Principle of the Universality: responsibilities of scientists

International Council for Science

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From the International Council for Science,  something for the beleaguered climate science community to consider.

Responsibilities of scientists underlined by scientific community

Rome, Italy – The General Assembly of the International Council for Science (ICSU) today reaffirmed the universal values that should guide the conduct of science. It explicitly recognized the key social responsibilities of the scientific community that need to accompany the free practice of science. While the focus of the Principle of Universality of Science – which is central to ICSU’s statutes and a basic condition of worldwide membership of the ICSU family – has been on the preservation of scientific freedoms, ICSU is mindful of the need for scientists to pay equal attention to their responsibilities.

“The balance between scientific freedom and responsibility is not always easy to get right, but awareness of its significance and of the value of ongoing dialogue must be maintained within the scientific community.” says Bengt Gustafsson, Chair of ICSU’s Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in the conduct of Science (CFRS). “By extending its consideration of the long-established Principle of the Universality to explicitly include responsibilities as well as freedoms, ICSU has emphasized that this balance is critical both for science and society.”

The new wording of the Principle was approved today by the membership of ICSU at its General Assembly in Rome. It reads as follows:

The Principle of Universality (freedom and responsibility) of Science

The free and responsible practice of science is fundamental to scientific advancement and human and environmental well-being. Such practice, in all its aspects, requires freedom of movement, association, expression and communication for scientists, as well as equitable access to data, information, and other resources for research. It requires responsibility at all levels to carry out and communicate scientific work with integrity, respect, fairness, trustworthiness, and transparency, recognising its benefits and possible harms.

In advocating the free and responsible practice of science, ICSU promotes equitable opportunities for access to science and its benefits, and opposes discrimination based on such factors as ethnic origin, religion, citizenship, language, political or other opinion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or age.

Promoting good scientific conduct and preventing misconduct is critical for science as a whole, and for this reason ICSU’s CFRS was also heavily engaged in the organization of the second World Conference on Research Integrity in Singapore in July 2010. The Singapore Statement on Research Integrity, which stemmed from the event, was presented to the Assembly in Rome. The statement emphasizes the need for honesty in all aspects of research, accountability in the conduct of scientific research, professional courtesy and fairness in working with others, and good stewardship of research on behalf of others.

Gustafsson adds: “As our world evolves, there are continually changing challenges to the freedoms of scientists, and an increased onus on the scientific community to articulate and embrace its responsibilities. Whilst there can be national, and even disciplinary, differences in the way research is actually carried out, there are certain principles and responsibilities that are fundamental to ‘good science’. Given the unique position of scientists as the gate-keepers of new knowledge in today’s knowledge societies, respect for these values is critically important if confidence in science is to be maintained.”

###About ICSU

Founded in 1931, ICSU is a non-governmental organization with a global membership of national scientific bodies (120 Members, representing 140 countries) and International Scientific Unions (30 Members). The Council’s activities focus on three areas: planning and coordinating research; science for policy; and strengthening the Universality of Science. ICSU is frequently called upon to speak on behalf of the global scientific community and to act as an advisor in matters ranging from the environment to conduct in science. www.icsu.org

 

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55 thoughts on “Principle of the Universality: responsibilities of scientists

  1. Simple really. All publicised studies should be accompanied by the following ;
    1. Public access to the raw data used in the study
    2. Full explanation of the process used including all computer source code
    3. Statement of conditions under which the study was undertaken
    4. Results of the applying the specified process to the data given
    An experiment is not scientific if it is not repeatable. All of the above is required for that to be true. Only the public owns publicly funded science. Proprietary ownership only applies in the private sector, not the public one.

  2. A statement of the bleeding obvious with the usual human rights/social responsibility bolierplate clauses. As a lawyer, this reads like mealy mouth, weasel words. In other words, it is language that sounds lovely and fuzzy and warm and morally good, but it can also could be interpretted to mean almost anything. Hence, it means nothing.

    For example, `equitable access to data’, is consistent with an argument that, let’s say, Phil Jones does not have to producer underlying data, coz he’s worked so hard to put it together it would be unfair (not equitable) to require Good-Old-Jonesy let others get their mitts on it, and steal his glory/achievement, make a buck out of it, or whatever.

