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Thread: Junk Science Week...

  1. #1
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    Default Junk Science Week...

    It's Junk Science Week at the National Post and they have a lot of material this year... Just read and enjoy and make of it what you will. We all have our opinions on this stuff...

    Climate science, Bag bans and so on...

    http://opinion.financialpost.com/201...-reality-test/

    A 2011 study in the Journal of Forecasting took the same data set and compared model predictions against a “random walk” alternative, consisting simply of using the last period’s value in each location as the forecast for the next period’s value in that location. The test measures the sum of errors relative to the random walk. A perfect model gets a score of zero, meaning it made no errors. A model that does no better than a random walk gets a score of 1. A model receiving a score above 1 did worse than uninformed guesses. Simple statistical forecast models that have no climatology or physics in them typically got scores between 0.8 and 1, indicating slight improvements on the random walk, though in some cases their scores went as high as 1.8.
    Bags -- Plastic is Green...

    http://opinion.financialpost.com/201...s-are-plastic/


    From “Life-cycle assessment of supermarket carrier bags,” U.K. Environment Agency, 2011.
    Conclusions related to individual carrier bags The comparisons include the secondary reuse of 40% of lightweight bags (high-density polyethylene [HDPE], HDPE pro-degradant and starch-polyester) as bin liners.


    But you guys have already seen that...


    On peer review...
    http://opinion.financialpost.com/201...eview-process/


    The head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has referred to its work as the gold standard, based on its oft-made claim that it only surveys work published in peer-reviewed professional research papers.

    Interestingly, Albert Einstein’s famous 1905 paper on relativity was not peer-reviewed. It is therefore quite clear that peer-review is not a precondition for excellent, indeed epoch-making, scientific research.

    So what is a peer-reviewed (also termed refereed) research paper?
    ... Indeed the referenced paper had no references...


    Check the RH side et the post -- more articles there and more to come.




    Hopefully they will pick up on this article...
    http://notrickszone.com/2012/06/15/n...t-as-reliable/

    At their Die kalte Sonne website, Professor Fritz Vahrenholt and Dr. Sebastian Lüning present a guest post by Prof. Jan-Erik Solheim, who comments on the huge divergence between Hansen’s 1988 forecast and actual observations. I’ve translated his guest post in English:

    ...
    The arrow extending beyond Scenario A shows the temperature value that should have been predicted by the Hansen Team based a CO2 increase of 2.5%. According to Hansen’s projection, the temperature should have increased 1.5°C when compared to the 1970s level. In truth the temperature rose only 0.6°C.

    It is clearly visible that the temperature forecast modelled by the Hansen Group is off by about 150%. It is truly regrettable that precisely this modelling is still being viewed as a reliable forecast by our politicians.

    Of course an engineer making planes or even kiddie cars would be fired for those kinds of errors in his models...

    Lots of stuff out there...

    It's worth repeating: Just read and enjoy and make of it what you will. We all have our opinions on this stuff...

    But if you have a favorite candidate -- by all means a link and a comment would be nice.
    ---
    Will

    “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” —- Mark Twain

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    Very interesting, but I have to know if this post was peer reviewed.

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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    Quote Originally Posted by acr View Post
    Very interesting, but I have to know if this post was peer reviewed.
    I had no idea it was necessary -- but it was pier reviewed. Me and the boys were drinking beer and chawing tobaccy while sitting on the pier at Virginia Beach (at the south end of Lake Simcoe while waitin' for a catfish to bite) and thinkin' about climates an' how much they changed lately... affer we flung all the junk papers off the pier -- those were what's left. So I guess mabee you cud say so...

    Anyway -- this one is even better than the above...
    http://joannenova.com.au/2012/06/the...one-it-better/


    All the way back on May 9th 1992, UN defined “climate change” as man-made. See The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, (paragraph 6):

    “Climate change is defined by the Convention as “change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods” (article 1 (2)).”

    In other words, there is no “climate change” without humans because there cannot be, and by extension, the climate did not change, could not have, for the 4.5 billion years before 1880 when the first coal powered electricity station was fired up.

    What can I say???? I was dead wrong and so was Rusty. I herewith apologize for thinking anything different -- ever...

