I was a biology major for one semester. I’m not going to claim to be an expert on science or the scientific method.
But then, either should Algore.
But I digress. One of the key tenets of the scientific academy is the notion of “peer review” – the idea that scientific work is going to get a rigorous going-over by other scientists, to try to find weaknesses, errors or gaps in the thesis.
Scientists sometimes like to portray what they do as divorced from the everyday jealousies, rivalries and tribalism of human relationships. What makes science special is that data and results that can be replicated are what matters and the scientific truth will out in the end.
But a close reading of the emails hacked from the University of East Anglia in November exposes the real process of everyday science in lurid detail.
Many of the emails reveal strenuous efforts by the mainstream climate scientists to do what outside observers would regard as censoring their critics. And the correspondence raises awkward questions about the effectiveness of peer review – the supposed gold standard of scientific merit – and the operation of the UN’s top climate body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The bottom line? The “scientists” involved in the scandal engaged in back-channel back-biting no less venal and stupid than you’d find at the most vapid Humanities department, to get their pet theory (and all of its attendant funding) accepted.
The scientists involved disagree. They say they were engaged not in suppressing dissent but in upholding scientific standards by keeping bad science out of peer-reviewed journals. Either way, when passing judgment on papers that directly attack their own work, they were mired in conflicts of interest that would not be allowed in most professions.
Read the whole thing. And the next time some chattering hamster chants “the science is settled”, ask them if they have the faintest clue what that means.