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« Diary dates, CCS edition | Main | "Should we celebrate CO2?" - Cartoon notes by Josh »
Friday
Oct162015

The man the Royal Society honoured not once but twice

There is a man that the Royal Society has chosen to honour not once but twice: first with a Wolfson Merit Award, and second with his own volume of their flagship journal. This post is about that man.

The man the Royal Society honoured not once but twice wrote a paper claiming that global warming sceptics believed that the moon landings were a hoax. This was despite the fact that his survey data had been collected at stridently anti-sceptic blogs. Worse,  his data showed precisely the opposite of what he claimed (and leaving aside that only ten of his 1145 respondents believed in the moon hoax anyway). Yes really - the man the Royal Society honoured not once but twice wrote a paper the title of which was completely, utterly and obviously refuted by his own data. This is a man who lied about the participants in his survey, the people who had given their time for scientific research.

Similarly, the man the Royal Society honoured not once but twice reported that endorsement of free markets predicts the rejection of other established scientific findings, such as the facts that HIV causes AIDS and that smoking causes lung cancer. This was despite the fact that his survey data showed that free market endorsers overwhelmingly supported both of these propositions.

 

The man the Royal Society honoured not once but twice performed his surveys under university ethical clearance he had obtained for a project about public understanding of statistical trends. After informing his university's ethics department of a "slight" change to the plans he proceeded with two completely different projects. His original ethical clearance was for anonymised surveys, but in one of the subsequent projects he purported to have identified "psychopathological characteristics" in named individuals. This despite the fact that this was a direct breach of relevant research policies. This is the man that the Royal Society has honoured not once but twice.

The man the Royal Society honoured not once but twice declared in the SI to his paper that a substantial body of global warming sceptics would have had access to the survey. This claim was based on analysis of the traffic at a website that he said was one of those that had hosted it. Subsequent analysis showed that the survey had never appeared there (a point confirmed here).

The man the Royal Society honoured not once but twice wrote another paper that claimed that those who reject scientific propositions "often" support conspiracy theories too. The correlation calculation with which he supported this claim of "often" was based on just 2 of his 1100 respondents. In the earlier paper the number had been 2 from 1145. The man the Royal Society honoured with his own volume of their flagship journal made claims based on sample sizes of two.

The man the Royal Society honoured not once but twice collected survey data from minors, without having ethical clearance to do so.

This then is the man the Royal Society honoured not once but twice.

Which leads us inexorably to this question. Does the Royal Society care nothing for its own reputation, or indeed for the reputation of science?

 

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Reader Comments (137)

.... and Julia Slingo and Tim Palmer from some of the potentially 'known' meteorologists but I'm only looking at the Reading University scientists with those 4.

Oct 16, 2015 at 8:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Rob Burton

Don't forget Steve Jones. If you want a giggle, look up his academic publication record. I suppose it was his extraordinary report for the BBC Trust that got him in. Just what the president wanted?

Oct 16, 2015 at 9:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterTonyN

Rob Burton - try these links:

https://royalsociety.org/about-us/committees/royal-society-wolfson-research-merit-awards-committee/

https://royalsociety.org/grants-schemes-awards/grants/wolfson-research-merit/

https://royalsociety.org/news/2013/new-wolfson-research-merit-awards/

Oct 16, 2015 at 9:41 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Newton must be cringing in his grave.

Oct 16, 2015 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan

I think that, as Gandhi would have said, we have reached the 'fighting' stage in the debate and that the RS sees itself in a war situation - anyone who is a strident 'fighter' on their side is a hero. It is easy to see Lew as fighter in the trenches. Impossible to see him as a rational advocate for a point of view - we seem to be way past that stage...

Oct 16, 2015 at 11:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuart Huggett

Who were the unsuccessful candidates for the Bristol academic position now held by Lewandowsky, and what did the job advert say they were seeking?

It must be presumed that Bristol are very happy with his performance to date, but graduates must now be feeling some embarrassment, much like those of George Mason University.

Any news of Elaine McKewon and her Phd in Journalism, one of the expert peer reviewers of Recursive Fury? She seemed proud about it at the time.

Oct 16, 2015 at 11:54 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Russell said: "Cheer up, Budgie ..... " Errrmm, I thought it was pretty clear that I thought my daughter's response was funny. Though my point was that "jackass questions deserved jackass answers", rather than the minutiae of her response.

