The Corner

Union of Junk Scientists

We’re going to hear a lot about the new Union of Concerned Scientists’ report on the so-called Republican War on Science that was unveiled at today’s hearing chaired by Henry Waxman.  What you won’t hear is that the UCS report is undeniably Junk Science, a term I try to avoid but completely apposite in this case.  The UCS mailed out over 1600 survey forms to climate scientists and based their assertions of political interference on the 297 that got returned.  That’s a response rate of just 19 percent.  OMB guidelines clearly state that a response rate of less than 80 percent requires an investigation of potential biases and an even closer investigation for a response rate lower than 70 percent.  A response rate of lower than twenty percent is clearly vulnerable to the charge of a self-selecting sample, perhaps those with an axe to grind against their bosses, the politically motivated, and so on.  In short, it proivides all sorts of legitimate reasons to dismiss the survey as utterly unrepresentative.  The fact that these so-called scientists went ahead regardless exposes them for the partisan media manipulators they are.

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