[Coral-List] Don't be such a scientist.
allison.billiam at gmail.com
Fri Jan 13 10:14:43 EST 2012
Hello again Gene,
Thanks for bringing that issue of Science to my attention. You might
also be interested in the article on fraud in Nature Dec. 01 cited
You are right about the "juices flowing" if the messages that I, like
Steve received off-list are any indication. Being labeled a nazi was
probably the low point compared to which the commie insinuation was
akin to flattery.
With respect to your point about who is or is not qualified to judge
the validity of climate science, I think anyone with a modicum of
critical reading skill can dissect the like of Ridley's tract rather
easily as I think my essay on the topic demonstrated. Beyond that its
a matter of reading the peer-reviewed climate science publications and
comparing them to those written by climate-change deniers. Easy.
Your selections from Science Dec. 2, 2011 are very interesting
especially if one goes beyond the passages you selected. I'll consider
only the first because the second seems to be mostly about about using
a new medium to study already well studied phenomena, social norms and
Crocker seems to rate replication as the first major bulwark against
fraud and explains why she thinks that fails in social psychology. The
failure of peer-review seems to be a secondary cause and this she
attributes to precisely the factor you seem to find astonishing, the
fact that 25 different editors were involved, at various journals,
reviewing 40 papers. She states, "Under such circumstances, it would
be almost impossible to detect a pattern of data fabrication." It was
not as though the 25 all read the same paper or sat down in a room and
discussed the papers. Wicherts 2011 thinks that lack of transparency
was important and that "...the closed culture that characterizes much
psychology research greatly aided Stapel’s deceptions."
These are intriguing conclusions and as it happens the same issue of
Science has a
"Special Section on Data Replication and Reproducibility" entailing
these topics. Not only that, but one of the articles in that section
is about climate science that is described as follows in the
introduction to the special section: "The need to convince the public
that data are replicable has grown as science and public policy-making
intersect, an issue that has has beset climate change studies. As
Santer et al. (p. 1232) describe, having multiple groups examining the
same data and generating new data has led to robust conclusions."
(Jasny, 2011). The study does just what is prescribed to avoid fraud
in social psychology. Fascinating wouldn't you say?
Here is the abstract from Santer et al: "Although concerns have been
expressed about the reliability of surface temperature data sets,
findings of pronounced surface warming over the past 60 years have
been independently reproduced by multiple groups. In contrast, an
initial finding that the lower troposphere cooled since 1979 could not
be reproduced. Attempts to confirm this apparent cooling trend led to
the discovery of errors in the initial analyses of satellite-based
tropospheric temperature measurements."
Also in that issue is study concluding that "...environmental change
is expected to generate eco-evolutionary change..." and that changes
in the average environment will have a greater effect than changes in
environmental variability. That reminds me of something I read
recently about signal:noise ratio. Although that study is about wolves
it is arguably no more tangential to climate/coral reef science where
transparency is high than is fraud in social pyschology with its
culture of secrecy.
Coulson, T., D. R. MacNulty, et al. (2011). "Modeling Effects of
Environmental Change on Wolf Population Dynamics, Trait Evolution, and
Life History." Science 334(6060): 1275-1278.
Crocker, J. and M. L. Cooper (2011). "Addressing Scientific Fraud."
Science 334(6060): 1182.
Jasny, B., G. Chin, et al. (2011). "Again, and Again, and Again …
(Introduction to special section on data replication and
reproducibility)." Science 334(6060): 1225.
Santer, B. D., T. M. L. Wigley, et al. (2011). "The Reproducibility of
Observational Estimates of Surface and Atmospheric Temperature
Change." Science 334(6060): 1232-1233.
Wicherts, J. M. (2011). "Psychology must learn a lesson from fraud
case." Nature 480(7375): 6. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/480007a
Btw, I am not sure what you meant to imply with your allusion to the
hockey stick. Care to make that explicit?
On Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 10:40 PM, Eugene Shinn <eshinn at marine.usf.edu> wrote:
> All that "Don't be too much of a scientist" rhetoric really got
> peoples juices flowing. I do not recall saying I did not believe in
> climate change but I do question whether CO2 is the main driver or
> just along for the ride. There does appear to have been a slow down
> in temperature rise (lots of ups and down but basically flat) during
> the past decade while CO2 continued to rise. The high world wide
> temperature in 1998 has not been repeated so it tends to skew the
> curve. The next 10 years should be very telling.
> Question? How many coral-listers are climate change researchers?
> Very few I suspect yet many seem to accept Al Gores statement that,
> "the science is settled." I am certainly not conversant with the
> inner working of the climate science community either but as a
> geologist I do respect the past and the information stored in the
> rocks. Climate has been changing since the beginning of time. Since
> I, and I suspect most, coral-listers, are not certified climate
> scientists we are all pretty much free to believe, or not believe,
> what climate scientists say. Why do I say that?
> The Dec 2, 2011 issue of SCIENCE on page 1182 has a striking
> Editorial titled "Addressing Scientific Fraud." The editorial points
> out that "social psychologist Diederik Stapel fabricated data for
> numerous studies conducted over a period of 15-20 years." "Over 100
> publications are now under investigation." Apparently this scientist
> was a giant in his field. His publications have been referenced by
> numerous other scientists, thus compounding the damage his fraud has
> created. Further, the article points out that peer review (we like to
> call it the gold standard in science) did not, and is not designed
> to, catch such fraud. His works passed through 25 different journal
> editors! The editorial also points out how "difficult it is for
> authorities to respond appropriately, because students, colleagues,
> and universities have so much to lose when fraud is alleged." That
> would be true for governmental agencies as well. Now I am not
> suggesting that any of our esteemed climate scientists have committed
> fraud but many have made such accusations. The famous "hockey stick
> "curve is a good example.
> There is much more in the editorial and I suggest listers
> should read it. In the end it was some brave students (call them
> skeptics or deniers) who finally brought the fraud to the attention
> of authorities. Now I am not a social scientist conversant in their
> jargon and interworking's and certainly would not have detected the
> fraud either. Admittedly my knowledge of the interworking of climate
> scientists is not much better but I do know they appear to be well
> funded and a lot is at stake if they are wrong. I suspect that most
> coral reef researchers are in pretty much the same boat. I conclude
> it is reckless to willingly accept pronouncements from a field of
> science about which most of us know so little, especially when it is
> based so heavily on computer models using suspect data and a
> questionable mind-set so vividly revealed by the Climategate affair.
> Yes I know universities authorities investigated and gave these folks
> a clean bill of health. What else could they do? Think about the
> social science case mentioned earlier.
> Many like to make comparisons with the tobacco industry case or
> point out that industry money may be funding some "skeptics and
> deniers." Is oil company money any different than government money?
> It seems both groups have a lot at stake.
> In conclusion, On page 1220 of the same SCIENCE issue is another
> sociology article titled "Experimenting with Buddies" which relates
> how groups of people using social media were experimentally
> manipulated. Could that happen on the coral list? Umm---we may never
> know when and how we are being manipulated. Who ever started the
> "don't be too much of a scientist" stuff probably had it right.
> Scientists can be as wrong and biased as anyone else. Gene
> No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
> ------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
> E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
> University of South Florida
> College of Marine Science Room 221A
> 140 Seventh Avenue South
> St. Petersburg, FL 33701
> <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
> Tel 727 553-1158----------------------------------
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Is this how science illuminates "reality"? - "the meaning of an
episode was not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the talk
which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze."
- narrator's comment about Marlow's tale-telling, in Heart of Darkness (Conrad)
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