Oct 17, 2015 at 12:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

Lewandowsky has proved a useful tool. Those that have supported his manipulation of the scientific method for his own purpose have aligned themselves with him.

Obama has linked himself, via the 97% consensus fabrication with all at Skeptical Science, and hence to all those at Real Climate, and various other websites.

With the RICO 20 undermining the honesty of climate science political funding in the USA, and Phillippe Verdier's ostracism by the French Government now going viral, 2015 really is shaping up to be an unprecedented worst year in climate science, and Paris has not even started yet.

Those Alarming Global Warming models were being relied on for pension planning by climate scientists. Only in climate science do model predictions keep going up.

Oct 17, 2015 at 1:33 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Once psychology is accepted as a science anything can be:
‘… Some research [in psychology] is far more scientifically rigorous. And the field often yields interesting and important insights … But to claim it is "science" is inaccurate. Actually, it's worse than that. It's an attempt to redefine science. Science, redefined, is no longer the empirical analysis of the natural world; instead, it is any topic that sprinkles a few numbers around. This is dangerous because, under such a loose definition, anything can qualify as science. And when anything qualifies as science, science can no longer claim to have a unique grasp on secular truth’.
http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jul/13/news/la-ol-blowback-pscyhology-science-20120713

Oct 17, 2015 at 1:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

@ golf charlie

I had understood one of Lewandowsky's UWA grad students was previously sent out to Bristol to prepare the beachhead for his landing or sow the seed or something.

Elaine seems to be dividing her time between researching the history of (non-academic) actual prostitution in Western Australia and the thesis on (non-academic) percieved prostitution in Australian media: "Preaching the Controversy: The Influence of the Industrial-Thinktank-Media Complex on the Australian News Media's Coverage of Climate Change, 1996-2010" http://uts.academia.edu/ElaineMcKewon

Oct 17, 2015 at 1:55 AM | Unregistered Commenterbetapug

betapug, perhaps Elaine wth her insight into prostitution, will be writing about climate scientists selling themselves, and their alleged science, for the best personal financial returns.

I think the planet should try 20 years of abstinence from all climate science, and then see if anybody can even remember having noticed.

Oct 17, 2015 at 2:48 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

97% of climate science consensus surveys are made up, and I have faked data to prove it.

Oct 17, 2015 at 2:55 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

No peer reviewed refutation, crows someone ? First there are 2 classes of papers coming out of Lewandowsky and his crowd : #1 Cook's 97% paper and #2 Lewandowsky's conspiracy theory papers
Emm, that second class have been refuted : here is a direct quote from A Lewandowsky paper

"Conversely, a peer-reviewed critique of LOG12 and LGO13 has recently appeared in print (Dixon & Jones, 2015)... "

Likewise for Cook's 97% there was a peer reviewed refutation by Legates ..(97 other refutations of the 97% meme)

Now on 97% papers people can state their opinions, but mine is no 97% surveys stand up to close analysis for the claims media & activists make about them. Always ask "what were the questions ?",'"were the correct scientific & ethics procedures followed ?' "What was the sample size", "So do the media claims outreach the data of the surveys ?"

Crucially, that whole 97% game is flawed anyway, cos it's the fallacy of argument from authority. The scientific method provides a great system for sorting out the truth. Deciding truth by opinion poll is of course politics ..not science.

Oct 17, 2015 at 4:45 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Why does GolfCharlie exhorts us to " try 20 years of abstinence from all climate science, and then see if anybody can even remember having noticed.", when his last five years of comments do not suggest his having done any in the past 20 years?

Oct 17, 2015 at 5:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

The answer lies in its name "Royal" while we have a proper Charlie posing his imbecile mutterings from homeopathy to global warming and they receive funding from the government to support the taxes which take from the Poor to give to the
rich landowners including the royal Charlie the sciencey Bullingdon club will maintain the lies.

Oct 17, 2015 at 6:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Whale

Peter, please take two aspirin ,and stone a fox to death with Bollinger bottles before you retire.
We'll all feel better if you do.

Oct 17, 2015 at 7:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

vvussell, didn't you once have a professional reputation? Or was that just attached to your Uncle?

Oct 17, 2015 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Rob Burton says:
" I'm not quite sure why Bristol University think so much of him."

