Rooting out scientific corruption

Recent actions show reform is in the wind, but much remains to be done, especially on climate

Guest opinion by Paul Driessen

Dr. Brian Wansink recently resigned from his position as Columbia University professor, eating behavior researcher and director of the Cornell “food lab.” A faculty investigation found that he had misreported research data, failed to preserve data and results properly, and employed dubious statistical techniques.

A fellow faculty member accused him of “serious research misconduct: either outright fraud by people in the lab, or such monumental sloppiness that data are entirely disconnected from context.” Among other things, Wansink had used cherry-picked data and multiple statistical analyses to get results that confirmed his hypotheses. His papers were published in peer-reviewed journals and used widely in designing eating and dieting programs, even though other researchers could not reproduce his results.

It’s about time someone exposed and rooted out this growing problem, and not just in the food arena.

Countless billions of dollars in state and federal taxpayer money, corporate (and thus consumer) funding and foundation grants have fueled research and padded salaries, with universities typically taking a 40% or so cut off the top, for “oversight and overhead.” Incentives and temptations abound.

Far too many researchers have engaged in similar practices for much too long. Far too many of their colleagues do sloppy, friendly or phony peer review. Far too many universities and other institutions have looked the other way. Far too often those involved are rewarded by fame and fortune. Far too many suspect results have been used to attack and sue corporations or drive costly public policies.

A good example is glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup weed killer and the world’s most widely used herbicide. The Environmental Protection Agency, European Food Safety Authority and many other respected organizations worldwide have consistently reaffirmed that this chemical does not cause cancer.

One rogue agency says otherwise. The International Agency for Research on Cancer is top-heavy with anti-chemical activists, some who’ve had blatant conflicts of interest or engaged in highly questionable conduct. IARC relies on antiquated methods that have examined over 1,000 substances – and found that only one does not cause cancer. It says even pickled vegetables and coffee are carcinogenic.

IARC makes no attempt to determine exposure levels that actually might pose cancer risks for humans in the real world and ignores studies that don’t support its agenda. It has created enormous pressure on EU regulators to ban glyphosate, which would help organic farmers but decimate conventional farming.

It also helped the mass-tort lawsuit industry hit the jackpot, when a San Francisco jury awarded a retired groundskeeper $289 million in compensatory and punitive damages – because he claims his non-Hodgkin lymphoma resulted from exposure to glyphosate. Thousands of similar lawsuits are now in the pipeline.

The potential impact on the chemicals industry and conventional farming worldwide is incalculable. But worse outrages involve research conducted to advance the “dangerous manmade climate change” thesis – for they are used to justify demands that we give up the fossil fuels that provide over 80% of America’s and the world’s energy – and replace them with expensive, unreliable pseudo-renewable alternatives.

In a positive development that may presage a Cornell style cleanup, after seven long years of stonewalling and appealing court decisions, the U of Arizona has finally agreed to give the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic the emails and other public, taxpayer-funded records it asked for in 2011. The documents relate to the infamous “hockey stick” temperature graph, attempts to excise the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age from history, machinations over the preparation of an IPCC report, efforts to keep non-alarmist papers out of scientific journals, and actions similar to Wansink’s clever research tricks.

While the legal, scientific and public access issues were very similar in another FOIA case back in 2010, the court in that U of Virginia/Penn State case took a very different stance. That court absurdly ruled that alarmist researcher Dr. Michael Mann could treat his data, codes, methodologies and emails as his personal intellectual property – inaccessible to anyone outside Mann’s inner circle – even though his work was funded by taxpayers and was being used to support and justify the Obama era carbon dioxide “endangerment finding” and war on fossil fuels, and thus affected the living standards of all Americans.

Scientific debates absolutely should be played out in the academic, scientific and public policy arena, instead of our courts, as some 800 academics argued in defending Mann’s position. However, that cannot possibly happen if the scientists in question refuse to debate; if they hide their data, computer codes, algorithms and methodologies; if they engage in questionable, secretive, unaccountable science.

We who pay for the research and will be victimized by sloppy, improper or fraudulent work have a clear, inalienable right to insist that research be honest and aboveboard. That the scientists’ data, codes, methods and work products be in the public domain, available for analysis and critique. That researchers engage in robust debate with fellow scientists and critics. It’s akin to the fundamental right to cross-examine witnesses in a civil or criminal case, to reveal inconsistencies, assess credibility and determine the truth.

Scientists who violate these fundamental precepts should forfeit their access to future grants.

Instead, we now have a nearly $2-trillion-per-year renewable energy/climate crisis industry that zealously and jealously protects its turf and attacks anyone who dares to ask awkward questions – like these.

What actual, replicable, real-world evidence do you have that convincingly demonstrates that:

· You can now distinguish relatively small human influences from the many powerful natural forces that have always driven climate change?

· Greenhouse gases now control the climate, and the sun and other forces play only minor roles?

· Earth is now experiencing significant and unprecedented changes in temperature, icecaps, sea levels, hurricanes, tornadoes and droughts?

· These changes will be catastrophic and are due to humanity’s fossil fuel use?

· Your computer models have accurately predicted the real-world conditions we are measuring today?

· Wind, solar and biofuels can replace fossil fuels in powering modern industrial economies and living standards; can be manufactured, transported and installed without fossil fuels; are “sustainable” into the foreseeable future; and will not have serious adverse impacts on wildlife, habitats, air and water?

