Guest essay by Wim Röst

The French Baron de Montesquieu (1689 – 1755) is well known for his theory of ‘separation of powers’:

“He is famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, which is implemented in many constitutions throughout the world. He did more than any other author to secure the place of the word despotism in the political lexicon.”*

“The administrative powers were the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. These should be separate from and dependent upon each other so that the influence of any one power would not be able to exceed that of the other two, either singly or in combination.”**

(WR: italic is mine)

During his life but even more so after his death another (shaping) power developed in a prominent way, changing the world definitively: Science. In Dutch the word for ‘science’ is ‘wetenschap’, in German: ‘Wissenschaft’. The verbs ‘weten’ and ‘wissen’ both mean ‘knowing’. Science is about ‘knowing’.

Science developed its own way of improving knowledge. Transparency of research methods and of results were part of it. Measuring without bias as well. Being open to criticism was ‘standard’. And improving knowledge was the goal. A better understanding of the world and the principles at work on this earth would (in the end) be beneficial for everyone. This all was part of a common belief in progress. And it paid off.

Historically speaking the main goal of power was ‘obtaining the largest slice of the cake’.

After ‘science’ came into play, [some] people understood that ‘producing more cakes’ was the better deal. Producing ‘progress’ worked better than ‘taking what wasn’t yours’. And Science delivered the tools for ‘producing more cakes’. The use of inorganic energy and ‘machines’ made production soar, eventually benefitting all. The role of science was understood by society and science got the possibility to develop following her own lines. To a large extent science became independent.

This independency is more or less comparable to the system of separation of administrative powers which was originally meant to prevent abuse of power. The independency of science was another separation. And society was benefitting from the free role of science in an enormous way. A nearly stagnating world being present for thousands of years turned into a world with ‘continuous growth’. At the start this growth was clearly visible in the western world, the place where ‘modern science’ developed. In fact all of modern wealth depends on developments in science and their embedding in a good working societal system. So far so good.

In the nineties of the last century ‘commercial thinking’ entered science at universities. And science lost her independence more and more. The formerly independent science became more and more subject to wishes of both government and businesses. The ‘general role’ of bringing knowledge and wealth from ‘a free science’ to society as a whole disappeared. Science became dependent. That was bad, but it became even worse.

Science became intertwined. And not only that, formerly separated administrative powers became intertwined with each other as well. Money started to play a bigger role than the old principles of organisation: the principles of ‘separation of power’ and of ‘independence’. Principles which played a dominant role in creating our prosperous societies.

So the IPCC is born. A(n inter)governmental organisation that decides about informing the world about the ‘knowledge’ of science in regard to the climate. With governments as stakeholders who are heavily influenced by (lobby’s of) businesses. With media that have to be commercial. And with a population whose psychology shows that people pay more attention to ‘danger’ than to ‘good news’. Knowing this, an organisation can deliver every wanted result. Start with telling about ‘the danger’. Filter the things people are going to hear. Avoid other points of view and dangerous things like ‘open discussions’. Don’t talk about advantages or positive aspects of the thing you want to fight. And give your statements sauces like “extremely likely” (means: ‘nearly all scientists agree’) and so on. As if there were no other scientific ideas which might even be better.

It is a system and even when the system is originally designed for ‘the wellbeing of everyone’ (I myself don’t doubt the original aspirations of at least some founders to do good for the world), as soon as ‘interests’ creep in, the system can become a dangerous and powerful tool in a world of ‘susceptible not-knowing people’.

How could all this develop? Because the separation of powers ended. The dependency of one power on the other power and vice versa “so that the influence of any one power would not be able to exceed that of the other”(s) is gone. Science is dependent on government and science is dependent on the IPCC which ‘organises a result’. And the IPCC is government too. And for ‘government’ one simple truth (for example ‘CO2’) is easier to handle than the really complicated earth. Government is not equal to science.

