that they were working on a second book. They could not seem to apologize for the implausible predictions in the first book and refused to admit that they were scientifically foolish, at best, so I failed to buy and read this second essay on the extended political corruption of science and dropped the matter.  Here, we get a peek into the inner sanctum of the politically driven ‘scientist’ of the leftist persuasion: they carry a mandate to compel the findings of any scientific study conform to their sleazy, left-wing political prejudices.  Thus, they can make weightless cars that run on cold fusion or other magical propellants and prevent the rest of us from greedily destroying our planet during our sordid lust for money. They know what Nature wants for us. They are wonderful.
 
[1] The Limits to Growth in 1972. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limits_to_Growth.
 
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garbage_in,_garbage_out
 
I have lots more of this type of Quack Science.
Neil Lock Added Jan 9, 2018 - 11:23am
Mr. Crawford: You'll admit I won our debate, won't you?
Neil Lock Added Jan 9, 2018 - 11:30am
Ah, so you're that Mr. Crawford! And, judging by your response to Mr. Jones, you have no understanding of people, and no sense of humour.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 9, 2018 - 11:39am
Neil
 
No, he finds 'reasons' for limiting responses where he is behind the argument. He leads with insults rather than data.
 
Most, or perhaps all, of the climate change models have produced phony results, mostly in the wrong direction and are useless except for political actions. 
 
A potential danger in any scientific prediction usually lies in a faulty extrapolation from an existing data set. Given the short length of time of precise measurements in our weather history we can fall into several traps. How do you extrapolate? It matters not if your data set is ultra precise if indeed the data period is small compared to the outer boundaries of the system. Is there a trend or a cyclic phenomenon present? Is this a second or third order system? We could, for example, take precise daily measurements in, say August, of any year and use those data to predict what might happen in December or June of the same or any other year. This process is folly because the extrapolationist’s ignorance of the cyclic nature of the process defeats the validity of the process. The precision of the August data, even say down to 0.00000001 % error) has nothing to do with the temperatures in February of any future or past year. That ought to be obvious all but single-issue political activists, lawyers and the ignorant. The use of tree rings to ‘correct’ data in the global warming debate when there is a need to get temperature averages to within 0.1 deg C is folly. http://unisci.com/stories/20011/0208013.htm. Read this for a good laugh. The same goes for reported ocean temperatures taken in the 19th and 20th centuries with a thermometer and wood bucket on sailing ships. How accurate can they be given the currents and changes in weather. What happens when a storm comes up? Skip the measurement? What about cloudy days?
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 9, 2018 - 11:53am
More on Quack Science
 
 
There are many who blindly support any leftist cause and ignore the facts.[2] Phil Jones of East Anglia now admits “… that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.
"
Professor Phil Jones, the head of the Climate Research Unit, and professor Michael E. Mann at Pennsylvania State University, who has been an important scientist in the climate debate, have come under particular scrutiny. Among his e-mails, Mr. Jones talked to Mr. Mann about the “trick of adding in the real temps to each series … to hide the decline [in temperature].”
 
Mr. Mann admitted that he was party to this conversation and lamely explained to the New York Times that “scientists often used the word ‘trick’ to refer to a good way to solve a problem ‘and not something secret.’ Though the liberal New York newspaper apparently buys this explanation, we have seen no benign explanation that justifies efforts by researchers to skew data on so-called global-warming “to hide the decline.” Given the controversies over the accuracy of Mr. Mann’s past research, it is surprising his current explanations are accepted so readily."
 
 Turning tricks for grant monies?
 
 
[1]http://rycksrationalizations.blogtownhall.com/2008/07/20/frank_[the_crank]_of_the_nyt_has_nothing_to_say,_so_he_moans_and_says_nothing.thtml
 
[2] http://tabletalk.salon.com/webx?14@252.RdVZahDig5d@.86219318/0
 
http://tabletalk.salon.com/webx?14@252.RdVZahDig5d@.86219318/0
 
http://rycksrationalizations.blogtownhall.com/2009/11/24/climate_gate_econazis_look_like_common_crooks_and_liars_and_not_%e2%80%98scientists%e2%80%99_we_find_are_they_common_political_parasites.thtml
 
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/nov/24/hiding-evidence-of-global-cooling/
 
 
[3] http://www.research.psu.edu/orp/Findings_Mann_Inquiry.pdf
Neil Lock Added Jan 9, 2018 - 12:20pm
rycK: Please ease up on the off-topic comments. This article was about science in general, not about climate in particular.
A. Jones Added Jan 9, 2018 - 1:27pm
If you were a gentleman, I'd demand an apology for your atrocious lie
 
There's clearly something wrong with your cognitive abilities, as the above sentence shows, since it doesn't even make sense.
 