Alarmist, climate crisis scientists demand and/or help justify radical, transformative, disruptive, destructive changes to our energy infrastructure, economies, livelihoods and living standards. They must therefore face a very high burden of proof that they are right. They must be required to provide solid evidence and be subject to robust, even withering debate and cross examination.

They must no longer be permitted to hide material evidence, emails or conversations that might reveal conflicts of interest, collusion, corruption, data manipulation or fabrication, or other substantive problems.

It’s reached the point where almost anything that happens is blamed on fossil fuels, carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases and those who “question the reality of [cataclysmic manmade] climate change.”

The assertions now range from implausible to ridiculous: Earth is doomed if developed nations don’t drastically slash emissions by 2020; Arctic ice will disappear; wildfires will be more frequent and deadly; more people will die from heatstroke; Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were due to human activity; President Trump caused Florence by exiting Paris; Arctic plants are getting too tall; coffee growing will be impossible in many countries; Earth will become Venus; pigs will get skinnier; tasty dishes like cioppino will be a thing of the past; and a seemingly endless list of even more preposterous manmade disasters.

Congress and the Trump Administration want to ensure sound science and informed public policy, root out fraud and corruption, and “drain the swamp.” If they’re serious about this, they will take the necessary steps to ensure that no universities or other institutions get another dime of federal taxpayer money, until they implement changes like those suggested here. Climate crisis corruption is a good place to start.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and other think tanks, and author of books and articles on energy, climate change and economic development.

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120 thoughts on “Rooting out scientific corruption

  1. The author should be careful lest a “concerned citizen” will remember that when children, he was inappropriate with them and there for a an evil unworthy denier.

    • hunter, what you have written is gobbledegook, grammatically meaningless. Perhaps you might try again to say what you mean.

      • hunter’s “garbled” statement is a reference to the fustercluck nonsense going on in the SJC hearings underway now for Kavanaugh’s nomination to SCOTUS.

        However, hunter’s take on disagreeing with current climate pseudoscience methodology is almost right: if you don’t fall in line, you are an evil and unredeemable climate denier person.

        Now please give me a large sum of cash for my analysis of hunter’s statement.

        • We’ll just have to wait and see whether the Senate appoints a “climate denying, rapist, pedo” to the SCOTUS. Then we may see some movement on the fake endangerment finding, at last.

          But the left has totally lost the plot on this one. I would not be surprised to see a physical assault on some senator or Kavanaugh before this is through.

      • Well I thought Hunter meant something like the following, he can comment and correct me if I am wrong:

        The author should be careful. A “concerned citizen” might “remember” that when children, he/she was sexually inappropriate with them, and therefore evil, and his/her livelyhood should be taken away.

      • Try this , if it’s really too complicated for you to understand.

        The author should be careful lest a “concerned citizen” [should] remember that when [they were ] children, he [the author] was inappropriate with them and there for [therefore] [[the author] is an evil unworthy denier.

        In other words some maggot will come out and accuse him of historical child abuse or similar because they disagree with his position on cliamte.

        • There is an E-mail circulating on the Internet that has a picture of SC Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg …… with a caption stating ………

          Abraham Lincoln sexually molested me in 1862“.

          • To be analogous to the Kavanaough deal, they should have said that there is compelling evidence that proves Ginsburg, as a 13 camp counselor, was molesting the little kids as she pretended to be Rabbi Ruthy.

        • IDK, has #metoo not made the news elsewhere in the world? Now a days it seems all it takes is an allegation (without any corroborating evidence) to take down ones political enemies.

          • That’s the Kavanaugh fiasco in a nutshell. A politically motivated (attempted) take-down based on allegations without evidence.

        • Those of us who follow the (politically driven) “Climate crisis” tend to read a lot of English-language blogs from all over the world. I would guess that I’m not unique in following the Democratic Party’s destruction of the USA’s (small d) democratic heritage!

  2. Financial fraud often ends up with large fines or a jail sentence. Should this not be the case for clear scientific mal-practice?

    • well theres been a whole lot of that with big pharma but very few meaningful fines or halts to biz as usual, damages kept hush hush and fines etc a mere wrist slap.
      ditto big ag, and the reason theres been less availabl evidence of harm is the ability to find NON linked labs n\and assesors, to run the trials n tests,
      companies refusing to allow their product to be independently tested without their own people overseeing the studies and the results etc
      the needless or useless/make it worse / surgery /diagnostic tests scams as well
      climate/co2 is just another one, but being targeted globally is meaning more interest and blowback is likely
      or we can hope.
      I remain VERY skeptical on all things, with good reason.

      • “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power”

        – Benito Mussolini

        • And very apt for the current ultra-nationalist Chinese ideological merger of economic billionaire capitalism to run the economy and orthodox authoritarian Marxism to run the state. Given its current success, Benito and Adolph would be very impressed.

    • It’s high time this avenue (prosecution) is pursued in order to mitigate the damage the alarmists are causing. Fraud = jail/ fines.

      • Or better yet, a lifetime ban in terms of receiving one nickel of taxpayer “research grants.” That’d put the fear of god into them.

    • In fraud, the one giving the money does nto get what they pay for.

      If a drug company funds a study, they very well may get what they want. The “science” world and the world in general have not paid for anything. We just get wrong or faulty information, for free.

