I received this interesting email from reader Mike Nash that I thought would be of interest to all. Nash saw my piece in the Federalist yesterday and commented.
Sorry but I would argue the demise of science began long before the climate brouhaha began. I ascribe it mainly to two sources, the handing out of really big grants by the federal government, and the phenomenon of “networking”.
Got my B.S. degree in the 60s and was taught science by, well, scientists. Back then grants were rarely handed out, and research generally broke down as applied research performed in commercial labs, and “basic” research, mainly conducted at colleges and universities. Worked as an undergrad for a biostatistician who would toss in the trash requests from the fed to apply for $5000 grants (his annual salary then was $7000). Was not having the gov. direct his research, and that pretty much was a widespread attitude in academia. Then Nixon opened the floodgates with agencies like EPA and that damnable War on Cancer, that never saved a single life that I heard of but blew millions upon millions on some really bad research. Today the ability to obtain grant funding (primarily from the fed) has become a prerequisite for employment in academia in my field.
Then there is the networking phenomenon. Think it was around even before the big grants made the scene, but not so influential . These networks establish whose papers are published and where, who gets hired, who gets tenure, and who gets the grants. True science requires the harsh light of critical review and that is precisely what these networks are adamantly opposed to. The climate crowd and its response to you “deniers” offers a perfect example of what I mean. Their punitive behavior is not restricted just to them but others in the biological-medical fields that I am familiar with and probably others as well.
Regarding the climate business, I would add that Howard Temin should stand as a glaring example of why the “consensus science” argument should be avoided at all cost. Every molecular biologist in the world stood by the “central dogma of molecular biology”, to wit, DNA makes RNA that makes protein–period. Temin came along claiming evidence that RNA could back-transcribe to make DNA and underwent about a decade of horrible treatment from his peers until all the experiments that were performed to prove him wrong, ultimately proved him right. Finally got (and unfairly had to share) the Nobel prize. So to hell with consensus science.
But that is the only comment I have to make about that excellent article in The Federalist. Keep up the fight though I am afraid the troglodytes have a strong upper hand today.
Micheal (Mike) Nash, Ph. D.
Here’s Wikiwiki on Howard Temin.
And just so you don’t think I’m letting these minors successes (being on the radio etc.) are going to my head, I also received from somebody calling himself “Bruce” this email in response to my article:
You are a complete idiot when it comes to climate change.
What say you?
Update I met with a group of citizens last night, on all sides of the question, gave them a speech and had an extended Q&A session. It went great. Most (all?) had never heard of how poorly models perform. I’ll write more about this later.
Update More feedback from the Federalist piece. “Here’s Why The Faithful Have To Believe In Global Warming” at Investors Business Daily. Snippet:
Why must those who keep telling us that man is overheating his planet due to his carbon dioxide emissions have to believe? Why are they so deeply invested in their faith? What pushes them so close to the edge that they have convince others that they are right? Why have they resorted to mocking those who don’t agree with them?
One sharp fellow over at The Federalist has it figured out. It’s “because they desperately desire the proposed solutions — even in the absence of a problem,” writes William M. Briggs.
For any folks surfing over from there, you may enjoy these classic posts: