Terence Kealey: What Does Climategate Say About Science?

John A: This is a provocative essay, and I’ve thought of at least a couple of replies to counter some of the arguments, but I think it deserves a wider audience.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation

by Dr Terence Kealey, Vice-Chancellor, University of Buckingham

Member of the Academic Advisory Council for the Global Warming Policy Foundation

The Mont Pelerin Society Meeting Seminar on Science, Scepticism and the Future. Sydney, Australia, October 2010

The hard core of a programme is rendered unfalsifiable by the methodological decision of its protagonists. — Imre Lakatos Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge 1974

The scientist is restricted by his instruments, money, the attitudes of his colleagues, his playmates, and by innumerable physiological, sociological, historical constraints. –Paul Feyerabend, Against Method 1975

The emails sent by members of the climatic research centre at the University of East Anglia have provoked international outrage, as have the many flawed global warming papers that have appeared in recent years such as those describing the hockey stick graph(1), to say nothing of the flawed predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over such issues as the rate of disappearance of the glaciers in the Himalayas. But such outrage has been naive because it has been premised on the assumption that scientists are – and should be – dispassionate seekers after truth. Yet in fact scientists are and should be advocates. Science has always been rooted in advocacy, as was illustrated by an episode from its very beginnings during the 5th century BC.

Pythagoras (of the Theorum) was a good scientist but he was of a mystical bent and he revered ‘rational’ numbers (whole numbers or whole fractions). He believed they explained the Harmony of the Spheres. Pythagoras, indeed, believed that whole numbers underpinned the universe from music to the movement of the planets. But Pythagoras had a student called Hippasus, and Hippasus discovered that the square root of 2, √2 is not a rational number. It is in fact an ‘irrational’ number, and its exact quantity will never be precisely calculated because, as Hippasus showed two and a half thousand years ago, irrational numbers can never be definitively calculated. This proof upset Pythagoras and he asked Hippasus to retract it. But Hippasus refused, so Pythagoras had him drowned.

That’s what scientists are like in their natural state. Now – call me soft – but I think Pythagoras went too far; I think that scientists should desist from killing each other or even from telling outright falsehoods. But, like advocates in court, scientists can nonetheless be expected to put forward only one very partial case – and that as strongly as possible – and no-one should expect a scientist to be anything other than a biased advocate.

Consider the early controversy over the age of the earth. The 19th century geologist Sir Charles Lyell had, by his study of the rate of erosion of cliffs, proposed the earth not to have been created at 9.00 am on the 23rd of October 4004 BC but, rather, some hundreds of millions of years earlier. But, as we know from volcanoes, the core of the earth is red hot. And when contemporary geologists measured the temperature of the molten core, and when they calculated its rate of heat loss, they concluded that the earth could be only a few millions of years old. Had it been any older its core would have completely cooled. Lyell had apparently been falsified.

In the face of this apparent falsification, did Lyell’s followers ditch their ideas? No. Like advocates presented with contradictory data that cannot be challenged, they simply ignored it. They knew how old the sedimentary rocks had to be, and they didn’t believe the falsifiers. So, not knowing how to falsify the falsifiers, they simply pressed on with their own pre-existing programme of research, assuming

that something helpful would turn up eventually. Which it did. Somebody in some other discipline discovered radioactivity, somebody discovered the core of the earth to be radioactive, somebody discovered that radioactive reactions emitted heat and hey presto the problem was resolved: the core of the earth generates heat, which is why it is still hot; and the earth is indeed very old.

In his 1605 book The Advancement of Knowledge, which helped launch the modern discipline we call the philosophy of science, Francis Bacon proposed a four-step process by which science advanced, namely by (i) observation, (ii) induction, (iii) deduction and (iv) experimentation. Bacon saw this as an almost mechanical or determinist activity based on logic, which he supposed precluded individualistic human whims. But because the number of potential observations is so large (does the colour of an astronomer’s socks correlate with his or her recordings of the movement of a planet?) scientists must inevitably select the observations they believe to be relevant, from which they then deduce and induce the theories they seek to test.

Scientists therefore select particular theories out of a range of possibilities. And they then (being human) design experiments to prove their own theories right. Consequently, contrary to what many people believe that Karol Popper wrote, science is in practice not about falsification.2 In practice great scientists ignore embarrassing data, and they refuse to feel falsified when they don’t want to be.

Scientists know they are working at the limits of knowledge, which means that that knowledge must necessarily be imperfect, so (like Charles Lyell) scientists will refuse to draw definitive negative conclusions from unhelpful new findings because they know that those new findings might themselves need re-evaluation in the light of further subsequent data (such as radioactivity) that has yet to be revealed.

Indeed, as Thomas Kuhn explained in his classic 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, scientists’ personal attachment to their own theories in the face of conflicting data means that the research community’s dispassionate collective verdict over what is ’truth’ can be delivered only after all the competing data has come in and only after all the arguments have been made (or, as was said humorously by Max Planck:- “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it “). These arguments have been summarised by Alan Chalmers of Finders University in his excellent introduction to the philosophy of science What Is This Thing Called Science? (3rd ed 1999, Open University).

Consequently, we can see how the climate change scientists of the IPCC and of the conventional global warming paradigm saw no conflict between their partiality in the arguments they put forward and their responsibilities to ‘truth’, just as advocates in court under the common law see no conflict between their partiality in the arguments they put forward and their responsibilities to ‘justice’.

In both cases, the scientists and advocates see their prime responsibility as being the putting forward of the best arguments to support their case/client, and they delegate the adjudication over impartial ‘truth’ to the jury of peers.

Such partiality cannot excuse misrepresentation, of course, nor the persistent non-disclosure of inconvenient facts, and those will always be ethical crimes, but it would be naive of the general public to expect scientists always to present their work and theories dispassionately. It would also be naive of the general public to expect scientists to disclose all their data promptly. In his otherwise excellent 2010 book The Hockey Stick Illusion (Independent Minds) where he dismissed the claims of many climate change scientists, AW Montford nonetheless professed astonishment that researchers might feel that they can legitimately withhold original data. But as Tim Birkhead recently reported in the Times Higher Education, such withholding is a conventional aspect of many disciplines in science. Indeed, it is endorsed by the British Government’s research councils. Thus the Natural Environment Research Council states that “individual scientists, principal-investigator teams and programmes will be permitted a reasonable period of exclusive access to data sets they have collected” while the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council states that ‘researchers have a legitimate interest in benefiting from their own time and effort in producing the data, but not in prolonged exclusive use. ‘3

But why should scientists publish anything at all? In his 1942 essay The Normative Structure of Science Robert Merton, the great sociologist of science, described science with the acronym CUDOS (note how it is pronounced). The letters stand for Communism, Universalism, Disinterestedness and Organised Scepticism, by which Merton meant that scientists share knowledge (communism), that knowledge is judged objectively (universalism), that scientists act in ways that appear selfless, and that ideas are tested collectively.

But actually Merton was being ahistorical. Pace his acronym, scientists indeed seek either kudos or money or both (ie, they are not communistic, they are selfseeking, which is legitimate but not particularly noble) but their publishing has always been dictated by self-interest. Indeed, in its natural state science was originally characterised by the paradox of secret publishing: researchers did not want others to benefit from their advances. So some scientists, having dated the report of a discovery, would seal and deposit it with a college or lawyer, to open it only to dispute priority with a later competitive publication. Others would publish in code or in anagrams: Galileo published his discovery of the rings of Saturn in 1610 as smaismrmilmepoetaleumibunenugttauiras for Altissimum planetam tergeminum observavi (I have observed the most distant planet to have a triple form) while Robert Hooke published his law of elasticity in 1660 as ceiiinosssttuu for ut tensio sic vis (stress is proportional to strain.)

Secrecy was originally normal: when around 1600 a young London obstetrician called Peter Chamberlen invented the obstetric forceps, for over a century he, his younger brother, his younger brother’s son and that son’s son (all obstetricians) kept the invention a secret. Rich women, knowing that the Chamberlens were the best obstetricians in Europe, engaged them to deliver their babies, but the price those women paid (apart from handsome fees) was to be blindfolded and trapped alone with the Chamberlens in a locked room during labour so that no one could discover the secret of the forceps. That emerged only during the 1720s when the last Chamberlen, having retired rich but childless, finally divulged it.

It was Robert Boyle who, by his leadership of the Royal Society of London, which was created exactly 350 years ago this year, negotiated (i) the convention whereby priority – and therefore esteem – goes to the scientist who publishes first, not to the scientist who might have made the discovery earlier but who has kept the findings secret, and (ii) the convention that papers are accepted for publication only if they contain a methods section as well as a results section, to allow reproducibility.

We see here, therefore, that science is not innately a public good: it is innately a discreet one where, in a state of nature, scientists would publish not their methods but only their findings – and where they would sometimes delay or obscure the publication even of those. But it was Boyle who realised, in classic game theory mode, that if the Fellows (aka members) of the infant Royal Society collaborated with each other in publishing their findings (i) openly, and (ii) including their methods sections, then the scientists within the Society would do better, by virtue of their access to the whole of the Society’s membership’s collective discoveries, than would those isolated researchers who worked outside the circle of mutual disclosure. And it was because the Royal Society’s original experiments were conducted collectively but in the presence only of its Fellows, and because its publications were preferentially circulated to its Fellows, that the Fellows enjoyed an advantage over non-Fellows.

Science, therefore, only appears to be public because, over the centuries, most scientists globally have gradually modelled themselves on the Royal Society’s ‘new’ conventions, the better to take advantage of the mutuality of knowledge. But not all scientists have done so completely, and as Birkhead showed in his THE article many disciplines have elaborated the convention of publishing their findings a year or two before they publish their data, thus keeping a lead on the further study of their data.

Everyone in those disciplines agrees that, since the exploitation of other people’s data is so much easier than discovering it for oneself, a discoverer’s year or more of monopoly is only fair.

To conclude, therefore, scientists are not disinterested, they are interested, and as a consequence science is not dispassionate or fully transparent, rather it is human and partially arcane. As I argue elsewhere, science is not the public good of modern myth, it is a collegiate and quasi-private or invisible college good.4 That means, by the way, that it requires no public subsidies. More relevantly, it means that individual scientist’s pronouncements should be seen more as advertisements than as definitive.

Peer review, too, is merely a mechanism by which scientists keep a collective control over access to their quasi-private enterprise. One the e-mails leaked from the University of East Anglia included this from Professor Phil Jones, referring to two papers that apparently falsified his work:- “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

So what? Climategate tells us no more than the philosophers of science have long told us about research, and the public should be less naive.

Notes and References

1. Mann ME, Bradley RS, Hughes MK, 1999, Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Millennium Geophysical Research Letters 26: 759.762

2. It should be noted that falsification and falsifiability are different. As Popper proposed, a statement cannot be seen as scientific unless it is falsifiable and can thus be tested by the scientific method. So the statement that the moon is made of green cheese is a scientific one, because it can be tested and falsified. But the fact that none of the moon missions to date has found green cheese does not falsify the hypothesis because not every part of the moon has yet been explored.

3. Birkhead T, 2009, Whose Data is it Anyway? Times Higher Education 1,901, 27.

4. Kealey T, 2008, Sex, Science and Profits William Heinemann

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260 Responses to Terence Kealey: What Does Climategate Say About Science?

  1. eddieo says:

    So scientists are human. Who’d of thought it. The problems start when they award themselves, or are awarded, super human powers such as knowing the answer before they have any data. In such circumstances it must surely be the data which are wrong and hence perfectly legitimate science to hide the data or in fact “hide the decline”.

  2. Billy Liar says:

    What is it about Vice Chancellors of British Universities; do they see it as their duty to defend unethical behavior by members of their academic staff (rhetorical question)?

    More PoMo gobbledygook.

  3. Paul Martin says:

    “…a discoverer’s year or more of monopoly is only fair.”

    But after publication, should they continue to have monopoly?

  4. Alex Heyworth says:

    Perhaps Prof Kealey should consider changing his title from Vice-Chancellor (as he put it) to Vice Chancellor (as Billy Liar so aptly put it in his comment above, perhaps inadvertently). :)

  5. Imre Lakatos Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge 1974

    Paul Feyerabend, Against Method 1975

    Classics! Along with Thomas S. Khun’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions and a sampling of Karl Popper, they are must-read works for philosophy of science.

  6. Mark Luedtke says:

    Scientists are human and therefore have human weaknesses. In that regard science is no different from any other economic activity. But that’s not the problem with global warming, or any other, science. Government, because it is based on violence and funded by theft, attracts the worst and rewards the worst in people. Free markets, because they are based on voluntary exchange, attract the best and reward the best qualities of people. The problem with the fraudulent global warming scientists isn’t that they’re biased or weak. It’s that they’re funded by government, and therefore the most biased and corrupt have risen to the top. Further, those who weren’t naturally biased or corrupt have been corrupted in order to profit from the government’s money which is doled out only to those who advocate the fraudulent position the aristocrats want to hear. The problem is government funding of science.

  7. jim karlock says:

    Then scientists should quit pretending to be impartial.

    They should admit that it is routine to:
    * Block publication of opposing viewpoints.
    * Manipulate data to prove their politics.
    * Illegally destroy documents subject to FOIA.
    * Asking others to illegally destroy documents
    * Asking others to fraudulently change the date on a document.
    * Hiding data that counters your politics
    * Balancing the needs of the IPCC and science which are not always the same

    Thanks
    JK

  8. Doug in Seattle says:

    I don’t buy it that self interest guided Bacon or the Royal (secret?) Society in demanding both results and methods. This is just twisting the past to excuse the mis-deads of the Jones-Mann cabal.

  9. Carl Chapman says:

    To summarise: in the historical past people did bad things, so the things revealed in the Climategate emails are ok.

    Similarly: When Genghis Kahn conquered new territory, he killed all adults, and all the children that were taller than a wagon wheel, only keeping the younger children to expand his army. Therefore infanticide is ok.

    Kealy had to go back 2,500 years to Pythagoras to find an example that made the CRU look ok.

  10. Mark Luedtke says:

    Scientists are human and therefore have human weaknesses. In that regard science is no different from any other economic activity. But that’s not the problem with global warming, or any other, science. Government, because it is based on violence and funded by theft, attracts the worst and rewards the worst in people resulting in low quality products and services. Free markets, because they are based on voluntary exchange, attract the best and reward the best qualities of people and competing interests incentivize quality products and services. The problem with the fraudulent global warming scientists isn’t that they’re biased or weak. It’s that they’re funded by government, and therefore the most biased and corrupt have risen to the top instead of being washed out. Further, those who weren’t naturally biased or corrupt have been corrupted in order to profit from the government’s money which is doled out only to those who advocate the fraudulent position the aristocrats want to hear. The problem is government funding of science.

  11. N Kane says:

    Terence Kealey is asserting that it is normal and acceptable for scientists to lie when they find it convenient. No it isn’t! If companies deliberately mis-state their accounts, they are held responsible. Scientists should also be held responsible. How much is it costing us to avoid ‘climate change’? It is a huge scam and scientists who deliberately mis-represent what is going on should be liable.

  12. timheyes says:

    A bigger load of hogwash I have not read.

    By the reasoning above it is OK for a drug company to produce “evidence” of a drug’s efficacy but not reveal this evidence to scrutiny and therefore profit from any old snake oil.

    By the reasoning above it is acceptable for tobacco companies to produce their own studies about how cigarettes are not carcinogenic.

    By the reasoning above eugenics should continue to be studied because, even though we seem to discount the theory now, our “knowledge is incomplete” and something may come along tomorrow which justifies it.

    I’m astounded that any thinking person can write such drivel. As I have shown, for any example used to support this preposterous position there are good examples – some of which have existed in history – which are immeasurably damaging to a society.

    Advocacy is for politicians which is why we get to unelect them if necessary. We don’t have that luxury with scientists and until we do they should not be advocates.

  13. greg2213 says:

    John A,

    Thanks for posting this, it makes a great deal of sense and nicely explains why so many dismiss the Climategate emails as, more or less, “not interesting.”

  14. AGWMan says:

    A great read, with some points very well made. I think you’re right, perhaps some have been naive by expecting the scientists to behave as dispassionate automatons.

    I was please to see “… cannot excuse misrepresentation, of course, nor the persistent non-disclosure of inconvenient facts, and those will always be ethical crime”.

    Didn’t the “released” emails show that this type of behaviour was engaged in by Jones.? For example “The two MMs have been after the CRU station data
    for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act
    now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.”

    I think the public have the right to be outraged about the non-disclosure of inconvenient facts or data, especially when (a) the public funded it and (b) the public are expected to fund the very costly policies being advocated.

  15. Brian H says:

    When scientists are competing only for “kudos” and status, all fine and good. But when they are actively proselytizing for and providing cover and backing for those who would extract trillions from the global economy, and almost certainly starve it of adequate energy and throw it into a deadly retraction, the rules change. That kind of payoff requires full and immediate disclosure of all data, methods, justifications, conflicts of interest, and anything and everything else pertinent.

    This is not about scholarship any more; it’s for all the marbles.

  16. R. Shearer says:

    Plus they get paid to advocate for CAGW.

  17. nvw says:

    This has to be a joke. Can a university administrator really think that science is done this way? Come to think of it, Dr. Kealey was trained as a medical researcher, a field fraught with falsification of data, poor use of statistics and the corrupting influence of financial gain based on results. No wonder he feels so at home defending climate science.

  18. jonjermey says:

    Having worked in science for a few years, my personal estimate is that at least half of its current findings are wrong. If you doubt this just dig up an old copy of New Scientist or Scientific American from ten years ago and count the number of confident predictions and ‘compelling new theories’ which by now have been discredited or forgotten. Scientists may like to pretend they are always right, but rational grown-up scientists admit the possibility they may be wrong. Nobel-prize-winning scientists actually go out of their way to try and test their own results; lesser lights usually leave it up to someone else. But testing results is an essential aspect of genuine science.

    Public access to data and methods is a crucial component of this process, just as public access to courts and case records is a crucial component of a functioning justice system. Privacy and science are not compatible options.

  19. Sam Hall says:

    I work for a large company and we have large R&D groups that spend lots and lots of money. We are very careful what we disclose. That is proper because it is our money. However, government funded scientists are working with our money, not their own money. The data, software, everything belongs to us, not to them.

  20. John Trigge says:

    I’ve no problem with scientists (or anyone else) keeping their discoveries secret provided:

    1. no public monies are expended in making the discovery
    2. no public monies are requested for grants for ‘further research’
    3. no governmental policies are predicated on the discovery unless full disclosure is made and the discovery is proven by an external body

    This sounds like a justification for ‘pay me and my cohorts on the publicly-funded gravy train and, because we are superior to you, whatever we say must be accepted and acted on. And, by the way, you are too dumb to understand the ‘science’ so don’t ask for how we know so much’.

  21. George Turner says:

    Pythagoras is all too fitting a starting point for looking at climate science.

    His famous theorem had apparently been in use for 1,300 years when he discovered it (NY Times link), and he was known more for his divination and prophecy than math.

    To quote from his Wiki entry
    Later biographers tell fantastical stories of the effects of his eloquent speech in leading the people of Croton to abandon their luxurious and corrupt way of life and devote themselves to the purer system which he came to introduce.

    His followers established a select brotherhood or club for the purpose of pursuing the religious and ascetic practices developed by their master. The accounts agree that what was done and taught among the members was kept a profound secret. The esoteric teachings may have concerned the secret religious doctrines and usages, which were undoubtedly prominent in the Pythagorean system, and may have been connected with the worship of Apollo. Temperance of all kinds seems to have been strictly urged. There is disagreement among the biographers as to whether Pythagoras forbade all animal food, or only certain types. The club was in practice at once “a philosophical school, a religious brotherhood, and a political association.

    Yeah. Sounds just like the crowd in Cancun.

  22. Gary Crough says:

    Overall a solid review but I have two minor disagreements. First, I think the claim that the moon is made of green cheese has been falsified. The claim is the moon is 100% green cheese (or at least over 50% ?) none of the rocks returned were green cheese nor is the moon green.

    Second, I don’t think Pythagoras or anyone before say 1575 or 1600, was a scientist. Until the scientific method evolved (Perhaps Francis Bacon has a claim but I don’t think a single person can really lay claim to the idea) there was no science. There was logic but the idea that one pose a question to nature to test a theory or that the question was in the form of a testable hypothesis did not really exist? Is this true or does anyone have contrary info?

    Around 1600 there were two great sources of “truth” … the logical and mathematical analysis of Greek thinkers and the Church (God). Greek thinking (with Plato claiming what we perceived was an illusion … the shadows in the cave crap … and only logic was real) led to silly conclusions that defied “common sense”.

    Science (the scientific method) was the tool that allowed seekers of knowledge to break away from both the word of the Pope and the word of the dead Greek experts.

  23. HybridWeb says:

    I don’t have specific problems with scientists being advocates, provided that the boundary between science and advocacy is clearly demarcated, and the prevailing practices of scientific review are followed.

    When conventional scientific practice is purposefully undermined to advocate a particular position, that’s not advocacy, that’s politics. When our established political system is undermined in support of a particular position, its not democracy any more, but tyranny.

    With the exception of the climate science mentioned in Climategate, most science, as practiced in the West (with the exception of that conducted in the military) is public. With some effort, sometimes a lot of effort, it is possible for a layperson to find out what scientific research is being conducted, and the results of that research. It may not always be understandable, but the information can be obtained.

    There are many, many scientists who are only too willing to try to explain what they are currently researching. One only has to look at the volume of popular science literature (online and hardcopy) available today to realize this.

    It takes a particular political position to corrupt the practice of science into the form of undemocratic advocacy that has been characteristic of the climate science in particular, and the ecological movement in general in the past three decades. Its not science that they practice, but propaganda.

    Yes, scientists are human, and suffer from the same human foibles as the rest of us. But practicing a profession means undertaking a concerted effort to avoid and minimize the effects of these human weaknesses.

    Isn’t it sad how the political advocacy of a few pretend-scientists have cast doubt and ridicule not only on a particular science, but on all science in general
    Other professionals (lawyers, medical doctors, practicing engineers, etc.) are held to

  24. ew-3 says:

    “Pythagoras had him drowned”

    And I thought I had some tough teachers!

  25. Billy Liar says:

    Alex Heyworth says:
    December 29, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    …perhaps inadvertently). :)

    :-(

  26. Claude Harvey says:

    So…. lying, cheating, caniving and stealing are nothing new to the scientific community. Am I supposed to take comfort in that?

  27. Brian H says:

    Carl;
    good point, but Genghis was doing the opposite of infanticide: he was keeping the youngest alive and killing the rest. Not sure what the right “-cide” noun is for that!

  28. Mark T says:

    Note that this guy’s examples are all from times in which the people did not have a legal right to data and/or a full explanation. Times are different and it is precisely for this difference that his argument is completely incorrect.
    Mark

  29. Noblesse Oblige says:

    Another pathetic, contrived, after-the-fact apologia. I confuses advocacy with ethics.

  30. Roberto says:

    You could run your club that way, I suppose. Particularly if privately funded. Who was funding the work of these comfortable pioneers, again? Universities? Parliament? Or patrons?

    But I believe that FOIA has definitively answered the question, as far as publicly-funded science is concerned. You can contemplate your collegial privileges while doing your time in some sort of isolation.

  31. richard verney says:

    In a way I agree with much that is said in this article and how scienrists in the past have acted. We do not live in an ideal world and scientists are only human.

    However, I think that climate science (and I use that latter expression generously since there does not appear to be much scientific method being adopted by the majority of climate scientist) is different and due to its politicisation has come into the public domain.
    All citicizens in the developed world are, on the back of some warmist’s conjecture, being asked to make great sacrifices (the cut back in CO2 emissions will hinder industrialisation and move the country backwards such that the standard of living will not progress as fast as would otherwise be the case and may even go backwards) and great expense (in the form of green taxes and levies being paid as subsidies to green energy providers etc) such that the public have a right not to be duped. This right extents to the just expectation that the scientists (the advocates promoting a personally held view) will act honestly, without misrepresenting facts or data and will promptly make available raw data and their methodolgy so that the veracity of their findings/predictions can be properly tested.
    Personally, I would not be much troubled by what these so called scientists were up to, if the politicians shut the public purse and did not give away generous grant money/funds for research into climate change and if the politicians adopted the stance that we will do nothing to combat climate change and we will simply adapt only if and when a problem arises, in the meantime business as usual with energy generation and investment in other scientific areas.

  32. Chris Fay says:

    Passionate advocacy of one’s scientific position is one thing.

    Conspiracy to stifle dissenting views, as clearly revealed in the Climategate emails, is quite another, entirely reprehensible scientific behaviour.

    The malice evident in the emails could not be condoned as acceptable behaviour by anyone other than an enquiry with whitewash as it’s underlying objective.

  33. Verity Jones says:

    What? Some of this is quite unbelieveable, especially considering the source. I saw enough of both the good and bad inside academia to realise that protectionism, pal review and withholding occur, but that does not mean it is right. There is a line that should not be crossed and the climategate emails reveal that the ‘hockey team’ crossed it – time and time again.

    So academics are granted a few years exclusivity of their data? yes that can be a good thing, but a few years means a few years.

    Pal review? The best scientists I know collaborate with others to keep up or improve the quality of their science – a weak paper should not get a free pass even if a ‘pal’ wrote it – that is one reason to have anonymous peer review. OTOH keeping rivals out of a journal because they are rivals is not done – science should stand on its merits, not on its origins.

    As to Lyell plodding on in the face evidence to the contrary – yes that is science – but he was not advocating the world spend trillions as a result of his theories, therein lies a big difference.

    I said at the time that the emails revealed ” a disregard for the high principles of scientific method and show that the scientists themselves answer to political cause and self-serving practices. and that the team were not deserving of the title ‘Scientist’. I stand by that one year on.

  34. Rob H says:

    This article makes an effective argument as to why we should not listen to the “science is in” crowd on global warming. Amazingly, though it was not their intent, the authors have made an excellent case for ignoring the AGW scientist “advocates”.