"If you were a gentleman, I'd demand an apology . . ."?
 
You mean, "If you were a gentleman, you'd proffer an apology"; or, "If I thought you were a gentleman, I'd demand an apology!"
 
And you're going to teach a course on How to Think? I think not.
 
Your bio page says you're an amateur astronomer who designed video games.  Fun. But not exactly most people's idea of scientific credentials.
 
There are no links to any peer-reviewed journals or references to peer-reviewed journals to which you claimed above to have contributed. There are no links to any such journals or journal references on the nasa.gov site or on your personal blog. For the record, technical manuals published by Atari were not peer-reviewed journals; BYTE magazine was not a peer-reviewed journal; and COMPUTE! was not a peer-reviewed journal.
 
Here's a link to Dr. Jenniskens publications at the time. There's no mention of the name "Crawford" as having contributed to any of the articles or journals listed.
 
Here's a link to Orson Scott Card's review (AHOY! magazine, issue 14, 1985) of your book on game design, which begins:
 
"I expected deep, perceptive insight, a clear understanding of how computer games work . . . And when the book turned out to be merely fascinating, but often shallow and sometimes just plain wrong-headed, I was disappointed."
 
No need for disappointment. Wrong-headed shallowness is the sine qua non of Gentleman Crawford's writing, both in content and in style. It's not a bug; it's a feature.
 
The only verifiably true information I found on your personal blog site, Caballero Crawford, was here:
 
"My favorite subject: me"
Neil Lock Added Jan 9, 2018 - 1:59pm
Mr. Jones, I'll say the same to you as I said to Mr. Democrat. Please do not make off topic comments.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 9, 2018 - 3:11pm
Neil
 
rycK: Please ease up on the off-topic comments. This article was about science in general, not about climate in particular."
 
"Instead, I’m going to look at science from the generalist point of view. I’m going to ask questions like: What is science? How useful is it to the making of decisions, including political ones? And, how can we tell good science from bad?"
 
Why do you narrow the scope here?  There is a lot of so-called science out here and much of it evades or ignores your  conditions for what we may assume is good science. 
 
 It seems that my posts are directly in line with your preamble. 
mark henry smith Added Jan 9, 2018 - 3:15pm
In all seriousness as a comedian, I have to say that I have never seen the cold realm of science become such a hot topic.
 
Politics and science are the meat and bones of the same beast, and religion is the skin, or something like that. Did you know that asbestos really isn't that big a problem? That it's only a problem for smokers and people with other underlying respiratory conditions? But a guy did a study to make it appear that asbestos was going to give everyone who came in contact with it cancer and an industry was born, an industry that exposed more people to asbestos in its removal than would have ever been touched by the stuff. But there was money to be made in legislating its removal and fining people, and being at the forefront of the business. Lead is much more problematic.  
 
Think about this, the advance in weapons is a scientific activity, as is computers, as is food, as is, what isn't science working on, working to "improve?" Now there's the real question. Is science improving our lives?
 
Do better, more accurate, more lethal weapons make us safer? What about new drugs? Did Viagra make life better? What about statins that lower cholesterol when we now are learning that cholesterol might not be the culprit at all, or fats, but sugars. What is science doing?
 
Three things. First and foremost, at the most basic level, science is furthering knowledge, if not understanding, because understanding is so complex that I think only a handful of people on the planet have the intellectual ability to understand the future of humanity with any scientific certainty and those people wish they didn't have that ability because the results of any thought experiments are more depressing than an episode of that 13 show, which I've never seen.
 
Two, science is a tool to convince people that what is being done is efficacious to the betterment of live when there is absolutely no objective proof of the fact. Put a dude in a lab coat, have him talk "scientifically," and Bob's your uncle. It's not the science that sells an idea, it's the scientist. Einstein was a perfect showman for a society that loves a spectacle, the hair, the quips, the bizarre concepts that could be made to sound simple, like relativity, like quantum mechanics, like string theory, like the only reason this matters at all is the story, because there really is no point of reference for the average mind, so the science has to be so dumbed down as to be cartoonish.
 