Essentially, science is about facts and logic. You can make a ‘hypothesis’ and test it. The result will prove whether you were right or wrong. You are not permitted to change the data to ‘organise a result that pleases’. That is no science, that is ‘fraud’.

So when you predict a strong warming and for a longer period there is no strong warming according to objectively obtained data, your hypothesis will be rejected. End of theory. Time for a new theory and a new hypothesis.

Of course we can wait until everyone recognises that a certain original hypothesis failed. But, because of the wish ‘not to be manipulated’ and because of our experience that an independent science in the past has been one of the main causes for our prosperous world – if not the decisive one – we could immediately start with separating government-power and science like before. And (re)establish both formally and practically truly independent science institutes in order to find ‘the truth’. To start with finding the actual facts. In this case: with regard to the climate.

Whatever the result will be, society will profit.

Wim Röst ***

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montesquieu

** Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montesquieu#Political_views

*** The article above has to be read as my personal opinion

**** The first part of IPCC ≠ SCIENCE you can find here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/11/29/ipcc-science-ipcc-government/

With regards to commenting: please adhere to the rules known for this site: quote and react, not personal

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December 3, 2015 9:12 am

May want to fix that spelling…’separation’

Wim Röst
Reply to  Theyouk
December 3, 2015 9:19 am

I asked Anthony, thanks!

Reply to  Theyouk
December 3, 2015 9:32 am

That happens for different reasons. I see CNN online main page currently reads:
VIDEO: Obama says his houghts and prayers are with San Bernardino victims

Reply to  Arbeegee
December 3, 2015 2:21 pm

Is it really a typo?

Septical Sam
Reply to  Arbeegee
December 3, 2015 7:08 pm

Obviously it is a typo.
It is usually spelt “haughty”.
And he is certainly haughty. So I’ve no doubt his haughts are with them.
His spelling is on a par with his science.

Reply to  Theyouk
December 3, 2015 9:36 am

LOL, the only reason I knew it was misspelled was from my Senior Year in HS (1968) when my senior English class had to read ‘A Separate Peace’ (good book) and write an essay on it in class as a test. I was the ONLY student among the 29 or so that spelled ‘Separate’ correctly (at least according to the English Teacher who announced that loudly in class – which had negative repercussions for me among my peers). They all apparently spelled it ‘Seperate’ as in the title to this post. 🙂
[Thanx, cowboy. Fixed. ~mod.]

Wim Röst
Reply to  DC Cowboy
December 3, 2015 9:41 am

OK, the following course ‘Advanced English’ is for me

December 3, 2015 9:18 am

An excellent essay.
By the way the word “science” derives from the Latin verb “scire”, which also means “to know”.

Andy Pattullo
December 3, 2015 9:43 am

I am so pleased to see and read this post. It is a very timely summary of a trend in science and governance that is driving much of what is wrong with the current policy discussion on climate and many other issues of importance to the welfare of people and their planet. As a physician with a wide experience in academics I can also attest that this loss of independence and failure to put the principles of science above self interest is widespread in the clinical sciences as well. It is perhaps now the usual operating paradigm of academic institutions as a whole. One might wonder now how important the unforeseen and largely unplanned birth of the Internet is in counterbalancing this worrisome trend when the usual paths of public dissemination of information are now largely conscripted into the corrupted processes described so eloquently above. I fully support the need to find our way back to the path of true science and the separation of powers as originally envisioned. I can’t pretend to know how we will change direction, but one clearly fundamental requirement will be the preservation of free speech, for which the Internet has proven a formidable accomplice. I am also encouraged by the common sense of the average individual as measured in the multitude of surveys that suggest people are not such fools as to put a mythical bogey man ahead of basic needs as their most important concern, unlike many of our political leaders.

James Francisco
Reply to  Andy Pattullo
December 3, 2015 3:19 pm

Very good comment Andy. Folks in charge of the MSM must be going nuts to see that despite their best efforts they are not getting the results they want. I have seen people get mad when they told me an obvious lie and I didn’t believe them.