    And what is with the section about opposing `… discrimination based on such factors as ethnic origin, religion, citizenship, language, political or other opinion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or age.’ Huh? These principles are, surely, taken as assumed in the current age.

    The Bear was expecting something of substance, about scientific method and integrity.

    This release reads like an entry for a competition about who can write the most feel-good mission statement. Oh, and meaningless mission statements, at that.

  3. Given the unique position of scientists as the gate-keepers of new knowledge in today’s knowledge societies, respect for these values is critically important if confidence in science is to be maintained.”

    A gatekeeper is a person who controls access to something.

    At first, I interpreted this to mean that only properly certified scientists should be allowed access to science.

    I then thought it could mean scientists must honestly report on what the data (new knowledge) says.

    Poorly phrased IMO.

  4. I suspect that this passage means exactly the opposite of what it says. “Science” by everyone except whites, Jewish, American, Western, males, etc. will be identified as being real knowledge.
    It is pure identity politics.

  5. heh – they have a ” Chair of a “Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in the conduct of Science”” of the harem of the court of king caractacus
    do they get to wear cummerbunds?

  6. “It requires responsibility at all levels to carry out and communicate scientific work with integrity, respect, fairness, trustworthiness, and transparency, recognising its benefits and possible harms.”

    Missing word: objectivity.

  7. It requires responsibility at all levels to carry out and communicate scientific work with integrity, respect, fairness, trustworthiness, and transparency, recognising its benefits and possible harms.

    Lets see how the Team measures up to these noble concepts…

    Integrity? Like ascribing everything under the sun to global warming? Nope!
    Respect? Read the Climategate e-mails. Not in your life!
    Fairness? We’ll have to redefine peer review like fairness. Yea right!
    Trustworthiness? Like in hide the decline trustworthiness? I can’t stop laughing!
    Transparency? Ignoring FOA requests and hiding behind IP excuses. More like opacity!
    Recognising benefits? Profits to be made in carbon trading. Only if personal profit qualifies!
    Recognising possible harms? Kill economies and food crops for fuel? What a joke!.

    Final assessment: FAIL!

  8. > and opposes discrimination based on such factors as ethnic origin, religion, citizenship, language, political or other opinion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or age.

    Yep, as always when American morons are concerned or addressed, the most important of all being the ****sex, gender identity, sexual orientation****.

    The world is on the slide to oblivion. I hope so. Even science is not impervious to this scourge of progressiveness.

    Regards

  9. <i.recognising its … possible harms

    That sounds suspiciously like – Don’t do politically incorrect research; Don’t published politically incorrect results; Don’t draw politically incorrect conclusions; Don’t formulate politically incorrect theories.

  10. Well, I didn’t read the other’s comments first before I wrote my opinion above. But see I am not alone in my views.

    Overall picture I figured out looks like the main burden of responsibility moved from true “scientific works” to vulgar “socio-political correctness”.

    Regards

  11. This, along with the AAUP ethics code is going to help free the Mann emails from the University of Virginia. Thanks Anthony for surfacing this report.

    David Schnare

  12. Another reminder there is science and ‘climate science’. In theory, they should follow the same practices, unfortunately the reality is very different.

  13. Surely the basis of good science is that the researcher should carry out studies/experiments without any pre-conceived notions, beliefs, or a poltical axe to grind. It should totally independendent from those providing the funding. Also the data and it’s methodology should be made publicly available. Peer review should be carried out by scientists who are experts in different fields to prevent collusion.
    None of the above happens in climate science or health studies.
    A classic case in point is the research that the American Cancer Society carried out into the effects of second hand tobacco smoke. A study was funded by the ACS which looked at the incidence of lung cancer in non-smoking spouses whose spouse smoked; the study was to take 25 years. After 20 years the ACS asked to see preliminary results, the results did not show what the ACS wanted to see. The ACS stopped their funding, the scientists carrying out the study received funding from the tobacco industry for the remaining five years. The study showed conclusively that second hand tobacco smoke did not cause lung cancer. All the health organisations rallied together to decry the study as being sponsored by the tobacco industry. Any credibilty it had,disappeared, because of the public perception that the medics were good and tobacco was bad.
    We have the same thing with climate science, any study showing AGW is not happening is blamed on funding or bribery from the oil industry.
    Modern science is indeed in a sorry state

  14. Andrew Harding “Surely the basis of good science is that the researcher should carry out studies/experiments without any pre-conceived notions, beliefs, or a poltical axe to grind. It should totally independendent from those providing the funding.”

