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See, it's just a scam . . . .

posted Feb 11, 2017, 1:40 PM by Jim Spofford   [ updated Feb 12, 2017, 8:51 AM ]

Jim Spofford this is why I am skeptical of science in many cases. Follow the $.... Your thoughts?

A key Obama administration scientist brushed aside inconvenient data that showed a slowdown in global warming in compiling an alarming 2015 report that coincided with…
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Jim Spofford
Jim Spofford Guess how many people have sent this to me today? :-)
Jim Spofford
Jim Spofford Any bets on the credibility of the whistleblower? I don't know yet, but I suspect that a single person's claim is going to be insufficient to rock the massive worldwide effort which represents the scientific consensus on climate change. I do like looking into this stuff as the efforts to discredit the science on climate change -- most of which are either insincere or incompetent (but not all) -- are fascinating to study in and of themselves from a skeptic's point of view. I'll let you know what I find.
Paul Navarro
Paul Navarro But haven't you heard? There's no such thing as climate change. Trump said it, so it MUST be true. Lol
Jim Spofford
Jim Spofford Regarding your skepticism, we'd all be better off if more of us were more skeptical of more things, but there's an issue of how one defines "skeptical". Too often skepticism is confused with one of the very common human biases which is to gravitate towards information which aligns with what we already believe and reject information which counters our beliefs. We all do it, even the best skeptics trained in recognizing many of the various fallacies in human thinking.
Russell Pulliam
Russell Pulliam I am disappointed - I thought I would be the only one that sent this to you LOL! Maybe skeptical wasn't the correct word to use. I don't have faith in the finality of scientific conclusions as many change over time. Additionally the scientists in many instances are being influenced by $$. Science/Scientists are the only guilty of that / most are and honestly all of have been at some point and time. Thanks for the playful exchange first thing in the am!
Jim Spofford
Jim Spofford This may be news to you, but scientists don't have "faith in the finality of scientific conclusions" either Russell. While many of us consider things in a binary sense, that being something is either true or false, science accepts that it is difficult to know the complete or fully accurate truth of a given matter. Science is a process of proposing possible "truths" or, more accurately, models for reality. The next step is what most people don't realize. The scientific process is not based on trying to prove something correct as it is trying to show something as being wrong. In other words, the claim is examined and questions are asked trying to determine something that would show the claim as not true. The claim or model is tested and if it fails, it is discarded or modified and put up for scrutiny again. If it passes, then great, but not really that great. All that means is that it passed that one way of showing it could be false. There may be a thousand other ways so showing it could be false, ways the first scientist or team didn't think of. The process is repeated over and over again. The best claims or models, the ones which have endured hundreds or thousands or more attempts at disconfirmation become scientific "laws" . . . . which again are nothing more than the best claim/model of reality we have as of today.
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Jim Spofford
Jim Spofford Here's a great description of the process by Isaac Asimov. 
http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/RelativityofWrong.htm
 
I RECEIVED a letter the other day. It was handwritten in crabbed penmanship so that it was very difficult to read. Nevertheless, I tried to make it out just in case it might prove to be important. In the first sentence, the writer told me he was majoring in English literature, but felt he needed to…
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Russell Pulliam
Russell Pulliam Jim Spofford I am a huge fan of science and scientist. I just believe that scientist like most professionals slant to where the funding comes from. I have a fantastic relationship with the most awesome Scientist in the world. Me understanding or trying to understand His knowledge is as difficult as me trying to explain my intelligence to a cockroach and the cockroach understanding me.
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Jim Spofford
Jim Spofford Thanks for the flattery, Russell. But your overly exuberant modesty in your own brain power (I know better) doesn't get you off the hook here. Being a fan of science (which everyone should be) means you should commit to understanding how science deals with its shortcomings, including the one you mentioned. Funding is only one of hundreds or thousands of biases which the human brain introduces into the scientific process. To think that science is influenced in the same way or to the same degree as any other profession is to not understand sufficiently how science really works. Have a look through this rather short but brutally honest review of the problems science faces today. I think there is much more to this valuable process than you are giving it credit for. Can money influence scientific results? Absolutely, but guess what. Those results will not stand up to time nor the repeated assaults rigorous, scientifically accepted results do. Nor will they gain the broad consensus that our current understanding of the human impact on climate change has obtained. Are there challenges to these broadly held scientific ideas? Yes, but the honest challenges are not typically the ones the public is exposed to. It is the sensational, less credible, and often intellectually dishonest ones that get all the press. 

http://theness.com/neurologi.../index.php/is-science-broken/
 
Jim Spofford
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Jim Spofford
Jim Spofford OK, back to the OP. As I suspected, the report was a distortion of what actually occurred. David Rose made these claims based on his interview of John Bates. But Bates challenges the claims Rose made saying he accused former colleagues of rushing their research to publication, in defiance of agency protocol. He specified that he did not believe that they manipulated the data upon which the research relied in any way. Bates said, “The issue here is not an issue of tampering with data, but rather really of timing of a release of a paper that had not properly disclosed everything it was.”
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Jim Spofford
Jim Spofford Everyone should always be highly skeptical of scientific reporting. Even for reporters attempting in good faith to explain what science has uncovered fail miserably sometimes for dozens of very common reasons. For example, in an effort to make the topic more digestible for the layperson, analogies or other simplifications can just plain wrong. The reporter may not have even properly grasped the significance of the event, let alone be successful at translating it for the rest of us. Nonetheless, the scientific process is still the most proven and reliable way of describing the reality of what we humans experience.
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Jim Spofford
Jim Spofford Here's a link to a write up of the situation. 
http://www.sciencealert.com/no-noaa-didn-t-fake...
 
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