Science Is In Deep Trouble, New Paper Shows

‘Fraudulent research makes it past gatekeepers at even the most prestigious journals’


London 31 October:  A new report published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation reveals the extent to which current policy-making is reliant on untrustworthy peer-reviewed research, much of which cannot be replicated and “may be simply untrue”.

click on the image above to watch a short video about the GWPF report

“Fraudulent research makes it past gatekeepers at even the most prestigious journals,” says Donna Laframboise, the study’s author and the investigative journalist behind the 2011 exposé of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) entitled: The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert.

The report, entitled Peer Review: Why Skepticism is Essential, describes the peer-review process as “haphazard and byzantine”, raising serious questions about the state of modern science and casting doubt on policies that claim to be ‘evidence-based’.

Laframboise explains:

“A policy cannot be considered evidence-based if the evidence on which it depends was never independently verified… News from the worlds of astrobiology, ecology, economics, chemistry, computer science, management studies, medicine, neuroscience, psychology, and physics all tell the same tale: ’peer-reviewed’ does not equal ’policy-ready’.”

This has striking implications for climate change policy, and particularly for the IPCC, which relies on the credibility of the peer-review process to provide support for its conclusions, and is quick to dismiss research that has not been peer-reviewed.

Laframboise describes how the now-disgraced former IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri was once asked if an Indian environment ministry report might alter the IPCC’s pessimistic view of Himalayan glaciers. The ‘IPCC studies only peer-review science’, Rajendra Pachauri replied dismissively. Until the report’s data appears in ‘a decent credible publication’, he said, ‘we can just throw it into the dust- bin’.”

Full report (pdf)

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October 31, 2016 6:10 am

Publish or perish, the old saying goes. Publish with a vengeance is the new normal.

Thomas Johnson
October 31, 2016 6:15 am

Data? Who needs data?
Our hearts tell us what is right.
Ice doesn’t melt? Seas don’t rise? Temp does not go up?
None of these observations matter.
Reality is not what we measure.
Reality is what we believe, so give us more money!

Barbara Skolaut
Reply to  Thomas Johnson
October 31, 2016 9:58 am

That last sentence says it all.

Eugene WR Gallun
Reply to  Thomas Johnson
October 31, 2016 11:28 am

Thomas Johnson —
“Man is the measure of all things.” — Protagorus 490-420 BC
Eugene WR Gallun
PS — Protagorus is also famous for claiming that he could teach how to make the weaker argument seem the better.

Reply to  Thomas Johnson
October 31, 2016 1:23 pm

I had a “discussion” at the Fabius Maximus website on much of this problem.
Please visit and rerad for yourself.
Also leave a comment there because the guy is not an idiot, but he has in my opinion, swallowed his own BS.
Its a good example of “science” being twisted to suit the conclusion – perhaps
Note how he avoids answering key questions etc.

Reply to  Thomas Johnson
October 31, 2016 2:01 pm

The IPCC said it best when they claimed data is biased, so we need to rely on computer model output for reality.

Reply to  Thomas Johnson
October 31, 2016 4:32 pm

“Data? Who needs data?”
You don’t need data in climate science, you just have to be able to speculate: “What if it gets hotter, then “x” will happen”. It’s like writing science fiction in that you can dream up all sorts of scenarios, likely and not so likely, and inject them into the climate science debate. And get paid for it.
It doesn’t seem to dawn on the speculators that it is not *getting* hotter. Thinking it will get hotter in the future is pure speculation also.
So to get around this “not getting hotter” problem, the speculators are now starting to claim that human-caused climate change is already here and now, and point to any and all weather phenomenon as evidence of it, ignoring the fact that these same phenomenon occurred before humans starting pumping CO2 into the atmosphere.
DeCaprio’s new video was a rehash of all the old, discredited climate change claims. Nothing new was introduced, and no real data was provided, just a lot of speculation and claims that cannot be backed up with facts.

October 31, 2016 6:20 am

As the French might say, Ça va de mal en “peer”.

October 31, 2016 6:27 am

I’m not clear why someone with a degree in Women’s Studies, University of Toronto is qualified to author such a study or whether we can trust something published by the mysteriously funded GWPF.
This isn’t science, it is political advocacy (because climate science produces the wrong facts for some peoples’ political stance)

Leonard Weinstein
Reply to  Griff
October 31, 2016 6:36 am

It does not matter where evidence comes from, only the validity of the presented facts is important. You are making the classic dodge of arguing about the source of the information rather than the validity of the information. In fact, many if not most major advances in science were made by so called “less qualified people”

Reply to  Leonard Weinstein
October 31, 2016 1:13 pm

So what is the evidence? None is reported here; just assertions from Ms LaFramboise. If that is all we re to rely on, I think qualifications from the asserter are relevant.
I guess I’ll be told, read the paper. Well, I did. But I notice that the supposed “presented facts” are not prominent in the discussion. Just her assertions.

Bryan A
Reply to  Leonard Weinstein
October 31, 2016 2:42 pm

For totally different reasons than a Womanizer is qualified to run the IPCC (Pachauri) or than a Womanizer is qualified to be president (Clinton) or thaN a Womanizer Enabler is qualified to run for President (Clinton De-Fem) Given their qualifications and actions, She is far more qualified to render an opinion even than those that produce the current crop of Totally Politicized Peer Reviewed Lewpapers.

Reply to  Leonard Weinstein
October 31, 2016 3:08 pm

it is very obvious you didn’t pay attention to the Video’s point at all. That you didn’t read the PDF well either. She quotes many times from numbered sources,ITALICIZING the source for the quote she embeds in the report. The number for the quote/source are right there for the reader to see.
Maybe you are hoping nobody notice she has 122 references listed,in her presentation. Maybe you are just lying about it? It is a FORTY page report, Nick with over ONE HUNDRED sources provided to see what she is talking about.
Maybe you are here to create more misleading fog………I tire of people like you who has the skill to understand what you read,but lack honesty in talking about it.

Reply to  Griff
October 31, 2016 6:36 am

Yes, Griff, but it is political agendas on both sides. The validity of “peer review” seems to be in enforcing orthodoxy.

Reply to  Griff
October 31, 2016 7:11 am

It’s call journalism. I’m well aware that professional journalists are in short supply nowadays, but Ms. Laframboise is well qualified to analyse and report.

Reply to  Griff
October 31, 2016 7:18 am

Coming from Griff, that’s funny.

Reply to  MarkW
October 31, 2016 12:23 pm

You imply that there are places where Griff is not out of his depth?

Reply to  MarkW
October 31, 2016 12:25 pm

Griff is out of his depth in a paddling pool.

Bryan A
Reply to  MarkW
October 31, 2016 2:47 pm

Anthony Watts
October 31, 2016 at 11:04 am
I agree, Griff is out of his depth here.

More likely out of his shallows

Reply to  Griff
October 31, 2016 7:48 am

I can’t address the report Donna presented,thus push the immature attack on her credentials instead.
I agree with Leonard here,you have it badly wrong.

Reply to  Griff
October 31, 2016 8:17 am

The reason why we should READ what Ms Laframboise writes is because she scrupulously follows up the leads and the references which she quotes. She has gained a reputation as an excellent journalist over many years (not just the 4-5 years since she began to research the IPCC documents) which is why she has been commissioned by the GWPF on this current report.
You only TRUST her work if you agree that she has correctly identified and cited her references.

Reply to  Griff
October 31, 2016 8:17 am

The system is broken and truth is where you find it. Those who follow their favorite prejudice, or dogma, rather than seeking the truth, wherever it lies, will not recognize the truth as such even when it is presented to them, already found and perfectly clear.*** Instead, they bolt for the nearest rationalization for not confronting the truth and accepting it through honest reason. Dogma is ascendant over honest reason in the world today, as never before (because the rot is so universal today, not just political or religious, as in the past). The very paradigms (the fundamental assumptions)–by which the people come to, and hold to, their beliefs in this time (in politics, in religion, in science, in society and civilization itself)–are being strained beyond their natural limits, and visibly failing, for those with eyes to see. The underlying problem is unquestioned dogmas, in every field of human endeavor, too long nurtured and by now too strongly believed by too many to be questioned by all (and thrown out) as they should be.
*** The most obvious example right now: Those who will vote for Hillary Cllinton believe the system is working tolerably well and want it to continue as it is, while those who will vote for Trump see that it is fundamentally broken and needs immediate fixing. The truth is that, if people want real progress, they will have to change themselves, by letting go of the false dogmas that are now choking the system, in so many ways (as all the insults, dismissals and denials on all sides clearly show).

Reply to  harrydhuffman (@harrydhuffman)
October 31, 2016 10:08 am


Reply to  harrydhuffman (@harrydhuffman)
October 31, 2016 1:47 pm

If one would question everything, then one must also question the concept of questioning everything. If not, questioning dogma itself becomes an unquestioned dogma.

D. P. Laurable
Reply to  harrydhuffman (@harrydhuffman)
October 31, 2016 5:55 pm

The medium is the message – technology and culture have bred a suggestible public. Greek empericism – which led us to the scientific method – is now being displaced by purely emotive reasoning. This happened in the Arts faculties throughout the 20th century, and has now established a beach head in the Science faculties.

Dave in Canmore
Reply to  Griff
October 31, 2016 8:20 am

Griff says “I’m not clear why someone with a degree in Women’s Studies, University of Toronto is qualified to author such a study”
Yeah, like that phoney-baloney Albert Einstein bleating about physics when all he had was a teachers diploma.
So tired of Griff’s remedial level arguments. So much projection is revealed here. Just because he can not understand the relevant papers, he assumes only those in the field are capable of understanding and assessing the work on its own merits.

Reply to  Dave in Canmore
October 31, 2016 9:00 am

Sorry to burst your bubble Dave, but Albert had a Masters (Diplom als Physiker – Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule = Swiss Federal Technical Institute), and a Doctorate from the University of Goettingen. He worked for the Swiss Patent Office, as jobs for Physicists were scarce at that time.
As for Griff, he’s just an ignorant troll – you see that from the specious arguments that spew forth repeatedly.

Reply to  Dave in Canmore
October 31, 2016 10:00 am

Well if – according to Griff – someone who has a “degree in Women’s Studies, University of Toronto” is not able to research a subject and make a report of her findings then we here in the UK had better bin everything that Caroline Lucas – our one Green Party MP – says or does.
Caroline Lucas use to ponce about using the Title “Dr” Caroline Lucas – Climate Expert, talking total bollox when her Phd was titled :-
“Writing for Women: a study of woman as reader in Elizabethan romance”
Lucas got this degree from Exeter Uni.

Ross King
Reply to  Dave in Canmore
October 31, 2016 10:06 am

Griff is sorely needed entertainment — think of him as a Court Jester. He’s a human version of the Whack-a-Mole game …. he keeps sticking his head out of a hole and it gets whacked simultaneously with innumerable hammers.
Only to reappear with another inane comment some other time on another topic.
Keep at it, Griff …. we love it! By making yourself (and your ilk) so obviously stupid, you actually serve our cause.
On a serious note, we are all entitled to our opinions, Griff included, but in Donna laFramboise’s case, she has studied the (importantly) peripheral subject of dissemination of scientific information that is open, even-handed and altruistic (supposedly “the Scientific Method?) Sad to relate, the UEA-based cabal of nepotistic, disingenuous, narrow-minded practitioners in the field of “Climate Science” is so far removed from (and scared of) the bright light of independent scrutiny (true ‘peer-review’) that yhey have long lost the ability to communicate with The Rest of The World — who happen to be paying thier bills.

Reply to  Dave in Canmore
October 31, 2016 11:35 am

October 31, 2016 at 9:00 am
Einstein did not have a PhD when he submitted at least some of his seminal papers on the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, special relativity and the equivalence of mass and energy, and maybe even when some were published, in 1905.
In 1900, Zürich Polytechnic awarded Einstein a teaching diploma, after which he spent almost two years searching for a teaching job, not a physics position. After gaining Swiss citizenship, he was hired by the patent office. In April 1905 he completed his PhD thesis at Zurich University. I don’t know if his papers, published that year in “Annalen der Physik” in June, July, September and November, appeared before or or after he received his doctorate.

Reply to  Griff
October 31, 2016 8:26 am

Donna is writing about the science Griff. Even less about ‘climate science’. Straw man.
She is writing about the human process of getting papers published.
Hardly requires much more than journalism.

Reply to  Leo Smith
October 31, 2016 8:48 am

I think you meant Donna is “not” writing about the science. Otherwise you are correct. She makes no attempt to discuss the science itself, but she concentrates on the claims of the scientists involved and their processes. It comes down to, did they actually do what they said they were going to do? Easier fodder for a journalist.

Reply to  Griff
October 31, 2016 8:27 am

This is a classic argumentum ad hominum logical fallacy.

Bill Yarber
Reply to  Griff
October 31, 2016 8:41 am

The Emperor has no clothes, so he blames the optometrist for his nudity!

George Daddis
Reply to  Griff
October 31, 2016 9:39 am

And remind us what Al Gore’s degree covered…..
But that’s right, you railed against “An Inconvenient Truth” didn’t you?
We all agree with your last sentence.

Billy Liar
Reply to  Griff
October 31, 2016 9:58 am

The implication of Griff’s stupid comment ‘whether we can trust something published by the mysteriously funded GWPF’ is that results are affected by who funds the research.
Can we trust anything funded by policy makers? Obviously not according to Griff.

Billy Liar
Reply to  Billy Liar
October 31, 2016 10:00 am

Didn’t close the italics:
The implication of Griff’s stupid comment ‘whether we can trust something published by the mysteriously funded GWPF’ is that results are affected by who funds the research.
Can we trust anything funded by policy makers? Obviously not according to Griff.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  Griff
October 31, 2016 12:35 pm

Griff, there was a chap in the UK (now departed) called Fred Dibnah (look him up and enjoy his programmes). He could climb huge chimneys, repair them, or bring them down, and generally work with great skill on all sorts of engineering or building projects. But, you know, they were all crap….he had absolutely no academic qualifications.
I’d take Donna over you.

Reply to  Griff
October 31, 2016 2:06 pm

Climate “science” uses carefully massaged computer model output to support predetermined policies. Your stance can only be justified by ignoring the gigantic trove of scientific data that does NOT support, or even refutes results of those computer model outputs, including unaltered, un”corrected” data, something which is becoming increasingly rare as data is constantly being “corrected” to support policies.

Reply to  Griff
October 31, 2016 2:38 pm

it is very obvious you didn’t pay attention to the Video’s point at all. That you didn’t read the PDF well either. She quotes many times from numbered sources,ITALICIZING the source for the quote she embeds in the report. The number for the quote/source are right there for the reader to see.
Maybe you are hoping nobody notice she has 122 references listed,in her presentation. Maybe you are just lying about it? It is a FORTY page report, Nick with over ONE HUNDRED sources provided to see what she is talking about.
Maybe you are here to create more misleading fog………I tire of people like you who has the skill to understand what you read,but lack honesty in talking about it.

Bryan A
Reply to  Griff
October 31, 2016 2:45 pm

October 31, 2016 at 6:27 am
I’m not clear why someone with a degree in Women’s Studies, University of Toronto is qualified to author such a study or whether we can trust something published by the mysteriously funded GWPF.
This isn’t science, it is political advocacy (because climate science produces the wrong facts for some peoples’ political stance)

Your last sentence should read
October 31, 2016 at 6:27 am
I’m not clear why someone with a degree in Women’s Studies, University of Toronto is qualified to author such a study or whether we can trust something published by the mysteriously funded GWPF.
This isn’t science, it is political advocacy (because 97% of climate science produces the wrong facts for some peoples’ political stance)

Reply to  Griff
October 31, 2016 3:04 pm

Griff, and Nick, the evidence is so thick that you can only choose to ignore it. Pauchendri for instance was happy to use WWF “reports” to “confirm” the melting of Himalayan glaciers. No peer review involved. Or let consider the “97-%” meme. No one, and that no one at all who looks into the methods employed to reach that “conclusion” could possibly accept the study as reasonable let alone valid unless they desperately want it to be true. Oh yes, the “climateagte” emails. Again, the evidence is thick and can only be ignored by people who desperately need their hypothesis to be supported – if not by genuine data, then by attacking the persons that disagree. That is what Donna is reporting on. As regards “Women’s Studies” Griff, the politics in that field tend to strongly lean toward what are labeled “liberal” around these parts. Yet Donna, seemingly is siding with a different view. That suggests individual integrity rather than slavish adherence to the meme.

Reply to  Duster
October 31, 2016 3:52 pm

” the evidence is so thick”
Evidence of what? The claim here is that “Science Is In Deep Trouble, New Paper Shows“. So we get a long list of well hashed scientific controversies over the years. But what makes that “deep trouble”? Ms LaFramboise’s assertion.
The Essex intro says
“Gatekeeping against the unorthodox is not remotely a new problem. Oracular mediocrities down the centuries have doggedly resisted human advances in knowledge from Galileo to Semmelweis to Einstein, and thousands of other cases that only the most learned science historians will ever know.”
So has science always been in “deep trouble”? You quote a case where one chapter in the impacts section of a very large IPCC report quoted a WWF report, and a science administrator is quoted as saying that only peer reviewed reports are used. Is this really a crisis for science as a whole? Or does it just mean that someone in a backsection of an army of thousands got something wrong?

Reply to  Duster
October 31, 2016 8:39 pm

Oh puhlease!
Nick, it is clear you have not read her book,that shows MANY examples over what Duster, is talking about.
Here is what you glossed over:
“Laframboise describes how the now-disgraced former IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri was once asked if an Indian environment ministry report might alter the IPCC’s pessimistic view of Himalayan glaciers. The ‘IPCC studies only peer-review science’, Rajendra Pachauri replied dismissively. Until the report’s data appears in ‘a decent credible publication’, he said, ‘we can just throw it into the dust- bin’.”
The Himalayan Melting babble was just one of many such examples of NON reviewed material getting published in the IPCC reports. Donna even pointed out how THAT trope got accepted,despite NO actual published paper was even referred to.
Grow up,Nick!

Reply to  Griff
November 1, 2016 4:32 am

Griff, It’s not the “facts” which climate science produces — it is that some folks treat model outputs as “fact” (ola, Leonard!). They conflate hypothesis with reality to produce alarm and bad policy.
The idea that the peer-review process has been hacked is neither novel nor inaccurate, and is well covered on “Retraction Watch.”

Reply to  Griff
November 1, 2016 1:20 pm

Well why should we trust some of the so called climate scientists either who don’t have degrees in physics, chemistry etc? Simply look at the data sources and determine how valid they are. Then base your decision on that, not the name of the author

Non Nomen
October 31, 2016 6:39 am

This isn’t science, it is political advocacy

Go and tell that Michael Mann and that ilk.

October 31, 2016 6:49 am

Well, peer review, even when properly conducted — which is not always the case, of course — really only checks plausibility. It cannot and should not be confused for anything else. If someone is just very good at faking plausible stories, you can’t blame the peer reviewers for not catching on.

Reply to  Michael Palmer
October 31, 2016 7:06 am

exactly…’s nothing more that speel chex by a group of people that agree with you and are on the same page you’re on…..peer

Reply to  Latitude
October 31, 2016 8:10 am

No, that is not at all what I was saying. Peer review is very useful. I have learned lots of things from reviews of my papers, and quite often the revisions and additions demanded by the reviewers have helped me to improve my work and to avoid publishing erroneous conclusions.
However, even so, some of my published work still contains errors, and I am responsible for them, not the peer reviewers.

Reply to  Latitude
October 31, 2016 8:58 am

when you have a phD and the D stands for Disney, hokey schticks abound and everybody gets pucked.

Reply to  Latitude
October 31, 2016 9:43 am

did you mean “spiel” check? 😉

October 31, 2016 7:01 am

Taking a long walk off a short peer?
Well, we’ll always have WUWT to peer into things.

October 31, 2016 7:09 am

How did spell check get advanced to this??….
Papers are not supposed to be “right” just because they passed spell check…
What makes them right is they are thrown out there for other people to pick apart…after spell check
…if they stick to the wall long enough…then they are considered “more right”
until someone comes up with something better

Schrodinger's Cat
October 31, 2016 7:11 am

As we saw in the ClimateGate emails, pal review may be a more accurate description.

Reply to  Schrodinger's Cat
October 31, 2016 7:24 am

Academic Palpeertations?

October 31, 2016 7:35 am

This was going to be a reply to Griff, but …
* Andrew Gelman’s blog on misuse of statistics in psychology (but actually in many other places claiming to do science.
* Examples of bad peer review and why it is damaging to researchers
* Most studies in some areas, including cancer studies can not be replicated.
* Just 33 issues retraction watch found time to glance at this week. Hardly even the tip of the iceberg.
* Richard Horton, Lancet editorial
* Andrew Follett’s report for the Daily Caller with more points and links.
* Example I looked at recently: Paper claiming nuclear power supporting countries did worse at reducing GHG. Possibly withdrawn within 3 months, with NO help from journal editor nor ‘peer‘ reviewers. This paper was so obviously rubbish I’m amazed it got past the peers. I assume they must’ve been asleep when they read it. Incompetent, or fraudulent peer review. What’s the difference?

Reply to  mark4asp
October 31, 2016 8:32 am

The difference between incompetence and fraud is extreme in one way and indistinguishable in another. Incompetence is ignorance and therefore remedial. Fraud is criminal and therefore punishable. Quite a distinction there. In their effect on individuals and/or the public they invariably cause suffering. No distinction there.

Reply to  JustAnOldGuy
October 31, 2016 10:05 am

I quickly found serious issues with that paper [my last link]. How did two or more peers miss them? I’m not an expert. The peers are supposed to be experts. Even after they realized the original paper’s data had been transcribed wrongly, I’m told, the peers were happy with it. I find that nonsense. Too many researchers seem to think academia is just a place to give them a job. Each individual’s misconduct or sloppiness probably looks harmless to them. Yet when 50% or so are bending the rules in some way, we can no longer trust anything they say.

Reply to  mark4asp
October 31, 2016 10:28 am

Bogus research is not a problem until we try to use as the basis for policy. The solution is to invoke the KISS principle and to be very resistant to using research findings. We (ie. humanity in general) are not as smart as we think we are and believing otherwise just gets us into trouble.
I strongly agree with Judith Curry that we should try, as much as possible, to create “no regrets” policies.

Reply to  commieBob
October 31, 2016 12:38 pm

“Bogus research is not a problem until we try to use as the basis for policy.”
Actually, it is a problem. (1) money has been spent on it that should have been spent elsewhere. (2) bogus output is often used as the foundation for additional research that is also wrong. (3) new and better research is discouraged by the existence of erroneous papers. (4) bad research wrongly enhances the reputation of those who produced it, giving them more academic power to use against others.
There’s a sort of Gresham’s Law at work here. Bad research drives good research out of circulation.

Reply to  commieBob
October 31, 2016 12:57 pm

Some of these people have jobs at universities where they are mis-educating tomorrow’s policy makers.

Reply to  commieBob
October 31, 2016 5:59 pm

jorgekafkazar October 31, 2016 at 12:38 pm
mark4asp October 31, 2016 at 12:57 pm

You guys are right. 🙁

John Harmsworth
Reply to  mark4asp
October 31, 2016 8:01 pm

Congratulations! You get today’s prize for Griff-bane! I have noticed repeatedly that whenever Griff shows up with his inane and blindly biased arguments, he goes on in the face of superior ideas and logic that would embarrass a lesser fool. Finally someone delivers an assault on his ridiculous point of view that he can only slink away from. Amazingly, he doesn’t absorb any wisdom from this! He just crawls off to restore his powers of wrongness, in the hope that he can achieve victory the next time, armed with the same lousy thinking. He is a microcosm of CAGW, all earnestness and do gooder and full of righteous will to smite! Today you expelled him from our gentle kingdom. Again, congratulations! And thank you!

October 31, 2016 8:30 am

To publish means to make public. A hundred years ago publishing was expensive and therefore selective. These constraints no longer apply but they have taken on a life of their own. the future of research publication is open access open review.

October 31, 2016 8:41 am

It is all part of the game. Publish or perish. Getting it in print is more important than accuracy- nobody reads it anyway! Why would you reject a paper when the author(s) might review your next effort. List 10, 20 or more authors to spread the wealth and give the impression of more significant work. Keep the grants going to support the army of unnecessary PhDs pumped out over the last 25 years. Keep the universities happy as they skim the 20-40% overhead off of grants. Keep the “scientists” in the bureaucracy happy and their numbers increasing. Ike saw it coming in the 50s, and it hasn’t stopped since. Funding keeps the whole game going, and only defunding will stop it. Research is important, but it must return to an independent and diversified model to be effective.

October 31, 2016 8:42 am

What is needed is a bit more of plane peer review speak (as in Tol vs Dana)

Lance Wallace
October 31, 2016 8:45 am

The headline goes beyond what Donna Laframboise (an excellent investigative journalist) has done. She has indeed found multiple examples of fraud in multiple fields of science, including even physics (Jan Hendrik Schon) as well as social science (Diderich Stapel). And she makes other trenchant observations on problems such as conflict of interest and the difficulty of detecting departures from the best quality assurance practices.
But my 40 years of experience on both sides of peer review as author, editor, and reviewer have generally been positive. Essentially all of my papers have been improved by the comments of anonymous peer reviewers, a fact that I often acknowledge in my revised articles. On the other side, as reviewer I try to do a careful job and suggest ways of improving the paper (in about half the cases), while at the same time recommending rejection for those papers that show no hope of being revised to attain publication status. Most of the scientists I know show similar seriousness of purpose in accepting the duty of peer review.
At the same time, one can certainly see ways to improve peer review. At present, the only persons who see the anonymous reviews are the journal editor, the reviewer (who often in the case of a resubmitted manuscript can see the remarks of the other reviewers) and the authors. I believe the reviews themselves are often valuable, and anonymity could be maintained if the reviews were published in those cases where some controversy arises. (In the case of the badly tarnished climate science, perhaps ALL peer reviews should be published, allowing us to identify the fraction that are in fact pal reviews.)

Reply to  Lance Wallace
October 31, 2016 1:59 pm

In the case of the badly tarnished climate science, perhaps ALL peer reviews should be published, allowing us to identify the fraction that are in fact pal reviews.

Why just climate “science?”
“As of February 2014, all referees must agree to sign their reviews, and links to all signed reviews are provided in the published articles.”
I received some particularly shoddy anonymous reviews on a controversial submission to the “flagship” publication in my field. I told the editor I planned to publish the reviews in a discussion list within the field to show how bad they were. He went into a panic and offered me an opportunity to possibly get something less controversial published there instead.
That editor subsequently published a very flawed article in another “leading” publication in the field. An expert in the area of the flaws submitted a rebuttal to the publication. It went through multiple cycles of reviews over more than a year and then was rejected

Science or Fiction
October 31, 2016 9:11 am

IPCC is rather naive on the effect of 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 (more details are given in AR4 Chapter 1 and Le Treut et al., 2007).”
– IPCC; Working Group I; Assessment Report 5; section: 1.2.1 Setting the Stage for the Assessment

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Science or Fiction
October 31, 2016 8:18 pm

One might innocently expect that before committing trillions of dollars to massive economic transformation based on these “subject to further review” papers, the IPCC and it’s sponsor governments might want to make room for some replication of important papers. Or is that unreasonable?

