by Judith Curry
A Scientist’s Manifesto challenges scientists to think about their work in a broader context, and to engage more fully with the society that supports them and ultimately stands to be impacted by them – for good or bad.
The material for this post comes from Andrew Maynard’s blog 2020 Science. Andrew Maynard has a Ph.D. in physics and is currently Director of the Risk Science Center at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Hisbiosketch is very interesting, and well worth reading. He describes himself as “A scientist with an unhealthy interest in the dark side – policy, communication and all that.”
Maynard’s post is entitled “Building trust between science and society: A Scientist’s Manifesto.” The post points to Robert Winston’s book Bad Ideas: How our Finest Inventions Nearly Finished Us Off. From a review at Amazon.com
Robert Winston’s Bad Ideas: An Arresting History of Our Inventions is a provocative inversion of traditional histories of scientific ingenuity … by the end I realised that what Winston’s own powerful and well-paced narration had opened my eyes to was the importance of the non-scientific being better informed. Stuffed with unusual gems, his history goes some way to achieving that; it also delivers a sober warning to scientists too eager to achieve glittering prizes.
Lord Robert Winston is Professor of Science and Society and Emeritus Professor of Fertility Studies at Imperial College. A quote from his web page:
Scientists must listen to public fears, and respond to the concerns of ordinary people. We must behave responsibly, ensuring our work has the highest ethical standards.”
Winston’s book (which I haven’t read) concludes with a A Scientist’s Manifesto – a 14 point guide to help strengthen the relationship between science and society:
1. We should try to communicate our work as effectively as possible, because ultimately it is done on behalf of society and because its adverse consequences may affect members of the society in which we all live. We need to strive for clarity not only when we make statements or publish work for scientific colleagues, but also in making our work intelligible to the average layperson. We may also reflect that learning to communicate more effectively may improve the quality of the science we do and make it more relevant to the problems we are attempting to solve.
2. Communication is two-way process. Good engagement with the public is not merely a case of imparting scientific information clearly. It involves listening to and responding to the ideas, questions, hopes and concerns the public may have. We should accept that this kind of engagement with the public is a matter of good citizenship. We should reflect that sometimes proper dialogue with various sections of the public may inform some aspects of our work. Moreover, it can make any technology that is developed from our work more relevant to the needs of the public and less likely be dangerous.
3. The media, whether written, broadcast or web-based, play a key role in how the public learn about science. We need to share our work more effectively by being as clear, honest and intelligible s possible in our dealings with journalists. We also need to recognize that misusing the media by exaggerating the potential of what we are studying, or belittling the work of other scientists working in the field, can be detrimental to science.
4. We need to recognize that the science we do is not entirely our property. Whether the taxpayer helps fund our scientific education or not, most of our training and research is paid for by the public – in grants from the research councils or charities. The public has a major stake in the ownership of what we do.
5. Whenever possible, we should always consider the ethical problems that may be raised by the applications of our work. Some scientists have claimed that science does not have a moral value; but while pure knowledge may be ethically neutral, the way this knowledge is gained and the use to which it is put can involve many difficult ethical issues.
6. We should reflect that science is not simply ‘the truth’ but merely a version of it. A scientific experiment may well ‘prove’ something, but a ‘proof’ may change with the passage of time as we gain better understanding. Mere assertion that something is fact will not persuade many people of the rightness of what we say. It is worth bearing in mind that sometimes two well-conducted experiments can give conflicting results that are equally valid. Science is not absolute; it is often about uncertainty.
7. It is understandable and proper that we scientists are immensely proud of what we discover, but it is easy to forget that this special knowledge can sometimes breed a culture of assumed omnipotence and arrogant assertion. We need to avoid arrogance because it can lead to misinterpretation of data and to conflict instead of collaboration with colleagues. Moreover, arrogance is likely to damage the reputation of science by increasing public mistrust.
8. Scientists are regularly called upon to assess the work of other scientists or review their reports before publication. While such peer review is usually the best process for assessing the quality of scientific work, it can be abused. When conducting peer review, we should try to ensure that we are fair and scrupulous and not acting out of a vested interest.
9. We should try to see our science in a broad context, but also be aware of the limitations of our personal expertise. We should consider that, when talking outside our own subject, we may be more likely to mistake the facts of a case. We should be particularly cautious about making predictions about the future of science, not least because creating unrealistic expectations can be damaging.
10. Governments, whether totalitarian, oligarchic or democratically elected, usually have vested interests. Such interests are not necessarily conducive to good research or to good use of the fruits of knowledge. Government control of science can have malign influence. This is certainly true of totalitarian governments, but misuse of science is very common in virtually all liberal democracies, including our own. It is difficult for scientists to retain independence from politicians, because politicians ultimately make many key funding decisions. But we need to keep some distance from politicians, and should not avoid criticizing their decisions where we feel they are wrong or dangerous.
11. Commercial interests, so often promoted by governments and universities, cannot be disregarded if technology is to be exploited for public good. But scientists need to be aware of the dangers of conflicts of interest and to retain a sense of balance, because commercial interests can be a bad influence on scientific endeavour. The history of science shows that the over-eager or narrow-minded pursuit of commercial interests can lead to the loss of public trust.
12. In the Western world, most of our best basic science is done in universities. But historically, universities have been élite and mysterious institutions, and even today they are sometimes perceived as rather threatening places where the complex and unintelligible takes place. Those of us working in universities should try to help foster a new culture of open access to our institutions and, where we can, help strengthen activities which involve community service and outreach. Where possible we should do our best to support whatever aspect of public engagement is taken by the university.
13. Schools have the most vital role to play in encouraging young people to see the magnificence of the natural world. But sadly, at present, many schools actively discourage children from appreciation of the wonders of science. We should try to support initiatives that may promote more practical and experimental work for children, and show our appreciation of inspirational teachers and their teaching. If we are in a position to do so, we should promote stronger connections and collaborations between schools, school-children and universities, because this is likely to help produce a healthier, safer society.
14. Just a generation ago, the mark of a civilized person was an appreciation of Shakespeare, Milton, Goethe, Thucydides, Rembrandt and Beethoven. But the pursuit of science has become so intense and demanding that today’s scientists are more likely to neglect our cultural inheritance. We may wish to reflect that by broadening our own interests; thus we may help non-scientists to see science as part of our culture. Shakespeare, Thucydides, Goethe or even Milton may not be directly relevant to our scientific research, but the cultural values such authors represent are universal and deeply important. The words of the roman poet Terence are of particular relevance: Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto – ‘I am a man: nothing human is foreign to me.’
Makes a lot of sense to me. Your thoughts?
Excellent, my only quibble with pt 13 is that parents rather than schools “might have the most vital role.” Our kids certainly credit us with many of the values and interests they have adopted and pursued.
An interesting manifesto but anyone following the first 10 or so points is unlikely to climb the greasy pole of academic ”success”. My career was entirely supported by industry. Industry was only interested in having questions answered. Industry did not pay for my research to confirm any pre-existing concepts.
At school, in the science stream we were required to do ”general studies”, to ensure that we gained some kind of ”culture”. Liberal arts were not required to study remedial science. I was interested in theatre, and always volunteered to join the regular English Lit trips to Stratford to watch Shakespeare.
At the CSIRO, we ran regular art competitions, for painters, photographers etc. to display their creative efforts.
Thanks, Hector, for your comment on the “greasy pole of academic ‘success’ and thanks, Professor Curry, for having the courage to post this information.
I read the Scientist’s Manifesto and posted the following response (awaiting moderation):
Thanks for this excellent information.
The basic problem stems from:
a.) Government control over research funds, and
b.) Discovery of the art of mind control by politicians.
a.) Thirty-nine years of deceit about Earth’s heat source – the Sun:
b.) Ordinary citizens – unable to accept the harsh reality of being manipulated and controlled by evil forces – become addicts or go berserk.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary: Bersek was an ancient Scandinavian warrior frenzied in battle and held to be invulnerable.
Look at headline news today and realize the danger of the present situation.
