Alarm over the public loss of trust in science

by Judith Curry

A blast of fresh air from the new Editor-in-Chief of Science. “Science editor-in-chief sounds alarm over falling public trust. Jeremy Berg warns scientists are straying into policy commentator roles.

You may recall my previous article that bemoaned what was going on with the journal Science — Editor-in-Chief Marcia McNutt’s op-ed that was published in science: Beyond the two-degree inferno [link].  If you read my post on this (in the link), I can’t recall much that his disturbed me more than McNutt’s overt alarmisn and advocacy in the context of her role as Editor-in-Chief of Science.

A summary of my concerns:

But my main concern is this – the editorial was published in Science and written by McNutt who is the CHIEF EDITOR for Science.  Science, along with Nature, has far and away the highest impact factor of any scientific journals on the planet – Science matters. Like Nature, Science sends out for review only a small fraction of the submitted papers. Apart from the role the Chief Editor may have in selecting which papers go out for review or eventually get published, this essay sends a message to the other editors and reviewers that papers challenging the consensus are not to be published in Science. Not to mention giving favored status to papers by activist authors that sound the ‘alarm’ – pal review and all that. After all, ‘the time for debate has ended.’

Well, Marcia McNutt has moved on, she is now President of the National Academy of Sciences. I have a separate set of concerns about that one, but at least she is no longer involved in the arbitration of published scientific research in the U.S.’s premier science journal.

There is a new Editor-in-Chief at Science: Jeremy Berg.  See the press release from Science [link].  Excerpts:

Jeremy Berg, a biochemist and administrator at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) in Pennsylvania, will become the next editor-in-chief of Science magazine on 1 July. A former director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) who has a longstanding interest in science policy.

Times Higher Education has a new article on this:  Science Editor-in-Chief Sounds Alarm Over Falling Public Trust.

Well the title certainly caught my attention.  Lets take a look at what Jeremy Berg has to say about his new position.  Excerpts from the Times article:

As the new editor-in-chief of Science, a highly selective journal that still has the controversial power to make scientific careers, the biochemist and former University of Pittsburgh senior manager is worried about an apparent rejection of science by some parts of the public – and thinks that academics should look closely at how their own behaviour may have contributed.

“One of the things that drew me to this position…is there’s a crisis in public trust in science. I don’t pretend to have answers to that question but it is something that I care deeply about.”

Berg acknowledges that society’s confidence in science does “wax and wane” over time but thinks that, this time, things are different.

In the US, “scientists have been labelled as another special interest group”, he says.

Part of this is down to the polarisation of American politics and the rise of an anti-intellectual spirit, Berg thinks. His fears echo Atul Gawande, an American health writer, who earlier this year told graduating students at the California Institute of Technology that “we are experiencing a significant decline in trust in scientific authorities”.

But researchers are not entirely blameless for this rising hostility, thinks Berg. Too often they have gone beyond explaining the scientific situation and ventured into policy prescriptions, notably in the case of climate change, he thinks. “The policy issues should be informed by science, but they are separate questions,” he says. “Scientists to some degree, intentionally or otherwise, have been mashing the two together,” he adds, and urges scientists to be more “transparent” about “where the firmness of your conclusions end”.

But some in the scientific community argue that high-profile journals such as Science are partly to blame for the very overhyping of results that Berg decries.

A paper published in 2011 made waves after it found that there was a correlation between journal impact factors (JIFs) – which measure average paper citation rates over the past two years and are highest for prestigious journals such as Science, Nature and Cell – and the rate of retractions. Science had the second highest rate of retractions among the journals studied, below only the New England Journal of Medicine.

JC reflections

Wow.  I haven’t been so heartened by statements from ‘establishment’ science in a long time.  What is really astonishing is that Science chose Berg, who represents a marked change from the advocacy/activism of McNutt.

Berg gives me some optimism that ‘establishment’ science may move in the direction to address some of the issues raised in my recent post The Troubled Institution of Science.

I look forward to reading Jeremy Berg’s future op-eds in Science.



268 responses to “Alarm over the public loss of trust in science

  1. Wow could things be turning around? Of course there is still always John Vidal and Peter Wadhams to keep the alarmism stoked in the press.

    • Curious George

      Not many people read the Science – or the Climate Etc. Any change has to come from mainstream media, Olympics ceremony, and BBC. Remember that alarmism pays, be it a cellphone radiation, high voltage transmission lines, salt, or fat.

  2. “Berg acknowledges that society’s confidence in science does “wax and wane” over time but thinks that, this time, things are different.

    In the US, “scientists have been labelled as another special interest group”, he says.”

    JC, as I recall when you first raised this question some of your colleges were wondering what’s so wrong with advocacy?

  3. I would not paint all science with the same brush.

    There are many areas of hard science that I believe still has the public trust.
    However, Climate Science is not one of them.

    Climate Science has become a big stick for far-left socialists/fascists to beat conservatives in the head with.

    Climate Science has become, IMHO, totally political and institutionalized.

    The old saw “The opposite of diversity is University” applies nowhere better than in Climate Science.

    The entire education system is dominated by liberal fascist thought conformity. This is true from grade-school through post-doctoral research. The entire Climate Research juggernaut is centered around using taxpayer dollars to reward the conformists who will support the CAGW meme, and punish those who do not. This is even more true of bureaucrats who control the dollars.

    It has taken 30 years (perhaps more) for this situation to fully develop, and it’s hard to imagine it not taking at least that long to turn it around, because EVERY SINGLE DECISION on classroom material, grades, funding, research-direction, and dogma is ruled by the CAGW theme from the President of this country all the way down to kinder garden teachers.

    It may not be fixable. It may need to be “burned down” and started over.

    • °°°°°wallensworth said:

      The entire Climate Research juggernaut is centered around using taxpayer dollars to reward the conformists who will support the CAGW meme, and punish those who do not. This is even more true of bureaucrats who control the dollars.

      The notion of separation of church and state is dead. Nietzsche famously declared in 1882 that “God is dead.” But we’ve managed to resurect him, only this time in secular-scientific form.

      °°°°°wallensworth said:

      It may not be fixable.

      Unless there is an earth shattering revolution in energy technology, I doubt that it is fixable.

      Wind, solar, and batteries obviously don’t fill the bill, and the shale revolution is only a stop gap solution.

      • Glen – when I say “It may not be fixable” the “it” I am referring to is not the future energy crisis. The “it” I am referring to is this political pseudo-scientific juggernaut called “climate science.”

    • Ever read “Limits To Growth”? Published in 1972, it was concerned with” Overshoot and Collapse” of global populations from starvation caused by our pollutants poisoning our planet’s food resources. The “Tipping Point,” the point beyond which nothing could be done to prevent the consequences of failing to develop an effective response, was 1975.

      O&C was expected after 2030 – plenty of time to solve the problem. Prior to Fukushima, that research was updated with modern technology and data. No later than 2024 was their analysis.

      Of the 90,000 manmade made chemicals floating about in our biosphere, CO2 and other “green house gasses,” have been frequently reported. The last one I saw was over 407 ppm. As a result, it’s rapidly becoming to warm for some life forms to reproduce. Great Barrier Reef coral is just one example. That is important because it is at the base of one of our sea food chains. Increasing acidification of the oceans is adversely affecting shellfish reproduction.

      My point is that you can ignore global warming, climate change, global pandemics, mass migrations and conflicts over whatever uncontaminated fresh water resources remain. The more significant issue is the contamination and disappearance of our food resources, what Claude Levi-Strauss called “the poisoning of the planet.”

      Remember Apollo 13? We solved the problem in 1970 for a small spaceship. We live in a much bigger one, and have not. There is no Huston to help solve this problem, is there?

      • But that narrative is based on a particular theory of history.

        There are other, competing theories of history that are every bit as valid as that one.

        It is a misuse of science to use it to fabricate “facts” to conform to one’s pet theory.

      • Curious George

        Do you still believe in the Limits to Growth? How would you bet in the Simon-Ehrlich wager? Should you choose the losing side, you could be a senior adviser to President Barack Obama on science and technology.

      • The crops are doing fine, thanks to more CO2, but we are wasting the crops by using more energy than it produces to make ethanol and burn it with gasoline. More CO2 allows plants to grow with less water.
        I am really tired of this useless, flawed, alarmist, junk information.

      • Well said. My daughter just finished a semester abroad at James Cook University near the GBR and was appalled to see the destruction of the reefs. The food point you make is crucial, which she too emphasizes.

        Reading most of the comments on this blog lets me see where some Trump voters hang out. Truly frightening to read some of the mindless babble.

      • Just in time, the NY Times: Giant Coral Reef in Protected Area Shows New Signs of Life

        Then in 2015, a team of marine biologists was stunned and overjoyed to find Coral Castles, genus Acropora, once again teeming with life. But the rebound came with a big question: Could the enormous and presumably still fragile coral survive what would be the hottest year on record?

        “Everything looked just magnificent,” said Jan Witting, the expedition’s chief scientist and a researcher at Sea Education Association, based in Woods Hole, Mass.

        Guess it might not have been global warming after all.


        Similarly in a June 2016 article Great Barrier Reef: Survey off Townsville finds increase in coral despite recent bleaching they report on surveys of reefs near Townsville in the Great Barrier Reef’s central sector. Here NOAA estimated 33% of the reefs had suffered severe bleaching and only 10% of the reefs experienced no bleaching in 2015. This sector’s reefs had also suffered greatly from cyclone Yasi in 2011, yet “[s]cientists also found coral cover on seven of the reefs were at its highest levels since they were first surveyed 30 years ago.”

        This is not surprising. Creatures such as coral which have been around for close to half a billion years are necessarily tough little bastards.

        That so many gravitated toward global warming as a cause is testament to confirmation bias more than biology.

      • I’ve dived the reefs off Townesville. They’re in a sector that was least effected by bleaching.

      • Mediasaurus (1993) by Michael Crichton

        A generation ago, Paddy Chayevsky’s Network looked like an outrageous farce. Today, when Geraldo Rivera bares his buttocks, when the New York Times misquotes Barbie (the doll), and NBC fakes news footage of exploding trucks, Network looks like a documentary.

        According to recent polls, large segments of the American population think the media is attentive to trivia, and indifferent to what really matters. They also believe that the media does not report the country’s problems, but instead is a part of them. Increasingly, people perceive no difference between the narcissistic self-serving reporters asking questions, and the narcissistic self-serving politicians who evade them.


        It’s flashy but it’s basically junk.


        When I read that Ross Perot appeared before a Congressional committee, I am no longer solely dependent on the lively and vivid account in The New York Times, which talks about Perot’s folksy homilies and a lot of other flashy chrome trim that I am not interested in. I can turn on C-SPAN and watch the hearing myself. In the process, I can also see how accurate The New York Times account was. And that’s likely to change my perception of The New York Times, as indeed it has. Because The New York Times seems to have a problem with Ross Perot.