      • No Last Democrat we don’t get it for free. We pay absurdly inflated prices for drugs that either do no better than the older (off-patent) drugs they replace, or they even do worse.

        The Ontario Drug Benefit plan (which pays for prescription drugs for seniors like me and welfare recipients) won’t pay for Actonel. Probably other drug plans do the same. This seems to be the worst consequence that P&G faces for their outrageous conduct in manipulating data from lab tests. This only came to light because of a whistle blower, who turned down a £250K bribe to stay quiet, then got fired for his trouble. Nobody went to jail (naturellement).

        https://ethicalnag.org/2009/09/08/sheffield/

    • Perhaps in cases where the researchers refuse to reveal how they reached their conclusions, especially when publicly funded. But not, I think, if the researchers are forthcoming with enough info for a third party (ANY third party, not just his, her, or its buddies) to attempt to replicate the studies.

  3. Financial fraud often incurs a fine or jail sentence. Should this not apply to scientific malpractice?

  4. misreported research data, failed to preserve data and results properly, and employed dubious statistical techniques.

    Which are not merely standard but rewarded behaviour in climate ‘science ‘ and that is the problem , you cannot use models of acceptability in an area which has shown there are no standards and one where the ‘value’ of your work is seen in its ‘usefulness ‘ not its validity .

    • Well said. The OP’s entire description of the Columbia/Cornell scientist malfeasance sounds like a chapter and verse description of the “climate science” bullshit.

      • Here are three examples of “malfeasance” in climate science publications:

        1) Soon and Baliunas, 2003
        2) Spencer and Braswell, 2011
        3) Pattern Recognition in Physics (entire first volume)

        Can you think of more?

  5. The author should have left out the last part of the essay – that immediately following “dares to ask awkward questions”.

    Tempting to over-egg the cake, but unwise – too many hostages to fortune, even if your own side of the argument agrees with you. As so often, detracts from the core argument. This is a general observation.

    Actual sentiment expressed is, of course, clearly and unequivocally correct.

  6. ” Far too many of their colleagues do sloppy, friendly or phony peer review. “

    While this is certainly true, as someone who has both been peer-reviewed and done a fair amount of peer reviews I would like to make a few comments.

    It is virtually impossible for a peer reviewer to spot deliberate fraud, unless it is very clumsily done. As a reviewer you usually only have access to the paper, rarely to the full data set and never to the original lab/field notes.

    What you can do is check the consistency of the paper, that the data really support the claimed results and that the references are correct and really say what they are claimed to (surprisingly often they don’t). If you are very lucky and diligent you might be able to verify the statistics used, but often the available information is insufficient, even if you have the necessary knowledge (which few reviewers have these days when statistics programs can be, and often are, used without any real understanding of the underlying theory).

    Nothing more.

    • “What you can do is check… that the data really support the claimed results”
      If you don’t have access to the full data, how do you do that?

      • You would be surprised how often the claims go well beyond even the data that are in the paper (or more often the “additional information”, that is published separately, very often this is actually the most interesting part).

    • MBH98 is a vague, wandering article. If I had peer-reviewed it, I would have asked for a more clear explanation of what was happening. As it is, I cannot figure out where faults or tricks might have happened.

      That is my standard when I peer-review: if I cannot tell what happened, step by step, then I ask for clarification. I also inform the editorial staff that this is my view, and if they favor the article, they can do what they want, including finding another reviewer in my place.

      For example, In MBH98, in the “Data” section, they say that they winnowed the available data sets in order to avoid those more prone to error, but they fail to 1. give winnowing criteria, and 2. fail to say whether criteria were determined in advance, or were “applied” as they went along. Or, after they ran analyses, in subsequent runs to see if results came out the way they wanted, then returned to the “winnowing” step again to shuffle the deck again, so to speak, and see how the dealt hand comes out the next time.

      • I am not and never will be a reviewer.

        However, it would seem to me that, if a paper refutes many other papers that contain the MWP (the then consensus), that the reviewer would demand to see everything pertinent to getting such different results.

        A casual “that looks right” is insufficient reason to publish works that claim to prove many others’ works wrong.

        Why are Mann and Co not branded as ‘deniers’ when they went against the consensus that the MWP was real and global?

        • Precisely. As in the whole “AGW catastrophe” house of cards. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

    • Tty. There was an artical on this blog a few years ago that did what you stated “without any real understanding of the underlying theory).” The artical was about the number of (Drake type ) electrical power generating stations that would be required to replace the fossil fuel presently used in the UK . The underlying electrical usage of vehicles powered by electricity was not based on actual electric powered vehicles but instead on a mathematical formula derived from converting horsepower to electrical power. The horsepower number used was the maximum rated horsepower (100) of some popular auto. Autos don’t require anywhere near that max number for normal travel. The same type mistake was done with home heating units. I and a few others were chastised for pointing this error out. I am not a CAGW believer.

      • Yes, I’ve seen similar errors. And others, like not factoring in losses due to internal resistance in the batteries being charged and AC/DC conversion losses.

    • All too true. About the most a conscientious reviewer can truly say is that the authors have picked an interesting topic, appear to have investigated with reasonable methods, and avoided obvious blunders.

    • Yes, tty,
      Those are current problems that need resolution be a completely new approach to peer review. I just happen to be writing an essay detailing how this might be done.
      Geoff.