Three, science is a business. Big bucks can be had if you can convince somebody that you're the next big thing and then get a complicit media machine to run with it. Spooky force at a distance. Dark energy. Dimensions beyond the four we live in. A universe with no beginning and no end that wraps around itself. A big bang that came from where, from what.
 
The reason we have science is because we have questions that require answers not for any of the above reasons, because the answers really don't make life better, that's just a lie, they just make life easier for some and harder for others on this planet of creatures. The reason is because we are curious beings and our curiosity knows no bounds and we give names to things to make identification easier.
 
Science, it could be called prostitution of the mind. It floats my boat on a rainy day. Thanks Neil John Locke.                  
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 9, 2018 - 3:43pm
MHS
 
"Two, science is a tool to convince people that what is being done is efficacious to the betterment of live when there is absolutely no objective proof of the fact."
 
Correct and the validity or some scientific 'study' or comment need not be proven in fact, but only sounding convincing or following along with some political view. 
 
"Think about this, the advance in weapons is a scientific activity, as is computers, as is food, as is, what isn't science working on, working to "improve?" Now there's the real question. Is science improving our lives?"
 
It is in many areas such as medicants, better crops, air travel and other treatments. In other areas, such as nerve gas or hydrogen bombs we can wonder.  Did the invention of H bombs force a draw between the USSR and US? Did that stop the general use of nuclear weapons? If so, then that was an advance. 
Wayne McMichael Added Jan 9, 2018 - 4:15pm
I made this diagram for people like Chris Crawford, who have this delusional idea and perception in their heads, supported by fraud lies and pseudoscience. If you have a problem with it, speak up, but these are acceptable numbers to both sides of the issue, scammers and scientists. It points out the utter ridiculous nature of the hysteria. Sometimes actually seeing it instead of imagination is more enlightening. If you click it, it will enlarge. http://waynemcmichael.com/TEMP/CO2_the_bottom_line.jpg
 
Wayne McMichael Added Jan 9, 2018 - 4:15pm
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 10, 2018 - 10:14am
Wayne, 
 
Nice presentation but the phony works of Phil Jones, Mike Mann, 
Al Gore and Rachel Carson are idols in the steamy jungles of liberal thought and political practice. They are immune to criticism.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 10, 2018 - 10:37am
Wayne
 
Nice presentation with excellent numbers and material balance. But this is a political issue where facts and science other than the fraudulent or manufactured sort are accepted as 'truth.' in the liberal line. 
 
The left just ignores the blunders by Jones, Mann, Al Gore and Rachel Carson. They are idols in the leftist jungle--not to be criticized. 
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 10, 2018 - 10:38am
My  first submission failed to register. Sorry for the duplicate. 
mark henry smith Added Jan 10, 2018 - 2:44pm
We all ignore the blunders of our heroes. Einstein said God does not play dice with the universe, but it appears from further study that God does, in the quantum theory of probability, which makes all kinds of bizarre things happening seem probably, if highly unlikely, like walking through a solid wall unscathed. The theory does not present it as an impossibility, but something for which so many factors would have to come together as to have a probability approaching zero.
 
The reality of all things is that exist on a continuum. The most certain thing we know about is that the sun will rise tomorrow, because in the history of humanity there has not been a day where it didn't. Anyone who said that Trump could not be elected president, proved themselves to be uninformed about probabilities. These people who attack Trump as being a lunatic, are way off base. He's just an egotist. Not a genius, since his definition proved he has no understanding at all about what genius is, and a genius would certainly have the ability to speak about their genius like a genius, one would hope. "I've made a lot of money and I'm president," is not a proof of genius. If that was true, George Bush 2 would also be a genius. In fact nearly all presidents would qualify.
 
The most uncertain thing we know about anything in our lives is the effect it will have on us tomorrow. We like the fact that the sun will rise, because without it we would certainly be doomed to extinction, at this point in time, but that rising sun might give us skin cancer and kill us anyway. Science, like all things is not inherently good or bad. It gains the attributes of goodness and badness by how we use it.
 