    I mean so what if Dr. Pielke Sr. says this...
    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.co...limate-change/

    The terminology in the field of climate and environmental science is filled with jargon words and the misuse of definitions. I have posted on this issue before with respect to the terms “global warming” and “climate change” in my posts.

    To properly define these two terms, I recommended
    Global Warming is an increase in the global annual average heat content measured in Joules.

    Climate Change is any multi-decadal or longer alteration in one or more physical, chemical and/or biological components of the climate system.
    Today’s post is to further elaborate on the terms that are used.


    What's he know -- eh?

    It's jess weather folks! YeeHaw!
    ---
    Will

    “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” —- Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    I had no idea it was necessary -- but it was pier reviewed. Me and the boys were drinking beer and chawing tobaccy while sitting on the pier at Virginia Beach (at the south end of Lake Simcoe while waitin' for a catfish to bite) and thinkin' about climates an' how much they changed lately... affer we flung all the junk papers off the pier -- those were what's left. So I guess mabee you cud say so...

    All of us who live around Lake Simcoe thought it was bad septic systems that were polluting the lake. Now I find it's Willr and his drunken buddies flinging junk papers into the lake. Willr you have a lot to answer for.

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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    Quote Originally Posted by WillR View Post
    I had no idea it was necessary -- but it was pier reviewed. Me and the boys were drinking beer and chawing tobaccy while sitting on the pier at Virginia Beach (at the south end of Lake Simcoe while waitin' for a catfish to bite) and thinkin' about climates an' how much they changed lately... affer we flung all the junk papers off the pier -- those were what's left. So I guess mabee you cud say so...
    Quote Originally Posted by dwoody View Post
    All of us who live around Lake Simcoe thought it was bad septic systems that were polluting the lake. Now I find it's Willr and his drunken buddies flinging junk papers into the lake. Willr you have a lot to answer for.
    Aw shucks... Sorry Dennis. But we wasn't drunk -- just a little upset with the papers.

    Tell you what -- we will make them into proper lil paper squares for yer outhouse.

    OK?
    ---
    Will

    “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” —- Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    Quote Originally Posted by willr View Post
    Me and the boys were drinking beer and chawing tobaccy while...
    This right here proves there was a pee review.
    In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion

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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    Science bashing...witch burning for the 21st century

    Guessing you've never gone to a Dr/Dentist, or benefited from modern medicine or any other science derived benefit to society? All these evil scientists, ban them all!

    Sorry Willy, but your posts come with such a slant they seem comical, you actually illustrate 'Junk Science' to a Tee. Picking and choosing radical opinions to fit your daily rant.

    If you're going to try and stir the pot, at least try to do it with integrity and a somewhat balanced approach - at least it would lend a touch of credibility to your biased tilts at windmills.

    However, at least you appear to be having fun, just don't take yourself too seriously

    I enjoy your rants Will, hope it pays off for you in the long run!
    Last edited by John Bartley; 06-16-2012 at 07:27 AM. Reason: removed partisan political shot ...

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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    I did not bother to read the links. The National Post? They are so scraping the bottom of the barrel with their abilities, their financials, and sorrily for the last few years trading their integrity for splash, I just can't even look at anything they have to say much better than that in the Sun or Star.

    I loved their paper up until they completley lost scope with having been an inbbred of the the Financial Times (adieu to Mr Black for that hyber-syner-gation). Gosh I missed an independant minded editorial from Diane Francis and certain other journalists, but that's another discussion.

    Sorry, journalism has caved too much overall with all papers, I can't read anything in such papers any longer without poluting my perspective even for curiosity purposes.



    Will, I like your guile, but get some better sources to yank a crank to me. I have to say POLITELY, I rarely sadly ever read to your links, as there are just too many of them in general.

    I do like your posts Will. I think 99%+ of us here do. For me, I'd be much better getting a condensed and more succinct rendition and from more ready to be read sources than some of the lesser qualified articles I see sometimes. And I say that as fellow yick-yacker myself.
    Kevin

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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeti View Post
    Science bashing...witch burning for the 21st century

    Guessing you've never gone to a Dr/Dentist, or benefited from modern medicine or any other science derived benefit to society? All these evil scientists, ban them all!

    Sorry Willy, but your posts come with such a slant they seem comical, you actually illustrate 'Junk Science' to a Tee. Picking and choosing radical opinions to fit your daily rant.