  7. If a paper is found to be fraudulent and is required to be withdrawn, then all papers citing that paper as a basis for research should also be automatically withdrawn. This would make researchers less trusting and they would need to try to replicate the results of research rather than simply rely on it

    • If I was one of the poor people who got funding and used a fraudulent study(discovered later) as a basis for ongoing work, then Id damned well want MY grants reimbursed BY the original fraudsters uni or whomever. to be able to redo and correct my own work.
      maybe if something like that was instituted as recompense for fraud along with jail time for the serious ones that caused death n disabilty etc things might change for the better.

      • Don’t forget to also hold the Uni responsible for their 40% of the grant that produced the fraudulent paper. That implies some level of responsibility on their part to oversee the work of their employees. After all, they are not just renting space to the researcher. They sure take/enjoy credit for the winners so they should also get credit for the losers.

    • This is a good idea for starters, but the first question that would get asked “how many generations back do we retract papers”. If push came to shove, we’d probably end up with 30 papers which were honest and repeatable from the last 2,000 years.

      Ah, lets just scrap the lot and start again with a new system. The current peer review is broken and nobody has an answer for it. Myself, I think we need to employ an ISO standard from data recording and storage. That’ll get the ball rolling at least. Any paper not ISO???? compliant is instantly suspicious.

  8. There is the replication crisis where the vast majority of published research findings are false and cannot be reproduced.

    People are realizing that science, as it is now practiced, is largely corrupt. Most of the problem is that science is highly competitive. A career in science requires publication. Publication requires grants. Both are a limited resource.

    The usual mantra is that competition improves performance. If that were true, we would have publications full of amazing science. Instead, we have crap.

    To get published, a scientist has to have novel and interesting results. The thing is that there’s no penalty for being wrong. What is penalized, however is solid boring science.

    This is an existential crisis for all of us. The reason Malthus was wrong is that our technology makes it possible to use innovation to substitute materials and to do things like increasing crop yields to undreamed of levels. If science stalls out and technology doesn’t develop we are in big trouble.

    • “There is the replication crisis where the vast majority of published research findings are false and cannot be reproduced.”

      But, amazingly, not climate science papers that are consensified.

      • They are in the happy position that their results often can’t be replicated. And in cases where they could, they are usually careful to keep the original data and methods secret to avoid unpleasantnesses. Despite much work to this day nobody has any idea how the error measures in MBH 98 were calculated.

        • The hockey stick has been replicated over 3 dozen times by different researchers using different methodologies and different data sets.

          • The reference to CO2science, the Idso family website, is telling. They are well known for misrepresenting many of the studies posted.

            My favorite example is a paper by Zunli Lu of Syracuse University which got this reaction from him:

            ““It is unfortunate that my research, “An ikaite record of late Holocene climate at the Antarctic Peninsula,” recently published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, has been misrepresented by a number of media outlets.

            Several of these media articles assert that our study claims the entire Earth heated up during medieval times without human CO2 emissions. We clearly state in our paper that we studied one site at the Antarctic Peninsula. The results should not be extrapolated to make assumptions about climate conditions across the entire globe. Other statements, such as the study “throws doubt on orthodoxies around global warming,” completely misrepresent our conclusions. Our study does not question the well-established anthropogenic warming trend.””

            The misrepresentation remains on the CO2science website.

            It is also telling the CO2 science does not provide a direct link to any of the studies.

  9. San Francisco jury awarded a retired groundskeeper $289 million

    Awarded a retired groundskeeper, or, in practice, a happy lawyer?

    The system that lets people get ‘damages’ that large and lets lawyers get a ‘fair share’ of the money, is corrupt no doubt. It is clear that fining wrongdoers is necessary, but it should not work so that the lawyer gets to profit extraordinarily by winning a singular case that could not, even in principle, be a case there could be some clear evidence. You can’t freaking show the culprit of the cancer. And, this stuff just leads more and bigger useless labels of the kind (is known to cause cancer in California).

    The American jury system should be prohibited as an illlegal lottery.

    • After a lot of media and legal tussles Australia has now declared a specific range of cancers by ANY member of a firefighting unit will be accepted without question for compensation.
      this came about from firefighting foams and chem being found in soils and water at high levels outside the training grounds and on them..and some towns being told to NOT drink their own water anymore.
      military bases also in this melee.

      • Agree. Compensating cancer by the employer might be a fine piece of socialism; but punishing the company afterwards on a singular case like the abovementioned is so bonkers.

    • The US legal system contains a concept called “punitive damages.” IMHO this is a mixed up confusion between criminal and civil law.

      The idea is that the defendant did something so terrible that he should be punished beyond compensating his victims; the problem is that the extra money goes to the victims and their lawyers who do not deserve it. My side of the Atlantic civil damages can only be compensatory, if further action is required it becomes a criminal case, hence punishment may include imprisonment and any fines go to the state.

  10. As I have said before, when the Sh1t finally hits the fan, they perpetrators will merely hide behind the old, “it was based on the best available science at the time!”

  11. IARC relies on antiquated methods that have examined over 1,000 substances – and found that only one does not cause cancer.

    George Carlin in one of his famous “And now the news” skits:

  12. As I’ve said before, it’s happening in astronomy too but rather than fraud, it’s such wishful thinking that it’s tantamount to a dereliction of duty. Cherished theories are kept in play to the exclusion of new ideas. This is done with an incestuous degree of mutual citations and peer review. Young PhD lead authors are ‘mentored’ by the gatekeepers of the cherished theories who act as second authors or co-authors.