As a Bristol University B.Sc. I would like to know. I feel my degree is devalued.
My theory is that as Bristol favors green politics they need help to debunk climate science skeptics.

Oct 17, 2015 at 10:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Clague

Chris Hanley

The Alex Berezow article you link to on Why Psychology isn't Science makes some interesting and valid points in defence of “real” science. The reason psychology isn't real science is that its subject – the human mind – is not (very) amenable to empirical study.

It's OK to point out that psychology is not science as long as you don't then claim that science is the only road to knowledge, since that would automatically eliminate the possibility of ever knowing anything about the mind, society, culture, or any other subject of the social sciences.

Lewandowsky's subject – cognitive psychology – is just one reductionist corner of the social sciences. Its method is to wrap some impossibly complex subject in numbers and tease out a statistical significance – much like climate science in fact.

Oct 17, 2015 at 10:39 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Bristol University is still intent on taking the George Mason University route to international fame. GMU academics are now becoming experts in Forensic Accountancy, and Bristol are seeking recognition across the EU.

Meanwhile vvussell is using the best techniques of climate science, to defend the honour of climate science.

Oct 17, 2015 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Russell - do you think that Lewandowsky's work has any scientific merit?

Oct 17, 2015 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Someday in the far future, mother nature will have proven to all of us beyond any shadow of doubt that CO2 has little to nothing to do with warming the surface of this planet. This big CO2 scare will be over and people will again be able to see clearly. At that time, it will be so very easy to see that the Royal Society is a complete and utter sham. It should be disbanded before it supports the next big delusion in science.

Oct 17, 2015 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Stoval

No scientist should ever consider requiring a flawed opinion survey.

Lewandowsky, Oreskes, Anderegg, Doran and Cook are not scientists, so who paid them?

Oct 17, 2015 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I cannot believe that this is the same Royal Society that I looked up to from my school days, to the day I retired as a scientist.

Oct 17, 2015 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Peter Stroud, the Royal Society is destroying itself, with an irrational and unproven fear of plant food. It is not exactly science is it?

The UK Health Authorities keep commissioning flawed public opinion surveys, designed by experts in public opinion surveys, to tell them they are doing a good job, whereas the series of horrific scandals tell a different story.

Climate science and its well funded supporters keep commissioning flawed public opinion surveys designed by experts in flawed public opinion surveys, to tell them they are right, and anyone who disagrees is wrong.

If only they had got the science right, before 20 years of observed data consistently proved the fundamentals of the science wrong.

Lewandowsky has acknowledged expertise in flawed opinion surveys, derived from dubious sample sizes. Psychologists could write books, and hold week long conferences on his contribution to flawed opinion surveys, and the UK's top political analysts could learn so much from his work, after the fiasco of the last General Election predictions. It is not surprising that the BBC and Guardian place so much trust in his work.

At least it is only Climate Science, and the public and politicians are getting bored with the whole failed concept.

Heads at the Royal Society should hang, with shame, and be ridiculed by their grandchildren.

Oct 17, 2015 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I do find counter arguments from the alarmist camp truly inspirational. The quality of rational thought is worthy of lengthy psychiatric assessment in appropriate residential accommodation.

Oct 17, 2015 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Just reminiscing:-

Dear Ron

Much appreciated the hard work put into the review, general view is a blinder played. As we discussed at HoL, clearly the drinks are on me!

Best wishes, John

Oct 17, 2015 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

GC

A common theme I see in the alarmist camp is that rebuttals only have merit if coming from "peer reviewed" papers, which makes sense if the rebuttal is a technical nuance or something deep and fundamental to the field.

However I think all of these famous papers fail the "common sense" test - i.e. the flaws are present in the basic methodology or the premise. So you don't need to explore any more. For instance Michael Mann's famous hockey stick. Before the recentering and PCA games, the first question you ask is how accurately do your proxies represent temperature? After that it's academic.

However I don't mind if all these papers are published as they give an insight into trying to find out what happened in the past. I mind that people try to use this science as if it's verified fact rather than a cross stitching of assumption and extrapolation with cursory experimentation. Very little of any of this guff ever has hard measurement in it but then climate science is not about fact - only about politics and thought control.

