Monday, September 21, 2015

Judith Curry:"You have signed the death warrant for science".

In case you still wonder if AGW "science" is an ideology, then read what Curry has to say about the 20 scientists who want dissent to be prosecuted under RICO:

"Dear signatories of this letter:

I will try to clarify here what you have done, and why it is wrong.

First, you have been duped by the Merchants of Doubt book/movie. See my previous blog post Bankruptcy of the ‘merchants of doubt’ meme, which includes reviews by other social scientists.

Second, the consensus on human caused climate change is not as overwhelming as you seem to think. See my recent blog post The conceits of consensus, which includes a detailed analysis of an extensive survey of climate scientists (not to mention extensive critiques of the Cook et al. analysis).

Third, the source of funding is not the only bias in research, and the greatest bias does not necessarily come from industry funding, see these posts:

Conflicts of interest in climate science
Is federal funding biasing research?
Industry funding and bias
Industry funding: witch hunts
Scientific integrity versus ideologically fueled research

Fourth, scientists disagree about the causes of climate change for the following reasons:

Insufficient observational evidence
Disagreement about the value of different classes of evidence (e.g. models)
Disagreement about the appropriate logical framework for linking and assessing the evidence
Assessments of areas of ambiguity and ignorance
Belief polarization as a result of politicization of the science

The biggest disagreement however is about whether warming is ‘dangerous’ (values) and whether we can/should do something about it (politics). Why do you think your opinion, as scientists, matters on values and politics?

Fifth, what you have done with this letter is advocacy. This is a very dicey role for a scientist to play, fraught with reputational and ethical land mines. Here are several essays on this topic, written from a range of perspectives:

[To access these links go to the source]
(Ir)responsible advocacy by scientists
Ins and outs of the ivory tower
The adversarial method versus Feynman integrity
Advocacy science and decision making
Too much advocacy?
Refocusing debate about advocacy
Rethinking climate advocacy
Ethics of communicating scientific uncertainty
Tamsin on scientists and policy advocacy
Mann on advocacy and responsibility
Climate scientists joining advocacy groups
Science, uncertainty and advocacy

What you have done with your letter is the worst kind of irresponsible advocacy, which is to attempt to silence scientists that disagree with you by invoking RICO. It is bad enough that politicians such as Whitehouse and Grijalvi are playing this sort of political game with science and scientists, but I regard it as highly unethical for scientists to support defeating scientists with whom you disagree by such methods. Since I was one of the scientists called out in Grijalvi’s witch hunts, I can only infer that I am one of the scientists you are seeking to silence.

Peter Webster did not exaggerate when he wrote:

You have signed the death warrant for science."
This conclusion is a bit rash; the death warrant will be for non-empirical science, and will hopefully serve to educate the masses on what constitutes actual objective knowledge as ascertained via responsible, valid, empirical science. The truly empirical sciences should be untouched in the long run, as (hopefully) real scientists like Curry come out against this sort of totalitarian, PC narrative-scientism. However, this does, indeed, illuminate the desperation of the advocacy "sciences", which cannot protect themselves with actual objective data in their defense.

It should not be forgotten that the other major advocacy narrative-scientism - evolution - also applied for, and received, government protection. Evolution is also plagued with the inability to objectively produce or reproduce any of its "scientific" claims. So, being without actual data for its defense, it was and is vulnerable to rational attack. That's why it needed a big brother to defend it.

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