  35. Eric (skeptic) says:

    That means, by the way, that it requires no public subsidies

    That’s fine by me. Our government has spent billions on the likes of Phil Jones to get the results that the various bureaucrats and politicians want. It’s hardly Jones’s fault that all that money flowed in his direction. But once Jones decided to redefine peer review, he should have realized that the bureaucrats use that same peer review to dole out funds and what he was doing was unethical despite the arguments made above.

  36. Max Hugoson says:

    Wow! This has got to be the most wretched example of human bile I’ve come across in a long time.

    This guy is trying to validate “inventor’s syndrome”. Nasty thing that. But perhaps more forgiving, he’s coming to the defense of “scientific dogma”.

    What, prey-tell should the Frenchman who proposed “plate tectonics” have done? Held the Royal academy at gunpoint? Arranged a propaganda campaign? Tried to develop a political following?

    How about the WRIGHT BROTHERs? Should they have listened to the “academics” as Langley, who had CALCULATED the impossibility of “heavier than air flight”, perhaps 10 years before the first Wright Flight?

    Or Dr. Barry Marshall, (2005 Nobel Prize in Medicine), discoverer of the Hector Pylori bacteria? Should he have mounted a campaign to flood the journals with his “theory papers”? And recruited a bunch of sycophants to promote his ideas? (Instead of quietly isolating the bacteria, developing an antibiotic regime to cure it, and then INGESTING it to give himself ulcers?)

    Oh, heavens, I forgot. All of the above had the “established science” completely against them. And ALL of the above PROVED themselves with their own dogged persistence. None of them had to be ADVOCATES for their “beliefs”. In point of fact, “belief” is DOGMA. Blind following of dogma, tends to lead to a lot of beheadings and “burning at the stake”..

    Sorry, I’ll take my steak RARE and unburned, but my claims backed by RESULTS. And in POINT OF FACT when the “consensus” community rallys against a rebel in a circle the wagon fashion, I think it’s time to get out the tomahawks and join the other side.

    Max

  37. Betapug says:

    In a similar vein, I once complained to Canada’s national broadcaster about the objectivity of the IRA coverage by their reporter, who was of strongly Republican views. This reporter had previously made the statement that a “strong personal viewpoint” was necessary for any good reporter.
    After my complaint was rejected (CBC was quite happy with her work) I reflected more closely for the biases in all the other stories I heard, and came to the conclusion that she was probably correct, that it is impossible to seperate the reporter from the story.
    To make our own judgements possible, I think we need to know as much as possible about the history of reporters; bio, background and previous work.
    Reading some course descriptions at my local universities which recommend not taking the course unless you are aligned with the thrust of the prof’s interests, makes it seem that fear of stumbling into something new and disrupting the established order is now the operating rule.
    How times (and climates) change.

  38. Robert of Ottawa says:

    The thing thta climategate told everyone who was not familiar with the modern academic process, is that it can be corrupted and hijacked by a small cabal.

  39. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    Sadly, this doesn’t look ‘good’ for you ‘real Scientist’ guys…

    It seems that the philosophical elitist contrarians (it’s a word for lovers of linguistics)
    are making a sincere attempt at ‘explaining away’ your Fields of Study, guys.

    I know you’ll be up to turning crap like this on it’s head, too.

    If it’s any (little?) comfort……. My ‘chosen field’ (managed corporate travel agencies for folks like Thomas Cook) years ago was ‘usurped’ seemingly by the underlings of these ‘bozos’.

    In…..ohhhhh…..mebbe 1987… ‘They’ suddenly morphed ‘Travel Agents’ into simple ‘data input operators’ and my clientele who formerly depended on me when they’d call at hours like, 3am (when things like briefcases were left on the American Airlines flight to Frankfurt…stuff like that) when they were ‘a world away’ found that I had enough of the B.S. and up an’ quit.

    The ‘supposed reason’ for the down-grading of my ‘Chosen Field’ -or- let’s just be real an’ call it like it is… a ‘smokescreen’ (all cigarettes, please excuse the pun)… was to ‘save money’ (our modest 10 percent commission paid by airlines, etc…in other words…..our Industry…) but, the END RESULT has been to have all of us without TRUE Corporate Agents (my analogy is comparing them to that of TRUE Scientists) so that when business men and women need ‘real help’ while vaulting through their itineraries…there is only your impersonal computer… -or- literally No one to help you at all…No One PAID to give a sh**.

    My example is to be used purely for what ‘it was’……. and what I now ‘feel’ your Field is being subject to.

    In other words, gentlemen……. you’re Field has been hijacked and it needs you now more than ever. ‘Science’ is NOT like ‘Travel’ in that: our children are having to be FED more and more of this B.S. just like WE were in the 60’s and 70’s with all the John Dewey et al, crud. I’ve made a point to make a line in the sand and say ENOUGH to their ‘garbage’ and how much ‘they’ want us to re-cycle it.

    IF stuff like this assault on Science continues, and rest assured, it SHALL, if you don’t make an individual and principled ‘STAND’ in your area of expertise, more and more children will simply be force fed indoctrination and it’ll be ALL of our ‘faults’.

    Well, just consider this note to be yet another ‘wake up call’….and I sincerely pray each of you is up to the challenge of halting this ‘supposedly scientific’ farce with characters like that ‘craven’ guy with no germane degree to speak of……HOW PATHETIC.

    The title of this article SHOULD’VE BEEN: ‘Behaviorism Amoeba Consumes Thousands of years of Legitimate Science without nary a BURP’ and I for ONE pray that you guys all give these hopeless elitists HEARTBURN.

    Be Blessed and know non-scientists are praying for you into this New Year.
    Your Sis’
    Cynthia Lauren

  40. Wes says:

    “That means, by the way, that it requires no public subsidies”

    But they are publicly subsidized.

  41. Phil's Dad says:

    Overall I find this piece rather depressing. Yes scientists have defended their personal paradigm literally to the death in the past but I would like to think we have grown up a little since then.

    “…the scientists and advocates see their prime responsibility as being the putting forward of the best arguments to support their case/client, and they delegate the adjudication over impartial ‘truth’ to the jury of peers.”

    This analogy with “advocates in court under the common law” is not particularly helpful. In a court of law you can’t (legally) fix the jury (and no one involved in the case gets to chose the Judge). Further, all parties have equal voice. I suspect much of the “science” advocated would not withstand such scrutiny.

    In court it is also most often only necessary to show beyond a reasonable doubt that a single law has been broken. Yes or no. Forward casting climate scenarios is (you may have noticed) somewhat more complex and does not have a simple yes or no, right or wrong outcome. Advocacy, though rife, is inappropriate in science.

    That is not to say that scientist should not also be advocates. They are members of society and enjoy the same freedoms of speech as any other (though they should not ever attempt to deny that right to others as some have done). When they advocate however they cease, for the duration, to be scientists.

  42. James Fosser says:

    Ignore him. The Uk and all who sail (and flounder) on her are irrelevant.

  43. Brian H says:

    Max;
    I appreciate and mostly approve of your aggressive post, but DON’T MESS WITH MY HEAD!
    I had to go googling to remove “HECTOR PYLORI”. >:-(
    It’s “helicobacter pylori”.
    Is Hector a boyfriend of yours or something?

  44. Theo Goodwin says:

    If you believe what has been written in this essay then you will feel empowered to abandon Scientific Method, all evaluation of scientific claims, and all talk of truth in science. You will feel empowered to counter your opponents in the scientific arena by telling lies about their work, their character, their goals, and, of course, the same for your own. For those of you who can see some distance down the road, you will agree that this approach leads to Mao’s position that “politics (and now science) comes from the barrel of a gun.”

    Kuhn, Feyerabend, and similar thinkers were extremely popular in the Sixties and Seventies. They were fun for a while. They departed from evaluative philosophy of science and became sociologists of science. I hope everyone here can see that a sociologist of science can tell you which theory is more popular but might have no clue whether it is reasonably well-confirmed. See the difference?

    I can recommend some of Feyerabend’s essays, namely, those that discuss Galileo. Feyerabend discusses some of Galileo’s famous arguments and his criticisms get the philosophy of science just backwards. A lot can be learned from these essays.

  45. Ben U. says:

    It would be unnatural of science to remain in a “state of nature” where scientists keep methods and even findings secret indefinitely into the future. Science certainly has sped up since that sort of behavior got tamped down. Science’s nature is to speed discovery up, even though science’s nature does not always avoid conflict with the nature of homo sapiens. The natural thing for science is to become more reasonable by learning from experience – for example that the benefit of secrecy does not always outweigh the cost of secrecy to scientific progress. To a considerable extent, that learning has actually happened.

    Science comes to actualize ideals and increasingly to “look like itself” with time and experience. Reality is independent of particular opinions but discoverable, and the recognition of that implies hopeful fallibilism in reasonable inquiry and the idea of a community without definite limits, as Peirce said, potentially capable of self-correction as far as needed (unless one is so deluded as Descartes was to think that one person can complete science in a lifetime). Sometimes the actual falls short of the ideal – people whose profession is science do not always apply scientific method in their work. Sometimes the actual surpasses the stereotype – people generally use scientific method (let’s say by Feynman’s description – make a guess, compute its implications, and test them against reality) in all cases where they can see how to apply it. And often enough it’s hard to clarify the ideal – it’s not a bad thing to fall short of a mistaken or simplistic idealization, whether that turn out to be Popper’s or anybody else’s.

    If one is to test a hypothesis or a theory, one must believe in it, or in its possibly being true, believe in it enough to give it a fair shake. Sometimes one can’t let go of it for some scientifically bad reason, that is, a reason that keeps one from learning from experience. The inquiry method of “authority” is just one of various methods of illegitimate influence or determination in theoretical opinion and inquiry – politics, finance, fashion, and affairs of status or standing, become coercion, corruption, emotional manipulation, and deception. If enough scientists come to believe that the CAGW movement has been wrong-headed and gone off the scientific tracks, then they will seek to learn from it and to institute better practices and understandings taking into account what the scientific project, for better and worse, has actually become.

    I mean that people supposed to learn from it, not just declare themselves formerly naive, foolish ever to seek better, and foolish to get annoyed at those who fail to live up to the ideals which they profess and on the basis of which they enjoy a special standing and legitimacy in our society.

  46. “…a discoverer’s year or more of monopoly is only fair.”

    But after SEVERAL years of sitting on their data and NOT using it (only releasing it to a grad student), shouldn’t they let others have a chance?

    At what point does “discoverer’s monopoly” become obfuscation?

  47. Don Shaw says:

    Some thoughts:
    1) I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand I’m glad that someone in the CAGW club has at least leveled on the total lack of integrity and honesty in the climate community he is part of. On the other hand I find the lack of integrity disgusting and not at all representive of the Scientists that I have worked with in other fields.

    2) I think that Dr Terence Kealey, Vice-Chancellor, University of Buckingham piece should be the lead in to the executive summary of the IPCC report so that every one can fully understand where the authors’ are coming from, what motivates the IPCC crowd, and the likehood that everything that follows is B.S.

    3) The comment re peer review ” Peer review, too, is merely a mechanism by which scientists keep a collective control over access to their quasi-private enterprise” should also be included in the IPCC report. Also everyone who braggs about the peer review process should have this comment thrown into their face.

    4) re “Consequently, we can see how the climate change scientists of the IPCC and of the conventional global warming paradigm saw no conflict between their partiality in the arguments they put forward and their responsibilities to ‘truth’, just as advocates in court under the common law see no conflict between their partiality in the arguments they put forward and their responsibilities to ‘justice’” Really? These folks are prepared to expose virtually everyone on this earth to their radical ideas and ask us to suffer the consequences of their “religion” I thought the standards were higher for scientists than ambulance chasing lawyers and lying politicians.

    5) Yes the science is settled: There is absolutely no integrity in the CAGW community!

    6) One final thought, since most of these CAGW activities are tax payer funded, the concept of not releasing the data is normally without any legal basis.

  48. DocDavid says:

    First of all, what exactly is a “Theorum”?
    Secondly, if I take Vice Chancellor Kealey’s point correctly, we are asked to believe that science is not, nor should it be, objective, but rather more of a vehicle for expression of the egos of scientists. Therefore the pronouncements of scientists cannot be separated from their personal commitment to the significance of their research.
    Thirdly, he states that “it (science) requires no public subsidies.” (!) I doubt that this assertion will win him many friends among the vice chancellors of the great research universities in the United States, if nowhere else.
    Fourthly (and perhaps I missed this), he appears oblivious to the fact that the scientists of climate change are not only asking the world to recognize the extraordinary importance of their research and assertions and thereby pump up their egos, they are also insisting that the world spend trillions and trillions (to up Carl Sagan’s ante by 10^3) of dollars to ameliorate the change that they claim their research shows.
    The essence and goal of science is prediction. A theorem that fails to provide the means for reliable prediction cannot be considered of value, and perhaps cannot even be considered “scientific”, except inasmuch as it can point out areas of research which will yield little of value.
    Granted, predicting the outcome of changes in climate 10, 30, or 100 years in advance is far more difficult than predicting that paper will ignite at 451 degrees Fahrenheit, but the warmists act as though their predictions are just as valid. If we were told that the models showed that burning all the books in the world would-paradoxical as it may seem-eliminate any risk of global warming, would we burn them? I doubt it. We are, however, being urged to burn just about every dollar the world can produce on the altar of those very models.
    Let the scientists have their ego trips, but make them keep their hands-and more particularly the hands of the politicians and the bureaucrats who will feel themselves empowered by the scientists’s Theorum[sic]s-out of the pockets of the rest of us!

  49. Old England says:

    Dr. Kealey

    You are profoundly misguided, to put it politely.

    Where scientific research is funded by the public out of taxation on their earnings for the public good – as apparently is the bulk of climate science – then there are a number of duties which attach itself to that publicly funded research.

    If you, as is apparent from your essay, cannot see that nor can see where condemnation of the behaviour of such publicly funded scientists is both appropriate and necessary, then I am ashamed to see you as vice-chancellor of one of our technical colleges turned university.

  50. Gary Pearse says:

    Many problems with this, not enough time. Dredging back centuries and millenia for examples of how science worked takes it completely out of context, or worse, puts into a modern context. The main reason for Galileo’s secrecy certainly must have been fear of the Synod of Holy Bishops – poor G was only exonerated by the church in the 1960s (I heard it on the news in Leysin, Switzerland at the time).

    A defence lawyer is obliged to provide the best defence he can for a murderer who was caught at the scene with his hands around the victim’s throat and with the testimony of several independent witnesses to the crime. He has to work with extenuating circumstances – a plea not available to a dishonest or negligent scientist.

    Finally, although scientists needed support from somebody even in the days of the independent researcher, today’s lot are largely paid for out of the public purse and as such are civil servants who are supposed to be a benefit to the taxpayer. Destroying data, cooking results and writing up your work in a secret language to be kept by your lawyer was legitimate when you were operating on your own funds or those of a nobleman who endulged you and used you to entertain your guests. But not if the public is payiing your way.

  51. DirkH says:

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So when the UN, via the IPCC demands the wholesale dismantling of the industrial infrastructure of the planet, they’d better put the cards on the table. I don’t care what some small dendrochronologist does with his tree rings when he’s just in it for the fun. I wouldn’t even care if he claimed the MWP didn’t exist. There are lots of scientists who are wrong, no big deal. But when his crazy utterances suddenly become the posterchild of the biggest anti-industrial effort the UN has ever made, maybe then we should make an exception from his right to his own private data, shouldn’t we? And if such an exception is not possible, well, then stuff the science, the IPCC and the UN. No accountability means no action; why should one react on a fabrication.

  52. Mike Jonas says:

    I agree with HybridWeb, Verity Jones, and others : Just because “scientists” have sometimes done these things in the past does not mean it was ever right or desirable.

    Terence Kealey said that the Climategate emails provoked outrage, “But such outrage has been naive because it has been premised on the assumption that scientists are – and should be – dispassionate seekers after truth. Yet in fact scientists are and should be advocates. Science has always been rooted in advocacy, as was illustrated by an episode from its very beginnings during the 5th century BC.“.

    TK then goes on to whitewash the scientists involved, based on his absurd notion that scientists should be advocates, where by advocate he means someone who twists or conceals evidence in order to promote a pet theory. This meaning is made clear by the body of his statement.

    Even lawyers in the western adversarial legal systems are not permitted to do this. ["but some of them do" you say? I draw your attention to TK's use of the word "should"]

    Science has indeed sunk into an appalling abyss if TK’s views are representative of today’s scientists and university science faculties.

    No, TK, the public is not naive. They don’t expect scientists to be perfect, but they do expect them to be reasonably professional. In this case, Climategate has revealed to the public that the scientists involved are charlatans and robbers. No wonder there is outrage.

  53. JDN says:

    This is an idiotic essay composed of superficial and indefensible points. He’s wrong about the role of Bacon, Boyle & Popper. Their roles have been done to death by serious historians, and, Dr. Kealey hasn’t read any of them, much less source material. The story about Pythagoras is probably apocryphal, which has also been covered extensively. But as we hear from the very vice-chancellor, “partiality cannot excuse misrepresentation”. So, I hope the fact that he is arguing against the IPCC won’t allow his to get away with misrepresenting the history of scientific thought.

  54. Capn Jack Walker says:

    A naked emperor or in this case is it mandarin defending his own nakedness, his paucity of clothing.

    The issue is that science flourishes better in periods of enlightenment, always has. We are in one now this internet age, it’s probably what saved us.

    The Reason is very simple it lets those with the best knowledge, most technical skill, most passionate and vested interest become a part of the process even if they act as devil’s advocate, which really is what the methode’ is about.

    Excusing past problems in the scientific method, would be akin to an OJ Simpson defence. OJ Simpson got away with it therefore I am innocent, regardless of the evidence. Ronald Biggs got away with it for 20 years therefore I am owed 20 years freedom before trial. I want the rules and excuses of that time in history

    It’s a nonsense. Science methode has evolved with the understanding of science, better tests in response to severe scientific mistakes in arrogance and haste, even Canonisation of Catholic Saints has better tests of Reason than expounded, by our above mentioned belligerent and bellicose self excuser.

    The past wrongs under previous ignorant systems do not make present wrongs right. No one has ever said all Science historical figures were perfect just their work deserves respect, because it still stands.

    Used to tutor kids in maths who were scared of the subject, first thing I set them, go and look at the life and times of the great mathematicians and understand they are human, very talented but very human.

    (That and I used to hit them with sticks and threaten them with my mobile rack and thumb screws, not big on carrots, that’s for librarians and kindy teachers, very big on sticks, implements of rigorous scientific encouragement).

  55. Theo Goodwin says:

    I should add that Imre Lakatos became the defender of Popper’s main ideas and his wonderful book was written as the main statement of that defense. Lakatos took up this task after a conference on Popper and Kuhn that occurred in London in 1968 or so. Lakatos’ work is not derivative of Popper’s, but adds many new elements. Those debates were really enjoyable.

    In the USA, the main proponent of Kuhn, other than Kuhn, was Wolfgang Stegmuller. The main critic of Kuhn was Isaac Levi at Columbia University. These debates become far more technical and require a knowledge of model theory. Their positions are recorded in many articles and some books. You can find the books on Amazon. The starting points are, for Stegmuller, The Structure and Dynamics of Theories, 1976, and for Levi, The Enterprise of Knowledge, 1983. Both men have been prolific since these starting points.

  56. Mike Jonas says:

    Cynthia Lauren Thorpe – Nice rant! Try:
    All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing – Edmund Burke.
    The price of freedom is eternal vigilance – Thomas Jefferson.

  57. MrX says:

    WOW!

    That’s an amazing admission of wrongdoing.

    “This proof upset Pythagoras and he asked Hippasus to retract it. But Hippasus refused, so Pythagoras had him drowned.”

    No pressure?

    “One the e-mails leaked from the University of East Anglia included this from Professor Phil Jones, referring to two papers that apparently falsified his work: ‘I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!’

    “So what?”

    Truly amazing! The “what” in question is that policy is being made and people’s money is being spent on these policies. Not only the policy, but the research as well. It’s not just one side against the other. If two private institutions want to go after each other, fine. But this is about using the people’s money and deceiving them. Even if bad things were done in the past, they were still bad.

  58. Jeff says:

    nice excuses …

    If you publish your results you must publish your data, programs and methodology or you are nothing more that a press agent and not a scientist.

    The example of the OBGYN’s who kept their forcep INVENTION a secret is simply a strawman … they didn’t “discover” the forcep, they invented it. That is engineering not science.

    Weak tea for this site …

  59. pat says:

    wuwt and realclimate get mentions here:

    29 Dec: MSNBC CosmicLog: John Roach: ‘Weird life’ reveals science at work

    http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/12/29/5733384-weird-life-reveals-science-at-work

  60. Kev-in-UK says:

    Well, on the one hand, I can see what Kealey is trying to say (I think!) – in that science in the past has been very much ‘personalised’ and ‘massaged’ for whatever reasons at the time (kill the heretics, etc, etc!) – but to try and move that into the current AGW debate (or indeed modern science in general) is somewhat disagreeable.

    I don’t doubt that all modern scientists, in their respective fields, follow certain ‘pet’ theories and therefore lines/directions of research. However, the true (great?) scientists will always LISTEN to alternative views and theories, IF for no other reason than to make sure theirs is the more ‘likely’. It is not unreasonable for scientists to have egos and to want to do well – but a good scientist can only become good or better by studying others work, even if directly opposed to their own theories!

    Ignoring the issues of private R&D – where ‘investors’ do research for gain – the whole PUBLIC AGW theory is held up as some kind of Global ‘collective’ of concerned scientists doing the world a favour! But we all know that at least 75% of said AGW related papers are complete and utter BS and authors of said papers are simply jumping on the bandwagon.
    The point about this PUBLIC AGW theory and all the public money so ‘invested’ in it – is that the ‘work’ was supposed to be done on OUR behalf and without prejudice. Clearly, the majority of climate scientists engaged in the main arena are far too partisan in their views and far to dismissive of other views to be providing a reasoned judgement for the benefit of the people of the earth! (whether this is a politically or economically enforced stance is yet another issue!)
    The climategate emails clearly demonstrated a partisan approach – which, in a private R&D company, could be understood – but in the public domain sense (and especially in the context of these people so called ‘saving the planet’) such an approach is totally unacceptable.
    No amount of twisting and turning by academia (a la Kealey) will be able to hide that basic flaw in the current AGW science field! I would like to believe it will all come good in the end – but this type of essay being promoted as some kind of ‘excuse’ does not give me much hope!

  61. Capn Jack Walker says:

    The most deceptive piece, is that scientists should not be accountable to laws of false advertisement and misleading conduct. ie, above the law. The man states clearly science should have no responsibility to the purchasers or sponsors and it’s all just a soak. He excuses and removes responsibility, by opinion poorly derived.

    He argues ownership and no sponsorship rights, how elite.

  62. Theo Goodwin says:

    If this little essay was written by:

    by Dr Terence Kealey, Vice-Chancellor, University of Buckingham

    then two things must be true:
    1. Kealey has dabbled a little in the philosophy of science, become intoxicated by Kuhnian rhetoric, and has half-seriously penned his own version of it. This essay could have been penned by a distracted undergraduate in 1968. Summer of Love and all that, you know.

    2. Australia is much gentler on persons of high title than the USA. If published in the USA in a serious publication that the public reads, the author would be canned.

    However, it is true that there are professors, even some in the USA, who argue for advocacy in science. Invariably, they are Marxists. As we all know, the good Marxist is always watching for the avante-garde to reveal the latest version of the New Socialist Man. If there is a new man, everything is new, including science, or so the Marxists believe.

  63. The Ill Tempered Klavier says:

    Is Dr. Kealey really claiming that because scientists are still human and some scientists in the old days did things that were nasty, spiteful, and even evil, nobody on the hockey team did anything wrong hardly, and we should just say “Boys will be boys (and girls),” and let it go?

    I think “There must needs be offenses, but woe unto those by whom they come.” is much better.

    Dr. Kealey’s examples seem poor. He uses events that are so obviously wrong to most of us that he has to apologize for them. He would have done better if he could find people doing the things we abhor in Climategate that we generally think were right to do so.

    His examples of falsification are also off base. Using a different method to get a value that disagreed with Lyell’s did not falsify Lyell’s value. That only showed that at least one of them must be inaccurate. To actually falsify, he would need to show a problem with Lyell’s methods or execution such that he could not get an accurate value.

  64. Mac the Knife says:

    Dr Terence Kealey, Vice-Chancellor, University of Buckingham
    Member of the Academic Advisory Council for the Global Warming Policy Foundation

    For humanity’s sake, Dr. Kealey, take some Beano!
    That was the worst case of self serving flatulence I have ever had the misfortune of perusing.

    “…a discoverer’s year or more of monopoly is only fair.”
    No, Sir! Not when national governments are deciding to reallocate Trillions of taxpayer dollars and destroying our cost effective energy production industries, based on ‘monopolized’ data, and misleading analyses that are not open to scrutiny and independent verification!

    This man is a member of an ‘Academic Advisory Council’ yet his essay dismisses the collusion and frauds exposed by ‘Climategate’! Is this acceptable behavior, from an ‘Academic Adviser’? If his essay reflects the current moral state of ‘The Royal Society’ and British ‘science’ et.al., it illustrates a profound lack of honesty and integrity within British culture. Small wonder why the once mighty Great Britain is nearing bankruptcy, both moral and financial. And ‘woe unto us’ within the US of A, for we approach the same precipice…..

    We cannot afford to be tolerant of these and similar deceits, because ‘tolerance’ acts like a societal subsidy to undesirable behavior. If you want more of a specific type of behavior, be ‘tolerant’ of it. Do you want more trash in the streets and graffiti scrawled over everything? Tolerate it. Would you like to have more illegal immigration? Tolerate it! Do you think more voter and welfare fraud is acceptable? Tolerate it all….

    Dr. Kealey rose to prominence, like so many others, because folks ‘tolerated’ his disingenuous drivel.

  65. 2kevin says:

    “So what? Climategate tells us no more than the philosophers of science have long told us about research, and the public should be less naive.”

    Translation: Science is corrupt, has always been corrupt, get used to it plebe.