Love to talk science, or anything with anybody. You should have heard Daylon Leach talk about gerrymandering last night at the democrats meeting. Now there's a guy with a brain and a conscience who might actually be a genius, in my humble opinion.      
Wayne McMichael Added Jan 10, 2018 - 5:06pm
Actually Trump's I.Q. is higher than Stephen Hawking:) I am not sure it is possible to equate I.Q. with personality:) 
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 11, 2018 - 9:38am
MHS
 
"Anyone who said that Trump could not be elected president, proved themselves to be uninformed about probabilities. These people who attack Trump as being a lunatic, are way off base. He's just an egotist. "
 
Well stated.
 
He is 
[1] not a politician, so forget  predictions in that venue
[2] not a conservative. Ditto
[3] not a Republican
 
He is a seasoned business person and will run the WH according to those norms. 
 
Liberals can live with that or move to Canada as some promised. 
mark henry smith Added Jan 11, 2018 - 2:25pm
As a comedian and a scientist, I have to say that IQ is seriously overrated as a measure of intelligence and they now have learned that the sex of the person administering the test has a great effect on the outcome. Men affect test result negatively because hormones in their breath induce stress. The day I took the test in grade school I was sick with asthma, the test administrator was a dude who looked like the childhood pedophile in the choir who befriended my brother and harassed me, and I didn't know why I was supposed to be doing this crap.
 
A perfect score for an idiot, is what I got. My IQ is 77. And despite that I graduated Summa Cum Laude from a respected college and was dubbed by Trump to be an unstable genius.
 
I don't believe that Trump has a higher IQ than Hawking, or that cute otter that picks playoff winners with a better than 50% accuracy rate, which is not outside the range of standard deviation, if you know what that is. And if the results show Trump does have a higher IQ, I would figure he cheated, because not one thing the man has said smacks of a higher intellectual acumen. I would like to see him solve a simple algebraic equation, or answer the nine coins with two weighs puzzle.
 
But IQ is limited to just one kind of intelligence, test taking. And real genius have their intellects spread all over the place solving problems in all kinds of spheres. Build a wall. Kick 'em out. Beat 'em up. Ban them. America first. Being president ain't rocket science, but it shouldn't be professional wrestling either. Them matches are rigged Mr. President. A stable genius would know that.     
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 11, 2018 - 4:16pm
MHS
 
"But IQ is limited to just one kind of intelligence, test taking."
 
Not so as the Bell Curve and millions of examples in the military since about 1912. This is a political response. 
 
The problems in the past, since Terman, 1916,  and later millions of standardized tests in academia, industry and the military have been used successfully to sort out people for various jobs. The problem here is that such tests are deemed to 'discriminate' against certain individuals and are not considerate accurate or being just. But , what does an IQ test do but sort out folk by IQ levels??
 
Arthur Jensen at Berkeley found the same result when he told LBJ why his Great Society failed. 
 
We are clearly not equal  in cognitive skills. 
 
Such testing can clearly show who can be chemists and physics majors and such and who cannot pass the courses necessary to get jobs in those fields.
 
IQ is now a leftist political football aimed at getting some people jobs for which they are not qualified. Cornell and other schools had to lower entrance requirements to get some minorities into programs of which many failed in 1968 and on.
 
Companies that supply contract employees can still conduct such testing with exams having  strong cognitive skill measurements and supply the best possible candidates for their clients. 
Wayne McMichael Added Jan 11, 2018 - 5:52pm
Donald Trump's IQ 156, Barack Obama's IQ 102. There is also Social I.Q., a whole nother thing:) A perfect score would be 194 SD 15, or about 243-248 on the child scale. When I too the I.Q. test in the 11th grade I had no idea what I was taking, in an auditorium full of people. I finished it with 20 minutes to spare, had time to check it, and aced it. I think that would put my I.Q. in the 300 range. Let me tell you that caused a LOT of trouble and the state did not appreciate that one little bit. They sent a lady down from the state who accused me of cheating to my face, in front of my counselor, and she made me take it again in front of her:) I still scored in the top 3%, but that intimidation got her what she wanted. Conditions mean a LOT. But hating someone does not lower their I.Q.:)
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 12, 2018 - 12:50pm
Wayne
 
" But hating someone does not lower their I.Q.:)"
 
Nor does 'education' raise IQ.
mark henry smith Added Jan 12, 2018 - 2:29pm
If IQ were only used to assign merit in terms of cognitive skills, being able to handle the imaginative abilities necessary, and it is imagination that is the key here, something we should become more aware of in how we allow children to be tied to passive entertainment, the skills to do physics, calculus, engineering, etc... all of the arts that require holding and manipulating vast amounts of data and concepts, I'd be fine with that, but we have a popular concept that it means more, like Trump, that it means being smart in the public sphere, being driven by self-interest.
 