With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
Back in the old ‘Colonial Days’, the powers-that-be would send the colonists to some foreign country to dislodge the indigenous peoples and develop their new ‘living room’ land, this while they tried to tax the settlers through usury & all so that the ‘nobility’ could throw real big parties on their estates. These days the ‘Stakeholders’ create civil wars and turn the indigenous peoples into refugees so they then dump them on the developed nations of the world to be absorbed at public expense & thus stressing the ‘host’ nation. These refugees are resettled by the UN, in say Europe or the US, (but all around the world really). At the same time the native population is being depleted & murdered for ‘Blood Diamonds’ (or religion or water or _______)until there is nothing but controlled anarchy in the target nation(UN in Sudan or Libya). Let us not forget these nations have untouched coastline or mineral wealth and we have the satellite photos to prove it. So, after say fifty-years of loans, extended to a long line of tin-pot dictators who receive billions in paper money to develop their national resources… the banks will soon own Libya, Sudan,… (its a long list, really), outright & soon the U.S. Go figure. Slavery by a new name,… ‘Refugee’. Once these peoples have been homogenized they will no longer be a nation. You can see it; will you say it? On the field or in the stands? Are you ready for some Football!…
I don’t disagree with the idea that scientists need to step back and re-evaluate how they interact with the public. I think it would be more fruitful, however, if they took even more steps back and evaluated how they do science.
I’ve seen a number of instances where a commenter on a science blog has pointed out a deficiency in the quality process and a scientist has, in effect, dismissed the point saying something to the effect that ‘this is how science is done’.
Steve Mc has had many discussions where it was pointed out how present science practice, at least with climate science, degrades trust in science for observers in the public. Scientists may think peer review is a great process for insuring quality, but the track record seen by the public doesn’t show that it is. Failure to provide data, code and methods may be SOP in science, but it is devastating to public trust. There may be no grant funding for replication, but without it that public is right to be dubious of work that is never checked.
Scientists who were trained and live in a cocoon may naturally assume that the way they were raised is the best way to do things. They respond to incentives to advance in their field. But the incentives may not be such that they work to the benefit of society.
Scientists would be well-advised to go back to square one and get some input from people who know a little about insuring quality in processes. There are a lot of places that science could be improved so that the public might have a little more trust in the pronouncements coming from the field.
I have debated the idea of quality control with several posters here at this site on several previous threads. I have been told, by scientists I admire and have respect for, ‘this is how science is done’ exactly as you describe. The science I do (in an industrial setting) is really no different than the science done academically, however, we are more accountable to it because our customers demand it to be so. As such, we have to incorporate quality measures into our research and products to ‘convince’ and assure our customers we know what we are doing and we are doing what we say we are.
Peer review is not in any way, shape or form a quality control measure for academic research. Its purpose is to ask only if the research has any scientific merit worthy of print. The ‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness’ of a piece of published work is determined sometime later down the line by others who try to reproduce the results. Failure to provide data, code, and methods, as you state, does not permit the ‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness’ of the work to be determined. So, as you have determined, is a source for distrust.
The ‘customer’ of academia, as Robert Winston states, is you and me (see #4 and #12). So what means are available to we ‘the customers’ to be assured the work being reported meets some minimum standard?
I strongly feel there should be some sort of work standard that outlines the minimum ‘quality control’ measures needed to publish research. Measures to ensure data, code, and methods are available to those who want to reproduce results. I suggest a ‘third party’ type auditing entity should be used to ‘certify’ university labs to demonstrate they have been properly surveilled and found to be in compliance with the standard.
But I fear this idea will go over like a lead balloon.
The actual work is often very similar in academic research and in the industrial research, but the settings are different. Industrial research has direct goals and the goals determine, what kind of quality controls are appropriate. There’s also specific accountability to the well defined customer.
Each separate study of academic research should be judged as part of the wider scientific process. It’s value is determined by the influence that it has on this wider process. In industrial research mistakes may have a more decisive negative influence than the positive influence of successes, although great breakthroughs are certainly of exceptional value even there. In academic “pure” research the breakthroughs are really the principal goals and a large number of errors are perfectly admissible, if that’s required to maintain the level of free creativity that maximizes breakthroughs. In that type of academic research the decisive quality control occurs at the level of the scientific process through further science that either builds on the results confirming them or disproves them
Sloppy work and avoidable errors are of course detrimental to the progress of the scientific process, and so is dishonesty of scientists, whether they are really making things up or just less than fully honest on weaknesses in their work and argumentation. Scientists are very competitive and the ideal is of course that sloppy and dishonest scientists will be caught and their careers affected appropriately. The real world is far from perfect, and a process as vaguely defined as the scientific process is certainly very far from perfectness, but the basic model of the scientific process has turned out to be highly successful. This is really one example of the power of competition that should not be hampered by misdirected controls like inappropriate forms of quality control.
Another issue is that the spectrum of science is wide from strictly goal directed industrial science of highest immediate quality requirements to purest forms of academic science, where all quality controls are in the overall process. Presently much of the academic science is so complex that extremely scrupulous continuing quality controls are a must for getting any results at all. I remember from my years as a theoretical physicist, how necessary it was to spend a lot of effort to check and recheck all complex derivations of formulas. That was done regularly after each step. Some of the most competent theorists spent months working as a pair in completing and checking the derivation of a single formula. A few years later much of those derivations were done by computers using software preceding Mathematica and alike.
But all this was done as the choice of the scientists themselves. Without that their career prospects would have been dim. The referees and journal editors wanted some form of assurance that the correctness of the results had been verified, but there were no specific rules on, how it was supposed to be done. This kind of combination of freedom and proper principles is essential in academic research. The quality must be maintained, but specifying the methods to be used in that must not prevent progress.
One essential, even defining, part of science is openness in the sense that publication is an integral part of scientific work. The scientist can claim authorship rights only on the published material. It must contain all information needed by other competent scientists of the same specialty to decide, how the work can be replicated to verify it. It’s not always possible to publish everything involved as everything cannot be described in reasonable space, but Internet has changed the situation a lot. Publishing all kind of supplementary information has become possible and also a common practice. The principle of openness extends now much further than before, but the message has not reached everybody (or had not reached a couple of years ago). This is a part of the problems in case of the climate science.
It is hard to argue with what you say and what you know from your life experience. You are entitled to feel how you do about ‘quality control’ measures as this is the way you have been accustomed to doing your work and have done it successfully. I have no doubt in my mind that you are an exemplary scientist of very high caliber and I pay a lot of attention to what you have to say as it is scientifically correct.
However, I at one time felt as you do about the image of ‘quality control’. I also thought it could stifle creativity and be a nuisance to getting things done. It does not have to be. Quality measures can be tailored to the type of lab or research that is being done. I would be interested in knowing more about what you think ‘inappropriate forms of quality control’ are and what you think it is not practical to implement in an academic settings. There are many ways to skin a cat where it is mutually beneficial to both the researcher and the ‘customer’.
We appear to emphasize different parts of the issue, because we have different scientific activities topmost in our minds. My own science has been theoretical, I have been in contact with experimentalists, but I have not worked in laboratory.
I worked 19 years at a governmental research organization (the Technical Research Centre of Finland, VTT), which does both research based on direct government funding and project research both for other government bodies and for private industry customers. I was involved for some time in a fairly detailed study on possibilities of implementing QC/QA methods in the research activities of our unit of about 300 scientists. We concluded that the QC/QA of most laboratory work could indeed be improved and additional formal procedures were added or introduced to replace earlier ones. For the research done outside the laboratories the conclusions were mixed. Some research that was related to safety critical issues, as an example, did implement QC/QA in various ways, but for much research nothing more than following certain good principles was found justified. Only a small part of the research of VTT is basic research, and the role of formal QC/QA was certainly less in the basic research than in project research for customers.
Good science has always a high quality in some meaning of the expression, but the meaning may vary greatly depending on the nature of the research. In some activities the continuing QC is an essential part of the work and being done all the time with an effort that is well more than half of the total effort. That was the case in the theoretical work I mentioned in my previous message, although the creative step is of course even then the most important part. That may be true also in development of complex software as well as in laboratory measurements in situations, where maintaining the required accuracy and reliability is highly demanding. On the other hand there’s also a lot of research, where it’s essentially more productive to proceed with little QC and where this doesn’t create significant problems. I must add that the self-criticism of good scientists leads always to QC and even QA, but mostly in a non-formalized way.
My main point here is the same as in many other of my messages: Good scientific work may have widely varying forms. Trying to force any fixed rules on that is counterproductive for some part of the science. Formal rules are also often powerless as they cannot take into account the special requirements of the work, which may differ from everything the creator of the rules could imagine. Principles stated at a generic enough level apply to all science, but not any more specific rules.
I agree theoretical type work, due to its abstract nature, is harder to implement QC to. It is not so much the way the work is done (as you imply it is a creative process that often has no specific direction and evolves over time) that I envision QC benefits as when the work is finished…how it is made available for scrutiny. I disagree there is no way to implement such standards. You have looked at this in the past, so I will not belabor my point. I would have to witness the work first hand for an extended period before I could begin to understand any areas where such measures would be useful and practical. Believe me, I do not advocate implementing any ‘formal’ rules that are not beneficial to both researcher and ‘customer’. Our jobs are difficult enough, but we do have to answer to someone. I do not see the current way changing any time too soon.
Re point 10 — most people, scientists included, don’t understand how Soviet our scientific community is in practice. Funding is highly centralized, an extreme political correctness is the price of survival, and the truth is very much a secondary pursuit.
It is very common among individual scientists to argue, indeed to believe, that government funding of science is good for science. (I was one of these for many years.). But I have come to wonder if the marketplace of ideas might not be a better vehicle to truth than the bureaucracy of ideas. As in the economic realm, the Soviet model might just be a poor way to achieve the results it aims at.
This is not true in every field. It seems to me as if some fields become tainted by external pressure, and the climate science field is a perfect example, and at that point the funding becomes politicized and all of the negatives come right to the fore.
But in fields like mine (Psychology), people seem reasonably willing to abandon old ideas for new ones. That’s not to say you don’t have to fight to get your ideas heard, you do. But if your methods are sound and your results look good, people will take notice and the field can sometimes turn on a dime.
Of course there’s another big difference between my field and that of climate science: we can run actual experiments to test our theories, and this gives dogmatic thinking much less room to play in.
Anyway, don’t throw the bathwater out with the baby is all I’m saying.
Heh. Ya, I took a degree in and worked in Psych, too. “Turn on a dime” is more like “flock around the latest torch lit in the darkness”, until it sputters out and everyone wanders around howling and moaning and waiting for the next one.
Hey it’s tough work, brains are complicated, much more so than the laws of physics.
Speak for yourself. I’m simple-minded.
Yes it would be good if climate science were funded by the private sector as well as by governments. As far as I know there is nothing to stop that happening.
But is it happening? I’d be interested to know if it is.
An excellent set of principles. I’d be curious to hear the criticisms of those who Maynard suggests might find them “not to their taste”.
Looks like “Bad Ideas” goes on my reading list. I’m curious to see where Winston goes in the balance between benefit and peril from the various inventions.
Scientists are not the only ones who should understand their responsibilities and the practical link of their work to society: we are all involved in some way in bringing the future forward.
I have read Winston’s book. In the genre of historical studies of inventions, it is especially relevant to the discussion of technical intervention on climate change and the ambiguous potential of geo-engineering. I would say that the more general value of the book is in its focus on ethical questions – which I think is what you mean to get at.
The book is in the great post-positivist tradition which encourages science to raise not just technical questions (what we can do) but ethical questions (what we should do) that are part of shared public understanding, responsibility-taking, and choice.
And excellent post.
I like the ‘new’ Martha :)
Yes we are all involved in some way to bring the future forward. That is why it is critical we conduct our scientific ventures in the most transparent way. When those who look to reproduce results (particularly from fields outside) are welcomed to do so by the climate science community and not looked at as ‘looking to find things wrong’, this will allow the required scientific scrutiny to occur that in turn will build trust. More trust will eventually move the masses forward to whatever the forward ends up being.
A scientist rarely has an understanding of ‘society’. Society is not an empirical construct. And that part of it that is empirical, is purely economic in content.
I would recommend the opposite proposal: that scientists stick to the facts, and only the facts, and leave interpretation of ‘society’ and ‘economy’ to specialists in those fields.
i Agree wholeheartedly.
I like a lot of the points above, but have comments on other- alas time is against me so i’ll post them tomorrow.
You mean like the “social scientists”?
“1. We should try to communicate our work as effectively as possible, because ultimately it is done on behalf of society”
No real scientist would do anything “on behalf of society”. He would be motivated only by his own preference for the scientific method. Anthing more or less than that is not science.
Think about what things might be done “on behalf of society” in the circles Dr. Curry operates in. It might mean more aborted children. Or it might mean rationing energy or medicine or food. It might mean unverifiable sets of numbers used to make dramatic squiggly lines on a graph. It might mean using blogs to try and confuse people. The possibilites are seemingly endless…
This essay is just the “scientists should become social workers” bandwagon being taken for another drive.
Sadly this concept has taken root in our schools – possibly because science is hard. It involves solving equations and sometimes even differential equations. Much easier to drone on about the ethics of GM crops.
or the supposed failings of Al Gore?
This manefesto is a failure because it does not include the single most important dictate of proper scientific protocol; the scientific method.
The honest practice of science regardless of discipline demands comprehensive unequivocal and precise definitions and the climate change issue is based on a fabricated undefined term “greenhouse gases”.
The scientific method demands that even if there is only one observation not fully explained by a hypothesis the hypothesis must be dropped or modified to fully account for all observations.
The AGW hypothesis states that OLR should decrease with increasing CO2 emissions but measurements show an increase in OLR with the 57.1% increase in CO2 emissions since 1979.
The AGW hypothesis states that the global temperature should increase with with increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration bur from 1942 to 1979 and from 2002 to present day the world has cooled with CO2 concentration increase.
The AGW hypothesis states that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will increase the global temperature by approximately 2.78°C but the 14.77micron band of the Earth’s thermal radiative spectrum is already so close to satureation that no more than half a degree C of warming from a doubling of CO2 is even (remotely) physically possible.
I could go on with another dozen examples of failures of the AGW hypothesis but all it takes is one!
Clouds reflect thermal energy radiated by the Earth and with 50% variable cloud cover clouds can account for close to 90% of the Earth’s greenhouse effect. Water vapour (i.e. humidity) can account for up to 30% of the Earth’s greenhouse effect and combined with the effect from clouds virtually all of the Earth’s greenhouse effect can be accounted for by the combined effect fron clouds and water vapour.
CO2 at concentrations of just 300ppmv has a very strong effect on a narrow band of the Earth’s thermal radiation centred on 14.77microns taking over about 10% of the Earth’s greenhouse effect from clouds and water vapour. This has no measurable effect on the overall greenhouse effect which essentially remains constant but merely changes the effect due to the causative agents. Ozone also has a similar but far smaller effect. Methane has only a miniscule effect in this regard because it is in a very low energy portion of the Earth’s radiative spectrum already close to satureation by the effect from water vapour.
None of the other “greenhouse gases” named in the Kyoto Accord provide any possible greenhouse effect because they are for the most part outside the radiation limits of the Earth.
This is of no scientific concern because the term “greenhouse gas” has never been defined to a scientific standard, and of the only four possible “greenhouse gases” water vapour and ozone are not included in the Kyoto Listing.
This failure to properly define ‘Greenhouse gases” in scientific terms precludes any literature using this non scientific term from being called science.
Considering that Trenberth and Kiehl in their energy balance diagrams use the term “greenhouse gases” instead of the proper term “atmosphere” as the causative agent for their 324Watts/m^2 “back radiation”; this cannot be considered valid science. (especially if on considers that the “greenhouse gases” in the form of CO2 only provide 10% of this 324Watts/m^2 back radiation. This would only provide 32.4Watts/m^2 and the energy balance diagram would not be balanced!)
A true “Science Manefesto” properly including adherence to science protocol and the scientific method would have ended this climate change farce befor it even began!
“The scientific method demands that even if there is only one observation not fully explained by a hypothesis the hypothesis must be dropped or modified to fully account for all observations.”
Uh no it doesn’t. Or we would have abandoned or modified the theory of evolution in light of Piltdown Man.
” especially if on[e] considers that the “greenhouse gases” in the form of CO2 only provide 10% of this 324Watts/m^2 back radiation. This would only provide 32.4Watts/m^2 ………”
Do you have a reference for this assertion?
The manifesto comprises a set of positive values which should be “internalised” by all scientists in all disciplines. Climate science, however, seems to require something like a science equivalent of the biblical 10 commandments. In no particular logical order………..
(1) thou shalt adhere rigorously to the principles of the scientific method and use hypotheses which are testable and potentially falsifiable.