    I’d take slight issue with that to be honest. Generally you would expect an experimenter to have pre-conceived notions or ideas as they will be seeking to test their theory (theories being something people invest a lot of emotion in). The important thing is that they should be looking for ways to disprove their theory, such that their emotional involvement becomes irrelevant. Experimental results can never prove a theory, so experiments designed to do such are unfortunately doomed, by definition, to be largely worthless.

    Agree wholeheartedly with the rest of it, or at least the ideas being expressed. Little last niggle, I’d have phrased “…The study showed conclusively that second hand tobacco smoke did not cause lung cancer…” more along the lines of the “…study failed to show any links between second hand tobacco smoke and lung cancer, with the exception of a statistically significant reduction in incidence of lung cancer in non-smokers exposed to second hand tobacco smoke as children…” but I suppose that could be viewed as ‘off message’ ;-)

  15. I think the key phrase is “…social responsibilities of the scientific community….”
    Marx, Hegel and Engel would be so happy to see that.

    Another way to put that in clearer terms is:
    “…the State ‘has the supreme right against the individual, whose supreme duty is to be a
    member of the State’…..
    – Georg Hegel The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1959, page 144) (Translation from William Shirer Historian)

    The “social responsibilities” of advancing the socialist agenda trump scientific truth. Trofim Lysenko’s work to prove acquired characteristics is a classic example. Hopefully we are not repeating this example in a more subtle way.

    “….Kammerer insisted that the induced changes he observed were fully inheritable. Kammerer’s experiments drew criticism due to his sloppy documentation and suspicious, apparently, doctored drawings and photographs. Kammerer defended his conclusions energetically but in 1923 his career came to end after the famous geneticist William Bateson found that Kammerer’s showcase midwife toad that supposedly acquired black mating pads, a trait that was passed to the progeny, was actually injected with black ink…..

    In a cruel irony, Kammerer was warmly welcomed by the Bolshevik leaders of the Soviet Union and nearly ended up moving his laboratory to that country….. Lysenko and his henchmen were not scientists at all, not by any stretch, but utterly shameless criminals who exploited the abnormal situation in the country to amass in their hands extraordinary power over Soviet scientific establishment and beyond… Mostly, the Lysenkoist “science of true Darwinism” was not even fraudulent because its adepts often did not bother to fake any “experiments” but simply told their ideologically inspired tales. This could have been comical if not for the fact that many dissenters literally paid with their lives, whereas almost all research in biology in the Soviet Union was hampered for decades. There is no reason to discuss Lysenko any further here; detailed accounts have been published [15-17], and the proceedings of the infamous 1948 session of the Soviet Agricultural Academy, where genetics was officially banished, remain a fascinating even if harrowing read [18].” http://www.biology-direct.com/content/4/1/42

  16. The key is “challenges to the freedom of scientists”.

    Who is “challenging the freedom of scientists”?

    Heretics.

    Heretics are challenging the freedom of scientists to lie and commit pseudoscience.

    Basically what this new statement means is: “Heretics will be the next biofuel.”

  17. @Philip Bradley

    “A gatekeeper is a person who controls access to something.”

    I agree with Mr Bradley. This is bad. Any attempt to position ‘scientists’ as a different class and give them ‘responsibilities’ is a first step to exerting control over thought.

    There is no class of ‘scientists’. Scientific thinking is a method of examining phenomena to determine what is true, supported by a publishing and teaching infrastructure, in exactly the way Roger Bacon proposed in the 1200s. Anyone can do it, under any circumstances. It so happens that we pay some people to do it in areas where society or commerce thinks that finding out the truth may be particularly profitable or useful, but that does not stop anyone else joining in, from interest or curiosity.

    I have seen appeals to ‘scientific responsibility’ elsewhere, quite recently. Learned societies in a number of places have been claiming that ‘scientific responsibility’ is the thing that should stop scientists supporting disturbing and mistaken hypotheses which do not have the support of the overwhelming consensus of the world’s scientists. Hypotheses like Intelligent Design and Climate Change Denial….

