Tuesday, October 04, 2011

If the science is settled why do some respected scientists still disagree?

Last week I asked Al Gore that question (in a slightly different form).

His lengthy reply included the analogy that if you had chest pains you would take the health advice of 98 doctors and ignore the other two that said there was nothing to worry about.

Ignoring the logical fallacy that being in a majority equates to truth, the "100 doctors" argument is worth examination.  In Mr Gore's world the problem is that there is a world of other doctors out there who are not invited to the table.

There are many top class scientists who are deliberately ignored or are kept away from the table.  One of the top class scientists who seems rather appalled by the conduct of the debate is Professor Judith Curry    She is  Chair of the School of Earth Sciences at Georgia Tech in the USA and has broken ranks with the so called consensus.   In this post on her blog yesterday she draws attention to a book review by Fred Pearce, a Guardian journalist. Pearce noted that the book huffs and puffs against 'deniers', but simply does not address the views of respected climate scientists such as Judith Curry herself, Professor Roger Pielke Jnr of the University of Colorado or Professor John Christy of the University of Alabama.    One could add Professor Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a good number of others.

But there is a second (and related) reason why Al Gore is wrong with his analogy of a 98:2 ratio.  And that is because of gate keeping. I find the evidence compelling of a sustained attempt to keep people away from the table by gerrymandering the rules of engagement.   The Climategate emails contain significant evidence of gate keeping and there is much more in the excellent and well researched book, the Hockey Stick Illusion by Andrew Montford.

All of which is another reason why I will be attending this meeting to explore the setting up of a Scottish grouping to be a rallying point for realism in climate science and consequential public policy.  And perhaps we will in due course uncover a few scientists in Scotland who should be at the table.

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