        When Barry Lopez went to a remote Eskimo village in 1986, one of the residents asked him how long he was staying. Before he could answer, another Eskimo said: “One day – newspaper story. Two days – magazine story. Five days – book.” Even in the Canadian Northwest, the audience is way ahead of the press.


        Better to say the American people don’t want details, they just want “the basics.” In other words I [as a journalist] can blame my own shoddy behavior on the audience. And if I hear the audience criticizing me, I can say I’m being blamed as the bearer of bad news. Instead of facing what is really going on – which is that my customers are telling me that my product is poorly researched, and often either uninteresting or irrelevant. It’s junk-food journalism. Empty calories.


        This leads me to the final consequence of generalization: it caricatures our opponents, as well as the issues. There has been a great decline in civility in this country. We have lost the perception that reasonable persons of good will may hold opposing views. Simultaneously, we have lost the ability to address reasoned arguments – to forsake ad hominem characterization, and instead address a different person’s arguments. Which is a tragedy, because debate is interesting. It’s a form of exploration. But personal attack is merely unpleasant and intimidating. Paradoxically, this decline in civility and good humor, which the press appear to believe is necessary to “get the story,” reduces the intensity of our national discourse. Watching British parliamentary debates, I notice that the tradition of saying “the right honorable gentleman” or “my distinguished friend” before hurling an insult does something interesting to the entire process. A civil tone permits more bluntness.

        And where can you find this kind of debate in today’s media? Not in television, nor in newspapers or magazines. You find it on the computer networks, a place where traditional media are distinctly absent.

        Selling the sizzle not the steak

        Remember, this was 1993.

      • Don,

        You should email John Holdren or Paul Eherlich. They love science fiction like this:

        “As a result, it’s rapidly becoming to warm for some life forms to reproduce. Great Barrier Reef coral is just one example.”

      • I am responding to Khartley802. Your daughter, by attending James Cook University in Australia has just attended the heart of global warmism in this country! I am an Australian and visit the Great Barrier Reef every year. To misquote somwbody famous “the death of the Great Barrier Reef has been greatly exaggerated”. Yes, thanks to the El Niño this year there was some bleaching in the northern regions of the reef, close to Papua New Guinea. This is quite normal and not unusual. But, if you (or your daughter or the James Cook University) knew anything about coral they would know that bleaching is not death. The coloured symbionts are expelled when conditions are not ideal, but recolonisation usually occurs rapidly either with the same symbionts or a variation of them. The majority of the reef is doing just fine, despite what Obama and James Cook are telling your daughter.

      • There is nothing wrong with the GBR, only the activists that report its demise.
        “We know that both sides have an interest finding a healthy or unhealthy reef. The problem starts with self-serving taxpayer funded scientists who are paid to find a crisis. But they would not get away with it if the media didn’t let them. Blame sloppy gullible journalists like Tom Arup (SMH), and Stephanie Smail (ABC) who should have asked some hard questions, and protested at the surreal headlines. ”

    • catweazle666

      “I would not paint all science with the same brush.”

      I doubt much of the general public has your level of discriminatory ability.

      It is very obvious that recently there has appeared a general mistrust of the political class and its enablers, who are perceived by a growing proportion to be a self-defined elite pseudo-intellectual who have become utterly disconnected from the wants, needs, dreams and fears of the public at large.

      This is apparent in the way the pollsters, politicians, pundits and experts were totally taken by surprise by the result of the UK election on membership of the EU, and in the USA the same groups are surprised, baffled and appalled by the success of Donald Trump, who is in with far more than a chance of becoming the President of the United States, arguably the most powerful single individual on Earth, a contingency that twelve months ago anyone who suggested it would have been laughed to scorn.

      The danger for science is that it is rapidly becoming perceived as a tool of the political elite, no longer concerned with discovering truth about the nature of the Universe, but of becoming an organ of propaganda of that political elite, more concerned with justifying dubious policies than seeking truth.

      The once highly respected craft of science has already lost a great deal of respect in the eyes of a very significant portion of the population of the Western world, this has the potential to be a great tragedy, for very obvious reasons.

      The times are changing – in fact have already changed.

      • Geoff Sherrington

        FWIW, your analysis is almost identical to mine.
        Whereas you note what has happened, I am concerned about how it has happened and therefore how it will be reversed.
        Formerly I would blame wealth-seeking motives for what has happened, but these days I simply blame incompetence, mostly. Your average newspaper reporter is often not a bad bloke. Often he/she does not even realise that the daily bread of regurgitation of the messages of others might be harmful.
        Never have I been able to discern a motive for the conduct of the ring leaders, the Gores, Ehrlichs, Strongs etc of the world as money grabbers and the Schellnhubers, Holdrens, Schmidts etc as scientists who have lost their moral paths.
        One has to understand motivation at the top before devising ways to reverse it. I am still at a loss after 4 decades of investigating.

      • Geoff Sherrington,

        John Holdren never hasn’t a moral compass since at least the early 1980s. He was a pro-renewables anti-nuke zealot then and has never changed.

      • Geoff: ‘One has to understand motivation at the top before devising ways to reverse it. I am still at a loss after 4 decades of investigating.’

        Emergent behavior is not driven from the top, but from everywhere at once, religions being the classic case. For instance it was thought for many years that the pyramids were built with slave labor, yet was later discovered that they were built by willing volunteers from all over Egypt who were feted upon return to their villages after a few years stint on the job. Wherever there is religion, there is religious skepticism; nevertheless this doesn’t prevent major influence or even complete domination of a society. Secular narratives can rise to influence on the back of the same deeply ingrained mechanisms, and CAGW has done just that. Once such a phenomenon gets big enough, alliances will form, special interest groups will leverage their part of the pie (or oppose) and indeed elites will play a disproportionate part in transmission, as I guess they play a disproportionate part in society more generally. Yet the motivation, in the CAGW case primarily a certainty of climate calamity, emerges via selection and typically has to be highly emotive to do so. Because a narrative has to be born somewhere and spread outwards by whatever routes are initially available, (this one born in academia) the emergence will have a specific order of advance, yet we are long past that as the whole world is pretty much soaked in the message of imminent climate calamity, hence plenty of passionate response direct from those folks most sensitive to this message in all sectors of society. And likewise to religion, significant skepticism has (so far) not prevented major influence.

      • Andy West,

        Spot on!

      • Will Janoschka

        It is time to return to the original Guild system. Craftsmen within their own craft, including apprentice, journeymen, master, and counsel! No election, just recognition of various levels of skill or wisdom. Just imagine the level of skill required to produce that SU-35 aircraft at half the price of the US F-22!

      • This is no more complicated than a classic breach of trust on the part of the scientist community. They tell us we need to trust them on the results of peer reviewed studies because we are not qualified to have a relevant opinion. “Trust us, we are scientist.” And they are right. We are not qualified, we need to trust them.

        Then we find out after the fact – via whistleblower no less – that the community has harbored a cabal of lying liars who are lying about the impending doom of the entire race – and all that so they can affect the greatest wealth redistribution plan of all time along with the greatest mass population control mechanism one could possible conceive of. That is pure, unadulterated evil.

        Regular people are wise beyond their ignorance.

    • When I was in school the “hot” topic was the ozone hole. You could get virtually any research funded if you had “ozone” in the grant proposal’s title. The effect was similar, but not as sinister, I think, because it wasn’t hitched to the unrelated political goals of the left. Still, I suppose with more foresight we could have seen how the government-funded science industry was ripe to be captured by the political left. In fact, I remember one of the professors–a proud member of the Union of Concerned Scientists–explaining the problem the ozone fad represented for good science. He was a Ph.D. in physics who happened to be a leftist. 20 years later, the professor in his position is a leftist who happens to have a Ph.D. in physics.

  4. Willis Eschenbach

    I have hope in the new editor, but that may be because I despised his predecessor for many of the reasons you listed above …

    And yes, alarmist climate scientists have done immense damage to the public trust in science. Things like Climategate and the Peter Gleick affair have left a foul taste in our mouths …


    • Willis back in the early 80’s when I first began to take an interest in Global Warming. I depended on “Science” to give me a picture of the development of the research. In those days, about one in three articles were about natural causes of warming. It seemed at the time that the natural trend articles tended toward the more serious considerations. I thought, well science will sort it out and over the next few decades, and I can sit back and watch it unfold. Well, that was back when Philip Abelson was the Editor, he lost that position which, according to an interview I read at the time, he said was primarily because of his changing position on Global Warming. As the portrait in Wikipedia says “Some have claimed him to be an early skeptic of the case for global warming on the basis of a lead editorial in the magazine dated March 31, 1990 in which he wrote, “[I]f the global warming situation is analyzed applying the customary standards of scientific inquiry one must conclude that there has been more hype than solid fact.” ” Subsequent to his replacement “Science” no longer entertained contrarian views. He was the first scientist I knew who lost his position because of the Climate agenda.

      • Michael Scott,

        Thank you for that back ground. Clearly, corruption in the CAGW establishment has deep roots. The Royal Society has some of the deepest roots of all.

      • Peter, I would guess that not too many on these boards know much about Abelson, but he was one of the most prestigious physicists of his day. An important figure in Nuclear Physics, made contributions in Paleobiology, was president of the American Geophysical Union and in his latter years worked on world energy supplies. In the late 70s he had studied atmospheric carbon dioxide and its potential for Global Warming in the most extreme cases and so his comments were not casual. It was a shame that this happened to him in his later years

    • It is proper to not trust flawed science. It is proper to not trust flawed government. We don’t distrust all science and all government, but it is up to us to look at what they say and do and decide for ourselves.

      Every issue should pass or fail based on its own merits.

      • PCT, agree. Wrote The Arts of Truth as a little ‘manual’ on some of the things to quick spot check, teaching mostly by example, over 120 in all. Only the first chapter is mostly on the philosphy and logic of ‘truer or falser’. The last substantive chapter uses CAGW as an example of all the previous themes. Flawed climate science, indeed. Unfortunately, also flawed rebuttals.

  5. It’s a start, certainly an improvement from the previous EIC. I was asked to look at the job but couldn’t be bothered–far too much damage to repair across the organization. As a AAAS Fellow, I wish I could be proud of the organization, but alas, their AGW antics (and use of the public’s skepticism about it as justification for their efforts in all their fund raising appeals) puts me so far off my feed that I can only barely continue to be a member.

  6. Gee, a known left-wing political hack placed by the elite into the Presidency of the National Academy of Science. What could possibly go wrong? I guess I could be considered an anti-intellectual for wondering.

    McNutt’s placement was a reward for politicising the journal Science (also, in a more worrisome development, politicising lowercase science). I also wonder, anti-intellectualism, again, I assume, the ways she will jerk the chain of now-supposed rational, non-political(?) Berg. Climategate shows us the lengths that “science” activists will go to suppress non-activists.