Reply to  Andy Pattullo
December 4, 2015 5:55 am

I agree with and endorse Dr. Pattullo’s important comment without reservation. He introduced his experiences in the medical profession as a means of generalizing the point about checks and balances in debates involving science and medicine. I would add an additional thought to reinforce his generalization. The corruption of science by government policies began long before the IPCC was established. Eisenhower’s warning in 1961 about the military industrial complex is an example illustrating the depths and lasting power of the intellectual crisis at the intersection of science and governance. The language construction in that warning went went well beyond the unwarranted influences shaping defense spending and his farewell address still bears careful reading 55 years after it was issued. The Pentagon is, however, the world’s largest subsidizer of science and technology and has been since World War II. The Pentagon’s spending influence on the practice of science and technology — and the intersection of that influence with politics, culture, and self interest — is the mother of all case studies for anyone interested in the problem of science and governance. I spent my career in the Pentagon, and the reason I became interested in the global warming/climate change debate is because the fundamental pathologies shaping the climate debate (cooking the data, over-reliance on complex computer models that can not be validated, gate keeping in the interest of increasing the money flow to the beneficiaries of that flow, excessive secrecy, ambiguous and confusing measures of effectiveness, the inflation of threats by making dire warnings about an unprovable fearful futures etc.) are virtually identical to the Pentagon’s pathologies the defense reformers (insiders in the defense establishment who were trying to improve the military) were fighting in the late 70s and all through the 80s. These pathologies remain with us to this day. Corrupt scientific and engineering practices, like “buy before you fly” — i.e., putting programs into production while they are being designed and before prototypes are tested in any conditions remotely like those of combat — the F-35 being a current case in point — are all about preserving and increasing the money flow. Is there any difference between this self-interested behaviour and the antics of the climate alarmists? I think not. I also agree with Dr. Patullo’s suggestion that this website illustrates Internet’s potential for an intellectual democracy that is a necessary if not sufficient condition to cope with the perversions of what one Pentagon wag sarcastically named “the post-information” era.

Dave DeCaro
Reply to  chuckspinney
December 5, 2015 5:32 pm

As it happens, I had just re-read Ike’s Farewell address less than an hour before reading your post, The portion that follows his warnings about the development of a Military-Industrial Complex is seldom mentioned but is even more prescient:
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
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 regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”
Ike was the last good President in my lifetime.I was 4years old when he stepped down, how sad.

December 3, 2015 9:43 am

Excellent Essay. Science is the newest and most abused power. A lot of this essay got me thinking how Ian Malcolm described current science thought in Jurassic Park, how corrupt it is and abused, although his point of view was because of no Government Regulation. But seriously, it’s all about churning out as many papers as you can get in the littlest slices possible.
The current thought is “how many papers can i get out of this data set?”, not what does my data mean and how does this improve? I think Carl Gauss put it best: pauca sed matura (Few, but ripe); where he would not publish anything that wasn’t above criticism. But, the amount of science fraud is rampant these days because of how broken the system is, both Policing of Studies and the Government Regulations. Nor do the studies usually improve on methods or ways of approaching a problem.

Wim Röst
Reply to  Eric Slattery (@Technos_Eric)
December 3, 2015 10:21 am

During my studies one of my professors (specialised in Eastern Europe) told us the following story about the (not working) system in the Soviet Union, which still existed at that time.
There was a shortage of thin glass panes because “the planning” prescribed the production goal in tons of glass. So there was a big surplus of thick glass panes and a shortage of thin ones. Producing 5 thick ones was easier than 10 thin ones.
So the planning department of the government changed “the system”: X square meters had to be produced. And guess: no one was producing thick glass panes any more because “thin” meant use of less resources and that is cheaper. So the Soviet Union got a surplus of thin glass panes and a shortage of thick ones.
The lesson for us: planning ALL by the government? It doesn’t work.