Science or Fiction
Reply to  John Harmsworth
October 31, 2016 10:52 pm

But scrutiny is not a governing principle for IPCC. Ref. Principles governing IPCC work
The unscientific principle of Concensus is (§10).
Along with a lot of other unscientific principles. It seems worse and worse the more I look at it.

FJ Shepherd
October 31, 2016 9:18 am

How does a peer, review a scientific paper that is founded upon a computer model created by the authors of the paper? In such an instance, the paper cannot be peer reviewed. It is simply gossip.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  FJ Shepherd
October 31, 2016 12:25 pm

Unless the design, code, and verification test results are also reviewed by software engineers with relevant experience. Of course, it is necessary that in fact, the models in question were first designed, developed, and tested according to recognized standards/processes. In the case of the GCMs, we know that is not true, so meaningful peer review is indeed impossible.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
October 31, 2016 5:08 pm

“Verification”? You mean validation. Verification demonstrates that the program was written as specified. I can specify that a program should tell me pi equals 3. Then any program that returns 3 for pi will pass verification. On the other hand, pi isn’t actually 3. Any such program should fail validation.
In climate science, we can understand exactly what is happening. The most popular theories all say that the climate should warm at 10 degrees per century. That’s high enough to be scary and not so high that anybody can actually test it and prove that it hasn’t happened.
Such verification vs validation issues are common in computing. I have often seen programs that pass testing rejected by users because it doesn’t do what they need. In climate science, what this means is that the computer models need to predict the temperature for the next decade. We can then compare this with the actual temperature of the decade. Since none of the computer models have correctly predicted the decadal temperature, we can confidently state that they are all wrong and the research should be defunded.
Yes, I know we tried to defund the CSIRO climate ‘science’ unit and the squeeling was so awful to hear, the government had to give them their money back.

Bill Taylor
October 31, 2016 9:20 am

this is why i refer to myself as a layman, i use scientific method while clearly MANY with credentials do NOT in any way use scientific method……….this griff person is a prime example

October 31, 2016 9:29 am

Very well written.
I was amazed by how superficial peer review was when I found out how it worked. So many hold it up as a gold standard. But what amazaes me most is the concept that such a new and political issue as climate change should be considered free from the problems medicine and many other sciences suffer from. Are we to believe that climate scientists are a breed apart? Are they the cream of the academic cream. Are they drawn from near saints and geniuses? Are their procedures a model for other sciences?

Reply to  TinyCO2
October 31, 2016 12:01 pm

Their models are drawn by saints and geniuses a breed apart.

October 31, 2016 9:57 am

In all my years spent as a frequent “peer reviewer”, I found only one report/paper that I could not solidly refute or at least find solid fault with technique or data (they called me the “toughest checker in the West” — a play on a USA phrase of the era). All the rest needed significant revision. That was decades ago. I think standards are lower now.

Steve Oregon
October 31, 2016 10:26 am

If anyone ever reported on OSU and how Lubchenco et al concocted their science on AGW caused Ocean Dead Zones it would be scandalous. Some of the most brazen fabrications to date.
She used their fabricated dead zone and acidification science to propel her to lead NOAA, get research massive funding and to manipulate officials into needlessly creating marine reserves.
They enrich themselves all along the way.
This is one of the more embellished Lubchenco dead zone snow jobs
“Dead Zones in Pacific Ocean linked to Global Warming”
She was terrible at NOAA.
Their costly work on global warming dead zones has produced nothing but withering rubbish.
They invented a problem out of routine, seasonal ocean cycles, milked it and let it fade.

Ross King
October 31, 2016 10:29 am

I’ve just watched the ‘punchy’ GWPF video and it occurs to me thus:
Climate Science is a relatively new Science which is fast developing (thanks to the billions we taxpayers allow to be thrown at them by fence-sitting, relevance-seeking, pusillanimous politicians).
The Climate Science practitioners have essentially grown through the same Nursery, all go to the same conferences, all speak a language largely incomprehensible to lay-people, and all rely on each other for cross-checking their findings …. there are no others technically capable.
Herein lies the problem …. they have inexorably mutated into the cabal. As with any para-military body, (Army, Police, bureaucracy, etc.) it is axiomatic that you toe the “accepted line” or get excluded from the Club. The centripetal forces outweigh the centrifugal … those with open-minds and a freedom of thought from group-think.
Used to be that a Nobel Prize for a particular discovery could be awarded jointly to disparate entities, working independently in their respective labs. (Liebnitz & Newton come to mind, tho’ pre-Nobel) In the case of Climate Science, they’re all looking over each others’ shoulders.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Ross King
October 31, 2016 12:29 pm

This is an astute observation. Not new, but well articulated.

Ross King
Reply to  Paul Penrose
October 31, 2016 1:05 pm

Thanks, Paul.
Any leads to more studious comments on this subject?
P.S. … A comparative mental model comes to mind … in Computer Software terminology, I think it’s called the “Blob of Mud”(?) whereby early programs got modified & updated so many times over the years that it’s a case of a ‘band-aid’ on a ‘fix’ on a ‘band-aid’ ad infinitum, and the only recourse is the start-over …. which is too expensive and way too late to do!
I wonder if Climate Science has reached the same point? Nota bene that it likely suits the practitioners (Alchemists?) to keep it that way and eschew clarification — the greater & thicker the fog, the better entrenched are they, as Vestal Virgin guardians of the ‘Oracle Blob’.
Perhaps they’d like us proles to think that only *they* fully understand it, and perpetuate the myth. All we need are thunderbolts to accompany each grandiose each pronouncement …… hold on! … aren’t we there already?

October 31, 2016 11:20 am

It has been several decades since we left the scientific domain, conflated the logical domains, and entered the twilight zone (a.k.a. “penumbra”).

Reply to  n.n
October 31, 2016 12:46 pm

Umbra is coming.

October 31, 2016 12:44 pm

Ahh the good old GWPF. Wonder how they are getting on with the “International Temperature Data Review Project.”
You know, the one that was gonna prove all those records were fiddled by the corrupt scientists. Seems to have gone very quiet. Maybe it didn’t pass peer review?

Reply to  Simon
October 31, 2016 4:16 pm

The subject being discussed?
Zinnnngggg…. right over your head.

Reply to  clipe
October 31, 2016 4:49 pm

The article is discussing a report from the GWPF. I’m merely pointing out they have not been entirely reliable in the last 12 months. I know there are contributors here who have submitted work to the report that… to date… has not been completed.

October 31, 2016 1:03 pm

It doesn’t seem quite right to place the burden on the peer review, or what I know as referee process. As far as I know, all reviews are done by volunteers who’ve been published earlier by the journal. The majority will try to make sure science that’s just flat out wrong doesn’t make it, if for no other reason than to maintain the reputation of the journals we’ve published in, but that doesn’t imply an exhaustive review or a final blessing; publication just takes you to the next level of critique; someone with an understanding of your subject thought your work deserved a wider audience.
The failure isn’t in the review process, it’s in not understanding it. No one should make public policy based on work in progress, and that accurately describes the majority of journal publications. Should we not publish for fear some politician or “science” writer will pick up our work and make laws and regulations based on it? That would certainly have a chilling effect on research.
The purpose of peer review is to filter noise, not validate. Validation happens when other scientists read out publications and reproduce or expand on our results. Scientific journals were never intended to be tools of public policy.