    Dave Fair

  7. I happen to think it is OK for scientists like Lindzen to advocate the way he does, and he has been one of the busiest people in the field over the last decade or so, being invited specifically to advocate all over the place. I would not argue against his right or those inviting him. Like Mann says “If you see something, say something”. Some scientists are concerned about general aspects of policy, and being a scientist should not disqualify them.

    • Jim D, “some scientists” are paid by us, the public, to be honest brokers of science (just the facts). Advocacy as practiced involves exaggeration, suppression of contrary views, cherry picking methods and results, generalized intellectual dishonesty and personal, career ruining attacks. I resent my being forced to pay people that engage in such practices.

      By law government employees are prohibited from engaging in political activities while on the clock or using government facilities. Using your own apologia, “some scientists” are engaging in political activities while, obviously, paid by and using government facilities and propaganda tools.

      Get a grip, Jim D. The vast resources of governments and NGOs are being used by activists to steamroll opposition to the prevailing political meme. And you dance around the blogosphere trying to justify such behaviour. Shameful.

      Dave Fair

      • I don’t like what Lindzen has to say about policy but I give him the right to say it. Monckton knows next to nothing about the science, but keeps talking about it. I would prefer he didn’t, but he has a right to. Would you say that people like him should not talk about the science because he is a classics scholar by training? It is a slippery slope if you prohibit certain people from offering their political opinions even on their own time.

      • dogdaddyblog

        Jim D, what a lousy attempt to evade my observations. Your “some scientists” are being paid by the public to be honest brokers, not advocates. Who is paying you?

      • You are not being specific enough. Should Hansen have not given his 1988 testimony, for example? Who complained at the time? Is it an idea that has emerged since? NASA can control what he does on his work time, and while representing them, but can’t stop what he does on his own time, or now in retirement. Similarly Gavin Schmidt. At universities, someone’s teaching portfolio may even include climate policy, making that appropriate to discuss on work time. It is not as clear-cut as you want to suggest.

      • dogdaddyblog

        Jim D: Still evading.

      • dog, insufficient data.

      • dogdaddyblog

        Data streaming in all day, every day. One only needs a discerning eye and willingness to listen to those outside one’s clique, Jim D.

      • Jim D, clearly, Monckton knows more than you do. I have never seen you at a climate conference, trying to learn anything. Monckton listens, learns, debates. You just express consensus dogma.

      • I saw video of Monckton at a Salby lecture. He didn’t ask the obvious question.

      • catweazle666

        Jim D: “Monckton knows next to nothing about the science”

        And yet he knows infinitely more than you.

      • catweazle666

        popesclimatetheory: “I have never seen you at a climate conference, trying to learn anything.”

        Jim D doesn’t need to learn anything, he knows everything already – or so he believes.

      • Monckton, last seen in a failed effort to change the Pope’s mind. Let’s call it a Hail Mary (an American football term for those who don’t know).

      • Perhaps @JimD would agree that the path back to trust is harsh punishment for lying and willful deception.
        Breach a trust and want the relationship back? In everyday life you gotta do time on probation. Consequence is the only resolution.

    • “I happen to think it is OK for scientists like Lindzen to advocate the way he does, and he has been one of the busiest people in the field over the last decade or so, being invited specifically to advocate all over the place. I would not argue against his right or those inviting him. Like Mann says “If you see something, say something”. Some scientists are concerned about general aspects of policy, and being a scientist should not disqualify them.”



      please note the difference between science and a street fight.

      In science opponents engage using Marquess of Queensberry Rules.

      You know.. no hugging or wrestling, no seconds allowed in the ring.

      Science is pretty polite a deferential.

      You dont talk about the guys hairline.

      ADVOCACY is a street fight.

      The only problem I have is that scientists want to enter the ring of advocacy and they demand that people fight by the queensberry rules they are accustom to in academia and science.


      You want to advocate, welcome to the moshpit and dont whine about the flesh wounds or take people to court for calling you names

      • Yes, as Stephen Schneider found, there is a lot of abuse that comes with the territory even towards family. Advocacy is not an easy decision, and it has to be informed by this kind of history.

      • So science has everything to do with form, and nothing to do with content?

        That sounds like the perfect formula for suppressing dissent.

        Personally, I don’t care whether science comes wrapped in gilded wrapping paper or not. I care about whether it’s true or not.

      • dogdaddyblog

        Mr. Mosher, congratulations. When you are not “Wandering in the Weeds” some of what you say is pertinent. But show me the “some scientists” that play by the Marquess of Queensberry Rules.

        I agree that Olympic-style advocacy fights are good spectator sport. I resent, however, paying for the steroids used by “some scientists” to cheat.

        Dave Fair

      • dogdaddyblog

        Jim D, yes. Just ask Dr. Curry.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        Steve Mosher,
        Yes, choosing to act as a policy advocate means that you will be treated as an advocate, not a scientist. A “street fight” is a reasonable description of the behavior to expect, and that is exactly what we see. But I think there is more to it than that: a common characteristic of advocates, whether in the court of public opinion, or in an actual courtroom, is that they act only to achieve specific outcomes, quite independent of factual evidence, rational analysis, or any sense of what is reasonable or ‘fair’. If you have ever had the (unfortunate) experience of dealing with an opposing divorce attorney, then you know what I am describing. Factual reality is not necessarily related to the outcome an advocate pursues; that outcome is often contrary to factual reality. The advocate’s desired outcome might be best described as ‘orthogonal to factual reality’.

        People are not fools. They do not trust advocates will be fair, transparent, or honest. Quite to the contrary, people will discount whatever an advocate says, because people know from experience the advocate is not “seeking truth” but rather seeking an outcome. Climate science loses credibility with the public because the field has so many clear, outspoken, and often extreme, policy advocates. (James “Death Train” Hansen comes immediately to mind.) The UEA email trove verified what was already (to many) obvious: many well known climate scientists are primarily policy advocates, not scientists. Acting as an advocate is of course their choice to make; people doubting the veracity of advocate “scientists” is a perfectly rational response to that choice.

        Unfortunately, I doubt a change in the editor of Science is going to make much difference to the extent of advocacy in climate science. Count on just about every paper to continuing to have comments about the “urgent need” to eliminate fossil fuel use, independent of the paper’s content, results, or relevancy to policy.

        Climate scientists should understand that the public is perfectly OK with funding science, but not OK with funding advocacy. I believe climate science runs the risk of broad defunding if climate scientists continue to choose to act as policy advocates. All it would take is an unfavorable election or two.

      • SteveF, excellent comment.

      • Outstanding SteveFitz

      • stevefitzpatrick | August 18, 2016 at 3:58 pm

        Agree with DY and T56, great comment. Advocacy has occurred throughout human history and probably pre-history, in it’s most major form as the pushing of misinformation in a cultural context (propaganda and over-passionate causes), and we have instinctive defenses that brake its effect. Most of the public have very poor knowledge of climate change issues. The obstinate skepticism that so many still display after decades of CAGW messaging from presidents and prime ministers on downwards, does not spring from informed judgement but from the detection of obvious advocacy, which they distrust.

        Levels of skepticism are modulated by various affiliations, yet ironically learning can help overcome the above defense. Studies (Kahan) show that the more folks learn about CC, the more they will polarize on the issue (happens within other domains too, e.g. creationism). An initial slight leaning towards orthodoxy (e.g. via political affiliation to a party promoting CC policies), leads on average to acquiring more and more of the orthodox side of the story, overcoming any initial doubts / skepticism. A slightly stronger initial leaning towards skepticism, leads on average to acquiring more of the skeptical side of the story. This effect may be why various efforts at education regarding climate issues do not seem to have produced the desired effect (i.e. more support for orthodoxy across the board).

      • I don’t know how many street fights Mosher has been in, but there is nothing that is not used, including among some lunatics of the art, homicide, so suing somebody is an allowed tactic.

        Defunding climate scientists is another. Try it in America and don’t be surprised if your balls, figuratively speaking, shoot out your ear holes… also an allowed tactic.

        Speaking of election cycles… as I said a few months ago, received with widespread CE guffaw and ridicule, November is not going to go well for the skeptics of cAGW.

        Lol, am I ever wrong? Climategate < Billygate:

      • As many “skeptics” often demonstrate, whining about name-calling (even as they name-call) is one of the tools of the Climate Avenue street fighter.

      • catweazle666

        Would you like some cheese with that whine, Joshie?

    • Curious George

      “Some scientists are concerned about general aspects of policy, and being a scientist should not disqualify them.” Then they should talk as private persons, if they need to exaggerate. If they use their scientific credentials and lie, that results naturally in the loss of trust. The hockey stick is an excellent example.

      • Sure, you probably have your own preferred version of the hockey stick chosen from lots of later work. What I see is that it was only the first of many such efforts, and no effort is the final word. That is the way science progresses.

      • Curious George

        This is the way Nobel unscientific prizes are awarded.

    • I don’t see Lindzen as advocating anything but better climate science, using observational facts and simple logic to dispell the hysteria. Different than ‘Death Trains’ Hansen getting arrested for protesting the KXL pipeline.

      • OK, then he has failed with you. Some see this as advocating against the consensus, but maybe you don’t.

      • “Advocating” against the scientific consensus is a scientific position not a political one.

      • He steps into advocacy when he says there should be no policy. This is a policy position as much as favoring adaptation over mitigation, favoring fast mitigation over CO2 mitigation, or favoring so-called “no-regrets” approaches over more effective approaches.

      • Say’s who?

      • Jim D

        “He steps into advocacy when he says there should be no policy.”

        There is a difference between advocating policy derived from the content of science, and advocating policy about the appropriate processes of science.

      • “There is a difference between advocating policy derived from the content of science, and advocating policy about the appropriate processes of science.”

        Well said.

        Arguing for transparency of data collection/treatment is different from arguing that fracking should be prohibited.

      • Attacking the process is a last resort of those who can’t make their attacks on the science stand up by themselves. At that point it is pure advocacy, completely removed from the science.

      • dogdaddyblog

        The behaviors of advocates/activists, Jim D’s “some scientists,” as typified by Jim D on this thread: deny or ignore contrary facts, attack the messenger, spout irrelevant “facts” and generally muddy the waters with rhetoric.

        He does, though, help force skeptics to work on recognizing “some scientists'” advocacy techniques, firming up their facts and sharpening their arguments.

        Again, I hate paying for these “some scientists” and their political masters’ propaganda.

        Dave Fair

      • First Amendment. Anyone can advocate either side, even the scientists who know whereof they speak, and even Monckton who doesn’t have a clue.

      • dogdaddyblog

        First Amendment, Jim D: Say pretty much what you want, just not on my dime.

        Ad hominems are ugly. They only attract the credulous for a period of time. Then they mostly learn, if they have the capacity.

