Friday, March 28, 2014

Does He Protest to Much?

. . In an earlier post we warned about so-called peer review and open-access journals.  A friend forwarded a copy of the publication 157 Peer Reviews Fail to Catch Fake Cancer Study by Joseph Mercola. (click here for a link to the article).  Most of the warnings and description about open-access journals are accurate.  One needs to be very careful when relying on any claimed peer reviewed article whenever that article is posted primarily in journals for which the author must pay to be published.  However, Mercola creates other credibility issues for which readers must be cautious.
. . Before posting, we decided to do a little research about the author and found this article, FDA Orders Dr. Joseph Mercola to Stop Illegal Claims by Stephen Barrett, M.D.(click here for link)Steven Barrett is the author of the highly respected and acclaimed website Quackwatch.  Our issue is that even if a source is mostly accurate, such as Dr Mercola's article, that obviously does not automatically anoint a badge of credibility on everything.  Having said all of this, here is what we have we found in Dr Mercola's article in our experience.
In recent decades, scientific research has been undercut by decreased public funding and increased corporate funding of educational institutions. Not only does private industry write fat checks to universities in the form of research grants, but they make it even more lucrative for the schools when the research culminates in patentable products.
It’s become quite clear that instead of evidence-based decision making, we now have decision-based evidence making... Scientific evidence appears to be largely concocted to support an already established corporate agenda.
Be highly skeptical of ANY published study, particularly if it comes from an obscure journal... Always consider the source of the information... Who funded the study and where was it published? Do not accept the findings of any single paper, as scientific results are only reliable after replication and the building of consensus through time. Always look for corroboration. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

APS to Review Its Position on Climate Change

. . The American Physical Society (APS), a member of the American Institute of Physics, is the world's second largest organization of physicists, behind the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft. and publishes over a dozen scientific journals, including the prestigious Physical Review and Physical Review Letters. We have published in both these journals.
. . On February 20'th its Panel on Public Affairs announced it would be revising its statement on Climate Change.  In preparation it appointed to the panel three prominent scientists who have vociferously apposed the often claimed "consensus" opinion:
Professor Richard Lindzen, formerly Alfred P Sloan Professor of Meteorology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a highly regarded physicist who once described climate change alarmism on The Larry King Show as "mainly just like little kids locking themselves in dark closets to see how much they can scare each other and themselves."

John Christy, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, who has written: "I'm sure the majority (but not all) of my IPCC colleagues cringe when I say this, but I see neither the developing catastrophe nor the smoking gun proving that human activity is to blame for most of the warming we see."

Judith Curry, Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, a former Warmist (and still a self-described "luke warmer") who has infuriated many of her more extremist colleagues by defending skeptics and by testifying to the US House Subcommittee on the Environment that the uncertainties in forecasting climate science are much greater than the alarmists will admit.
. . It is not known what the new statement will be, but with this appointment it is likely to be considerably different.  The organization has been under considerable pressure to change it current support of the "consensus" opinion. This action comes three years after one of the APS's most distinguished members - Professor Hal Lewis - resigned in disgust at its endorsement of what he called "the global warming scam." He was disturbed by the APS statement on Climate Change which he describes as "apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative of the talents of APS members."  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Climate Conclusions of NASA Scientists and Engineers

The previous posts describes the formation of a team of NASA scientists and engineers to look objectively at both sides of the climate change debate.  Their conclusions and recommendations can be found at .  Here are the most important.
1.The science that predicts the extent of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is not settled
2. Our US government is over-reacting to concerns about AGW.
3. It is scientifically embarrassing that the EPA has declared CO2 to be a pollutant that must be regulated.
4. We have concluded that the IPCC climate models are seriously flawed because they don’t agree with reality.
7. There is no convincing evidence that AGW will produce catastrophic climate changes. AGW can only produce modest amounts of global warming that will likely be beneficial when the substantial benefits to crop production from more CO2 in the atmosphere are considered.
8. Because there is no immediate threat of global warming requiring swift corrective action, we have time to study global climate changes
9. Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) calculations should be based on empirical data
11. The ECS uncertainty statistical distribution used for justifying EPA and DoE CO2 emissions regulations is based on wild speculation, not reliable empirical data.
12. A market-driven transition from fossil fuels to alternative fuels must begin by 2055 just to meet energy demand as dwindling reserves of economically recoverable fossil fuels
16. CO2 emissions regulations should be based on climate sensitivity to CO2-only, not the higher sensitivity to all GHG incorporated into the IPCC ECS uncertainty range.
17. CO2 emissions regulations should be based on climate sensitivity to CO2 emissions, not climate sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 levels.
20. An independent and objective scientific review board should be convened to review the EPA and DoE methodology for computing Social Cost of Carbon used in regulatory decisions.