  18. The Globe and Mail today repots that Gordon McBean, one of Canada’s top climate change scientists, has been elected president of the International Council for Science (ICSU).  The report notes that “Mr. McBean, 68, is a professor at the University of Western Ontario and has a densely packed resume in the fields of climate change and disaster risk reduction related to climate change. He is chairman of START, an organization that studies the affects of climate change in Africa and the Asia-Pacific area, and was a lead author of the International Panel on Climate Change report that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He was also a lead author of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment.”

  19. Read the ICSU statement then read some of Andy Revkin.

    The ISCSU statement preparers and Revkin seem to have had the same sociology and political science professors at university; perhaps professors who were colleagues of Jerome Ravetz.

    That is my theory of the root cause of modern alarmism of which climate alarmism is just one of several current examples.

    Now the next question, from what philosophic tradition did they intellectually inherit their social orientation?

    John

  20. A child in a candy store, without mama, and a pocket full of money.
    “balance between scientific freedom and responsibility”. What a rub. Is it not the same when written law corrals a government body (as in 1787)?
    “The free and responsible practice of science is fundamental to scientific advancement” Well yes, and according to the disposition of the next grant.
    In the U.S. West of the Rocky Mountains, there is a lowly participant in nature that seems to not engage in hand to hand gage-fighting for nothing more than sport. Western Spotted Owl. Experts within the science community (grants?) declared than another animal-human was maliciously interfering (habitat) with the pacifist peace loving owl. All of the government sponsored experts claimed ‘yes’. Private not so titled worthy experts said ‘wait, there are but a few communities that have some sickness or social disorder, and the why (takes money) these communities are sick’ needs the study. 25 Years later, the same grant entity has hired professional shooters to eliminate or at least reduce the influence of a seemingly natural invasion-migration of the move-out or I will kill you Eastern Barred Owl. Further to the west of this smoke plume shaped migration are very healthy spotted owl communities.
    If a problem exists within the science community it is far deeper than a mission statement

  21. Science should be neither responsible or irresponsible. The aim of science is to seek out the Truth, whether this truth be good news or bad for the mores of the time.
    Once you start to place ‘social responsibilities’ on science, then truth becomes subservient to opinion and the political correctness of the day. For example, if Anthony Watts says that global warming is not happening,- is this irresponsible? In some people’s minds it is. Should he then, like Galileo, be judged by a panel of wise men, such as the Spanish Inquisition, or should he be judged by cold science alone?
    Was it responsible to develop the atom bomb? – probably depends on which side you were on. Was Darwin irresponsible to suggest that life did not require God? Some people thought so and, in consequence, he delayed making his theory public for over 20 years.
    So, although at first sight it sounds fine to propose that scientists should recognise ” the key social responsibilities of the scientific community”, this is a Trojan horse. Nice sounding phrases like this are easily inserted into texts, without receiving scrutiny or objection. But they spell the death of Science; be wary of them. Science is neither moral nor immoral; it must be amoral.

  22. quote

    and opposes discrimination,

    end quote

    Nothing more needs be said. The addition of anything is of itself an automatic example of discrimination as it orders (and therefore implies) what acts of discrimination you must be especially aware of.

    It’s socialist code for saying the exact opposite of what it appears to say; thus all the classes of discrimination following the coma are to be applied in the current politically approved way.

    I think we are all aware of this; if you come across it in any statments you make you should fight tooth and nail to remove the ‘explanatory’ clause.

    Oppose discrimination – of all kinds (perhaps especially ‘anti’ discriminatory concepts; as these are always discriminatory;; — see even I do it !)

  23. A bit of HOT news about the ICSU:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/top-canadian-climate-scientist-to-head-international-council/article2186542/

    This latest news is hardly to celebrate given the connection with Maurice Strong. Here is what Dr. Tim Ball was writing about Gordon McBean. Anyone wonders why attack lawyers are trying to silence Dr. Ball? He knows what McBean and Strong have done in Canada:

