Several months ago on Facebook, a high-school classmate engaged me in debate on the subject of global warming after I posted an article on the subject. He believes man is causing the globe to warm and supports draconian government regulation to address the problem; I think the science is bunk, and thus regulation based on that science is misguided.
As we debated the subject, it became clear that my “friend,” who makes a living in the scientific community, puts all of his faith in the peer-review process, whereby scientific researchers study each others’ data to make sure it is sound before publication in austere journals. Nothing this enlightened redneck said mattered because I’m not a scientist, and he had peer review on his side.
My former classmate sounded very much like actor Ed Begley Jr. this week on Fox News. The environmental activist, who has been known to fake his emotions, was mild-mannered while backstage but went ballistic when Stuart Varney interviewed him on air:
The fairness of peer review was suspect even when my classmate and I clashed online because the work of nearly all scientists critical of the theory of global warming had been banished from major journals for years. Regardless of their credentials, such researchers were ridiculed as “deniers” and “skeptics” whose work did not deserve to see the light of day.
“When you enter into a debate with any of them, they always stop cold when you ask an awkward question,” Vincent Gray, an expert reviewer for the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, wrote at Pajamas Media. “This applies even when you write to a government department or a member of Parliament. I and many of my friends have grown accustomed to our failure to publish and to lecture, and to the rejection of our comments submitted prior to every IPCC report.”
All of Gray’s 1,898 comments critical of the 2007 IPCC report were ignored. (Hat tip to Instapundit)
As of last week, peer review as it relates to global warming has been completely debunked thanks to the revelations in more than a decade’s worth of e-mails among the scientists who control the process. Even some scientists and environmental activists, the few who still have a shred of integrity left within them, appreciate the damage the e-mails have done to the reputation of peer review.
Here are some of the more noteworthy insights from the e-mails:
It’s laughable to hear scientists bashing experts like McIntyre for turning to the Internet to publish their research after years of being marginalized by climate alarmists. Their critics deserve praise for being determined to get all of the data into the public square so people can: 1) decide for themselves whether man-made global warming is real; and 2) whether new bureaucracies that will devastate economies around the world should be created to combat human-generated climate change.
“[B]y rigging the rules,” The Wall Street Journal editorialized, “[climate scientists] made it impossible to know how good it really is. And then, one is left to wonder why they felt the need to rig the game in the first place, if their science is as robust as they claim.”
Until a few years ago, I believed much of the environmental hype about global warming. As temperatures declined despite increasing use of fossil fuels, I grew skeptical. I am now what the green movement would consider a die-hard denier, and now that a computer hacking has opened a window into the politics of peer review, environmentalists will have a hard time convincing me to ever believe their “science” again.
“The next global-warming believer who raises ‘peer review’ as a defense of global warming,” Australia’s Investigate magazine concluded, “deserves to be metaphorically tarred and feathered and laughed at for the rest of his or her natural life.” To which I add a hearty, “Amen!”
I know I’ll be silently laughing at my deluded classmate for the rest of my life. He believes so strongly in the peer review of climate alarmists that he “unfriended” me from Facebook in the heat of debate, which is pretty much what unenlightened scientists have been doing in their journals of dogma for decades.
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