Time to Stand UP! Against Academic Suppression

Reposted from CFACT

By David Wojick |August 17th, 2020|

The climate change debate might be one of the worst cases of academic suppression in history.

We see these days a lot of complaints about threats to academic freedom, but very little action. So it makes a lot of sense that CLINTEL has taken a positive step forward.

CLINTEL has issued the Magna Carta Universitatum 2020. This short document is basically an aspirational code of conduct for freedom of inquiry and speech at universities.

There is some impressive history here. The first Magna Carta Universitatum was issued in 1988 and to date at least 889 universities have signed on to it. CLINTEL notes that it is building directly on this precedent, to fit “the special challenges of today”. It is spot on that CLINTEL’s MCU 2020 is primarily directed to the present university leadership.

The original Magna Carta was in fact the Magna Carta Libertatum or Great Charter of Freedoms. It dates from 1215, showing that protecting freedoms is far from new.

The scope of CLINTEL’s Magna Carta is twofold. The main body is focused on five principles, each of which is stated and then discussed. This content is general in nature, applying to all sciences. But for each principle there is also given a climate science example, indicating that political authority and economic power today are suffocating climate science.

CLINTEL argues in its preamble that universities have become a primary source of prosperity in their region. The higher the scientific level realized, the larger the contribution to prosperity. Universities, therefore, should promote excellence at all times. This means that they should not settle for followership, but aim at leadership in their scientific expertise. And leadership in research and teaching does not follow political and commercial pressure.

Here are the five principles of Magna Carta Universitatum 2020:

1. Sound scientific research is open-minded and is characterized by a wide variety of viewpoints without dogmas and prejudices

Professors that criticize the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) hypothesis are excommunicated. Students and speakers are shouted down.

2. The complexity of multi-factor, multi-scale systems demands the input from a wide range of scientific fields and disciplines

Knowledge areas that reveal the natural variability of the earth’s climate are ignored.

3. Improved measurement systems are decisive for scientific progress; sound science requires a balance in theoretical and empirical sciences

In climate science model-makers are running the show, while progress urgently needs more and better observations.

4. Leaders of universities should protect their scientists from political ideologies; separation of science and politics is a great good

The political wish list of the Paris Climate Accord in 2015 has set the climate science agenda for decades.

5. Leaders of universities have a moral responsibility to warn society that conclusions from questionable scientific models must be distrusted

The climate science community ought to be more honest to the public about the severe limitations of their theoretical models.

The Great Charter ends with this imperative recommendation:

Finally, academic leaders should bear in mind that universities ought to be centers of new ideas and delivery rooms of new talent. This requires an inspiring research and teaching environment, where new concepts are welcomed and ample room for experimentation is provided. The filtering out of bad ideas should be done by exposure, argument and observation and not by trying to silence creative minds.

Author

David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. For origins see

http://www.stemed.info/engineer_tackles_confusion.html

For over 100 prior articles for CFACT see

http://www.cfact.org/author/david-wojick-ph-d/

Available for confidential research and consulting.

56 thoughts on “Time to Stand UP! Against Academic Suppression

  1. From article:

    The climate science community ought to be more honest to the public about the severe limitations of their theoretical models.

    So true:

    North Atlantic climate far more predictable than models imply

    Quantifying signals and uncertainties in climate models is essential for the detection, attribution, prediction and projection of climate change1,2,3. Although inter-model agreement is high for large-scale temperature signals, dynamical changes in atmospheric circulation are very uncertain4. This leads to low confidence in regional projections, especially for precipitation, over the coming decades5,6. The chaotic nature of the climate system7,8,9 may also mean that signal uncertainties are largely irreducible. However, climate projections are difficult to verify until further observations become available. Here we assess retrospective climate model predictions of the past six decades and show that decadal variations in North Atlantic winter climate are highly predictable, despite a lack of agreement between individual model simulations and the poor predictive ability of raw model outputs. Crucially, current models underestimate the predictable signal (the predictable fraction of the total variability) of the North Atlantic Oscillation (the leading mode of variability in North Atlantic atmospheric circulation) by an order of magnitude. Consequently, compared to perfect models, 100 times as many ensemble members are needed in current models to extract this signal, and its effects on the climate are underestimated relative to other factors. To address these limitations, we implement a two-stage post-processing technique. We first adjust the variance of the ensemble-mean North Atlantic Oscillation forecast to match the observed variance of the predictable signal. We then select and use only the ensemble members with a North Atlantic Oscillation sufficiently close to the variance-adjusted ensemble-mean forecast North Atlantic Oscillation. This approach greatly improves decadal predictions of winter climate for Europe and eastern North America. Predictions of Atlantic multidecadal variability are also improved, suggesting that the North Atlantic Oscillation is not driven solely by Atlantic multidecadal variability. Our results highlight the need to understand why the signal-to-noise ratio is too small in current climate models10, and the extent to which correcting this model error would reduce uncertainties in regional climate change projections on timescales beyond a decade.