    He misses the main point due to an inability to follow logic to it’s conclusion. If it is corrupt science and always will be, then why should any scientist who acts as activist be taken at face value; especially if they are predicting the end of the world as we know it? Aren’t they just politicians or priests at that point? Do we need more politicians or priests?

    I don’t understand the link to the Mont Pellerin group?

  66. mariwarcwm says:

    AGW is religion, not science. How can you win against a religion? I thought that if we had a few bad winters the Believers would see the error of their ways, and we could stop paying out to this expensive new Church, but no, heavy snow before Christmas is also proof of AGW, apparently. So on your knees, repent, and pay up.

  67. juanslayton says:

    1. I take science to be a set of methods for conducting empirical investigations, and a body of knowledge derived from those investigations. Perhaps Dr. Kealey can enlighten me as to what empirical investigations are attributed to Pythagoras.

    2. To argue for a hypothesis is legitimate advocacy. So is arguing against a contradictory hypothesis. But there is a fundamental difference between attempting to refute a point of view and attempting to suppress it. Some of the Crutape letters have clearly crossed the line.

    3. ‘But Hippasus refused, so Pythagoras had him drowned.’
    That’s what scientists are like in their natural state.

    Dr. Kealy, you lie.

  68. pwl says:

    A key point Dr Terence Kealey (Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham) misses is that if your science is FUNDED BY THE PUBLIC then the public owns it or has a serious stake in it should it also be privately funded.

    In the case of Dr. Phil Jones, Dr. Michael Mann, Dr. James Hansen, …, and any others that work for the government or universities funded by the government they have no choice but to hand over the data and all notes and programs and source codes or anything else used in their research that is necessary for the reproduction of their work upon request.

    Most of the examples Dr Terence Kealey gave are of PRIVATE individuals conducting science by their own purse using their own money and not public monies. In such cases private interests are permitted to prevail although it may well be in their interest to publish as soon as possible for many different reasons. Patents are extensively to protect the benefits of discoveries by private scientists, engineers and inventors and it’s notable that the Patent system requires publication of their detailed idea should they wish some legal protection.

    One Richard Feynman has this to say about falsification and it’s importance and it should be a lesson to Dr Terence Kealey as he is being schooled by Feynman indeed:

    “But this long history of learning how not to fool ourselves–of having utter scientific integrity–is, I’m sorry to say, something that we haven’t specifically included in any particular course that I know of. We just hope you’ve caught on by osmosis.

    The first principle is that you must not fool yourself–and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.

    I would like to add something that’s not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the layman when you’re talking as a scientist. I am not trying to tell you what to do about cheating on your wife, or fooling your girlfriend, or something like that, when you’re not trying to be a scientist, but just trying to be an ordinary human being. We’ll leave those problems up to you and your rabbi. I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you are maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.

    For example, I was a little surprised when I was talking to a friend who was going to go on the radio. He does work on cosmology and astronomy, and he wondered how he would explain what the applications of this work were. “Well,” I said, “there aren’t any.” He said, “Yes, but then we won’t get support for more research of this kind.” I think that’s kind of dishonest. If you’re representing yourself as a scientist, then you should explain to the layman what you’re doing–and if they don’t want to support you under those circumstances, then that’s their decision.

    One example of the principle is this: If you’ve made up your mind to test a theory, or you want to explain some idea, you should always decide to publish it whichever way it comes out. If we only publish results of a certain kind, we can make the argument look good. We must publish both kinds of results.

    I say that’s also important in giving certain types of government advice. Supposing a senator asked you for advice about whether drilling a hole should be done in his state; and you decide it would be better in some other state. If you don’t publish such a result, it seems to me you’re not giving scientific advice. You’re being used. If your answer happens to come out in the direction the government or the politicians like, they can use it as an argument in their favor; if it comes out the other way, they don’t publish it at all. That’s not giving scientific advice.

    But not paying attention to experiments like that is a characteristic of cargo cult science.

    And now you find a man saying that it is an irrelevant demand to expect a repeatable experiment. This is science?

    So I have just one wish for you–the good luck to be somewhere where you are free to maintain the kind of integrity I have described, and where you do not feel forced by a need to maintain your position in the organization, or financial support, or so on, to lose your integrity. May you have that freedom. ” – Richard Feynman

    Read Richard Feynman’s full article here: http://pathstoknowledge.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/cargo-cult-science-a-lesson-from-richard-feynman-for-scientists-of-today-to-learn.

    Sounds like Dr Terence Kealey needs to go back to grade ten science class and relearn the basics.

    As for the alleged climate scientists they would be well schooled by Feynman’s notion of publishing the means to falsify their papers. It shows their full integrity in their work.

    I can’t believe that Dr Terence Kealey is suggesting that the only way for scientists to adapt to falsifications of their work is to die and let the next generation move on! How horrifying. How pathetic Dr. Terence Kealey! That’s not science, that’s more akin to religion!

    A key question is raised and remains, at which point does a scientist admit that something has falsified their work? It seems highly relevant to the works of alleged climate scientists such as Dr. Phil Jones, Dr. James Hansen, Dr. Michael Mann and others.

  69. Iggy Slanter says:

    I am looking at this from a political angle. He does not trying to defend the climate ‘science’, but to defend the fraud. I believe this is a surrender document. One that tries to give an apologia for those who ran the biggest clip joint in history. But he wants to be a little ahead of the curve, so to speak. Just one thing friends, remember who wanted to throw who in jail for being on the wrong side. Remember also those impoverished by their policies. Remember that when they beg for mercy.

  70. RockyRoad says:

    Where oh where is Anthony Watts when you need him? This has got to be one of the worst articles ever posted on WUWT, but I shall not kill the messenger–just his message.

    I stumbled unretrievably where he said

    “no-one should expect a scientist to be anything other than a biased advocate.”

    So I looked up the word “biased”, and sure enough, there it was:

    an unfair preference for or dislike of something

    The operative word here, of course, is “unfair”.

    So anything that’s unfair is acceptable? The end justifies the means? Is that what science is about? I didn’t realize scientists advocated any such thing. For if that is indeed the case, then losing or adjusting or falsifying data is completely acceptable; jerry-rigging experiments or backstabbing critics or destroying evidence is just fine and dandy too.

    Count me out. If that’s what “science” has become, I want no part of it. Criminal behavior rules the day. (And the “truth” about the world around us is obtained from such a method? Funny how the world around us eventually makes fools of such people and those that accept them without skepticism.)

    Laughable. Absurd. Downright disgusting.

  71. Mariss says:

    Working in the hard sciences as either a scientist or an engineer requires a dispassionate frame of mind. One seeks to understand nature and meet her requirements regardless of what your thoughts are about how she should be. This makes the concept of an activist-scientist an oxymoron and I think intellectually dishonest.

    A telling example of this wrong thinking was Trenberth’s Climategate email “The fact is, we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it’s a travesty that we can’t.”

    Had Trenberth remained a scientist instead of an activist and kept an emotional separation from his work, the quote might have instead been “We should check our theory’s assumptions for why we can’t account for the lack of warming.”

    His quandary was either the AGW theory is wrong or nature is wrong; at this point the activist part of him had already sided with the AGW theory. It was too pretty to give up.

  72. Jack says:

    What a load of self serving hogwash. This is post normal science doing what it does best. It is caught red handed so it tries to reinvent the scientific method to suit itself. Science had to use the scientific method to advance, otherwise we would all be in a mish mash of spells and incantations, much like the wackier greens have descended into today.
    Now when the climate emails expose their temperature adjustments, they try to rake up their version of the evolution of science to justify hiding and adjusting data to suit their ends.

  73. John Whitman says:

    Dr Terence Kealey,

    Your article was easy reading.

    I take your basic premise to be that objective knowledge in science and by scientists is possible but not normal based on the historical examples you cite. If this is your premise then it is false.

    Your approach is limited and subject to a simple argument against it. It is easy to show that objective knowledge in science has prospered with the steps taken by notably open scientists whether their lessor contemporizes where open or not.

    I agree that the modus operandi of the CRU scientists and their associated international team represents what I call the ‘hairy underbelly of the science process’. You unsuccessfully showed that the hairy underbelly process is common in the history of science. Your article is incomplete; unbalanced.

    John

  74. I’m with AGWman – this is a very good summary of how science and scientists actually work.

    The problem which this summary does not address – and which I believe most people here are talking about – is the effects of a very subjective process on the taxpayer. Many billions of units of currency – truly vast amounts of cash – are proposed to be spent on the basis of the hypotheses of a claque of self serving, unelected and unaccountable human beings,.

    This is the true value of this assessment – it very accurately portrays how the fundamentally biased propositions behind the AGW myth came about.

    So, in the end the scientists are simply behaving like they always have and it is the responsibility of our elected leaders to act. Unfortunately their motivations are also flawed and they are rarely bright enough to evaluate adequately the pros and cons of such issues. And so we bumble along, as we always have done – let’s hope that we emerge from this absurd dream sooner rather than later.

  75. Aynsley Kellow says:

    Pardon the cross-posting, but readers here might be interested in the following post across at Bishop Hill, where someone posted a link to this discussion:

    Terence Kealey makes some good points, but he essentially commits the Naturalistic Fallacy by accepting what has been observed (scientists behaving badly) with what should be the behaviour of scientists.

    Aside from the ethical dictates (honesty, fairness, etc) society does and should make demands on the conduct of science, which (while it might, as he suggests, deserve no public subsidy) is overwhelmingly paid for by the taxpayer. There is a prudential question about what standards we might apply to their conduct both as mechanisms of quality assurance and as a means of ensuring that all benefit from scientific knowledge.

    Therefore, while Kuhn and Feyerabend describe the way in which scientists behaved in the past, society through its various institutions (eg the US Supreme Court in its Daubert ruling) have established standards as to how scientific evidence might be judged. The requirements are both ethical and prudential, and monopolies over use are granted and covered by laws such as those relating to patents. Patents, as a judge once recounted to me, were set at 15 years because two terms of apprenticeship were deemed to be an appropriate period for an exclusive monopoly. The example Professor Kealey gives of obstetric forceps being kept for exclusive use for more than a century has been deemed to be unacceptable because, as this case shows, the reward for innovation (in a privatised view of science) must be balanced against the public interest in preventing adverse neonatal outcomes (for mother and child).

    Other kinds of knowledge are regarded substantially differently, even when the rapid dissemination of accurate information is a virtue: think markets and insider trading.

    The practice of non-disclosure described does not apply under the Australian Research Council – and rightly so. Data must be archived and made available for reasonable use – even the documents and notes of interviews with which I deal. Those who generate data should have first use, but they do. I agree that it should be made publicly available at the point of publication, especially if it has been publicly funded. There is no justification for prolonged non-disclosure beyond that; the generators of the data will, after all, likely have other papers in press or in preparation by this time, and so any ‘lie’ will be halfway round the world while the sceptics are still putting their trousers (to paraphrase Churchill).

    Even when science has enormous commercial importance, we regulate for quality and in the public interest. Pharmaceuticals and chemicals must have their efficacy and safety demonstrated under highly regulated conditions. Geological analyses on ore discoveries must meet appropriate standards of conduct and disclosure. Governments and stock exchanges insist upon it. Patent law provides commercial protection, but such protection also requires provision of evidence.

    In short, climate science is overwhelmingly an enterprise that is paid for from the public purse. We have every right to demand openness and transparency and put in place institutional mechanisms that require good conduct, even if – indeed BECAUSE – Professor Kealey is correct in suggesting that they will behave badly. Some have misinterpreted Professor Kealey somewhat, and would do well to note the following statement near the end of his paper:

    ‘More relevantly, it means that individual scientist’s pronouncements should be seen more as advertisements than as definitive.’

    But I would point out that even advertisements are subject to the requirement not to make false claims, and advertisers should not be given a monopoly in any market. The alternative is the GUM store. He errs in not making the points I make here, and as a result, becomes an apologist for the indefensible. He should, rather, apply the standards of the USC in Daubert (or similar).

    Nevertheless, as he believes that science requires no public subsidy, I take it we can expect that he will prohibit staff at his university from seeking public research funds.

  76. Katherine says:

    As I argue elsewhere, science is not the public good of modern myth, it is a collegiate and quasi-private or invisible college good.4 That means, by the way, that it requires no public subsidies. More relevantly, it means that individual scientist’s pronouncements should be seen more as advertisements than as definitive.

    I have no argument with those.

  77. Max Hugoson says:

    Brian H.

    I guess instead of working by faulty memory, I should have put down:

    H. Pylori. Judging by the 1,430,000 hits on Google for that, (which, it seems..but then I only reviewed 700,000 of them….) tracks to the same meaning as the full title which you have indicated.

    Sorry. I hope my other illustrations were accurate enough. A quick search on the Wright Brothers + Scientific American + 1905 should yield an interesting “tibit” to illustrate the approach of “established science” to those who dare to challenge “concensus”…!

  78. savethesharks says:

    What he does NOT mention…which he should is that,

    1) Groupthink (aka “consensus”)

    AND

    2) Cognitive dissonance

    are two major distinct pathologies that both infect the human process of reasoning.

    …And which are distinctly endemic to our species….

    …And which are definitely endemic in the CAGW phenomenon

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  79. Paul Penrose says:

    “As I argue elsewhere, science is not the public good of modern myth, it is a collegiate and quasi-private or invisible college good.4 That means, by the way, that it requires no public subsidies. More relevantly, it means that individual scientist’s pronouncements should be seen more as advertisements than as definitive.”

    The above quote is the most important one from the article because it is the crux of the problem. The hockey team want it both ways; they wish to take public monies and then not provide raw data and complete methods (including computer code). They also wish their theories to be taken as definitive to the extent that public policy be formulated based on it.

  80. Waffle says:

    “In practice great scientists ignore embarrassing data, and they refuse to feel falsified when they don’t want to be.” – Now who’s being anti-science?

    I kinda feel sorry for Dr Kealey. He’s just thrown his scientific reputation under the bus.

  81. TomRude says:

    OT: Canadian readers of the Globe and Mail won’t be surprised by this short garbage article except that it parades amid the business section of the newspaper.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/commentary/don-tapscott/accessible-information-key-to-carbon-education/article1852383/

    I have rarely read as much stupid statements concentrated in so little article written by TWO journalists/activists… The future at the Globe is bleak: global dimming… LOL

  82. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    Thanks, Mike (Jonas)…

    There are three/well…actually – four, reasons I frequent this site.

    1. I am (and always have been) fascinated by Science.
    2. I love ALL KNOWLEDGE – (and have learned to loathe Behaviorists)
    3. Reading the innumerable posts from erudite scholars (and jus’ plain guys)
    inspires me.
    4. And, lastly… It was in my 9th grade Science class that (while intrigued with
    the periodic table of elements) I made the GROSS ERROR of opening up my
    brand new Science book.

    The pages I opened up to? The artist’s rendering of a chimp morphing into a Man…
    and, (I was duly horrified) and the very next page was a photo of the Universe.
    All inky blackness. It was THEN, right THEN, guys ~ that a former ‘believer’ with a assuredly small ‘b’ turned into a rebel and fell into the Fabians (et al) hands.

    That one book. Those four pages. They took a ‘naive christian girl’ and turned her into all that the 70’s (and Satan) wanted me to be. I remember literally fuming at God after slamming the book shut. My juvenile conclusion? That God simply didn’t exist and that I’d been fed a ‘crock’ for 14 years…

    It took till I was 32, Mike. I lived through pure Hell till I was 32 and one night at 3am when it almost came time for me to surrender my soul to Hell… (I’m tearing up right now…it’s THAT vivid)…and waves of warm H.S. ‘goosebumps’ are flooding me right now……..

    Anyway ~ it was then. RIGHT when I needed GOD, ’cause I was being dragged to Hell ~ that I screamed out to HIM and……I’ve got tears officially streaming down my face……….it was right then, that the ‘arm not too short to save’ shot out and began to lovingly bring me back to life and to love and to…………TRUTH. His GLORIOUS Truth. Stuff I’d been searching for……..all my life.

    It’s my prayer that you all learn how much more real HE IS than anything these [/snip] can throw at us. THAT’S why I pray for each of you (including YOU, pwl – warm smiles) that you’ll not give up this fight. That’s how important SCIENCE IS.
    ALL OF YOU GENUINE SEEKERS OF ‘TRUTH’ – may you be encouraged and remember to armor up, k? (Ephesians 6:10 till the end of the chapter) ’cause we aren’t fighting a ‘fleshly’ fight, gentlemen. I’ve learned that, the hard way.

    In (HIS) Truth,

    Cynthia Lauren Thorpe

  83. Steve Fitzpatrick says:

    It seems to me the author simply misses the crucial difference between science and advocacy: science is reality bounded, advocacy is not. That some scientists use advocacy to defend their work (and/or the current Kuhnian paradigm of their field) against data that suggests it is incorrect is both true and not surprising, but it tells us more about the competency of those advocate-scientists than about science in general. Very competent scientists (and I have known some) focus on understanding reality, and never take a position of advocacy.

    The essay is just rubbish.

  84. Brian H says:

    Max;
    Aargh.
    That’s “tidbit” and “consensus”.
    Those red underlines in the text entry box really do mean something. Right-click for suggested fixes.

  85. GAZ says:

    I get the a sinking feeling that the world has gone mad, if Dr Kealy can get away, and prosper with these values. The important points to me are:
    1. It’s ok for scientists to lie and steal because others scientists have done it / are doing it.
    2. It’s ok to receive, and demand more, public money for promoting self interest and secrecy.

    De Kealy must be doing these things regularly. It’s ok then.

  86. Mooloo says:

    In practice great scientists ignore embarrassing data, and they refuse to feel falsified when they don’t want to be.

    Lyell was not “falsified” at any point. He had some contradictory evidence presented, but correctly believed that his explanation was simpler and better fitted the evidence available. Lamarck was falsified, and it was embarrassing that people kept supporting him when all the evidence fell away. Though obviously he would be a hero to Mr Kealey.

    The problem the CO2-AGW camp have is that alternative hypotheses are actually just as satisfying a solution to the evidence, which is wildly contradictory in places.

    What the original essay therefore lacks, because it is any discussion of the primary principle of modern science “Occam’s razor”.

    Occam’s simple rule suggests that most of the modern modelling, with poor predictive ability and multiplying “epicycles” is a poor bet. I don’t care how many eminent people believe it, it ain’t working. (The same goes for “String Theory” and much of modern economics for that matter. Wild guesses with poor liklihood of success.)

  87. AusieDan says:

    The “Vice Chancellor” should pause and reflect.
    In the corporate world when the men at the top are seen by their underlings to behave in a certain manner, then, when the men at the top are away or asleep, the mice come out to play.

    And their games often are not very pretty.

    If the CFO does not hold up the highest standards then, xxxxxxxxx – I’ll not go on except to say that it will get worse and worse until it is transformed from the top on down.

    That wll happen, eventually.

  88. Anton says:

    Having grown up around scientists, I contend that most scientists are pretentious, vain, egotistical twits with absolutely no moral or ethical principles. However, the Climategate scientists were, and are, operating on taxpayers’ money, and therefore had, and have, absolutely no right to engage in partisan politics, deception, manipulation, withholding data, or what-have-you. Their endless assaults on American Republicans, for instance, ignores the fact that those same Republicans are paying their salaries.

    The vanity of scientists basking in celebrity is nauseating. The only absolutely ethical scientist I know well is my own father, and he’s anything but political.

  89. I don’t care if scientists dance around naked and spank each other in their clubs and societies, if their science doesn’t affect me.

    But if they want my tax money for their research, then I want to see all their results.

    And if they want to forcibly change my whole world with their science, then I demand to see their results, their raw data, the instruments that got the data with, the calibration certificates of their instruments, and the calibration of the calibrating instruments. This is just restatement of “extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence”.

    Which part of this is not bleeding obvious.

    Furthermore, large slabs of our society including our esteemed Vice-Chancellor Kealy have first routinely sacrificed integrity for self-interest, then lost track of what integrity actually is and now deny it ever existed or that it is needed.

    God help our children.

  90. geo says:

    The problem made with the “historical sweep of science” argument made here, is that it ignores that for the first time, many scientists are arguing for a complete remaking of society in a very short period of time, at immense cost and consequences.

    It is inappropriate for them to simultaneously argue for both the unprecedented circumstances of massive change based on “work in progress” science and also for “business as usual” on withholding data and adverse facts. Pick one or the other –you can’t have both.

  91. BoomBoom says:

    To summarize the article:

    Everyone who puts forth a proposition of any kind, is psychologically (and potentially socially, or professionally, etc) invested in having it be true (otherwise, the proposer is wrong, and seems the fool in some regard).

    Scientists who spend millions, or even billions on the basis of their propositions are therefore strongly invested in having their propositions be true (or at least not proven false).

  92. DSW says:

    Theo Goodwin said,
    “Invariably, they are Marxists.”

    And Mark Luedtke said,
    “The problem is government funding of science.”

    I agree so much I thought they should be repeated.
    Government funding of science will almost always push an agenda and Marxists are the big group pushing right now. I am sure most realize that CAGW isn’t really about science, it’s about power and control, and when seen through that lens, all the mad gyrations and ludicrous stances make perfect sense.

    And thank you to everyone here for the elegance of their posts. When I found this site a few months ago I thought, “Thank God there are educated people who feel the same I do about CAGW – I am not alone” … and I feel that way more every day :)

  93. JPeden says:

    I didn’t read any further than this:

    But such outrage has been naive because it has been premised on the assumption that scientists are – and should be – dispassionate seekers after truth.

    Since it is certain that some profession should be “dispassionate seekers after truth” and Kealey is implying that this is possible, it follows that Kealey is wrong.

    I’m glad he got it over with quickly.

  94. Robert E. Phelan says:

    by Dr Terence Kealey, Vice-Chancellor, University of Buckingham
    Member of the Academic Advisory Council for the Global Warming Policy Foundation
    The Mont Pelerin Society Meeting Seminar on Science, Scepticism and the Future. Sydney, Australia, October 2010

    I have to admit to being a little confused here. The GWPF is ostensibly a skeptic organization. I read this some time ago elsewhere and remain befuddled that an advisor to the GWPF would offer what certainly appears to be an apologia for the bad behavior of the CRU crew and an endorsement of PNS thinking. Is it possible Dr. Kealey mangled his message?

  95. Geoff Sherrington says:

    It is asserted above that “the scientists and advocates see their prime responsibility as being the putting forward of the best arguments to support their case/client, and they delegate the adjudication over impartial ‘truth’ to the jury of peers.”

    This is not so in my experience. With formal work, as opposed to the hurly burly over a drink after hours, the prime responsibility that my scientist friends express is truth and honesty. They put forward their best approach to truth, knowing that truth is seldom able to be proved.

    The “loaded argument” advocacy argument is uncommon. Rather, good scientists ask for early help when their arguments show promise but lack completion.

    Often, they will not publish until they have a rounded story. (e.g. Newton did not explain “I saw an apple leave a tree and go elsewhere”.) This is in strong contrast with current practices, where much poor climate science is floated as complete when it has holes that wagons would fit through. Especially noted when an IPCC deadline approaches.

  96. JimboW says:

    “…And when contemporary geologists measured the temperature of the molten core…”

    There really isn’t a need to read further to appreciate how little Kealey appreciates the scientific concepts such as “measure”, as opposed to “guesstimate” or even “pull from one’s posterior”. How, pray tell did said 19th Century geologists measure the temperature at the core of the Earth, when we still haven’t drilled beyond the extreme uppermost part of the upper mantle?

    In any case, the “example” he tries to use was actually at its core a dispute between geologists and biologists who had relevant domain specific, observation based knowledge on one side, and (predominantly) physicists on the other who were claiming to know vastly more than they actually did and ignoring their utter ignorance of key features of the system they claimed to understand, instead appealing to the authority of Lord Kelvin to carry the day. Hmm, sounds like a vaguely familiar situation. The respected authority was, of course, utterly wrong.

    Lyell and others hadn’t been “apparently falsified”, they just weren’t with the consensus. They knew that the other side’s model was wrong, although not the specifics of why (since nobody knew radioactive decay was the driving heat source). Why would they abandon their ideas, based on sound observation, on they say so of a group of dilettantes with connections?

  97. Chris in (cold)Hervey Bay says:

    I too was in total dismay after I had read the article above, and my first reactions were similar to all those comments above.

    After about 30 seconds, I realized there was something greater going on here.

    This guy, Dr Terence Kealey, has realized the CAGW fraud is fast becoming a train wreck, approaching the brick wall at high speed with no brakes.

    In his mind, he is trying to limit the damage, i.e. He is trying to negotiate his way out of harms way using a method known as “dispersion of guilt”. This is common knee jerk tactics when the wrong doer is caught with his hand in the cookie jar. “People have committed this crime before so it can’t be all that bad.” “They were worse than me so I must be better”.
    A complete chapter could be written again on this, but you get my drift !
    Thus the “plea bargain” in the justice system, because the criminal mind is at the point to bargain for a lesser degree of guilt.

    This attempt at negotiation, part of the downfall procedure, is at last an admission that there are some in the ACGW camp that know that the scam is finished, and soon.

    Best news since November 19, 2009. Get the popcorn and watch the wreck

  98. Chris in (cold)Hervey Bay says:

    I too was in total dismay after I had read the article above, and my first reactions were similar to all those comments above.

    After about 30 seconds, I realized there was something greater going on here.

    This guy, Dr Terence Kealey, has realized the CAGW fraud is fast becoming a train wreck, approaching the brick wall at high speed with no brakes.

    In his mind, he is trying to limit the damage, i.e. He is trying to negotiate his way out of harms way using a method known as “dispersion of guilt”. This is common knee jerk tactics when the wrong doer is caught with his hand in the cookie jar. “People have committed this crime before so it can’t be all that bad.” “They were worse than me so I must be better”. A complete chapter could be written again on this, but you get my drift ! Thus the “plea bargain” in the justice system, because the criminal mind is at the point to bargain for a lesser degree of guilt.

    This attempt at negotiation, part of the downfall procedure, is at last an admission that there are some in the ACGW camp that know that the scam is finished, and soon.