One of the things that I've noticed about really intelligent people, and despite my silly story, my IQ was measured at something ridiculously high, I'm even embarrassed to say the number, is that self-interest holds very little interest to them. It's just not that interesting to go out and make money. It's not that interesting to manipulate people. People, for the most part, are very boring subjects, as is wealth. It gives all kinds of choices to the body, but limits the choices of the mind and spirit. Any really smart person will understand why already. And if Trump has an IQ score of 156, and can't read a book, there's something wrong with the test.
 
Physics, math, religion, philosophy, big questions that require long-term investigation and relentless pushing of the boundaries, fields that have an internal logic to be discovered, are much more fulfilling to people who have broad and vivid imaginations. I can't even look at porn anymore. I've already imagined everything that could possibly be done with the component parts. Sad, butt true.
 
I will now write my piece for the day.     
Wayne McMichael Added Jan 13, 2018 - 1:00am
As far as I can tell, I.Q. is just a measure of what we call common sense:) Well "common" suggests a common source, which I believe is consciousness... universal, infinite consciousness, infinite knowledge, infinite Love. Our ability to tap that, channel that, is in our genes, for the most part... a gift. Some folk just "know", they were born knowing, which to me suggests they are old souls:) "Science" is always subject to having some control freak's thumb on the scale:) If the scientists themselves don't stand up and protect the integrity and discipline, who will... politicians? :)
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 13, 2018 - 10:31am
The topic of standardized tests,  criticized by the left, shows that such tests can sort people according to their cognitive skill base. Much of the debate here is anecdotal.
 
Any comment on testing and results?
mark henry smith Added Jan 13, 2018 - 11:35am
Yes. We need to know if students have the aptitude to perform the work needed to do the jobs requiring the skills of complex thought. But are tests the best way? They are an easy way to measure something, but again, I say, it could be test-taking skills. Or the money to buy prep services. Or the money to buy a copy of the test illegally on line. Or the money to hire somebody really smart to take the test for you. There are as many ways to cheat on a test as you could possibly think of.
 
The Socratic method is much more genuine, since there is no room for cheating, and we don't just see what a student puts on a piece of paper filled with O's to be filled. Luck could allow someone to fill them all in correctly and get a perfect score. The Socratic method doesn't just test a student's knowledge, but tests how your mind works when put up against alternative ideas. The absolute best minds, the most curious and adaptable, thrive in the Socratic environment. This, my friends, is a Socratic environment.
 
So you now understand what Socrates faced. This is not merely a battle of ideas, is it? It is a popularity contest. It is a place where trolls roam to attack those who they feel threaten something they place value on. Like Benjamin, my latest troll, a much nicer and more intelligent troll than Ryan, but not as scientifically astute as Peter.
 
I have trolls everywhere I go. It makes me feel wanted to have trolls following me around. Oh, and that guy, Mark something long ago. Oh ye without trolls, what bridges have ye failed to cross?
 
Science is scary, that's why people fear it. It's constantly taking us into the unknown. Religion is secure. It's constantly demanding that we stop thinking about anything new and accept the truth of truths already proven untrue. We're not going to have this debate about the universe being less than ten thousand years old, are we? Or the Bishop Usher argument? I don't want my God to be a Disney character who plays games with his creations just because he can. I want my God to be beyond such pettiness. I want my God to be beyond gender. I want my God to be beyond our understanding. I want my God to be science. Not feared for the wrath that God can impose, but loved for the wonders yet to be discovered.   
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 13, 2018 - 11:45am
MHS
 
"Yes. We need to know if students have the aptitude to perform the work needed to do the jobs requiring the skills of complex thought. But are tests the best way? "
 
They worked in the past. The IQ levels of  many doctors and lawyers [120+] show that this is the lower bound for entry into this arena. 
 
How else would select such persons for those two jobs??
mark henry smith Added Jan 13, 2018 - 11:56am
ryck, I would agree that basic testing that proves an ability in the necessary scientific disciplines is vital, but doctors still go through a Socratic test called internship where they are guided by learned teachers who judge their suitability to the field. I don't have numbers to show you on how many are pushed out at this point, but I would imagine it's significant.
 