    “By Dr. Tim Ball Monday, December 13, 2010
    Maurice Strong set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) through the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide a powerful vehicle for almost complete control of climate science. Each national weather office perpetuates the deception that human CO2 is causing climate change. He controlled the science through the IPCC and the political and propaganda portion under the umbrella of the Rio Conference (1992) and the ongoing Conference of the Parties (COP). By peopling the IPCC with representatives of national weather offices, he attained control of the politics within each nation and collective global control. They’re the Trojan Horses from which funding and research emanate to deceive the politicians and public into achieving his goal of destroying the industrialized nations.
    Funnel For Funding
    No surprise that control was through funding of research, which was almost all through government. Canada is a good example of how they bypassed normal efforts to prevent political interference. Most scientific research funding goes through the National Research Council (NRC) or the National Scientific and Engineering Council (NSERC) to reduce political interference. However, virtually all climate research funding went through Environment Canada (EC). An article published on December 2, 2010 authored by Gordon McBean says, “This month, the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences celebrated a birthday that could be among its last. After 10 years as Canada’s main funding agency for academic weather and climate science, the foundation will soon cease to exist if there’s no further support from the Canadian government.”
    The author’s history reveals the hypocrisy of his letter. It’s a perfect example of how they controlled climate science through the WMO and the national agencies. McBean chaired the 1985 meeting in Villach, Austria at which the IPCC was created. Tom Wigley, former Director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and his successor Phil Jones attended. Both were major participants in the corruption revealed by the ClimateGate leaked emails. McBean was Assistant Deputy Minister, the second highest-ranking bureaucrat at Environment Canada. His tenure in that office was relatively brief and appears deliberate. It’s apparently related to Maurice Strong’s personal friendship with Canadian Prime minister Paul Martin. After securing funding of $61 million for the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS), McBean took early retirement in 2000. A month later he was appointed as chair of CFCAS. He was also the lead author of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), a report of pure speculation that became a major source of information for the 2007 IPCC Report.”

  24. I think there is one other thing that tends to get overlooked in the ‘science’ field by many commentators – and that thing is PRIDE. I don’t mean pride as in boastful type arrogance. I mean a self felt kind of pride as in quietly and dilligently working away to improve ones understanding and then sharing it with all for the benefit of mankind. The kind of pride where you go to sleep at night relaxed in the knowledge of a job well done, or a task completed to the absolute best of your own ability, and in the case of top scientists – a task completed whereby you are reasonably certain you have got it right! Not the pride of ‘I got the Nobel Prize’ so ‘I must be good’ kind of pride, which is arrogance, of course.
    Scientists have taken a kicking over the actions of a few (well quite a few in the global warming sense!) but most are NOT like that at all. Yes, many may be looking for funding for various projects – but mostly, I believe folk go into science for the self pride and satsifaction when they actually achieve something..? That desire is nothing to be ashamed of – and it is something that desperately needs to be re-injected into science – by doing so, perhaps some of the TEAM type members may just be able to re-assert themselves as REAL scientists instead of politically motivated self gratifying jerks!

  25. Wow, they don’t think too highly of themselves at all, do they? /sarc

    Any idiot can recognize simple moral standards and recite them until the rest of us fall asleep. The real question is, who is willing to practise what they preach?

    The use of the term “gate keeper” of knowledge in particular gives me pause. Since when did science become a mechanism for moral standards? It allows you to uncover truths that were always there regardless of what you believe. Morality has nothing to do with it because that changes with society. Scientific results should never be bound by any subjective definition of morality.

  26. John Whitman says:
    October 1, 2011 at 6:43 am
    Now the next question, from what philosophic tradition did they intellectually inherit their social orientation?

    My guess is you are looking for Post Normal (Science)

    http://www.eoearth.org/article/Post-Normal_Science

    But I am going to answer with – Critical Theory

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/critical-theory/

    Critical Theory defies a clean definition, but this from the 3rd paragraph of the link is a good start:
    “It follows from Horkheimer’s definition that a critical theory is adequate only if it meets three criteria: it must be explanatory, practical, and normative, all at the same time. That is, it must explain what is wrong with current social reality, identify the actors to change it, and provide both clear norms for criticism and achievable practical goals for social transformation. ”

    The key being the normative element in contrast to the traditional interpretive (detached) perspective.

  27. Yes Bomber the Cat, science might give us wind turbines and solar panels but it doesn’t tell us exactly what we should be doing with them-

    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/solar-power-profiteers-in-for-a-shock/story-e6frea6u-1226154430943

    (ETSA stands for Electricity Trust of South Australia by the way)
    If the powers that be keep it up I’ll be expecting the shops to start paying me to shop in their fine establishments any time soon. I think this particular field of science should aptly be called- Whatever!