    Source
    Science comment about

    • First of all, this –“inter-model agreement is high for large-scale temperature signals”– is false. Model sensitivity to CO2 doubling is all over the place. In fact the disagreement has increased in CMIP6.

      Second, their claim to increase predictability is also false. They have not tested this supposed increase with new predictions. They are talking about getting the past predictions closer to the past observations.

      Third, this has nothing whatever to do with my article.

      • David, could it be because simply basing their work on CO2 is incorrect? I repeatedly get the impression that assumption and not empirical data based facts underpin the modelling. This confuses me because there is solid evidence from physics ( and geological history) out there. How can an experiment be valid for example which ignores the compelling difference in electromagnetic signatures of CO2 and Water Vapour and their respective signatures in the Infra Red? What I am seeing is a complete free for all in respect of the starting point for climate orientated experimentation lacking all of the rigors of critical thinking and validation of adherence to the scientific method which is standard outside of the Climate Bubble. I repeatedly read papers where the starting point is a conclusion and where critical input is excluded either deliberately or through ignorance .

  2. Spot on. Let’s see how much media exposure and acceptance by higher learning institutions it receives. Anyone finding fault with any of the five principles is against open dialogue and the scientific method.

    • Yeah — whose the “King John” that will add legitimacy to this document by signing it?

  3. It’s been posted on WUWT before….

    “The truth has nothing to fear from inquiry.” — Matt Dillahunty

    • The entire Cancel Culture exists to protect the vast House of Lies the Left has constructed. It is a House of Lies not just built on climate change junk science, but on every aspect of the cultural changes and grievance culture the Left has created. Everything from claimed LGBTQ issues to the BLM-systemic racism in police department lies to the multiple lies that Antifa is anti-fascist and protests are peaceful.

      • The Dems, the Greens, BLM, Antifa, and most universities all subscribe to
        THE QUOTES OF VLADIMIR LENIN. None of this is new – but it is growing stronger.

        “Truth is the most precious thing. That’s why we should ration it.”
        “We can and must write in a language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion, and scorn toward those who disagree with us.”
        “There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience. A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel.”
        “Free speech is a bourgeois prejudice.”
        “The press should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses.”
        “People always have been and they always will be stupid victims of deceit and self-deception in politics.”
        “It is, of course, much easier to shout, abuse, and howl than to attempt to relate, to explain.”
        “Democracy is indispensable to socialism.”
        “The goal of socialism is communism.”
        “The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.”
        “Trust is good, but control is better.”
        “As an ultimate objective, “peace” simply means communist world control.”
        “One of the basic conditions for the victory of socialism is the arming of the workers Communist and the disarming of the bourgeoisie the middle class.”
        “One man with a gun can control 100 without one.”
        “GIVE ME FOUR YEARS TO TEACH THE CHILDREN AND THE SEED I HAVE SOWN WILL NEVER BE UPROOTED.”
        “GIVE ME JUST ONE GENERATION OF YOUTH, AND I’LL TRANSFORM THE WHOLE WORLD.”
        https://www.azquotes.com/author/8716-Vladimir_Lenin

    • “The truth has nothing to fear from inquiry.” — Matt Dillahunty

      Here’s a better one:
      “It is not the truth, but error only, that shrinks from inquiry.”
      —Tom Paine

      • If deceit (lying, by deliberate omission and commission) is a special subset of ‘error’, I concur with Tom Paine. In the modern non-science fraud known as ‘Climate Change’, I hold that deceit is the greatest part of the Climate Change errors, et.al. Honesty is such a lonely word…

        Billy Joel – Honesty
        https://youtu.be/SuFScoO4tb0

    • 2+2 “=” 5 is a political congruence, undeniable.

