Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Proper Way To Argue With Heretics

Climate scientist Judith Curry has a few words to say about scientific integrity as it relates to climate science given the recent revelations of Climategate.

At the heart of this issue is how climate researchers deal with skeptics. I have served my time in the “trenches of the climate war” in the context of the debate on hurricanes and global warming. There is no question that there is a political noise machine in existence that feeds on research and statements from climate change skeptics. In grappling with this issue, I would argue that there are three strategies for dealing with skeptics:
And of course there really is only one way forward: open data, open methods.

Despite having doing the right thing as one of strategies, I find her attitude disturbing.

When you start a “reasoned debate” with “You are a bunch of a$%#*!&$ skeptics who will have to be dealt with.” You have poisoned the well. Add that as one more indictment. Along with corrupted data. Bad programming practices. Unwarranted adjustments. And hiding the decline.

And just to continue in the current vein – any one still pounding the AGW drum with Bad Methods and Bad Data unresolved is complicit in fraud.

An honest scientist would say: “we have nothing and until we have sorted this all out I have nothing further to say. And let me add that I may have nothing to say for years or decades.”

It will take a long time to sort this out. First release all the data and methods. Then we go over the papers of those involved in Climategate. If there are serious errors hash that out. Then go after every paper that cited the papers found to be in error. The other alternative is to start from scratch.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

5 comments:

LifeTrek said...

Um, Dr. Curry, Einstein didn't work a the post office, he worked at the Swiss Patent Offices, where he did his most remarkable work.

M Simon, your right on the mark with this -- you can't poison the well then claim to be open and willing to debate (those idiots).
David

99% said...

What a dichotomy we have with you Msimon. So why don't you demand the same degree of "transparency" when it comes to Polywell research?? Make it wide open, show us ALL your data, methods, everything. Oh, of course we can't do that -- Polywell's worth TRILLIONS, right??! Instead, you simply yell and moan about not receiving enough money, especially when you and your cohorts have produced no data, no working prototype, NOTHING.

simentt said...

99,

I too would like an open scientific review of the EMC^2 -work (as well as the other interesting projects) - primarily as a potential investor, but also as a general science- and tech-geek.

I understand that the Navy is performing a review internally, and that their continued interest depends on actually measurable results.

To me, this is the main difference between the AGW-funding and the Polywell-funding - the Navy cares about the Polywell technology for what it can offer, while the endpoint of the AGW funding (and policy-changes) would be that something is averted.

As you may know, it is significantly simpler to disprove something (only one point of evidence that goes counter to the theories is needed) than to 'prove' something (no possible further experiments that would discredit the theory can be thought of).

Thus the Polywell-spending will either be cut off in short time (and the negative results be released, I'm sure), or the funding will continue, and the technology and research will percolate into society as it has been with other governmental research projects.

-S

Neil said...

Shorter MSimon: The AGW hypothesis is science, the Polywell project is engineering. In engineering, the deliverable is something that goes when you flip the switch. In science, the deliverable is a clear record of the work you did and the data you based it on, so that everyone can learn from your experience.

The CRU failed to delver.

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