(2) thou shalt not fudge the data
(3) thou shalt not invent arbitrary statistical methods to suit thy data
(4) thou shalt not indulge in any form of bias e.g. thou shalt not employ incomplete, highly selective, subjective literature reviews
(5) thou shalt not exaggerate
(6) in the interests of transparency and replication thou shalt not hide the data or code
(7) thou shalt not make vague statements unsupported by evidence
(8) thou shalt not tolerate actual or potential conflicts of interest
(9) thou shalt not allow political interference to compromise scientific integrity
(10) thou shalt not use unvalidated computer models
There is no obvious treason to restrict the number to 10. Bloggers are cordially invited to add to the list.
giptis444, “The manifesto comprises a set of positive values which should be “internalized” by all scientists in all disciplines.” Well done; I think. I am not sure where your Bible is from (I for One am very glad to be out from under the Law of the Old Testament), but the verses you suggest may be better understood if we read Galatians; 5:19-21. Now please let us know how our Brilliant Leaders & their Scientists, plan to evolve into their next stage of life. The writer of the Bible suggests we continue, reading from Galatians; 5:20,21. Thank you again for asking, I hope this will help.
I should have writen: “The writer of the Bible suggests we continue, reading from Galatians; 5:22,23. Sorry for my mistake. Tom
This list and the associated info looks useful in informing individual scientists.
I see little in it however that would address issues at the science/policy/climate interface (and that’s not its stated intention).
In particular, with respect to #8 – no matter how ethically the peer review process is conducted, it is not a substitute for Steve Mc’s engineering quality analysis (IMO).
Regardless of one’s opinion of the people involved in climate science and the IPCC, it does seem to follow (IMO, just an impression at this point) that the IPCC should not involve people involved in producing the “primary literature”. (Scary to disagree with Richard Tol here).
The author seems unaware that Goethe, a polymath, thought that his greatest achievement was in science, not literature. Goethe had more scientific integrity in his little finger than some scientists today have (and to be fair, in his day had), in their whole bodies.
But apart from that small gaffe, he makes excellent points that show he is aware of the problems with the modern scientific establishment, which encourages and rewards a lack of integrity and long incursions down intellectual blind alleys.
We have the scientific establishment that we deserve and have spent far too much on. We could spend a tenth as much as we do, but if we spent it wisely, with some funding set aside specifically for research in minority areas, we could get much more benefit from it.
We just have vastly more scientists today than in the past as part of the population, meaning that they are not anywhere near as intelligent as their more select predecessors, and furthermore, few if any of them are polymathic enough to understand the limits of scientific inquiry, nor even what science consists of.
In fact, they are almost indoctrinated into the that sub-cult of Positivism we call “Scientism”.
Whenever a scientist mentions the public, or the public interest, he or she is invariably talking about getting additional funding.
Science like philosophy, is ether the search for truth, or it is commerce, which is the search for utility. There is no middle ground.
Scientists are clerks in a vast bureaucracy whose rules do not permit interpretation, because the bureaucrats have insufficient general knowledge by which to make interpretations. So scientists should stick to facts. Leave interpretation and divination to the experts.
We have enough problem in society today because the Keynesians have adopted the same aggregations and therefore nonsense as have natural scientists, and look what these economists have done to our economy by misapplication of principles that any philosopher should be able to discredit. Look what the Nobel committee has done to our economy by awarding prizes to economic shams masquerading as mathematics. We don’t need scientists adding additional harm to the state of affairs.
I’ll pick up from gyptis44 above and add Thomas Sowell’s recommendations to those:
(1) thou shalt adhere rigorously to the principles of the scientific method and use hypotheses which are testable and potentially falsifiable.
(2) thou shalt not fudge the data
(3) thou shalt not invent arbitrary statistical methods to suit thy data
(4) thou shalt not indulge in any form of bias e.g. thou shalt not employ incomplete, highly selective, subjective literature reviews
(6) in the interests of transparency and replication thou shalt not hide the data or code
(7) thou shalt not make vague or exaggerated statements unsupported by evidence
(8) thou shalt not tolerate actual or potential conflicts of interest
(9) thou shalt not allow political interference to compromise scientific integrity
(10) thou shalt not use unvalidated computer models
(11) Thy university shall insulate undergraduate fees from research expenses and require research to be self supporting independent of the teaching.
(12) Thy university shall separate teaching and research departments so that good teachers can select and retain good teachers independent of the research organization.
(13) Thou shall write books — not articles or papers, since papers and the peer review process have demonstrated poor reliability, bias, blocking of revolutionary ideas, and extensive corruption.
(14) Thou shalt not make commentary on any economic, social or political implication of one’s findings, and when commenting shall stick only to the data, and conclusions supported by the data.
(15) Thou shalt not let thy graduate students perform absurd, politically motivated, populist work with juvenile conclusions, based upon weak data, weaker math, and poor reasoning.
(16) Thy tenure shall be revoked, and all federal funding permanently witheld for the duration of thy life, for even the smallest abridgment of these rules.
More people telling other people
what to do and how to do it…
One sure way to destroy audience receptivity:
Trumpet an unwelcome message.
More rules, regulations, & guidelines to “control the message & the optics”, but such governors don’t afford the freedom needed to deeply understand & appreciate nature. Prioritizing political narrative appears to be one of many welcome escapes for those burned out on research.
Query: “…the importance of the non-scientific being better informed.” I view this statement as having several meanings. 1) John Q. Public is better informed regards to science than assumed by scientists? JQP just lacks the interest or details of the particular piece of science? 2) JQP does not understand science at all, to their peril? 3) Implied that Scientists are obligated to make their communications regarding their science more understandable to JQP? 4) An educated public in a democracy is better able to absorb and utilize the science that is being done? ie, liberal arts education? Renaissance man?
It seems there are competing agenda in the above statement ,at least from my perspective. Anybody else have a similar question?
Norm Kalmanovitch is right in noticing that this manifesto doesn’t say anything on, how scientist should do science. It discusses only the many issues related to his interface with the outside world including the interface with other scientists in form of peer review. The interface considered includes communication, funding, outside pressure and and some other issues, but the actual scientific consists mainly of activities not mentioned in the manifesto at all.
Both Norm Kalmanovitch and several other commenters above have, however, a far too simplistic view of science, The science is far too multifaceted to allow for many of the proposals presented. It’s possible to list some essential principles that scientists should follow in their actual work, but not define “The Scientific Method” that has to be followed. The essential principles include pursuit for truth, honesty and openness, but these principles cannot be transformed to a well specified method to apply. Neither is it possible to isolate the scientific work from the outside world and to do all decisions related to the scientific work independently of it.
Adding points related to the basic principles of scientific work to the manifesto seem highly justified in my view. They are indeed even more important than the issues listed by Robert Winston, but not in any way contradictory with his manifesto.
For the substantial collections of previous posts on the scientific method, see here
Regardless of how complex or multifaceted scicence is unless its foundation is in complete accordance with science protocol it is not science.
Once something is properly established as science and this criterum has been met then the scientists manefesto as presented here is of great value in dictating how the science is to be used and conveyed to the public.
These are two separate issues, and it is the flagrant violation of proper science protocol that has fabricated the climate change issue out of nothing so before we can address how science and scientists can interface with the general public we must first determine what is science and what is scientific fraud.
No matter how ethical we are in providing information to the public if that information is false because of fraudulent science which is in violation of proper scientific practice; then we are complicit in fraud.
As if there would be one correct science protocol.
As if the repeated condemnations of climate science would tell the only truth.
The earlier posts that Judith links above contain a lot of arguments for and against the existence of something like that. The post of Mike Zajko (the first of the three) contains many valid points, but even stronger statements in the spirit of that post might be warranted.
Norm, the climate change issue has not been fabricated. It is a very real scientific issue. Nor is there any fraud to speak of, just a lot of controversy and advocacy. Look at it this way. The US climate change research budget is about $2 billion per year (http://www.globalchange.gov/), estimated to be about half the international research total. The result is over 1,000 journal articles published each year, or several a day. If you can find a fraudulent one published in the last year or two I would like to see it. There is a lot of good science here, it just happens to be inconclusive as far as climate change is concerned. Your extreme moralizing is just wrong.
“Norm, the climate change issue has not been fabricated.”
David, of course it has. When scientists continue to use ambiguous phrases like “climate change”, the science can mean whatever they or you want it to mean.
The term greenhouse gases was fabricated without any scientific definition.
The CO2 forcing parameter of the climate models was fabricated without ant scientific justification.
