Science on the verge?

Michael Tobis has posted a recent article about who decides what is true? He addresses an interesting issue; when you work within a discipline, you typically know what is regarded as credible and what isn’t. Explaining this to those on the outside, though, can be very difficult. Given that alternative ideas are rarely simply dismissed, it can be quite easy for some to promote views that seem plausible to those on the outside, but that are regarded as probably flawed to those on who work in the field. How to address this in a world where it is important to know what is true and what isn’t, is a complex and difficult issue.

I’ll let you read Michael’s post to find out more, but this gives me a segue into discussing another related topic. There’s a new book called the rightful place of science: science on the verge, which Judith Curry discusses here. My immediate reaction was rather negative, but I went through this presentation and it makes a lot of good points.

There clearly is a publish or perish mentality; people who don’t publish enough will not be able to build long-term careers. We incentivise behaviour that is not ideal in a scientific environment; researchers are rewarded for results that appear to have high-impact, even if the results are over-hyped. Research has also become very complex and so it is easy to make mistakes and also to try and over-simplify results when communicating with the public. In some fields it turns out that many previous studies are not reproducible. These are clearly genuine issues that would worth addressing but, as the presentation says, No single party is solely responsible, and no single solution will suffice.

However, even though I think there are a number of genuine issues that we could be addressing, is there really a crisis? I do think that there is a tendency to reward the wrong kind of behaviour, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t good science/research being done. The solution is also very complex; academics have a responsibility to not over-hype their research results, but employers and funders also need to recognise that they need to find other ways to judge the value and quality of research and researchers. However, we also live in a world where we want value for money, so want to be able to quantify the value of the research that is being funded.

There may also be issues with replication in some fields, but as this article argues science does progress through failures and we should be careful to assume that this issue is indicative of some kind of major crisis. Some of these research studies are very complex and the lack of reproducibility may indicate the complexity of the system being studied, rather than some indication of research mis-practice.

So, although I think they do highlight some genuine issues, I’m not convinced what they present is really indicative of some kind of crisis. The authors of this book are also – as far as I’m aware – not outside/independent observers; they’re researchers and academics themselves. What they’re presenting here is not some kind of independent report; it’s their own research. They themselves are susceptible to the same biases and incentives as all other researchers. That they discuss how many research results are exaggerated, and yet seem unaware of the irony of publishing a book called “science on the verge”, may suggest that they haven’t quite recognised this.

Update: Something I hadn’t realised is that the authors of one of the chapters in this book co-organised the 2011 Lisbon Workshop on Reconciliation in the Climate Change Debate. It was an interesting group of attendees and was covered on blogs and in New Scientist. It also included an episode in which Gavin Schmidt’s decision not to attend caused quite a stir.

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135 Responses to Science on the verge?

  1. Magma says:

    (Michael Tobis) addresses an interesting issue; when you work within a discipline, you typically know what is regarded as credible and what isn’t. Explaining this to those on the outside, though, can be very difficult.

    It’s unfortunate but not surprising that few scientists can condense decades of post-graduate education, knowledge and experience in a given field into a single sharp tweet or soundbite in order to counter someone else’s motivated id‍io‍cy or carefully calibrated bu‍ll‍sh‍it.

    It goes against the entire required mindset of careful, rational thought and close attention to detail.

  2. The problems with reproducibility is mainly an issue of the life sciences. Living being are capable of nearly any reaction. If you open your hand with an apple, it will drop down. If you open your hand with a bird it will fly away (hopefully).

    In the natural sciences theory webs all experiments and ideas together. You’ve got fools and fraud in any human enterprise, but I am not aware of a crisis of reproducibility in any natural science. The tight web of theory means that you notice quickly when some result does not fit.

    Our basic understanding of the climate system and climate change is clearly a natural science. Some of the impacts and feedbacks may tend more towards the life sciences and we cannot excluded unknown unknowns there. For me that is one reason not to mess with the climate system our society depends upon. The uncertainty monster is not our friend.

    http://variable-variability.blogspot.com/2015/12/judith-curry-uncertainty-monster-high-risk.html

  3. Magma,

    It’s unfortunate but not surprising that few scientists can condense decades of post-graduate education, knowledge and experience in a given field into a single sharp tweet or soundbite in order to counter someone else’s motivated id‍io‍cy or carefully calibrated bu‍ll‍sh‍it.

    Indeed, we try to avoid appealling to authority, but it is difficult to try and explain something that you’ve learned over many, many years, to someone who has spent little time on the topic.

    Victor,

    The problems with reproducibility is mainly an issue of the life sciences.

    I was trying to avoid suggesting that it is mainly in the life sciences, rather than the physical sciences, but I think you’re right 🙂 . I suspect that part of the problem is simply – as you say – that such systems are very complex and the result can depend on the sample that you select, which is not guaranteed to be equivalent to the sample used by those trying to reproduce the result.

    Something that I didn’t mention in the post, is that it seemed that much of this “science on the verge” was based on assuming that all research areas are somehow equivalent, and I don’t think that is correct. There are differences between the physical and social sciences, and between pure and applied sciences.

  4. I am happy to break taboos. 🙂

    In the debate between the creationist Ken Ham and the science guy, Ham is arguing that there are two types of science: historical science, which he rejects for the conflicts with his literal reading of the Old Testament, and the rest, which he accepts. The answer of the science guy is that there is only one kind of science.

    You not only have the difference between the life sciences and the natural sciences, but also one between experimental and observational sciences. Observational science probably largely overlaps with Ham’s “historical” science. Climate science is mostly observational. Having multiple independent lines of research is important here go gain confidence and being woven well into the web of the natural sciences. Unfortunately for Ham, although evolution is both a life science and mostly an observational science, it has so many independent lines of evidence and makes such accurate predictions (especially nowadays looking at DNA of (related) species, I would be more confident in it being right than in Quantum Mechanics.

    Astronomy also being a natural science may explain why you, Physics, find it easier to get climate science than an old grumpy physicist.

  5. Astronomy also being an observational natural science …

  6. hvwaldow says:

    Thanks for the pointer to MTobis’ article. He brilliantly describes what leaves me speechless for some years now already. “Agnotropism”, right!

    Saltelli and friends have an impressive track record of very useful technical work in the service of uncertainty quantification. And in cutting through some serious bullshit in consultant driven eco-indicator pseudo science. I can’t wait to learn how they do in collaboration with the post-modern hotshots.

  7. Eli Rabett says:

    Lab science exists to curb the imagination of astronomers. Said that elsewhere, but people like Sagan were a) delightful and b) often wrong.

  8. Steven Mosher says:

    Long ago Willard raised a point on Climate audit that I had no answer for.
    I cant remember the thread, but it’s nagged me ever since ( we are talking a few years )..

    Any way.

    its tangentially related to this thread, and I finally have an answer

    https://mran.revolutionanalytics.com/web/packages/checkpoint/vignettes/checkpoint.html

    for folks interested in reproduceability.

  9. Willard says:

    Probly in 2011, starting with this comment.

    PS: Kidding. Start here instead.

  10. So, no one has ever accused John Cook of hype and irreproducibility?

  11. Ahhh, I wondered where this was going. That would be mainly you.

    Now that you’ve managed to finally make your point, I shall endeavout to take vtg’s advice.

  12. [Mod: I didn’t write this post so you could go and name all those you think over-hype their research. As you said, fix your own backyard first.]

  13. Dikran Marsupial says:

    [Snip. -W]

    On a previous thread I asked Richard a technical question about one of his studies (to define the complexity penalty used in fitting a piecewise linear model, which is not explained in the paper) and he flatly refused to give a straight answer to the question. That means that the study is irreproducible and Richard knows that (I suspect that actually there was no complexity penalty – if he had performed the model fitting correctly he would have just given the details, so the fact that he refused to do so implies that it wasn’t done correctly).

    [Snip. -W]

  14. @dikran
    Listen very carefully. I will say this only once. I did answer that question. The fact that you did not recognize the answer behind a layer of sarcasm, does not mean the question was unanswered.