We see Lew and others here seem to want common sense to be peer reviewed. I wonder are these people all followers of Critical Theory? It has parallels with things like modern feminism (it's all the Patriarchy's fault). Here we see it's all our fault with help from Co2. I'm surprised our trolls are not saying they're getting "triggered".

Oct 17, 2015 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

I think Lewandowsky is a fraud. That said, the argument as to whether psychology is a science or not strikes me as absurd. I agree that it is hard. I agree many of its existing research methodologies are flawed. I agree that many involved in psychological research are second rate. But to argue that psychology is not a "science" is to argue that human behavior cannot be observed, documented, measured, hypothesized about and predictions tested. This is simply untrue, as any good parent or marketer can readily demonstrate.

Oct 17, 2015 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterbernie1815

Martyn, playing a blinder. An interesting term used regarding an 'Inquiry'.

Not blinding people with science, but blinding people to science, with smoke and mirrors, to cover up the absence of scientific integrity, in inquiries into science.

The more I think about it, and despite his obvious flawed opinions and Papers, Phil Jones DID know something was seriously wrong with Mann's Hockey Stick, and along with others, did try to rein him back. The history of flawed science should be kinder to CRU at UEA, but in the short term, they are damned by their complicity and continued silence. Whether this silence is self imposed, or imposed upon CRU by threats and fear is unclear.

Lewandowsky filled Climate Science's glaring void, by addressing their perceived 'Communication Problem', in the aftermath of ClimateGate. He has proved very successful in proving that Climate Science relies on public opinion, not science. Meanwhile the climate continues to change unabated, despite Mann's best intervention. The public now better understand what climate scientists failed to communicate. It is politics, not science, and the political climate has changed, and climate science, despite all the billions wasted, has not saved a life.

Oct 17, 2015 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GC

At the time of Phil Jones doubt the UEA and CRU had in mind only funding and rocking the boat. My guess is their complicity was self imposed and now as are all the others like herded sheep in an ever expanding sink hole.

Oct 17, 2015 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Mikky H Corbett, peer review has been manipulated, as documented at Climate Audit, Bishop Hill, (+elsewhere, to numerous to mention) and in a very readable book 'The Hockey Stick Illusion', which some here may be familiar with. Hockey Stick Illusion was written prior to ClimateGate, however ClimateGate verified The Hockey Stick Illusion, using Climate Scientist's own words. What better evidence could any writer ask for?

Lewandowsky falsifies his Consensus survey data. What better proof do members of the Royal Society require to appreciate fitness for purpose of the Royal Society, and the Honour(s) it bestows?

Oct 17, 2015 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Martyn, I agree. In "Fawlty Towers" much of the humour stems from Basil making a mistake, and compounding it by a sequence of disastrous attempts to cover up his mistake.

Fawlty Towers remains brilliant, and was finished after 12 episodes, rather than becoming stale, and devaluing the original idea.

The original concept of CO2 causing a rise in global temperatures was logical, but flawed. President Obama quotes flawed public opinion suveys about science, because there is no scientific evidence. If it was not so deadly in its failings, it would be funny.

Climate scientists are now hiding behind Lewandowsky as the sacrificial fall guy. He should not be allowed to fall on his own.

Oct 17, 2015 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I think Lewandowski & co. are trying as hard as they can to turn a not very carefull selection of the facts into polemic ammunition for their political colleagues , some of whon have indeed reciprocally advanced their academic careers.

In some circles this is called the sociology of science, , though I view it more as comdedy of manners, since you lot put them to sham when it comes to making up stuff and swallowing pseudoscience by the gallon.

I can't check Golfcharlie's scientific reputation i on ResearchGate, as there are no entries under , Coward, Anonymous, but I can say with statistical certainty that he is his is usual counterfactual self this morning: each of my parents was an only child.

Oct 17, 2015 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Russell - opinion noted. But my question stands - do you think that Lewandowsky's work has any scientific merit?

Oct 17, 2015 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Vvussell, putting climate science to 'sham' as per your post is not difficult for anyone not blinded by climate science.

Do you deny all association with "Bright Water, Hydrosols, Water Conservation and Climate Change" aswell? It caused a lot of interest at the genuine and original Watts Up With That.

Climate science now depends on attacking individuals, as they have failed to fabricate anything adequate by way of science.

UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain is best remembered for waving a piece of paper signed by a German psychopath.