In the NYTimes last Sunday there was an op-ed piece about younger doctors being better doctors, and another about how kids who lie are smarter. The caveat in both pieces was the same, believe it or not. Read them and see if you can figure it out. I find pieces like these amusing, like the idea that politicians with less experience in politics make better politicians as if ineptitude is a desired attribute in some professions, as is moral flexibility.  
mark henry smith Added Jan 13, 2018 - 11:57am
And don't get me started on lawyers.
William Stockton Added Jan 13, 2018 - 1:09pm
Good Neil.  Nice write-up.
These type of articles are good now in light of the cult-lefts movement towards PostModernism. 
 
PostModernism says there are no objective truths in the universe . . . all just perception.  This is now being taught in universities in the humanities and social studies.  This is in complete contradiction to science.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 13, 2018 - 2:41pm
MHS
 
"... but doctors still go through a Socratic test called internship where they are guided by learned teachers who judge their suitability to the field."
 
True, that is after entrance to Med school and graduating.  The high IQ requirements are met before they apply/
 
As to the   Socratic tests, they are in force in all years in my experience at Yale Med School where I was a researcher for  four years. Many were steered out of surgery [they  could not handle grand rounds and other episodes with patients][ and convinced to go into other areas like psychiatry. 
 
I do not like lawyers either. They have cost me a bundle. 
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 13, 2018 - 2:48pm
William
 
"Post Modernism says there are no objective truths in the universe . . . all just perception. "
 
That is just political fluff. The left cannot cope with religion and certain branches of science either. After declaring that  "there are no objective truths in the universe" they then apply political  mandates. 
 
 Physics sets out clearly defined objective truths. Period. So does chemistry.
 
bunk...
Wayne McMichael Added Jan 13, 2018 - 2:49pm
"Postmodernism says there are no objective truths in the universe . . ."
I find self-defeating statements like that humorous. It disqualifies itself. However we are in an age of an emerging quantum consciousness which proves everything is a matter of possibilities. I think we are past postmodern now:) But we are entering a magnificent scientific evolution or quantum leap of awareness where the Newtonian universe, we are so comfortable with, has now been scientifically disproven. Yes, math still works, but there are no particles anymore just an infinite quantum goo of possibility:) Using that as an excuse to reject morals or to control others or reject things or people you disagree with is without merit. But we are back to science. We test to see what works. We don't decide on what works and then find a way to scientifically prove it. And I agree that it is way past time to trash our system of education, which has become more indoctrination than education. Academia is corrupt to its core and outlived its usefulness, purpose.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 13, 2018 - 2:52pm
Wayne
 
"... It disqualifies itself. However we are in an age of an emerging quantum consciousness which proves everything is a matter of possibilities."
 
Agreed on the first part, but the second is vague. 
William Stockton Added Jan 14, 2018 - 12:17pm
Wayne, ". . . quantum leap of awareness where the Newtonian universe, we are so comfortable with, has now been scientifically disproven."
 
Ok.  LOL!
To prove your post-logic, logic . . . throw yourself and your family off the nearest 10 story building and see how many survive the "quantum leap".
 
William Stockton Added Jan 14, 2018 - 12:22pm
rycK,  "Physics sets out clearly defined objective truths. Period. So does chemistry.
 
bunk..."
 
I wish it was just only "bunk".  But as you say, these incredibly insane ideas are becoming "facts" now in academia.  This happens when stupid people get significant power in democracies.  Really stupid things happen. 
We can only expect more insanity until a massive correction occurs.  This is inevitable.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 14, 2018 - 2:41pm
WS
 
" But as you say, these incredibly insane ideas are becoming "facts" now in academia. "
 
And in the media. Lies are fine with the far left. There is no attack on Hillary for her   numerous lies. 
Wayne McMichael Added Jan 14, 2018 - 3:46pm
WS... I will be glad to endure your "yeah but" game, but I will not participate:)
 
The man who fell 12,000 ft ... and survives.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-435377/The-man-fell-12-000-ft---survived.html#ixzz54C5WVy9c
William Stockton Added Jan 14, 2018 - 4:10pm
But we are entering a magnificent scientific evolution or quantum leap of awareness where the Newtonian universe, we are so comfortable with, has now been scientifically disproven.
 
Wayne, this is not a game.  Newton was and is still correct.  
How was Newton "disproven" and where do you come up with this nonsense?
 
