Friday Funny Bonus – the company you keep

Post Climategate, we’ve seen a fall of sorts lately. Papers like Gergis et al are retracted for errors, then we have Michael Oppenheimer’s trainwreck of claiming climate change induced crop failures will drive Mexican climate refugees into the United States by the millions, that got knocked over by the simplest scientific scrutiny. Then of course there’s Mann’s hockey stick, and Eric Steig’s ‘Antarctica is warming’, both knocked down by solid rebuttals from citizen scientists.

Some very brave scientists like Franz Vahrenholt and Sebastian Lüning plus Nobel Laureate Ivar Giaever have recently spoken out about the quality of the arguments and the money/activism issues surrounding climate science today, but the majority of science is still standing idly by watching this sideshow. Josh writes:

There are clearly great scientists doing excellent work. So why do some seem to be ok with all the scams, boondoggles and tricks that pass for science and policy?

Answers on a placard, please.

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29 thoughts on “Friday Funny Bonus – the company you keep

  1. Another good one Josh.

    Universities should be handing out nose plugs instead of condoms.

  2. It would be nice for everone to be involved in exposing this sham, but scientists are people like everyone else. Busy, lazy, apathetic, and some afraid.

    Beside that, expecting them to speak out just because they are scientists is another sort of appeale to authority. They may justly feel they are no more qulified to speak out in another field than you or I.

  3. Theodore says: “He forgot BODGE!”

    We don’ need no steenkin’ bodge.

    Well, somebody had to say it.

  4. R-rated would have all the signs reading: “Horsesh**”, “Bullsh**”, “Crock-of-sh**”, etc…..

  5. sporadicblogging said (July 13, 2012 at 11:17 am)

    “…It would be nice for everone to be involved in exposing this sham, but scientists are people like everyone else. Busy, lazy, apathetic, and some afraid.

    Beside that, expecting them to speak out just because they are scientists is another sort of appeale to authority. They may justly feel they are no more qulified to speak out in another field than you or I…”

    Some of the scientists we’re thinking of are in the same fields as the “climate scientists”, yet they say nothing.

    And we’re still waiting for some “climate scientist” to tell us exacly what disciplines make up the core of the “climate science” field. Probably because if they did, certain people would be included (or left out).

  6. This reminds me of typical expressions in science and their real meaning that were gong around during my PhD…. those showed up at Answer.com

    “It can be shown” – Somebody said they did this, but I can’t duplicate their results. I can’t even find the reference, or else I would have cited that instead.

    “It has long been known” – I don’t know the original reference.

    “A trend is evident” – Okay, a trend does seem apparent to me, but no statistical analysis in the world will support it.

    “Of great theoretical and practical importance” – Means it is interesting to me or else I want it to be interesting to somebody with money so they will fund my research.

    “Although there are no definite answers to these questions…” – My experiment failed, but I still want to get published.

    “Three samples were selected for detailed study” – Because the other ones sucked!

    “Typical results are shown” – Either means the only results are shown or the best results are shown.

    “These results will be described in a subsequent report” – Could mean: “I had to hurry and get this paper published” or “My sabbatical is over and it’s someone else’s job to figure out the data.”

    “The most reliable results are those obtained by Smith.” – Smith is or was my graduate research assistant.

    “It is believed that…” – I think this (and either no one agrees with me or else I didn’t consult anyone).

    “It is generally believed that” – I think this and at least one other person agrees with me.

    “Additional work will be required to elucidate the mechanism” – I don’t have a clue what is going on and I’m not going to be the one to figure it out, or… I need more money.

    “Correct within an order of magnitude” – So very, very wrong.

    “It is hoped that this study will stimulate further investigation” – If I cared about further investigation, I’d tell you about my future plans. You can do the research. You won’t get any answers either.

    “Thanks are due to Joe Shmoe for assistance with the experiment and to Sam Smith for his help in preparing this paper” – Shmoe did the work. Smith wrote the paper. My lab hosted the experiment, so I get all of the credit and any awards that might be given.

    “A careful analysis of obtainable data” – I analyzed what data I could, which wasn’t much because the other data was lost (coffee or chemical spill, computer error, equipment malfunction, the dog ate it, etc.).