Ross King
October 31, 2016 1:14 pm

To add to Bartleby’s (excellent) comments, the lay-person has been deliberately hoodwinked into believing that the Platinum Standard of Proof for Climate Science is “Peer Review”. ‘Repeat a lie often enough and *they* will get to believe it!’ (whom am I paraphrasing? Goebbels?)
I would add that the pols are no better, and are likely taking their policy-cues from the vast body of environmentalist ‘squeaky-wheelers’ (none of whom have to pay the consequences except after the bulk of the tab has been ‘stuck’ to the (deliberately) uninformed taxpayers.

October 31, 2016 1:21 pm

Have to ‘laugh’ in that what made me a confirmed ‘Atmospheric Anarchy’ sceptic was that, way back when, I couldn’t find anything, in even short/medium forecasts, that discussed ‘positive’ outcomes concerning increased CO2.
You are telling me that you couldn’t find just one?
So, increased CO2 might help plants? No, we don’t get ‘funding’ for suggesting that …
So warmer temperatures, especially beyond the Equator, might help feed more people? No … We don’t get funding for that kind of nonsense either.
In reality, we get funding for talking ‘Guardian’ about this being about increasing ‘pollutants’ but …
CO2+H2O+SUN–>LIFE on Earth. Take away one element and …
It’s all a complete mess designed to ‘Tax’ your part in the basic functioning of our World.
CO2+H2O+SUN–>LIFE on Earth
Can’t Tax Water, can’t Tax The Sun … CO2 though? (now there’s an idea) …

Patrick MacKinnon
October 31, 2016 1:35 pm

Climate change? I liked global warming. Climate is a regional phenomena that, when the globe warms,
with time should tend to change everywhere in the direction of warming. It always has in the past. So why
are we reporting on weather driven snowstorms when we know that these are mere temporary hiccups as
the globe warms.?

Ross King
October 31, 2016 1:37 pm

Mark4asp comments (above): “Some of these people have jobs at universities where they are mis-educating tomorrow’s policy makers.”
I’ll leave aside for now the thought that perhaps policy-makers are best *not* taught by scientific lecturers and that policy-makers shd primarily approach the subject from strong philosophical foundations. Instead, I ask:
What about the Secondary Schools at which our kids are — from what I can make out — brain-washed from the earliest, if not by already brainwashed, leftie, teachers, then by the Departments of Education (ex brainwashed, leftie teachers?) who set the curricula?
As a retired Engineer, I enlisted in a volunteer program to help Hi-School students. I was asked to apply for a specific posting which included certain subjects, while not specifically mentioning AGW,, clearly danced around this topic which appeared to be central to syllabus. In the to-and-fro of application, in which we talked-up a storm, I found it necessary — from deeply held personal beliefs — to state that I would expand on such matters in an even-handed manner, adducing all sides of the argument, so as to best position my charges TO MAKE THEIR OWN,DECISIONS ON A COMPLEX TOPIC. The exchange promptly stopped! Obviously, I was not one to toe the Party Line … perish the thought that kids shd be encouraged to think for themselves, perhaps!
I think this is a HUGE problem that the ed-authorities are getting away with.

October 31, 2016 2:56 pm

Let’s hope at least the dust-bin was peer-reviewed?

October 31, 2016 3:30 pm

I myself believe that Mankind’s burning up of the Earth’s very finite supply of fossil fuels is not such a good idea. I would like to use AGW as another reason to conserve on the use of fossil fuels but the AGW conjecture is just too full of holes to defend. There is no real evidence that CO2 affects climate and plenty of scientific rationale to support the idea that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is really some very small number close to zero.
The IPCC, in part to provide evidence that AGW is real, sponsored the development of a plethora of climate models. The fact that so many different models were generated is evidence that a lot of guess work was involved. The plethora of models generated a wide range of predictions for today’s global temperatures but they all seem to have one thing in common. They have all been wrong. They have all predicted global warming that has not happened. If the models are evidence of anything it is that there is something very wrong with the AGW conjecture but the IPCC refuses to acknowledge this for fear of losing their funding. In their first report the IPCC published a wide range of possible values for the climate sensitivity of CO2. Only one value can be the correct one. In their last report the IPCC published the exact same values. So after more than two decades of effort the IPCC has learned nothing new that would allow them to narrow their range of guestamates one iota. Others have generated models that much better predict today’s global temperatures without any dependence on CO2 based global warming. Others have also estimated CO2 climate sensitivity values for CO2 that are much lower than the IPCC’s range of values but the IPCC refuses to acknowledge these efforts for fear of losing their funding. The IPCC is hence a political and not a scientific organization.
One of the fundamentals upon which the AGW conjecture is based is that the earth’s surface is 33 degrees C warmer then it would otherwise be because of the effects of so called greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. A real greenhouse does not stay warm because of the action of heat trapping greenhouse gases. A real greenhouse stays warm because the glass decreases cooling by convection. It is a convective greenhouse effect. There is no radiative greenhouse effect keeping a real greenhouse warm. So too on Earth. The Earth’s surface is 33 degrees C warmer than it would be otherwise because gravity and the heat capacity of the atmosphere limits cooling by convection. It is a convective greenhouse effect, as derived from first principals, that keeps the surface of the earth 33 degrees warmer because of the atmosphere. There is no evidence of an additional radiant greenhouse effect on Earth nor anywhere in the solar system for that matter. Without the radiant greenhouse effect, the AGW conjecture is nothing.
Another very important part of the AGW conjecture is that H2O provides positive feedbacks to CO2 caused climate change effects because H2O is also a so called greenhouse gas with LWIR absorption bands. But the AGW conjecture ignores the fact that H2O is a major coolant in the Earth’s atmosphere moving heat energy from the Earth’s surface which is mostly some form of H2O to where clouds form via the heat of vaporization. According to some energy balance models, more heat energy is moved by H2O via the heat of vaporization then by both LWIR absorption band radiation and convection combined. The cooling properties of H2O are also evidenced by the fact that the wet lapse rate is significantly lower than the dry lapse rate. Because of the cooling effects of H2O in our atmosphere the H2O feedback must be negative and must have been negative for the Earth’s climate to have been stable enough over more than the past 500 million years for life to evolve We are here.
I read an article recently where the author pointed out that the original calculations of the climate sensitivity of CO2 were too great by a factor of more than 20 because the original calculations ignore the fact that doubling the amount of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere would cause a slight decrease in the dry lapse rate in the troposphere. This factor of 20 error renders the climate effects of CO2 as totally insignificant.
There is no evidence in the paleoclimate record that CO2 has any effect on climate. There is evidence that warmer temperatures have resulted in for CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere. It is well known that warmer water cannot hold as much CO2 as cooler water. There is no real evidence that the additional CO2 caused any additional warming.
Then there is this idea of consensus. They want us to believe in the AGW conjecture because they deem it as a consensus opinion. But science is not a democracy. The Laws of science are not some form of legislation. Scientific theories are not proven true through a voting process. If consensus made things true the we would all be having to abide by the Ptolemaic model of the universe which at one time was the consensus opinion. The idea of consensus is politics and not science.