  15. Dikran Marsupial says:

    FWIW I don’t think science is in a particular crisis at the moment. Publish and perish is a problem, as is the push for open access (a good thing per se, but…) which has led to a growth in predatory open access journals with low (or non-existent) reviewing standards. While not perfect, the U.K.’s Research Excellence Framework (REF – or whatever it is called these days) has at least one aspect which addresses this problem in that academics have to put forward the best four papers over the review period (generally > 5 years) for assessment. This is good as it means that academic institutions are assessed (and hence rewarded) on the basis of quality rather than quantity. One of the problems with peer-review is that with the growth of the number of journals, in some fields there just are not enough reviewers able to give competent reviews of really state-of-the-art work, and they will naturally tend to focus their review efforts for the top journals. I would imagine this leaves the lesser journals in a difficult position if they genuinely want to improve the review standards of their journals. We need to get the rewards right, so that they are focussed on quality (and perhaps not so focussed on immediate impact).

  16. Richard,
    Listen very carefully. If someone did not recognise you as having answered, maybe your answer was not very clear.

  17. hvwaldow says:

    That could have become such a refreshing thread if Richard hadn’t shown up.

  18. Dikran Marsupial says:

    Richard wrote “Listen very carefully. I will say this only once. I did answer that question”

    Bullshit. Give the URL of the post on the other thread where you stated what penatly term you used. Don’t clutter up this thread with your attention seeking, post it on the original thread, which seems to be still open.

    “The fact that you did not recognize the answer behind a layer of sarcasm, does not mean the question was unanswered.”

    That Richard seems to think that it is acceptable to respond to technical questions about his work in this manner says it all about his attitude to science, and the ironic hypocrisy of his criticism of others.

  19. Dikran Marsupial says:

    hvwaldow indeed. I have posted a new message on the previous thread where Richard can answer the question without further disrupting this one.

  20. I believe the conversation went something as follows.

    DM: Did you correct for this thing we teach in first year undergrad?

    RT: Does grandma know how to suck eggs?

    DM: Did you? (repeat one million times)

  21. Tim Roberts says:

    Firstly I have to say that reading comments on ATTP is sometimes quite depressing because Mr Toll seems to think that he is the font of all knowledge in all aspects of scientific endeavour.
    Sorry Mr Toll you do not have my respect because your discussions and arguments are usually what I expect from an enquiring 16 year old. Yes I work with them on a day to day basis.
    I remember in my undergraduate years having an argument/discussion with a Psychology lecturer about whether his area was a science. My argument was that it was not and would never would be due to the lack of re-produceability. He on the other hand was convinced that it was a real science. I rest my case 30+ years later with recent reports about Psychology research results not being robust.
    So yes, there is a difference between physical science and lie science.

  22. Tim Roberts says:

    sorry, life science in my last line

  23. Richard,
    Yes, I think that is how it went. In other words, you didn’t answer the question. Now maybe you could move this discussion over to the other thread and actually try answering the question.

    hvwaldow,
    Indeed, it does seem as though I can’t write a post that doesn’t then end up with Richard trying to disrupt what might be an interesting discussion. I shall have to bite the bullet and simply moderate more heavily.

    Tim,
    I have a slightly less negative view about other research areas, but I do think we should avoid extrapolating what might be an issue in one field to others.

  24. Dikran Marsupial says:

    Richard, it is a shame that you persist in posting on this thread, rather than the one where it would be on-topic. “Does grandma know how to suck eggs?” says that you used a penalty term, but it doesn’t specify what form of penalty term was used, so the work is still irreprocucible. Your comprehension skills are lacking if you think I merely repeated the question “did you?” a million times, as I quite explicitly asked you for the form of the penalty term, for example:

    dikranmarsupial says:
    November 20, 2015 at 9:06 am

    Richard, so the figures given in the paper *DO* include the penalty for the number of parameters then? If so, what form did the penalty take

    Please respond on the other thread, not this one (unless you want to make it clear that your intention is to disrupt this thread).

  25. Dikran Marsupial says:

    ” “Does grandma know how to suck eggs?” says that you used a penalty term”

    Actually it doesn’t say that, it implies that you did, but doesn’t say so explicitly. This sort of thing is widely used by politicans etc. so they can claim that they didn’t actually lie when their “economy with the actualite” is exposed. Which is why scientists don’t do that kind of thing and just give a straight answer to the question.

  26. [Mod: Let’s move this discussion to the other thread.]

  27. This played out pretty much as I expected.

  28. Interestingly, Richard has illustrated something, I think. One impression I have is that some are highlighting the reproducibility “crisis” in order to undermine some areas of science. This appears to be entirely consistent with Richard’s intervention here. That’s on top of the very basic point that an accusation of irreproducibility does not make it true (especially if some of the accusations come from the person who then later chooses to highlight this).

  29. [Mod: Genuinely not interested. Keep it on Twitter.]

  30. snarkrates says:

    Ever notice that a thread’s signal to noise ratio approaches zero in direct participation to RT’s participation in it?

    My take on the subject of the piece. I think that in general, the participants in a research field know who tends to overhype their research. I also think that if a science journalist covers a field, he/she will know who they can turn to for a balanced opinion–and such people tend to be quite influential without hyping their own research overtly. In a scientific field, the highest praise we tend to give to a piece of research is not, “This is revolutionary,” but rather “Hey, I can use this.

  31. HandOfGod137 says:

    I find this blog and its comments to be hugely informative (and normally at a level such that I have never been inspired to comment myself before), but every time a certain person drives-by, all discussion is derailed.

    Surely that is the very definition of trolling?

  32. Joshua says:

    As I tried to point out to Judith on her post, if you’re going to talk about a “crises,” it seems to me that you should provide longitudinal data that displays a trend (she wouldn’t allow my comments asking for evidence to support her claims to be posted).

    In the U.S., there is some pretty solid evidence that “trust in science” is dropping, specifically, among “conservatives” while it has remained constant among moderates and libs. This trend (for which there is supporting longitudinal data) has been happening for decades, and probably not coincidentally coincides with the religious right (one of the few demographic variables that aligns with the association I described relates to religiosity).

    My guess is that a lot of the talk about a “crisis” is drama-queening for the effect of scoring points in the science wars. It seems to me that the “crisis” of “science on the verge,” in the U.S., overlays pretty neatly onto that ideological association between political outlook and “trust in science.” Certainly, the vision of a “crisis” in science serves well those who are particularly focused on their identity as climate skeptics.

    Not only are the supporting data for these claims usually lacking, the claims of a “crisis” often go so far as to lay on the rhetoric about how careerism has become the predominant driver for scientists (for example, that is on of Judith’s evidence-free claims). I have to wonder a bit about who it is that thinks that for most scientists, the drive to understand, learn, and provide valid analysis is overwhelmed by non-scientific goals.

    Absolutely, the problems with peer review, publish and perish, p-hacking, etc., are real. No doubt, it is interesting to examine the underlying explanations for why there was a shift in the predominating view among scientists about issues such as plate tectonics or stomach ulcers or the new favorite topic for science is in a crisis drama-queening, the association between dietary fat and heart disease. But learning lessons from those phenomena is only held back when those issues are used exploitatively to use science as a proxy for larger ideological struggles.

  33. izen says:

    @-” However, we also live in a world where we want value for money, so want to be able to quantify the value of the research that is being funded.”

    There is a basic contradiction between a social system that works most efficiently by the evolutionary selection of accurate new knowledge that is put into the public domain for the free development and exploitation by all for maximum utility. And a system that ascribes property rights to materials and services so that they can be sold to consumers.

    Biomedical research has been significantly distorted by commercial interests. The idea of open data is a farce in a field where there is an ongoing attempt to get voluntary registration of any research undertaken even if nothing is published to try and correct for the skewed absence of negative results.

    @-“Some of these research studies are very complex and the lack of reproducibility may indicate the complexity of the system being studied, rather than some indication of research mis-practice.”

    Some research is irreducible because it was carried out with underlyiong assumptions, or framed, in a way that makes it only reproducible if it is repeated with the same a priori assumptions both in method and analysis.

    @-“I shall have to bite the bullet and simply moderate more heavily.”

    The cognitive dissonance involved in critiquing others for irreproducible results when his own critique is not reproducibile without Gremlins and who can write the hyperbole for Peabody energy, now known to be climate denial funders, perhaps deserves rather more than heavy moderation.

  34. Joshua says:

    Izen –

    ==> Biomedical research has been significantly distorted by commercial interests.