The Minoan warm period was warmer than the following Roman warm period which in turn was warmer than the following Medieval Warm period which was warmer thanthan the current warm period. Essentially the long term trend for the past 3500 years is one of cooling so the concept that we are now heading to catastrophic global warming is another fabrication.
The rate of sea level increase is slowly declining so the statement that sea level rise is increasing is also a fabrication.
The picture of the polar bears on the ice flow was taken near shore in the Canadian Beaufort Sea but was used to promote global warming alarmism when three polar bears drowned in a storm far offshore in the US Beaufort Sea made declining polar bear populations another fabrication in support of AGW.
Steam coming out of cooling towers from coal fired power plants being portrayed as pollution is another fabrication to make emissions appear as pollution.
At 19,000 feet it is too cold for the air to melt snow on Kilimanjaro so blaming the reduction of Kilimanjaro snow cover on CO2 from fossil fuels is another fabrication.
Calling global warming “climate change” because the Earth started cooling in 2002 and has been cooling ever since makes the term “climate change” the greatest fabrication of them all.
It is time to stop defending the climate change issue and start holding those who fabricated the issue accountable!
The $2 Billion budget for climate change has all been wasted!
Norm, what you have listed is a combination of advocacy stunts, your own scientific arguments and gibberish. The science is in the journals, reporting $4 billion a year in serious science. Show me something fabricated. For that matter, the 90,000+ comments on this blog lay out a host of detailed scientific arguments. Claiming these do not exist is just nuts.
Andrew, the meaning of the issue is in the research. If you actually look at the massive research program that is going on it is perfectly clear what the scientific issues are. Skeptics who claim there is no scientific issue are worse than alarmists who claim the science is settled. They make skeptics look stupid.
I’ve been hanging around climate blogs for awhile. I’ve seen a lot of generalizations. Would you mind (since it’s perfectly clear) listing what the scientific issues are? And please try not to leave anything out.
Not too much to disagree with in the 14 points. I liked this one:
“Moreover, arrogance is likely to damage the reputation of science by increasing public mistrust.”
There should be some ears burning about now.
I get a sense from the tone and vocabulary that he is recommending cultivating a sense of unwarranted humility.
There is little to argue with in the above. I would add though and as some others have noted, science is an ongoing process. It is how scientists react when they are challenged that is the real test. This is the test that Jones so miserably failed when asked first by Warwick Hughes and then by Steve McIntyre for additional information. That his peers apparently raised no objections when his actions became public compounds the issue. That journals have been so slow to require the increased transparency that current technologies enables compounds the issues even further.
Thanks for highlighting this excellent summary of the essential principles and foundations of science. I strongly affirm Maynard’s A Scientist’s Manifesto
The obvious breach of moral principles and the scientific method in ClimateGate strongly motivates me and others to critically examine the science and/or oppose the policies being advocated by those warning over catastrophic anthropogenic climate change. The very appeal to “climate change” is a deeply offensive equivocation and deceptive rhetorical tool.
In The Great Global Warming Blunder, Roy Spencer addresses logical fallacies and moral failures.E.g.,
In ”Building trust” and FOI refusals Steve McIntyre illustrates:
5. “… Some scientists have claimed that science does not have a moral value; . . .”
We must choose whether to found our morals and ethics on transcendent principles or on the four forces of nature. For those who appeal to abiogenesis, “Might makes right” or “the end justifies the means” as was exposed in ClimateGate. The West is founded on the Rule of Law grounded on transcendent Judeo-Christian principles. The Magna Carta (1215) which restored the law over the king, and guaranteed that the “church shall be free”, was secured by oaths before God. The English Bill of Rights (1669) restored the right of petition following the Trial of the Seven Bishops. In Lex Rex, Samuel Rutherford popularized this rule of law. In USC The Declaration of Independence 1776, the founders of the USA held it “self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”; entitlement by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle” their “separate and equal station”; and “appeal[ed] “to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions”. By “enabling acts”, all US States mutually required that their constitutions “not be repugnant” to these principles. Foundationally we must choose whether to preserve this transcendental foundation of law, or abandon it and destroy the West.
14. “ .. . cultural values such authors represent are universal and deeply important. . . .”
In The Book that Made Your World, Vishal Mangalwadi explores how these cultural values and the foundations of technology and science are grounded in principles from the Bible. Nancy Pearcey explores further cultural issues in Saving Leonardo . Henry F. Schaefer III explores these issues in his book Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence? ISBN 0-9742975-0-X, and his lecture Scientists and their Gods.
Whether or not we preserve these foundational moral issues is to the future of science and our society.
Truthful science has no morals.
It is not guided by divine intervention.
Much of current science has been shaped for a certain outcome and not allowed to be followed into many different area in a complex environment.
If you try to show the error of the ways, ignorance to not following the group is the current reward as the whole system is tainted and corrupted.
“Some scientists have claimed that science does not have a moral value”
This is an interesting point. I must say that science hasn’t yet thrown up anything which causes me any real discomfort , morally or ethically. On the contrary, the scientific evidence supports such ethical positions I may take, on questions of human equality, race, human sexuality, religious freedom , non-religious freedom, ideas on the need to conserve the environment for future generations etc etc Even on questions of nuclear power and genetic engineering, which those of similar political persuasion to my own sometimes have difficulty with, I’d say yes, lets be guided by science and science alone.
But what if it didn’t? Suppose science did clash with what I thought should be morally correct? I’d have to agree that science should go ahead regardless of any moral considerations. Scientists just report the way things are and we’ll work out the ethics afterwards.
All very fine words from Winston. So… where can I find his condemnation of the practices that were revealed by the Climategate emails? I can’t see anything on Google.
It’s all very well coming up with pious words in a book that you’re trying to flog. It would be far better if people like Winston would stop being such utter cowards, and actually spoke out on the real things that are really happening in the real world right now. This is, after all, a fairly important issue – should we re-engineer the entire world’s economy because of the possibility of CAGW?
Probably better to just flog a few amusing books, rather than actually take an ethical stand on the standards of science that are being employed in the study of what is arguably the most important issue of our time.
Okay, for the ethics part but the above criticism is spot on. This Manifesto doesn’t stop bad science or pseudoscience.
I have not read either Robert Winston’s book or his website.
Winston said (per JC’s post),
””””Scientists must listen to public fears, and respond to the concerns of ordinary people. We must behave responsibly, ensuring our work has the highest ethical standards.”””’ [emphasis by John Whitman]
I think it is the area of ethics which is front and center on the discussion of why we have lost trust in a set climate science experts.
As long as the “ethics” are specifically related to performing science, not “noble cause” ethics that rationalize cooking the books.
I’m sure Lord Winston’s book is super (I haven’t read it either). His Fourteen Commandments do not contain, “provide thy data, code and all information necessary to replicate” or something along those lines. Isn’t it simply obvious, beyond any question, that any discussion of trust, regaining trust, etc,, must begin with full disclosure? I suspect the Lord’s whole teaching on trust could be reduced to, “Do not hide from your neighbor what you would have him provide to you. The rest is commentary.” Or, something like that.
Yes; I think a few paragraphs of Feynman’s “Cargo Cult Science” probably says more better.
. Steve McIntyre responds:
Hu McCulloch observed:
David – You quote Steve McIntyre as saying, “Journal peer review, by contrast, is a very cursory form of due diligence and one whose objective is not to “audit” the paper in question, but to determine whether it is worth publishing”.
As someone who has been a frequent reviewer (as well as a reviewee and a journal editorial board member), I have to say that Steve is seriously misinformed if he believes the above. A major obligation of peer review is to ensure that authors of potentially publishable papers correct errors and resolve uncertainties in such a way as to reduce the possibility of misinforming readers if the articles eventually satisfy the criteria for publication. As a reviewer, I have often spent many hours on a paper I thought probably worth publishing to make sure that all important issues were identified. Few papers are published without requiring author revisions to improve their quality, and so peer review is far more than a pass/fail test.
If Steve McIntyre is saying that peer review often assumes authors have performed methods they report in a correct manner without scrutinizing actual readouts or other raw forms of the information, he is correct, but the importance of this point can be exaggerated. The most important criterion for confirming a scientific finding is not that we haven’t spotted some misstep in generating it, but that it is reproducible. Indeed, reports that appear flawless in the face of intensive scrutiny have not infrequently proved to be wrong when it turns out that no-one else has been able to reproduce them – in most cases, the hidden flaws turn up at some later time.
