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« Windy-day power | Main | FOI fail »
Tuesday
Sep132011

All in a Davies' work

Last year George Avery of Purdue University wrote an article in World Medical and Science Policy about politics perverting scientific conduct and raising the ugly spectre of Climategate (paywalled here).

Science is increasingly being manipulated by those who try to use it to justify political choices based on their ethical preferences, and who are willing to act to suppress evidence of conflict between those preferences and the underlying reality. This problem is clearly seen in two policy domains, healthcare and climate policy. In the area of climate policy, recent revelations of emails from the government-sponsored Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia reveal a pattern of data suppression, manipulation of results, and efforts to intimidate journal editors to suppress contradictory studies and indicate that scientific misconduct has been used intentionally to manipulate a social consensus to support the researchers’ advocacy of addressing a problem that may or may not exist.

This seems to have been followed by a rebuttal from Trevor Davies of UEA (paywalled here) and then a response from Avery in the current issue (paywalled here).

I gather that Davies' position was that the article should be retracted, citing the Deutsche Bank report (!) as evidence that nothing untowards happened.  Apparently the editors are dutifully going to re-review the paper. Expect them to resign shortly ;-)

(H/T Ross McKitrick)

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Reader Comments (23)

Citing the Deutsche Bank article as a credible source has got to be a joke.

It was written by close associates of alarmist James Hansen at the Columbia University Climate Centre on behalf of a bank which hopes to make money out of climate change.

See here for reference to show that Hansen is on the steering committee.
http://climate.columbia.edu/?id=people

So basically it is the extended good old hockey team and its mates producing another whitewash.

Sep 13, 2011 at 8:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrederick Bloggsworth

Wasn't Lord Oxburgh an environmental advisor to Deutsche Bank?

Sep 13, 2011 at 9:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

The evidence that is that anyone who makes the mistake of producing research that contradicts the group-think of manmade warming will find their work is suppressed sometimes for years, sometimes forever. The evidence is that anything the groupthink wants to get published can be done so in a matter of days.

No sane person, who is not either a complete zealot or idiot can honestly say that the field is not wholly biased to one set of views.

The real miracle is that is that given the bias, that all the many strands of evidence have managed to get out, and that despite a total crackdown and one sided "scientific" media, the balance of evidence is now firmly I would almost say "unequivocally" against the exaggerated CO2 warming.

Never in the whole of science has such a theory been so poorly supported by the evidence, so overwhelmingly condemned by the evidence, particularly the lack of warming this century, yet so many people have believe it so absolutely.

We look back at the age of witch burnings and laugh at their lack of understanding. The truth is that we have hardly changed a bit. A tiny bit of science in the form of CO2 warming, can be exaggerated out of all proportion to create a doomsday scenario which really leaves some people believing a small bit of CO2 which can only produce 0.5 to 1C of direct warming is going to end the world.

Sep 13, 2011 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler

There is a non-paywalled version here (different title but same abstract).

How ironic that Davies is trying to get the article retracted; here is one sentence from it (my bold):

The public release of these documents created an immediate controversy, revealing data manipulation to cover inconvenient findings; efforts to intimidate editors into not publishing contradictory results that refuted their arguments; and a general contempt for opponents, including efforts to discredit them as cranks rather than address their arguments and evidence.

Sep 13, 2011 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaulM

You just beat me to it, Frederick.
Deutsche Bank are hardly honest brokers in this business!
Avery is right with both his examples. There is more than adequate evidence around the place of some dubious practices in medical research. I am not fully au fait with the MMR scandal but it left a nasty taste in my mouth similar to the Wegman plagiarism affair. The establishment gave the distinct impression it was out to get Wakefield regardless of whether his findings had validity or not.
Similarly we are now in a situation where the climate establishment is flailing about trying desperately to undermine yet one more hypothesis that threatens to call into question the hyper-dominance claimed for CO2 which it needs in order to blame mankind for his evil ways.
I say again, "it's nothing to do with science; it's all about politics" and has been for years.
The alarmists have admitted as much time and again. The wording has varied but the meaning is the same:
"It doesn't matter if we're right about global warming; this is the best chance we've had to re-shape humanity in our own image."

Sep 13, 2011 at 9:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

What a curious situation it is where the clamour for a paper's withdrawal can only add credibility to the paper itself. The high priests are demanding the death sentence for anyone who thinks their religion is vicious.

Sep 13, 2011 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid C

I wonder who will be the first US climate scientist to "take the Fifth" in legal proceedings. =

I suppose Mann would be favourite at this point.

Sep 13, 2011 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

I thought hat Pachauri was on the Deutsche bank climate advisory board?

Sep 13, 2011 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

As banks are to be divided into real-world and speculative-world divisions, this would be an ideal time for the Deutsche Bank Report to find a more comfortable resting place.

Sep 13, 2011 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

DB Climate Advisory Board:

http://www.dbcca.com/dbcca/EN/about-us/banking-on-green.jsp

Sep 13, 2011 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterGarry

Without the web, the course of the last 10 years on this issue would be very, very different.