    No doubt. But the important question becomes, IMO, the question of balance. For all the distorting effects, what is the net effect? Is utility maximized, relatively, by the financial incentives manifest by creating research-oriented careers?

  35. Joshua says:

    Heh. While “publish and perish” is, no doubt, how it feels for some researchers, I did mean to refer to “publish or perish.”

  36. Marco says:

    “Biomedical research has been significantly distorted by commercial interests.”

    Hmmm…I am not quite sure how to take this. Many complaints about irreproducibility have come from replication attempts by “commercial interests”. That is, the findings coming out of academic research were, if true, commercially so interesting, that industry got involved. They often find stuff to be irreproducible.

    In my opinion the biomedical field has its most major problem with “statistically significance”. Do enough experiments, and you will find something where there is a statistically significant effect, and you can highlight that to get into a ‘good’ journal. Don’t find anything significant, and reviewers may well tell you you just didn’t do enough experiments, or you’re stuck with the bottom feeding journals. It’s then not a big step, however scientifically unacceptable, to throw away some inconvenient data, and hey presto, you have significant results, which others cannot reproduce (or rather, replicate).

  37. izen says:

    @-Joshua
    ” Is utility maximized, relatively, by the financial incentives manifest by creating research-oriented careers? ”

    In much biomedical research utility is maximised for those seeking a product that can be sold to a large market for extended periods of time. Painkillers are a higher priority than vaccines.
    Any maximising of general benefit to the population seems to happen despite rather than because…

    I think you make a good point about the longitudinal evidence for a ‘crisis’.
    It is clear that one contributor here regards the recent Cook et al paper as
    “…everything that is wrong with climate research. Studies are praised because the results are politically expedient rather than scientifically valid. Research scandals are covered up. Whistleblowers are vilified.”
    Despite the consilience with all other research done in the same field and his own admission that it is correct in its conclusions. It seems to be the methodology that is at fault….
    That voice pointing to a ‘crisis’ in science may be motivated by tribal affiliation or money, but it is difficult to see any motivation from aspects of the history of trust in climate science.
    At least not without examining how it went from a bi-partisan subject of common agreement in the 1980s to a virtue flag for BOTH sides by the 2000s.

  38. Joshua says:

    Izen –

    ==> Any maximising of general benefit to the population seems to happen despite rather than because…

    I think that’s a false choice.

  39. Joshua says:

    Izen –

    ==> At least not without examining how it went from a bi-partisan subject of common agreement in the 1980s to a virtue flag for BOTH sides by the 2000s.

    I think that the “both sides” point is a good one. Science has become, to a large extent, a weapon to use in identity-orientation battles. And of course, despite the larger prevailing trends, there are many examples where combatants reverse and buck the trend for the same purpose when it servers a purpose (i.e., climate “skeptics” using the “consensus” on GMOs to bash liberals).

  40. Joshua says:

    Izen –

    One more point:

    ==> It is clear that one contributor here regards the recent Cook et al paper as
    “…everything that is wrong with climate research. Studies are praised because the results are politically expedient rather than scientifically valid. Research scandals are covered up. Whistleblowers are vilified.”

    I think it’s a mistake to try to extrapolate from one individual’s juvenile behavior and bad arguments, to analyze grand-scale societal trends.

  41. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Joshua:

    My guess is that a lot of the talk about a “crisis” is drama-queening for the effect of scoring points in the science wars. It seems to me that the “crisis” of “science on the verge,” in the U.S., overlays pretty neatly onto that ideological association between political outlook and “trust in science.” Certainly, the vision of a “crisis” in science serves well those who are particularly focused on their identity as climate skeptics.

    That seems about right to me.

    The other thing that occurs to me when I read climate skeptics refer to a supposed “crisis” in science is that they’ve not been alive to witness an actual scientific crisis – i.e.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultraviolet_catastrophe

  42. izen says:

    @-The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse
    “…they’ve not been alive to witness an actual scientific crisis – i.e.Ultraviolet catastrophe”

    The current crisis in science just a century later comes from astronomy. After eventually solving the problem with the precession of the perihelion of Mercury by invoking GR, they now have to invent stuff with magical properties to explain the rather larger problem with the orbital behaviour of galaxies.
    “Dark matter/Negative energy”?!

  43. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    … they now have to invent stuff with magical properties to explain the rather larger problem with the orbital behaviour of galaxies.

    “They” being Michael Mann, Phil Jones, and Al Gore, of course.

    The solution of the solar neutrino problem was probably a hoax too.

    It’s only a matter of time before Judith Curry and Mark Steyn learn about these 21st -century “crises”.

  44. L Hamilton says:

    Joshua:
    “In the U.S., there is some pretty solid evidence that “trust in science” is dropping, specifically, among “conservatives” while it has remained constant among moderates and libs. This trend (for which there is supporting longitudinal data) has been happening for decades, and probably not coincidentally coincides with the religious right (one of the few demographic variables that aligns with the association I described relates to religiosity).”

    This change certainly happened but I’m not sure the trend is still continuing now. That is, I don’t see (in my own data through 2016) indications that conservatives are still getting more distrustful of science. There has been a slight rise, for instance, in their acceptance that human-caused climate change is real, and that most scientists agree on this point.

  45. Eli Rabett says:

    Larry: Have you read Rick Perlstein’s “The Long Con”? That and being on some of the Email lists that the right sponsors perhaps explains much

  46. John Mashey says:

    Back to the original topic.
    4 of the 6 chapters in the book include AUTHORS who attended the 2011 Lisbon meeting.
    1 Saltelli, RAVETZ, FUNTOWICZ
    2 Saltelli, Giampietro
    3 BENESSIA, FUNTOWICZ
    4 PEREIRA, Saltelli
    5 VAN DER SLUIJS
    6 Strand

    as Judith Curry wrote,
    “”This week, I will be in Lisbon attending a Workshop on Reconciliation in the Climate Change Debate. The Workshop was conceptualized by Jerome Ravetz, Silvio Funtowicz, Angela Pereira, James Risbey, and Jeroen van der Sluijs.”
    People may recall the T-shirt she was given by Roger Tattersall (see video in DeSMog profile.

    Insight might be gained from Sylvia Tognetti’s thoughtful sequence:
    Revisiting post-normal science…, Ravetz responds, and PNS is not a n excuse to legitimize crank arguments.

  47. Joshua says:

    Larry –

    ==> This change certainly happened but I’m not sure the trend is still continuing now.

    Sure. And as you know, Kahan has some interesting posts that raise interesting questions about the Gauchat findings that I was referring to…

    For example:

    http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2014/11/25/conservatives-lose-faith-in-science-over-last-40-years-where.html

    I am not, however, completely convinced by Dan’s critiques, not the least because of the useless kinds of arguments he presented in this discussion thread:

    http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2014/4/28/science-and-public-policy-who-distrusts-whom-about-what.html

  48. Thanks, John. That response by Ravetz is really very strange.

  49. Anders,

    There’s a new book called the rightful place of science: science on the verge, which Judith Curry discusses here. My immediate reaction was rather negative, but I went through this presentation and it makes a lot of good points.

    I completely dismissed it because it looked like more of the usual talking points. Can be difficult to for me to know when my prejudices are accurate and when they’re not, especially as an outsider. Almost as if on cue, she’s gone and found herself A New Definition of Academic Misconduct. If I were a cynic, I’d say her article is a recruiting pitch for the Integrity team.

  50. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    It’s “the latest perversion in research ethics” in which “the sickness of the clubby academic collegiality is absurdly highlighted”!!!

    Anyway:
    http://www.readfearn.com/2016/06/historical-pictures-of-reef-degradation-really-misused-as-the-australian/

  51. Willard says:

    Science on the verge of being funded:

    We need to spend money to try to prove that the case against CO2 is flawed.

    https://australianclimatemadness.com/2011/07/01/a-challenge-to-the-chief-scientist/

  52. Not sure that anyone who claims that we need to show that the case is flawed is being particularly objective.

  53. Willard says:

    Science on the verge of a different perspective:

    It is, of course, no coincidence that many [contrarians] are from a geological background, because they view the world from a different perspective. So, it was possibly inevitable that Carter, as a brilliant communicator, would lead the argument proposing that the relatively small changes in climate over the last hundred or so years are nothing particularly special.