    The reason this is happening is the misinterpretation of good data by not taking into account all possible ways of interpreting it. It not only diverts us from the course to a true understanding of the phenomena involved but is also a colossal waste of grant funds.

    One bad sign is that some lead authors are loath to reply to my pointing out their mistakes. However, some do and have issued errata (which are then ignored by their colleagues when they cite the original paper, mistakes included).

    I predict a mass-retraction of 67P/CG papers, primarily those authored or co-authored by Rosetta Mission scientists.

    • Scute – I don’t know your business, but one idea might be to start a blog where you review/critique astronomy articles as they emerge.

      If you teach, you could claim that you regularly did such review of articles with grad students, and they have said it has been valuable, and so you are setting up a blog to allow students to review your take on articles you reviewed before they came along, and to allow a broader audience to benefit from your reviews.

  13. There also needs to be a purge on extortion by lawyers. How they can justify £300+ for an hour of work I simply cannot understand. It’s not as if they even need to know more than other professions these days. An IT worker or medical doctor has to have a far higher level of knowledge, to quote just two.

    If the extortion were stopped, the barratry cases would decline too.

  14. Keep waiting for the Trump admin to do ”something about NOAA/GISS et al.
    Wheres the funding cuts, the new management teams, the mission changes etc.

    If it were happening they would be squealing like stuck pigs.

    • There are over 150 unapproved judges and Trump administration people due to obstruction by the Obamaites. Makes it hard to get things done without the necessary people.

      • Trump said today in a news conference that he still had about 360 appointees to jobs in the federal government that were being slow-walked by the Democrats. So Trump still doesn’t have his team in place almost two years into his first term and it may take until his second term to get them all done if the Democrats keep stonewalling and there’s no reason to think they will not.

        Electing about 64 Republican Senators might speed up the process.

        And this idea the Democrats have of impeaching Trump and Kavanaugh is a pipe dream. They would need two-thirds of the Senate voting to remove to get that done. That’s not going to happen.

        I would also like to thank Trump for calling out Senator Richard Bluementhal as the liar he is. Bluementhal claimed to be a decorated Vietnam war veteran, when the truth is he never set foot in Vietnam. Still, the idiots in his state elected him to the U.S. Senate. How stupid can they be?

    • “Keep waiting for the Trump admin to do ”something about NOAA/GISS et al.
      Wheres the funding cuts, the new management teams, the mission changes etc.”

      AIIEEEEE! We’re stuck inside your unclosed quote!! 😉

  15. “….federal taxpayer money,….” This is why we need teeth in the Data Quality Act.

  16. “Columbia University professor, eating behavior researcher and director of the Cornell “food lab.”” So which is it? Columbia or Cornell? Same error was noted when this appeared on other blogs.

  17. One of my persistent statements about Climate Science is that it is clearly and demonstrably corrupted because no paper is ever wrong and nothing is ever retracted or shown to be false.

    Yet we know that in every other area of science papers are wrong, data is falsified and researchers make all kinds of errors, both accidental and deliberate. But not in Climate Science. How likely is that exactly?

    There is simply no proper peer review, there are no checks and balances, there is no effort made to replicate or disprove claims.

  18. We should also note that Wanink was the Executive Director of USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion for two years, and responsible for numerous policies there, including those of portion size.

  19. I just read Shelby Steele’s book WHITE GUILT. Steele was a black 60s rebel who had parents that forced him to enter the white realm and succeed. He mentioned (page 90), without later clarification, the beginning of white guilt as when “….for whom accusation was the same as guilt.” I’m not sure I completely understood his connection, but I recall vividly when the oxymoron “Affirmative Action/ Equal Opportunity,” which he discussed, appeared on our university stationery. It was near the time when education was taken out of existing departments, the beginning of wide availability of soft courses and majors and other bad policies.

    With all the presumption of guilt with accusation around, I wondered if Steele’s connection was, although unstated, as with the Precautionary Principle, which is the scientific guilty climate, or whatever, situation unless you can disprove it. I had read that somewhere in the legal profession it had been called the equivalent of “…guilty until proven innocent…” I once used that to quiet an enthusiastic graduate student pushing it.

    Then I ran across this—

    “But the rather mindless approach pursued by the EPA in constructing the Tier 5 Mobile Bay NEP [National Estuary Program] flies in the face of sincere ‘bottom-up management’.”

    By G. F. Crozier, Gulf of Mexico Science, volume 15(2):100 (1997). The paper discusses the “Precautionary Principle” and how it attempts to “…reverse the burden of proof with regard to environmental impact.” Short, lucid, thoughtful paper. Don’t know about the Mobile Bay situation, but my last, much smaller, dealings with the EPA and other groups around then make this believable.

    How much (models, etc.) is biased by the “Accepted Until Proven Wrong” failed methodology?
    Is the climate situation simply part of the current larger culture/education philosophy which knows little difference between accusation and evidence? Deeper, darker roots, unchecked and undisciplined? Does this help explain all the negative conclusions of doom in papers that ignore other hypotheses?

  20. Anyone with knowledge (can’t remember his name) of the person charged with “indexing” this next round of university emails?

    Can we rest easy knowing he will be impartial, or will the indexing involve sanitation of embarrassing passages?