      • Wrong. The “last resort” is hiding the process. And it certainly isn’t science. Feynman ftw.

  8. Your ilk told the public the pause could last a very long time, and then there were two warmest years, and we likely have a 3rd-in-a-row warmest year in the making with 2016.

    Your ilk needs to sober up and look in the mirror.

    You started your war on climate science, and the public concern about global warming has risen to an 8-year high – 64%.

    Get used to a lot more of this:

    The pause savior La Niña scheduled to start last month… may not even happen (about a 45% chance it will not), and you have your fools posting here that a .84 ℃ monthly anomaly is kooling. Absurd.

    August 15, 2016:

    When Climategate happened I said it would end up being about as important as Billygate. I was wrong. At least you can collect the beer cans, so Billygate is winning.

    • JCH is off his meds again, ranting about how we all gonna die.

    • How much of the highest temps belong to the unmeasured arctics, the vast ocean pacific and Africa, south america? By how many hundreths?

      When we get ocean temp measurements below 2000 m covering the oceans, we can approximate what that translates to in hottest year ever.

      Till then, it is just assumptions from 1000 km apart temperatures and small increases in satellite observationis.

      • Scott

        With my own ears I heard Thomas Stocker of the Ipcc comment on this subject at a met office conference in Exeter. He said

        ‘ we do not have the technology to measure the deep oceans ( below 2000 metres)

        Let us say that we do gain reliable technology in the next ten Years then we will need at least thirty years to see any noticeable tends. We can then start to address The question of the likely temperature of the oceans overall and how that relates to temperaturs above the ocean and how that impacts on land.


      • tonyb
        I remember your raising that issue at the time. Roughly when was the talk? My understanding is the new ARGO plus is in fact relatively accurate to much deeper depths but not yet widely deployed. I will go back and look. Big picture is even when they get that the small hottest ever delta in the atmosphere are useless to indicate significent trends. Measureing temps in the atmosphere vs the vast heat sink of the oceands is ” Like measureing the height of a glass of beer by the everchanging froth level after pouing”. All interesting but not accurate. Especially when one considers the krigging and estimating vast distances over unmeasured land and ocean areas.

      • Scott

        The conference was the year before last I think. Presumably Stocker was taking these prototype deep sea probes into account, which I think were just being rolled out around then

        They need to be fully evaluated and refined and were tested under ‘ideal’ conditions so they wouldn’t snag on sea floor obstructions. This is rather like sending a Mars surface explorer to a known small area of flat ground on that planet without investigating the rocky parts, where it could get broken or fail to operate, so you would end up with an imperfect and unscientific idea of the surface

        I think they will have reliable and robust floats in another couple of years but that still doesn’t give us the technology to examine the deep oceans thoroughly. From your link;

        ” The fledgling U.S. Deep Argo program only has funding to deploy about 12 floats per year. To meet current science objectives, the global fleet will likely require on the order of a thousand floats.’

        Bearing in mind the floats have an operational life of some 4 years there will not be enough deployed for 100 years, with a proportion being ‘retired’ every year.(assuming they work properly in the first place)

        The information they could gather would be invaluable of course and I hope funding could be found to cover an enlarged project, but I don’t know where it would all be coming from, although I know Britain, France and Japan have promised to make a contribution.

        Even assuming a vast increase in budgets, 1000 operational floats could not be deployed for a decade and then three decades are required to find a trend.

        Its an interesting project which would fill in gaps in our knowledge. Mind you, bearing in mind the vastness of the ocean depths 1000 floats does not seem enough


      • Steven Mosher

        too funny.

        Given the vastness of the ocean 1000 floats is not enough

        Given the vastness of land, a patch of england is just fine

      • dogdaddyblog

        Mr. Mosher, I could speculate that you are salivating over the future opportunity to Wander in the Extreme Depths of the Ocean Weeds. Bottom line, though, the Skeptics Vs. Alarmists Olympics will be effectively decided by the mid-2020’s using existing data sources.

        Nature vs. CO2 nurture. Cycles vs. noise. Observations vs. models. It will all come out in just a few (long) years. Who will win? By how much? Will losers cry foul (deny)? Will the politicians care?

        The wiggles in the graphs now mean nothing; casting the ancient runes would tell us as much about the 2020’s climate. Place your bets. [Since I live in Vegas I’ll hold the money, suckers.]

        Dave Fair

      • Mosh

        Apples and oranges. Land versus deep ocean. Anyway, as you say it is too funny, as on at least five occasions over the last few years you have agreed that CET is a pretty good (if not perfect proxy) for a much wider area.


      • Mosher doesn’t understand the inherent difference in spatial and temporal correlation and the difficulties in drawing any conclusions. He has said here there is a 96% correlation between NA and global temperatures. Thus common sense should tell us there should be some high level of correlation between a region and Global climate given long enough time. Several hundred years is not chump change. On the other hand we have a very short period of reliable data from ARGO. What can be reliably deduced about the last several hundred years of Ocean temperatures? Not as much as can be deduced about CET.

    • JCH, read Jim Steele’s excellent post on coral bleaching. Read the new paper about the revival of Coral Castles reef, devastated by the 1998 El Nino but NOT the 2015 El Nino because the repopulating coral polyps have a better adapted set of symbionts. Your image is typical warmunist alarmism. But it shows ignorance of basic coral biology, so is completely misleading.
      The main threats to coral reefs are pollution and overfishing. Corals have an LD50 to hydrogen sufide (produced by organic pollution decomposition) of just 30ppb! Corals are fine with climate change. Most genera have been around more than 15 million years. And as surface reef corals are found in a fairly wide range of annual seawater temperature swings, there is a fairly wide range of symbionts for them to chose from if they have to bleach before adopting a better adapted set. Polyps can survive 1-2 years in a bleached condition before starving to death because they still filter feed. If die off happens, the reef will eventually repopulate, as Coral Castles has. There is another published example off the NW coast of Australia of complete death followed by complete recovery in about 15 years.

    • dogdaddyblog

      JCH, weather as climate. How cute. What would JHC say?

      Dave Fair

    • JCH:
      Here the latest RSS temperatures I think:
      Call the two peak years 1998 and 2016. 18 years between peaks with the most recent one being about 0.1 C higher than the one 18 years ago. We’ve had discussions of record temperatures since late 2014. I then and now considered that the GAT is bouncing against an upper ceiling trapped in its basin. Did it break out this time as it did in about 1998? We will see.

    • Would somebody please explain to JCH what an el nino is?! (sheesh)…

    • JCH thinks a record El-Nino is a trend, and not simply weather.
      How quaint.
      Lord man, you’re gonna have to do better than that.
      Talk to me next year (2017) about record temperatures.

      • El Niño and La Niña events are part of the thermometer record. The record 2011 La Niña is part of the trend; the 2015-2016 El Niño is part of the trend,and the trend kicked you ignorant butts.

      • Skeptics were making the same dopey point as you are making with the dip in temps back in ’08. The ignorant butt is yours…

      • Skeptics have been widely critical of analyses that remove natural variability from the temperature record as they indicated warming never stopped. I think they can be useful, but I agree with Trenberth on the matter.

      • Talk to me next year (2017) about record temperatures. …

        I started talking about record temperatures long before the 2015-2016 El Niño. Even before 2014 became an ENSO neutral warmest year.

        I have also been doubting there would be a La Niña in 2016. There could be, but from the start there have been factors that would work against a La Niña forming in 2016, and now the probability has dropped from 76% to 55%.

        2017 is unlikely to do anything to bolster your loser hand. You losers need Matt England’s anomalous wind to come back… the Kimikaze. Assemble in your little skeptics revival tent and pray for it; pray for the stadium wave as well. A mere La Niña just won’t do the trick.

    • dogdaddyblog

      By the way, JCH, my ilk (not that of your assumed) is rare and perspicacious, unfathomable by your ilk. The “ilkness” of knowledgeable skeptics is much healthier and shinier than “scientific” alarmists’ murky goo. Thanks, it’s always fun to make up a new word for my spell checker.

    • heatstroke

      • It’s a global heatwave, and it is not abating. The August average through the 15th exceeds that of May, June, and July. The anomaly went up in July; it would be funny as heck if it goes up again in August.

      • catweazle666

        “It’s a global heatwave, and it is not abating.”

        Hey JCH, do you want to buy a bridge?

        I have a fine selection, all available for immediate delivery!

      • Run for the hills!!!!

        I hear it’s cooler up there.

      • I have a fine selection, all available for immediate delivery!

        Yes, you appear gullible enough to have accumulated a nice collection. I believe you.

    • Time for a nap…

  9. There are a lot of encouraging words here. Let’s hope they translate into actions. I wonder if he is aware of the extent to which his journal has played a role in exactly what he is concerned about. I suspect not, since the sentence ending with “… being sure not to exaggerate findings.” is followed immediately by “He argues that Science has “by and large” got this balance right”. OK, he does say that “there have been things that garner lots of publicity that turn out to be overblown or just plain wrong”. One example that immediately comes to mind is the Marcott et al paper, which miraculously created a huge upward temperature spike that was not present either in the data or in Marcott’s thesis. Apparently the editor and reviewers didn’t notice this and Science published it. None of the authors nor anyone from the journal have responded to any of the questions raised in my comment published on the Science website three years ago.

    • PM, I did two guest posts on the Marcott misconduct here at the time. I sent the second (the most damning) to McNutt requesting correction or retraction of a paper containing academic misconduct. Her assistant a knowledged receipt. Nothing else ever happened. McNutt was not just an adbocate. She proved herself dishonest.

  10. Science needs to remain relatively pure and advisory to policy. There is more than enough cynicism in politics as it is, and that is one vortex I would hate to see our profession get sucked into.

  11. “Alarm over the public loss of trust in science”
    Just wait till Trump appoints Alex Jones ( as the White House press secretary.

  12. From the article:

    When NIH decided to create a new drug development center by dissolving a popular institute, Berg was the lone member of an advisory board to vote against the move, because he felt the decision had been made without adequate input from the scientific community.

    Alarm Over the Inadequate Input from the Scientific Community.

  13. Jeremy Berg said:

    “The policy issues should be informed by science…”

    But what happens when science is informed by policy issues, and not the other way around?

    • Leo Alexander, in his 1949 article “Medical Science Under Dictatorship” (NEJM), suggested that, “Science under dictatorship becomes subordinated to the guiding philosophy of the dictatorship.”

      Then there is another potentially dangerous relationship between science and society that we tend not to recognize. Ludwick Fleck noted in 1935 in Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact, “This social character inherent in the very nature of scientific activity is not without its substantive consequences. Words which formerly were simple terms become slogans; sentences which once were simple statements become calls to battle. This completely alters their socio-cognitive value. They no longer influence the mind through their logical meaning—indeed, they often act against it—but rather they acquire a magical power and exert a mental influence simply by being used.”