    Best news since November 19, 2009. Get the popcorn and watch the wreck

  99. Peter Miller says:

    I found myself surprised by the eloquence and reasoned thinking of most of the comments here.

    However, all Kealey really said was: “Scientists are generally paid for producing results. ‘Climate scientists’ are paid out of the public purse, so don’t be surprised that they produce results which the politicians want, namely justification to increase taxes.”

    He did not say this was right, but rather you should not be surprised to learn what really motivates the Team and those behind the IPCC to produce their data distorted reports.

  100. anna v says:

    In defense of Pythagoras, since this is the first time I heard of this, and since the irrationality of the square root of two was known before Hypassus time,

    Plato in his Theaetetus,[16] describes how Theodorus of Cyrene (c. 400 BC) proved the irrationality of √3, √5, etc. up to √17, which implies that an earlier mathematician had already proved the irrationality of √2.

    ……
    In the hands of modern writers this combination of vague ancient reports and modern guesswork has sometimes evolved into a much more emphatic and colourful tale. Some writers have Hippasus making his discovery while on board a ship, as a result of which his Pythagorean shipmates toss him overboard;[20] while one writer even has Pythagoras himself “to his eternal shame” sentencing Hippasus to death by drowning, for showing “that √2 is an irrational number.”[21]

    Seems that , like the da Vinci myths, real history and fiction get mixed up.

    and I agree with Gary Crough December 29, 2010 at 5:58 pm ,
    that science is a discipline coming out of the enlightenment and Renaissance.
    I disagree that these are two different lines:
    Science (the scientific method) was the tool that allowed seekers of knowledge to break away from both the word of the Pope and the word of the dead Greek experts.

    The word of the Pope was what kept progress in science for 1500 years and the dead Greek experts in the forefront. If Christianity had not prevailed in the form it did, knowledge would have evolved naturally. It was the christian dogma that wanted to see the world through the bible that latched on to the Aristotelian propositions of science, instead of the numerous others that also had been proposed, from the heliocentric system of Aristarchos to the atoms of Demokritos a lot of seeds grown after the enlightenment existed equal in philosophic value as the Aristotelian view. If they were taught in the normal process of education, progress in science would have come centuries earlier, as is the natural process of things..

    It was the straight jacket imposed on thought ( thought police) that led to the lynching of Hypatia of Alexandria by maddened christian monks .Hypatia was the last great thinker in the line of greek philosophers and scientists. Christian dogma was also responsible for the burning of the Alexandrian library and all those pagan blasphemies.
    Theophilus, Bishop of Alexandria, who ordered the destruction of the Serapeum in 391.[1]

  101. Zorro says:

    So how many women and babies died because forceps were kept secret for pure financial gain? The climate fraudsters are playing the same game and getting succor from the hallowed halls of academia and ignorant politicians. Sickening.

  102. BravoZulu says:

    I found that to be one of the most poorly reasoned arguments ever written. It completely misrepresents the difference between advocating a legitimate position and what can only be called propaganda from those that selectively manipulate data to get to a desired outcome. The scientists were hiding their data so that it couldn’t get proper review. That is inexcusable. They were paid by the public and the public was asked to make policy based on that data. They were ethically bound to share it and that is how science works. Science isn’t about just taking the opinion of self anointed experts.

    Justifying their action based on the “Well, others did it in the past” is pathetic. Others in the past have also been psychopaths. We should excuse all unethical behavior based on that line of reasoning. They went far beyond being just advocates when they manipulated the data to fit their political and personal agendas. That should be just as criminal as any other kind of fraud. I am sure that most people in jail for corporate fraud were also advocating a particular projected outcome. They got into trouble by selectively manipulating data or failing to report it accurately or completely. Why does some CEO go to jail for that and these guys get a free pass? The answer is obvious. They are political activists and protected by activist politicians and most conservative politicians don’t have the will to take on a protected class of activist because they call themselves scientists.

  103. jon bannerman says:

    You can keep all your little secrets if they have no bearing on the rest of us. You do not however live apart from us and when your research is used to change our way of life via legislation, taxation etc, then you have a moral duty to open yourself to scrutiny.

    No one is above the natural law.

  104. Geoff Sherrington says:

    There are several strong examples of the railroading of emergent science in Australia. References above to the Warren/Marshall Nobel laureates are but one.

    Professor S Warren Carey was an early adopter of plate tectonics and later encouraged investigation into an “expanding earth” theory, both of which were initially unacceptable to the mainstream. If you have the interest, please read

    http://www.science.org.au/fellows/memoirs/carey.html#8g

    One particular passage (edited here for brevity) is:

    “Relationship with the Australian Academy of Science.
    “Carey’s relationship with the Australian Academy of Science was stormy to say the least. The record will show that he accepted Fellowship of the Academy following a telephone call from Sir Rutherford Robertson on 27 April 1989. ….

    “The long-running dispute between Carey and the Academy had begun several decades earlier.

    “Until the institution of the Australian Academy of Science in 1954, representation of Australia in international scientific bodies had been through the Australian National Research Council, of which Carey had been a Fellow since 1938. When the Academy of Science came into being, with twelve of the 24 Foundation Fellows being Fellows of the Royal Society of London working in Australia, Carey was not offered Fellowship. This, he believed, was because of objections by some Fellows who considered that his advocacy of continental drift was so outrageous that any adherent in its ranks would bring discredit to the Academy.

    Carey submitted his orocline paper to the Journal of the Geological Society of Australia that year and it was reviewed perchance by three Fellows of the Academy, and rejected. In consequence, he wrote that he would never allow put his name to be put forward for election to the Academy, nor again submit a paper for publication by the Geological Society of Australia. The lines were drawn!

    Following the success of the Continental Drift Symposium, Sir Harold Raggatt asked Carey’s permission in 1958 to put his name forward for Fellowship. Carey declined, citing the issue of the rejection of his paper.

    In February 1969 …. again he declined nomination, comparing his earlier treatment with that of William Smith when publication of his Geological Map of the England and Wales was rejected by the Geological Society of London early in the nineteenth century. …. He further stated that ‘I do not think that the Academy will amount to anything geologically in my lifetime’.” end of quote.

    This is the same Australian Academy of Science that this year preferred to remain silent when asked which guidelines it used when adopting an unvarnished rewrite of the IPCC position and issuing it as a public discussion paper.

    http://www.science.org.au/reports/climatechange2010.pdf

    Sam and friends and I spent many hours together discussing the merits of plate tectonics and some far reaching implications. It is sad that he is no longer here to add to the philosophy of evaluation of the emerging hypothesis.

    BTW, much of the essay at the head of this thread by Terence Kealey is immature and unsupported. One becomes much wiser when actively dealing with a problem, than when merely observing it from the sidelines.

  105. Martin Lewitt says:

    Scientists were human in the past, the were jealous, secretive, and clung to beliefs far to long in the face of contrary evidence. What conclusion did Dr. Kealey draw from this obviously true observation? That it is excusable as human for those claiming to be scientists to be advocates who refrain from open sharing of their methods and data.

    Dr. Kealey failed to understand the lessons of the past he actually cited. Those valuing science in the past understood the need for intellectual honesty and openness, enough to establish standards and to encourage openness by granting priority to those who share and publish. The human failings of scientists in the past is not a reason to excuse such behavior, but rather is just as much reason today as in the past to insist on open disclosure of data and methods and to cultivate intellectual honesty. Those of us who love science love it, not because scientists are advocates great at hoarding their data, but because science aspires to higher standards of proof, skepticism, openness and integrity. The climategate “scientists” were pilloried because they obviously failed to aspire to those standards, and the credibility of their science and unfortunately, all of climate science suffered.

    There is another aspect of human social nature that Dr. Kealey forgot, the value they place on honor, fairness and cooperation and their recognition that this requires being good at detecting deceit and verifying that others have an open hand. That humans are capable of deceit, bias and concealment only increases the social need for standards and verification. I doubt even Dr. Kealey would deny that the scientist who is open and helpful in the sharing of his data and methods and has the intellectual honesty to admit uncertainty, possible sources of error and conflicting explanations has more credibility. Unfortunately, humans can also find claims of confidence and certainty persuasive, but those claims lose their persuasive power if the proponent’s integrity and openness is questionable.

  106. dp says:

    I don’t remember when I’ve read such a büttløad of crap so I’m going to assume its late and I’m tired and will re-read again tomorrow. But for now, yes, of course I expect scientists to separate their passions from the science. I also have no belief it is probable, but that belief does not shade my expectations. For what it is worth I also expect my surgeon to be qualified, interested in my health, capable of doing the work, and not engaging me as a patient for the paycheck. I also expect he/she will not be using me as a lab to develop some hidden agenda.

    I expect similar high ground from lawyers, architects, and construction firms that build the bridges I will drive over on my commute to work. If any of them have this notion that their core purpose is to advocate that which they cannot prove yet strongly believe in then I want them off the payroll. Especially when they have no freaking proof or hope of proving their pet notions.

  107. Chants says:

    There is a huge difference between concealing research data to protect a trade secret versus concealing research data driving an important public policy debate. With a trade secret, e.g., 17th c. obstetric forceps, if the secret gets out then it loses nearly all its value. With no value, there is no drive to innovate.

    With research pushing a public policy debate, the opposite is true. It gains value the more it is revealed. One should push it into daylight, convince everyone, and ensure that the correct policy decision is made.

    Unless, of course, all that data is dodgy. Then, yes, you’d want to keep that a secret.

    But other than conflating two types of research data, (a minor point, really), that was a very interesting essay. I particularly liked the discussion concerning Pythagoras. Much like the the Team, Pythagoras and his ideas drove public policy. It was prestigious, both for him and Greece. So when poor Hippasus started making some inconvenient observations, he threatened not only Pythagoras, but also Greece, and he was executed.

    But in this day and age, if some people think the public naive to be outraged by a puppet show on a cave wall, then I guess the last 2000 years of Western Philosophy has been a waste of time.

  108. Mike Jonas says:

    RockyRoad says: “Where oh where is Anthony Watts when you need him? This has got to be one of the worst articles ever posted on WUWT, but I shall not kill the messenger–just his message.

    One of the worst articles? Certainly.
    But it was a good post – Anthony Watts not needed.
    And IMHO, in the WUWT context, it was an important post, because it lets us see inside the warped mind of a contemporary university vice-chancellor. Is this an isolated example, or is this the universal consequence of a postmodernist society? I suspect the latter.

  109. Zeke the Sneak says:

    It’s like watching people growing ass’s ears and tails and starting to bray.

  110. David Corcoran says:

    This article is a great explanation of why “the Team” feels no moral qualms about cooking data, stacking peer-review, and attacking critics by any means possible. Apparently that’s the real scientific method.

    Thanks, Dr. Kealey, for your bracing honesty. Now we know what the public must do to defend itself from the depradations of these hucksters: Defund government-funded science.

  111. John F. Hultquist says:

    I agree with Katherine (at 8:14) and Paul P. (at 8:29)

    Advertisements are presented publicly in anticipation that at least someone will buy your product. Those buying the “subsidized” climate science product peaked a while back. Can we now stop the subsidy and our governments and pseudo-governments from trying to tax us into submission to support their own growth. There are real issues to be addressed. Wider availability of clean water is one among many.

  112. don penman says:

    The scientific method will not solve all the problems in the world.Great science and Great scientists flourished amongst extreme poverty.Many people would have us believe that scientists are responsible for the increase in wealth that we enjoy today and this underlies the activism that we see today,If science can make us rich or it can make us poor then it can make us rich using a different low carbon way.It is necessary to think critically about whether the policies these scientists advocate is in the interests of all of us or just in the interests of these scientists.

  113. memoryvault says:

    Can we just introduce a dose of reality here?

    At the end of the day these “scientists” (and I use the term loosely), were paid public servants charged with advising the government on changing climate conditions. They were given a large amount of taxpayer’s funds to accomplish this.

    Rather than tell the truth of their findings, they told the government what they assumed the government wanted to hear. Then they falsified data to support their erroneous advice, and then worked behind the scenes to discredit anyone who may have given the government more accurate data.

    The government, in turn, was able to use that mis-information to justify many decisions, including, but limited to:
    • Investing in and promoting the construction of wind-turbines instead of “real” base-load power stations (coal and nuclear);
    • Preventing private investment in and the construction of “real” base-load power stations;
    • Not increasing gas reserve holdings;
    • Councils not increasing holdings of grit and salt;
    • Councils and other bodies selling off snow-plows and other snow-clearing equipment.

    If the big freeze gripping the UK continues for much longer or repeats itself too often over the next few months, it is not hard to imagine the following consequences of those decisions:
    • Gas reserves running out and millions of people losing their primary source of home-heating;
    • Widespread blackouts due to load-shedding as those people attempt to switch to electricity to try and keep warm – plunging even more millions into cold and dark;
    • Supermarket shelves running empty as delivery trucks fail to arrive due to iced over, impassable roads due a lack of grit and salt;
    • People unable to get to the supermarkets anyway because of the snowdrifts that can’t be cleared, due to the lack of equipment.

    In short, people are going to die as a result of those decisions. Those deaths will be on top of the billions of pounds worth of already lost productivity, with road, rail and air transport ground to a halt.

    If these “scientist” public servants had created this life-threatening scenario merely through staggering incompetence, they would still be guilty of monstrous negligence of duty.

    That they falsified data, lied and schemed to deliberately help bring about this situation elevates them to mass-murderer status. The sooner the trials and public hangings begin, the better.

    Let’s see if Kealey has the gonads to appear as a witness for the defence, and explain how it was all a matter of “boys being boys – everybody does it so it’s alright”.

  114. Baa Humbug says:

    I was wondering what was wrong with our educational institutions these days.

    Thnx to Dr Kealey, now I know.

    It’s sad really.

  115. Capn Jack Walker says:

    The Methode states outside of Private Funding,

    Put up or shut the fock up. Prove or walk. Not blackmail, not censorship, not advertisement, not bullshit, walk.

    Not a debating society on metaphors, make yer case and make it black and white. Prove it to the highest tests we have not philosophy, measurement as we know it.

    You are allowed comments on impacts, after proof. Impacts of your research on an issue are not the case, the case is your proof. Make it or walk. Prove the issue.

    Proof means all and everything, you hang yer hat on yer proof not yer excuses, and if you cannot do that, go and write fiction about what if’s.

    The word science actually has a generic root, it means enquiry.

    Science methode don’t actually encompass morality or ethics. A thing is or not.

    Mods I’m out bin me, out for a day, anything else gibber gibber.

  116. James Sexton says:

    Sorry, haven’t had an opportunity to read all of the comments, I can only assume I am echoing other sentiments already stated.

    Dr. Kealey, I don’t know what your function is at UB, but in my diatribe, I’m assuming you’ve a position of authority over some other scientists.

    Holy rationalizations Batman!

    Dr. Kealey,

    You know, I get the fact that scientists are human. I came to grips with this fact many years ago. I’m even willing to accept the fact that some get into their profession for less than altruistic motivations. And personally, I couldn’t care less…….if they lived in a vacuum. Dr. Kealey, this is your lucky day, I’m going to impart some insight to you that you apparently lack.

    It is the scientists themselves that anointed scientists as “keepers of truth” and “seekers of knowledge”. They are the ones that have beatified all of their profession and pronounced us laymen as unworthy of being able to understand their truth and knowledge. While in normal times, your pontifications may have been welcomed and considered refreshing, to speak these words now smacks of extenuation. Sorry, after over 30 years of getting it wrong, lying to the public, hiding material and contrived methodologies, vilifying anyone that may disagree, to the point that peoples livelihoods were destroyed, and a myriad of other monstrous actions, for you to come and say scientists are only human, I say bullocks(In America, I call BS). They have absolutely shown themselves to contain less than a modicum human decency. Dear God! Have you seen what some have tried to do to Dr. Wegman? You know, if they were studying the mating habits of wombats or revisiting the degree that light bends around objects, or discovering some unique chemical interaction when a basophil degranulates, no one would care. But, that isn’t the group of scientists we are discussing. Is it Dr. Kealey? We are specifically discussing people that call themselves climate scientists. You know, that discipline of science that allows people to make wild assertions without being held to supply even a modicum of proof.

    Some other things I’m sure you are aware of, but apparently, some people in your general profession(science) have no compunction regarding. Laws are being passed because of things like the contrived IMMINENT glacier melt. Now, these laws aren’t just any laws, these laws have bearing on lives, and livelihoods on a global scale! It isn’t hyperbole or overreaching to say people have lost their lives because of this latest science debacle. Economies are being ruined. PEOPLE ARE FREEZING TO DEATH! while your nation blow-dries your whirligigs to keep them from seizing! Now typically, I’d say, “well, that’s what the Brits did. It doesn’t effect me.” But it does effect me. My country, and other countries around the world are passing the same laws, planting the same insipid whirligigs at a huge expense, pretending that they may be of some use. Why? Because this (and many other equally vapid actions) is exactly what scientists have told our policy makers to do.

    Scientists, Dr. Kealey. Your scientists. Your profession. Your colleagues. Your academia. The very same group of people for whom you’ve offered this extenuating excuse of , ‘well, they’re human after all’, as if that absolves them of their actions. I’m sorry, Dr. Kealey, that isn’t good enough. I would say, to all the scientists out there, “If you can’t do better than that, you owe it to the world to get out of that profession.”

    One last bit of insight I will impart to you Dr. Kealey. Memories are usually very short. In this instance, though, I think the opposite will hold true. The world will not forget anytime soon. Climate science in particular, but also science as a whole has a very slight window of opportunity to police themselves. This great climate debate is all but over. Unless the earth suddenly and dramatically warms very soon, it will be relegated to the trash heap of history. When it becomes apparent to the decision makers and the general populace of the world that is was only a morbid contrivance of some socialist Malthusians, they will turn their weary eyes towards the scientists. I pray, for the good of humanity, that science by that time, will have done the things necessary to prevent a re-occurrence of this nasty bit of unscientific history.

    Regards,

    James Sexton

  117. Capn Jack Walker says:

    The Methode states outside of Private Funding,

    Put up or shut the fock up. Prove or walk. Not blackmail, not censorship, not advertisement, not bullshit, walk.

    Not a debating society on metaphors, make yer case and make it black and white. Prove it to the highest tests we have not philosophy, measurement as we know it.

    You are allowed comments on impacts, after proof. Impacts of your research on an issue are not the case, the case is your proof. Make it or walk. Prove the issue.

    Proof means all and everything, you hang yer hat on yer proof not yer excuses, and if you cannot do that, go and write fiction about what if’s.

    The word science actually has a generic root, it means enquiry.

    Science methode don’t actually encompass morality or ethics. A thing is or not. the issue of discussion.

    Mods I’m out bin me, out for a day, anything else gibber gibber.

  118. Christopher Hanley says:

    Dr Kealey’s essay is very revealing.

    It reeks of a brazen arrogance which is typical of his ilk.

    To reiterate the point made by others, scientists who accept public funding don’t have the luxury of owning the raw data, their methods, the results of their endeavors etc.

    Such arrogance, unwittingly betrayed, invites its own nemesis.

  119. Neil Jones says:

    The problem isn’t that Scientists are advocates, the problem is that the system set up to deal with that, Freedom of Speech, is being undermined because the people who decide what to publish are also becoming advocates.

    When pro and anti papers have equal exposure with proofs open to test and repudiation then science progresses because those not involved can use balanced judgement to decide. When one side seek to “silence” those on the other, whether by murder, suppression, refusal to publish or abuse then the scientific process breaks down.

    When looking at AGW clearly this is occurring.

  120. JPeden says:

    Scientists therefore select particular theories out of a range of possibilities. And they then (being human) design experiments to prove their own theories right. Consequently, contrary to what many people believe that Karol Popper wrote, science is in practice not about falsification.2 In practice great scientists ignore embarrassing data, and they refuse to feel falsified when they don’t want to be.

    Good god, “feel falsified” – I can’t believe he actually said it! But I guess that’s why Kealey thinks his ideas about science must be right, too. They can’t be falsified because he simply won’t let his ideas be falsified, a mechanism which actually describes the workings of the totally useless kind of Conspiracy Theory where its adherents, again, simply won’t let it be falsified, essentially by employing the infantile, “whaaaaa stomp stomp, no, you can’t make me [feel falsified]” tactic, which can also be upgraded a bit to the Malignant Narcissist’s feelings of total infallibility.

    Strangely, Climate Science’s CAGW “tenets” and method come to mind, speaking of which, the first sentence of Kealey’s quote above perfectly describes the convenient use of Climate Science’s Models as “experiments” and “proofs”, which Kealey must surely seen as a truely inspired epitome of the method used by all “great scientists”, instead of as a method which should be mostly useful to anyone wanting very badly to escape the real world, when hallucinatory drugs are not handy.

  121. Ceri Reid says:

    Interesting, and true. But beside the point.

    The point is not how individual scientists work, it’s how science works. So although we understand, say, Hansen’s need to ignore every piece of confounding evidence, that doesn’t mean it’s excusable. It’s still bad science. The essay confuses what is ‘normal’ and ‘accepted’ behaviour by individuals with what is acceptable by science as a whole.

    It’s also a rather pointless analysis in the context that Climate Science operates. Is the writer really saying that senior scientists have license (explicit or implied) to deny facts when it suits them, even when this has profound and expensive effects on public policy? One of the problems here is that the normal (small-minded, ambitious) attitudes of individual scientists have been allowed to expensively misdirect public policy and public spending. That is indefensible, and telling the public to stop being so naive is also indefensible. These people are paid from the public purse and have a duty not to misinform the public. Mostly that duty amounts to keeping their damn’ mouths shut when they don’t know what they’re talking about. (Which, like most of us is nearly all the time).

    In 99% of the history of science, when an individual was wrong and adamant about it and didn’t change his views until he died, it had no effect at all on the public. This is not the case with Climate Science (and with various other areas of research that have affected public policy in the last 50 years). The obligations of scientists whose work impacts public policy are clearly different from those whose work doesn’t.

    I do think that some education in the history and philosophy of science would go a long way. Most people in technical disciplines will have education in this area only if their leisure reading has led them there. At the very least, Hansen, Jones et al. should have a slave following them about whispering ‘Remember you are mortal’.

  122. DMJ says:

    I point you to http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/resource-1891-2005.49.pdf for a very interesting post Kuhnian take on climate science

  123. anopheles says:

    I did not read it the way almost all commenters have. I think they have the wrong end of the stick. This guy is an observer, not an advocate, and he wants to point out that we are all human, and this affects scientists too. It’s all very well knowing how things ought to work in an ideal world, but we have to deal with the world as it is. This is how it is, and always was. Things are not perfect. AGW scientists cheat. We have to expect it, and correct it, where it occurs. Now take that and insert any other field for AGW. Same applies.

  124. Ian H says:

    Those who study the philosophy of science often produce a view of the subject unrecognisable to scientists themselves. And so it is here.

    The problem is the tendency of those who study a thing to try to resolve dichotomy; to attempt to definitively classify science as one thing OR the other where in fact it is quite often one thing AND the other. The argument here presents a false dichotomy between science as a public good carried out dispassionately by idealists, and as a private good carried out for purely personal gain by selfish human beings, and argues in favor of the latter. In fact it is both.

    Science IS an idealistic calling which expects high standards of rationality, open mindedness, and selfless ethical behavior. And it is these ideals that attract many people to science. But scientists are also human beings who have to make a living. And so alongside this ideal version of science, this platonic ideal as it were, this temple of pure thought and rationality; there exists the day to day reality, the dirty business of making a living as a scientist. Because sadly pure ideals don’t pay the bills.

    Science as a career is a very human institution full of real people with all the usual human flaws. It is a hierarchy just like in the business world where people climb to the top often over the bodies of their colleagues, where the coin of progress is not the advancement of knowledge per se but mere publication in peer reviewed journals, and where in the day to day grind of trying to get ahead, the ideals of science can often seem distant.

    But those ideals still exist. They are still real. They are still revered. And they can still be invoked to bring people to heel when they get too far out of line. Similarly the private benefit to their careers that individual scientists may gain by publishing doesn’t invalidate the fact that the output of the scientific process as a whole is usually a public good.

    Feynman describes the situation in science as analogous to the distinction between a religion and a church. A religion is a set of ideals. A church is the very human institution which usually fails to live up to those ideals. But the failings of the church do not invalidate the ideals of the religion. It is the same with science.

  125. Tucci78 says:

    The problem with any attempt to draw a parallel between the anthropogenic global warming charlatans and the geologists following the lead of Sir Charles Lyell is that Lyell and his successors upholding the “ancient earth” hypothesis didn’t deliberately and concertedly cook their data to prevent refutation of their conclusions.

    Nor did Lyell’s followers, when confronted by those colleagues who had “calculated [the planetary core's] rate of heat loss [to conclude] that the earth could be only a few millions of years old,” make deliberate and concerted effort to suppress the publications of their contrarian colleagues. They simply noted that the “cooling earth” theorists had advanced an idea which didn’t explain the evidence directly observed (“the rate of erosion of cliffs” and other phenomena providing correlative information) and kept on plugging away.

    The difference between Lyell’s followers in geology, y’see, and the AGW fraudsters is enormous. In the former case, intellectual honesty and a respect for the empirical prevailed. In the latter, methodological gormlessness was exacerbated by pure cupidity to produce what has got to be the most egregious manure pile of suppressio veri, suggestio falsi in the history of science.

    And I use that legal term with explicit intention. I want to unleash the tort lawyers on them, and see them hounded into penury, insanity, and public disgrace until each of their various carcasses are handed over to the undertakers. They have certainly been culpable of professional misfeasances rising to the level of malpractice, and the damages they have imposed upon their victims – both proximal and distal – have gotten to levels at which assessment requires us to borrow techniques of mathematical calculation hitherto reserved for the use of astrophysicists.

    If us medical doctors have got to live under the blade of the ATLA guillotine, why the hell shouldn’t the global warming “climatology” fraudsters?

  126. Barry Woods says:

    The University of Buckingham is uniquely funded in the UK, he can be very independent..