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/obituaries/obituary-top-scientist-shunned-for-views-the-warmists-refused-to-debate-20160211-gmr7yx.html

  54. Reverend,

    Nice pull, looks like Ridd was chasing a nothingburger.

  55. We need to spend money to try to prove that the case against CO2 is flawed.

    One wonders whether oil and coal companies are not funding that research. One really wonders.

    http://variable-variability.blogspot.com/2014/03/big-oil-industry-funding-alternative-climate-research.html

  56. Willard says:

    Five years ago, Aussies would have been on the verge to see Peter on stage:

    Townsville QLD: Monday 14 June 2010, 7:00 pm
    Ignatius Park College Assembly Hall, 368 Ross River Rd, Cranbrook.
    Anthony Watts, David Archibald, Peter Ridd and Bob Carter.
    $20 per person
    Contact: Michael Rowley 0407 727 163
    Brisbane QLD: Tuesday 15 June

    http://joannenova.com.au/2010/05/anthony-watts-tour-of-australia/

    Small world.

  57. Joshua says:

    Rev –

    Have you seen what, specifically, Ridd said for which he was disciplined?

  58. Willard says:

    On the verge of switching from photographs in one sentence:

    [Ridd] found out two of the world’s leading organizations studying coral reefs were using misleading photographs to make the case that global warming was causing a mass reef die-off.

    to science in the very next:

    Ridd wasn’t rewarded for checking the facts and blowing the whistle on misleading science.

    Try to make this up. You can’t.

  59. Steven Mosher says:

    “PS: Kidding. Start here instead.”

    Yes, that was it. I didnt mean to send you searching, just wanted to close the loop.
    Sorry it took 5 years. That said, I do remember when people stump me.
    haha.

  60. izen says:

    @-ATTP
    “That response by Ravetz is really very strange.”

    It is also like much of past ‘sceptic’ arguments being overtaken by events. Re-reading it again, ( I had forgotten participating in it) The reference to the validity of the sceptic position because of the absence of warming seemed strange… until I saw the date was Jan 2013.
    What a difference a mere 3 years makes, except the zombies seem impervious to thermal decay!

  61. Joshua,

    This is all of any substance I have see, from The Australian:

    Professor Ridd was disciplined for breaching principle 1 of JCU’s code of conduct by “not displaying responsibility in respecting the reputations of other colleagues”. He has been told that if he does it again he may be found guilty of ­serious misconduct.

    A JCU spokesman said it was university policy not to comment on individual staff, but that the university’s marine science was subject to “the same quality assurance processes that govern the conduct of, and delivery of, ­science internationally”.

    Which isn’t much to go on.

  62. One of Judy’s Denizens has gone full Godwin on the Ridd thread. Rudd Istvan adds a splash of Lysenko for good measure because, hey, everything’s better with butter.

  63. Steven Mosher says:

    “Professor Ridd was disciplined for breaching principle 1 of JCU’s code of conduct by “not displaying responsibility in respecting the reputations of other colleagues”. He has been told that if he does it again he may be found guilty of ­serious misconduct.”

    https://www.jcu.edu.au/policy/corporate-governance/code-of-conduct

    Principle 1

    This principle aligns with the first ethical principle of the Act – ‘integrity and impartiality’, and the second ethical principle of the Act – ‘promoting the public good’.

    In our conduct, we will:

    endeavour to achieve excellence in the performance of our work and strive for continuous improvement;

    seek discoveries that make a difference through research, reflection and innovation;

    actively engage in learning and in personal and professional development;

    value academic freedom, and enquire, examine, criticise and challenge in the collegial and academic spirit of the search for knowledge, understanding and truth;

    behave with intellectual honesty;

    undertake teaching and research in a responsible manner;

    encourage participation in professional external activities, provided that they are appropriate to our roles and they do not impinge upon our prescribed duties;

    have the right to make public comment in a professional, expert or individual capacity, provided that we do not represent our opinions as those of the University unless authorised to do so;

    have the right to freedom of expression, provided that our speech is lawful and respects the rights of others;

    encourage collaboration across boundaries;

    comply with the ethical standards and legal obligations of our professions; and

    seek through our work to create a brighter future for the tropics.

    ###########################################

    so it looks like they nailed him with

    “value academic freedom, and enquire, examine, criticise and challenge in the collegial and academic spirit of the search for knowledge, understanding and truth;”

    and from pinciple 2

    “behave in a way that upholds the integrity and good reputation of the University;”

    and from principle 3

    “treat fellow staff members, students and members of the public with honesty, respect and courtesy, and have regard for the dignity and needs of others;”

    #####################

    interestingly they rest their code on another code..

    http://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/P/PublicSecEthA94.pdf

    Which has some things to say about being “apolitical”

    the other background governing document

    https://www.jcu.edu.au/policy/procedures/corporate-governance-procedures/code-of-conduct-explanatory-statement

    “All staff, regardless of involvement in academic duties, have the right to freedom of expression. However, this comes with a responsibility to respect the rights and reputations of others. Academic or constructive criticism is encouraged, but staff must not engage in hate speech as this conflicts directly with the universal value of respect for individuals.”

  64. Steven,

    Right. But it’s not clear to me that we actually have any information about what it is that JCU actually slapped his wrist for other than what Ridd has been quoted as saying in news articles. The noise he made about the 2014 GBRMPA Outlook Report as covered by The Australian doesn’t impress.

  65. Joshua says:

    Brandon –

    Reminds me of the Bengsston situation when when “skeptics” were hyperventilating despite not actually knowing what happened.

    What makes it all that.much more amysing is that many of these same “skeptics” point fingers about a “culture of victimhood.”

    Looks to me like “skeptics” are in short supply of big boy pants.

  66. Willard says:

    I point to Peter’s portfolio:

    Peter Ridd is a geophysicist with the following interests: coastal oceanography, the effects of sediments on coral reefs, instrument development, geophysical sensing of the earth, past and future climates, atmospheric modelling. In addition with his group in the Marine Geophysics Laboratory (http://www.marinegeophysics.com.au/) he works on the development of instruments including: sediment deposition sensors, light sensors, tilt current meters, and Lagrangian drifters. He also works on applications to agriculture and weed control including an automated weed killing robot and non-invasively sensing defects in fruit.

    Peter Ridd raises almost all of his research funds from the profits of consultancy work which is usually associated with monitoring of marine dredging operation (http://www.jcu.edu.au/marinephysics/services/JCU_103139.html) . Work has recently been done at Hay Point and Abbot Point as well as at Barrow Island in Western Australia.

    and I point to Peter’s research interests:

    Environmental Physics, Electromagnetics, Geophysics

    I will also point at the fact that science is on the verge of the Queensland coast:

    The Queensland coast is a possible location for OTEC

    http://www.seao2.com/otec/data/peter_ridd_otec_presentationConversion.pdf

    That is all.

  67. Joshua says:

    ==> Rudd Istvan adds a splash of Lysenko for good measure …

    Everybody drink!

  68. Steven Mosher says:

    “Right. But it’s not clear to me that we actually have any information about what it is that JCU actually slapped his wrist for other than what Ridd has been quoted as saying in news articles. The noise he made about the 2014 GBRMPA Outlook Report as covered by The Australian doesn’t impress.”

    Just to be clear. I have no issue with institutions enforcing codes of conduct.
    I think of it as moderating a blog.

    The good policy is of course transparency, where you detail for folks what was said
    and why it was over the line. so that others are on notice about boundaries.

    I havent seen what exactly he said, but if he was warned or whatever, he probably owes it to other folks to detail what he said, and why the administration thought it was over the line.

    this was interesting by comparison.

  69. Magma says:

    @Willard: That’s quite a broad and relevant skillset that Prof. Ridd lays claim to. And from his appearance and CV he appears to be in his mid-50s. So if lack of expertise and emeritus senilis can both be ruled out as factors behind his unwarranted attacks on his colleagues’ ethics or competence… hmm.

  70. Joshua says:

    Just because my comment pointing out other parallels won’t likely see the light of day over at Judith’s, I’d like to point out that besides the striking parallels with Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, and Robespierre, there are also striking similarities with Attila The Hun, Genghis Kahn, Long John Silver, and so as not to be sexist. The Wicked Witch of the West.