  14. Like with religion during middle age, the secular power have exploited, and the religious powered enjoyed, their capacity to influence the public opinion to justify politics.

    Then people lost confidence in religion, and there was heresy, schism, satanist , witch hunt, inquisition, protestants, wars and genocides…

    Now Science is the religion of secular societies, to whom you ask what is good and what is evil, in the name of whom you can crucify people’s careers, burn witches on TV, provide chocolate medals, sell indulgence, support merchant of the temple and Templar Knight-Monk, spread money and starve dissidents.

    We are only at the beginning of the “schism”, and today we have seen that in Western countries, religion was marginalized.
    But what can replace science as our steering wheel toward good decision and morality ?

    Just look at the news about who exploit the term around morality, and you have two non scientific answers (one exploiting pseudo-Science, another exploiting pseudo-Religion).

    Scientific ethic is not an option, and the way we do it today is worst than doing nothing.

  15. the word “scientist” used to connote a positive and prestgious image but that connotation is dead and gone. it was killed by climate science. now it connotes confused goofballs.

  16. ==> One of the things that drew me to this position…is there’s a crisis in public trust in science. ==>

    Fascinating how often this is (ambiguous and ill, defined) claim is made by scientists, absent the provision of any confirming evidence collected and valudated in a scientific fashion.

    Kahan provides an evidence-based argument that the claim is specious.

    Gauchat provides evidence of an expressed drop in trust in science, in the U.S., among a particular political cross-section of the public, but the determination as to what that really means (is it anti-institutional sentiment or a reflection of increased activism among the religious right?) is pretty ambiguous (IMO).

    I am curious whether anyone here can provide some actual evidence.

    • Curious George

      Regarding the Hockey Stick of IPCC 2001 evidence now indicates, in my view, that an IPCC Lead Author working with a small cohort of scientists, misrepresented the temperature record of the past 1000 years by (a) promoting his own result as the best estimate, (b) neglecting studies that contradicted his, and (c) amputating another’s result so as to eliminate conflicting data and limit any serious attempt to expose the real uncertainties of these data. – John Christy

    • John Carpenter

      “==> One of the things that drew me to this position…is there’s a crisis in public trust in science. ==>

      Fascinating how often this is (ambiguous and ill, defined) claim is made by scientists, absent the provision of any confirming evidence collected and valudated in a scientific fashion.”

      Joshu-a, If true, and for what it’s worth, this statement could be considered a data point supporting both your and Bergs claims By being an example of a scientist making a false claim based on no solid evidence thereby further eroding public trust in scientists. You really know how to pick em!

    • Joshua, If there is not a crisis in public confidence there should be. In medicine the abuses and errors are well documented and there have been reforms that have been working. If most research findings are false as is very persuasively argued by Ionides, then we have a serious problem.

    • Curious –

      I take it your answer to my question is no?

  17. Charles Taylor

    Science, the enterprise, not the magazine, has long since lost the public. How many advertisements have you heard or read about flushing “toxins” form your body using this new product. Or how this diet or that diet will reduce your weight in 30 days by 15 lbs. Throw some hard science at people who believe these things, and see how little they believe the hard science. Look at the half baked nonsense being published as science in scientific journals. If you eliminated 90% of the scientific publishing business, the knowledge of humanity wouldn’t decrease at all.

    • Curious George

      I canceled my subscription to Scientific American when they devoted a whole issue to debunking a book “The Bell Curve”. Debunking is not the right word; the book’s problem was that it dared to be politically incorrect. For many people the Scientific American is about science. The trust is gone.

      • catweazle666

        “I canceled my subscription to Scientific American when they devoted a whole issue to debunking a book “The Bell Curve”. “\\

        Curiously enough, that was the last issue I ever paid for too.

    • Last year NPR here is Seattle ran a report about a 10 year long Stanford study on the health benefits of eating organic foods. The result of the study was that there were no discernible health benefits.

      The very next day they had to run another report trying to back away from the first report. Not because it was shown that the study was flawed, but because of all the angry, Birkenstock wearing NPR listeners who called in to complain. It was one of the funniest things I had heard in a while, back tracking while not being able to say the first report was inaccurate.

      The folks at NPR obviously know where their butter comes from and if it means tossing science under the bus, so be it.

      FYI – I stopped supporting them after that day.

  18. Danny Thomas

    Is this advocacy, or good practice?

    “King and his four colleagues freely confess that their analysis has not yet been peer-reviewed — science doesn’t move that fast — and admit to adopting the “unusual approach of releasing the results before publication.” But they defend the move in light of the situation.

    “Because we have confidence in the methods, the methods have been peer reviewed, and because the results are so strong, we decided we needed to release them almost immediately. It’s important for the public to know that climate change is making these bleaching events far more likely,” said King in an interview.

  19. An encouraging development. But the damage is already done, and in climate science will only get worse as there is no evidence yet of anything but same old same old.

  20. Surprise surprise, what goes around comes around. There are still climate scientists defending Mann’s hockeystick.

    • From what I gather from Mark Steyn’s most recent book, only Mann is still defending Mann’ hockey stick after McIntyre took down both his methods (short centered PC produces a hockey stick from red noise) and data (upside down Tiljander varves, strip bark bristlecones).

  21. Great change at Science!!

    There is your invitation skeptics !

    Do some science and submit it to Science.

    Turbulent Eddie?
    Rud!!! polish some of those chapters and submit…

    • dogdaddyblog

      I think destroying “some scientists'” pal reviewed papers is just as valuable, if not more so. [That just feels better than moreso.]

    • Uh oh. Mosher used double/triple !?. He’s REALLY serious now!!


      • Steven Mosher

        Look its pretty Simple.

        Rud is one of the few of you who actually puts his ideas down in defensible ways.

        It would be a great service to the skeptical cause if he would give you
        guys actual papers you could cite.

        he has the time and the skill and is not scraping by financially.

        Encouraging him to do the right thing is an act of random kindness


      • Mosher, I might reconsider giben your kind words. My interaction with McNutt at Science on the Marcott mess left a bad taste in my mouth, essay High Stick Foul guest posted here. Ditto writing Seattle Times about their Sea Change series, essay Shell Games, the book version exposing clear additional misconduct by Fabricius concerning PNG corals published in Nature Climate Change, in addition to the PMEL errors exposed in the shorter guest post here. Ditto Brusca’s Tucson analysis ignoring two major forest fires along his transect published in Ecology and Evolution, essay Burning NonScience. Ditto O’Leary’s scientific misconduct concerning sudden Eemian SLR in Nature Geosciences figure 3, essay and guest post here By Land or by Sea. Ditto Bebber’s nonsense about crop pathogen spread in Nature Climate Change, essay Greenhouse Effects (hint, half his horrors only survive in winter as places like Canada start growing stuff like fresh winter tomatoes in greenhouses).

        In each case, the journal or newspaper got a clear analysis with linked references, and a polite request for some fix. Disclose the Tucson transect was twice forest fire disturbed since the original sampling. Disclose hydrogen sulfide on PNG reef transects. Disclose earthquake disturbances along WA’s Quobba Ridge instead of claiming the contrary. Disclose easily provable Marcott coretop redating when hismpaper saidmhe hadn’t..
        Nothing happened in any of these multiple attempts. It proved to me that pal reviewed climate science is utterly corrupted, along with the MSM that reports it (Seattle Times re Shell Games being just one glaring example).

        You misestimate completely the strength of consensus message enforcement via pal review in the face of irrefutable counterfacts, including several cases of clearcut easily proven scientific misconduct.
        Let sceptics read my Blowing Smoke book essays (foreword by Judith) and formulate many different individual paths forward. Its our war, not my war.
        Salby, OTOH, is unpublishable because he is just wrong. See comments to recent Salby thread.
        Btw, I have published in peer reviewed journals concerning other matters where some might suspect I am a SME. For example, nonlinear dynamics (mathematical chaos) impacts on traditional microeconomic notions of productivity. Even included a real accidental experiment from North America’s largest heavy truck factory.

    • Curious George

      The change should start at the Scientific American, which reaches a much wider audience than Science. I’ll quote from Michael Crichton’s Caltech lecture 2003:

      We can take as an example the scientific reception accorded a Danish statistician, Bjorn Lomborg, who wrote a book called The Skeptical Environmentalist.

      The scientific community responded in a way that can only be described as disgraceful. In professional literature, it was complained he had no standing because he was not an earth scientist. His publisher, Cambridge University Press, was attacked with cries that the editor should be fired, and that all right-thinking scientists should shun the press. The past president of the AAAS wondered aloud how Cambridge could have ever “published a book that so clearly could never have passed peer review.” (But of course, the manuscript did pass peer review by three earth scientists on both sides of the Atlantic, and all recommended publication.)

      But what are scientists doing attacking a press? Is this the new McCarthyism-coming from scientists? Worst of all was the behavior of the Scientific American, which seemed intent on proving the post-modernist point that it was all about power, not facts.

      The Scientific American attacked Lomborg for eleven pages, yet only came up with nine factual errors despite their assertion that the book was “rife with careless mistakes.”

      It was a poor display, featuring vicious ad hominem attacks, including comparing him to a Holocaust denier. The issue was captioned: “Science defends itself against the Skeptical Environmentalist.”

      Really. Science has to defend itself? Is this what we have come to? When Lomborg asked for space to rebut his critics, he was given only a page and a half. When he said it wasn’t enough, he put the critics’ essays on his web page and answered them in detail.

      Scientific American threatened copyright infringement and made him take the pages down. Further attacks since, have made it clear what is going on. Lomborg is charged with heresy. That’s why none of his critics needs to substantiate their attacks in any detail. That’s why the facts don’t matter.

      That’s why they can attack him in the most vicious personal terms. He’s a heretic. Of course, any scientist can be charged as Galileo was charged. I just never thought I’d see the Scientific American in the role of Mother Church.

      Is this what science has become? I hope not. But it is what it will become, unless there is a concerted effort by leading scientists to aggressively separate science from policy.

    • Mosher, if I want to publish in Science it will be on new science I have personally done, not literature review commentaries on what others did poorly. Those are already published in books.
      Specifically a major reconceptualization of Helmholtz double layer capacitance as it applies to activated carbons, and so supercapacitors for energy storage. Two completely separate experimental proofs, plus a new mathematical equation predicting capacitance of any electrolyte system in uf/cm on any flat conducting surface from first principles of physical chemistry. Equation validated both directly via many measurements already in the literature but not previously reconciled or explained, and by single electrode ‘butterfly’ CV plots predicting anode and cathode differences experimentally observed in different electrolyte systems. But I already ‘published’ the reconceptualization and both experiments plus the intrinsic DLC equation and its validations in energy storage conferences attended by the worlds leading EDLC experts from Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Switzerland, US national labs, universities like MIT…real time peer review from 2006-2011. More interested in making money off two very fundamental materials patents now issued in US, Japan, Korea, Russia, China, with slow Europe still pending. You spend your own money on the science, you want a nice return if you crack the nut. (In truth, also spent about $2 million of ONR research grant money.)

