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Old 08-15-2010, 10:56 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 7,750
Default Re: Science Saturday: Action and Contemplation (Joshua Knobe & Eric Schwitzgebel)

Quote:
Originally Posted by harkin View Post
While the talk has been about morality and ethics in at least a partially scientific vein, I'd be interested in what scientists think about the 'authoritarian' bent science reporting has taken on over the last few decades (to the point of telling us what 'science' says, as if it is a person with the authoritative majesty of Nobel laureates Carter, Gore and/or Obama).

"If science wants to redeem itself and regain its place with the public’s affection, scientists need to come out every time some politician says, “The science says we must…” and reply, “Science only tells us what is. It does not, and can never tell us what we should or must do.” If they say that often enough, and loudly enough, they might be able to reclaim the mantle of objectivity that they’ve given up over the last 40 years by letting themselves become the regulatory state’s ultimate appeal to authority."



I apologize in advance if thios has been discussed in an earlier BhTV dialogue, in which case I missed it.
The piece harkin linked to here, in the Journal of the American Enterprise Institute, is pretty dishonest hackwork. For example, the following sentence from the first paragraph significantly misrepresents a crucial detail:
Quote:
Biba wonders whether the loss of credibility might be due to the malfeasance unearthed by the leak of emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, but comes to the conclusion that malfeasance isn’t the cause of the public’s disaffection.
The CRU email theft didn't show "malfeasance" on the part of East Anglia scientists. There have been multiple inquiries into this issue, and only minor problems were found. Among those, some of the scientists were found to be "'unhelpful and defensive' when responding to legitimate requests made under freedom of information (FOI) laws." Here's the nut graf from the Guardian article I linked above regarding the CRU findings:
Quote:
Sir Muir Russell, the senior civil servant who led a six-month inquiry into the affair, said the "rigour and honesty" of the scientists at the world-leading Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) are not in doubt. They did not subvert the peer review process to censor criticism as alleged, the panel found, while key data needed to reproduce their findings was freely available to any "competent" researcher.
What's my point here? The American Enterprise Institute (with CEI, Exxon/Mobil, and others) has been engaged for years in a dishonest, corrupt campaign to discredit and distort the science associated with climate research. (And by corrupt, I mean direct offers of cash and other considerations for scientific papers that support specified conclusions.)

This article is of a piece with that ongoing effort (mentioning by name "activist scientist" James Hansen - who testified before Congress on the topic of warming in 1988), the IPCC, and various other people and organizations directly relevant to the topic of climate change, but almost nobody unrelated to that topic.

I'd say it's a polemic and a hit piece in the overall effort to discredit the science involved in climate research, published by an organization who has demonstrated considerable dishonesty on that topic.
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-A. E. M. Jeff (Eponym)
Magnets - We know how they work!

Last edited by AemJeff; 08-15-2010 at 04:54 PM.. Reason: typo fixin'
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