Science still teaches everything that Newton discovered in the 17th century?  But thanks for providing a real-time illustration of the absolute insanity of current post-modern (post-intellectual) thinking.
B.E. Ladin Added Jan 14, 2018 - 6:09pm
Scientists who spend years and years honing their craft, their analysis, and their brain trust find it baseline insulting that it all boils down to magna stew for some humans.  But, that is o.k. because we live in America, and the Internet has created the ability to knock together views based on fairy dust.  The Scientific Method is simply a starting point, and by virtue of that concept, there is always more work to do and more viewpoints to manage!    I am so glad that we introduce the Scientific Method in roughly third or fourth grade, so that children can see past the framework, and reach deeply into the abyss for answers!
William Stockton Added Jan 14, 2018 - 8:33pm
B.E. ,  I looked up "magna stew".  No hits.  Care to expound?
 
The scientific method is not simply a starting point as you claim.  It is a continual process of discovery while always honestly admitting there is more to know (as you imply).
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 15, 2018 - 2:13pm
WS
 
Agreed. And the SM continues when new data are compared to the original. There is no such thing as settled science except by Dems who want grant monies or rules and regulations. 
 
And, if a law is found to not obey some data then the law becomes in question. A  law must clearly describe all events within its purview. As such, Climate Change is but a slimy political statement. 
mark henry smith Added Jan 16, 2018 - 1:34pm
No, climate change is an empirical reality. The factors causing the changes are subject to question, but try going to Florida or Bangladesh and telling those people that climate change isn't happening. Or Alaska. These people are living the effects.
 
Science and religion ask the same questions, and it's why I believe they are actually the same thing wrapped in different garb, or garble. How all of this works always leads to the question, why all of this works? And I doubt we'll ever be able to answer the second question adequately to everyone's approval unless a supreme being appears without being declared fake news.
What would a supreme being have to do to get everyone on the same page? Would a supreme being have to abide by the supreme laws that guide the universe? If that was true, who or what would have made the supreme laws? Questions like this lead one towards Taoism.
 
Oh, possibility and probability are not the same thing. Not all things are possible and probability doesn't account for these. Such as the possibility that a person could survive being at the center of a nuclear explosion. When the possibility is 0, probability does not exist. When probability does not exist, it may be that we haven't  thought of all of the possibilities. We might be dying in this dimensional universe, but surviving in another dimensional universe, for example. In fact, there is theory that every probability plays out in an alternative universe, but I find the possibility of this improbable. God only knows, or doesn't. Maybe God is just as confused as we are, but keeps working anyway because nothing more enjoyable exists.   
 
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 16, 2018 - 2:13pm
MHS
 
"No, climate change is an empirical reality. "
 
Climate change today, as it stands,  is anecdotal [at best] and riddled with political 'findings.' Try to validate Al Gore or Rachel Carson on their preposterous comments and blunders 
 
Clearly ,the average temp of places on earth have changed in the last few million years, as in the Dark Ages in Europe in the 5-9th centuries. 
 
Hard fact science: IF  you know the exact equation of any curve
[y =f(x) ]then you may calculate  data values for any values of y by plugging in a number for x. Clearly, there is no known climate equation and we do not even know if is cyclic. Try finding the correct value of y for y=Sin(X+c) noting that have the values obtained will be negative.  
 
These so-called scientists are using linear extrapolation where there is no reason for the events in question are linear. 
 
No, climate change is an empirical reality-- it is to complicated for that simple assumption.
Nicholas Schroeder Added Jan 22, 2018 - 11:10am
Science does not care about credentials.
Science does not care how many sets of initials and acronyms follow your name.
What science cares about is that its rules are understood and followed.
Credentials bear evidence the holder understands the rules, but offer no assurance holder follows them.
A physicist understands and follows the rules of physics, designs and assembles a nuclear device and detonates it in the desert proving his applied science works.
A chemist understands and follows the rules of chemistry, designs and mixes a rocket fuel which launches a missile and payload into orbit proving his applied science works.
A mechanical engineer understands and follows the rules of machine design and combustion, designs and fabricates a gasoline fueled heat engine that powers a car down the road proving his applied science works.
A “climate scientist” does not understand or follow the rules of science and consequently the radiative greenhouse effect, aka RGHE, misapplied science does not work.
RGHE theory exists to explain why the earth is 33 C warmer with an atmosphere than without. Not so. The average global temperature of 288 K is a massive WAG at the ”surface” beneath the atmosphere. The w/o atmospheric temperature of 255 K is a theoretical S-B ideal BB calculation at the top of – the atmosphere with a 30% albedo. An obviously flawed RGHE faux-thermodynamic “theory” pretends to explain a mechanism behind this non-existent with/without phenomenon.
RGHE theory also postulates that downwelling LWIR from atmospheric GHGs warm the earth. Actual measured data contradict that premise. (Quality Controlled Data Sets: monthly/daily/hourly w/ column explanations: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/crn/qcdatasets.html)
 
