The Corruption of Science

The late Dr. Michael Crichton in a speech at the California Institute of Technology made the following observation:

“I want to …talk about … the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. …

“Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results … .

“There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. … .”  … Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E = mc². Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.”

 In recent decades, the term consensus science has come to be associated with climate change/global warming.  The appeal to a consensus has been used to avoid honest and open debate about the extent of human influence on the climate system.  Climate change has become the poster child for the widely documented corruption in many fields of science resulting from competition for funding, tying funding to specific policy outcomes, and the increasing pressure to publish or perish.

Norman Rogers in the May 14 issue of the American Thinker began his article citing President Eisenhower’s farewell address warning that a “scientific-technological elite” dependent on government money would exert undue influence on government policy”. Scientific advice to policy makers has become heavily influenced by political agendas and rewards to organizations and scientists that provide the necessary scientific support for political objectives.  In the case of climate change, the influence can be traced back to the White House and Al Gore.

Climate change is the primary example of how science can be perverted by money and politics.  Today there is an international climate establishment that is supported annually by billions of dollars to advance a war on fossil energy, promote an agenda of fear, and undermine capitalism’s market driven system.  Anyone who does not subscribe to the climate orthodoxy is subjected intimidation and not to subtle threats to their careers.  Some climate advocates have called so called skeptics war criminals who should be jailed, the equivalent of holocaust deniers, flat earthers, and industry pawns.

The crime of these skeptics is to challenge the asserted consensus that human activities involving fossil energy and economic development are threatening the planet.  Advocates point to computer model results that project dramatic increases in global temperatures that will lead to extreme climate events—more intense hurricanes, extended droughts, and sea level rises that threaten coastal cities for example.

To increase their power and influence, the climate establishment has adopted the mantra that the “science is settled” and 97% of scientists agree that human activities are the primary cause of climate change over the past 50 plus years.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) does not claim that the science is settled.  Its latest report has a chart that shows level of understanding about major climate forcing processes.  Many are shown as low or medium levels of understanding.  Throughout its report, the IPCC refers to topics reflecting great uncertainty—natural variability, cloud formation, climate sensitivity, for example. The now 18-year pause in warming has so befuddled the establishment that it has come up with 52 different explanations.

In making projections of future global temperatures, the IPCC relies on over 50 models, each of which reflects different assumptions about how the climate system functions.  None of the models has been able to project actual temperatures or the pause. And, the only way these models can “back cast” past temperatures is by a process of adjustments. If climate science was settled, 50 plus models would be unnecessary and they would be highly accurate.

Finally, there is the claim that 97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is real and man-made. It is a bogus claim based on a paper by John Cook of the University of Queensland’s Climate Change Institute.  Reviews of Cook’s work demonstrate that is a case of cooking the books.  One of those critiques was by Richard Tol, a professor at the University of Sussex and an IPCC lead author, while the most detailed and quantitative was by Steve McIntyre—Climate Audit website.  Other critiques have included articles in the American Thinker, Debunking the 97% Consensus on Global Warming, February 4, 2014, The New American, Global Warming “Consensus: Cooking the Books, May 21, 2013, and a blog The Collapsing Consensus by Christopher Monckton of Brenchley.

The Cook paper is a classic example of what Darrell Huff wrote about in his book, How to Lie With Statistics.  The fact that the climate change establishment creates such misleading information to manipulate opinion is clear evidence that its scientific foundation doesn’t exist.  It is also evidence of desperation because the climate is not conforming to its orthodoxy of dread.

Science has provided the foundation for tremendous advances in technology, innovation that have contributed to advances in  human health and wealth.  Its corruption threatens to undermine the potential future advances that will benefit the generations of tomorrow.