      Or the Stork theory of human reproduction: life begins at delivery, or when she is deemed worthy of life. A few missing links and leftist baggage. #BabyLivesMatter

      • “2+2 “=” 5 is a political congruence, undeniable.”

        Here’s Robert Anton Wilson’s version:

        “If A > B, and B > C, then A > C, except where prohibited by law.”

      • 2+2=5… Well in statistics, it is improbable that 2+2 is something other than 4. “You mean there is a chance?” 😀

  4. To expect the current crop of “woke” university Administrators, Deans, Presidents, and Chancellors to self-correct is naive at best.

    Most of those institutions will have to fail and those people thrown out of jobs, never to be in a position to affect Academic Freedoms again, before any expectations of corrections can begin. Same goes for the university academic Climate Change Alarmism rent-seekers. They got to their positions on a raft of lies, and they’ll cling for their academic lives to that raft of climate change lies until they are gone from the system. It is equally naive to expect self-correction in the tenured, Libtard academics addicted to the grant cash-flow that climate alarmism brings them. Only when the cash stops, and they have to sail on to retire or the real world in search of job will the system begin to correct.

    • The only viable approach is to cut off all public money from universities that prove out to be prejudicially biased. De facto bias is demonstrated by the outsized political factionalism of departmental faculties.

      Surveys have already revealed extensive skews to the Progressive left in university faculties.

      Public universities found to cultivate politically biased departments and to promote the pseudo-scholarship of ‘critical theory’ get huge budget cuts.

      No public-money grants are given to any university found to be systemically biased, nor to their departments, nor to their faculty.

      Money is their food and drink. Take it away and change will happen.

      • Take it away (the public money) and they collapse, unable to fire or lay-off fast enough the tenured faculty and administrators to stay afloat.

        I think a lot of college kids getting ready to start the Fall semester with all the COVID problems (like the inability to get lab work credits and projects done that need university equipment) have to be re-thinking the idea of a gap year. If too many of them do that, it means (1) the immediate loss of a lot of tuition to the institutions and an immediate cash crisis for many Colleges especially the Liberal Arts and soft (social) sciences. And (2) trying to come back the next year when class sizes are then normal, means there won’t be enough seats available if too many take a gap year thius year.

        I think about my 3rd and 4th year civil engineering classes, where we did lots of stuff in class, but then also went to the mechanics and fluid labs to validate our calculation on actual flow tables and concrete and steel bending and busting.
        How do electrical engineering majors get to the electronics labs if they aren’t on campus everyday to run projects as extensions of class studies? OR chemistry majors? How can you do any of that remotely with the lab and the university supplied equipment? You simply can’t.
        Same for a music production arts majors even. How do they get to production and sound and video equipment they need if they are off campus at a distant home banging away on an old piano?

        I can’t see how universities and colleges are going to survive this Gap Year since this will still be the case in January.

        • It sounds like my child at UNC Chapel Hill will be sent home as dorms are to be reserved for “hardship” cases. They announced that all classes would go remote tomorrow. The university and staff will lose a lot of revenue. I envision the same situation developing at many colleges and universities.

          Ironically, academic administrators don’t seem to comprehend that a test with a false positive rate of up to 5% may yield 50 positives for every 1000 students tested. The FDA is flagging the Thermo Fisher test for producing even more false positives.

          • Just wait until after the elections are over and covid will no longer be the media’s attempt to kick Trump out of the White House.

          • I’m not so sure about the notion of “Wuhan Virus disappears after Trump loses”. The Left has found their equivalent to Islam’s 5x per day cattle call. I doubt they will let it go. The little literally grovelling in the streets… 5 times every day? They gotta get themselves some of dat!

          • Wonder how they’ll teach lab courses.

            Students are being shortchanged. They ought to sue to get their tuition money refunded. And transfer to colleges with administrations and faculty that have the intestinal fortitude to behave as though Cov2 is not that big a deal, which it is not.

      • Defund the universities.

        Universities and academia in general, suffer from a particular kind of corruption. They say competition improves the breed. Bah! In academia it creates a vast supply of PhDs whose work can not be trusted.

        To get a tenure track job, it is necessary to publish. The journals are looking for interesting findings, not boring solid science. So, somehow it is necessary to produce an interesting research finding. There’s no penalty if your work is wrong. If you get to retirement, and start collecting your pension, and all your papers are retracted the day after, you win.