US President Obama is going to be best remembered for waving a 97% consensus survey as scientific proof, signed by .... oh god, history does repeat itself, just like climate science lies.

vvussell, didn't you create some difficulties for your self at Eli Rabett's blog about this uncle of yours, not related to your parents? Naomi Oreskes was not a fan either.

Oct 17, 2015 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

vvussell 2:50 "I think Lewandowsky and co are trying as hard as they can to turn a not very careful selection of facts.. "

Best thing you have ever written.

On a par with the Japanese 1945 announcement that the war had developed, not necessarily to Japan's advantage.

It aint over 'til the fat lady sings. The fat lady of climate science is warming up her vocal chords for the big Parisian finale, with Lewandowsky on hand with the throat pastilles.

Oct 17, 2015 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Perhaps Russell would like to address the belief that he is not related to Fred Seitz? Himself being no stranger to controversy, and views sometimes at odds with consensus beliefs.

Oct 17, 2015 at 4:04 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I am somehow more pleased by the paper in question being cited in 30 other peer reviewed journals to date . oops, make that 31, not counting blogs-- or The New Yorker .

The other Seitz 's review paper on the physics of hydrogen bubble chambers is duly credited in the references to :

Bright water: hydrosols, water conservation and ... -
Springer
link.springer.com/.../s10584-010-9965-8....
by R Seitz - ‎2011 - ‎Cited by 31 - ‎Related articles
Dec 17, 2010

"- Bubbles require relatively little energy to create (Seitz 1958), and can increase ... efficiency, they can render a water surface almost as bright as ..."

is Golfcharlie related to the Montgolfier brothers , or the horse they named the VW after ?

Oct 17, 2015 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

vvussell lovely post, everyone can enjoy your finest work and wonder why you are posting here rather than busy with lucrative employment offers.

Did you get the idea sat in a bath?

Meanwhile Lewandowsky's failings were the subject of the thread, not those of Russell Seitz.

Oct 17, 2015 at 4:40 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

You are quite wrong about my name, I am not Charlie, and do not play golf, but simply take the NATO phonetic for my initials, as others have worked out.

Oct 17, 2015 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

vvussell, this is entertaining knockabout, but you are still avoiding the question.

juliette foxtrot

Oct 17, 2015 at 5:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterjolly farmer

vvussell seitz, good to see that you take credit for a mention of your paper here. An excellent demonstration of how climate science builds credibility out of failure. Lewandowsky would be very proud of you.

Meanwhile at Watts Up With That ( the genuine one not vvussell's fantastic imitation) a further take down of UK Judges trying to subvert science, based on falsified consensus. How much more desperate are they going to get, in avoiding the simple facts that climate science has only one consistency since inception, FAILURE.

Climate science should be deemed void ab initio, if that is the correct legal term, rather than the gross hypocrisy of a gaggle of Lawyers conspiring to enshrine it in law (with the support of the future King) It is a chilling reminder of the Final Solution of the Third Reich, and yet they choose to term their opponents as 'Deniers'?

vvussell seitz, further to previous comments, it has been appropriate for me as a surveyor and engineer to learn my alphabet in Nato phonetic and British Sign Language. Your remarks concerning Anthony Watt's loss of hearing are deeply offensive to anyone with a shred of decency. What attracted you to climate science? You defend the late Fred Seitz on the grounds of his age, frailty and loss of sight. What is your excuse for being so bigoted, and attracted to Lewandowsky's methodology?

Anyone interested in russell seitz and his true nature could do worse than search Watts Up With That

Oct 17, 2015 at 6:43 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Roger Clague @ 10.30 AM

Like you I am a Bristol University alumnus. I graduated with an engineering degree in 1965.Earlier this year I received a glossy magazine seeking funds from alumni for the university's Centenary Campaign. Included in the magazine was the following article which (if any body from the Campaign is reading) explains why I won't be sending Bristol University any money. I visited both Fiji and St Lucia during my working life and they are both lovely places. It is very important to remember the factor 50 suntan lotion though, especially if studying for a long time outside! Here is the article:

"Building Resilience

Conversations about climate change often focus on developed countries and low-carbon solutions. But for small island states in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, like St Lucia or Fiji, rising sea levels and extreme weather are already a reality.
PhD student, T….. S……. (Med 2008, PhD 2014-) is exploring how these communities are coping with these changes by talking to climate change experts, community leaders and schoolchildren in these three regions.
‘We have much to learn from their collective experience,’ explains T….., ‘Their insight (largely absent from international literature) will provide researchers and policymakers with powerful real-life examples. One of my objectives is to consider ways these can be introduced to the wider international development community.’
T…..’s PhD is collectively funded by alumni donations to the Centenary Campaign. ‘Being an alumna myself, receiving this funding is particularly meaningful – it makes me especially proud to be part of the Bristol community. The support I’ve received has allowed me to address my research at pace, and work with people across the globe. Thank you.’"