    As a member of the GWPF (a very sceptical to AGW organisation,) I think he is pragmatically telling the world in the essay about the reliaties of science…

    Tale a look just who else is on the GWPF advisory board……

    http://thegwpf.org/who-we-are/academic-advisory-council.html

    Professor Ross Mckitrick, Professor Carter, Professor LIndzen, Professor Plimer, Professor Hal Lewis, Professor Stott, Professor Tol.. and many more

    I think that it is safe to saythat the GWPF is on the non AGW consensus side of the debate.. and then some.

    he is nor defending anybody…

    [Should that be: "He is not defending anybody"? Robt]

  127. Louis says:

    If the scientists who invented global warming had kept the invention a secret and blindfolded anyone who wanted to buy carbon credits and locked them in a room, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. In fact, I wish they had kept it a secret. But don’t ask me to reduce my carbon footprint back to the stoneage, pay higher energy prices and fork over taxes to fund research if all the data are not going to be made available to verify.

    If “no-one should expect a scientist to be anything other than a biased advocate” then that’s all the more reason not to trust them until their findings can be duplicated independently. To say that scientists are “biased advocates” for their own self interest, and then expect us to trust that they have OUR best interest at heart is laughable.

  128. rk says:

    well, this topic is getting depressing. Yes, scientists are human.

    But this is a particular type of humanness. The In group against an intruder (out group). The failure to provide data is a different requirement for climate scientists, as opposed to most other scientists. Providing method is always required….but isn’t true that Mann was reluctant to provide enough of his method?

    The other part that was just hinted at in the piece in the funding. We have quite a nice climate industry. I saw an Antarctic piece on the Science channel….as always, interesting….but many UMass people on the expedition. I’m sure everyone is on the same page, as are all the other teams of climate sciences.

    what we have is a large infrastructure for studying climate…my guess would be the confirmation bias, and generalizing from small groups of observations and groupthink are common

    So then it becomes not so much the idiosyncratic nature of one or several individuals, it becomes a system. And that system is within the orbit of the general Political system…as seen by the origins of RealClimate.

    Unfortunately, while the theories may outlast individuals, they have become systematic…at least until it become obvious that they are wrong

  129. Jeef says:

    tl;dr – the history of science teaches us all about the modern corruption of science, Humanity enver learns.

  130. Tucci78 says:

    At 5:44 PM on 29 December, timheyes had written:

    A bigger load of hogwash I have not read.

    By the reasoning above it is OK for a drug company to produce “evidence” of a drug’s efficacy but not reveal this evidence to scrutiny and therefore profit from any old snake oil.

    By the reasoning above it is acceptable for tobacco companies to produce their own studies about how cigarettes are not carcinogenic.

    .
    Gotta quibble, if only because timheyes is drawing improper parallels.

    (1) A pharmaceuticals manufacturer who gets evidence of a new chemical entity (NCE) having therapeutic efficacy would be out of his corporate friggin’ mind to suppress promulgation of that information. It’s a marketing point. You want people to know that your promising pipeline item is able to secure clinical outcomes at such-and-so rates.

    It’s adverse safety data that the pharma companies shuffle and wheedle and handwave to suppress. Look up Vioxx (rofecoxib, Merck) and the events of 2004 associated therewith. That’s when we found our that the manufacturer had suppressed safety data aggregated in the 1998 VIGOR trial to make their “blockbuster” COX2 inhibitor look less likely to predispose patients to thrombotic cardiovascular and cerebrovascular occlusions than was actually the case.

    Once that particular rock got flipped over, all the rest of the unpleasant risk information about rofecoxib and other COX2-selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) got the recognition a lot of us had been suspecting was being suppressed by the pharma companies and the FDA regulators they’d captured.

    Yet another case of “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.” Government regulation is invariably undertaken at the behest of established actors in the market segment to be regulated, chiefly as a means of suppressing competition. And regulatory capture is something those established corporations count upon.

    (2) If the tobacco companies can come up with objective and verifiable evidence that smoking is not carcinogenic, does anybody except persons arguably psychopathic want to suppress that information?

    The epidemiologic support for tobacco carcinogenicity began to accrue many, many decades ago. Moreover, the correlation between tobacco smoking and both acute and chronic respiratory diseases was appreciable despite the fact that medical practitioners in the 19th Century actually prescribed “asthma cigarettes” and suchlike similar blithering nonsense. The damned things weren’t commonly called “coffin nails” for nothing.

    Gawd, I’m old enough to remember when the tobacco companies used doctors in their advertising. There used to be cigarette ads in JAMA.

    But if – and I’m using the conditional with due deliberation – there’s something else figuring in smokers’ high rates of cancer, I sure as hell want to learn about it.

    timheyes, the problem with your statement about the tobacco companies is that it’s explicitly suppressive. Yeah, the cigarette manufacturers have always had a helluvan incentive to lie about their addictive and invidious products. So?

    By the same token, every time a politician opens his mouth to bamboozle the public, he ought to get a slug in the kisser. Ceteris paribus, he’s lying with malice aforethought and intent to criminally injure the private citizenry every waking minute of every day, right?

  131. Christopher Hanley says:

    I, for one, may have misunderstood Dr Kealey’s point.

    I apologize for my criticism of him personally, but I stand by my general point about publicly-funded scientists.

  132. Joe Prins says:

    Dr. T. Kealey:
    After reading your rather warbling little essay, my first question was: What is this man trying to say?
    Why did he dig up some little known tidbits from the past and do this in a very haphazard way? Two thoughts occurred almost at once: “Watch for the pea” and “look how smart I am”. I am therefore going to quote you Lord Thurlow as Lord Chancellor: “I’ll be perfectly frank with you, Gentlemen. I am against you and for the established church. Not that I like the established church a bit better than any other church, but because it is established. And whenever you can get your damned religion established, I’ll be for that too.” To put a point on it, Dr. Kealey, you write as the perfect fence sitting bureaucrat that is for anything that the powers that be are for, and against everything else because those same cheque writers are against it. This brings me to your “pea”. It is true that the Royal Society was established to aid and abet the “peer” review. It is however no great surprise to me that the corresponding corollary is omitted: It would keep competing, undesirable (read: foreign) knowledge and scientists out. In other words, if you were not part of the Royal Society, you were just noise. (see my quote, above). I therefore will suggest to Dr. T. Kealey that he read the Wiki page on scurvy and Dr. James Lind. Tens of thousands of sailors died because the Royal Navy was not for established research and therefore against it. Perhaps, in a few years time when the lights go out in Birmingham because the windmills cannot produce enough electricity that the shut down coal plants did provide, Dr. Kealey will mutter to himself:
    “How was I to know that I was supposed to use my own mind? I relied on you to use yours ethically!”

  133. UK Sceptic says:

    That is presuming that scientists base their theories on observable science rather than poorly programmed computer models with a built-in groupthink bias which is as far from real science as you can get.

  134. Dacron Mather says:

    Latakos and Fyerabend ?

    Nothing testifies to the sheer silliness of the anti-climate science agenda like seeing Mount Pelerin on the postmodern skids .

  135. Tucci78 says:

    Anent the Chamberlens’ proprietary chokehold on obstetrical forceps, at 10:32 PM on 29 December Zorro had written:

    So how many women and babies died because forceps were kept secret for pure financial gain? The climate fraudsters are playing the same game and getting succor from the hallowed halls of academia and ignorant politicians. Sickening.

    .
    Nope. There’s much of that kind of “It’s mine, and you can’t make me!” stuff going on in the practice of medicine today, and it will always be so.

    Nobody who innovates in any area of endeavor – medical or otherwise – is morally obliged to hand over the product of his effort to anybody. When officers of civil government intervene to compel such disgorgement or disclosure, they’re acting as criminals, no matter what legal fictions are muttered in the courts of law or other public fora.

    In the course of my own personal professional career, I’ve known plenty of colleagues who had come up with some kind of trick or technique that gave them a competitive edge of some kind. Almost every one of them emphatically did not spread that information around, or teach it to his medical students, or talk about it at hospital staff meetings, particularly if he knew that it could be easily picked up and used by other practitioners.

    Even with professional licensing (which has pretty much nothing whatsoever to do with ensuring that the guy with the license is really going to treat you safely and effectively) designed to restrict patients’ options, doctors can’t force people to seek out their care.

    Even in the HMO era, where us family doctors get “incentivized” to deny the mangled care clients access to expensive tests and treatments, us primary care grunts have got to get people to select us so we can be paid that regular monthly pittance. They either perceive us as better than the doc down the street or we starve.

    So guys work up patient-pleasing tricks, and if they come across something particularly effective, they do not encourage their colleagues to copy them.

    The practice of medicine is a business. That’s one of the reasons why doctors try – all the time – to do their jobs more effectively. All other things being equal, the ones who are most effective tend to make more money.

    They also rise in the esteem of their colleagues, but the money is damned important. That’s why Obamacare and the rest of the “socialized medicine” stupidity is so invidious. If you just reduce the matter to a consideration of Skinnerian behavioral conditioning, you’ve gotta understand that depriving the pigeon of those feed pellets is gonna result in a helluva lot less purposeful and therefore effective pecking.

    Though I suppose you’d always have plenty of people entering medicine for nothing more than the pleasure of being able to meet perfect strangers, tell them to take all their clothes off, and then do painful and embarrassing things to their shivering flesh.

    The “climate fraudsters,” however, are decidedly notplaying the same game” as had the Chamberlens.

    In the latter case, those monopoly obstetricians were claiming to get improved results and (you’ll pardon any inadvertent pun) delivering on their claims. In the latter, the AGW fraudsters were claiming an ability to interpret observational data, derive from those observations reliable predictions of outcomes, and voice definitive policy recommendations to mitigate what they claimed would be adverse outcomes.

    In every particular, these “climatologists” were lying.

    The Chamberlen family simply withheld information that could have been beneficial to lots of patients, and that’s nasty-damned-mean of them. But the various generations of Drs. Chamberlen didn’t take active steps to prevent anybody else from inventing obstetrical forceps, did they? Had somebody come up with the same idea, would the Drs. Chamberlen have precluded other obstetricians’ use thereof? Could they have, even with today’s intellectual property laws in force?

    When I was taking that History of Medicine course as a first-year medical student, the story of obstetrical forceps was mentioned, and it goes back a lot longer than the Chamberlen family. There’s reason to understand that the idea of a crash helmet with a handle to get a neonate’s noggin through the curve of Carus goes back to times when you wrote your progress notes in hieroglyphics. It was a concept that got discovered, used, forgotten, re-developed, used again, lost again – over and over and over.

    Don’t be too hard on the Chamberlens. They were simply comporting themselves according to the prevailing standards of ethical conduct in the provision of a service to their customers.

  136. Roy says:

    Gary Crough wrote:

    “Second, I don’t think Pythagoras or anyone before say 1575 or 1600, was a scientist. Until the scientific method evolved (Perhaps Francis Bacon has a claim but I don’t think a single person can really lay claim to the idea) there was no science.”

    What an insult to the intellectual giants of antiquity! If you were drawing up a league table of the greatest scientists of all time would Archimedes be missing from it? Most people would include him in the top three, along with Newton and Einstein. If the poll were restricted to historians of science I would be surprised Archimedes only came in at number 3. He would probably be battling it out with Newton for the top spot with Einstein coming in third.

    Progress in science depends to a considerable extent on measurement and calculation. One of the greatest examples of this is the way in which Erastothenes calculated the circumference of the Earth.

    People living in past ages were every bit as clever as we are today and without their achievements we would still be living in the Stone Age.

  137. Mike Jonas says:

    anopheles says: “I did not read it the way almost all commenters have. I think they have the wrong end of the stick. This guy is an observer, not an advocate, and he wants to point out that we are all human, and this affects scientists too.“.

    Not so. See his use of the word should and its context.

  138. I do wonder why the Global Warming Policy Foundation have Dr Kealey on their team. But a lot of wisdom in the replies is a good antidote to his depressing, inaccurate, bombastic, partisan essay, with the exception of these words:

    Science is not the public good of modern myth, it is a collegiate and quasi-private or invisible college good. That means, by the way, that it requires no public subsidies. More relevantly, it means that individual scientist’s pronouncements should be seen more as advertisements than as definitive.

    Particularly I like the replies of
    Geoff Sherrington: December 29, 2010 at 9:49 pm
    Chris: December 29, 2010 at 9:58 pm
    anna v: December 29, 2010 at 10:29 pm, and
    memoryvault: December 29, 2010 at 11:28 pm (except for the call for hanging)

    Zeke the Sneak says: December 29, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    It’s like watching people growing ass’s ears and tails and starting to bray.

    Hahaha.

    Dr Kealey, like the CRU whitewashes, you are speaking for the defendants while ignoring the case for prosecution. Such miscarriage of the process of justice will only inflame the prosecution further.

  139. Dusty says:

    Perhaps papers should be published with a caveat like ‘DRAFT – NOT FOR SCRUTINY’ until such time as the author is willing to publish the original data, any computer code along with its documentation and all of the author’s discussion. This level of publication would serve to allow the scientist to puff his ego up because he got there first. Once the author is willing to publish a completed version so that the paper can be properly scrutinized, debated openly and, if possible, falsified the caveat should be removed.

    However, and most importantly, it should be absolutely clear to any government that it would be very unwise to base policy decisions on a version of any scientific paper carrying the NOT FOR SCRUTINY caveat.

  140. Rhys Jaggar says:

    Well, what a surprise.

    ‘Please Mr President, scientists are really just a bunch of self-serving, money-grabbing, self-publicists.’

    ‘Right: well as an equally self-serving, money-grabbing self-publicist myself, can I explain to you and your kind that unless your bunch of self-publicists help me to get re-elected, they can whistle for a pot to piss in in future.’

    ‘Of course Mr President. Supply us with a list of papers you would like to see published and I’ll organised the scientists to write them.’

    Science is indeed advancing………

  141. Tim Clark says:

    But Hippasus refused, so Pythagoras had him drowned.
    That’s what scientists are like in their natural state.

    So, the logical, data based scientist was drowned by the ego-driven, irrational, agenda-obsessed wacko. Are you describing J. Hansen?

    Hardly a proof of what a scientist should be. But you describe vividly what they shouldn’t be, but are in climate science.

  142. DEEBEE says:

    This is Craven — the seqiel

  143. Geoff Sherrington says:

    Lucy Skywalker says:
    December 30, 2010 at 2:59 am – re Geoff Sherrington et al

    Thank you for the compliment. I suspect we are seeing the wisdom that comes of age and experience showing through, versus the speculation of the still-learning youngsters. It is easy to observe that discipline has gone slack in the past 20 years, especially in some climate work. Geoff.

  144. Roger Knights says:

    Mac the Knife says:
    December 29, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    For humanity’s sake, Dr. Kealey, take some Beano!

    Didn’t Pythagoras have a thing about beans?

  145. Roger Knights says:

    Kealey isn’t really defending Climategate, except in a couple of weakly reasoned and overstated passages. He’s affiliated with the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which is a skeptics group.

    Rather, he’s engaging in hard-boiled sociology, rather like “judicial realism,” which is the (well-accepted) view that judges don’t try to interpret the (objective) law, but rather try to to find pretexts to inject their preferences into it. Consider:

    “no-one should expect a scientist to be anything other than a biased advocate.”

    And similar statements. His basic point seems to be that the public should be cynical about scientific findings and not put science up on a pedestal, implying, seemingly, that much of the “findings” and “consensuses” of “concerned” scientists should be treated as mere “advocacy research.”

  146. John A says:

    See? I told you it was a provocative, and I disagreed with the imputation that because scientists are human, they are entitled to the kinds of behaviour that the Hockey Team are particularly well known for.

  147. Viv Evans says:

    Dr Kealey’s apologia for the all-to-human AGW scientists is speckled with lots of famous names, but sadly, in his zeal to defend the indefensible he has overlooked a fundamental of scientific endeavour – and that is the thirst for knowledge, for exploration, for going where the experiment, or the observations, or, in philosophy, the argument leads.
    His essay does not touch on the underlying problem of climate ‘science’. This is not that it is publicly funded, it is that from the beginning it was based on a preconceived, political idea.
    I’m sure mentioning Maurice Strong in this context is sufficient.

    Thus his defense of scientists being activists anyway, and all of them being keen to promote just themselves falls flat on its face.
    Any criminal detective knows that having a preconceived idea of who the culprit is, to the exclusion of everybody else, will lead the investigation astray and may well lead to innocents being accused.

    So with scientific research. Excluding a priori the possibility that what I want to find out isn’t there, while torturing my data to show it is, is simply wrong.
    Has nobody taught them in their first year at Uni that no result is also a result – and sometimes even a way of driving experiments forward?

    It isn’t just the ‘boys-will-be-boys’ behaviour of The Team which is reprehensible – although it is that – it is that they call what they’re doing ‘science’.

    It isn’t – it is an aberration, and does not deserve to be defended, least of all by a Vice-Chancellor.

  148. LazyTeenager says:

    Terence philosophized
    ————-
    The scientist is restricted by his instruments, money, the attitudes of his colleagues, his playmates, and by innumerable physiological, sociological, historical constraints. –Paul Feyerabend, Against Method 1975
    ————
    Ahh so Terence is promoting the ideas of a left wing post modernist philosopher.
    Some of the baggage that comes along for the ride includes:
    — astrology is just as valid as science
    — scientific conclusions should be controlled by political committees.
    —————
    The ironies that spring forth when you are trying to make AGW go away by discrediting climate scientists.

    And such polite academic camouflage for an obnoxious aim.

  149. Dave L says:

    So now we understand the mindset of the participants in the Climategate whitewash inquiries.

  150. James Sexton says:

    John A says:
    December 30, 2010 at 5:20 am

    “See? I told you it was a provocative,……”
    ======================================================

    lol, yes, yes it was. I’m just sad that I had already imbibed so much as to lose much eloquence. Others, though, stated their case wonderfully. I suppose I should say thanks, but I find myself needing another keyboard. Some of my keys have cracked under the pounding they took last night.

  151. latitude says:

    James said it all……………..

    I say:
    They are criminals, hiding behind the uncertainty of their science…
    …but still criminals and should be treated like criminals

  152. Gary says:

    But notice in this history the evolution of the practice of science goes toward more, not less, openness. The author makes a better case for collegiality than he does for self-serving secretiveness.

    Oh, and scientists still do try to assassinate the reputations of rivals, as the Climategate emails clearly reveal. So not much has changed since old Pythagoras was trashing his smarter students.

  153. Alexander K says:

    If Vice-Chancellor Kealy is not writing with his tongue firmly in his cheek, there is no hope for the UK ever becoming a just and fair society. This article is either ‘taking the Mick’ from us plebes, or the VC has no clues whatsoever about the standards of professional behaviour that one might expect from the educated elites whose professional activities are funded by the Taxpayer in the United Kingdom. If he is not taking the Mick, he is himself utterly lacking the ethical foundation that should underpin the workplace activities of those who hold office in a complex modern democracy. No doubt the VC believes that all forms of morality, ethics and justice should be available on the same basis as dinner at the Ritz and the behaviour of his contempoaries in their chairmanship of the various ‘enquiries’ into varied aspects of ‘Climategate’ would appear to validate my view.
    His display of his own superior education by quoting the miserable and probably apocryphal story of Pythagorus having his recalcitrant student drowned is reminiscent of a precocious and totally spoilt child ‘showing off’, certainly not a statement that one would expect from the wise leader of a university.

  154. Pamela Gray says:

    Absolute hogwash.

    In the old days, scientists were as often as not, self-sustaining businesses, living on income from their inventions and discoveries, along with benevolent providers of sustenance. I find no fault with that.

    However, today, we have private for-profit and some not-for-profit funded labs -keep the secrets I don’t care-, and then we have public labs funded by me, and a bunch of other me’s through taxes. In a word, “employees”, and I, along with all the other I’s, are the employer. Sorry, but that means what you invent, discovery, refute, whatever, belongs to me and a bunch of other me’s. It’s my gawddamn data and if I want it available, you will get right on that request.

    If these publicly funded scientists continue in their current secretive behavior, literally stealing what does not belong to them, I will direct my elected representatives to cut off their funding until they provide said data.

    I call it like I see it. This article is hogwash.

  155. anopheles says:

    I still think there is a lot of misinterpretation going on here. IMO he is telling us to take a sceptical approach to scientists as well as science itself. I am of an engineering bent, and I deal with the world as it is. That is the way to approach every piece of scientists’ output. Do not expect it to meet the ideal. It usually won’t. That doesn’t mean you should let anybody get away with cheating or otherwise poor work, it means that you have to almost expect it.

    I’ve seen many a sceptical paper on WUWT and elsewhere which I didn’t think was all that good. Conclusions based on wishful thinking and confirmation bias are not restricted to the AGW crowd. Some of them act as ammo for the ‘other side’. But then, if we were doing this right, there would be no other side.

  156. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    It’s been an admittedly long day…and the way I unwind..? Well, yeah…it’s ‘kinda’ weird:

    I read ‘real, honest to goodness, HUMAN Scientist’s ‘rants’ ‘ramblings’ & & & …well,
    OKAY! There’s not another ‘r’ word that can explain it!!! I’ve just read ALL of these
    comments…..it’s 1:24am ‘downunda time’ and I’ve given ‘almost’ each of you high 5’s
    and THAT’S THE WAY TO STICK IT TO ‘EM’S…laughed and felt much warmed in
    this heart.

    Yeah, like another commenter said….. this place inspires….even if you guys ARE HUMAN, you’re still an inspiration to me. Thanks. Oh…….and ‘p.s.’ Anna V ~ I’m sorry that ‘Christians passed’ have offended ~ or……’bummed the strut’ of Science in past centuries. Please accept my apology on their behalf. I loathe ‘dogma’ too.

    Christians are humans ~ fallible humans, like the rest of ‘humanity’… They’ve just accepted the gift of forgiveness, and that just ‘begins’ the process which works from the inside out…

    Immature Christians can be annoying at best…meeting a new Christian can be like taking a large bite outta a half-baked cake or souffle… or even biting down on a wadded up piece of alfoil… yech and owch!!!

    Anyhow…… I bet you’re talkin’ about institutionalized stuff, anyway. Religion rather than relationship stuff…like ‘the pope stuff’ and the ‘lets get the serfs to pay for it’ groups…which isn’t TRUTH and is PATHETIC, too.

    Regardless, I’m sorry and hope you’ll forgive whatever ‘gross errors’ took place.
    Sincerely, (and American’s say ‘Sincerely’ and mean it.)
    C.L. Thorpe

  157. timheyes says:

    Tucci78 says:
    December 30, 2010 at 1:35 am

    I work in pharmaceuticals I’m aware of the Vioxx fiasco. Post Martketing Surveillence is a regulatory requirement for drug companies.

    What is the IPCC if not marketing for political purposes? What is marketing if not advocacy?

    Your reply to me seems to suggest agreement with Kealey i.e. that we should expect scientists (and by inference the scientific industries which rely on efficacy data to support marketed claims) should lie as it is is the nature of human beings. The fact that human beings can be deceitful, particularly when they have a vested interest in the outcome, does not seem to be profound or noteworthy.

    Kealey talks about Montford’s surprise that scientists can withold original data and then goes on to state that this is normal according to Birkhead. Well if it’s normal then there is no reason why drugs companies or tobacco companies can’t make unsupported claims about their products. We don’t tolerate that for them so why should we tolerate it in climate science? (NB a good thread over at Bishop Hill about peer review).

    The fact is that climategate has laid bare the shoddy work which passes for some areas of climate science and a desire on the part of some the scientists to predetermine an outcome. It’s not good for the public, climate science or science in general.

    Kealey makes the point that science is not innately to serve the public good. True in and of itself but when science is commissioned to determine a policy direction or appropriate fiscal measures then clearly there is a public good to be served. The public good is served by putting the best people (such as statisticians for statistical applications) on the case and generating result which are open to public scrutiny (or in the case of pharmaceuticals, scrutiny by a public authority).

    Kealey refers to the Royal Society. That organisation has become a parody of itself. Instead of doing the kind of auditing which is warranted it appears to just toe the policy line – it’s not an upholder of the scientific method, it’s a bureaucrat’s puppet.

  158. Vince Causey says:

    Thank you Dr. Kealey for confirming the conclusion that sceptics have already arrived at – namely that climate scientists are biased, conniving and deceitful advocates of their pet theory, who will stoop to any level.

    In most branches of science, none of this would matter too much. Where funded by private finance, the corporations would back the theories that were most likely to be correct. To universities, it is good training ground for their post doc students. Nobody would have made or lost much money whether or not the universe was found to be expanding at an increasing or decreasing rate.

    But climate science is unique in that it is embedded into government policy, both national and supra-national. Policy decisions are being made that directly effect the wellbeing of billions of humans. As such it is answerable to we the people. From what Kealey has revealed, governments must now act swiftly to stamp out this fraud.

  159. Provocative indeed!
    “Climategate tells us no more than the philosophers of science have long told us about research, and the public should be less naive.”
    We are now, Terence.

    Thanks, and a Happy New Year John A!

  160. Vince Causey says:

    LazyTeenager,

    “And such polite academic camouflage for an obnoxious aim.”

    So anyone who disagrees with your viewpoint has an obnoxious aim? Folks, I give you Dr Kealey’s ‘biased’ individual.

  161. Vince Causey says:

    “But Hippasus refused, so Pythagoras had him drowned.
    That’s what scientists are like in their natural state.”

    How about: Pat Michaels refused, so Ben Santer beat the crap out of him. That’s what climate scientists are like in their natural state.

  162. Theo Goodwin says:

    Brilliant work, WUWT commenters! I want to add a word of caution. In general, academia does not share the views of science that have been stated very eloquently here. Marxists tend to be Kuhnians (or Kealeyians), if they care about science at all. Also, we live in a time when PC is ascendant and, by its very nature, PC is a program for limiting pursuit of truth for the good of “the masses” or someone. The PC folk are usually Kuhnians, if they bother to explain themselves at all. Administrators, being administrators, adapt to the times and drink deeply from the PC fountains. It is no surprise then that administrators whitewashed the climategaters and shamelessly so. WUWT is a fountain of sweetness and light, which is the best metaphor for rational thought that I have encountered over the years. Beyond WUWT, you will have to take determined action to make a place for rational thought. Determined action does not lead down the path of least resistance. Pick your fights with your eyes open.