  21. Professor Brian Wansink resigned effective June 30, 2019. He hasn’t exactly been shoved out the door. Not for several more months.

  22. Remember, studies connected to funding from “the fossil fuel industry” are immediately suspect because scientists are easily influenced by money. However studies funded by governments and NGO’s are beyond reproach because scientists would never allow themselves to be influenced by anything other than pure science.

  23. If the findings of science determine the policies that affect my life, then the codes, methods, algorithms, data (manipulated or otherwise), and chain of reasoning leading to the implementation of that science are rightfully open to my inspection. If taxes helped supply the bank account from which grants are made to do that science, … same thing.

  24. One thing that has always bothered me about follow on studies that claim “climate change” which really means global warming (otherwise we should be worrying about cooling just as much) is that they do not use global data on the item they are studying.

    If these so called scientists are saying that the temperature is going to rise evenly everywhere, then their studies are bogus to begin with. There is no way a study on a tree frog in the jungles of Borneo and a different study of a species of ant in the high mountains of Colorado can assume that temperature rise is going to be the same in both places when claiming climate change (warming) is going to cause extinction of both. If this is the case, let’s put one thermometer in a cornfield in Iowa and measure the global temperature. To heck with all the models and super computers!

  25. All public and many not-profit companies are subject to an independent outside audit where their methods and all data are open to inspection. Perhaps it is time to make independent research auditing a standard practice. Yes it would cost money but it hopefully allow more confidence in what does get published.

  26. They must be required to provide solid evidence and be subject to robust, even withering debate and cross examination.

    Thank you Mr. Driessen. Withering. I love it. The highlight of an excellent post.

  27. It occurred to me that if a researcher uses false data to help obtain federal funding his fraud may fall within the jurisdiction of the False Claims Act.

    That Act is a ‘privateer’ type of law that allows private citizens to sue for false claims on behalf of the federal government. Anyone can bring the suit.

    The attraction here is that the Act calls for treble damages and not all of the money goes to the federal government. The citizen who brought the action gets a cut of the proceeds.

    One or two ruinous suits brought against researchers under the False Claims Act just might slow academic fraud a little.

  28. This is the text of an email I sent to Donna Laframboise after reading her missive on peer-review on the GWPF web site:

    I read PEER REVIEW Why skepticism is essential this weekend and feel the need to comment.

    You state “If half of all peer-reviewed research ‘may simply be untrue’, half of all climate research may also be untrue. ” While you present many examples from fields such as medicine, physics, etc., you do not include one specific documented example from the field of climate science. Let me provide some.

    1) Soon and Baliunas, 2003
    2) Spencer and Braswell, 2011

    As you must know, in both cases editors resigned after it was realized that the peer view process was seriously flawed.

    In the Spring of 2003, Soon and Baliunas, with three additional co-authors, published a longer version of the paper in Energy and Environment. When asked about the publication in the Spring of 2003 of the revised version of the paper at the center of the Soon and Baliunas controversy, Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen said, “I’m following my political agenda — a bit, anyway. But isn’t that the right of the editor?”
    +++++++++++++++++
    In another case the publisher of a journal ceased publication after it was clear that the peer-review process for a special edition of the journal was highly flawed.
    From the Copernicus Publications website.
    Copernicus Publications started publishing the journal Pattern Recognition in Physics (PRP) in March 2013. The journal idea was brought to Copernicus’ attention and was taken rather critically in the beginning, since the designated Editors-in-Chief were mentioned in the context of the debates of climate skeptics. However, the initiators asserted that the aim of the journal was to publish articles about patterns recognized in the full spectrum of physical disciplines rather than to focus on climate-research-related topics.
    Recently, a special issue was compiled entitled “Pattern in solar variability, their planetary origin and terrestrial impacts”. Besides papers dealing with the observed patterns in the heliosphere, the special issue editors ultimately submitted their conclusions in which they “doubt the continued, even accelerated, warming as claimed by the IPCC project” (Pattern Recogn. Phys., 1, 205–206, 2013).
    Copernicus Publications published the work and other special issue papers to provide the spectrum of the related papers to the scientists for their individual judgment. Following best practice in scholarly publishing, published articles cannot be removed afterwards.
    In addition, the editors selected the referees on a nepotistic basis, which we regard as malpractice in scientific publishing and not in accordance with our publication ethics we expect to be followed by the editors.
    Therefore, we at Copernicus Publications wish to distance ourselves from the apparent misuse of the originally agreed aims & scope of the journal as well as the malpractice regarding the review process, and decided on 17 January 2014 to cease the publication of PRP. Of course, scientific dispute is controversial and should allow contradictory opinions which can then be discussed within the scientific community. However, the recent developments including the expressed implications (see above) have led us to this drastic decision.
    ++++++++++++++

    You further state “Reproducibility is the backbone of sound science.” I agree. The hockey stick has been reproduced at least 38 times using different data sets and different methodologies by different researchers.

    While these examples of flawed peer-review come from “denialists” (to use the term employed Dr. Carl Mears of RSS), I am sure with your investigative skills you can find similarly egregious examples by “affirmers” of climate science. I would appreciate seeing those.

    • I would add to Jack’s post that the first Soon and Baliunas 2003 paper, published in Climate Review, resulted in the resignation of half the editorial board. Two of them had received concerns about the review process of three other papers.