Reply to  Wim Röst
December 3, 2015 11:13 am

That’s a good story. 🙂 One thing that I learned all throughout my (few) years of school and now working is that the more people you have involved on a project, the slower and less productive you are, mostly attributed to all the differing opinions, lack of focus, and too much talking. Pretty much summed up in the saying: Too many cooks spoil the stew (or something like that).
But, when it comes to climate, everything they are talking about is wrong, so it may be better that they have so many people that can’t agree on what to do. Then we won’t have to endure the crazy ideas they try to implement. Carbon tax……….laughable.

Reply to  Wim Röst
December 3, 2015 11:16 am

I would interject here, that the US was outpacing the USSR in those days due to the presence of the private sector and unregulated markets, in a much more benevolent setting of capitalism.

Reply to  Wim Röst
December 3, 2015 12:53 pm

I am not a socialist- my father used to quote an old Slavic saying, “What is owned by everyone is owned by the devil”. But what the glass pane story confirms for me is that Soviet leaders must have been really stupid. If specifying tons didn’t work, then the next step would have been to specify the area in each thickness required. The failure to give clear instructions is not an inherent fault of governments but is more believably a common fault of not very bright people. There was ample evidence to suggest that the murderous despots who controlled the Soviet Union, were not very bright (but they were very vicious). Collectivization destroyed agricultural production, 5 year plans all failed, Stalin murdered most of his military officers just before WWII and so on and so on. This remarkable inability to govern in the former USSR continues to this day. Putin made his intitial fortune by issuing permits to loot St. Petersburg and by helping the Cali drug cartel launder money (https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/has-vladimir-putin-always-been-corrupt-and-does-it-matter). Germany once had a warrant for the arrest of Putin, which mysteriously vanished once he controlled the supply of natural gas to Europe. And now Putin is the hero of Russia. Governments are not inherently dysfunctional. Sadly they attract very poor quality people and how we solve that problem is a very big question.

December 3, 2015 9:46 am

Science now is on the cusp of ‘reducing need for humans’. Intelligent machine technology will eliminate the work of 80% of all humans within 25 years and it is a decision taken by a very small number of human beings that will drive that through. They are the master race malthusian rich.
Science is on the cusp of creating a whole new ecosystem based not on carbon, top of Group Four of the Periodic Table, but on Silicon, based one position below it in Group Four.
I have to say that the humane application of this technology is transferring life forms from this planet to others, since silicon based machines do not, so far as I can discern, respond to gravity in the way that humans and other life forms do. Ergo they will be more effective at manning spacecraft requiring to travel for very long time periods to reach new planets where carbon-based life might thrive.
The great imponderable of course is whether the semi-autonomous silicon-based machines will accept that compromise with we carbon-based humans.
Me thinks not……..
Pandora’s box has been opened and as usual, humans fire before aiming, create the technology before understanding the implications of doing so and say: ‘who cares as long as I make a quick buck?’

Reply to  rtj1211
December 3, 2015 11:37 am


Science is on the cusp of creating a whole new ecosystem based not on carbon, top of Group Four of the Periodic Table, but on Silicon, based one position below it in Group Four.

Ah, but silicon-based life forms don’t vote (stupidly and emotionally) for the politicians; and there ain’t one silicon-based coal miner or power plant builder or gas turbine mechanic possible.

Bob Burban
Reply to  rtj1211
December 5, 2015 3:18 pm

And then when a massive EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) arrives from the sun such as in 774AD & 993AD (http://joannenova.com.au/2015/10/extreme-solar-storms-hit-earth-in-774-and-993ad-what-would-happen-if-one-hit-now/) … the carbon vs silicon comparison becomes moot

michael hart
December 3, 2015 9:54 am

“So the IPCC is born. A(n inter)governmental organisation that decides about informing the world about the ‘knowledge’ of science in regard to the climate. With governments as stakeholders who are heavily influenced by (lobby’s of) businesses. With media that have to be commercial. “

Don’t the forget, the NGOs, who often like to style themselves as “charities” but are frequently just political lobbyists. Many of them have grown to resemble other large corporations they may claim to despise.
“Stakeholders” is also a much abused word. In this context it often seems to mean vociferous NGOs with a travel budget.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  michael hart
December 3, 2015 11:17 am

Good points. NGOs are in need of intense scrutiny in not only general public discourse, but (especially) by the powers that be. I wouldn’t count on that happening anytime soon- the gold rules.