  22. Scientific skeptics dubbed ‘deniers’ by government scientists of global warming have come to understand all to clearly that when you mix science and politics you get religion…

  23. Trust our predictions for 2100
    Ignore our predictions from 1990.

  24. “I don’t pretend to have answers to that question but it is something that I care deeply about.”

    Yeah, that.

  25. A glimmer of optimism is indeed shining through. One can only hope that Berg is not forced to sustain the same disgraceful treatment and blackballing as (for example) was dished out to Lennart Bengtsson, a respectable and respected Swedish meteorologist and climate scientist who had committed the unpardonable sin of joining the GWPF’s advisory board.

    But speaking of “sustain” and variants thereof …

    Although you’d never know it from the MSM coverage, the recent gathering of the IPCC’s great and good (to map out a 1.5°C path, or not) was preceded by – and perhaps even guided by – the release of a 15 pager – under the banner of WGI – which contains no fewer than 37 mentions of “sustainable” whatevers.

    Thus, it would appear that the now disgraced Pachauri’s 2009 pronouncement (or, more to the point, that which was probably written for him) is beginning to materialize. And he was only one WG assessment cycle behind:

    Climate change needs to be assessed in the context of sustainable development, and this consideration should pervade the entire report across the three Working Groups. In past assessments sustainable development and its various linkages with climate change were seen largely as an add-on. Most governments who have commented on this issue have highlighted the need to treat sustainable development as an overarching framework in the context of both adaptation and mitigation. [my bold -hro]

    See: A merchant in Venice: Pachauri’s “vision” for AR5

    It’s all soooo very “transformative” – yet another all-time UNEP fave, with 21 mentions in the above IPCC “scoping” doc. Amazing, eh?!

  26. It is not difficult to explain why conservatives distrust science. They have been libeled over and over again by scientists such as Lewandowski. The science establishment could show good faith by ostracizing the worst offenders. Instead, they seem to be lionized and become role models for activists, both scientists and it seems reporters and political activists.

    • AGW scientists also want to control what they feel is ‘just’ when it comes to ‘their’ air, while at the same time they seem to lack the courage to tell you simply who they think will win the Presidency of the United States. The promoters of this science are not interested in revealing their true thoughts because they do not have an open mind and heart. Free Riding carries a terrible cost to all.

      • I wonder what this topic would have brought to the people around the Agora of Athens, Greece. Two Thousand plus years ago, it would not have surprised me at all if the losers of this debate would have been looking at a range of different options that would be used to remedy the current situation. Democracy at work…

      • Two Thousand plus years ago, it would not have surprised me at all if the losers of this debate would have been looking at a range of different options […]

        Yeah: suicide by poison, suicide by knife in the gut, suicide by hanging yourself, […]

    • ==> It is not difficult to explain why conservatives distrust science. ==>

      Where is your evidence that “conservatives distrust science?”

      Why are you “explaining” an outcome for which you have no evidence?

    • Joshua, Did you not read the Berg article linked in the post and quoted extensively? That piece pointed out the polling evidence.

  27. Another interesting post Judith. While I admit that I am biased in my viewpoint of any prognostications about climate change as being based on insufficient data, only Joshu-a and John Carpenter have actually pointed out that the evidence of such public loss of trust in science, at the basis of the head post, remains anecdotal at best.

    • Peter D.

      Anrcdotal at best, and additionally, perhaps even more problematical, usually merely cross-sectional in support of asserting a longitudinal trend.

      In violation of fundamental principles of the scientific method.

      Who is easiest fool, Peter?

    • It would be difficult indeed, Joshu-a, to design any survey measuring the extent of the general public’s attitude toward something so nebulous as the topic of this thread and to be able to conclude that this is something to be concerned about.

      The extent to which Judith and most commenters on this thread have accepted this premise seems to be more of an indication of their personal opinion on the state of climate science but unrepresentative of the general public at large.

      IMO the general public are more concerned with other matters that affect them and their communities than the whole issue of global warming and of short term changes in weather. They do not have any skin in the game and hence not biased either way.

      In my experience, its the really smart people who are most easily fooled, because they are so good at post hoc rationalising that they end up believing their own rhetoric.

      • The polling indicates there is a drop in trust of science by conservatives. That’s a good sign. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving group of folks.

      • JCH –

        ==> The polling indicates there is a drop in trust of science by conservatives. That’s a good sign. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving group of folks.- ==>

        Please read my comment to David Young above re: that polling. Peiple are simplfying that research to confirm biases that arent consistent with the evidence.

      • Peter D. –

        ==> In my experience, its the really smart people who are most easily fooled, because they are so good at post hoc rationalising that they end up believing their own rhetoric. ==>

        You should read Dan Kahan’s work (if you haven’t already), as it veey much falls in line with your thinking. One of his main tenets is that people who perform relatively well on certain types of reasoning assessments are more polatized on issues like climate change for precisely the reason you describe: I.e. they are more adept at using and filtering evudence to confirm biases

      • Thanks for pointing me towards Dan Kahan’s blog. The discussion is 2 years old but the information in it and subsequent comments are most interesting and IMO highlights the nature of climate change and most other controversies involving scientific evidence informing public policy.

      • Peter D.

        You’ll find this interesting. Search at his site and you’ll find a lot more on this.

  28. Attributing Historical Changes in Probabilities of Record-Breaking Daily Temperature and Precipitation Extreme Events

    …These two climate model ensembles indicate that human activity has already had statistically significant impacts on the number of record-breaking extreme events worldwide mainly in the Northern Hemisphere land. Specifically, human activities have altered the likelihood that a wider area globally would suffer record-breaking TNn, TXx and Rx1day events than that observed over the 2001-2010 period by a factor of at least 0.6, 5.4 and 1.3, respectively. However, we also find that the estimated spatial patterns and amplitudes of anthropogenic impacts on the probabilities of record-breaking events are sensitive to the climate model and/or natural-world boundary conditions used in the attribution studies. …

    • So, get your head around the fact that both this chart:

      and this chart:

      are real and accurate.

      For the US:
      Maximum temperatures have increased.
      Extreme Maximum temperatures ( defined by 100F ) have decreased.

      That doesn’t refute global warming.

      But it does indicate that summer time precipitation is more significant a determinant of high heat than CO2.

      • Excuse me, but in what way does the behaviour of climate in 2% of the world’s surface become a contradiction of the behaviour of the other 98%?

      • “That doesn’t refute global warming.”

        Apologies – too hasty, didn’t see this.

      • real and accurate

        It depends what you mean by that. For the second chart I’ll believe that downloading raw data for those 982 stations and looking for tmax>100F produces those results. In that sense the chart is a real and accurate reflection of the data. The problem is understanding whether it’s a real and accurate reflection of the actual climate.

        I recall looking through USHCN stations regarding such statistics a while ago and found that many stations reporting the highest tmax temperatures in the early 20th Century are no longer in operation (or no longer reporting to the database). We also know that US stations have generally moved from warmer to cooler locations and this is mostly reflected in tmax (and probably in tmax extremes, though I don’t know if that’s been researched).

        In short, the method used to produce the second chart is unlikely to provide a real and accurate representation of the actual climate, due to inhomogeneities over time.

      • many stations reporting the highest tmax temperatures in the early 20th Century are no longer in operation (or no longer reporting to the database). We also know that US stations have generally moved from warmer to cooler locations and this is mostly reflected in tmax (and probably in tmax extremes, though I don’t know if that’s been researched).

        Yes, to examine a trend, complete data would be ideal, but far from reality. It’s instructive to go through this exercise because many conceive of temperature trends including complete data when reality is much more grim, and that’s for the US which is much more complete than global.

        That said, I also looked at the GHCN (gold in the chart above ), which is noticeably more complete with little difference in the results. The number of stations exceeding 100F ( spatial occurrence rather than frequency ) also indicates a similar result. And the spatial coherence is also consistent – whole sates indicate the same trends.

        The result is expected considering energy budgets. Extreme US high temperatures don’t significantly correlate with global temperature anomaly, but they do significantly anti-correlate with summer precipitation. Since latent heat out of the surface is on average around 100W/m^2 but tends toward 0W/m^2 when the soil is dry, fluctuation of precipitation is a much larger influence on extreme heat than the 4W/m^2 of a CO2 doubling.

        However, time allowing, I’m going to rerun the analysis with some more stringent criteria.

        I already define a bad year as one missing 30 days or more.
        I’ll exclude any station with more than 20% bad years ( bad could be missing data, or could be station wasn’t on line ).
        And I’ll exclude any station with a single bad year in the last five ( that is, must have good years for 2011, 2012, 2013,2014 & 2015 ).

      • TE

        Always appreciate you data reflecting observations. We simply don’t have enough to make long range predictions of future trends. But collecting as much data from observations is important.

        What is your take on air observations and estimates of Global Ave or Mean temp vs uptake by high heat capacity oceans and unmeasaured deep oceans?

        Are the air temp just playing random walks with slight T increase? while the real impacts are felt in the oceans but buffered by the volume and huge heat capacity?

      • If you read Roger Sr., OHC is the only meaningful metric of warming.
        I thought that the rate of ocean uptake was limited by buoyancy, but it appears some ocean areas are pretty well ventilated.

        But OHC and SFCT are, within uncertainty, consistent.

      • If you go back and read the exchanges between Pielke Sr and Trenberth and Josh Willis, it appeared Pielke was gleeful that GISS Model E would get tossed out if OHC was used. What do they call it? Blood in the face… excited roll both James E. Hansen and Gavin Schmidt under. Then the numbers started coming in and he had to put that on hold… now on hold forever.

    • TE keeps making the same ridiculous argument.

  29. Obama’s reply to a Louisiana newspaper to come to Louisiana was none, he went golfing instead.

  30. Brian G Valentine

    AGW is a cult, like Trumpism. Doesn’t matter if it’s nonsensical, all that matters is that is came from the cult leader.

    GOP is getting wiped out because of Trumpism and some other “science” outlets are too because of cult mindlessness

  31. David L. Hagen

    Upholding the Scientific Method
    Excellent to hear Jeremy Berg raise the alarm over advocacy harming science. Scientific theories are only as good as the degree to which their predictions are tested against data and by competing theories. The high standards of science were eloquently described by Nobel Laureate Richard Feynmann in “Cargo Cult Science”, his 1974 Caltech Commencement Address. PDF

    we all hope you have learned in studying science . . . It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty—a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid—not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked—to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

    Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can—if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong—to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.

    In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another. . . .

    you should not fool the layman when you’re talking as a scientist . . . I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you’re maybe wrong, that you ought to do when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.