  71. Steven Mosher says:

    lets go hear that new R& B act

    Ray (Pierrehumbert) and the Lagrangian drifters

  72. Joshua,

    Reminds me of the Bengsston situation when when “skeptics” were hyperventilating despite not actually knowing what happened.

    He and the late Bob Carter both get mentions in comments as well. Interestingly, Salby’s name hasn’t been raised.

    Willard,

    The Queensland coast is a possible location for OTEC

    Ah. Well, once the reefs are dead, it won’t be a problem.

  73. Steven,

    I think of it as moderating a blog.

    That gave me a chuckle.

    I havent seen what exactly he said, but if he was warned or whatever, he probably owes it to other folks to detail what he said, and why the administration thought it was over the line.

    You know, the last thing I’d do if I were actually worried about my job is go to the press complaining about how I was just wrongfully censured.

  74. Joshua,

    Everybody drink!

    Only if you’ve got a good line on a spare liver I can borrow.

  75. This time I’m not going to apologize but to steal. Congratulations on ignoring InTOLerable distraction. Curry is just such another.

    As to US distrust of science, in the Republican arena it has reached rock bottom, and holds court by the $billions that help them get elected. We can hope that even with a rigged process the lies will no longer have it next year. It’s not unlikely that the climate itself, in the form of weather, may take a hand; how political of it, one might say. I wouldn’t wish the world’s disasters on their victims, but if people will only pay attention to consequences rather than understanding causes, then consequences there will be.

    Atul Gawande has posted a graduation speech at The New Yorker (US proof of literacy, it does exist). I think this is important, as are Michael Tobis’s points.

    http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-mistrust-of-science

    The scientist has an experimental mind, not a litigious one.
    ….
    You are supposed to have skepticism and imagination, but not too much. You are supposed to suspend judgment, yet exercise it. Ultimately, you hope to observe the world with an open mind, gathering facts and testing your predictions and expectations against them. Then you make up your mind and either affirm or reject the ideas at hand. But you also hope to accept that nothing is ever completely settled, that all knowledge is just probable knowledge. A contradictory piece of evidence can always emerge. Hubble said it best when he said, “The scientist explains the world by successive approximations.”
    ….
    “As varied as these groups [that deny science] are, they are all alike in one way. They all harbor sacred beliefs that they do not consider open to question.

    To defend those beliefs, few dismiss the authority of science. They dismiss the authority of the scientific community. People don’t argue back by claiming divine authority anymore. They argue back by claiming to have the truer scientific authority. It can make matters incredibly confusing. You have to be able to recognize the difference between claims of science and those of pseudoscience.
    ….
    Rebutting bad science may not be effective, but asserting the true facts of good science is.
    ….
    Bad science has a pattern, and helping people recognize the pattern arms them to come to more scientific beliefs themselves. Having a scientific understanding of the world is fundamentally about how you judge which information to trust. It doesn’t mean poring through the evidence on every question yourself. You can’t.
    ….
    Beautifully organized, however, it is not. Seen up close, the scientific community—with its muddled peer-review process, badly written journal articles, subtly contemptuous letters to the editor, overtly contemptuous subreddit threads, and pompous pronouncements of the academy— looks like a rickety vehicle for getting to truth. Yet the hive mind swarms ever forward.
    ….
    How you think matters.

  76. Willard says:

    From JCH’s link:

    Professor Ridd, who runs the marine geophysics laboratory at James Cook University, was keynote speaker at the Property Rights Australia conference in Charters Towers where he called for an independent organisation to be appointed to ensure reef science is solid.

    From the PRAFF website:

    A key feature is the Property Rights Australia Fighting Fund (PRAFF), the only one of its kind. The Fighting Fund is used to provide financial support to legal test cases and other strategic causes to protect and enhance property rights for the benefit of all property owners.

    From the verge of science to the fringe:

    Climate Change is Natural – Global Warming is False.

    A paper presented at Annual Conference-Roma of Property Rights Australia by Les White (Secretary – Treasurer).

    Small world.

  77. JCH says:

    My hunch last night was he ran hard against the photographs not knowing there were two papers published on the use of the photographs. Then I started listening to the things the guys says in his videos. Lol.

  78. Willard says:

    Which videos, JCH?

    ***

    Looking at the Saltelli presentation, I stumbled upon some handwaving toward Shapin & Shaffer 1985. Start here:

    Lawrence M. Principe, in The Aspiring Adept: Robert Boyle and His Alchemical Quest, argues extensively that many of the conclusions reached by Shapin and Schaffer rest on inaccurate and at times presentist conceptions of Boyle’s work.

    Noel Malcolm and Cees Leijenhorst deny the political background of the Hobbes-Boyle controversy. They argue that Hobbes’ rejection of the void has no political agenda and has nothing to do with his attack on incorporeal substances, as Shapin and Schaffer claim. Both Malcolm and Leijenhorst call attention to the remarkable fact that Hobbes was already attacking incorporeal substances when he was a vacuist, and long before he became a plenist.

    Frank Horstmann, in Leviathan und die Erpumper. Erinnerungen an Thomas Hobbes in der Luftpumpe, has criticizes Shapin and Schaffer’s use of the historical evidence. He argues that Shapin and Schaffer have a lot of important facts wrong.

  79. JCH says:

    AGW starts at ~31:09.

  80. Willard says:

    Here would be one interview where Peter says that CO2 is plant food:

    Then Andrew Bolt says “but satellites,” to which Peter responds that teh modulz are stoopid, after which Andrew closes his first question declaring that scientists are uncertain about AGW, because climate always changes.

    Question 2 switches to level 2 on the Contrarian Matrix.

  81. John Mashey says:

    What’s strange about Ravetz responds … ? 🙂

    Maybe his opening? He places great store by Lucy Skywalker as a credible source.
    Ssome data is given below to help readers assess Ravetz’s judgment. He wrote:

    “I have written at great length on ‘climategate’ without convincing Sylvia of my case, or even of my rationality and integrity, so this time I will make only a few brief remarks. I think that our deepest difference is in our perceptions of the opposed sides in the debate. She sees a consensus of the established, high-quality scientific community on the one hand, with an assortment of cranks, prostitutes and self-deluders (as myself) on the other. By contrast, I would argue that one important source of strength and conviction among the opposition has been the perception of bad practice among the mainstream. For that a very important source is the autobiographical account by ‘Lucy Skywalker’, who describes how she was converted by Al Gore, and then painfully discovered ever more shoddy and tendentious science among the ‘alarmists’ (#1).

    1. “Lucy Skywalker”, Curious Anomalies in Climate Science, http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Curious.htm)

    (This includes. among many items of interest:
    “Monckton has shown that the greenhouse effects of CO2 have been calculated incorrectly – much higher than the IPCC figures themselves dictate. Thus the whole “greenhouse” basis of CAGW comes unstuck – the credibility of the IPCC comes ”

    Alternatively, one might visit her “review”, and then find her Amazon profile and other reviews:

    Murry Salby’s 2012 book on Amazon.
    I wrote a very long, detailed review, which drew 240+ comments, with many by Gavin Cawley showing amazing patience.

    Lucy’s “review of the book” was hich way is the wind is blowing?,
    “I acquired this textbook because it seemed to be the best of its kind. Another reviewer says: “… it is unequalled in breadth, depth and lucidity. It is the single volume that I recommend to every one of my students in atmospheric science…”

    Caveat Lector. Reviewer John Mashey is involved in the anti-climate-skeptics DeSmogBlog, which cross-references with Skeptical Science. SkS have identified 232 claims of climate skeptics so far; and have done a hatchet job on each one. Google “skeptical science fixednum”.

    What? Is it possible to have that many arguments needing demolishing?

    Sadly in my opinion, nowhere in the climate skeptics’ world can one find answers to all these claims put together in one place. For most certainly there are at least 232 answers.

    Mashey and friends are weighing in with ferocity against this magnum opus. But does it deserve such opprobrium? A sharp polarization of views into those who are strongly for and those who are strongly against, always suggests to me that the “official” side has gone corrupt. Look at the quality of responses. Which side appears to be the more courteous, comprehensible, factual, knowledgeable? Which side appeals more to emotions? Which side is more concerned with putting people down?