Reply to  willhaas
October 31, 2016 7:17 pm

Willhaas strikes a chord: in the long-run, fossil-fuel resources at current consumption levels, really are finite. (Unless, of course, current production thereof — harvestable in aeons — can sustain it in the long-run. No-one to my knowledge has claimed that our current rate of exploitation is remotely matched in the near-term by the lay-down of replacement resources.
The anti-AGW Alarmists’ mantra is: ‘Don’t worry, be happy, today”, but what about: “Don’t happy, be worried tomorrow / next generation(s). One of the (few!) pluses of the AGW/Alarmist arguments is that of — yes, you guessed it! — sustainabilty in the long-run, for which we shd all give them some credit, even if they’re hunting the wrong culprit — CO2.
Methinks the paradigm shd be analogous to the debate over ‘Base-Load Electricity Supply’ … and I have much more to say –manana!

Reply to  willhaas
November 1, 2016 3:58 pm

There are alternate sources of hydrocarbons for every other purpose that oil is used for.
Keeping it locked in the ground on the off chance that it might have other uses in the far future is not a wise use of a valuable energy resource.

October 31, 2016 3:48 pm

Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
The “science” behind AGW is so dodgy, because the science didn’t come first. What came first was the notion that mankind was a problem and was doing harm to the planet. The “science” was then simply tortured until it fitted in with this notion.

October 31, 2016 4:21 pm

If it was up to Stokes, Griff et al. Guy Paul Morin would be serving a life sentence

Reply to  clipe
October 31, 2016 4:31 pm
October 31, 2016 6:54 pm

This issue needs to be discussed more!!!!! ty!

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
October 31, 2016 9:11 pm

This I said more than a decade back and wrote and presented in several forums including in this forum. You scratch my back and I scratch your back, thy name of peer-review.
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

October 31, 2016 9:31 pm

All frauds are exposed by time. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Patience.

Reply to  bh2
November 1, 2016 3:59 pm

They can still do a lot of damage before they are exposed.
How many of the people that Bernie Maddox cheated got much of their money back?

Ric Thistlethwaite
Reply to  MarkW
November 1, 2016 7:14 pm


Chris Wright
November 1, 2016 3:54 am

Recently the BBC showed an extraordinary film in three parts: Fatal Experiments: The Downfall of a Supersurgeon. If it’s repeated, watch it, although it is extremely upsetting to see the patients die one by one.
The parallels with the corruption of climate science are remarkable.
Here’s a good summary of what happened:
Four doctors at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm started to suspect that there was something seriously wrong with Paolo Macchiarini’s scientific work. After looking at his published work they found serious problems that even suggested scientific fraud. When they reported their findings the Karolinska managers actually threatened the doctors. But finally the Karolinska Institute commissioned a report by an independent and respected scientist. His report was damning and confirmed the suspicions of the doctors of scientific fraud.
The Karolinska Institute simply ignored the report. They then claimed new evidence – which naturally they kept secret – had exonerated Macchiarini.
Incredibly, it seemed there had been no animal trials to test the procedure. And yet Macchiarini had reassured the patients before the operations that there had been animal tests. The patients were literally experimental subjects. Macchiarini’s scientific articles claimed that his patients were doing very well. In fact this was an appalling lie: all his patients were slowly dying.
But now the fraud has been publicly acknowledged and there are police investigations. Hopefully Macchiarini will end up in jail. The Vice Chancellor of Karolinska Institute, who had endlessly defended Macchiarini, has now resigned.
There are remarkable parallels with climate science: classic group think, scenario fulfillment delusions so that even evidence that contradicted their theory if anything strengthened their belief. And of course, when their star surgeon had been accused of scientific and ethical misconduct the Karolinska’s response was to circle the wagons and do all they could to maintain their reputation. As often happens, the priority of the organisation was the wellbeing of the organisation, not of the people they serve.
The good news is that the fraud has been blown wide open and now hopefully justice will be served for his victims, most of whom suffered terrible and long drawn-out deaths.
If you have the chance to watch the films, do so. They will remain with you for the rest of your life.

November 1, 2016 6:24 am

Two kinds of science occupy center stage today. Global Warming is of the Post Modern Science school, where skepticism is not practiced. Instead, scientific propositions must pass Popper’s three intersubjectivity criteria, peer review, publication, and consensus, all within the certified community, plus pretend to have a falsification criterion and be politically correct. PMS is king in academia, except most notably for engineering.
Some industries pay lip service to PMS, as in pharmaceuticals, but in the last analysis industry practices Modern Science, where validity of models rests solely on their predictive power (Bacon), where all subjectivity is automatically rejected, and where skepticism is a virtue.
Popper deconstructed Bacon. The two versions of science are mutually exclusive.

Reply to  Jeff Glassman
November 1, 2016 9:40 am

P.S. As PMS and MS are mutually exclusive, each is a fraud judged by the standards of the other. In the public arena, however, a regularly reinforced instinct exists for scientific models that actually work. That would put the public squarely in the MS arena but for the intense politics of PMS.
Another interesting exception is that the practice of peer review is a fraud judged by its own parent, PMS. At the risk of looking like a crank on the subject, here, once again because it is highly relevant to a cranky thread, is a capsule summary of the state of peer review:
Peer review as a reliable technique for assessing the validity of scientific data is surely discredited. ¶ The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability — not the validity — of a new finding. Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed [jiggered, not repaired], often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong. Horton, R.C., Genetically modified food: consternation, confusion, and crack-up, Med.J.Aust. 172(4), 2/21/2000, 148-9.
That from the Editor of The Lancet, a peer-reviewed journal.
GCMs only have to work in the sense of passing self-examination, i.e., the criteria of peer review, publication, and consensus. They do predict climate, but a century hence so that it cannot be validated before Policymakers are supposed to use the AGW model, i.e., send money, squeeze democracies. What GCMs do predict that is testable is Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity, and testing shows that the GCMs are indeed correct about ECS with about 3% confidence.

Reply to  Jeff Glassman
November 2, 2016 7:28 pm

Jeff Glassman:
Using IPCC-sanctioned terminology, GCMs do not “predict” but rather “project.” As they do not “predict” they cannot be “validated.” However, they can be “evaluated.” Those plots of computed global temperatures vs time with a global temperature time series superimposed are “evaluations.” Validation is impossible because for validation aka cross validation it is necessary to count sampling units but no statistical population underlies a GCM.
If we bloggers were to get on the same page terminology-wise we would have more impact.