    If you’re representing yourself as a scientist, then you should explain to the layman what you’re doing—. . .
    If you’ve made up your mind to test a theory, or you want to explain some idea, you should always decide to publish it whichever way it comes out. If we only publish results of a certain kind, we can make the argument look good. We must publish both kinds of result. . . .

    I say that’s also important in giving certain types of government advice. . . . If your answer happens to come out in the direction the government or the politicians like, they can use it as an argument in their favor; if it comes out the other way, they don’t publish it at all. That’s not giving scientific advice. . . .
    Other kinds of errors are more characteristic of poor science. . . .
    I explained to her that it was necessary first to repeat in her laboratory the experiment of the other person—to do it under condition X to see if she could also get result A—and then change to Y and see if A changed. . . .it seems to have been the general policy then to not try to repeat psychological experiments, but only to change the conditions and see what happens. . . .
    Nowadays there’s a certain danger of the same thing happening, even in the famous field of physics. . . .in 1937 a man named Young did a very interesting one. . . . he could only fix that by putting his corridor in sand. So he covered one after another of all possible clues and finally was able to fool the rats so that they had to learn to go in the third door. If he relaxed any of his conditions, the rats could tell. . . .Now, from a scientific standpoint, that is an A Number l experiment. That is the experiment that makes rat running experiments sensible, because it uncovers the clues that the rat is really using—not what you think it’s using. And that is the experiment that tells exactly what conditions you have to use in order to be careful and control everything in an experiment with rat running. . . .The subsequent experiment, and the one after that, never referred to Mr. Young. They never used any of his criteria of putting the corridor on sand, or being very careful. . . . so I have just one wish for you—the good luck to be somewhere where you are free to maintain the kind of integrity I have described, and where you do not feel forced by a need to maintain your position in the organization, or financial support, or so on, to lose your integrity. May you have that freedom.

    We hope Science Editor Berg will uphold these high standards for science.

    Verification and Validation
    NASA has an Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) program.
    NASA advertises

    NASA is a key player in modeling climate variables and collecting both earth-based and space-based data used to develop and validate climate models and identify climate impacts.

    To my knowledge, NASA has never dared submitted their climate models to their own worldclass IV&V facility for validation. Consequently, we have the average of all global climate models predicting 300% higher mid-tropospheric tropical temperature then reality measured by all satellite and balloon measurements. Will NASA have IV&V evaluate John Christy Jr.’s Testimony Feb 2, 2016. Climate Predictions vs Data 1979-2015
    Tropical Mid-Tropospheric Temperature Variations

    Reviewing Christy’s evidence, Steve McIntyre finds: Schmidt’s Histogram Diagram Doesn’t Refute Christy

    anyone with a grounded understanding of joint statistical distributions, Schmidt’s diagram actually supports Christy’s claim of inconsistency. . . .
    The average tropical TMT [tropical mid-tropospheric] model trend was 0.275 deg C/decade, about 30% higher than the corresponding GLB trend (0.211 deg C/decade), shown in the Schmidt diagram. The difference between the mean of the model runs and observations was about 55% higher in the tropical diagram than in the GLB diagram. . . .
    (models +0.272 deg C/decade; satellites +0.095 deg C/decade). . . .
    [Regarding] Figure 2. [re Tropical TMT trends] Conclusions: . . .
    *) a model run will be warmer than an observed trend more than 99.5% of the time;
    *) will be warmer than an observed trend by more than 0.1 deg C/decade approximately 88% of the time;
    *) and will be warmer than an observed trend by more than 0.2 deg C/decade more than 41% of the time.
    These values demonstrate a very substantial warm bias in models, as reported by Christy, a bias which cannot be dismissed by mere arm-waving about “uncertainties” in Schmidt style.

    In the Structure of Scientific Revolutions Thomas Kuhn describes the transition of most scientific revolutions – it typically requires the generation upholding the previous paradigm to die off before the new paradigm can take over. Being proud and selfish, few humans compete according to the high scientific standards that Feynman’s describes. Most like Brian Cox use illogical rhetorical arguments as exposed by Aristotle three millenia ago.
    (PS Stephen Mosher (Marquess of Queensberry Rules are for boxing) (though it is often used colloquially for “playing by the rules”.)

    • David L. Hagen

      See Controversy over Comparing Models with Observations at Climate Etc.

      • I liked the graph of straight line trends. It gave a sense of the magnitude of the model errors.

      • Another thought: The decades long divergence prior to 2005 was known to the modelers. While the divergence after 1998 became extreme, the vast majority of period hindcasts deviated (high) from actuals. Didn’t anyone wonder why their models were so bad in the mid-troposphere? I wonder if it is a result of attempts to keep model surface results close as possible to actuals (adjusted)? Although according to theory the troposphere is supposed to drive the surface. Isn’t the slogan “It’s the physics!” the catchword in dismissing questioners? How come their physics doesn’t work in the real world?

      • D L H, Great post.

        Climate science needs more real scientists and less used car salesmen.

    • David, don’t forget to mention the opposite standards: Schneiderian ethics.

      “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but – which means that we must include all doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This “double ethical bind” we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.”

      Let’s hope Berg repudiates this anti-scientific philosophy and understands that “honesty and effectiveness” are not currencies to be traded off against each other, but rather two sides of the same coin.

      • David L. Hagen

        Brad Yes. Berg first needs to stop crying “wolf” by touting and amplifying the “risk of potentially disastrous climate change.” Looking only at potentially “hazardous” changes without fully understanding natural variations and benefits of CO2 seriously biases the science.

  32. Thank you for this post, Professor Curry,

    The “crisis in public trust in science” is well deserved. The solution will reconnect humanity with reality and induce a psychic rearrangement in our deeply troubled society.

  33. Harry Twinotter

    Dr Judith Curry.

    “Science editor-in-chief sounds alarm over falling public trust. Jeremy Berg warns scientists are straying into policy commentator roles.”

    That applies to you and your website. Comments?

    • Judith strays into the unpopular arena of advocating good defensible science. OMG! The horror of it all.

      I don’t have confidence in and value her contributions because of what she thinks. I have confidence in and value her contributions because of how she thinks. She has demonstrated repeatedly her scientific standards of reliance on facts, logic and deductive inferences. I can see how that upsets a lot of people when they would rather muck around in opinions. It doesn’t tax the grey matter as much.

    • Don’t you have a trash can you should be diving into for dinner?

    • When in Rome, do as the Romans do.


    • Harry Twinotter

      I think irony is lost on some people.

    • Comment 1: Projection is not the same thing as irony.

  34. There will be enough policy implication to generate funds no matter what Science publishes, so long as curiosity isn’t the motive for science.

    Curiosity doesn’t happen in large groups.

  35. I’ve seen a few false dawns;

    Final realization that the dendro hockey-sticks were fake and that young dendros would set out to improve things and why did anyone keep referring to an ancient paper anyway, followed by more fake hockey-sticks from young dendros.
    Climategate, where the withholding of data was universally agreed to be a bad thing followed by even worse withholding of data.
    Admission that accounts of declining sea ice in 2008 were exaggerated followed by similar exaggerations in 2012 and 2016.
    Final realisation that skeptics had been correct about the pause, followed by multiple papers using natural variation as the cause for the pause without acknowledgment that they had previously said natural variation could be ruled out and so all model conclusions were instrinsically wrong, followed by new pause-buster data adjustments and pretences of a 10/20/30-year blip before return to thermageddon.

    • Skeptics were wrong about the pause. Warming of the globe did not stop. Atmospheric CO2 did not take decade off. The enhanced greenhouse effect is not a hoax. Skeptics were profoundly wrong about the pause. Climate sensitivity is unlikely to be low.

      • If they were wrong, then so are the alarmists and their projections, as the Karl paper, besides purporting the pause was an artifact of the data, had to reduce the amount of annual increase in warming to smooth away the pause.

  36. Judy, if Berg really does “echo Atul Gawande” then I wouldn’t be too optimistic if I were you.

    The latter, after all, thinks it’s a BAD thing that we no longer “trust in scientific authorities.” But nobody should “trust in scientific authorities.” That’s pure ecneics.

    Save your optimism until we see an uptick in “trust in the scientific method.”

  37. From my perspective there are several issues:

    “…journal Science — Editor-in-Chief Marcia McNutt’s op-ed that was published in (s)cience: Beyond the two-degree inferno [link]”

    The op-ed was McNutt’s epilogue to her stint as Editor-in-Chief as she was moving on to something else. She knew she wouldn’t be around to take the heat/consequence of she exercising her power as Editor. She was out-of-there.

    Such behavior reflects a certain cowardliness and mean-spirit; telling much about the person.

    Another issue:

    “…Science, a highly selective journal that still has the controversial power to make scientific careers,”

    Herein this quote lies the answer: power, controversial or not. The ability to make someone’s career requires a certain kind of personality, a certain kind of perspective, a certain kind of willingness to extend one’s self for the benefit of others.

    Marcia McNutt is incapable of such efforts, does not have the “right stuff.”

    We shall see what Jeremy Berg is made of.

    The above brings me to my last point: That the growth or fall of most endeavors lies mostly with a few individuals who can bring themselves to extending themselves to others and to convey a sincerity of purpose.

    What I have noted regarding climate science, such an individual has yet to emerge in a leadership role. What I observe is what Steve Mosher describes as a street fight, back stabbing, sucker punches, an overwhelming sense of self-preservation to the exclusion of others.

    For the public, climate science combat is strictly entertainment, and, should be regarded as such. Nothing will change public perceptions until climate scientists refrain from predicting the future, especially 100 years hence. Such predictive behavior is magical thinking worthy of a 4 year old. Climate alarmism is the bogeyman under the bed, lying in wait, about to snatch you from your slumber, take all your toys, and leave you cold and shivering you having just pee-ed in you bed.

    Time to change the sheets, take a shower and take your favorite stuffed toy with you to sleep again. The morning light is some times away.

  38. “Part of this is down to the polarisation of American politics and the rise of an anti-intellectual spirit, Berg thinks.”
    I think this is what sets America apart. Political polarization is a clear factor that also divides people on what should be just scientific issues. The anti-intellectualism is a hallmark of the right-wing part of the divide. They don’t trust scientists, even politically right ones, because the perceive science to be somehow leftist. We don’t see this in other countries that have successfully kept science as something above and separate from politics. These countries are also ones in which industrial money is kept separate from politics, which I don’t think is a coincidence. In the US we also have the element of industry-funded thinktanks influencing the politics and media with their opinion pieces, further blurring the line between hard science and opinion, and this is often what the policymakers are fed. Some scientists see the US situation as one where they feel they need to step into advocacy to counteract this muddying effect of industry money. So, Berg, having made the observation about the polarization above, should not be surprised at this consequence. IMHO.