    Salby has done the worst of all possible things, in the mind of anti-climate-skeptics. His very expertise as a climate scientist has led him to become an apostate to the party line. He believes that the rise in carbon dioxide can be explained in purely natural terms, invoking Henry’s Law.

    While being chased towards oblivion by his own University, he still found time to update this prodigious legacy. Draw your own conclusions. Check the evidence on all sides, as per Scientific Method. Don’t assume anyone’s word is trustworthy. Remember Marcel Leroux who also wrote firstrate textbooks on Climate Science, but was hounded to oblivion (Wikipedia page deleted – a whole story there) for apostasy as an expert.”

    Of course, Salby sued Macquarie, and lost hard in court, as he has many other times. The judge didn’t buy any of his claims. Among other things, he’d lied about ticket cancellation at Paris preventing him from returning to Sydney for a hearing … he’d already missed that by several days.

    She uses ~same review for Amazon.co.uk, but mmore relevant, you can find her profile and other reviews. Many of these offer insight, such as:
    “Omnec Onec: Ambassador From Venus
    A unique account from a visitor to Earth
    I bought the edition that actually has Omnec Onec’s permission to publish – US reviewer Stan Schultz explains. At Omnec’s website, you can obtain her own edition.

    I live in Crop Circle country, and having investigated that phenomenon carefully and thoroughly, I know without a shadow of a doubt that most (but not all) of the circles are formed supernaturally and are linked with ET’s. A minority of circles are formed by “hoaxers” but even “hoaxers” generally believe in the real phenomenon. Crop circles are beautiful and peaceful mysteries that have been appearing for centuries in the same localities. They are like visiting cards, allowing people to interact individually, gradually opening up the huge mystery of other intelligent beings “out there”.

    So to me, the idea of “ambassadors” from other dimensions that relate to Venus, Mars, or stars, at non-physical levels of reality, is not unfamiliar. I’ve heard many stories of children who remember coming from the stars when they were born, or “walk-ins” who (with permission) took over the body of Earth-born adults, or Earth-borns who have had close encounters with ET’s, or adult ET’s with human appearance, quietly doing work here. …” but there are many more.

  82. Joshua says:

    I am a bit confused, here. Even if he’s Mr. Matrix himself, and channels Ayn’s disembodied spirit, that doesn’t mean that we’d agree he deserves to be disciplined. The more of a”skeptic”he is, the more Lysenko can be invoked (everybody drink!)

    Was he disciplined because he’s a “skeptic”? Or because his conduit violated conduct codes?

  83. Joshua,
    If you’re talking about Peter Ridd, then I don’t think anyone really knows as the only information that I think is available is from him.

  84. Willard says:

    > I don’t think anyone really knows as the only information that I think is available is from him.

    Wait, AT – are you suggesting you’d trust swindlers more?

    Swindling reminds me of Lysenkoism.

    Checkmate.

  85. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    the closest I’ve seen is his embrace of the “swindle” rhetoric (via Nick Stokes at Judith’s), but that was a few years ago.

  86. Joshua says:

    Sorry, willard…

  87. Willard says:

    The “misleading science” of photographs takes us to the verge of another definition of science, for here’s the one we had so far:

    DR. CURRY: The issue is what showed up in the summary for policymakers.

    DR. LINDZEN: And the press release.

    DR. CURRY: And the press release, yes.

    DR. KOONIN: That’s not science, but it’s important.

    http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/upload/climate-seminar-transcript.pdf

    INTEGRITY ™ – It’s not Science, but It’s Important

  88. Wait, AT – are you suggesting you’d trust swindlers more?

    Ahh, no 😉

  89. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    INTEGRITY ™ – It’s not Science, but It’s Important

    And INTEGRITY ™’s been important since at least 2003…

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg17723761-000-great-barrier-reef/
    https://www.newscientist.com/letter/mg17723803-600-reef-is-in-danger/
    https://www.newscientist.com/letter/mg17723823-800-letter/

    Deception jeopardises the credibility of science.

    THE CREDIBILITY OF SCIENCE ™ – It’s not Science, but It’s important – and it’s in jeopardy.

  90. BBD says:

    John Mashey

    Never had much time for Ravetz, but seeing him reference Lucy Skywalker as an important source is mind-boggling. Mind you, Ravetz did very carefully write that LS’s autobiographical account revealed the perception of ‘shoddy and tendentious science among the ‘alarmists’.

    The perception is in the eye of the ‘sceptic’ rather than a matter of fact. But how can Ravetz have ignored all the other things LS ‘perceives’, and the general impact of these perceptions on her overall credibility?

  91. Willard says:

    On the verge of wordology:

    The opposite of diversity? University.

    Wordology may not be a science yet, but it’s important.

  92. John Mashey says:

    Lindzen, in Direct testimony for judge last year:
    “Even the connection of fossil fuel emissions to atmospheric CO2 levels is open to question. In the ice core records of the ice ages, it appears that CO2 levels may follow temperature increases, rather than vice versa.”

    Peabody’s Outlier Gang Couldn’t Shoot Straight In Minnesota Carbon Case, Judge Rebuffs Happer, Lindzen, Spencer, Mendelsohn, Bezdek

    BBD: re Revetz & co
    You might read through Sylvia’s posts and comments, and also Nick Stokes’ post (which ATTP cited in UPDATE, for list of attendees. Comments there may offer insight, i’d tend to go with Eli Rabett, although only with indirect knowledge….
    and relevant corporate training.

  93. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    On the verge of being Matt Ridley:

    https://judithcurry.com/2014/05/16/reflections-on-bengtsson-and-the-gwpf/

    Independent think-tanks such as the Global Warming Policy Foundation aren’t Universities, but they are are essential.

  94. Joshua says:

    I’m on the verge of thinking that science might not be on the verge.

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/science-isnt-broken/#part1

  95. John Mashey says:

    Needless to say, over-generalizing about “science” is a non-starter.
    For example, people cite Ionnadis regarding “science.” (in general), but his studies don’t do that.
    Hint: human medicine, biology, psychology, etc are far trickier than physics and chemistry. Sometimes it is impossible to do key experiments, such as:
    Take 2 sets of 10,000 12-year-olds, give half of them as many cigarettes as they’d like through age 19, and watch the other half to make sure they don’t smoke, and follow both sets through the next 70 years or so. That would provide clear evidence of any effects … but no one is ever going to do that experiment. People have to get at such problems with statistics & epidemiology.

  96. Okay, so Peter Ridd said something that was wrong. He made a fool out of himself and has a history of doing so. That does not explain why his university disciplined him. A scientist is allowed to make a fool out of himself, I thought that was part of academic freedom.

  97. John Mashey says:

    VV: I assume you’ve read Graham Readfearn’s account.

    WIthout spending more time than I have to dig through this, and I don’t know, but:
    1) If Ridd was right on science, or if he was just wrong on science, then JCU was likley wrong to reprimand him..

    2) If Ridd explicitly was alleging *deception* on the part of others, i.e., academic fraud, people would expect him to either back that up with clear evidence, or withdraw the comments with apology, and if he did neither, I’d expect him to get reprimanded.

    3) Of course, there is a fuzzy zone in between, where the wording might imply deception or not, and whether he was specific or not..

    Graham Lloyd and The Australian are, from past experience, pretty unreliable (big supporters of Murry Salby, bought his nonsense 100%, attacked Macquarie U, mostly ignored the counter-evidence, and if there was any apology, I didn’t notice it.)

  98. Spending a lot of energy and words on giving the benefit of the doubt to someone who has proven themselves deeply dubious seems rather a waste of energy to me. So here I am again, boots and all, wondering why the defunding and discrediting of the best authorities and the best information is worthy of the respect of detailed dissection. Given the massive scale of the effort to delude and distract and its more than undesirable consequences, and the shortening of time needed to move on, how is this still a thing?

  99. Dikran Marsupial says:

    JM wrote ‘Lindzen, in Direct testimony for judge last year:
    “Even the connection of fossil fuel emissions to atmospheric CO2 levels is open to question. In the ice core records of the ice ages, it appears that CO2 levels may follow temperature increases, rather than vice versa.”‘

    It is astonishing that Lindzen raises this old canard; it suggests he didn’t make any effort at all to look into the matter (other than perhaps at climate “skeptic” blogs) as it has been quite well studied, IIRC.