      Soon listed funding from the American Petroleum Institute, NASA and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, but the latter two stated that they did not issue funds for the study of proxies and climate change, but for stellar variability. He and Baliunas were also receiving monthly consulting fees from the George C. Marshall Institute. The other authors of the second, longer version, published in Energy and Environment, were Craig and Sherwood Idso, who also received fossil fuel funding (Sherwood was involved in an Edison Electric propaganda campaign, too, along with Patrick Michaels).

      This was all just before the Kyoto Treaty, and it was widely politicized. The paper was used by the Bush Administration and Senator Inhofe. There was a Senate hearing in July. Soon was up for questioning…

      Question 37. “Have you been hired by or employed by or received
      grants from organizations that have taken advocacy positions with
      respect to the Kyoto Protocol, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate
      Change, or legislation before the U.S. Congress that would affect
      greenhouse gas emissions? If so, please identify those organizations.”
      Response. “I have not knowingly been hired by, nor employed by, nor
      received grants from any such organizations described in this question.”

      I guess he wasn’t under oath.
      …………………………………………………………………

      The Soon and Baliunas peer review abuse was discussed in the Climategate emails. It was widely (and willfully, I believe) misinterpreted as suppression of contradictory science, when in fact it was to protect the integrity of the publication process, keep poor-quality science from misleading others, and show that Soon and Baliunas twice failed in their effort to discredit the results of Mann et al. ’98, which still hasn’t been done.

      ////////////////////////////////////////

      Then there’s this little anecdote I just found. Oreskes’s The Merchants of Doubt was being made into a movie, and apparently it didn’t always cast a favorable light on contrarians like Fred Singer (who had been in the pay of the tobacco industry, saying that smoking was harmless, before becoming and “expert” in climate science). So he emailed a rather illustrious crowd: Marc Morano of Climate Depot, Willie Soon, William Briggs, Tom Sheahen, Patrick Michaels, Anthony Watts, Steve Goddard, Steven Milloy, Greenie Watch, David Evans, Ron Arnold, Paul Driessen (whaddaya know!!!), Judith Curry, Roy Spencer, Joe Bastardi, Joe d’Aleo, Michael Bastasch, James Delingpole, Timothy Ball, Will Happer, Roger Pielke, Gosselin of No Tricks Zone, Christopher Monckton, Joseph Bast, James Taylor, Jim Lakey, and Russell Cook. A few familiar names there, I’d say!!! Even our own Anthony! Anyway, here’s what Fred asked:

      “Gents: Do you think I have a legal case against Oreskes? Can I sue for damages? Can we get an injunction against the documentary? Can she document any ‘lies’? Has she got any ‘for hire’ evidence?”

      Goodness! Fred must have been facing some scary publicity. Monckton replied, offering to draft a complaint. Originally they discussed sending it to the university Oreskes worked for, but instead they sent a letter to the maker of the movie threatening to sue.

      What I really found interesting, though, was the list of people he emailed.

      There more of the discussion here http://www.climatefiles.com/deniers/patrick-michaels-collection/2014-fred-singer-emails-merchants-doubt-film/#document/p3/a439928

      …and all sorts of interesting stuff to explore on the site.
      ……………………………………………………..

      I echo Jack’s call for examples, but extend it beyond peer review abuse to any kind of proven fraud or scientific misconduct by any climate scientist. That doesn’t included lack of professionalism, which is a great gray area.

      • Seriously, are we discussing Oreskes as if she was a serious person and not a clown?

        1) Do you believe Oreskes and her friend don’t read the leftist MSM?
        2) Do you believe the NYT could badmouth her without repercussions?
        3) Do you believe Oreskes believes that correlation isn’t causation, but that a small p-value proves causation?

  29. Did you know? IARC in French is CIRC, pronounced cirque, which means circus.

    Even a child I knew that the CIRC evaluations were BS and useless.

  30. It would create enormous pressure on EU regulators to ban glyphosate, which would help cattle farmers but decimate conventional farming. ”

    the German “consumer protection” stated that glyphosate can also be detected in beer from the hops portion.

    Calculations have shown you would have to consume 300-3,000 liters of beer every day to get to the threshold of cancer risk.

    Nevertheless, for political reasons, a glyphosate ban was issued for the entire EU:

    they needed the voices of green supporters, green party members and green parliamentarians.

    Madness!

    • They are worried that women protections might contain traces of glyphosate, and some dioxins.

      I think they don’t quite understand the specific risk of keeping menstrual blood warm for too long. Or anything related to biology.

  31. Paul Driessen,

    “Instead, we now have a nearly $2-trillion-per-year renewable energy/climate crisis industry”

    Huh. That’s funny. The first link you have in this sentence says it’s $1.5 trillion. I guess you extrapolated from 3 years ago? I’m not so sure about your math – the prediction that the U.S. would made “more comprehensive commitments” then we did then didn’t exactly pan out.

    The weirder thing is that in the WUWT article you linked to you never make it clear that this is a GLOBAL figure – in fact, it seems you imply just the opposite. That seems a little too much like lying to me. But lying doesn’t qualify as fraud, so I guess it’s OK?

    “… that zealously and jealously protects its turf and attacks anyone who dares to ask awkward questions…’

    The evidence is in the literature, Paul, all the science that’s been done on climate. Look it up. Don’t expect scientists to explain every little thing you don’t understand. They aren’t there to teach you climate science, they are there to do it. Start small. Go to realclimate.com. Be skeptical – that means being questioning, not dismissive. There’s a comments section there, ask questions and see if anyone attacks you for it.