  28. Vinceo: wow. That explains a lot. I really don’t like this. Maybe the trial of Italian scientists is a motive for the adoption of this gobbledegook, but as Dodgy Geezer notes, science is a method not a caste, and oaths of allegiance are neither necessary nor helpful. This will be used to punish and denigrate whomever the chosen ones find threatening or inconvenient in disputes which are not about science and truth, but about politics and power.

  29. The New World Order Illuminati guys don’t let the truth stand in their way of the agenda. Science is only valid if it furthers the predefined solution to the jinned up problem. Pockets are deep and the propaganda machines are well oiled. The Inquisitioners have deluded themselves into believing that they are now sciencist. The dark side is once again galloping.

  30. The sense I get reading The Principle of Universality (freedom and responsibility) of Science is that it was written by committee. It reminded me of the old saying: “A camel is a horse designed by a committee.” Flowery prose, little content.

  31. The use of ‘gatekeeper’ is horrifying to me. Can there be any doubt now after the recent events surrounding Spencer and Braswell that this is exactly how Trenberth, et al, see themselves?

  32. mwhite says:
    October 1, 2011 at 4:29 am
    > Italian scientists on trial

    Probably some on them are/were not scientists but government and local officials – people being seismologists but then working for their government and paid by their government or by local administration. That’s a huuuuuge difference.

    Regard

  33. dkkraft says:
    October 1, 2011 at 9:37 am
    [ . . . ]
    But I am going to answer with – Critical Theory

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/critical-theory/

    Critical Theory defies a clean definition, but this from the 3rd paragraph of the link is a good start:

    “It follows from Horkheimer’s definition that a critical theory is adequate only if it meets three criteria: it must be explanatory, practical, and normative, all at the same time. That is, it must explain what is wrong with current social reality, identify the actors to change it, and provide both clear norms for criticism and achievable practical goals for social transformation. ”

    The key being the normative element in contrast to the traditional interpretive (detached) perspective. [JW emphasis]

    ———————–

    dkkraft,

    Your comment adds a nice reference. Will check it. Thanks.

    Yes, I think the interpretative vs normative process is somewhat equivalent to the difference of objective vs subjective (respectively). We see then the PNS wrt the normative thrust.

    John

  34. “Given the unique position of scientists as the gate-keepers of new knowledge”
    ###
    Huh??? I thought scientist were supposed to be “trail-blazers” not “gate-keepers”.

  35. Vinceo says: October 1, 2011 at 5:20 am

    The Globe and Mail today repots that Gordon McBean, one of Canada’s top climate change scientists, has been elected president of the ICSU. McBean was a lead author for IPCC.

    TomRude says: October 1, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Dr. Tim Ball … knows what McBean and Strong have done in Canada….

    “…The author’s history.. is a perfect example of how they controlled climate science through the WMO and the national agencies. McBean chaired the 1985 meeting in Villach, Austria at which the IPCC was created. Tom Wigley, former Director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and his successor Phil Jones attended…

    McBean… was the lead author of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), a report of pure speculation that became a major source of information for the 2007 IPCC Report.”

    Says it all.Tim Ball, the number one candidate for a rnew biography (here?) because Connolley disappeared Tim Ball’s biography in Wikipedia.

  36. Anytime any of these clowns mention ‘fairness,’ you know what you’ll get is anything but.

    And yes, I called them clowns not only because of the ‘fairness’ thing but because of the inclusiveness nonsense (ethnic origin, religion, citizenship, language, political or other opinion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or age). Science should not depend upon any of those things, agreed. But diversity and inclusiveness not goals of science. Those are social goals.

  37. mwhite says:
    October 1, 2011 at 4:29 am
    “Rome, Italy – This story may be the impetus for this statement

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14981921

    Italian scientists on trial

    This is a travesty. our current predictive skill is close to zero. and they want to put bunch of geophycisists in jail for that!!!

    It would make more sense to put the whole met office for the london heathrow airport shutdown fiasco.

  38. I would cite the Solindra fiasco as an example of what can happen if people try to force technology, business, and science to conform to their idealistic beliefs, no matter how nice and socially beautiful they might sound.

