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The coming dark age: It appears that the most fundamental concept of science, that all research is subject to skepticism, questioning, and doubt, is no longer followed by the world’s leading science journal Science, in either the research or journalism it publishes.
In reporting today how the Trump administration is establishing a climate review panel that will include global warming skeptics, this so-called science journal describes this effort as follows:
The White House is recruiting researchers who reject the scientific consensus on climate change for its “adversarial” review of the issue.
The proposal to form a “Presidential Committee on Climate Security” at the National Security Council (NSC) has shifted, into an ad-hoc group that will review climate science out of the public eye. Those involved in the preliminary discussions said it is focused on recruiting academics to conduct a review of the science that shows climate change presents a national security risk.
William Happer, a senior director at the NSC and an emeritus Princeton University physics professor not trained in climate science, is leading the effort.
Among those who have been contacted are the relatively small number of researchers with legitimate academic credentials who question the notion that humans are warming the planet at a rapid pace through the burning of fossil fuels. A number of the names the White House is targeting are those frequently invited by Republicans to testify at congressional hearings on climate change where uncertainty is emphasized.
The stated goal of the committee, according to a leaked White House memo, is to conduct “adversarial scientific peer review” of climate science. [emphasis mine]
The article also stated that the panel “will also include scientists who agree with the vast majority in the field of climate science that humans are warming the planet at a pace unprecedented in the history of civilization.”
First of all, it is not clear that “a vast majority in the field of climate science” agree with that global warming hypothesis. And even if it was, it would not matter. Science isn’t determined by consensus or majority rule. It is determined by facts, and if the facts don’t support the beliefs of 97% of all climate scientists, all 97% of those scientists are wrong. That this writer and the editors at Science don’t understand this is shocking.
Second, all science work is supposed to go through “adversarial scientific peer review.” That is in fact what the journal Science is supposed to be doing for all its research articles. Scientists from within the field of each submitted article are asked to review it. Ideally, the journal is supposed to pick scientists who both agree and disagree with the premises put forth by the research, to insure that it is rigorously challenged and that any weaknesses within it are revealed.
By its very definition this is what peer review is. That this writer and the editors at Science don’t understand this is also shocking.
Third, this new panel is actually not “adversarial,” as claimed by this article. It is apparently is going to include scientists from both sides of the argument, making it actually quite sane and balanced, and hardly adversarial.
Fourth, all peer review, including the kind that Science does, is always “out of the public eye.” The reviewers are routinely not identified to protect them, and their reviews are never made public, including any changes they demand in the papers they review. That this new government panel will operate the same way is hardly a cause for concern, especially if it is going to include scientists from both sides of the debate.
What is really happening here is that for the first time in decades, a climate science panel in the government is going to be balanced and not limited only to those who advocate the theory that humans are causing the climate to warm. For the first time in decades, funding for climate research will be judged by a more objective panel of scientists.
The global warming activist scientists who have ruled all funding in government climate research for the past thirty or so years don’t like this, at all. They are losing power, and are now doing whatever they can to stop it, including getting Science to publish this kind of biased and partisan reporting. Nor did they have to do much to convince Science to lobby for them. It has also been part of that gravy train, and doesn’t like the idea that the free ride might be ending.
Or to put it in plain English, the journal Science is no longer in the business of science. Instead, it has become a mere trade lobbyist focused specifically in maintaining funding for pro-global warming climate researchers. All others need not apply.