The Right Climate Stuff

In an early post I lamented about the absence of an organization to review objectively climate change without a hidden agenda and how CSICOP/CSI has failed in this fundamental duty to which they want everyone to believe they are dedicated.  Well, not all is lost. Here is a paraphrase from the website that claims to have tackled that task.
There are competing points of view regarding the causes of climate change in our current environment. One group has concluded that human activities. . . has caused a recent acceleration of a 300 year trend of global warming.  The most prevalent alternative point of view is that natural variations account for most, if not all, of changes in climate. 
We are gathering together a group of highly educated and experienced scientists & engineers from various disciplines to take on the challenge of evaluating the narratives of both the advocates of AGW and also the skeptics of AGW.
A large amount of manpower and money is being spent on an attempt to ameliorate the supposed rise in global temperature.
This study is very difficult because of the extremely complex nature of the physical and chemical interactions between the sun and earth that effect our climate. However, we are encouraged because a number of the members of the study group were successful in using scientific discipline to resolve unusual problems involved in the national effort of early manned spaceflight to achieve the goals of the Apollo Lunar Exploration Program.
The motto of the Mission Evaluation Room engineers is . . . “In God we trust, all others bring data”

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Looking For True Skeptical Analysis of Climate Change

In his blog post, Skeptical Inquirer Abandons Reason, Embraces Global Warming, Doug Hoffman summarized my position regarding CSICOP, which I had supported for many years.
I have been an associate member of CSICOP/CSI for many years and have always felt that its activities were important for the well-being of our society. Recently, however, I have noticed a disturbing trend in the contents of the Skeptical Inquirer magazine that has caused me to reevaluate my support for CSI. There seems to be a concerted effort to label people who do not accept the current climate change dogma—put forth by the IPCC and others as “settled science”—as irrational ideologues.
It seems that when the publishing organization of SI changed its name from the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) to the Committee for Scientific Investigation more was lost than a number of words—it seems a good deal of integrity was sacrificed as well. I do not intend to renew my membership with this organization and I urge others to critically review their affiliation with CSI.
I have been appalled by the misrepresentation of scientists who do not conform to the so-called "consensus" opinion in articles in Skeptical Inquirer. They demean the meaning of scientific inquiry and can only be referred to as pseudo-skepticism. They undermine the principles upon which many of us once believed for CSICOP.  Since that time I have looked for some organization to conduct an objective examination of both sides of the Climate Change debate.

Debunking Junk Science

In her article, Junk Science in the April 2014 issue of Popular Mechanics, Sarah Fecht offers six warning signs for junk science.  Although one might find Popular Mechanics to be an unusual publication for such work, science editor Ms Fecht has published widely in The New York Times, Scientific American, ForbesPopular Science, National Geographic, and other places.She has a good grasp of what qualifies as junk science.  She lists:
  • Was the paper published in a [credible] peer-reviewed journal?  She admits peer-review may be flawed, but says "It stands between us and really poor science."
  • What is the Journal's Impact Factor? In other words, how often are its articles referenced in other works?
  • Do the researchers mostly cite their own work?  This is a red flag that this work is outside scientific consensus.  That does not disqualify it, but suggests one tread cautiously in citing this author.
  • How Many Tests Where Used? Most tests improve reliability.  We add "Has the author made the raw data public?" Transparency improves credibility.
  • Does It Rely on Correlation? Just because two events have a similar history does not imply one is caused by another or that they are even related.  The infamous attempt by Al Gore to correlate proxy global temperature anomalies with carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is a remarkably disingenuous demonstration.
  • Have the Results Been Reproduced? No science result is credible until its has been reproduced by independent researchers.  In 1989 Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann  claimed to have produced cold fusion. Their work was never reproduced and by the end of 1989 was totally discredited.

How Credible is Peer Review?

. . Peer-reviewed articles are no necessarily as credible as they are promoted to be.  Web-publishing and "open-access" facilitates the establishment of journals that indiscriminately publish papers.  When many of these sources charge the author to publish, they create an additional "conflict of interest." The more papers they accept; they more money they make.
. . A cottage industry has consequently grown up to provide so-called "peer-reviewed" certification.  Some journals are members of networks that republish articles so as to inflate statistics for authors, organizations, and politicians for private gain in in the process damage the credibility of real science.
. . In an article "Who's Afraid of Peer Review?" written by Science correspondent John Bohannon that describes his investigation of peer review among fee-charging open access journals. Between January and August 2013, he submitted fake scientific papers with obvious scientific flaws to 304 journals owned by many fee-charging open access publishers. Sixty percent of them accepted it.
. . Jeffrey Beall, a librarian for 23 years at Auraria Library, University of Colorado Denver, in Denver, Colorado., challenges predatory open access publishing on his website He provides a surprising and exceedingly long list of culprits.  Before referencing an article, check out the credibility of the source on Beall's compendium.