    If you're going to try and stir the pot, at least try to do it with integrity and a somewhat balanced approach - at least it would lend a touch of credibility to your biased tilts at windmills.

    However, at least you appear to be having fun, just don't take yourself too seriously

    I enjoy your rants Will, hope it pays off for you in the long run!

    I was hoping you would show us how to do it...

    I don't even want to ban the bad ones. They deserve their moment in the sun -- however short.

    I think many will understand you perfectly.
    ---
    Will

    “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” —- Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    Kevin:

    Each to their own. You are missing something.

    One of the last things I would ever do is quit reading a paper or a source I do not like. I read the Toronto Star every day, and the Globe and the Sun and the Post and several others.

    Well -- I did quit reading one:
    http://www.realclimate.org/

    It's full of people of the type that someone else mentioned.... The anti-science brigade -- lead by people with PhDs -- which makes it truly sad.

    It's the opinions you do not like and do not care to hear that generate opportunity of many types.

    I try to find articles that are representative of the scientific papers I read. Most here would not wish to read the advanced math in many of the papers. As for the truly bad papers many would not grasp the foolishness of the statistical chicanery.

    As for condensing science. It's hard to do and iit is the reason so many activists get away with promulgating junk. It is also the reasons that Press Releases are not supported by the conclusions of so many papers. It is also the reason that so many scientists get away with providing conclusions unsupported by their work. This situation is unlikely to change.


    Again, each to their own.
    Last edited by willr; 06-16-2012 at 08:20 AM.
    ---
    Will

    “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” —- Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    Quote Originally Posted by darius View Post
    This right here proves there was a pee review.
    It's so much more than so many scientific papers deserve these days.
    ---
    Will

    “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” —- Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    Here is a piece recommended by P. Gosselin of the "No-Tricks" zone.

    Kevin wanted another source, here it is...
    http://www.appinsys.com/globalwarming/Acceleration.htm


    Here's the summary of the more or less consensus viewpoint:
    Acceleration

    Obama’s Science Advisor – John Holdren – stated: “Climate change is real. It's accelerating. It is caused in substantial part by human activity. It is dangerous. And it is getting more so.” [http://www.aip.org/fyi/2009/033.html]

    Obama said: “international discussions have essentially taken place now for almost two decades, and we have very little to show for it other than an increased acceleration of the climate change phenomenon.” [http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-...nge-conference]

    Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC said: “climate change was happening more quickly than believed, also asserted that all evidence pointed to its acceleration” [http://beta.thehindu.com/news/intern...ticle64458.ece]
    Here is an alternative viewpoint...
    Sea Level

    Sea level has been rising at a steady rate since records began in the late 1800s – well before the CO2 era. Is it accelerating?


    The following figure shows global cumulative sea level change for 1900 to 2002 [
    http://www.wamis.org/agm/meetings/rs...Level_Rise.pdf]. Since according to the IPCC, CO2-based warming has apparently only shown up since the 1970s, all of this sea level rise since prior to 1970 cannot be caused by anthropogenic CO2, and yet the trend has not increased.
    ...
    Acceleration has been caused by selective trend calculation (i.e. cherry-picking). The following figure compares (left) the above sea level data (1.6 mm/yr) with (right) more recently reported rate of 3.1 mm/yr. By using a start year of 1993 – at the bottom of a dip in the trend, a spurious calculation of 3.1 is obtained. In reality the recent data is in line with the long-term trend – the “acceleration” is artificial.
    ...
    Acceleration has also been produced through data adjustments. The following figure compares the sea level data through 2009 (from above-right – changed to the magenta line below) and the same data through 2005 from an older EPA report. The older data has more recently been adjusted downwards to artificially create an “acceleration” of sea level rise.

    But, it's based on fact -- not models... and that summarizes why so much material makes into the junk science bin.


    Compare to the story at Real Climate -- then decide what you believe.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php...ea-level-rise/


    Yeti demonstrated how real climate scientists handle dissent from the accepted view. You decide how you like your facts -- massaged or straight up.

    I gotta go rip up some more papers. Here's to the littering laws.

    PS: A quick note on acceleration and velocity. If you understand this -- you don't need to read this.. But, just to be clear, If a paper shows a straight line or a relatively straiught trend line there is no acceleration (unless it is non-linear axes). The velocity is constant.