    But that’s not the point, is it? You are the one that’s on the attack. And you are promoting attack.

    If you aren’t going to trust scientists, anyway, why bother learning any of the science?

    You say all emails of scientists should be made public? Do you know what that would do? Scientists would stop talking about their work with their colleagues via email out of fear their words would get twisted, as they did in Climategate. I guess there’s always the phone and fax and snail mail, or do you think offices should be bugged, too, since scientists are owned by taxpayers?

    Why aren’t you going after computer code, data, emails, etc. for those who get grants for medical research? How about petroleum and mining exploration? Why not make all that public, too? Heck, the public pays for the military – shouldn’t all that be transparent?

    Scientists are not obligated to have public debates. Period. They debate in the professional realm of casual conversation and peer reviewed papers. Public debates are opportunities for misleading the public through inaccuracies and unsupported assertion – why is it that contrarians are so eager to have them?

    If contrarian scientists have a better, plausible, supported hypothesis to explain climate change, let them publish it, like other scientists do. If there’s merit to it and the science is high-quality, it’s sure to get published.

    I think people should see this question of transparency in perspective. Intellectual property was not always seen in the scientific community as fair game to every Joe Schmoe that wanted it. It was a different norm 20 years ago. Data and methods were shared among colleagues, but there was no practical way to post a million numbers for the public to see, as there is today; the internet was relatively new and poorly organized. Climategate helped change that, and it was a good thing. But to judge people for being slow to change, or for being reluctant to share data and code with people they knew wanted to use it to discredit their work – people who weren’t even climate scientists – is not taking into account that scientists are human. Some are egotists. Some express their frustration through insulting comments about others. Some behave unprofessionally sometimes, and sometimes they make errors – but that doesn’t mean they commit fraud or scientific misconduct.

    It is not reasonable or logical to condemn a whole profession or distrust all the results of their work just because the people in that profession are human. That would be like refusing to drive cars because some models have product recalls.

    “They must no longer be permitted to hide material evidence, emails or conversations that might reveal conflicts of interest, collusion, corruption, data manipulation or fabrication, or other substantive problems.”

    So because you think someone might do something wrong someday, every scientist should lose their privacy? Why not then hold everyone to the same standard? Why not demand the leader of our country or the leaders of industry, who makes decisions far more influential than any scientist, to have their phones tapped and emails made public?

    ……………………………………………………
    This is the first post I’ve read by Paul Driessen and really thought about. It’s intentionally spreading distrust. That’s the whole point: distrust the science and the scientists – that has been the strategy behind the propaganda all along. He doesn’t need any evidence, all he needs is rhetoric. He is skeptics’ equivalent of Al Gore. Paul Driessen is manipulating people, and he’s obviously very successful, judging by the comments.

    (Fire away, skeptics. go ahead. I won’t debate or defend my views.)

    • Please show us some words that were “twisted”.

      “Hide the decline”? Twisted?

      Do you think that if any mafioso of the classical variety (the garbage handling kind) said that, if wouldn’t be used in a trial?

  32. “The weirder thing is that in the WUWT article you linked to you never make it clear that this is a GLOBAL figure – in fact, it seems you imply just the opposite. That seems a little too much like lying to me. But lying doesn’t qualify as fraud, so I guess it’s OK?”

    I don’t see where you get Paul is implying the opposite. He mentions “worldwide” elsewhere and the link mentions “GLOBAL” right up front so you didn’t do any indepth research to find that . Now who’s really “lying”?

    I hope your thesis reviewer catches that. No wonder you won’t defend this.

  33. Why can’t withdrawn papers be fully withdrawn everywhere? I see that a withdrawn paper about food by Dr. Brian Wansink is still available with no retraction note, and the (wrong) conclusions from it are still available from Radio NZ complete with a misspelling. So misinformation continues to be propagated forever.
    “Dr Brain Wansink is the director of the Food and Brand Lab at the prestigious Cornell University. He offers tips on how to change mindless eating by making small changes that can make a big difference”

  34. Your article on corruption hits home with me as I have exposed academic NIH fraud. As for Climate Change there is to much misinformation and government manipulation that I wrote an article asking what actually is IMPORTANT if peole are going tolose their lives . If you don’t believe you will die, then its not important. See if you can disagree , How Two Glasses of Water Disprove Global Warming Fraud : Pollution, Sewage and Emerging Disease https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-two-glasses-water-disprove-global-warming-fraud-ed-greenhalgh/ BTW the Nobel prize for cancer immuno therapy by Allison and Honjo were based onMY black listed research that I sent out proposals to Sloanne Kettering , Hughes Med Inst and many others circa 1990 if you read to the end of the article . Corruption in science is hurting people more than they know

  35. Gilles-Éric Séralini after publishing many inane “studies” designed to accuse glyphosate, Roundup, glyphosate-resistant plants, and other GMOs of pretty much everything, still works at Univ of Caen, with world-wide ridicule for the university and French academic world.

    In the name of “independence” he must be untouchable, apparently.

    What independence?

  36. Jack Dale, you appear to say that the MWP only occurred in the northern hemisphere . Am I correct in saying that the data used in MBH98 was only from the northern hemisphere?

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