  163. Tucci78 says:

    At 1:35 AM on 30 December, timheyes had written:

    I work in pharmaceuticals I’m aware of the Vioxx fiasco. Post Martketing Surveillence is a regulatory requirement for drug companies.

    What is the IPCC if not marketing for political purposes? What is marketing if not advocacy?

    Your reply to me seems to suggest agreement with Kealey i.e. that we should expect scientists (and by inference the scientific industries which rely on efficacy data to support marketed claims) should lie as it is is the nature of human beings. The fact that human beings can be deceitful, particularly when they have a vested interest in the outcome, does not seem to be profound or noteworthy.

    Kealey talks about Montford’s surprise that scientists can withhold original data and then goes on to state that this is normal according to Birkhead. Well if it’s normal then there is no reason why drugs companies or tobacco companies can’t make unsupported claims about their products. We don’t tolerate that for them so why should we tolerate it in climate science?

    .
    Sorry if you’ve misinterpreted what I’d posted, timheyes, but what the hell.

    First, even though it was conducted in Phase IV, the Merck rofecoxib VIGOR trial was actually a Phase III effort undertaken in pursuit of a supplemental new drug application (sNDA) for permission to market Vioxx under an additional therapeutic indication, so it really wasn’t a postmarketing safety surveillance activity at all.

    Not that Phase IV postmarketing safety surveillance isn’t a friggin’ joke anyway. Ask any physician or pharmacologist employed by any of these manufacturers as in-house drug safety officers. Do it discretely, of course. Most of them really want to keep their jobs.

    Second, to the extent I agree with Kealey in the above-captioned regard, it’s simply that you have to expect people who have axes to grind are going to work their sharpening processes to suit their peculiar perceptions of their own best interests. Anybody who expects absolute moral and intellectual integrity from anybody – even himself – is delusional.

    That understood, those of us who have to deal with the real-world problems right in front of us have got to take from the great flow of research what we can, always understanding that every bucketful we draw out of those waters may be badly tainted.

    What the hell other choice do we really have?

    It’s when the evidence becomes clear that agencies like the IPCC which claim to be objectively dispassionate and authoritative are in actuality snake-oil salesmen without either real competence or even the sustainable pretense of honesty that we need not only to disregard them but to hunt them down and destroy them.

    For the management of a tobacco company to blather about some fantastical disconnect between smoking cigarettes and bronchogenic carcinoma is one thing. Nobody has ever expected these overpaid nicotine-pushers to tell the truth about their products. Who the hell but the willfully and/or neurotically ignorant could possibly pay attention to their claims?

    By contrast, if an agency of the oh-so-respectable United Nations (which is supposed to be working for the good of all humanity – and if you believe that one, there’s a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you tomorrow) puts forth something as Scientific Fact, the cachet of that aggregation of kleptocrats will tend to make the perfidious position much more viciously puissant.

    Add to that the academic union cards carried by the Climategate correspondents (which proves that professional society certification of a charlatan does nothing to make that bastich any less a charlatan) and you’ve got yourself the problem we presently face.

    The Augean Stables – legendary mess though they were depicted to have been – were nothing compared to the volume of filth dumped upon us by the “global warming” cabal over the past three decades, and it’s going to take more than the diversion of a river to hose it away.

  164. Enneagram says:

    Just to begin with: Knowledge cannot be hidden. That is utterly naive or childish. It would mean to hide Nature itself and its Laws (both are inseparable).
    This simple fact reveals how much science has detached itself from real knowledge. It does not know what epistemology means anymore. (Epistemology : from Greek ἐπιστήμη – epistēmē, “knowledge, science” + λόγος, “logos”). It has became only a reflection, a ghost, working only with a very limited discursive knowledge, where “convenient” water tight compartments have been established, and where only an also limited empireia (practical knowledge) of useful “tricks”, totally disconnected with the perennial Laws of Physis, which are to be avoided so as to facilitate the prevalence of sophisms like Indetermination, Randomness and Chaos, which, in turn, make possible the contrary to:
    Knowledge will set you free.
    All this situation began during the so called “Illustration” and it was successfully propagated thanks to some “initiatic orders”, childish gatherings of not so clever people who believed they were selected to be the leaders of the world by their hidden “masters”.

  165. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Everyone in those disciplines agrees that, since the exploitation of other people’s data is so much easier than discovering it for oneself, a discoverer’s year or more of monopoly is only fair.

    Thus the theft of Anthony Watts’ incomplete surfacestations.org results and using them for a “preliminary strike” smear piece, was indeed worse than we thought, a truly unconscionable act, as would be agreed upon by everyone in those disciplines.

    And yet Menne et al 2010 got through peer review and was published, thus providing prima facie evidence that not everyone is willing to uphold such lofty ideals. Especially when such theft is for CYA maneuvers and “Defending Noble Science!” from the non-Establishment “un-scientific opposition.”

    Scientists can be protective of their turf, and downright petty. And this should be expected. Go figure.

  166. James Sexton says:

    Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:
    December 30, 2010 at 7:15 am

    It’s been an admittedly long day…and the way I unwind..? Well, yeah…it’s ‘kinda’ weird:

    I read ‘real, honest to goodness, HUMAN Scientist’s ‘rants’ ‘ramblings’ & & & …well,
    OKAY! There’s not another ‘r’ word that can explain it!!! I’ve just read ALL of these
    comments…..
    =======================================================

    Hmm, ‘ragings’, ‘ravings’, ‘roars’…..?

  167. David S says:

    I agree with Kealey’s conclusion, that the public should be less naive, however there is a big difference between anticipating dishonest behaviour and accepting it as inevitable and immutable, and some of his historical examples are simply fatuous.

    In my business life I was dealing with brokers whose job it was to be advocates for their clients; most of them would stretch the truth to try to persuade me that their risk should be insured, and some of them would simply lie. My job was to call them out on their distortions, and to come down like a ton of bricks on those who lied, so that by simple Pavlovian means their behaviour improved enough for me to form sensible conclusions most of the time.

    The trouble with climate science is that instead of the politicians treating the “scientists” as I did the brokers, they are in collusion with them, reinforcing their worst behaviour and punishing any signs of integrity. As the political class has failed to police the Team, it has been left to bloggers, notably Steve McIntyre, to hold them to account. However as Team members see their political paymasters as their principals, rather than the public, their response is counter-attack rather than improved behaviour. The worst thing we can possibly do is to accept their conduct as inevitable, as it will be seen by them as running up the white flag.

  168. Tenuc says:

    Trying to justify what the Climategate scientists did by arguing that they were only behaving as scientists have behaved since the time of Pythagoras just won’t wash. These people are paid for by the public and honesty, openness and a willingness to have their work reproduced by others is an essential of doing the job.

    Those who feel they can cheat and withhold data should be sacked, or face prosecution through the courts if what they have done is illegal. It is no surprise that the status of Climatology is now at an all-time low and little progress is being made in understanding how our dynamic climate system works.

    Dr. Kealey should have enough experience to know that no one will swallow this hog-wash.

  169. Kev-in-UK says:

    It has just struck me that trying to excuse bad behaviour for simply being ‘human’ or having certain weak human ‘traits’ is rather silly.
    I mean, are we going to start to excuse robbers, muggers, rapists, murderers and the like, just because they are human? At the very least, we should operate behaviourally under common law, should we not? Why should scientists (of any discipline) be any different? Fraud is fraud and is against most common laws of decency – no matter who, why or how perpetrated.
    The AGW theory is not some ‘little white lie’ intended to protect the innocent (you know, like when your missus asks if her butt looks big in a dress, and of course, you ALWAYS say ‘no, dear’!). This is a carefully constructed and embellished web of mountains of white lies, each reliant on another (they call it peer review, LOL).
    There is simply NO excuse.

  170. Rob Potter says:

    The most telling comment is the last one

    “the public should be less naive”

    How condescending! How, pray tell, should be “public” be less naive when the very scientists he is defending as being all too human have just spent years pretending to be infallible?

    Of course one is always an advocate when arguing a point, but that is the point of a scientific education as opposed to a legal one – you are trained to be self-critical and to develop a theory that is falsifiable. Popper and Kuhn, despite their other differences, both stress this point – a theory is useless if it cannot be tested and it can never be proved only disproved.

    I used to be proud of my higher education in the UK because of the emphasis on scientific method. I am now beginning to wonder.

  171. Max Hugoson says:

    Brian H.

    Oh, a perfectionist personality.

    Usually I AM more precise than that. Penalty of fast typing and sending.

    The RED UNDERLINE, alas, does not always show up in the way the AOL/Browser treats things. (A flaw in using that, I’m sure.)

    Modzilla Firefox does a much better job of reading the “script”.

    I’ll attempt to come into the 20th century, as soon as I can.

    Meanwhile, I happy to announce that I have no plans to adopt Melville Dewy’s approach:

    “It was chiefly necesary to find a method that wud clas, arranje and index books and pamflets on shelvs, cards of a catalog, clippings and notes in scrapbooks and index rerums, references to all these items, and indeed any literary material in any form, as redily as an ordinary index gyds to proper paje of a bound book. This difficult problem was solvd by uzing no reference marks except the simplest simbols known to the human mind, arabic numerals with their uzual arithmetic values, and by aiding their unequald simplicity by many practical nemonic [mnemonic] devices.”

  172. Enneagram says:

    Zeke the Sneak says:
    December 29, 2010 at 11:07 pm
    It’s like watching people growing ass’s ears and tails and starting to bray.

    Asses are docile…you know, and that’s convenient for all the good Global Governance will bring to the world.
    We don’t need wolfs sneaking around ruining our altruistic goals!. For centuries we have prepared a herd of conceited and self indulging anthropoids, to lead the rest of them by teaching them faked witchcraft (that thing they call “positive science”) while cheating them with the tale they were specially selected beings (“illuminati”) and only because of that reason, they had been thus specially “initiated” to govern upon the rest of them, of course strictly following our guidance.

  173. Steve from rockwood says:

    In a world where there are too many universities studying the same problem and graduating too many Phds who don’t know what they are doing or where to go once they graduate, we end up with all these government funded Dudley Do-nothings trying to stay busy. The real problem is not AGW but the shear mass of idiots out there posing as scientists. When AGW is dead they will have quickly caught hold of the next scam. This article clearly proves we have navel gazers watching the navel gazers who are trampling over the five people who know something about the earth’s climate.

  174. David Ball says:

    I am impressed by CL Thorpe. Very cleverly written posts that cause one to stop and think “what a clever girl”, and yet her post contributes ZERO to the conversation. That is quite an accomplishment. Reminds me of the “Spitting Image” video spoof of U2; “Nobody Knows What We’re On About”.

  175. Nuke says:

    Kealey is advocating that scientists can publish their findings, advocate for hugely expensive public policy changes but not show how their conclusions were derived or the data they used to reach those conclusions?

    Sounds like a complete scam. Ignore the man behind the curtain!

    BTW: Nothing done on the public dime is private, with some exceptions for national security and individual privacy, of course.

  176. GW says:

    I can’t recall having read such a piece of arrogant tripe in years. So scientists are given a pass to act unethically at best, and the solution to this is simply that the public should be less naive?

    What sets this particular bit of science apart from the rest in human history that I can recall is that we are being asked to expand untold wealth and completely reorder society based on the belief that the science is undisputed. Under that rubric, to allow for studies to be published without all supporting data, methodology and computer programs is beyond outrageous. Will it take mobs in “their natural state” to start hanging some climate scientists before climate scientists and their political allies to become “less naive?”

  177. John A says:

    David S:

    In my business life I was dealing with brokers whose job it was to be advocates for their clients; most of them would stretch the truth to try to persuade me that their risk should be insured, and some of them would simply lie. My job was to call them out on their distortions, and to come down like a ton of bricks on those who lied, so that by simple Pavlovian means their behaviour improved enough for me to form sensible conclusions most of the time.

    The trouble with climate science is that instead of the politicians treating the “scientists” as I did the brokers, they are in collusion with them, reinforcing their worst behaviour and punishing any signs of integrity

    I have worked for an insurance broker ( a large one, in fact) and saw it from the other perspective – the broker working tirelessly on behalf of the client to extract the best real from the underwriters etc.

    But the fact of the matter is that the underwriters are the ones putting large amounts of money where their mouths are – the brokers are client advocates of varying levels of creepiness. The client is aware of a risk and wants someone else to take on that risk for a fee, and would love to play down the actual likelihood of risk as much as possible.

    The underwriters must be skeptical of claims made by the brokers on behalf of their clients or the underwriters will quickly go broke or alternatively everyone’s premiums go so high that no-one can afford to be in business.

    This is where the allied creepiness of climate alarmists comes in – that they have no financial skin in the game in regard to a result going against them. Which makes them very dangerously partisan.

    Also, as an insight into the insurance industry, I found that many people would ignore clear evidence that their risk analysis was wrong just so long as it hadn’t blown up in their face – yet. Like investors in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, they quiet their doubts and take the money on offer.

  178. John Whitman says:

    So, Dr Terence Kealey advises us to be tolerant of and accept the scientific processes/behaviors that produced climategate and to do so because he thinks he has shown climategate-like processes to be the same as the baseline processes of +2500 yrs of science.

    Remember when Dr. Ravetz asked us to have a tolerance of climategate science/scientists based on the acceptance of ‘post normal science’ over previous philosophies of science? That strategy didn’t work. So, now we have Dr. Kealey trying to erase the philosophies of science which are inconsistent with climategate science by saying science has always been like climategate science.

    Move on, recommends Dr. Kealey, nothing is different about climategate science than the whole history of science.

    After Dr. Ravetz and Dr. Kealey perhaps we will next get another Dr. from academia posting at WUWT to advocate that there is no such thing as science at all. That next Dr. will just state that humans just believe what they feel as the sole basis of human knowledge.

    John

  179. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    As I am not a government scientist, I missed this = John Holdren’s “Scientific Integrity” memorandum regarding how government scientists should comport themselves! It is very interesting to read and ponder.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/scientific-integrity-memo-12172010.pdf

    OK, now…is Holdren admitting that there has been a problem with government scientists (GAVIN!) being too strong in their advocacy, paid lectures etc.? I’m not quite sure what to make of this, but the timing is significant.

    Happy New Year to all!

  180. kwik says:

    Thank you Dr. Kealy for a very interesting post. It has always been interesting to read science history and philosophy. I don’t think this was meant as a defence post for the Hockey-Team. On the contrary? More an explanatory text for us to understand their state of mind? I hope so.

    Nice to see our suspicions put down on paper like this.

    But a very depressing read, it was, too.

    The pure clean scientist is just an egocentric advocate for molecules and tax.

    In ancient days great minds sought to feudal masters for financial support. They often lived by the court and did their investigations, and their goal was often immortality through great findings. Almost like a prostitue, only selling their brains, instead of their body.

    Of course they wanted to keep it a secret until they could publish a book or some pamphlet.

    But nowadays they more and more live by government grants.
    Government grants means it’s our data, and our results. Right?

    Maybe a good idea for the UN to follow Hans Roslings idea of public data also within Climate Science;

  181. Stephen Rasey says:

    The only proper role as advocate for a scientist is a “Devil’s Advocate”; someone who takes an unpopular, generally unaccepted view to test a popular hyphothesis, theory, or belief. If scientist should be advocates, as Kealey believes, then the skeptical Devil’s Advocates should be honored not derided.

    But, like advocates in court, scientists can nonetheless be expected to put forward only one very partial case – and that as strongly as possible – and no-one should expect a scientist to be anything other than a biased advocate.

    So scientists should act more like lawyers in court? I don’t buy it. I think one of the greatest problems in our society is that lawyers DO act as biased advocates instead of dispassionately uncovering truth. Lawyers should act more like scientists, not the other way round.

  182. Ken Lydell says:

    The essay in question provides an analysis of economic, sociological and psychological factors that too often produce extraordinary amounts of junk science some of which is fiercely defended long after it should have been completely discredited. Terence Kealey simply tells it like it is; not how it ought to be.

    I have seen scientists with little hope of grant renewal frantically attempting to find some way to exploit whatever the current zeitgeist might be. It’s publish or perish folks and you darned well better produce whatever those offering grants want if you hope to get additional helpings. It is survival of the fittest and the measures of fitness include the quantity of publications produced in support of the agendas of grant giving institutions. That’s life in the big city. Get used to it. It’s not going to change.

  183. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    The article is an example of the degeneration of morals in society a a whole. Finding out that a senior academic expects people to misrepresent the facts known to them in the same way a weasling lawyer ‘protects the rights of his client’ thus shielding them from true justice is, to say the least, a disappointment.

    One potential outcome of this is for ‘climate science’ to be put into a social category of its own wherein there are no moral standards to uphold, where misrepresentation and obfuscation are the norm, where funding is a right and accountability is a word meaning, ‘count the money’.

    Real science, the searcing after the truth about life, the universe and everything, will continue to strive for fairness, truth, balance and an ever-advancing civilisation.

  184. Borepatch says:

    Dr. Kealey cannot possibly be unfamiliar with Hal Lewis’ spectacular resignation letter from the American Physical Society, earlier this year. But Dr. Lewis covered this situation in brutal detail:

    Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club. Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble burst. When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise.

    Emphasis mine.

    Dr. Kealey, I disagree that science has always been done this way. We justly credit Isaac Newton, and not Robert Hooke for our understanding of gravitation, in no small measure because he published clearly and transparently. Hooke’s refusal to release his work was all the community needed to see to allocate credit.

    And yet today’s climate science establishment seems to think that it’s perfectly normal to change data after it’s been recorded, or fail to release data and methods.

    Newton would be ashamed.

  185. JT says:

    “no-one should expect a scientist to be anything other than a biased advocate.”

    Hmm … There’s “expect” meaning what one feels morally entitled to receive, and “expect” meaning what one thinks will probably happen. Is Kealy using “expect” in the first, second or both senses? The thing is: whatever sense he means, the social institution of public science needs to cope with the tendency of the scientist to be “a biased advocate” and that is best accomplished by requiring full disclosure and maintaining an open public forum for debate.

  186. John says:

    Keeley discusses science and behavior of scientists as if issues they research have little consequence or importance for people and countries, and therefore have no need for public funding:

    “To conclude, therefore, scientists are not disinterested, they are interested, and as a consequence science is not dispassionate or fully transparent, rather it is human and partially arcane. As I argue elsewhere, science is not the public good of modern myth, it is a collegiate and quasi-private or invisible college good.4 That means, by the way, that it requires no public subsidies. More relevantly, it means that individual scientist’s pronouncements should be seen more as advertisements than as definitive.”

    Either climate change or climate disruption or whatever else it will be called next year are not important to people or countries generally — and therefore shouldn’t get massive government funding — or in the alternative may be potentially quite important, and therefore should get government funding. Another article today in WUWT discusses whether we are about to plunge into the next ice age, or whether we have several thousand more years to go. The article suggests we may wish to hope for the promised warming! It does seem important to me to know how much warming we might get, and whether we are about to get another ice age.

    If in fact climate change science has an important “public good” aspect, then Keeley’s arguments about scientists not making their data publicly available go out the window. If we fund it, if the answers are important for us, then the data doesn’t belong to the scientist, and it needs to be available for others to also use. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like Patrick Michaels or John Christy or Steve McIntyre or Ross McKittrick — they deserve to see if you’ve done the math correctly. Michael Mann evidently did not do so, and it is wonderful luck for all of us that Steve McIntyre had the ability to figure out Mann’s machinations in spite of Mann’s obstruction.

    MAKE THE DATA AVAILABLE, OR STOP THE FUNDING.

    Note also that in a different field of science, econometrics, researchers must make archived data available upon publication of a paper — stated by Ross McKittrick.

  187. RichieP says:

    Ah, the standardised British VC, the very well-paid academic civil servant and government spokesman (‘scientists are and should be advocates’) of twenty-first century British Higher Education, whose only actual aim is to protect the self-interest and privileged position of himself and his government-funded academic chums (whilst he pulls in an enormous salary and waits for his ‘K’ or his MBE). Don’t expect a well-developed sense of ethics or scientific integrity from these people, they don’t exist for such a purpose; PR men with letters after their names.

  188. Steve B says:

    “So what? Climategate tells us no more than the philosophers of science have long told us about research, and the public should be less naive.”

    Then the public should not be funding science.

  189. tallbloke says:

    “One the e-mails leaked from the University of East Anglia included this from Professor Phil Jones, referring to two papers that apparently falsified his work:- “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”
    So what? Climategate tells us no more than the philosophers of science have long told us about research, and the public should be less naive.”

    I wonder how Dr Kealey would view matters, if the long suffering public, as well as wising up and becoming a bit less naive, also become a bit less tolerant, and paid a visit to his university mob handed to reclaim goods to the value of their taxes which had funded research there.

    Will we sit around bemoaning the situation via our keyboards forever, or having had the situation spelled out very clearly for us by the CRU emails, and missives such as Dr Kealey’s will we act to put academia and science back on the straight and narrow?

    How might this be achieved without resorting to Luddism?
    Show trials are long winded and boring. ‘Inquiries’ are toothless and ineffective and corrupt.

    What to do? Short of revolution, how do we oust the complacent placemen and get some real science done?

  190. anna v says:

    Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:
    December 30, 2010 at 7:15 am
    and ‘p.s.’ Anna V ~ I’m sorry that ‘Christians passed’ have offended ~ or……’

    Quite a long p.s. :).

    Please note that I said:
    If Christianity had not prevailed in the form it did
    Certainly it is the organized religion that was responsible for the stasis in science, and I am just repeating an often said observation. I just pointed out that it was not fair to blame greek philosophers/scientist in an inclusive way for the particular choices imposed by organized religion, as the greeks had proposed other systems that were much closer to the present science, which were repressed .
    It is a matter of history and not of offense.

  191. sean boyce says:

    This is a thoughtful and interesting article. It has elicited a number of rather extreme knee jerk responses in the comments here. Many seem to have misunderstood the context of the piece. It is not seeking to excuse the activities of the pro AGW gravy train scientists but rather to expose their motivations and characterise those activities as entirely predictable.
    I read it as an entirely credible acknowledgement (from an academic) of the weaknesses and the foibles, the vanities and the compromises of the vast majority of scientists/academics/humans.
    A key distinction is well made (but missed by some posting) regarding funding and particularly the inappropriate use of public funds for enterprises which are not (and never were) in the public interest.

  192. Enneagram says:

    They forgot what despicable and pesky commoners usually have: Common Sense, a kind of delicate sense of “smell” to detect rotten living corpses by the odor they emit, while walking or talking. By now, everyone knows that the “king is naked” :-)

  193. Enneagram says:

    tallbloke says:
    December 30, 2010 at 12:43 pm
    What to do? Short of revolution, how do we oust the complacent placemen and get some real science done?
    You have done enough…..more, it would be abusive :-)
    The full goes to the vacuum to fill it, but it takes time. It is not “their way” things will change, it is “our way”, the way of the small things, of the shortest wavelengths and of the highest frequencies.

  194. dave38 says:

    I found this quote which to me says it all about these climate pscientists.

    “The only ethical principle which has made science possible is that the truth shall be told all the time. If we do not penalise false statements made in error, we open up the way for false statements by intention. And a false statement of fact, made deliberately, is the most serious crime a scientist can commit”

    C. P Snow, “The Search”

  195. Tucci78 says:

    At 8:55 AM on 30 December, Tenuc had written:

    Those who feel they can cheat and withhold data should be sacked, or face prosecution through the courts if what they have done is illegal. It is no surprise that the status of Climatology is now at an all-time low and little progress is being made in understanding how our dynamic climate system works.

    .
    Could be a helluva lot more than that. What they’ve done almost certainly is illegal.

    Insofar as I’m aware, submitting an application for a grant of funds to conduct research or any other activity – whether your signed papers go into the hands of a government bureaucrat or some private foundation flunky – on the basis of assertions you know to be untrue most decidedly constitutes attempted theft of value by deception.

    There’s criminal mens rea out the kazoo in those AGW fraudsters’ grant applications. Anybody else out there have any experience writing those things?

    That deception in pursuit of funding is a felony right there. Accepting the funds is receiving stolen value, which is yet another criminal offense. An experienced prosecuting attorney could hit the members of the Hockey Team (with emphasis on Dr. Michael Mann) with indictment after indictment after indictment.

    In the meanwhile, the tort lawyers go after them in the civil courts for compensatory and punitive damages. Whee!

  196. Michael Larkin says:

    This was a brilliant article, really telling it exactly like it is.

    That’s why it’s so damnably depressing.

  197. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    Dear Anna V ~

    Sorry. I ‘get it’ and ‘got it’ when you ‘wrote it’, actually. The ‘tone of voice’ I read just sounded like angst mixed with Truth to me, that’s all.

    I wrote because I wanted to be part of ‘forgiveness’ for past errors… if that can even
    occur. And, to Sean Boyce ~ the good ‘Doctor’ was setting a new ‘Science Bar’ altogether too low. To forgive humans for ‘being human’ is a no brainer in my book. But, to brandish a broad verbal ‘brush’ ~ lumping ‘many’ ethical Scientists (who take great pride *and rightly, so. in their chosen fields of study) in with prostitute and ‘sell-out Scientists’ isn’t simply ‘unfair’… It is ‘setting the bar’ or…..’re-arranging the bar by stealth-articles’ and it can do great damage to a profession if it remains without open dialogue. That’s simple Truth.

    Also, ‘Science’ is, at it’s CORE, OBSERVATION. (even ‘I’ know that) and now it seems that in 2010+ we now will need the word ETHICAL in front of observation…which ~ sadly ~ in ‘latter times’ was……….I believe………..a given.

    That’s why Kealy’s article ‘hit a chord’. And, I for one, am glad it did. It showed me that the ‘stewards of Science’ are still keen to serve it and serve the general public on it’s behalf. It’s about ETHICS, man. What humans will sell themselves for ~ or, what they won’t.

