I already have a quote of the week, but since the fact that Nature decided to pay any attention at all to the Heartland Conference in Washington, D.C. which ended July 1st, this deserved a special place on WUWT, and thus the first ever “Quote of the Month” is a real doozy. However, given that Nature has chosen to mention the conference at all, I see it as a win.
It is scientists, not sceptics, who are most willing to consider explanations that conflict with their own. And far from quashing dissent, it is the scientists, not the sceptics, who do most to acknowledge gaps in their studies and point out the limitations of their data — which is where sceptics get much of the mud they fling at the scientists.
Wow. Apparently, Nature has never seen the rampant quashing of dissent that goes on at Real Climate, which we documented with data and anecdotal reports nor have they ever noted the lack of curiosity on the part of the Hockey Team when it comes to looking at a failure of statistical analysis techniques, or alternate explanations for changes in environments and natural signals, such as the recently discovered and peer reviewed paper about sheep grazing effects on tree rings being greater than that of temperature.
No, Nature implies that the scientists that they represent are always curious about limitations, without fault, and are as pure as the driven snow, with only truth as motive. Climategate showed the world otherwise.
I do agree with Nature though on one point, the displays by some of the book sellers at the conference were spurious, and I’d much prefer that if Heartland ever does another one of these conferences, that they leave such displays out. But, it seems that whomever the reporter for Nature was, he/she didn’t venture beyond the lobby and listen to any of the presentations made as the article makes no mention of them.
The view of Nature is sharply contrasted by that of Dr. Scott Denning, who did attend the science sessions, both as participant, and speaker. He said of the conference in this article:
“I was treated with respect and even warmth despite my vehement disagreement with most of the other presenters,” Denning wrote, expressing thanks for prominent platforms he was provided during the conference, including an hour-long keynote debate with contrarian Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama, Huntsville.
“These were not a bunch of brain-washed idiots,” Denning said of the conferees, rebutting an impression many in the science community might have.
An example of “what doesn’t work” in speaking with audiences such as those at the Heartland conference, Denning wrote, “is the condescending argument from authority that presumes that the Earth’s climate is too complicated for ordinary people to understand, so that they have to trust the opinions of experts.”
Nature seems to take the position of judging all skeptics by the books being sold in the lobby, or the proverbial “judging a book by it’s cover”.
The videos of all the Heartland conference presentations are available here:
While Nature is in the business of dissing conferences, they might want to have a look at what went on at the 2010 American Geophysical Union convention in San Francisco, as Steve Mosher relates here in Craven Attention.
Read the entire article in Nature linked below. They do accept comments.
Heart of the matter
- Nature 475, 423–424 (28 July 2011) doi:10.1038/475423b
- Published online
- 27 July 2011
h/t to Dr. Leif Svalgaard
UPDATE: Dr. Judith Curry advises a post on this at Climate Etc. with detailed questions from the unnamed Nature reporter.