        The funding model for research almost guarantees mediocre results. It also almost guarantees no breakthroughs.

        Postgraduate education needs to be redesigned almost completely.

        The level of scholarship in the grievance studies departments is a joke. There should be an objective set of criteria that define what academic work should look like. We used to call it academic rigor. A field whose seminal works amount to little more than personal opinion and ‘lived experience’ has no place in post secondary education. Period.

        • I agree with cB about defunding the universities.

          As far as I can determine, the flagship state university of each state is to the left of the population of that state – in all 50 states.

          This is not a random distribution. A Gramscian march through our institutions is occurring right under our noses. Those who scream “diversity is our strength” are quite ruthless in stamping out any diversity from “their” approved thoughts.

        • I couldn’t agree more. A great deal of University research, at least in Chemistry, is now irredeemably corrupt. The work emerging from Industry is far more honest, reliable, and interesting.

      • Jonathan Haidt has suggested the free market will ultimately sort the University wheat from the chaff. Schools like the infamously “Woke” Evergreen State College are already failing and shrinking as potential students choose other, sounder schools. See videos on YouTube by Benjamin Boyce and Bret Weinstein.

  5. Worth repeating, this quote came from a reliable source, ordered Stommel’s book on interlibrary loan, minor casualty of library shutdown, hasn’t shown up yet. The source suggested replacing “some” with “many”. Based on quite a bit of recent literature research on fisheries, overlapping with marine ecology, models, along with other statistical foibles, are being similarly challenged, along with their near exponential increase in use since then. I have such reference buried somewhere.

    “These models generate such masses of tabular data that they are as much a challenge to understand as the ocean itself. Consequently, the numerical results seldom get the detailed study, interpretation, and explanation they deserve. In the hands of some they are a wasteful exercise.”
    Stommel, H.1987. The View of the Sea: a discussion between a chief engineer and an oceanographer about the machinery of the ocean circulation. Princeton Univ. Press.

    My source was [https://www.cbbep.org/publications/CCBNEP21.pdf] Fig. 6-1 (p. 241) and 6-2 (p. 268) are worth looking at along with the rest. Sense of humor trying to show the complexities of currents.

  6. Everyone interested in opening universities to actual free thought and unprejudiced scholarship will want to be aware of, and support, FIRE — Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

    It was started by Alan Kors after he experienced the subversion of rights on-going on American college campuses, and co-authored a book about it: The Shadow University.

    Alan Kors is professor of History at U. Penn. He gives an outstanding speech on Socialism’s legacy: ‘millions and millions and millions and millions of dead.’

    • That Alan Kors is now a Chairman Emeritus and his book is 21 years old, and yet things have only gotten much much worse, speaks to tenacious and pernicious hold the Left has on the universities. I am not hopeful the institutions can re-create themselves and survive. They are going to have to go to ashes and have something come out that re-birth to a commitment of real academic freedom.

      And the money inflows will have to stop to bring that collapse into a fireball of self-consumption. It won’t be pretty.

      • CLINTEL stands for Climate Intelligence. It is the first big international skeptics organization, headquartered in the Netherlands and focused a lot on Europe. It began with a Declaration that there is no climate emergency, now signed by about 900 scientists and engineers, which are listed by country. They have done a bunch of other stuff, some of which I have covered.

  7. “(…) that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself; that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate; errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them.”

    Thomas Jefferson, A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, June 18, 1779 (Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom)

  8. Ok, if the first iteration in 1988 was signed on to by at least 889 universities, what did that one state? That it is ok to attack and belittle the research of those you disagree with? It is ok to attack and shout down those with opinions that you disagree with? If it didn’t then what did it say that a newer version is needed, AND maybe more importantly why would this one be adhered to any differently than the previous version?

    Admittedly I am not in academe but, if academia ignored the first one after signing onto it then what magic will this one have to get them to adhere to it? Just wondering.

    • The first one said little about academic freedom of speech and inquiry, because those values were not threatened as they are today.