November 3, 2016 9:26 am

Terry Oldberg, 11/2/16 @ 7:28 pm said,
Using IPCC-sanctioned terminology, GCMs do not “predict” but rather “project.” As they do not “predict” they cannot be “validated.” However, they can be “evaluated.” Those plots of computed global temperatures vs time with a global temperature time series superimposed are “evaluations.” Validation is impossible because for validation aka cross validation it is necessary to count sampling units but no statistical population underlies a GCM.
If we bloggers were to get on the same page terminology-wise we would have more impact.
Re sanctioned: What a most interesting word! In everyday use, it has exactly opposite meanings — approval and disapproval. IPCC approved project to disapprove use of predict. That is a curious thing because IPCC exploits Post Modern Science where models don’t have to work at all. They only have to have three forms of certified (i.e., closed) community approval. Somehow, IPCC’s sanctioning reveals a sensitivity either to public instinct that models are supposed to work, or to Modern Science, where models are judged solely on their predictive power. By definition, IPCC left itself with just one prediction: catastrophe many generations hence from US-led free world use of fossil fuels today, where nuclear power is, of course, politically incorrect.
Re statistical population underlies: You point to a classical problem with statistical analysis. K. Pearson (1900) and Fisher (1922) explored the general statistical problem of finding a goodness of fit of regression curves to an underlying statistical population. They failed, in large part because underlying populations are supposed to be infinite and stationary. Such populations do not exist in the real world. They are statistical figments. The solution to this problem is found in MS through Information Theory and maximum entropy.
Re scare quotes: When you put scare quotes, meaning “so-called”, around predict and validated, you project a sympathy to PMS. These are unconditional, unqualified power words in MS.
Re get on the same page: One of the features of the blogosphere is that discussions almost never converge. Convergence requires liberal posting rules coupled with strong moderation. If this discussion could converge, we could settle the matter by agreeing to discuss it in the context of each kind of science separately.
File Oldberg’s post under He who controls the vocabulary wins the argument.

Reply to  Jeff Glassman
November 3, 2016 11:49 am

Jeff Glassman
Thank you for taking the time to reply. As you point out, convergence is difficult. A requirement for convergence is for all of the parties to the debate to agree on the meanings of words in the language in which the debate is conducted. Most parties to the debate over global warming have agreed to assign one meaning to “prediction” and another meaning to “projection” but there are holdouts. I note that you are among the holdouts and wish you would change your mind.
As you may know, modern information theory works around logical deficiencies in the notion of a “statistical population.” For example a statistical population can be formed by associating the concrete Earth on which we live with a partition of the time line between the year 1850 and the present such that the pairing of the concrete Earth with an element of this partition creates an element of a statistical population. It is a population of this type that is currently missing from global warming climatology. Absent this population “prediction” is a misnomer as it does not refer to the concrete object that is the target of the alleged prediction. “Projection” is the right term as it is understood to stand in contradistinction to “prediction.”
The phrase stating that “He who controls the vocabulary wins the argument” is inappropriate. My desire is not to control this vocabulary but rather to disambiguate it. Disambiguation has the merit of halting applications of the equivocation fallacy that plague global warming climatology. It thrives, for example, when bloggers insist upon using “prediction” and “projection” as synonyms.

Reply to  Terry Oldberg
November 3, 2016 4:00 pm

Terry Oldberg 11/3/2016 @ 11:49 am
By global warm climatology I presume you mean the capitalized Climatology promoting the (capitalized) Anthropogenic Global Warming conjecture, where capitalization indicates defined by stipulation, as for example by the authorities behind the IPCC narrative. At the risk of pedantry, a statistical prediction of Global Average Surface Temperature anomaly over the past half-million years, far more than your period since 1850, is duck soup. To a first order, that temperature has varied between about -11C to +3C, correlated usefully over several centuries. That comes from considerations of vanilla climatology, a modern science, not the current Climatology of IPCC and its obeisant academics.
When I suggested that He who controls the vocabulary wins the argument, I was thinking not of you but of IPCC.
At 7:28 pm you wrote, GCMs do not “predict” but rather “project”. However, IPCC says,
Current GCMs do not have sufficiently rigorous microphysics or sub-grid scale processes to accurately predict cirrus clouds or super-cooled clouds explicitly. AR4, ¶, p. 180.
So by implication GCMs do indeed predict. They predict cirrus clouds and super-cooled clouds, just not accurately (enough for something) and explicitly (enough). Most significantly, they also predict the Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity:
The equilibrium climate sensitivity is a measure of the climate system response to sustained radiative forcing. It is not a projection but is defined as the global average surface warming following a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations. It is likely [P > 66%] to be in the range 2ºC to 4.5ºC with a best estimate of about 3ºC, and is very unlikely [P < 10%] to be less than 1.5ºC. Values substantially higher than 4.5ºC cannot be excluded, but agreement of models with observations is not as good for those values. Water vapour changes represent the largest feedback affecting climate sensitivity and are now better understood than in the TAR. Cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty. Bold added, AR4, SPM, p. 12.
Because we only have two categories so far, ECS, being a response, that is, in the future, must be a prediction, too. Or do we have to add another undefined category, say, foretell? We need more than word definitions; we need consistency.
While I’m amenable to changing my mind, I’m reluctant to change the facts.

Reply to  Jeff Glassman
November 3, 2016 6:03 pm

Jeff Glassman:
Thanks for sharing. One should not get hung up on the identities of the words that are used in making an argument as they are only place holders for meanings. It is the meanings that determine the logicality of the argument. Its logicality is the trait of an argument that most interests me.
It is when a word changes meaning in the midst of an argument that this causes trouble. By the definition of terms, this argument is an example of an “equivocation.” While an equivocation looks like a syllogism it isn’t one. In particular, while the conclusion of a syllogism is true the conclusion of an equivocation is false or unproved. Thus, to draw a conclusion from an equivocation is logically illegitimate. To draw such a conclusion is the “equivocation fallacy.”
An argument that is made by people on both sides of the controversy over “anthropogenic global warming” makes no distinction between a model with an underlying statistical population and a model with no underlying statistical population. In the arguments of these people, “model” has two meanings. “Model” changes meaning in the midst of their argument making of this argument an example of an equivocation. Under this argument, a conclusion is drawn from this equivocation. In this way, an application of the equivocation fallacy is made by this argument.
Let us disambiguate the word “model” such that a “model-a” has an underlying statistical population and a “model-b” has no underlying statistical population. It can be shown, using information theory, that the mutual information of a model-b is nil. On the other hand, the mutual information of a model-a has a chance of being non-nil.
The mutual information of a model is all of the information that is available to the government for the purpose of regulating the climate system. A point of interest to me is that every one of the models currently being used by my government in its attempts at controlling the climate system is a model-b. Global warming climatologists don’t build model-a’s and never have Thus, at great expense my government has built a technology that is incapable of being used for its advertised purpose.
I wish that my government would cease wasting my tax money by building umpteen model-b’s and spend a much lower sum of money in an attempt at building one model-a that is suitable for regulating Earth’s climate. Rampant applications of the equivocation fallacy, many of them by well meaning bloggers, make this currently impossible.

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