  100. snarkrates says:

    DM,
    Lindzen has also used the “But it’s warming on Mars!!!” argument. Lindzen is no longer a scientist, just a walking Heartland billboard.

  101. John Mashey says:

    Yes, but this is in official testimony.
    See Peabody’s outlier gang…, go to Table s and look for Lindzen’s DIrect, Rebuttal and Surrebuttal testimines. Start at p.22 of the Direct file…
    the comment I quoted was just one of many.
    He seemed to be just going through the motions … and of course, snce Peabody still owes him $ for something, perhaps this was the work he hadn’t yet gotten paid for 🙂

  102. John Mashey says: “VV: I assume you’ve read Graham Readfearn’s account.

    Yes, I had read it at Desmogblog. It only shows that he is wrong and has a history of being wrong. I would never trust the Australian, that is a very unreliable newspaper, but I did not hear anything elsewhere yet that would justify a reprimand.

    He may have said something in private and the university prefers not to repeat that.

    Susan Anderson says: “Spending a lot of energy and words on giving the benefit of the doubt to someone who has proven themselves deeply dubious seems rather a waste of energy to me.

    Freedom of speech and academic freedom is especially there for speech you disagree with. I will never give up hope to be the one who finds a major problem with the theories around climate change. (Sceptics, that can go both ways.) That is my job. I would not want to be limited in my academic freedom if that were to happen. And you can be assured that in the beginning some people will not accept the evidence and act like I was talking nonsense.

    Scientists should make an effort to keep the political climate “debate” out of the scientific community, no matter how much the mitigation sceptics try to shove it in.

  103. Marco says:

    Victor, one thing is being wrong, but in the process accusing others of deliberately misleading the public, as Ridd *appears* to have done (you are correct that this is the Australian, so there’s some plausible deniability), certainly would allow an organization to censure someone. We don’t know the whole story, so plenty of ifs and buts, but I don’t think your own institution would be all too happy with you when you find THE major problem with the theories around climate change, you go around and call your colleagues fraudulent, deceptive, deliberately misleading, and whatnot.

  104. Marco, where did Ridd say *deliberately* misleading? I missed that.

  105. Marco says:

    I guess I need to retract that, although I did use the weasel word “appears”. It was another guy who made this claim.

  106. Mal Adapted says:

    Victor Venema:

    Freedom of speech and academic freedom is especially there for speech you disagree with. I will never give up hope to be the one who finds a major problem with the theories around climate change. (Sceptics, that can go both ways.) That is my job. I would not want to be limited in my academic freedom if that were to happen. And you can be assured that in the beginning some people will not accept the evidence and act like I was talking nonsense.

    Scientists should make an effort to keep the political climate “debate” out of the scientific community, no matter how much the mitigation sceptics try to shove it in.

    Very well said, Victor, and thank you. More than anything else (IMHO), it is this element of scientific culture that justifies Science’s claim to epistemic authority.

  107. Victor Venema, admirable, thank you!

    You and many others do a fine and patient job of providing answers to every kind of question. It’s only when the discussion goes on and on and never arrives that I unleash my impatience (never far below the surface, a fault) with the distinction between deliberate dishonesty and honest confusion. The boundary between these two is sometimes indistinct and of course there are lurkers who may be absorbing some excellent arguments.

    As a trespasser on scientifically focused sites, perhaps I should make more of an effort not to drag my outrage at the political side and their influence on a passive public into your more focused discussions. But in fact the scientific side has long moved on from the basics, while the political side is putting us all at risk. I do not know where to put my distress at the degradation approaching us at speed.

  108. Michael 2 says:

    Susan Anderson wrote “I do not know where to put my distress at the degradation approaching us at speed.”

    Neanderthals chose poorly. Your ancestors chose wisely. Act; do not wait for others to act. Long before the sea level rises two inches you will likely face earthquakes, tornados, frost heaves and motion sickness. Over the next 80 years will be two more world wars and a series of economic collapses. Air travel will probably cease as a means of ordinary passenger travel; not because of CO2, but because fuel is runing out. Global population will eventually collapse; but whether you are there to see it depends on the choices you make right now to exercise your human intelligence and ingenuity in solving today’s problems today.

  109. Marco,

    We don’t know the whole story, so plenty of ifs and buts, but I don’t think your own institution would be all too happy with you when you find THE major problem with the theories around climate change, you go around and call your colleagues fraudulent, deceptive, deliberately misleading, and whatnot.

    Indeed, we don’t know the whole story, but to review, from The Australian we have a partial view of Ridd’s side of the story:

    [Ridd’s] crime was to encourage questioning of two of the nation’s leading reef institutions, the Centre of Excellence for Coral Studies and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, on whether they knew that photographs they had published and claimed to show long-term collapse of reef health could be misleading and wrong.

    “These photographs are a big deal as they are plastered right across the internet and used very widely to claim damage,” Professor Ridd told The Weekend Australian.

    The photographs were taken near Stone Island off Bowen. A photograph taken in the late 19th century shows healthy coral. An accompanying picture supposedly of the same reef in 1994 is ­devoid of coral. When the before-and-after shots were used by GBRMPA in its 2014 report, the authority said: “Historical photographs of inshore coral reefs have been especially powerful in illustrating changes over time, and that the change illustrated is typical of many inshore reefs.”

    Professor Ridd said it was only possible to guess within a kilometre or two where the original photograph was taken and it would not be unusual to find great coral in one spot and nothing a kilometre away, as his researchers had done. Nor was it possible to say what had killed the coral in the 1994 picture.

    “In fact, there are literally hundreds of square kilometres of dead reef-flat on the Great Barrier Reef which was killed due to the slow sea-level fall of about a meter that has occurred over the last 5000 years,” he said. “My point is not that they have probably got this completely wrong but rather what are the quality assurance measures they take to try to ensure they are not telling a misleading story?”

    He’s Just Asking Questions about whether his colleagues have been unintentionally misleading due to lazy, lax quality assurance.

    The offending photographs “plastered right across the internet and used very widely to claim damage” are found in the cited 2014 GBRMPA Outlook Report . The Austrailian reports the photos’ caption thus: Historical photographs of inshore coral reefs have been especially powerful in illustrating changes over time, and that the change illustrated is typical of many inshore reefs.

    The *rest* of the same caption reads: The changes in the fringing reefs at Stone Island are typical of many inshore reefs. They largely took place before monitoring programs began — illustrating that modern assessments of the condition of coral reefs are likely to be based on an already shifted baseline. (2012 photograph © The University of Queensland, courtesy of Tara Clark)

    These photos appear in section 2.2 Legacies and shifted baselines, just after subsection 2.2.1 Legacy impacts in subsection 2.2.2 Shifting baselines. Legacy impacts is worth reading, especially Figure 2.1, which is wholly bereft of any explicit AGW mechanisms. The photo caption does not ascribe any particular cause. The critique as presented in the news article is a nothingburger which doesn’t stand scrutiny.

    Whether we should ding The Australian for omitting these salient details of context, or whether it was Ridd who was less than forthcoming isn’t clear. What I do know is that the narrative on the Ridd side of this story — so far as I have seen — stinks on ice. Even so, one hopes that JCU had more than this to go on to censure Ridd, but they’re not giving details — policy precludes them from doing so.

  110. Magma says:

    In related news Roger Pielke Sr. tweeted the following yesterday:
    1/Remarkable admission – “to know how fast Earth is warming, you have to measure how fast the oceans are heating up” with respect to an article in the Guardian by John Abraham
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/jun/20/new-methods-are-improving-ocean-and-climate-measurements which begins with
    “I have often said that global warming is really ocean warming. As humans add more heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere, it causes the Earth to gain energy. Almost all of that energy ends up in the oceans. So, if you want to know how fast the Earth is warming, you have to measure how fast the oceans are heating up.”

    Of course, since 2011 and possibly earlier Abraham has been a coauthor or the lead author on at least half a dozen published papers discussing ocean heat content.

    Remarkable admission? Remarkable phrasing on Pielke’s part. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. I’d never imply he has an axe to grind with anyone. Not me. And if anyone inferred that from this comment, well, they might be wrong. But I’m not a mind reader.

  111. JCH,

    Weeks later 55% of the 911 reefs surveyed were found to be severely bleached.