  7. sporadicblogging says:
    July 13, 2012 at 11:17 am
    It would be nice for everone to be involved in exposing this sham, but scientists are people like everyone else. Busy, lazy, apathetic, and some afraid.

    Beside that, expecting them to speak out just because they are scientists is another sort of appeale to authority. They may justly feel they are no more qulified to speak out in another field than you or I.
    =======================================================================
    Gail had a comment elevated to a post that reminded us that, yes, even scientist suffer from the same flaw we all have in common, being human and the human nature that comes with it.
    I disagree though that expecting scientist (citizen scientist or not) to speak up is another sort of appeal to authority. I want them to speak up because they can follow and point out the flaws in the CAGW hype, even when it may be about something outside their field. McIntyre (sp?) debunking Hockey Stick is the classic example of this. Monckton would be another. And of course, Anthony and the MOD Squad.
    Assuming I had the mental faculties or “IQ” (That may be a HUGE assumption.) to dig into their papers, I don’t have the knowlege and time to do so. I’m glad they do.
    Put the facts and data out there with the hypothesis and let those with the knowlege and ability sift through it.

  8. AW – you seem to have lost the witty header to Josh’s cartoon; it shows on BH’s Blog and I think further enhances the point he’s making!

  9. All of the softly spoken and reasonable voices of skepticism, while shouting together, could not be heard above the commercial cacophony (consider the meaning of the prefix root). Believe nothing that you read or hear without verifying it yourself unless it is congruent with your weltanschauung.

  10. I forgot to add something.
    There’s a saying, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullsh*t!” I’m thankful for those who are neither dazzles nor baffled but can simply look and see what’s really there.

  11. Ray….

    Love it! I will try to remember not to use any of those terms in my next paper… ;)

  12. Anyone who has read about McCarthyism will see the parallels. People who spoke out against it were hauled in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee, The threat of being on the “blacklist” and not being allowed to work hugely affected people’s behaviour. Actors like Zero Mostel had to work secretly under another name during this period, other just could not work. .

  13. “There are clearly great scientists doing excellent work. So why do some seem to be ok with all the scams, boondoggles and tricks that pass for science and policy?”

    WUWT bloggers constantly castigate the AGW alarmists – particularly the scientists – for their dishonesty in promulgating theories that they know to be untrue just to keep the research grants coming in. But do they KNOW that their pronouncements are all lies?

    Psychologist Dan Ariely states “Psychological studies show that people quickly start believing whatever comes out of their own mouths, even when they are paid to say it.” He discusses this phenomenon at length on his website http://www.danariely.com See in particular his June 27th blog (currently on page 2).

  14. I think Confused Photon is on to something – having to work with people who (1) expect you to be part of the groupthink and (2) make personal and public attacks on people who step outside the groupthink, makes it difficult to take a public stand – respect for a reasoned argument has long since gone from their professional life unfortunately

  15. “So scientists are human after all. They are no different from bankers, politicians, lawyers, estate agents and perhaps even journalists. They cheat. They make mistakes. They suppress truth and suggest falsity, especially when a cheque or a plane ticket is on offer. As for self-criticism, that is for you, not me.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/04/scientists-fallibilty-self-criticism-question

    “Judson discusses fraud of three sorts: fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism. Fabrication is the creation of claimed observations and facts out of whole cloth. These are just plain lies. Falsification is the trimming and adjustment of the results of genuine experiments so that they come to be in agreement with a desired conclusion.” I would include within plagiarism scientists who take credit for the ideas of others.

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2004/nov/18/dishonesty-in-science/?pagination=false

    “The scientific mind is usually helpless against a trained trickster. Because a man has mastered the intricacies of chemistry or physics is no qualification for him to deduce how the Chinese linking rings, for instance, seem to melt into each other, passing metal through solid metal. Only a knowledge of the rings themselves can reveal the secret. The scientific mind is trained to search for truth which is hidden in the mysteries of nature — not by the ingenuity of another human brain.” [Houdini, 1874-1926]

  16. weltanschauung

    That’s an important part of it. It encompases politics but goes well beyond that.

    We all have this need to ‘understand’ the world we live in and challenges to our understanding cause dissonance. In simple terms, admitting you are wrong is a difficult thing to do. Scientists are not immune to this. Their theories are also their core ‘understandings’.

