The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.

- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

On Nonscientific Bias in Climate Research

A well-known researcher, who requested anonymity, said this in private communication:
On the claim that climate alarmism is due to research funding: this incentive exists in all science, yet it's never occurred in the past. And there's no evidence that it's occurring here: there's no way to dismiss the null hypothesis that scientists are worried because the data are worrying.

On the other hand, there is evidence that climate skeptics are truly working off an agenda. See Spencer's statement "I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government." There's no way that you can reach that conclusion by looking at data. It's a pre-determined political goal.

4 comments:

Pangolin said...

Another public service message from the University of the Obvious.

wv_zatishu: blisteringly obvious statements like this one that still have to be announced.

muoncounter said...

"to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government."

That's odd; I thought his job was to accurately and objectively report satellite observations. If that was what he was hired to do and he's chosen to do this job instead, one could suggest that Dr. Spencer offer to reduce the size of government by returning his salary to the taxpayer.

Grypo said...

One of the reasons this type of argument never made any logic sense is that academics have too much riding on being correct. There's a certain amount of professional integrity at work which will bring more funding to individuals than making incorrect "alarming" claims. I find it hard to believe that the best and the brightest minds are really just short-sighted selfish jackasses.

And this is actually a very important narrative to the skeptic mentality, on all levels.

27183 said...

"that academics have too much riding on being correct. There's a certain amount of professional integrity at work which will bring more funding to individuals than making incorrect "alarming" claims. I find it hard to believe that the best and the brightest minds are really just short-sighted selfish jackasses. "

Which is why I've always wondered why scientists strive for double blind studies whenever possible....