Reply to  Alan Robertson
December 3, 2015 11:58 am

There is nothing NON-governmental about NGOs.

December 3, 2015 10:00 am

An interesting and thoughtful post. The direction to go is clear; Eisenhower gave essentially this warning in his last presidential speech.
How to go there is not so clear. Most research is government funded, and governments have agendas. Climate observation systems are not cheap–satellites, ARGO. And there is a sensible reluctance to fund ‘nonscience nonsense’ which unfortunately also tends naturally to get a consensus ball rolling.
Certainly one core flaw with IPCC was its charter to look only at anthropogenic climate change. A political agenda if there ever was one. That could be changed next go around. And, provably IPCC used selection bias in its reviews (it produces no science itself), for example of relatively constant UTsH, and did very poor QC on the papers it did review (two clear examples being climate related extinctions, essay No Bodies, and cloud feedback, essay Cloudy Clouds).

Paul Westhaver
December 3, 2015 10:26 am

David Berlinski highlighted this notion several times in the past and recently as a guest speaker at Socrates in the City (2015). He accuses scientists of an “original sin” of sorts wherein they don’t serve laymen with humility, rather they exploit their knowledge for personal gain in areas outside their science assigning pretensions to their work which exceed their knowledge. In so doing they undermine science, and themselves.

December 3, 2015 10:30 am

Excellent pic of a climate protester battling riot police at the memorial to the Paris shooting victims on The Galileo Movement facebook page.
He looks exactly like the modern day impediment of John Brown in Kansas capital mural.

December 3, 2015 10:33 am

“My spelling is impressionistic” imbodiment of course. Darn spell check.

December 3, 2015 10:38 am

IPCC contains the seeds of its own destruction.
If you work the numbers on IPCC AR5 Figure 6.1 you will discover that anthro C is partitioned 57/43 between natural sequestration and atmospheric retention. (555 – 240 = 315 PgC & 240/555) IMO this arbitrary partition was “assumed” in order to “prove” (i.e. make the numbers work) that anthro C was solely/90% responsible for the 112 ppmv atmos CO2 increase between 1750 – 2011. C is not CO2.
PgC * 3.67 = PgCO2 * 0.1291 = ppmv atmospheric CO2
IPCC AR5 Figure 6.1
FF & Land Use Source…….8.9……….4.22
Ocean & Land Sink…………4.9……… 2.32
Net Source.……………….…..4.0……….1.90
If the anthro 8.9 Pg C/y (4.2 ppmv CO2/y) suddenly vanishes the natural cycle that remains would be a constant sink of 2.3 ppmv CO2/y. Reverse extrapolation (GCMs & RCPs apply forward extrapolation) calculates that 121 years in the past (278 ppmv CO2/2.3 ppmv CO2) or the year 1629 (1750-121) atmos CO2 would have been 0, zero, nadda, zip, nowhere to be found.
Oh, what a tangled web they wove!
The 8.9 Pg of anthro C simply vanishes in earth’s 45,000 plus Pg C cauldron of stores and fluxes. Mankind’s egoistic, egocentric, conceit means less than nothing to the earth, the solar system and the universe.

December 3, 2015 10:44 am

The result has been a conflict of interest at the IPCC which will never get the science correct, because to do so undermines their reason to exist.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
December 3, 2015 11:15 am

Exactly! They reject the facts and convince others of their false data so they can keep money flowing into their pockets.

Christopher Hanley
December 3, 2015 11:13 am

This article is on the same theme specific to the US viz. the devolution of legislative powers to the executive, although the writer doesn’t mention it specifically, like the EPA:

December 3, 2015 11:43 am

There is a huge ‘spill’ of nat.gas in SoCal., so much so that it’s literally at nosebleed levels.:http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/12/02/us-california-methane-idUSKBN0TL06120151202. and they’re moving whole families.
It was on Naked Capitalism’s blog so I commented that with CH4 levels so high, why was there no “runaway warming?” Being the kind, liberal lot they are, it was purged post-haste (p.i)

john harmsworth
December 3, 2015 1:20 pm

I don’t dispute the gist of this commentary but it seems to me additionally that the publication/peer review process is broken. From my viewpoint virtually anything can get past peer review or be published somewhere without it. As serious as this is for the climate change field it has ramifications in medicine and other fields as well which could be even worse. I believe that this problem is at its worst in fields which I would describe as “less rigorous” such as social sciences. I recently read of a meta-analysis which indicated that several thousand research papers in these fields were found to have faulty methodology which made the results useless. Since all the climate change work has essentially taken place in a “virtual world” of computer simulations which involves multiple guesses at inputs, I would be amazed if these papers don’t fall into the same category of usefulness. The main problem is with peer review.

Reply to  john harmsworth
December 3, 2015 1:39 pm

This is an outgrowth of the susceptibility of scientists to accept authoritative arguments more readily than other professions. The peer review process is damaged by this inherent nature within scientists to bow to credentials and not challenge a more established superior.
I consider the 97% consensus the 24-chromosome crowd.

Steve Fraser
Reply to  john harmsworth
December 3, 2015 5:45 pm

I think so, too. A retraction of a peer reviewed paper should embarrass authors, reviewers and publishers, all.

Reply to  john harmsworth
December 4, 2015 2:09 am

john harmsworth:
You display a common misunderstanding of peer review when you write

I don’t dispute the gist of this commentary but it seems to me additionally that the publication/peer review process is broken. From my viewpoint virtually anything can get past peer review or be published somewhere without it.

Peer review exists solely as a protection for journal Editors and has no other purpose.
An Editor cannot know everything about everything but operates a journal that intends to publish novel information and hopes some of that information will include and/or incite revolutionary ideas. Therefore, an Editor selects experts in a field to assess an article for selected publication with a view to their reviewing it for determination of its novelty and if it contains error such as to render it invalid. Hence, reviews protect the Editor from the embarrassment of having to retract from publication papers which are rehash of existing knowledge and understanding or – although novel – are fundamentally flawed.
But peer review provides two inevitable difficulties.
Firstly, reviewers can form a clique which – consciously or otherwise – acts as a club that protects its members and their ideas. Hence, new ideas can be rejected by reviewers although the rejected ideas are sound, while papers supporting an existing idea are ‘nodded through’ although they contain severe flaws. This is most common when a relatively small number of ‘experts’ exists to conduct peer review in a field of study.
‘Climategate’ revealed that such a ‘club’ existed in so-called ‘climate science’: That club tried to get journal Editors removed when they published papers which did not support the club’s ideas and ‘nodded through’ outrageous incompetence such as the Mann, Bradley & Hughes ‘hockey stick’ paper (Nature 1998).
This problem is not new and many examples of it exist. Famously, two bicycle salesmen conducted seminal work on powered aviation and tried to publish an account of it. No science or engineering journal would publish it so the Wright bothers published their paper in a journal on bee-keeping. They were bicycle salesmen with no pertinent academic qualifications and no record of previous technical publications. But the importance of their work is demonstrated by, for example, the existence of the Airbus 380.
The example of the Wright bothers is one of many demonstrations that the value of work is NOT demonstrated or provided by peer review or the publication record of its author(s) or their academic qualifications.
Good journal Editors know this and they ensure that “virtually anything can be published somewhere” “without peer review” when its potential value is recognised. But the second problem of peer review is that it tempts Editors to use peer review as an excuse to avoid accepting the risks of doing their job properly.