I don’t challenge the principle that methods, codes, data, etc., should be available for scrutiny if needed, and that In specific cases, this may be critical to our ability to interpret scientific findings, at least in the short run. Although not part of the above commentary, I wouldn’t argue with Steve McIntyre if he claimed that peer review doesn’t always include reviewers with enough statistical expertise to identify problems in that area. What I do question is the implication that lack of disclosure is a reason why our scientific understanding is not far more advanced and reliable than it is at the moment. The main reason why our knowledge remains imperfect even as it advances is that nature does not give up her secrets without a struggle.
Having just spent many hours reviewing and commenting on an emissions modeling paper, I appreciate the issues. McIntyre’s short characterization here is not his full view. See further comments by McIntyre and others on “peer review”.
Rather I see McIntyre emphasizing the one or many orders of magnitude different requirements for professional business due diligence and the “full true and plain disclosure” versus reviewing academic papers. e.g. see McIntyre on Some Thoughts on Disclosure and Due Diligence in Climate Science where he notes his experience with “audit trails, due diligence and full, true and plain disclosure” etc.
Note especially McIntyre’s experience with systemic dissembling by “The Team” and their efforts to frustrate FOIA’s and prevent serious “audits.”
McIntyre is used to ploughing through a 3″ thick prospectus for some hundred million dollar mining project. The proponents land in jail if found to have provided fraudulent materials or withheld adverse data.
Yet we are being asked to spend trillions of dollars on results of a brief dozen page paper where the authors “can’t” find the data, refuse to provide documentation, and are found to have lied about their responses etc. Please put the issues in perspective.
To “restore trust” after “climategate”, climate scientists need to adopt the stringent objective standards of financial projects and medical research. The continuing evasion by CRU is offensive. and destructive of both science and public trust.
Lord Winston points largely regard communication of science to non scientists, and only marginally touch on how science itself is done. Only points 8 (concerning peer review) and 9 (concerning scientists giving opinion outside their field or about the future) actually refers to “doing” (as opposed to “communicating”) science, and then just in passing.
However, most of the problems with climate science arise from the kitchen, where scientific results are “cooked”, not at the parlor room where they are the subject of chatter with outsiders. Ensuring good practice, transparency, real peer-review (as distinct from “pal review”) and relentless criticism, and a disposition to revise previous conclusions (even conclusions oneself has reached in the past) in the light of new evidence, are necessary requirements for science to progress, and at the same time gain the trust of those outside the hallowed halls of Academia, or at least the most educated section of them. Without that, all effort put on communication would be fruitless, and even dangerous insofar it helps to disseminate bad science.
JC’s post quotes Winston’s book as follows,
“””””[Manifesto item #]1. We should try to communicate our work as effectively as possible, because ultimately it is done on behalf of society and because its adverse consequences may affect members of the society in which we all live. . . . “”””” [emphasis by John Whitman]
By Winston saying on behalf of society he is verifying the fact that virtually all significant open scientific research is socialized; that is funded and selected by government. I understand he is endorsing it to continue.
I suggest we consider that socialized open scientific research has no net benefit when compared overall to alternate non-socialized (privately funded and led) open scientific research. I offer the view that the politics and economics of socialized scientific research have severely limited the expansion of our private based open scientific progress.
I expect classical economists to weigh in on this.
Winston’s manifesto is an interesting example of clarifying the issues surrounding the “relationship between scientists and society”.
Unfortunately, like Judith and all good academics, he never quite engages with the real world. For example, a huge issue these days is:
When members of your scientific community lie, cheat, and steal to further their own ends, should other members refuse to say anything bad about the wrong-doers?
So … where is the part of his whiz-bang set of rules that covers that situation?
Judith, these rules are like “be nice to your friends” rules. They’re great in the abstract, and totally useless in the real world. Here’s a real world rule for you:
If you don’t clean up the mess in your own backyard, people will think that you are a slob, regardless of whether the mess is yours or someone else’s.
So yes, Winston is right. Scientists should be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent, and obey the scientific law.
Out here in the real world, however, vague generalities like Winston’s “Communication is a two-way process” are all too Dr. Phil to be useful for me. Winston completely misses the real issues, like:
My scientific response was to publicly object (in the blogs) and to file a Freedom of Information request. Where is Winston’s guidance in that? He, like you, Judith, wants to talk about how the problem is communication. Let me say it again.
The problem is not bad communication. The problem is bad actions by bad actors. It is compounded by the fact that you, Judith, and the overwhelming majority of AGW climate scientists, refuse to name names.
As a result, the bad actors suffer no loss for lying, cheating, and stealing. Not only that, but they continue with their scientific malfeasance and NOBODY SAYS A WORD.
I was astounded when Phil Jones came out with his statement about how it was right for him to conceal his data because someone might have the audacity to try and find something wrong with it.
But I was more amazed when NOBODY CONDEMNED IT. Everyone took your path, Judith, and refused to say a word about Phil’s anti-scientific stance. That’s why I filed the first of all of the Freedom of Information requests for CRU climate data. Because the climate establishment, you and the others, were far too busy working away in your laboratories to ask the tough questions. You were all morally or ethically opposed to naming names by publicly saying “Hey, Phil, give Warwick the data, anything else goes against scientific transparency”.
Instead, you want to discuss “14 Rules for Scientific Goodness” or whatever Winston’s piece is, when what’s needed is “14 Do’s and Dont’s When Forcing Devious Scientists to Be Transparent”.
Climate science is sick, sick at the root, sick to the core, and platitudes about how scientists should foster two way communication, while true, do not begin to address the current situation.
All that you say is true, but I think you know perfectly well why few voices were heard saying what you suggest. “Dynamic conservatism” (ostracism and ejection of “change agents” or critics of the “consensus”) is particularly potent when the stakes are as high as they are with Mitigation Money.
To be fair to JC, much of what moved her as far as she has gone is the vitriol she received for pushing the “uncertainty” issue to a few logical conclusions. Naming names is the acid test, but for a practicing scientist, the acid is real and potent. JC felt she could endure it (to a point) when she said early on that she felt her “status” and livelihood were secure enough to step forward. But it seems she sees limits to that.
Brian H | July 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Reply
Thanks for your reply, Brian. However, I disagree when you say:
To the contrary, I would say that the reputation of the whole field has been badly damaged by the response to Climategate, as well as the reputation of all that have not spoken out against the scientific malfeasance. I see that as a much greater danger than that someone might take offense if our gracious host were to say that Thompson and Osborne and the like should archive their data. Here’s the part I’m missing:
How is standing up and insisting on good science going to damage anyone’s reputation in the long run? Sure, the miscreants and malfeasants won’t like it. But how will it hurt a scientist to speak out publicly for good science and against bad? Serious question.
And more to the point, HOW ELSE WILL THE FIELD GET CLEANED UP other than by the actions of the actual participants, the climate scientists in question?
Because I hold it certainly won’t happen from people engaging in circular onanism regarding Winston’s manifesto. Restating the climate message more clearly and more forcefully will not restore the trust, it will only be seen as more spin. It is only when climate scientists re-animate their gag reflexes that we will see progress on this question.
Yes, I wondered if you’d go there. The “limits” are personal tolerance levels for abuse, I’d say. From the Big Pic vantage, not getting down to Whodunnit vitiates the whole exercise, of course. Malfeasance has malfeasers. Leaving them unscathed guarantees recidivism and copy-cat crime.
Willis, you hit the nail on the head. While the Manifesto is, on the face, the right words, it fails in the real world and as such can appear to many as another way to shift the discussion away from the real issue.
IMO, failure to respond to comments like Jones’ are akin to failure to report a crime that one witnesses. That is, the failure to report is also a crime, only slightly less criminal than the act itself.
When Dr. Curry and her colleagues call out the non-scientific statements and actions of their peers, then we will be in a position to begin to have trust restored.
JC’s post quotes Winston’s book as follows,
“””””[Manifesto item #]2. Communication is two-way process. Good engagement with the public is not merely a case of imparting scientific information clearly. . . . . “”””
The first sentence on communication is a mere tautology. The rest of the paragraph expands on Winston’s view of the responsibility of the socialized open science researcher to tell everyone what he has done with their money. OK. Good idea to tell us what was done with the money.
Question: What about the socialized open science researchers showing us (upon publication) all their data, code and methodologies; plus all related info that is within the scope of applicable FOI laws? Why no mention of that? Releasing all that would be the ultimate communication about what they have done.