Sep 13, 2011 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan

Let us remember: the UEA has objected, in some form or the other, to almost every prestige venue article that has appeared and has been critical of the University.

There is an ascribing of motive in the article:

The reasons behind this misconduct are clear. The tactics of those who wish to impose political change to address environmental issues consist largely of convincing the population and political leaders that the existence and threat of manmade global warming is a settled issue, based on a consensus of scientific information. The messiness of contradictory information belies that consensus.
Hence the leaders of the movement have attempted to suppress such information.

The remainder of the article has nothing more than what Delingpole has said on his blog - and fought off the attempts of the UEA to silence him, at the Press Complaints Commission.

Sep 13, 2011 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Although the paper, rebuttal and reply are behind a paywall, the journal has free guest access.

Avery vigorously reponded to Davies, with my favorite section being

"Shortly after publication of this article, Trevor Davies, the Pro Vice Chancellor (Research) of the University of East Anglia (UEA), contacted the editors of this journal and asked them to withdraw the article, a request which, to the shame of those who support free enquiry and my dismay as a member of the editorial board of this journal, the editor agreed to, at least on a temporary basis.
What is ironic about this is that, among other charges made against the CRU circle based on these emails, the scientists involved in the scandal were accused of engaging over a six-year period in “efforts to intimidate editors into not publishing contradictory results that refuted their arguments,” the very action that Mr. Davies is attempting.",

Sep 13, 2011 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie A

Thanks Charlie, clearly Avery took delight in pointing out the spectacular own-goal by Trevor Davies, as I did!

Sep 13, 2011 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaulM

"Science is increasingly being manipulated by those who try to use it to justify political choices..."

Sounds like the definition of technocrats, a term I first saw in a book I read called "Tragedy and Hope" by professor of history, Carroll Quigley.

Jan Tinbergen also mentions in one of his books mentions a similar theme (science being used for politics).

Sep 13, 2011 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterkramer

"Science is increasingly being manipulated by those who try to use it to justify political choices..."

CACC promoter Prof. Andrew Dessler admitted the same revelation last week.

“The science of climate change is a proxy for views on the role of government."

Of course he stated this during an NPR interview about politicians. But this statement applies quite generally...

:-)

Sep 13, 2011 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris y

The reply by Avery is worth downloading and reading. It is a well written summary of the climate gate issues, the deficiencies of the investigations, and strongly refutes the assertion by Trevor Davies that the investigations found no wrongdoing.

Avery's reply stays on point, has numerous quotes of the e-mails themselves, and is well referenced.

It is an excellent read, independent of everything else.

Sep 13, 2011 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie A

The climategate crew is running into a corner.
This is not turning out as they had hoped (What whitewash ever does, over the long haul?).
To rely on a bank report as evidence that an obvious academic fraud did not take place is truly pathetic.
The real question this raises, and it is interesting that this report was published in a journal dedicated to improving policy, is that of noble cause corruption. AGW is a social movement completely destroyed by noble cause corruption. The lesson will take years to drive home because it is such a broad and profound failure of the checks and balances of science, public policy, fiduciary responsibility and media obligations.
At every point alarmism, apocalyptic thinking, political and financial opportuniism, rabble rousing and manipulation have over the last few years pushed the AGW agenda forward. Which major media, political groups, academics, and policy leaders have stood up to this effectively? Very few in the traditional halls of power. And that is the tragedy of AGW.

Sep 13, 2011 at 4:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Tom Nelson blogs about the Avery-Davies fracas

If a tree falls behind a paywall, does it make a sound?

Sep 13, 2011 at 7:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

I think Trevor Davies is to be congratulated!

Due to his dilligence, and that of His Grace, I now have a copy of the report at PaulM's link - excellent read.

Sep 13, 2011 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraphic Conception

@ Graphic Conception

Agree that it is an excellent read. So thanks again to PaulM and Trevor Davies. ;)

Sep 13, 2011 at 10:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterBebben

You can get Davies reply by clicking onto the link and applying for it as a guest. And what a laugh it is. First, how someone at a dump like UEA has the crust to be quite so pompous; second, Davies is firmly in the business of fooling the fools, barfing on about cherry picked, out of context emails, and UEA/Team exoneration by zillions of investigations - all of which sounds perfectly reasonable, hangs together quite logically - in fact, the only small fault I can find with davies work is that it isn't, um.....well,.....entirely......true. An exercise in making a case, for which we applaud barristers but condemn academics.

Sep 14, 2011 at 9:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

Ironically, the Climategate discussion in the original was NOT the focus of the paper, but really an afterthought b/c I was asked to look for examples from a field OUTSIDE the medical world to try to generalize my thesis. The response has been educational - I have loved the journalists and others who have labeled me as a "global warming skeptic" because of my criticism of the behavior of Mann and others - even though I really took no stance on the validity of the thesis, only noting that it is a matter of controversy. Briffa has said the same in an article he published! The irony, as I note in the follow-up, is that skepticism is supposed to be the strongest value, the greatest VIRTUE, of a scientist.

Nov 23, 2011 at 10:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Avery

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