The Earth’s albedo/atmosphere doesn’t keep the Earth warm, it keeps the Earth cool. As albedo increases, heating and temperature decrease. As albedo decreases, heating and temperature increase.
Over 7,900 views of my five WriterBeat papers and zero rebuttals. There was one lecture on water vapor, but that kind of misses the CO2 point.
Step right up, follow science, I did.
 
http://writerbeat.com/articles/14306-Greenhouse---We-don-t-need-no-stinkin-greenhouse-Warning-science-ahead-
 
http://writerbeat.com/articles/15582-To-be-33C-or-not-to-be-33C
 
http://writerbeat.com/articles/19972-Space-Hot-or-Cold-and-RGHE
 
http://writerbeat.com/articles/16255-Atmospheric-Layers-and-Thermodynamic-Ping-Pong
 
http://writerbeat.com/articles/15855-Venus-amp-RGHE-amp-UA-Delta-T
Neil Lock Added Jan 24, 2018 - 2:02pm
Nicholas: Thank you for your comment. I've seen you in the comment threads at WattsUpWithThat a few times. I have four headposts there myself. As it happens, my next planned article at WB is on environmentalism. Though it won't go into detail; there are plenty of people better qualified to talk about the scientific detail than me! And you may well be one of them; so please look out for my article, and comment as you see fit.
Barry aka. Hyperminde Added Jan 27, 2018 - 12:43am
@ Neil L - Good article.... In a piece that I wrote, I said:
 
I follow Leibniz's Law (or the "Identity of Indiscernibles") ... Entities x and y are identical if every [characteristic] possessed by x is also possessed by y and vice versa.
 
The link for the article is http://www.writerbeat.com/articles/5701--quot-Liberal-quot-in-Simple-Terms-and-quot-Non-Liberals-quot-Defined
 
If you have the time, I'd like your input on "Believing Leibniz's Law" as a characteristic used to analyze people or cultures.
 
Getting back to your article.... "Sophists" and their convoluted "proofs" seem to be the real nature of some "Scientists" (Conclusion first, then make everything else fit).
Doug Plumb Added Jan 27, 2018 - 10:15am
The corruption of science can be viewed as having the root cause as the corruption of the first science, law. By "science" we do not always mean application of the scientific method. The first science was applied to morality and math has little use for the scientific method.
  Its the corruption of basic law to maintain the communist ideal of Equality Of Outcome that has lead to this grand conspiracy, from vaccines to AGW being pushed by science.
  If people thought of Roman law as the first science, we would be better off and more aware of the roots of these problems, and to be more skeptical of peer review.
  I like numbers, and statistics aside, I understand them well. Its difficult to take multiple quotes from papers and figures seriously, due to the incredible corruption of science.
  So thinkers have to turn their attention to the first science, law, to get us out of this darkness.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 27, 2018 - 10:45am
Doug
 
Well said
mark henry smith Added Jan 27, 2018 - 2:11pm
Doug, I have never heard of anyone attempting to guarantee equality of outcome in anything except business products.
 
In social engineer I think the goal is always to have equal opportunity to allow all members to attain the best outcomes possible, what we call a fair playing field. Of course that is never achieved, but what would be a better ambition? We have this idea of self-esteem, that it is society's responsibility to give it's citizens a sense of self-esteem and this is extremely dangerous. It makes children believe that they are dependent for their self-esteem on the opinions of others, that it is a passive gift given and not a reward earned.
 
I have criticized some people for terrible behavior and they got angry and shouted, "You're dissing me." And I calmly replied, "Yes. Yes I am and you should be for what you just did." It has led to difficult encounters.
 
Law, yes. If we do not make ourselves a nation of laws, we make ourselves a nation of thieves.    
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 28, 2018 - 12:32pm
MHS
 
"...a nation of thieves. "
 
Or  worse.