  39. This is the rubbish they write for IPCC

    As a scientific organization with global representation and active engagement in global environmental change research including climate change, the International Council for Science (ICSU) has been closely following the ongoing controversy concerning the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Important issues have been raised in relation to both the interpretation of scientific knowledge, especially in making predictions of future developments, and the procedures used by the IPCC in its assessment.

    With more than 450 lead authors, 800 contributing authors, and 2500 reviewers from more than 130 countries, the IPCC 4th Assessment Report represents the most comprehensive international scientific assessment ever conducted. This assessment reflects the current collective knowledge on the climate system, its evolution to date, and its anticipated future development. It is now apparent, and given the scale of the enterprise not surprising, that some errors did occur in part of the report. However, in proportion to the sheer volume of the research reviewed and analyzed, these lapses of accuracy are minor and they in no way undermine the main conclusions. It should be noted that the errors were initially revealed and made public by scientists and the misinterpretations can now be corrected accordingly. Rather than compromising the integrity and credibility of the science of climate change, this series of events is in itself a demonstration of the vigour and rigour of the scientific process.

    In any area of science it is important that errors, or previous assumptions that change in the light of new evidence, are openly admitted and corrected. This is especially the case for the IPCC reports, which have broad and deep implications for societal choices and policy. Lessons should be learnt from the current controversy. The IPCC processes are tried and tested but they are not infallible (and have never been presented as such by the scientific community). In the light of recent events, it is timely to review these processes to see whether modifications can be made that i) reduce the chance of errors being introduced in the first place, and ii) optimise the mechanisms for identifying and correcting errors that do inadvertently remain in the final IPCC reports. The procedures for the IPCC assessments engage not only the scientific community, but also governmental agencies. They are complicated and not always easily understood by those not directly involved. It is important to continue to strive to make these processes as transparent and accountable as possible.

    The identified errors in the IPCC report are regrettable but, in the context of the complex IPCC process, understandable. That these errors have resulted in attempts to discredit the main conclusions of the report, accusations of scientific conspiracies, and personal attacks on scientists is unacceptable. Scientific assessments, such as those of the IPCC, are a crucial basis for making the decisions that will shape our society now and in the future. Scientists, governments, and other societal stakeholders need to work together to ensure the quality and relevance of such assessments. We need to learn from the current controversy and make improvements where necessary. We should be grateful to the many thousands of scientists who give freely of their time to contribute to the IPCC and other scientific assessments. And we should continue to be critical but constructively so and in ways that openly recognize the strengths and limitations of the scientific process itself.

  40. John Whitman says:
    October 1, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Quite right. I re-read the ICSU Principles at least 3 times trying to find reference to objectiviity. None to be found. Isn’t objectivity a central scientific, even academic, principle? I guess that is debatable on an epistemological level, but surely it at least ought to be an aspirational goal. However objectivity (or perhaps more precisely, positivism) certainly is not an academic principle according to the (social) Critical Theory of The Frankfurt School.

    In the context of the CAGW meme, I think students of the question “what philosophic tradition did they intellectually inherit their social orientation?” would benefit from from reading up on the Frankfurt school and Critical Theory. The Stanford link I provided earlier is pretty sympathetic to the theory (and in fairness, there are intersting elements to the theory – they do not, however, promote very good scientific or academic practice IMHO). The following link is a little easier read and with all of the links on definitions it is a rabbit hole that is both fun and actually quite appropriate to the investigation of Critical Theory, which is itself a bit of a rabbit hole.

    http://pediaview.com/openpedia/Critical_theory

    This is also interesting. A different medium. A series of video clips / lectures on the topic. Some sympathetic, some not so much…

    http://wn.com/Critical_theory_(Frankfurt_School)

  41. If I was to pick the most significant word in the (American) English language, I would not hesitate to pick the word ‘indirect’.

    John

  42. This is not a new idea.

    Science + No Responsibility = Scientist.

    Science + Responsibility = Engineer.

    Some scientists are discovering that, when they start giving the public advice, they are engaging in the practice of engineering. It would seem that they don’t like it much.

  43. “gate keepers” my royal red rump. Prejudging and filtering information is death to science. A gatekeeper is not a scientist. A scientist is not a gatekeeper. The Venn diagram has zero overlap.

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