Oct 17, 2015 at 6:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

Mike Post @ 6:49 pm

I too am an alumnus from 1965 - architecture. I have lived in Fiji - and am still here for much of my life and, like you, was appalled at the BU blurb. The Australian studies on Pacific sea level show that Pacific Islands are not drowning under sea level rise - the reverse actually. On this basis alone BU would seem to be the ideal place for the Lew person to set up shop and they obviously don't need my hard earned cash to help them..

Oct 17, 2015 at 7:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuart Huggett

Mike Post, it is amazing how many wannabe climatologists are attracted to funding that enables them to study on tropical beaches, for as long as the taxpayer funding lasts, because nothing out of the ordinary is ever going to happen in their lifetimes.

No wannabe climatologists seem too keen on setting up camps to watch the arctic sea ice vanish, and that does not seem likely in their lifetimes either. Maybe they are wary of the allegedly vanishing polar bears.

Climate science is vanishing. The more you look at it, the more it vanishes.

Oct 17, 2015 at 7:49 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Stuart Huggett and GC

My concern is the damage this CAGW madness is doing to formerly distinguished universities such as Bristol. UEA has been tarnished by Climategate but it never had a reputation at all in science. Bristol was different. I do not want to be ashamed to say that I hold a Bristol degree but that is the way that it is going.

Oct 17, 2015 at 9:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

The RS does care about its reputation. Of course it does. How else can it promote left-wing causes unless it has a good reputation? The mistake you're making is to think that this sort of thing undermines its reputation. In general, it doesn't, except amongst knowledgable skeptics, who have no platform. The rest of academia, and most of the media, and the chattering classes, are gullible fools who want things like GW to be true. So they can be lied to for years, and can be relied upon to parrot the official line, until the next official line comes along.

I think what you really mean is, "Doesn't the Royal Society care about truth and honesty and scientific objectivity?" The answer to that is, in the grand old left-wing tradition, "No, not when it interferes with our political aims".

Or perhaps your question is better expressed as "Does the Royal Society these days put politics ahead of science?". The answer to that is "Yes, of course, haven't you being paying attention?" (And the answer to that last question, for most people, or at least most academics and journalists and doctors' wives, is, "No").

Oct 17, 2015 at 9:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterCal Ford

Mike Post, I entirely sympathise. Unfortunately the culture in academia rewards those whose actions generate the best funding, rather than the best critical acclaim. Industry has a good track record for finding solutions for problems.

Crick and Watson figured out DNA without seeking pop star status or salaries.

Climate science identified a possible problem and invented solutions. They have never proved a problem existed, let alone that it required solving.

That climate science has sought pseudo psychological help, and the support of the Catholic Church, just about sums it up. It relegates climate science to the belief in Father Christmas and the tooth fairy.

Some academic institutions are not going to recover the trust of their own graduates, let alone potential employers. Clearly someone thought it was a good idea for Bristol to employ Lewandowsky, and that something would be enhanced as a result. Presumably they could not have focused on his chequered career.

Oct 17, 2015 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Ben Pile, great post.

Re whether psychology is a science, of course it isn't. Nor is history. But that doesn't mean that they are worthless endeavours. The fact that disciplines like psychology and history are hijacked by propagandists from time to time is a feature, not a bug. I would add to that list literature, which has a distinguished record of providing insights into both, as well as peddling distortions of both. The same can be said of art.

The thing that makes the humanities worthy of study is precisely the fact that these disciplines are fluid and subjective. You can't "measure" literary or artistic merit, but it undoubtedly exists. Studying these things can be just as intellectually challenging as studying scientific subjects. However, unlike in the parent of all science, mathematics, you can never declare conclusively that 2 + 2 = 4. If you do, you are just making stuff up.

Oct 17, 2015 at 10:29 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

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