The Corner

Score-Settled Science

Since being sued by fantasy Nobel Laureate and global warm-monger Michael E Mann for mocking his hockey stick, I’ve taken a greater than usual interest in the conformity enforcers of the settled-science crowd. So I was interested to read this tidbit from Roger Pielke, Jr, professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado. He’s no climate “denier”, merely a little bit too independent-minded for the movement’s tastes. Hence:

Five days ago I critiqued a shoddy paper by Brysse et al. 2013 which appeared in the journal Global Environmental Change. Today I received notice from the GEC editor-in chief and executive editor that I have been asked to “step down from the Editorial Board.” They say that it is to “give other scientists the chance to gain experience of editorial duties.”

Over the past 20 years I have served on the editorial boards of about a dozen or so academic journals. I have rolled off some when my term was up, and continued for many years with others. I have never received a mid-term request to step down from any journal.

Hmm. A few months ago, when Michael Mann sued NR for the hitherto unknown crime of “defamation of a Nobel Prize recipient”, Professor Pielke wrote:

Mann’s claim is what might be called an embellishment — he has, to use the definition found at the top of this post, “made (a statement or story) more interesting or entertaining by adding extra details, esp. ones that are not true…” Instead of being a “Nobel Peace Prize Winner” Mann was one of 2,000 or so scientists who made a contribution to an organization which won the Nobel Peace Prize…

The embellishment is only an issue because Mann has invoked it as a source of authority is a legal dispute. It would seem common sense that having such an embellishment within a complaint predicated on alleged misrepresentations may not sit well with a judge or jury.

This situation provides a nice illustration of what is wrong with a some aspects of climate science today — a few scientists motivated by a desire to influence political debates over climate change have embellished claims, such as related to disasters, which then risks credibility when the claims are exposed as embellishments. To make matters worse, these politically motivated scientists have fallen in with fellow travelers in the media, activist organizations and in the blogosphere who are willing not only to look past such embellishments, but to amplify them and attack those who push back. These dynamics are reinforcing and have led small but vocal parts of the climate scientific community to deviate significantly from widely-held norms of scientific practice.

Very true. And now Professor Pielke, expelled by the palace guard of climate conformism, appears to have been felled by the very pathology he identified.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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