Do not worry about the citizen’s lack of knowledge about the research. The citizen can find experts that they trust to audit/check on what was done with our money. We might even pay the experts we trust to check on other experts . . . . that is the free market way.
The “2-way” observation is not entirely a cliché. Properly applied, it requires each end of the communication line to acknowledge (and demonstrate understanding of) what the other is saying. Notably lacking in most cases.
I loved number 14. I did a fellowship at Lockhed Martin several years ago and, as a teacher, had a chance to interview managers about what they wanted in employees. #1 Please send us engineers who can be taught. They generally pooh-poohed geniuses who think they know it all. #2. Please send us engineers who can work in teams. #3 Please, God, send us engineers who can write. The last one was a quote I thought was amusing from one of the managers.
I would imagine you could substitute almost any job title for “engineer” and get a positive response from those tasked with managing them.
Re: #1; consider a real genius like Feynman. If anyone had suggested to him he (RF) “knew it all”, he’d have gotten a long, indignant, and scathing earful.
JC’s post quotes Winston’s book as follows,
“””””[Manifesto item #]3. The media, whether written, broadcast or web-based, play a key role in how the public learn about science. We need to share our work more effectively by being as clear, honest and intelligible [a]s possible in our dealings with journalists. We also need to recognize that misusing the media by exaggerating the potential of what we are studying, or belittling the work of other scientists working in the field, can be detrimental to science.””””
My inclination to accept this Manifesto item #3 was stopped by Winston’s words “ or belittling the work of other scientists working in the field. The use of ‘belittling’ is misleading. If I substitute the words ‘being strongly critical of the work of other scientists working in the field’ instead of ‘belittling the work of other scientists working in the field’ then Winston’s position is not correct .
He is not correct because scientists rightly should be strongly critical in the media of other scientists for effective communication about either what is not settled in science and/or what is scientifically inappropriate. No gagging of scientists critical of science in the media, please.
“If it were written with needles on the interior corner of an eye, yet would it serve as a lesson to the circumspect. ”
One might ask whether some people (science communicators) can be trusted not to bumb into things.
Also from the 2020 blog but eight days earlier we are treated to Andrew Maynard (a science communicator) having a go at Ben Goldacre (a science communicator) for having a go at Lord Robert Winston (a science communicator):
It may be that science communicators need some sort of guidelines of their own.
“Ben Goldacre, what were you thinking?!”
This is all about the time when Lord Winston got himself embroiled in a complaint about an advertisement he appeared in (I think the payment went to charity) but the complaint has upheld, and one of the counts was that it was untruthful, which boils down to making science based claims for the product that were not up to the standards required for broadcast.
None of it is particularly edifying and none of them come out in a particularly good light.
“one of the counts was that it was untruthful”
Actually, Alexander, the FSA ruled that there was not enough scientific evidence to make the claim that was made in the ad, which was that ‘Omega 3 may enhance a child’s concentration and learning’.
Winston is a baby and child development expert, especially ADD and autism. Science and communication about these issues is first and foremost for him. Did you know that?
That is the context of the issue you raise. Regardless of one’s position on fortified milk, Winston’s integrity remains intact because he has been consistent, sincere, open and accountable as a communicator.
He lays his concerns on the table and cites evidence based in science to support his views. He endorsed milk supplemented with Omega-3. Before making this choice, Winston documented over 200 peer-reviewed publications, including some of his own peer-reviewed research, to arrive at his scientific support for the fortified milk. He was transparent about this and his promotion of fish oil to reduce risks of developmental problems for children is well known in the U.K. Research since then, by leading health authorities, has strengthened the evidence of benefits. Winston continues to publish peer-reviewed research. The FSA continues to conduct its own research and evaluation.
The political issues in this case are not lost on anyone involved in public health: the context is that the dietary deficiency in U.K. children is practically a crisis. There has been no milk program in U.K. schools for decades (thanks to Margaret Thatcher’s approach to supporting food programs). Winston negotiated that he would not benefit personally and the company would support free milk programs.
That is the full context.
Of course, everyone is aware that Omega-3 supplementation does not solve the longterm issue of poverty or developmental problems related to poor nutrition. Also, fish may not be the best source, what with polluted oceans and problems with unsustainably harvested fish (along with the ethical issues for many, regarding animal sources of food). So, plant sources may be better. And the general direction of increasing dependence on pharmaceuticals is concerning for many.
It is all part of this particular ongoing public dialogue in which Winston, as a scientist with a practical responsibility to society, has chosen to participate, and for which he has followed the ethical and evidence-based guidelines he recommends.
do you eat Zealot flakes for breakfast? it was St Ivel’s Omega 3 enhanced milk not an advertisement for Omega 3.
JC’s post quotes Winston’s book as follows,
“””””[Manifesto item #]4. We need to recognize that the science we do is not entirely our property. Whether the taxpayer helps fund our scientific education or not, most of our training and research is paid for by the public – in grants from the research councils or charities. The public has a major stake in the ownership of what we do.””””
Preface to my Comment: Winston has a claim here that there is an universal pre-existing condition of socialized ownership, to some extent, of all scientific research no matter if privately funded or not.
Winston’s Manifesto item #4 appears to be a statement that in the UK the ownership of science, independent of who funded it, cannot be entirely private property because the government must have been involved providing/funding a scientist’s education/training. I cannot comment on whether that is true in the UK. Is the UK that entirely socialized? Does the mere existence of public science education socialize all science in the UK independent of private education?
My impression is there is some serious social propaganda involved here by Winston.
–> “6. We should reflect that science is not simply ‘the truth’ but merely a version of it. A scientific experiment may well ‘prove’ something, but a ‘proof’ may change with the passage of time…”
Damn–If only Socrates had undersood the truth about truth :)
My thoughts (for what they are worth):
1-i’m a bit hazy on this; in a general context- yes i agree. in the cAGW context- enough already.
2- to a point yes. Where ‘the public’ includes other professionals (different technical fields) then i absolutely believe there is merit to actively seeking their opinions.
3- I agree, but the media have a role to play here. How many of the prominent scientific reporters have even a passing knowledge of science? You can count them on one hand. THIS for me is one of the largest problems we have re:scientific communication.
4- Industry aside- this is an excellent point and should be hammered home. I’m looking at you CRU.
5-i disagree strongly. we should only be concerned with the science- leave everything else up to the people who will apply the science.
6-this comes back to communication. scientists ‘should’ already know this. better education on the scientific principles and methodology would be of huge benefit here (especially in schools).
7- totally agree. the first person who must be willing to criticise some new work, is the scientist that did it.
8- This is of vital importance and a written, binding code of conduct should be put in place. Failure to comply should be regarded as gross negligence.
9- True. But this should not stop us trying to contribute to areas outside of our speciality. A LARGE part of the scientific ‘toolset’ is eminently transferable across fields.
10- Scientists should avoid contact with politicians at all costs frankly.
11- True also- but again- funding cources should be irrelevant to the work of a scientist.
12- This would be a great step for academia. It would also if industry and academia co-operated more.
13- Vital. Teaching good science and scientific process to children is imperative (even if they don’t then go into science) as the skills are invaluable in everyday life (evidenced by the fact that anyone with a mathematical, scientific or engineering degree can pretty much work in any field they want).
What of current science then?
Is it not tainted by many societal quirks for funding?
Is then not the peer-review system not tainted as well?
This then also means the students taught through traditional teaching have been effected as well.
If you want a real fascinating journey follow the salt trail and how did it get there. Next is to understand a centrifuge and how salt had to be in greater abundance in the past with a faster rotating planet.
You’re really spinny, Joe. Trapped in a misapplied analogy.
At least I have done a great deal of homework.
You still have no clue what gravity actually is or even what centrifugal force is.
Applying these two with motion and a greater understanding of the planets complexity is reveled.
I’d look this Gift Horse in the mouth more than once. The title says more than the content.
So, Newton did what he did “on behalf of society”. Darwin wrote what he wrote “on behalf of society”. I doubt it.
The Scientist’s Manifesto makes very good sense, as you write.
The points that I would see being most pertinent to climate science today (including the IPCC process, which I see as the interface between “science” and “politics”) are:
The rest is very good, as well, but IMO these are the key points that I fear have been compromised, largely by a corruption of the IPCC process.
Obviously, many climate scientists adhere to this manifesto, but there are an influential few “insiders” that have been exposed as not having done so. These few (along with IPCC itself) have given all of climate science and all climate scientists a black eye in the opinion of the general public.
IPCC (a political body reporting selected climate science) has exaggerated, distorted or ignored data in order to get its preconceived message of alarming AGW across to policymakers and the general public.
Winning back lost trust is doubly difficult, but IMO it can only be done by adhering to this manifesto rigorously.
The 14 point list you quoted all seems very fair and reasonable of course. So, I’m just wondering how you would rate yourself in terms of meeting the various suggested criteria.
What did it say about exaggeration?
“We also need to recognize that misusing the media by exaggerating the potential of what we are studying…….”
Gyptis444 obvious seems to prefer the prose style of the King James Bible with his much more direct:
” thou shalt not exaggerate”
But again I wouldn’t argue.
Do you think that you yourself may be guilty of this though?
I’m not a climate scientist, so I do hesitate to argue with your claim of the climate sensitivity range [2x CO2] being as high as 1-10deg C (90% conf limits). Although, it probably wouldn’t be difficult to find climate scientists who would themselves say that such a broad range is a gross exaggeration.
Just as matter of interest: who else on this blog would agree that Judith isn’t exaggerating?
tt, you misquote me. I have given two different very likely ranges: 0-10C, and when you pushed me to narrow it, i have 0.5-8C. There is a paper on expert elicitation (can’t find it) where climate scientists were asked this question and their very likely answers fell in the range 1-8C.
I would agree that she isn’t exaggerating with her 90% confidence range for 2xCO2 CS = 1C to 10C.
The 0C-10C range for 2xCO2 climate sensitivity encompasses ALL the published estimates I have seen, from the Spencer and Lindzen lower end of 0.6C (from CERES and ERBE satellite observations) and the Forster and Gregory range of 0.9C to 3.7C (based on “purely observational evidence” – see earlier thread) to IPCC’s range of 2.0C to 4.5C (from model simulations based largely on theoretical deliberations rather than physical observations).
One could argue that anything in the range of 0C-0.6C or 4.5C-10C is an “exaggeration”, but to make this argument one should come with some good scientific reasons to support it.
Do you have these?
PS I believe the physical observations on CO2 and temperature since 1850 would preclude any CS in excess of 4.5C (it calculates out to around 1.4C, or less than one-third of this amount, using the IPCC estimates on natural forcing plus other anthropogenic forcing beside CO2). So, unless we postulate that two-thirds of the warming is still “hidden in the pipeline”, this pretty much precludes a 2xCO2 CS higher than 4.5C.
However, I have not seen any studies specifically presenting evidence that a 2xCO2 CS of less than 0.6C is not possible – have you?
While scientists might need a manifesto, the climate deniers already have one. It was written by a Norwegian man who cites Lord Monckton as one of his influences.
And you have a guy who used to be VP whose book on the environment and the Unabomber’s manifesto are in many places indistinguishable.
And you have a guy who wrote a book called “Time’s Up!”, a a call to worldwiide terorist destruction, that was endorsed by one of the leading cliamte scientists of the age.
Do you *really* want to waste your trolldom on this?
I certainly wouldn’t want to misquote you. So just to get it all spot on:
“I think we can bound this between 1 and 6C at a likely level, I don’t think we can justify narrowing this further.”
” To bound at a 90% level, I would say the bounds need to be 0-10C.
The second quote would seem be saying, in effect, that we don’t have any idea at all about what we are letting ourselves in for by doubling atmospheric CO2 levels. If that’s your genuine opinion, it is of course fair enough.
But, its just seems wrong to then go on to say that the science is just too uncertain, and that climate scientists don’t know enough to get involved in policy issues. I’ve seen it written on this blog that if the picture is just so uncertain that we just don’t know, then the climate scientists should go away and do some more work until they do know. You know that is the message you are sending out. Yet, if you feel there is a significant risk of climate sensitivity to CO2 being catastrophically high, it doesn’t make any sense, that you should do that.
tt, your last paragraph is your inference, not my statement. I have made numerous statements about decision making uncertainty (see for example my congressional testimony) that are not consistent with what you wrote.
I found this link on your webpage which relates to congressional testimony:
It doesn’t work. I was wondering if you could take a look at that?
I’ve just found it here:
We are beginning to flog a dead horse here.
Judith has already responded to your last insinuation that her position “doesn’t make any sense”, but let me ask you to simply listen to her testimony before a US congressional committee last fall, where exactly the points were raised, which you try to put in doubt.
To this point Dr. Curry stated that there is ignorance about what is known and what is not known about natural climate variability and the feedback processes, IOW whether human-induced global climate change is a real potential problem for humanity and our environment or not.
She then went on to say:
This is a climate scientist’s statement to a group of policymakers advising them that, in her opinion, they do not need to rush to solving a possible problem of “global climate change” because, “even in its most alarming incarnation”, this problem does not seem to represent an “existential threat” over ”the 21st century”.
And finally we had:
Again, this is a climate scientist’s counsel to policymakers in the US Congress to avoid rushing into policies regarding global climate change before thinking their consequences through thoroughly.
I see no inconsistency in this testimony.
I also do not see any inconsistency between this testimony and her earlier statements on the likely range of 2xCO2 CS.
I am sure that after listening to her testimony very slowly you will also see no inconsistency.
PS tempterrain, here’s the link to the JC tesimony
We are beginning to flog a dead horse here.
6C global warming, let alone 10C would be absolutely catastrophic.
Given that a doubling or near doubling of CO2 is pretty much guaranteed to happen this century if we don’t take action, it makes no sense to say there’s no existential threat over the 21st century.
What else can you finger as possibly having a 6C, let alone 10C warming effect on climate in the near future?
Pick anything other than CO2 and it’s virtually guaranteed it won’t happen.
My journey to work normally takes 30 minutes, but it could take as much as 45 on a bad day, or even longer. But it can’t ever take less than 28 minutes. When we talk about error bars we tend to imagine our likely expectation as being midway. “To bound at a 90% level, I would say the bounds need to be 0-10C.” That doesn’t say we should expect 5C + or -.
Reasonable expectations could be clustered well towards the lower limit.
You make a good point regarding climate sensitivity estimates:.
That’s precisely what we saw in the earlier thread on Forster & Gregory:
Range: 0.9°C to 3.7°C (95% confidence)
Median estimate: 1.6°C
“Reasonable expectations could be clustered well towards the lower limit.” Yes that’s true. The IPCC reports would suggest they cluster about 3degrees. .
But neither that, nor anything Judith has said to Congress, doesn’t change the fact, that a range of 0-10 (90%) still means there is a 5% chance of warming being higher than 10 degC. and 1-6 degC (66%) means a 16.6% chance of higher than 6 deg C.
Yes I know I’m banging on a bit about this but getting the above figures correct is fundamental to the argument.
IF the current trend continues, there is a 95% chance that the “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature” as measured by HadCRUT3 will be around 0.6C lower by 2100 than it was in January 2001.
The BIG word is IF.
IF the models cited by IPCC had any notion what the “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature” as measured by HadCRUT3 will be in 2100, I would take notice.
But they DON’T”, so this is a moot discussion.
No if the current trend continues we are looking at over 1C more warming by 2100
What – displease your paymaster, and risk losing your funding and/or livelihood ?
Perhaps a few brave souls without families to feed will do this, but most I’m sure won’t. Hence the alignment of climate science with the interests of government, and the general lack of criticism over malpractice exposed in Climategate.
This symbiosis has been described as a “collusion of interests” (Peter Taylor in his book Chill.
AGW (or “climate change”) has become a multi-billion dollar big business, funded largely by the taxpayers of the developed world.
The interrelation and interaction of the many powerful and separate interest groups is shown on this diagram and described by Tony Newbery in this article entitled “A Very Convenient Network?”:
Follow the money trail…
Yes indeed. Collusion of interests, rather than the simple “conspiracy” strawman that is often raised. (He also talks of the precomitted views in much of the climatology establishment).
The line is easily and routinely crossed. As soon as two of the “aligned” start to make plans, in fact …
You could equally well apply Maynard’s manifesto to a church or a lobbying group. It is advise to anyone who wants to speak from authority and not have their evidence examined too closely.
I would think the primary manifesto of a scientist is to use scientific reasoning and arguments. Build models that make predictions, trumpet them, and–if you are a good scientist–get it right.
Moreover, encourage the general public to seek and understand this kind of argument. Get people out of the habit of simply aligning with the powerful.