Famously, the then Editor of Nature published the seminal papers on Relativity by Einstein without putting them to review because he knew all reviews of such revolutionary ideas would be negative. Many journal Editors would now lack the courage to do that, and it cannot be known how much groundbreaking work fails to get published as a result (e.g. what non-technical publication would today publish papers similar in revolutionary nature to the papers of Einstein on relativity?).
Good Editors have courage and judgement that enables them to use peer review properly and appropriately.

Reply to  richardscourtney
December 5, 2015 2:24 pm

Thank you for your thoughtful considerations about peer review.
I find this research on error detection rate by the peer review process to be quite interesting: Limitations of Peer Review
“Fiona Godlee and two colleagues took a paper about to be published in their journal and introduced eight deliberate errors. Then they sent the paper to 420 reviewers. The median number of errors detected by the 221 respondents was two.”
Effect on the Quality of Peer Review of Blinding Reviewers and Asking Them to Sign Their Reports
Here is IPCC´s view on peer-review:
“Scientific hypotheses are contingent and always open to revision in light of new evidence and theory. In this sense the distinguishing features of scientific enquiry are the search for truth and the willingness to subject itself to critical re-examination. Modern research science conducts this critical revision through processes such as the peer review. At conferences and in the procedures that surround publication in peer-reviewed journals, scientific claims about environmental processes are analysed and held up to scrutiny . Even after publication, findings are further analysed and evaluated. That is the self-correcting nature of the scientific process …”
«Science strives for objectivity but inevitably also involves choices and judgements. Scientists make choices regarding data and models, which processes to include and which to leave out. Usually these choices are uncontroversial and play only a minor role in the production of research. Sometimes, however, the choices scientists make are sources of disagreement and uncertainty. These are usually resolved by further scientific enquiry into the sources of disagreement. In some cases, experts cannot reach a consensus view. Examples in climate science include how best to evaluate climate models relative to observations, how best to evaluate potential sea level rise and how to evaluate probabilistic projections of climate change. In many cases there may be no definitive solution to these questions. The IPCC process is aimed at assessing the literature as it stands and attempts to reflect the level of reasonable scientific consensus as well as disagreement.”
Ref .: WGI;AR5;1.2.1 Setting the Stage for the Assessment
In my view, the perspective by IPCC seems to be very naive.
I would have been more relaxed if IPCC stated something like:
“the empirical method shall be characterized as a method that excludes precisely those ways of evading falsification which … are logically possible. According to my proposal, what characterizes the empirical method is its manner of exposing to falsification, in every conceivable way, the system to be tested. Its aim is not to save the lives of untenable systems but … exposing them all to the fiercest struggle for survival.»
Ref Karl Popper: The logic of scientific discovery

December 3, 2015 2:44 pm

Good essay. I would add two points:
1. The process described in the essay is related to the concept “Post Normal Science”, which is science subordinated to a political agenda. “Lysenko-ism” in the old Soviet Union is the classic case. CAGW is the greatest, world-wide subordination of science to a political agenda in human history.
2. There is a modern intellectual flaw, repeated over and over again by the CAGW crowd, of confusing the products of a computer model with experimental data. The products of multiple runs of a computer model simply represent a quantification of predictions of the theory that is loaded into the computer model. Confirmation or rejection of the theory, or conversely of the Null Hypothesis created by the theory requires real world measurement. If the model runs predict rising temps, and real world temps stay about the same, the model, and the theory underlying it are rejected.
These two intellectual errors (confusing post-normal science for experimental science and model runs for real data) alone are responsible for much of the BS coming out of the CAGW crowd. A computer model predicts disaster and the prescriptions of Post Normal Science (following the Precautionary Principle) require changes that just happen to empower the ruling classes at the expense of the freedom and prosperity of the ordinary people.

