About that scientific consensus…

The British Parliament has begun an investigation into the meaning of the East Anglia CRU e-mails, and part of that process is a form of peer review, in a sense.  Their Science and Technology committee has welcomed commentary from the scientific community, and among those members is the non-profit charity, the Institute of PhysicsIn their submission, the IoP says that the UEA CRU e-mails don’t just indict East Anglia, but the entire AGW industry — and that “science” wasn’t what they were doing at all (via Watts Up With That and Mike Ross, emphases mine):

What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?

1. The Institute is concerned that, unless the disclosed e-mails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and for the credibility of the scientific method as practised in this context.

2. The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law. The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital. The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner. This extends well beyond the CRU itself – most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other international institutions who are also involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change.

And as far as the science being settled, or even “science” as understood by the public as conclusory data, the IoP has issues with that characterization as well:

4. The second category relating to proxy reconstructions are the basis for the conclusion that 20th century warming is unprecedented. Published reconstructions may represent only a part of the raw data available and may be sensitive to the choices made and the statistical techniques used. Different choices, omissions or statistical processes may lead to different conclusions. This possibility was evidently the reason behind some of the (rejected) requests for further information.

5. The e-mails reveal doubts as to the reliability of some of the reconstructions and raise questions as to the way in which they have been represented; for example, the apparent suppression, in graphics widely used by the IPCC, of proxy results for recent decades that do not agree with contemporary instrumental temperature measurements.

In other words, the claims made by AGW advocates didn’t match the data available elsewhere.  When challenged on this, the AGW advocates refused to release the data to other scientists, and finally refused to release it under a Freedom of Information demand.  When it looked as though the government would get their hands on the data anyway, the CRU conspired to destroy the data, along with other AGW advocates around the world.

The IoP doesn’t trust East Anglia to restore confidence in the AGW movement’s claim to science, either, because the fraud went well beyond the boundaries of the University of East Anglia:

Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate?

10. The scope of the UEA review is, not inappropriately, restricted to the allegations of scientific malpractice and evasion of the Freedom of Information Act at the CRU. However, most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other leading institutions involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change. In so far as those scientists were complicit in the alleged scientific malpractices, there is need for a wider inquiry into the integrity of the scientific process in this field.

11. The first of the review’s terms of reference is limited to: “…manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice…” The term ‘acceptable’ is not defined and might better be replaced with ‘objective’.

12. The second of the review’s terms of reference should extend beyond reviewing the CRU’s policies and practices to whether these have been breached by individuals, particularly in respect of other kinds of departure from objective scientific practice, for example, manipulation of the publication and peer review system or allowing pre-formed conclusions to override scientific objectivity.

Excerpt from here.


2 Responses to About that scientific consensus…

  1. troutsky says:

    “in other words” is your biased interpretation, not theirs. You are grasping here and the desperation is noticeable.This is about historical comparison, not the crucial question of man caused global climate change.

    • lichanos says:

      This text is excerpted from another site [link at the bottom] although you can read the full IoP submission at their own site. I would probably have used different wording than is seen here. I have little interest in accusations of fraud or hoaxing. I put this up rather hurriedly, and perhaps should have written my own text, but I’ll let it stand for the record now.

      Not sure why you feel the original writer, or I, am grasping. The IoP statement is pretty strong.

      Not sure what your point is when you say, “this is about historical comparison.” The entire debate over AGW centers on historical comparison. The whole argument is whether or not current climatic changes, such as can be agreed upon to be clearly demonstrable, are unusual and therefore plausibly linked to industrial activity, or whether they are not so odd, and therefore only weakly linked, if at all.

      And yes, I am biased. I do have a point of view on all this…

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