    C.L. Thorpe

  198. pesadia says:

    I must be living in a different world to Dr Kealey because i am shocked by this confession.
    I also struggle to accept that the hockey team and their kin are scientists. All they seem to do is collect data, manipulate it, homogenise it and the add in their own particular GL70. Having completed the recipe, they put all the ingredients into the computer and cook it. Isn’t that what accountants do. How can that procedure be described as science. Furthermore, the products of their labour should more properly described as predictions.

    p.s. GL70 reference. See Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard (if it is still about)

  199. John Symes says:

    Thank you sean boyce. At first, reading some of the hyperventilated comments here, I wondered whether I had totally misread Kealey’s article and misunderstood his intent. Or indeed, that I had read a totally different Kealey article and somehow slipped through the time-space-internet continuum to end up in the comments section of a totally different Kealey article, by a totally different Kealey (an anti-Kealey, if you will). Glad to find at least one other understood the context in which his words were made. Like you, I thought the article thoughtful and worthy of more than the kneejerk reaction which a peremptory and less considered reading seems to have induced.

  200. Kev-in-UK says:

    sean boyce says:
    December 30, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    >>I read it as an entirely credible acknowledgement (from an academic) of the weaknesses and the foibles, the vanities and the compromises of the vast majority of scientists/academics/humans.<<

    The essay is a good description from the point of view of presenting scientists as 'fallible' but certainly not (IMO), as you say, the vast majority!! I actually take exception to that, purely on the basis of being a Joe Average scientist doing an ordinary type job (i.e. not cutting edge research) and I am sure all the chemists, biologists, microbiologists, forensic scientists, pharmacists, radiologists, etc, etc – doing ordinary science jobs do NOT allow their personal beliefs and foibles to actually influence their actual work!

    On second reading of the essay, I can agree with your synopsis that it is exposing the AGW gravy train nuts as predictable in their behaviour but IMO it is not made explicitly enough, instead he paints a more general disregard for scientists – and THAT, I do take exception too!

  201. huh says:

    A much simpler explanation is that climate scientists are stark raving mad. What makes them mad? Why, it’s the famous quip from Lord Action that explains this: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

    These lunatic scientists think they have the responsibility of saving the planet and they are backed by regulations made by the most powerful governments on earth. Combine that with a general academic predisposition towards socialist utopias and they have reason enough to go mad.

    I agree that this all comes down to human nature. In that sense, this article is brilliant. But besmirching all scientists as having little regard for the truth is taking things too far. Get the damn government interference/mass media propaganda out of science and let science keep its dignity.

  202. JRR Canada says:

    Dr Kealy is good, while appearimg to defend he rips the heart out of the behaviour he is highlighting.For the defenders of the CRU and climatology(the religion) I can only say, Ouch, ouch ouch. With apparent praise the good doctor eviserates his victim/client. The best part is some of the propaganist media will see this as a good defense and publish it. Initially I was enraged by the article but its too well written to be anything but spoof.Read it again and its pythonish in deed.

  203. huh says:

    Looks like my spellchecker was on autocorrect mode? That would be Lord Acton, please.

  204. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    “Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.”
    – Albert Einstein

    Just saw another great quote from our pal, Einstein and wanted to share it with Mike Jonas.

    I guess it’s then, a Scientist’s responsibility to best figure out just who is who.
    And, I think that in Einstein’s case, it was his ethical brilliance combined with true
    humility that won the day…but, wasn’t he chided by his so-called ‘peers’ for courageous stands many times?

    C.L. Thorpe

  205. Toto says:

    believers: humans are perverting the climate; AGW climate scientists are natural (human)

    non-believers: The AGW team is perverting science; the climate is natural (cycles, etc)

  206. Geoff Sherrington says:

    Quoted above – “Anybody who expects absolute moral and intellectual integrity from anybody – even himself – is delusional. ”

    This is not always the case.

    Example. You work in mineral exploration. You report your findings to numerous colleagues and a chain of bosses. What percentage is there for you if you knowingly and fraudulently provide optimistic results? You know you are almost 100% likely to be caught out in your lifetime, if a mine is started and found to contain rather less ore than estimated. Therefore, why not be completely straight right from the start?

    The big missing word in a much of this discussion is ACCOUNTABILITY. Those disciplines where individuals pay personally for their transgressions tend to be at the fore of science/engineering/math development and can be intellectually exciting places to inhabit.

  207. Brian H says:

    huh says:
    December 30, 2010 at 3:57 pm
    Looks like my spellchecker was on autocorrect mode? That would be Lord Acton, please.

    Should have had your quotechecker on, too. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

  208. anna v says:

    I disagree with this premis too, bold mine:
    Scientists therefore select particular theories out of a range of possibilities. And they then (being human) design experiments to prove their own theories right. Consequently, contrary to what many people believe that Karol Popper wrote, science is in practice not about falsification.2 In practice great scientists ignore embarrassing data, and they refuse to feel falsified when they don’t want to be.

    Scientists know they are working at the limits of knowledge, which means that that knowledge must necessarily be imperfect, so (like Charles Lyell) scientists will refuse to draw definitive negative conclusions from unhelpful new findings because they know that those new findings might themselves need re-evaluation in the light of further subsequent data (such as radioactivity) that has yet to be revealed.

    It is true that good scientists ( great is to be attributed after death usually) are partial to the theory that inspired them to get the data, and even more so theorists are partial to the theory they have developed. It is the same impulse that an artist has towards his/her creation. But what separates good scientists from mediocre ones and charlatans is the ability to be objective within their subjectivity.

    The whole scientific training of the scientists of my generation was grounded in this. Mathematics is the great teacher because a wrong solution is always a wrong solution and humbles one, and it teaches clearly the logic of what is necessary and what is sufficient for a proof. A good scientist searches for proofs of assertions both of theories and data handling that appertain to those theories.

    Maybe the recent falling of standards in education is also responsible for the mess in climate studies. Not grounded enough in hard mathematics .

    A good scientist is always aware that a later theory and better data may distort or crumble or make irrelevant a favorite edifice that might be a lifetime’s work. If not, he/she is not a good scientist.

    That they defend their particular project to the hilt is of course human, the same as players in a sports team will defend their team to the end. This does not mean that unethical methods are approved to reach that end, nor that other games will not exist to change the outcome next time.

    The whole premise of the article is a hidden ethics problem. It is saying scientists/humans are inherently unethical. This is false as there would be no ethics in society for people to adhere to so there could be violations, as under discussion here.

    Scientists as all humans are dancing as fast as they can, bar some satan offering them apples and they succumb to temptation. Those are not good scientists by definition.

  209. Tucci78 says:

    At 7:25 PM on 30 December, Geoff Sherrington takes issue with my earlier statement to the effect that “Anybody who expects absolute moral and intellectual integrity from anybody – even himself – is delusional,” writing:

    This is not always the case.

    Example. You work in mineral exploration. You report your findings to numerous colleagues and a chain of bosses. What percentage is there for you if you knowingly and fraudulently provide optimistic results? You know you are almost 100% likely to be caught out in your lifetime, if a mine is started and found to contain rather less ore than estimated. Therefore, why not be completely straight right from the start?

    The big missing word in a much of this discussion is ACCOUNTABILITY. Those disciplines where individuals pay personally for their transgressions tend to be at the fore of science/engineering/math development and can be intellectually exciting places to inhabit.

    .
    Okay, let’s pursue this “work in mineral exploration” bit.

    Instead of “knowingly and fraudulently provide optimistic results,” I could readily see a field geologist “knowingly and fraudulently” providing his home office with false pessimistic reports, forbearing to disclose potentially lucrative findings. This information he subsequently conveys – for pecuniary or other consideration – to another actor in the minerals exploitation market sector.

    But that’s not what I’d intended when I posted that line above. What I’d meant was that the most susceptible victim of one’s deceit is one’s own self. Anybody who has proximal experience of any kind of research will acknowledge – if he is honest – the persistent and at times overwhelming temptation to see what one wishes to see, to report findings that support the premise you’ve set out to prove, to fulfill the expectations raised by your grant applications, to lead yourself further along the exploratory path you’d been able to scope out, visions of tenure in your beady little eyes.

    How the hell many people reading here have personal familiarity with how bloody difficult it is to come up with a viable line of original research in any scientific area? The inclination to lie to oneself when one’s research runs aground upon the rocks and shoals of reality has got to be acknowledged.

    Even if one appreciates that one is “almost 100% likely to be caught out in [one's] lifetime,” most of us human beings in real life are looking at this year and the next. What was that line from Keynes at Bretton Woods when told by an honest economist that his idiot scheme of international counterfeiting would result, in the long run, in financial decompensation and disruption?

    In the long run,” he said, “we are all dead.”

    Or do we even better fall back on that old Middle Eastern joke about the condemned man who promised that – if given a full year’s stay of execution and special stuff to feed the critter – he could teach the sultan’s favorite horse to sing?

    One of his fellow prisoners observed privately to him that he wasn’t going to succeed. To this, the condemned man responded:

    “Much may happen in a year. The sultan may die. I may die. And, who knows? Perhaps the horse will sing.”

    At least the fellow in this old story wasn’t lying to himself. A lot of people working in research do so all the flaming time.

    The assumption of “absolute moral and intellectual integrity from anybodyespecially one’s own self – is most definitely delusional. Like all delusions, it leads to cataclysmic error. Better you should try to cross over into Iran with a knapsack filled with Farsi translations of the Gideon Bible, copies of every text in the Baha’i literature, and Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses.

    Error-checking (not necessarily “ACCOUNTABILITY“) is the sine qua non, and it’s got to be both scrupulous and rigorous within the researcher’s own mind.

    Peer review is supposed to help with that by “incentivizing” persnickety adherence to real-world tests of validity. It was when the AGW cabal co-opted peer review in what we’ll laughingly call their discipline that they slid into utter damnation, from whence they will never be recovered.

    Somebody who understands and accepts for himself Crowell’s Admonition (“I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken“) gives in to the necessity for that error-checking at ever step of his research process.

    Those who don’t…. Well, if we’re lucky, somebody in their IT department will aggregate their e-mails, their computer codes, and their doctored datasets and download the whole sheban to the ‘Net for all the rest of the world to examine.

  210. TomFP says:

    “…it would be naive of the general public to expect scientists always to present their work and theories dispassionately.”
    Yes, and I agree many CAGW sceptics make this error.

    “It would also be naive of the general public to expect scientists to disclose all their data promptly.” Not if they are publicly-funded, they can’t. The price of their freedom to be passionate is that they stick to the Scientific Method, which was devised precisely to render their passion nugatory. It’s astonishing that a man can give such a complete account of the birth of the Scientific Method without, it seems, understanding its purpose.

    researchers “….will be permitted a reasonable period of exclusive access to data sets they have collected”. Maybe, but – in the case of publicly-funded science, informing vertiginously expensive policy decisions, that period cannot reasonably extend beyond the publication of the findings. And I’m not aware of anyone demanding unfettered access to someone’s workings BEFORE they have been used to make scary predictions – er, precognitive assertions….

  211. TomFP says:

    Sorry, “Not if they are publicly-funded, they can’t. ” should read “Not if they are publicly-funded, it isn’t. “

  212. On this theme, plase see Michael Crichton – State of Fear – Why Politicized Science is Dangerous, at http://www.crichton-official.com/books-stateoffear-policy.html

  213. sean boyce says:

    Kev-in-UK , please note, I referred specifically to ‘academics/scientists/humans’, not to ‘scientists’. The weaknesses and foibles described are universal they do not apply (nor is the author seeking to attribute them imho) only to scientists.
    You have taken exception to what you regard as a general swingeing attack on the ethical and moral standards of all scientists. I can understand where you’re coming from but I read it differently. Whilst dealing with science, the practices and their origins are rooted in human nature and that’s the point I think; science is done by humans.
    The article employs a robust rhetorical style for effect and takes extreme examples in order to illustrate certain points. There are a million shades of grey between deliberately concealing life saving advances and total openness. What the article does show very nicely though is that the motivation for many of the practices that we associate with good science was initially at least partly self serving too, or in other words, human. This is useful context.
    To argue that scientists are necessarily partial and that they should be partisan and interested in all cases is of course as contentious as arguing the opposite but it does at least get us thinking, which I’m guessing was the plan. These two pars sum it up well I think –

    ‘To conclude, therefore, scientists are not disinterested, they are interested, and as a consequence science is not dispassionate or fully transparent, rather it is human and partially arcane. As I argue elsewhere, science is not the public good of modern myth, it is a collegiate and quasi-private or invisible college good.4 That means, by the way, that it requires no public subsidies. More relevantly, it means that individual scientist’s pronouncements should be seen more as advertisements than as definitive.

    Peer review, too, is merely a mechanism by which scientists keep a collective control over access to their quasi-private enterprise. One the e-mails leaked from the University of East Anglia included this from Professor Phil Jones, referring to two papers that apparently falsified his work:- “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

    There’s plenty to argue there, not least that there should be no public subsidy of science, which strikes me as an extreme stance but does pose questions over what science public money should fund. There’s also plenty that rings true though. A good provocative piece overall.
    How often to we hear in the MSM; ‘scientists say’, ‘according to leading scientists’, ‘a top scientist predicts’….? How different those words sound if we regard science as arcane, collegiate, partial and human rather than disinterested, objective and above self interest!
    By the way this is a great blog and happy new year to Mr W and all those who have contributed so much here.

  214. Geoff Sherrington says:

    Tucci78 says:
    December 30, 2010 at 9:12 pm
    At 7:25 PM on 30 December, Geoff Sherrington takes issue with my earlier statement to the effect that “Anybody who expects absolute moral and intellectual integrity from anybody – even himself – is delusional,”

    Response.

    I gave you an example, you gave no compelling counter-example. Stick to structures where accountability matters, not the grey of the cardigan. In my example, people work for salaries, promotion is on merit, salaries are derived from past successes, there are no grants, there are no sinecures, the key scientist in a new discovery seldom shares directly in the spoils. There is simply no incentive to cheat because you are surrounded by people smarter than you who, in combination, pick you up in a flash. There is a court case in Canada right now about a fellow who tried to cheat with mining analyses and was caught.

    I did not want to go from my funding structure to your model because your model shows much of what is wrong with present research structures in the USA – that is another story, but there are worlds of scientists out there that do not work in the types of offices you envisage. Advice from Plutarch “Abstain from beans; that is, keep out of public offices, for anciently the choice of the officers of state was made by beans.” Confirmed in Brooks, M., “Blazing Saddles”. http://au.wrs.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0oGkzYHnx1NLT4A_jY36At.;_ylu=X3oDMTByZWgwN285BHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA3NrMQR2dGlkAw–/SIG=1206ptvt1/EXP=1293873287/**http%3a//www.youtube.com/watch%3fv=R6dm9rN6oTs

    If you use the KISS principle as you observe, you will find many scientists who have very high moral and intellectual integrity. (Scientists typically shy from use of the word “absolute”.)

  215. ewrgall says:

    Sheer sophistry — making the worst argument seem the better. The moral corruption at our universities runs deep.

    The belief system that underlies the thinking that went into this article is repulsive. Everything this man has ever published needs to be checked for lies and deceit. Reading this article you just know he has done all the things he excuses. Should a man like this be in a position of authority? — especially at a university where the hope is to train the young to be “better” human beings.

    The bad that humans do should not be condemned — why? — because it is merely human to behave that way. Therefore all actions performed by humans are excusable.
    People rob and steal — therefore it is human nature to do so and the behavior should not be condemned. In fact if you don’t rob and steal you will lose advantage in dealing with your fellow man. This man has no morality whatsoever. He does not understand the meaning of the word. I think the only word to describe this article is “sick”.

    You do not excuse reprehensible behavior. Instead you punish it. That way you get less of it, not more. The behavior revealed in Climategate was whitewashed by the universities that employed those people. Really, who was more corrupt? — the perpetrators of Climategate or the people who whitewashed it?

    This guy should not be at a university. All arguments are not equal. Facts and lies are not equivalent. We must judge and we must condemn. If we do not we will continue on this downward spiral.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  216. Kev-in-UK says:

    sean boyce says:
    December 31, 2010 at 12:23 am

    Yes, I would tend to agree with the sentiment that you ‘read’ from the article – but not the ‘application’ or implication.
    For example, Kealey describes per review as the ‘collective control of scientists’ – but to my mind, ONLY the AGW science peer review ‘system’ has shown that dedicated (I’d call it fraudulent!) level of control. Yes, I am sure some rare past ‘scientific control’ has been exhibited in some fields or other – but certainly not to the degree that AGW has!! I just think he wasn’t explicit enough. As he is an academic, I really would have thought he could be a little more considered in his words and more importantly, could have tempered the implication of the essay instead of being derogatory to all scientists!
    I agree, it was probably his intention to promote thought about the subject – and as this thread of comments shows – that is indeed the outcome! – but I cannot condone the wide brush that has been used to besmirch science as a whole.
    Everyone (and esp. those with a science background) can understand that the peer review system has been abused by the climate team – but to imply, nay, he almost ‘defines’, that all science follows the same approach is taking it too far.

    ”To conclude, therefore, scientists are not disinterested, they are interested, and as a consequence science is not dispassionate or fully transparent, rather it is human and partially arcane. As I argue elsewhere, science is not the public good of modern myth, it is a collegiate and quasi-private or invisible college good.4 That means, by the way, that it requires no public subsidies. More relevantly, it means that individual scientist’s pronouncements should be seen more as advertisements than as definitive.”

    I do not see this para as being particularly specific, do you? If he had inserted the term ‘research’ in front of the two uses of ‘scientists’ and ‘science’ it would make a massive difference to the implication.
    Just my personal view….

  217. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    To Eugene W.R. Gallun ~ Sir. I applaud each succinct word in your recent post.

    It was eloquent while ‘hitting the nail on it’s proverbial head’ with each point.

    Thank you for your lucid synopsis!!! I find heartening inspiration when reading clear and compelling Truthful thought.

    Please know you have many others here at WUWT who whole-heartedly agree with each word brilliantly presented. I sincerely thank you. Please keep on posting. I (and others!) need the encouragement that true character alone, can provide.

    In short, Sir ~ you’ve made my ‘day’ which, here in South Australia…is soon to be New Years morning… which I will now face with a smile as a direct result of your thoughts.

    Thanks Again.

    Cynthia Lauren Thorpe

  218. Roger Knights says:

    The fact that fewer than 10% of those commenting here are aware that the Global Warming Policy Foundation is a climate skeptics organization, and that the Mont Pelerin Society is a free market advocacy group, kind of indicates that we’re not in their pockets.

    (Or that we’re damned clever about concealing it.)

  219. MartinGAtkins says:

    This proof upset Pythagoras and he asked Hippasus to retract it. But Hippasus refused, so Pythagoras had him drowned.

    At the time it was probably the best option for Pythagoras when dealing an unruly pupil. Had he invented dynamite he could have just blasted the little creep into pink mist. History would have been made and these days we would be awarding “The Pythagorean Prize in Chemistry”.

  220. Pascvaks says:

    Life’s a beach. Always changing. Always the same.

  221. Tucci78 says:

    At 1:17 AM on 31 December, we’ve got Geoff Sherrington (who really ought to learn how to use TinyURL) griping that I’d given:

    …no compelling counter-example [to his extremely shaky f'rinstance about a field guy working for a minerals exploration outfit not having any incentive to knowingly and fraudulently provide optimistic results to the chain of bosses for whom he was working, demanding instead that I] Stick to structures where accountability matters, not the grey of the cardigan. In my example, people work for salaries, promotion is on merit, salaries are derived from past successes, there are no grants, there are no sinecures, the key scientist in a new discovery seldom shares directly in the spoils. There is simply no incentive to cheat because you are surrounded by people smarter than you who, in combination, pick you up in a flash. There is a court case in Canada right now about a fellow who tried to cheat with mining analyses and was caught.

    .
    The reason that example of Mr. Sherrington is extremely shaky – despite the real-world case he had in mind and is just now obliquely discussing – is that false information can be passed along for a variety of motives and in a number of different ways. Mr. <bSherrington wants to confine the discussion to one kind of prevarication – the reporting of false-positive findings – which would very shortly thereafter be tested and found to be divergent from reality as the exploitation people followed the survey guy into the field to get the extraction processes going.

    What I came back with was an example of a false-negative report – much more difficult to detect – uttered knowingly by the field geologist in order to keep the find under wraps until he could sell it to a rival mining and minerals company. Or he could simply be withholding the information because he’s got a hard-on for that “chain of bosses” of whom Mr. Sherrington writes. Same putative guy, equally deceitful practice, but different intentions and effects.

    False negative reports are a helluva lot more difficult to disprove. Witness please my earlier mentions made about pharma manufacturers suppressing reports of adverse safety data (my example having been the Merck VIGOR study). Mr. Sherrington is fixated upon one stupid lying field geologist who was easily caught out. My own f’rinstance is a multibillion-dollar actor in the international pharmaceuticals industry whose conduct in the reporting of false negative findings is pretty much abysmally commonplace throughout that enormous market sector.

    Mr. Sherrington‘s objections notwithstanding, “the grey of the cardigan” is what those of us with experience of objective reality like to call “the real world.”

    Hm. If he’s going to pull up Blazing Saddles references (personally, I like the Reverend Johnson’s wonderful line that concludes: “Or are we just jerking off?”), why don’t we look to the early classroom scene from Back to School (1986)?

    Y’know. The one in which Rodney Dangerfield’s character concludes his reactions to the ivy tower snotty lecturing professor’s fatuous infliction of a hypothetical business case utterly divergent from business realities with a response to the credentialed idiot’s “The next question for us is where to build our factory?” being:

    “How ’bout Fantasyland?”

    .
    That ought to be enough to neatly fold and mothball Mr. Sherrington‘s grey of the cardigan bullpuckey.

    Anybody else getting to the conclusion that Mr. Sherrington is “…just jerking off“?

    The fact that (according to Mr. Sherrington) “…there are worlds of scientists out there [who] do not work in the types of offices [I] envisage” does nothing to address the equally valid (and hellaciously more pertinent) fact that what we’re dealing with in the enormous AGW fraud is a cabal of academically credentialed snake-oil salesmen who most emphatically are cancerously pervading “the types of offices” which give them not only the illusions of probity and veracity but also access to whopping great amounts of funding ripped from the bleeding flesh of innocent human beings in the private sector by politicians conspiring with these power-drunken credentialed confidence men to plunder and destroy productive enterprise in human society.

    It has also given them pervasive control of the acceptedly authoritative land and ocean surface temperature datasets, enabling them to “cook the books” while denying examiners skeptical of their assertions access to the raw data required to verify or disprove their conclusions.

    Big difference from Mr. Sherrington‘s extremely shaky example of a field geologist salting his samples to deceive that “chain of bosses” back in the home office.

    You wanna talk about “the grey of the cardigan,” Mr. Sherrington“? Look to your own wardrobe.

    And try a little Beano while you’re at it.

  222. Vince Causey says:

    Sean boyce wrote:

    “It is not seeking to excuse the activities of the pro AGW gravy train scientists but rather to expose their motivations and characterise those activities as entirely predictable.”

    He is not excusing the activities, but he is hardly lamenting it either. At best it is a shrug of the shoulders. His last paragraph reads “So what? Climategate tells us no more than the philosophers of science have long told us about research, and the public should be less naive.”

    I normally impute the key point – the punchline – to the final paragraph. Note the ‘So what?’ Note the ‘public should be less naive.’ He could have finished with a paragraph that acknowledged that the public and their elected representatives had been sold short. He did not. What he is giving us is the ‘finger.’ The rest of the article is just noise – it counts for didly squat.

  223. Tucci78 says:

    At 4:50 AM on 31 December, Roger Knights had written:

    The fact that fewer than 10% of those commenting here are aware that the Global Warming Policy Foundation is a climate skeptics organization, and that the Mont Pelerin Society is a free market advocacy group, kind of indicates that we’re not in their pockets.

    (Or that we’re damned clever about concealing it.)

    .
    Not me. I hadn’t known diddly about the Global Warming Policy Foundation, but anybody familiar with the Austrian School of Economics knows that the first meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society had been convened in 1947 by Friedrich von Hayek and has been pervasively influenced by Austrian School thinkers throughout its history.

    Beyond that, it was clear to me from the start that Dr. Kealey’s discussion was focused on the pathology prevailing in the sciences today, and thereby accounting for what we find in the way of lapses from intellectual integrity and ethical standards of conduct on the part of the fraudsters posing as legitimate climatologists in support of the “Cargo Cult Science” of anthropogenic global warming.

    I’ve simply taken exception to certain of Dr. Kealey’s citations of past historical events – the matter of Sir Charles Lyell and his “ancient earth” followers in geology, the history of the Drs. Chamberlen and their refusal to disclose their re-development of obstetrical forceps, that kind of thing. In my opinion, there’s damned little parallel, and I believe I’ve supported my arguments to that effect.

  224. Stephen Rasey says:

    There is great danger in letting stand the notion that scientists should act as advocates like lawyers in a courtroom.

    Consequently, we can see how the climate change scientists of the IPCC and of the conventional global warming paradigm saw no conflict between their partiality in the augments they put forward and their responsibilities to ‘truth’, just as advocates in court under the common law see no conflict between their partiality in the arguments they put forward and their responsibilities to ‘justice’.

    In both cases, the scientists and advocates see their prime responsibility as being the putting forward of the best arguments to support their case/client, and they delegate the adjudication over impartial ‘truth’ to the jury of peers.

    A better word for the acceptable behavior of a passionate scientist is “Proponent”. “Advocate” has become synonymous with Lawyer and the adversarial process. “Proponent” is one who proposes without an adversary, but with an obligation to defend honestly and objectively.

    Such partiality cannot excuse misrepresentation, of course, nor the persistent non-disclosure of inconvenient facts, and those will always be ethical crimes, but it would be naive of the general public to expect scientists always to present their work and theories dispassionately.

    If scientists believe it is appropriate to be an advocate, as a lawyer in a court of law, it is naïve to expect ethical crimes of misrepresentation and non-disclosure of inconvenient facts will not be common place.

  225. BKG says:

    timheyes beat me to it. Although I was going to say: I can’t believe a British Academician wrote something so full of crap.