Wim Röst
Reply to  kwinterkorn
December 3, 2015 5:22 pm

Kwinterkorn, good points.
Ad 1. Things I’ve recently read or seen on television:
“Verdier said he was inspired to write his book after meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and top meteorologists. At the meeting, Fabius told them to start warning the public about the dangers of global warming and featuring stories about how warming was impacting people today.”
WR: As we know Verdier became dismissed.
In the Netherlands:
“[name employee KNMI] thinks that KNMI as an agency of the Ministry has the assignment to warn about subjects about weather and climate.”
(Translation WR)
Explanation WR: KNMI is our highly respected meteorological institute, normally very scientific. Out of the blue they gave just before “Paris” a “code orange” warning about the climate. The director of the KNMI, Gerard van Steenhoven at the television:
(Text video (parts of it), translation WR):
“You could say, that in this moment we can see the evidence of climate change everywhere around us. When you – for example – realise how warm the weather was in the first two weeks of November, than we actually can only understand this extreme warmth when you accept climate change. (….) So when we don’t take any measure to restrict CO2 emissions you see [map shown] that the temperature in the summer might be 4-5 degrees higher than we are used to have now.
[WR: after this a fictitious weather forecast for Monday November 30 in 2065 is shown with a video about expected inundation and evacuation of parts of the Netherlands]
The interviewer: “2065 is still far away, but, according to the KNMI we only have twenty years left to reverse the trend.”
Gerard van Steenhoven: “When we take more time, temperature will rise even more than two, two and a half degree – as we think now we can stand more or less, and in that case we will meet dangerous situations. That is why we say: actually this is in preparation of the climate talks a kind of ‘code orange’ for the climate.”
Source: http://nos.nl/artikel/2070717-knmi-code-oranje-voor-klimaat.html
WR: Questions about this in the Parliament

Kevin Begaud, Australia
December 3, 2015 3:53 pm

Sorry to be pedantic: But I like mushroom “sauce”. The “source” of my spelling was the dictionary!!

NW sage
December 3, 2015 5:43 pm

Perhaps there is a small glimmer of hope – In Galileo’s time, the major political power was represented by the church and the Pope. They came up crosswise with the scientific truth of the nature of the universe as then observed. It took a couple of hundred years but it eventually sorted out but not until lots of prominent folks had been tortured and worse. The current crop of power accumulators will eventually grind to a halt on the same reef. Truth by experiment. The recovery will be painful though.

Reply to  NW sage
December 4, 2015 4:41 pm

Which “lots of prominent folks” were those? Galileo lived 1564-1642. Peace of Augsburg: 1555. By the time Galileo came on the scene, large chunks of Europe were outside the Pope’s control. Galileo’s complete works were published with the church’s imprimatur–albeit with critical commentary–in 1741. So where does “a couple of hundred years” come from? I don’t actually see a glimmer of hope here: there are people calling for climate realists to be prosecuted. It’s not that long ago that six Italian seismologists were gaoled for failing to predict an earthquake.

Steve O
December 3, 2015 7:21 pm

The hoarding and ‘torturing” of NASA, NOAA, GISS data by the warmists makes it impossible to perform true science. The audacity of changing the historical data (cooling the past, “smoothing” LIA and MWP) will , IMO, be the thorn in the side that becomes infected and kills the AGW Beast. “The science is settled” is always a political statement, never a scientific one, and all real scientists know it.

December 4, 2015 8:31 am

United Nations an (1945 – ?) will eventually become well known for a disgraceful attempt to take political control over science:
Report of the second session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 28June1989.
“In welcoming the delegates to the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program) Headquarters … The Executive Director of UNEP, hailed the fruitful alliance between WMO (World Meteorological Organization) and UNEP. The firm commitment of prof. Obasi, the Secretary-General of WMO, coupled with the determination of UNEP leadership, has resulted in a partnership which is helping to unify the scientific and policy-making communities of the world to lay the foundation for effective, realistic and equitable action on climate change.”comment image

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