  9. Part of my professional life was writing epidemiological models for The Upjohn Company. Although retires long since, I wrote my own COVID models. Using publicly available data my model shows that the US will have around 250,000 deaths and herd immunity in late September.
    If the death rate by age or latitude or D deficiency or the early effectiveness of HCQ among others changes, the model will predict a different number. But the 0.66% overall death rate (not case fatality rate which I discount because merely testing positive is not a “case” of COVID.)
    Models are a broad guide to do real-world experiments, nothing else.
    The election polls are not the election result. Climate models are not the climate data. COVID models are not the last word. Doctors getting good results is data.
    The FDA is concerned with certifying not only safety (HCQ is safe) but proven effectiveness. Practicing clinical physicians are allowed (unless you have socialized medicine (medicare, medicaid, Canada, UK, AU, NZ)) to prescribe any approved drug for any condition at all they think it may be effective on.

  10. They’re also pushing back over at the Heterodox Academy : https://heterodoxacademy.org

    From their website:

    “Heterodox Academy was founded in 2015 by Jonathan Haidt, Chris Martin, and Nicholas Rosenkranz, in reaction to their observations about the negative impact a lack of ideological diversity has had on the quality of research within their disciplines.”

    Always found Haidt’s work very interesting, just started reading his latest book : “The Coddling of the American Mind: How Bad Ideas and Good Intentions are Setting up a Generation for Failure”

  11. There is this issue with research funding. If your University receives substantial funding for climate research and if it has invested in its research and education infrastructure and perhaps even curriculum in a substantial way to facilitate that line of research it stands to lose big when “deniers” emerge in the faculty. Maybe the answer is that universities should make sure that their research funding is diversified. Anyway it’s complicated.

  12. I read an opinion piece on one of the mainline news media sites a few weeks ago.
    In it a rather well known liberals was arguing against cancel culture and the left wing tactic of destroying anyone who disagreed with them.

    Not a single liberal poster supported the author. To a person they felt that such tactics were both good and proper. I have no doubt that a majority of these posters would also support setting up gulags for those they disagreed with them. I’m sure that they would also cheer if dissenters were to be sent to the gallows, or burned at the stake.

  13. I wish your ‘like’ button worked. It just keeps saying ‘loading’.

    Great post, great idea, an idea we need.

  14. Should not there be certain allocated funding who will study natural forcing on Climate? Those who will be eligible has to prove that they have substantial published work showing that effect. Otherwise, people who are trying to show CO2 is causing everything will jump up and get the funding to show natural forcing has no role in current climate change. Climate science needs balanced funding and expertise.

  15. An interesting idea, but it is fundamentally misguided.

    Academia does not create prosperity, and the idea it does is a total myth created by guess who? Academia! (since WWII) And it has created this fiction I think purely and simply to boost its own status well beyond its worth to society and to try to divert funding to itself. The reality is that academia rides on the coat tails of those who do create prosperity OUTSIDE Universities.

    Secondarily, this old idea of “science” doesn’t work. Science should be considered in its two parts. There is scientific knowledge, which is the sum of all previous inquiry – what can be read in books and is taught, and then there is sceptical research, which is the challenge AGAINST that previous “consensus” through which there is a progress in science. And without acknowledging the need for scepticism for scientific progress you are missing the point.

    “Science” as in a body of knowledge does not need to be open minded, and as such, if we so wished as a society, we could have totally close minded academics and that wouldn’t affect science – as in the body of CURRENT knowledge. But what close mindedness or more accurately attacks on scepticism do, is prevent is the progress of science. So, if we want scientific progress, we need scepticism, and for there to be scepticism, we need open mindedness, the willingness to support sceptical views challenging the current consensus. So the current attacks on free speech and free-thinking are not attacks on science, but instead attacks on the development and progress of science = scepticism.

    On the complexity of modern science – that is obviously a huge problem, because problems being investigated are becomming so complex that few individuals can truly understand them in all their facets. That also means that few people can challenge the “consensus” which in itself is going to make scientific progress very difficult in these areas – moreso if we have the group-think consensus-seeking scepticism attacking behaviour we’ve seen in climate.

    Politics in science – a no brainer that it’s impossible to progress if you allow even the mildest form of politicisation (observer bias), so blatant politicisation is an anathma.

    However, by far the biggest aspect missing from the Magna Carta Universitatum, is it TYPICALLY (for academics) totally ignores the importance of knowledge and progress outside Universities which is clearly FAR MORE IMPORTANT and SUCCESSFUL than the progress made in universities. So it appears to be another rejection of the importance of anyone outside Universities :another attempt to pull up the draw bridge and try to keep the world outside at bay, and a slap in the face to those outside Universities who in this internet age are increasingly important to the progress of not just science, but all knowledge.

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