  226. Alan Wilkinson says:

    I must say I am astonished at the tenor of most of these comments which take the line that Kealey is an apologist for the AGW team. As an ex-scientist and academic in the English-style university system I have no doubt that Kealey has had a working lifetime of experience of university departmental and staff politics campaigning for bigger budgets and greater research and staffing grants. Anyone who thinks that some kind of altruistic truth-seeking scientific purity exists in that environment is naive and ignorant beyond belief and to the point of ridicule.

    Kealey is describing fact. The solution is for the public to take that on board and heighten their scepticism and demand accountability.

    Those who have ripped off and misled the public need to be exposed and held to account. The ridiculous whitewashing politically-crafted “reviews” must be ended. That will require external pressure since the present system is internally self-sustaining.

    The first step is that that public must own and control the research and data that they have paid for. Hiding results behind paywalls and data behind institutional security barriers must stop.

  227. Tucci78 says:

    At 11:13 AM on 31 December, Stephen Rasey had written:

    A better word for the acceptable behavior of a passionate scientist is “Proponent”. “Advocate” has become synonymous with Lawyer and the adversarial process. “Proponent” is one who proposes without an adversary, but with an obligation to defend honestly and objectively.

    Dunno. I think that “exponent” would be better still, in the sense that an exponent is someone who exposes, discovers, interprets, and/or elucidates. The word “proponent” carries with it the connotation of someone who speaks for an idea or position. The exponent can be said merely to be exposing a fact of reality to others.

  228. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    oooohhhhhh A.C.

    I understand. But, it’s SO GERMANE. And, could you mebbe, could you ask Anthony?
    He has allowed these ‘missives’ before…….

    I do hope you’ll be able to post it. It came directly from my heart.
    Please just see what you’re able to do. I do ‘so much’ want the Friends on Watts Up
    to hear the Truth.
    I’d also ‘change’ a few words, if you’d think it appropriate, as well.
    Cynthia Lauren Thorpe

    [I haven't deleted it - simply refering it to persons better able to judge than I ~ac]

  229. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    ….AC???

    Could you ask someone if I could have an ‘open thread’ place?

    I just copied and sent my ‘missive’ to Chris Monckton for a New Years present.
    I’m really hoping this can reach the ‘regulars’ of WUWT.

    Thanks.

    Cynthia Lauren…still praying.

  230. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    Got it. Cool.
    I’ll be happy to wait.

    Thank you for all that you guys do, ps! I know it can’t be easy.

    C.L. Thorpe

  231. neill says:

    “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present–and is gravely to be guarded…. [I]n holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technical elite.” — Dwight Eisenhower, former president of Columbia University

    Vice Chancellor, you’re right, the public should be less naive.

    The public should instead demand that those of the scientific-technical elite (employed by the public) who betray the public trust in order to hold public policy captive, themselves become captive in penal institutions.

  232. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    Neill ~ As I patiently await the news to see if WUWT will ‘o.k.’ a missive of mine…
    I just almost ‘swooned’ over the Truth you just shared.

    Thanks for that.

    Cynthia Lauren Thorpe

  233. neill says:

    This is not a game.

    At stake are the livelihoods of nations.

  234. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    PLEASE, some ‘Moderator’ ~ at the VERY LEAST post my ‘thanks’ to Neill
    for his thoughts. I can WAIT for MY thoughts to be posted later today.

    PLEASE post that I said:

    Neill ~ As I patiently await the news to see if WUWT will ‘o.k.’ a missive of mine…
    I just almost ‘swooned’ over the Truth you just shared.

    Thanks for that.

    Cynthia Lauren Thorpe
    Please at least post that. ‘Cause I said it over 2 hours ago.
    C.L. Thorpe

  235. JPeden says:

    Kealey: “So what? Climategate tells us no more than the philosophers of science have long told us about research, and the public should be less naive.”

    This is a rediculous and irrelevant, ex post facto attempt by Kealey to try to show that he was on top of the ipcc Climate Science CAGW situation the whole way compared to the “naive” public, when he indeed wasn’t.

    Because, if he was, Kealey should have already known for sure prior to Climategate that ipcc Climate Science is not real science and instead only a manipulative and very dangerous Propaganda Op. – as proven. But he didn’t and still doesn’t – see his completely confabulated rationalization below – which makes his Climategate reference point instead telltale as to his own very significant naivete’ or simple lack of caring about an issue that its “scientific” proponents, after all, had merely alleged to threaten the wellbeing of whole freaking human race, etc., as CAGW, and which in fact is still threatening the whole human race solely by virtue of its true nature as a Totalitarian Propaganda Op., which Kealey still doesn’t know either.

    Here Kealey rationalizes his own, therefore, irresponsible ignorance and lack of insight by actually showing that he still does not know what has been going on in ipcc Climate Science:

    Scientists know they are working at the limits of knowledge, which means that that knowledge must necessarily be imperfect, so (like Charles Lyell) scientists will refuse to draw definitive negative conclusions from unhelpful new findings because they know that those new findings might themselves need re-evaluation in the light of further subsequent data (such as radioactivity) that has yet to be revealed.

    Indeed, as Thomas Kuhn explained in his classic 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, scientists’ personal attachment to their own theories in the face of conflicting data means that Scientists know they are working at the limits of knowledge (or, as was said humorously by Max Planck:- “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it “). These arguments have been summarised by Alan Chalmers of Finders University in his excellent introduction to the philosophy of science What Is This Thing Called Science? (3rd ed 1999, Open University).

    Consequently, we can see how the climate change scientists of the IPCC and of the conventional global warming paradigm saw no conflict between their partiality in the arguments they put forward and their responsibilities to ‘truth’, just as advocates in court under the common law see no conflict between their partiality in the arguments they put forward and their responsibilities to ‘justice’.

    Kealey still does not know that the ipcc Climate Scientists were and are not just his good old competent and reasonable “scientists” who know they are working at the limits of knowledge, and are thus justified to wait until enough evidence is in before possibly doubting their theories; because he doesn’t know that the ipcc Climate Scientists weren’t even near the scientific ballpark, much less in the game, in turn because he doesn’t know that the “climate change scientists of the IPCC” weren’t even interested in the scientific game to begin with, or at least after a short while, while a lot of the rest of us knew it, too, simply by observing what the ipcc Climate Scientists were doing! Which the self-annointed as all knowing Kealey did not and still does not!

    Or, in short, Kealey can’t tell the difference between a Propaganda Op. and real Science.

  236. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    Thank You for posting that and Happy New Year to the WUWT Moderators!

    C.L. Thorpe

  237. TomFP says:

    Having myself had a bit of a splutter at this piece, I join others in marvelling that it should come from someone associated with the GWPF. Do Benny Peiser or Monckton know what he does in his spare time?

  238. Ken Lydell says:

    Ad Hominem attacks that call into question Kealey’s motivations or character or intelligence or qualifications are what one might expect from Warmist zealots. Shame on those here who have resorted to them.

  239. John Whitman says:

    anna v says:
    December 30, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    The whole premise of the article is a hidden ethics problem. It is saying scientists/humans are inherently unethical. This is false as there would be no ethics in society for people to adhere to so there could be violations, as under discussion here.

    ————

    anna v,

    Nice analysis. I think you captured an essential false feature of Dr. Terence Kealey’s premise.

    To me he appears to base his article on a kind of soft version of the original sin of mankind; where the sin is that we are all necessarily biased by our nature. Let’s call it Kealey’s soft principle of innate human bias without capability of objectivity. Of course that is blatant subjectivist principle that Dr. Kealey is dispersing.

    Kealey’s argument is fundamentally self-contradictory based on the old tired philosophical fallacy of subjectivism. The fallacy is that if Kealey’s subjectivist principle (that mankind is biased) is true then he cannot know objectively that mankind is biased, because he himself is human and (by his own subjectivist principle) Kealey is biased. He self-refutes. Kealey is naïve; more so than those whom he calls naïve.

    I do not care if he is potentially associated with GWPF or the Mont Pelerin Society, his argument in his article stands on its own merit. Regarding Dr Kealey’s arguments, it is irrelevant that those organizations may have a tradition of fee society economics or skepticism.

    Happy New Year.

    John

  240. Mike Jonas says:

    Alan Wilkinson : “I must say I am astonished at the tenor of most of these comments which take the line that Kealey is an apologist for the AGW team. … Kealey is describing fact.

    Not so. See his use of the word “should”.

  241. Mike Jonas says:

    Ken Lydell : “Ad Hominem attacks that call into question Kealey’s motivations or character or intelligence or qualifications are what one might expect from Warmist zealots. Shame on those here who have resorted to them.

    Nice try, but stupidly off the mark. The overwhelming majority of the comments here have addressed what Kealey said. Even the more colourful comments (eg. “That was the worst case of self serving flatulence I have ever had the misfortune of perusing.” and “This is an idiotic essay composed of superficial and indefensible points.“) were not ad hominems because they addressed what Kealey said, not the person.
    Note: Just in case you try to interpret it otherwise, “stupidly” above clearly refers to what you said.

  242. Tucci78 says:

    At 2:52 PM on 1 January, Mike Jonas had taken sharp issue withe Ken Lydell‘s statement to the effect that

    “Ad Hominem attacks that call into question Kealey’s motivations or character or intelligence or qualifications are what one might expect from Warmist zealots. Shame on those here who have resorted to them.”

    .
    …writing in his response: Nice try, but stupidly off the mark. The overwhelming majority of the comments here have addressed what Kealey said. Even the more colourful comments (eg. “That was the worst case of self serving flatulence I have ever had the misfortune of perusing.” and “This is an idiotic essay composed of superficial and indefensible points.“) were not ad hominems because they addressed what Kealey said, not the person..

    Note: Just in case you try to interpret it otherwise, “stupidly” above clearly refers to what you said.

    .
    That’s about right. I have noted online an irritating tendency for half-educated jerks to use the term “ad hominem” to characterized what is invariably just incidental insult and other expressions of contempt.

    Argumentum ad hominem, damnit, is a logical fallacy. As we’re reading and posting on this thread, we’ve got free access to all sorts of Web resources – the Nizkor Project’s presentations on logical fallacies, for example, and even Wiki-bloody-pedia (though I agree not one friggin’ little bit with their prissy bullpuckey about “ad hominem abuse”).

    The only real problem with genuine argumentum ad hominem is that it manifests as the disputant alleging refutation when in fact he has failed to address the issue, attacking the real or imagined characteristics of the opponent rather than the substance of the enemy’s position on the issue at hand, and then posturing as if he’s done something scathingly brilliant. Feh.

    Sure, there have been people on this thread speaking snottily about Dr. Kealey without taking issue with specific elements in his essay. But they’re not perpetrating argumentum ad hominem. They’re simply off the bloody point.

    They’re not asserting that because Dr. Kealey is who and what he is that his ideas are wrong, but that Dr. Kealey is supposed to be a rat fink for arguably defending the AGW charlatans masquerading as legitimate scientists.

    The improper use of terminology chaps the hell out of my personal sitzplatz, and I will merrily join Mr. Jonas and anybody else who takes the steps required to drop a metaphorical anvil upon the idiots who use “ad hominem” when what’s meant is nothing more than nasty personalities deserved or undeserved.

    The censoring bastiches at Wikipedia notwithstanding, abuse plain and simple is not argumentum ad hominem.

  243. Kev-in-UK says:

    Mike Jonas says:
    January 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    well said Sir!

  244. Brian H says:

    Tucci78 says:
    January 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Bah! You’re obviously a wop ijit, so your objections have no merit!

    8-p

  245. Alan Wilkinson says:

    @Mike Jonas, January 1, 2011 at 2:27 pm, Kealey’s “shoulds”:

    “scientists are and should be advocates …
    scientists should desist from killing each other or even from telling outright falsehoods …
    no-one should expect a scientist to be anything other than a biased advocate …
    individual scientist’s pronouncements should be seen more as advertisements than as definitive …
    the public should be less naive.”

    What is it you object to? The first statement? The third?

    Re the first, most scientists write their papers as advocates for the thesis they are advancing and as justification for their conclusions. That is a simple fact. Of course, as Feynman has said eloquently they should first have tried their hardest to find any flaws in their work and clearly expose any uncertainties they have not addressed, but after all that they remain and stand or fall as advocates for their position.

    Re the third, in my opinion Kealey is using “should expect” in the sense of “should assume” rather than “should want”. Obviously science requires far more of scientists than the second sense would imply.

  246. I was surprised to read the comments after reading Kealey’s article.

    This article is a warning about naivete. We should all have to think, every minute of every day.

    We should think about with whom we deposit our hard-earned money. (Don’t worry…the Government guarantees your deposits!)

    We should teach our children. (Don’t worry…the Government is providing “free” education!)

    We should read legislation and hold politicians to account. (Don’t worry….”the people” elected them, and politicians only reflect what “the people” want.)

    We should question what NASA and BOM and CSIRO and CRU publish and promote, just as we should question each other. Will we rely upon each other so wholly and so lazily that we no longer read an article and think for ourselves about the meaning?

    I’m privileged to have met many great (sceptical) men and women in the last few years because of the meteoric rise of warmists spewing propaganda. It would be a great insult to them if I were to mindlessly accept everything they say.

    Cheers,
    Janet

  247. Stephen Rasey says:

    RE: Alan Wilkinson, January 1, 2011 at 5:43 pm.
    most scientists write their papers as advocates for the thesis they are advancing and as justification for their conclusions

    When someone uses the word “advocate” I think of “lawyer”, not scientist.
    In the field of law, particularly trial law, lawyers do not always have to present data that harms their case. Withholding confession by a defendant, under rights against self-incrimination, are only one such rule.

    I fear that if we say scientists should act as “advocates”, then we give them unintended moral permission to withhold inconveinent data and alternate interpretations in their presentations and papers. Science should not become an adversarial process similar to what the legal process requires.

    Scientists must NOT act as trial lawyers. There should never be an equivalent of suppression of evidence as part of scientific routine. Therefore, “scientist as advocate” should be considered an inappropriate phrase, for it improperly implies legal advocacy and scientific advocacy have similar rules.

    Scientist as Proponent: one who Proposes a better way of understanding or working with nature. It is ok to be “Pro” the proposal.
    Scientist as Exponent: one who explains or expounds an idea.
    Either of these is preferable to Scientist as Advocate: one that argues a Cause. (1)
    (1) http://www.thefreedictionary.com/advocate

  248. TomFP says:

    @Stephen Rasey – actually, the Scientific Method does require that scientists behave rather like trial lawyers – it’s just that, ideally, they have to accept both sides’ briefs and represent each with equal diligence. And of course any good trial lawyer must be able to argue a case he personally doubts, on behalf of a client he personally deprecates.

    In practice, as Kealey correctly observes, few scientists have the perfect forensic mind demanded by the Scientific Method – but that is why we have the Scientific Method – to create a collective mind that has the objectivity individual minds lack. It is not there to prevent error – that would preclude trial – but to prevent the perpetuation of error.

  249. Brian H says:

    There is always competition between ideas and POVs, and the question comes down to how they are resolved. In Medieval times, trial by battle was sometimes resorted to to decide the “truth” of a claim or idea, but that didn’t work out too well in the long run. In a law court a judge sifts two opposed claims on the basis of evidence and interpretation; he/she is more or less passive on the data collection side in America, but the European model(s) make the judge the premier investigator.

    Science does its best, in theory, to make the data the arbiter, but human selectivity and filtration is inevitable. Einstein’s observation that it would have taken just one experiment to disprove his theory is the ideal situation, and if dramatic enough that has happened in reality from time to time.

    But acknowledging that ideas and their proponents struggle against each other should be, amongst other things, a stimulus to make sure that the odds aren’t stacked by power and money and formality and status too much. They have their uses to filter out the nutjobs, but downside of suppressing discovery and misdirecting both research and society as a whole is very serious, and to be guarded against.

    It appears that any formal, “official”, protection against such suppression is failing in the case of climate change and the enforcement of mitigation proposals. The hope of the world to avoid massive abuse and suffering as a consequence has come down to a kind of street democracy of scientists and potential victims.

    I can’t think of any reasonable parallels in either recent or ancient history. Can anyone else?

  250. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    To Brian H. and Anna V. and other ‘commentary-ists’…

    I enjoyed your thoughts which provided a clear ‘snapshot’ of this issue ~ devoid of it’s
    ‘more emotional’ components…and then thought of any ‘parallels’ that History may provide.

    The only thing I can come up with is that I’ve been on the planet for 53 years, and
    when I was ‘really little’ (like, two or so) my folks and grandparents took me to a local high school where we all got our ‘sugar cube’ chocker block full of penicillin.

    Perhaps if you live in the U.S., the same thing happened to you.

    Our families did that because they TRUSTED the Government and it’s various ‘tentacles’. The late 50’s, early 60’s we STILL believed in NASA (and drank TANG, even though real O.J. tasted much better) and ‘ so-called experts’ had prestige because they diligently worked on stuff for ‘our own good’ while we could pursue ‘Life, Liberty, etc…’, and ‘Scientists’ that gave us such farcical ‘misconceptions’ as Piltdown Man, etc…etc…etc…
    showed that even ‘they’ had little $agendas$, little ‘stories’ to indoctrinate us.

    Today, I believe most ‘thinking humans’ would NEVER stand in a line ~ not ever again ~ to get a sugar cube from ANY ARM of ANY Government ‘Official’, not ever.

    We jus’ don’t trust them any longer. They’ve been exposed altogether too many times for ‘what they are’ and thinking folks aren’t buying their kool-aide any longer.

    So, rather than ‘battling’ like they once did, I believe the ‘thinking populace’ will ‘just say NO’ to all of the propaganda and ‘go with their gut’ as is prudent. I suggest Scientists do the same.

    Perhaps you guys could create a ‘Society’ and sign some…..some….. binding oath to each other, an oath based upon honor ~ and agree to leave it graciously if/when you break it’s code of ethics.

    For…….at least on ‘my part’ I see all of this as very simple.

    One of two ‘paths’ chosen. On one of those ‘paths’ is genuine Science (which comes after moral instruction and behavior) and on the ‘other’ is ‘Moral Relativism’ which then decays into ‘Moral Equivalency’ and then sinks into the primordial swamp of ‘morals’ being quite irrelevant.

    That, to me, is exactly where ‘some of us’ may be headed – if we don’t sound some sort of societal alarm.

    Happy New Year.

    C.L. Thorpe

  251. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    …so…..now, ‘What’s Up’?

  252. Alan Wilkinson says:

    @Stephen Rasey, you need to consider that both science and legal adversarial trials are designed to uncover the truth. And it is at least as important and necessary to do that well for the justice system as it is for science. The scientist as advocate faces his/her peers with contrary theories or explanations. In both systems the case put forward must be rigorously tested by the opposition.

    I believe you are splitting hairs to find a distinction.

  253. Tucci78 says:

    At 1:44 PM on 2 January, Cynthia Lauren Thorpe had written of:

    …when I was ‘really little’ (like, two or so) my folks and grandparents took me to a local high school where we all got our ‘sugar cube’ chocker block full of penicillin.

    .
    Nope. A single-dose treatment of any oral beta-lactam antibiotic would have been a helluva lot more massive than could be packed into a sugar cube. Back in the late ’70s I ran a regional venereal diseases clinic, and one of our standard stock compoundings was a unit dose containing powdered ampicillin (3.5 grams) and probenecid (1.0 gram) to be mixed with a quantity of water to put it into suspension and then taken orally by the patient in directly observed therapy (DOT) for diagnosed gonococcal urethritis.

    Bit of a chug, that was.

    Even a small child’s equivalent dose of penicillin or one of its congeners wouldn’t be low enough to administer as you’d remembered it. What you almost certainly got in that sugar cube was an early live attenuated-virus oral polio vaccine, Sabin’s alternative to the killed-virus Salk injected vaccine.

  254. Stephen Rasey says:

    @Tom FP: actually, the Scientific Method does require that scientists behave rather like trial lawyers

    I reject such a notion on many points. God help us if you are correct.

    Perhaps trial lawyers should more closely follow the Scientific Method than they do. Then ideally, trial lawyers will behave rather like scientists. I submit, however, that established Criminal and Civil Procedures in the USA depart from the Scientific Method in many ways.

    Try Googleing “Scientific Method”. Then open the top URLS. In each, search for the word: lawyer. In five I tried, I found lawyer once, and not in an exemplary usage.

    I already noted “Suppression of Evidence”. Not only are trial lawyers (advocates) ok with the concept, sometimes it is key to Winning their case. Suppression of Evidence in the scientific realm I daresay is never right and the must be exposed when discovered.

    Trial Lawyers win and lose cases. It should not be so with scientists. A scientist’s proposal might be accepted or be rejected, by some or a majority of other scientists, in limited or wide domain of usage. A scientist’s proposal must never be thought of as “correct” or “true”. It can only be “better” than what it purports to replace; “better” as in more accurate, easier to use, or with a wider applicability.

    “The Relativity of Wrong”, by Isaac Asimov is my guide on this last point. There is nothing wrong with a “flat earth” assumption in the proper circumstances. No, it isn’t right, but it is much easier to use for the construction of a house or building than making calculations incorporating the earth’s curvature. Newton’s law of gravitation has some problems on cosmic scales, but it works within the Solar System quite well. Maxwell’s Equations aren’t quantum mechanical, but they work just fine for generating terawatts of energy.

    Does the theory work? Does it make accurate predictions? Is it easier to use than other methods? It isn’t a case of winning and losing which is what a trial lawyer, and advocate, cares about.

    If we turn scientists into advocates, those who argue a cause, then society looses. Kealey’s use of advocate is not in isolation. Take look at the blog entries recently on Craven who is also urging scientists to become advocates. I know little of Craven except somehow important people put him as speaker and on panels at the AGU. Could there be a movement to turn scientists into advocates because adhering to the Scientific Method is just getting in the way of certain goals?

    Words mean things. Advocate: to argue a cause, especially when used to describe trial lawyers, means a behavior not in keeping with the Scientific Method.

  255. Brian H says:

    Alan Wilkinson says:
    January 2, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    @Stephen Rasey, you need to consider that both science and legal adversarial trials are designed to uncover the truth. And it is at least as important and necessary to do that well for the justice system as it is for science. The scientist as advocate faces his/her peers with contrary theories or explanations. In both systems the case put forward must be rigorously tested by the opposition.

    I believe you are splitting hairs to find a distinction.

    Utter nonsense. It is the primary goal of a scientist to find and subject his own thesis to as many rigorous challenges as possible, as only by surviving them can it have any credibility. Note that Climate Pseudologists reject any such notion, and try to suppress all challenges, and those who propose them.

    Despicable.

  256. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    To Tucci78 ~

    Thanks for ‘jogging’ my memory! (Like I said, I was ‘very little’ but, I do remember standing in that line, vividly.)

    So……..she asks…… did you think the rest of my ‘rant’ was plausible?

    And, I do stand ‘happily corrected’, Tucci. It WAS the Polio Vaccine, now that I
    recall more about that time.

    Thanks for reminding me,

    Cynthia Lauren

  257. Alan Wilkinson says:

    Brian H at 6:29 pm, you have blinkers on that blind you to the obvious. EVERY advocate must “find and subject his own thesis to as many rigorous challenges as possible, as only by surviving them can it have any credibility”. Why on earth do you think that only scientists have to do this?

    “Note that Climate Pseudologists reject any such notion, and try to suppress all challenges, and those who propose them.”

    Agreed (at least for the malpractising Team we are concerned about). Therefore they are poor advocates and in consequence their case is losing both public and professional credibility.

  258. Alan Wilkinson says:

    Stephen Rasey: “it isn’t a case of winning and losing which is what a trial lawyer, and advocate, cares about”

    Of course it is. The scientist is asserting that his/her explanation, discovery or thesis is more accurate, more useful or more powerful than what has previously been offered or known.

    If he/she loses, he/she will not be published or will quickly be refuted and discredited.

  259. Feet2theFire says:

    An exceptionally educational post.

    While I thoroughly enjoyed the whole post, this passage struck me powerfully:

    More relevantly, it means that individual scientist’s pronouncements should be seen more as advertisements than as definitive.

    Once on The Tonight Show the two main guests were Sir Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman. At one point Sir Laurence gave a knowing smile as he admitted to Hoffman that one of the main interests of any performer was, “Look at me, look at me, look at me!” Hoffman agreed knowingly, and Carson (and the audience) were shocked into silence.

    I would certainly put science up there as prima donnas, too. In NO way could they not have their egos involved as they try to ace each other out.

    Being an engineer (which is part of the applied side of science), I will tell you that most of the time ego has little place in engineering. Some, yes, when it is competition for positions or projects. (That is much the same as with science.) But most of the time it is just wrestling with reality to make something work, to anticipate problems and eliminate them so that the design simply works efficiently and reliably. Many times the design itself digs its heels in, and in those times, it is all an engineer can do to find ANY solution. I refer to those times as “listening to the design, as to what it will LET me do.” At those times and ego is utterly useless and, in fact, gets in the way. It usually manifests as an insistence on going down the same dead end, forcing the issue. I tell people, “If you have an ego of any size, engineering is probably not for you.”

    While architects are known for their egos and sometimes become famous, almost 100% of us would be hard pressed to name even one current engineer who is widely known.

    So scientists having egos – who would have figured? Of COURSE they fight to have their pet theories known far and wide. Every one of them would LOVE to have his/her name in a text book for the next 100 years.

    GREAT post!

  260. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    …like I said. Some choose the higher road/path, which REAL Science of Observation is founded upon…and others, will choose the road/path of ‘Rock Stars’ and Egotists… it’s for each individual (thankfully) to choose.

    Having one’s name in a book may indeed bring a smile to a heart, even to a ‘Real Scientist’s’ heart… but I daresay they’d rather have it there because of some subjective Truth they found or highlighted for the public good rather than because of some deceit they engineered. At least, I would.

    I mean, every prison has the names of inmates written down somewhere. I suppose it’s the difference between being ‘famous’ or ‘infamous’, really…

    Again, it’s up to each individual and the honor lays within him.
    Time will indeed tell.

    C.L. Thorpe

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