    • He does not really give an example of what he means by advocacy and climate science. Maybe McNutt; maybe not McNutt. There is a reference to Gawande and his address at CalTech. Well, read it. There is no doubt what he thinks of the pseudoscience called climate skepticism.

    • The polarization stems from government-funded climate ‘science’ being politically corrupted and biased to suggest alarmism, because this is where the vested self-interest of government lies. Berg and the Left wholeheartedly support the good name of science being abused to advance totalitarian politics, and bemoan that right-wingers aren’t gullible enough to be the kind ‘intellectuals’ who swallow it whole. This is the ‘anti-intellectualism’ being referred to.

      The tax money that governments spent on climate ‘science’ outranks private think-tanks by orders of magnitude. That the climate gospel flowing from official government sources can be countered by such drops in the ocean, speaks to just how worthless and feeble the standard alarmist drumbeat is.

      • Remember that science is a global discipline built on results over decades. People on the political right in the US distrust certain aspects of science, and actually they distrust all the science that forms the consensus opinion about the effect of CO2 because they do have this global-scale conspiracy theory that it is somehow all contrived. This lack of trust among the US right even includes some who accept evolution, so it is a politically rather than religiously motivated distrust of science in this case.

      • Remember that climate science has been politically corrupted globally over decades. This is way beyond all reasonable doubt – climate ‘science’ today is largely junk-science, political science; only half-wits actually still believe it.

        This is more or less unavoidable, since government is funding climate science, and has an obvious huge vested interest in it proclaiming climate alarm; so its paid science lackeys whose work rests on hiding and fiddling data etc etc, duly come up with a finding of alarm if they want to keep their careers.

        It’s all about the vested interest of the funder. Hence no ‘conspiracy’ theory is needed or offered; it’s just government pursuing its self-interest, just business-as-usual. The ‘conspiracy’ suggestion is just a strawman, ie a dishonest attempt by alarmists to put words in the mouths of those who don’t share their blinkered acceptance of politically corrupted climate ‘science’.

        People on the political left put their trust in this blatant corruption about the effect of CO2, because they support anything that leads to more government, however bogus. (Some) on the right, those who think all government should be thoroughly justified, and those with faith in proper, non-vested-interest science, do not trust this corruption.

      • To summarise : the starting point of the polarisation is the corruption of climate climate science to foster alarm.
        For political reasons the left go along with the deception, some perhaps perhaps don’t even notice it. But (to simplify) the right, seeing corrupt science being used against their interests, react against it.

      • Certainly there is a spectrum of anti-intellectualist conspiracy theories from the mild “it’s the US government” sort to the full-Monckton Agenda21 birther end. There’s also the rational view that observations point to a sharp rise in temperature from emissions especially since 1950 that the scientists (not just in climate science) support based on observations, and things like global temperature, heat content, paleoclimate, physics of GHGs, etc.

      • As already explained, the only mention of ‘conspiracy’ is from those dishonesty trying to put words in other people’s mouths.

        Simply observing the obvious vested interest that inheres in and corrupts government-funded climate ‘science’, is not in any way to put forward a conspiracy. Indeed it is those that try and distract us from the vested interest, implying there is some cabal of honest government climate scientists secretly defying their employers and doing proper science, that are putting forward any kind of conspiracy and being anti-intellectualist.

        There’s also the rational view that observations point to a sharp rise in temperature from emissions especially since 1950

        It’s still an unsubstantiated and highly uncertain speculation, nothing more. Something only an anti-intellectual would swallow whole.

      • The conspiracy theory is what you perceive that “vested interest” to be. Do you think the governments of the world, who act independently, want there to be a crisis? Why would you think that? A crisis is expensive. If anything, they would want to suppress the idea of a crisis, and some have through muzzling or defunding (Bush, Canada, Australia), but climate science went on regardless because the truth cannot be suppressed.

      • Sorry, but claiming that Thomas Karl and other scientists manipulated the temperature record, with the cooperation of scientists around the world, at the behest of the White House, and that there are whistle blowers who can prove it… is straight-up bonkers conspiratorial thinking.

      • dogdaddyblog

        No conspiracy needed. All on his own, Karl decided to: (1) Use an obsolete climate model that contradicted the “physics” of updated models; (2) select a foreshortened time period to adjust SST vs. NMT, ignoring more recent correlations; (3) adjust buoys up when they were 10% of samples vs 90% ships, allowing such adjustments to propagate forward into the 90% buoy regime; and (4) select statistical outliers to represent the relationship between SST and NMT. See Bob Tisdale’s fine work.

        These and other skeptical analyses of pal reviewed “science” are valuable in and of themselves. Go read some of them. One need not be a “Phd climate scientist” to sniff out rotten work.

      • dogdaddy, you have to allow for changing observation types when they have different biases. This was known well before Karl, and Karl came up with a way to do this. This is similar to the TOBS correction Karl applied earlier, and even McIntyre agreed with it.

      • dogdaddyblog

        Jim D, you responded to one minor point. With feeding, stall mucking, and replacing a water heater I don’t have time to wrangle the subtle particulars. Additionally, I’m too old to respond to alarmist pettifoggery; read Bob Tisdale.

        What about the other points? Should I trust “some scientists” engaging in such practices?

      • The conspiracy theory is what you perceive that “vested interest” to be.

        Where a vested interest of an organisation exists, no conspiring is needed to arrange it. The organisation will naturally pursue that objective without any secretive planning needed, business as usual, as everyone expects, no “conspiring”. Does Coca-Cola secretly “conspire” to make soft drinks and make money?

        Do you think the governments of the world, who act independently, want there to be a crisis? Why would you think that?

        The more obvious reason of all – scaremongering to justify giving itself more powers and taxes. Why would you want to deny what is to blatantly obvious?

        A crisis is expensive. If anything, they would want to suppress the idea of a crisis
        Only expensive for the public, very lucrative and aggrandising for governments doing it.

        some have through muzzling or defunding (Bush, Canada, Australia)
        Some governments are less corrupt than others. And some are withdrawing from climate junkscience, yes.
        but climate science went on regardless because the truth cannot be suppressed.

        No, it went on because given enough money, BS cannot be suppressed. If nothing else the government climate spending agencies know their Goebbels.

      • The conspiracy theory is what you perceive that “vested interest” to be.
        Where a vested interest of an organisation exists, no conspiring is needed to arrange it. The organisation will naturally pursue that objective without any secretive planning needed, business as usual, virtually without thinking, as everyone expects, no “conspiring”. Does Coca-Cola secretly “conspire” to make soft drinks and money?

        Do you think the governments of the world, who act independently, want there to be a crisis? Why would you think that?
        The more obvious reason of all – scaremongering to justify giving itself more powers and taxes. Why would you want to deny what is to blatantly obvious?

        A crisis is expensive. If anything, they would want to suppress the idea of a crisis
        Only expensive for the public, very lucrative and aggrandising for governments doing it.

        some have through muzzling or defunding (Bush, Canada, Australia)
        Some governments are less corrupt than others. And so some are withdrawing from climate junkscience and self-serving propaganda, yes.

        but climate science went on regardless because the truth cannot be suppressed.
        No, it went on because given so much money (close to 100% of money in climate science comes from government), its vested-interest lies cannot easily be countered. Especially as they jibe so well with left/totalitarian politics.

  39. Let’s get the terminology right. I haven’t seen any evidence that the public is losing faith in science. They’re rightly losing faith in the scientific community. An article published a few years ago in Scientific American screwed up the issue so thoroughly it’s likely we’ll never get it straightened out. On the other hand, the article provides THE PERFECT EXAMPLE of why people are losing faith in the scientific community.

    • Yes, it’s scientists* that are not trusted, not science. Possession of scientific knowledge is no guarantee that the scientific method is being followed.
      – Why should I show you my data when I know you’ll try and find something wrong with it?
      – Prof Phil Jones, University of East Anglia and IPCC senior author

      * Or their funders

  40. Public loss of trust in science.

    Two basic opposite responses are possible
    – more education and communication to further dupe the public
    – making science trustworthy

  41. The scientific process will out. It is always in some state of going awry (especially as politics intrudes), but it is inherently self-correcting.

    The fiddling, in various forms, of peer review is irrelevant in the long term. It is like cheating your way through engineering school and then being confronted with the task of building a bridge. On time. Within budget. When your tech told you that when you are cheating, you are only cheating yourself, he got that one right.

    Peer review is only the pass key to the arena. You still got the lion to do in: Independent review is the bottom line. It’s where the pedal hits the metal. Peer review (even when good, straight, tough) is just the first cut. And that is the bottom line.

    Scientists are as likely to clique up as anyone else. But there is a maverick nature inherent that is always striving, challenging, thinking outside the box. Science is frequently off target, but in order to hit elusive targets a lot of shots have to go off. You never know what you might hit. And you never know what you might topple.

    It takes time for things to filter in and out.

    Sam Donaldson, while standing at the edge of a sewage pit (an experiment in methane extraction), with Pres. Carter is said to have said to said, “Mr. President, if I fell in, would you pull me out?” To which Cater replied, “Of course I would, Sam. After a suitable interval.”

    Science is and always has been one big methane pit. But it is self-correcting — after a suitable interval.

  42. Brian G Valentine

    “Don’t believe in science” is Democrat Party speak for “not buying AGW.”

    So I have had a biweekly paycheck for 45 years for something I don’t believe in. Maybe I’ll have to give it all back? To whom, I wonder

  43. Why Doesn’t the Public Trust Science?

    In the country as a whole, there is a growing disconnect between the public and the scientific establishment….

    To illustrate this disconnect, one could look to the gaps between the opinions of scientists on certain issues and those of the public.

    The Pew Research Center surveyed scientists affiliated with the AAAS last year and compared their responses with those of other respondents. Fully 88 percent of scientists said they believe genetically modified foods are safe to eat, versus 37 percent of US adults, a 51-point gap. Comparably large gaps can be seen in favoring the use of animals in research (42 points), the safety of pesticides (40 points), humans’ contribution to climate change (37 points), and evolution (33 points), with far more scientists in support of each than the general public.

    On issues of food and the environment, a sizeable portion of the public (34 percent and 31 percent, respectively) believes science has had a mostly negative impact – a significant increase from 2009.

    • Brian G Valentine

      It’s pretty much true! I ate BT corn, drank hormone cow milk, and turned into a monster.

      Hope there is some way to prevent this from happening again!

      • I was unable to find an earlier comment but here is some food for thought…

        CERN does not have a statue of Shiva, because Shiva, is a guy…

        Kali, is a murderous woman according to Wiki, she is often portrayed as standing upon a male figure.

        The folks at CERN don’t know the difference?


      • I did some more checking and found a photo that shows the plaque that explains what the idol represents and the fact that there are different levels of understanding, which must be why the left foot, rests upon the back of a man, ignorance. As to the idol itself, you be the judge.

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