    The process of science should work to counter this natural human tendency.

    Unfortunately, in climate science the process of science doesn’t work very well and has largely been captured by a small clique of mostly modellers. Which is why much of the real scientific work is being done by citizen scientists.

    Then there is wider picture, which is mostly about money.

  17. Found on Facebook, worth a Friday Funny Footnote.

    Replace the “Management Directives” block with “Grant Writing” and then this is nearly a perfect description of Climate Science as currently practised.

  18. When the alarm is all over, and weather becomes weather again, and the fate of the world (and man) lies not in the gases emitted by cows, the philosophical question will be how honest and smart people came to be convinced the End was near. “Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” will be re-issued with a large section on “Global Warming”, but the answer will still elude intellectual understanding because the answer lies not in thinking, but in feeling.

    The fear of loss in men is so great that any perceived threat, however trivial or remote, brings on spasms of hand-wringing and public caterwauling. There is also no greater, satisfying bond between people than that created by a common enemy, real or imagined, and no greater glory than that found in serving a leader heading off the apocalypse. The frisson of one leads to the pleasure of the second and the thrill of the third.

    Look to passion for the answer: Passion drives us, deludes us and – if we are lucky this time, just economically – has a history of destroying us.

  19. I am fascinated by the way this episode (ie CAGW) is evolving. We are seeing lately even more extreme, emotional and hysterical ‘sky-is-falling’ pronouncements. On thinner and thinner justification. Brave sceptical scientists are continuing to publish papers with solid data but the CAGW people fall over themselves to avoid engaging with any of this science.

    They may actually believe in CAGW in face of the evidence but the wild stuff they are coming out with is turning off even the most fair-minded people.

    When people are sceptical of what you’re saying shouting louder at them isn’t going to work. Why don’t they understand this?

  20. A Lepideptorist is someone who studies moths and butterflies. In the 19th. century, these people were serious scientists, but they were amateurs in the sense that they were not paid to do their Lepidoptery. They were self-financed, either being one of the idle rich, a priest or vicar, or some other reason. No one paid them to do their job; yet they were scientists; and very significant ones too.

    Nowadays, you can take a PhD in Lepidoptery and expect government research money for your study of moths and butterflies. Be it also noted that, in modern times, this important study requires travel to many exotic places around the planet; not for studying Lepidopters, but talking with fellow Lepidoptersists (you cannot imagine how difficult it is to type this missive :-)

    So, the governments, through “scientific grant organizations” (NSERC is a typical Canadian one) fund the Lepidopterists. But, their is a pull. The government would like “objective” support, AKA “scientific evidence”, for its policies. Therefore, the wise Lepitdopterist makes a grant submission concerning the Cabbage White and its impact on agriculture due to global warming.

  21. Bruce, much of the hysteria is due to the Warmistas taking advantage of a hot summer in Washington DC and up to Canada.

    Here in Ottawa, it is hot and everyone loves it. This is the way summers should be! We await with stoic fortitude, the upcoming winter

    Bring on Global Warming, I say!

  22. Simple: it is fear of losing jobs, promotion, thus allowing bullying to flourish. Can you blame people? But some, mostly retired individuals, are secure. So why do not more of them speak out? Probably because they will be ridiculed and marginalised by the warmista zealots.

  23. Confused photon, as most of hollywood are armchair supporters of the church of global warming and what we now know surely McCarthy was right?

  24. Bruce says:
    July 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    When people are sceptical of what you’re saying shouting louder at them isn’t going to work. Why don’t they understand this?

    Especially when what is being shouted gets proportionately stupider with increased volume!

    Meta-hypothesis: If it were correct, it wouldn’t have to be shouted.

  25. Chris Edwards, you’re right, McCarthy was right — Communists WERE infiltrating the government and Hollywood, and more. Soviet archives opened after the Cold War ended bear this out. McCarthy’s problem was making accusations without evidence, and primarily as a means of furthering his own career. Confused Photon, the blacklisting was not done by McCarthy or the government, but by Hollywood corporate types trying to protect their business from government intervention. Those blacklisted were indeed Communists. Too many point to the anti-Communist paranoia of the times as some sort of hysterical delusion — the Communists were not only real then, but they have largely triumphed today, as so many Hollywood types are (or claim to be) leftists of one stripe or another.

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