    The Courier Mail article is paywalled, perhaps you could provide the relevant quote? Regardless, it *seems* Ridd could have some quality control issues? You know, I’m juuussst asking. 🙂

    Magma,

    Perhaps the oddness of Senior’s phrasing can be explained by the long-running axe he’s been grinding with Gavin Schmidt et al. that change in total energy is the better metric than change in GMST. But here I’d be reaching. As you point out, reality probably is that Senior is trying to take credit for always saying what practically everyone has been saying since before Al Gore was fat and the IPCC had even been thought of. I mean really, surely Senior at least knows that Kevin Trenberth thought the difficulty of estimating delta-OHC was a travesty in the early 2000’s.

  112. M2,

    Global population will eventually collapse; but whether you are there to see it depends on the choices you make right now to exercise your human intelligence and ingenuity in solving today’s problems today.

    Rumour has it that coal particulates aren’t doing anyone any favours today. Apparently it’s a particularly acute issue in China. I’m fond of killing two birds with one stone. You?

  113. JCH says:

    81% of 522 Northern Sector reefs severely bleached = 423
    33% of 226 Central Sector reefs severely bleached = 75
    1% of 163 Southern Sector reefs severely bleached = 2
    —————————————————————————–
    500 of 911 surveyed reefs severely bleach = 55%
    ============================================

    But I did get it backwards… the results of the coral bleaching study were out when he trashed the paper by the two JCU professors.

  114. Magma says:

    RP Sr. is now having a […] fit on Twitter directed at Andrew Dessler, Tom Peterson and Gavin Schmidt regarding the silly 2007 Gilligan’s Island caricature leaked with the hacked CRU emails.

    Apparently his skin hasn’t gotten thicker with time and that minor insult still rankles.

  115. Just as I thought:

    That word “arbitrary” … I’m not sure Stan knows what it means:

    … perhaps being arbitrary is only something otters do.

  116. JCH,

    But I did get it backwards… the results of the coral bleaching study were out when he trashed the paper by the two JCU professors.

    You’re fired.

    Did I miss in Brodie and Pearson (2016) where they laid out the frequency of severe bleaching in the GBR by sector or was that from a different study? I was trying to track that down last week and came up goose eggs.

  117. JCH says:

    Brodie is pay walled, but I doubt the bleaching survey could be in it.

    The survey is of an ongoing event, so I suspect there will be more to come and many months before multiple journal articles appear.

  118. JCH,

    Ah, the link to Brodie you provided is to a corrected proof. Reason I asked you about the GBR survey is that Mosher was saying he couldn’t find it (neither could I), and I suggested exactly what you did. His response was something along the lines of “ah, postnormal science then”.

  119. Magma,
    Yes, that a remarkable exchange. It seems like the groups of us blocked by Pielke Sr is growing. It’s amazing how he complains about people insulting him, while throwing insults left, right, and centre.

  120. John Mashey says:

    VV:
    I wrote:
    “WIthout spending more time than I have to dig through this, and I don’t know, but:
    1) If Ridd was right on science, or if he was just wrong on science, then JCU was likley wrong to reprimand him..
    2) If Ridd explicitly was alleging *deception* on the part of others, i.e., academic fraud, people would expect him to either back that up with clear evidence, or withdraw the comments with apology, and if he did neither, I’d expect him to get reprimanded.”

    I don’t know how to be more explicit: the problem is that we don’t know
    a) What Ridd told The Australian, and I noted it’s unreliable.
    b) What Ridd was saying at JCU.

    Graham could only write about what he knows, not what JCU knew and wouldn’t say. JCU didn’t announce this (uni’s generally can’t say much about such things). Ridd announced it himself.

    Are you assuming JCU knows nothing more than what has been reported?
    (That would have been a really bad assumption on Mcquarie and Salby, which caused numerous people to leap to Salby’s defense in the name of academic freedom, when the problems were refusal to work, misues of MQ funds, and the worst treatment of a grad student I’ve seen.)

    Again, if Ridd is simply wrong, then he shouldn’t have been reprimanded … but we simply do not know what else was going on at JCU … and J

    Anyway, as Susan A said, he’s not worth a lot of attention.

  121. Again, if Ridd is simply wrong, then he shouldn’t have been reprimanded … but we simply do not know what else was going on at JCU … and J

    Fully agree with that. That is why I posted here and hoped people would have more information.

    Even if Ridd is not worthy of attention, academic freedom is. Thus I wanted to understand this.

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_

  122. BBD says:

    it depends on the choices you make right now to exercise your human intelligence and ingenuity in solving today’s problems today.

    In which M2 goes the full Lomborg.

  123. Even if Ridd is not worthy of attention, academic freedom is.

    I don’t always like the way some choose to behave (and some might not like how I choose to behave) but I think academic freedom is more important than colleagues possibly being rude to each other. On the other hand, if more serious accusations were made about other academics, then he should either back them up, or withdrawn. However, it really seems as though we don’t really know what happened and – it seems – that it’s not even clear if he was actually censured by his university at all.

  124. Magma says:

    A separate set of comments from Ridd on a recently published paper by JCU’s Jon Brodie and Richard Pearson appeared in the Brisbane Courier Mail on May 20th.

    But JCU marine geophysicist Professor Peter Ridd said his colleague’s claims were “laughable.”
    “I think that the threats to the Barrier Reef are greatly exaggerated, and mostly based upon science that is very poorly quality assured,’’ he said.
    Latest findings by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority show 93 per cent of the natural wonder has some level of coral bleaching – varying from minor in the southern half to moderate and severe north of Cairns.
    Prof Ridd said bleaching was an entirely natural event.
    “It has always occurred over the millennia, and this is nothing special,’’ he said.

    Comments about a matter of significant public interest made to a local newspaper about the peer-reviewed work of colleagues using the terms “laughable”, “greatly exaggerated” and “based upon science that is very poorly quality assured”… yes, I could see that attracting the warranted attention of a university body.

    Speaking of poor science, upon what observations and data does Ridd base his own claim that bleaching “has always occurred over the millennia, and this is nothing special”?

  125. Joshua says:

    ==> However, it really seems as though we don’t really know what happened and – it seems – that it’s not even clear if he was actually censured by his university at all. ==>>

    This, IMO, is what is most interesting about the situation. We have people, like Judith and her denizens, who are absolutely determined to takeke a step back into history…Lysenko and gulags and all that….to find parallels.

    Yet, they haven’t taken the time to research what actually happened, and perhaps even more importantly, they are chomping at the bit to use this situation – which, even if it is a case of unfair censure – is an unusual situation, an outlier, to confirm their drama-queened up sense of victimhood.

    I don’t have to say it, but I will. Sameosameo.

  126. Joshua says:

    Everybody loves a slippery slope.

  127. From where I sit, academic freedom is being attacked by unskeptical “skeptics”, e.g., Rep. Lamar Smith and Sen. Ted Cruz campaign against NASA/NOAA, Australia’s CSIRO, and Canada’s former Harper. They’ve just turn the argument inside out because it’s exploitable. For example, I just got this at WaPo. He describes how he treats me and those whom I regard as the best scientists.

    Tony Heller: Alarmists can’t debate any of the data I present, so they resort to personal attacks, fear and hysteria. That is how the left has always operated. Desmogblog has never contacted me, and their profile of me is fraudulent.

    I don’t mean to say that I don’t admire patience and tolerance, only that it’s all rather biting it’s tail.

  128. JCH says:

    The Australian

    He argues peer review is nowhere near enough quality assurance on which to base decisions to spend billions of dollars of public funds.

    As part of his quality assurance crusade, Ridd has challenged the findings of several papers on coral and the Great Barrier Reef.

    One paper claims there has been a 15 per cent decline in calcification rate between 1990 and 2005.

    But Ridd’s quality assurance work claims the paper has two major flaws.

    The first is an assumption that corals grow at the same rate, no matter what their size or age.

    The second shortcoming is measurement errors in the last coral band of each core.

    Ridd claims when the errors are removed the fall in the calcification rate after 1990 disappears.

    [Double. -W]

  129. JCH says:

    He appears to be ignoring De’ath 2013.

  130. Pingback: Science wars, science crises, and wars on science? | …and Then There's Physics

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