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Stupid Science Tricks

When science and agenda collide.

by
Charlie Martin

Bio

August 29, 2013 - 1:30 pm
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I’ll warn you right now, this is likely to be a series, because there are a lot of stupid science tricks to talk about.

What, you may ask, is a stupid science trick? It’s when someone is using the façade of Science to pass off something that is, well, less than science. Of course, that means we need to talk about what “science” really is, and that can be a little bit tricky, because there’s no one who can finally define it. It’s not a thing, it’s a system of beliefs, and as with other belief systems, it can be a little hard to define. (Consider, for example, the arguments over what constitutes a good Christian.)

Still, there are some common characteristics we can identify. Science is an attempt to understand and explain the world based on some assumptions: that there is a real world outside of ourselves; that this real world can be understood and explained; and that those explanations are true for everyone, so they can be tested and confirmed, or fail the test and be discarded.

We’ve built up a bunch of social processes around these assumptions, something I’ve called the “social contract of science”, that establish some basic rules: when you are doing science, you publish your results so that others can see them and criticize them, and you make this easier by including in the publication full details of your methods, and by keeping your data and making it available to others.

Like other social processes, real-world science isn’t being done by saints, and the social processes can be messy, but over time science has proven to be self-correcting. Sometimes, especially as people get grants and build up reputations in the scientific world, that self-correction can be a little slow. Add in politics, and the self-correction can be even slower, the stakes for refutation higher, and the discussions can get just a little bit ugly.

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Top Rated Comments   
I can not even list the number of consensus proven researched facts, now abandoned in the field of medicine, the arena where I work every day. In medicine we take these things in stride. Just change and accept. Every day is a learning experience.

Medicine is much more simple and easily adaptable to experiment than "climate science". You cannot do double blind studies or put something like global climate into a petrie dish. We know we get it wrong often and just blunder on, these newbies think they got all the answers from the weak platform of mathematical modeling.

That is why I am a skeptic.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (10)
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An aside you may find interesting:

A number of years ago, a pair of researchers at UCAR used the IPCC's favored model, except instead of utilizing a vast array of assumptions, they used actual data collected from surface and sea monitoring stations from across the globe (except for 45 degrees South Latitude, there are precious few stations there due to geography, etc.).

What they got out as a result bore no resemblance to the IPCC's claims. All of their "proven" hallmarks of Global Warming didn't appear. None of them. No precipitous temperature increase; no Thermal Inversion centered around the ITCZ (Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, a few hundred km north/south of the Equator, where the two hemispheric weather systems merge). Nada.

I find it very interesting that I have never been able to re-locate this paper again. It's as if it was purged. You think?
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Having been a research scientist for 35+ years and having reviewed papers for publication as well as publishing over a hundred of my own research papers, I can tell you that there are a great many people who claim to be practicing science who do not understand what science is or how to do it properly. I have seen cold fusion and many other phenomena be one hit wonders only to die sometimes very slow deaths. These deaths occur by the generation of data by people who are attempting to build upon the original work, but nothing works as it is supposed to. Since the tie to get new data points about global warming is so slow, it is no wonder why it is taking such a long time to figure things out. On top of that, you have a funding environment that is extremely tight so people have to make big splashes in order to get funded. This leads to jumping onto bandwagons and ignoring evidence that doesn't fit. There is only one thing worse and that is when the field of study becomes politicized and non-scientists who know even less weigh in with the pseudo-education opinions. It becomes the blind leading the blind. People, especially politicians should leave science to the scientists and realize that reading two newspaper articles does not an expert make. We have reached a point where too many people are staying at Holiday Inn Expresses and think they know infinitely more than the, in reality do.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Y'know, maybe that's just life. It's certainly also true in the IT field. Probably 80% of the "workers" in the area could accelerate progress if they left the office and spent all day every day AFK on the golf course. Hmm, remind you of any POTUS?
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
The "Warmist" crowd lost me a long time ago for a variety of reasons - that their predictions are always dire, yet never pan out; that Climate sensitivity to CO2 increases appears to be much smaller than they continue to claim; that it's almost all Forcings, yet the only Feedbacks they mention are catastrophic, as if no other possibility exists.

And, yes, the constant barrage of smug Lefties who not only don't know any actual Atmospheric Science, they don't even know what they don't know. Just continual talking points they couldn't actually explain if their lives depended on it.

"Progressives" claim they don't believe in Religion, but that's a lie. The myth of Climate Change is their faith, and Al Gore is their Prophet.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I can not even list the number of consensus proven researched facts, now abandoned in the field of medicine, the arena where I work every day. In medicine we take these things in stride. Just change and accept. Every day is a learning experience.

Medicine is much more simple and easily adaptable to experiment than "climate science". You cannot do double blind studies or put something like global climate into a petrie dish. We know we get it wrong often and just blunder on, these newbies think they got all the answers from the weak platform of mathematical modeling.

That is why I am a skeptic.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Your paper said nothing about Anti-Gravity Engines. Therefore, you endorse the concept of AGE's! Wow.

Progressives: If they're speaking or writing, they're lying. That should be a principle of physics.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I’m confident I’m going to have comments telling me that the whole notion of CO2 causing a greenhouse effect is false. "

Hmmm. Not sure you said what you meant to say here, Charlie. Or perhaps you were just anticipating flak from the Illiterati?

I don't think there's a debate about CO2 causing a greenhouse effect. The debate is about how much, and does it continue to increase now that we are past the point of 100% reflectivity for the relevant wavelengths.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gotcha.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
GREAT stuff, Charlie
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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