Bulletin Board
Rants, Raves, Interesting Science & Awful Puns
December 6, 2004

Science Comes Of Age

Fitting Right In With The Modern World

One of Joseph Stalin's oft-repeated observations was: "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything." As the recent presidential elections in the Ukraine seem to have demonstrated, fabricating the desired results is still the preferred method in some countries. Many hold the U.S. to be not that far behind. But it wouldn't do to let politicians have a monopoly on setting the tone of the modern world. Science has shown that it too is no laggard when it comes to moving with the times.

The following appeared in Science, Vol 306, Issue 5702, 1686, 3 December 2004:

928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords "climate change" [were analyzed]. None of these papers argued that [current climate change is natural]. This analysis shows that scientists publishing in the peer- reviewed literature agree with IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences, and the public statements of their professional societies. Politicians, economists, journalists, and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement, or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect.
-- Naomi Oreskes

If that looks pretty compelling, you're still living in a world where governments, authoritative institutions, and official pronouncements had some shred of credibility. As Benny Peiser of the Cambridge Conference Network notes, a 100% record of 'scientific consensus' on anthropogenic climate change would be a sensational finding indeed. In fact, such a total result would be even more remarkable than any 'consensus' ever achieved in Soviet-style elections. Only North Korea has ever claimed that 100 percent of registered voters had taken part in its elections and that 100 percent of them voted for the pre-selected candidates. Even Stalin himself did not take consensus politics to such extremes - in the Soviet Union the official "participation rate" was never higher than 98-99 percent. So how did the results published in Science achieve a 100% level of conformity? Regrettably, the article does not include any reference to the [unpublished?] study itself, let alone the methodology on which the research was based.

So Benny searched the ISI database using the keywords "climate change" for the years 1993-2003 and discovered that less than 10% of the listed, peer reviewed papers on the subject of climate change (11,915 in total) were selected for review. Gone like inconvenient voting majorities were the 90%-plus of research papers published over ten years in peer reviewed journals containing reports that showed temperatures to have been generally higher during the Medieval Warm Period than today; that solar variability is most likely to be the key driver of any significant climate change; and that the methods used in climate modeling are highly questionable. CO2 Science Magazine alone has referenced and reviewed many hundreds of papers critical of the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming. It would thus appear that the findings published in Science are as reliable as the results of the recent presidential elections in the Ukraine. Benny Peiser suggests that the editors of Science follow the Ukrainian example and declare the apparently fabricated results null and void.

To paraphrase Lord Acton, it would appear that government funding corrupts anything it touches. Indispensable government funding corrupts absolutely.

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