    If you drive at 100 km an hour -- you are a constantly increasing distance form home (At least on the 400 hwy which is straight mostly). You are not accelerating. One of the tricks is to show people a line with an increasing quantity and scream "acceleration". It just ain't so!. Not even us high school drop-outs fall for that.

    This link is for country hicks like me -- that like their science and their whiskey the same way -- straight and neat!
    http://www.ugrad.math.ubc.ca/coursed.../velocity.html

    -- or --

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acceleration
    In physics, acceleration is the rate of change of velocity with time.[1] In one dimension, acceleration is the rate at which something speeds up or slows down. For example, a car driving away (from standstill) is increasing its speed and is thus accelerating. Similarly, a car braking to stop in front of a traffic light is still said (in physics) to undergo acceleration, although now a negative one. In common speech, it is said to be decelerating.

    Velocity

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velocity

    In physics,
    velocity is speed in a given direction.
    Speed describes only how fast an object is moving, whereas velocity gives both the speed and direction of the object's motion.[1] To have a constant velocity, an object must have a constant speed and motion in a constant direction. Constant direction typically constrains the object to motion in a straight path. A car moving at a constant 20 kilometers per hour in a circular path does not have a constant velocity. The rate of change in velocity is acceleration. Velocity is a vector physical quantity; both magnitude and direction are required to define it. The scalar absolute value (magnitude) of velocity is speed, a quantity that is measured in metres per second (m/s or ms−1) when using the SI (metric) system.


    Don't be conned...
    Last edited by willr; 06-16-2012 at 08:57 AM.
    ---
    Will

    “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” —- Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    One of the problems, Will, is that much of what you present appears to be conclusion driven, i.e. they have a conclusion and then set out to marshal any argument they can find that supports that conclusion.

    That is not to say it is propaganda. The difference is that propaganda generally uses false arguments, whereas conclusion driven work tends to end up with a mix of both false and true arguments. That's only inevitable, since they pick arguments based not on their strength, but on how well it supports the conclusion they are pushing.

    But it is nevertheless the antithesis of the scientific method that forms the basis of western knowledge, and in that way it is nothing but an anti-intellectual power grab.

    Take the snipe above about peer-review. Why on earth would they attack the process of peer review? As someone who has published peer reviewed articles, I can tell you, the process is essential to the scientific method. For example, let's say that it was necessary to buy a new router. How could that task be accomplished? There are many routers out there to choose from, how can we know which are good and which are not? To distinguish among them, you would have to be a woodworker with expertise in routers. That's a fine thing to be, but not everyone can be that. My wife is a social worker, and though intelligent and very good at what she does, she couldn't distinguish a good router from a hand saw. She has nothing against woodworking, it's just not the course of knowledge she's pursued in life. In the same way, different scientific sub-disciplines require individual expertise in that particular field in order to evaluate the strength of an argument or study from that field. A non-specialist generally does not have that expertise. Worse, a non-specialist may have a rudimentary understanding of that sub-field, which - since a little knowledge is a dangerous thing - may lead them to think they understand better than they actually do. But, if only a specialist can properly evaluate the works of a sub-discipline, then how can the findings of that discipline be made accessible to all the other non-specialists who have taken a different course of knowledge in life. i.e. the rest of us? Peer review is the vehicle through which that can happen. It is akin to the editors of Fine woodworking offering tool reviews of all the routers, and saying "here's the top 5, here's the best value, here's the best quality, etc." Such review allows non-specialists to benefit from a specialist's trained eye and evaluation.

    The process isn't perfect, but it generally works, and it's the best way we have to accomplish what is obviously a necessary function.

    So given all that, why oh why would someone try to sniper the peer-review process?

    It seems transparent that the only reason they would do so is polemic.

    They disagree with the conclusions of a certain body of scientific work. Therefore they would like to discredit that work - not because the work is sound or un-sound, but simply because they dislike the conclusion. But then they are told they cannot discredit that work, because it is already peer-reviewed. What to do then? Aha! That's it! Just discredit the peer-review process! Expose that hokus pokus for what it is! After that, they'll have a free and clear road to discrediting the work, and then dismissing the conclusion that they started out not liking.

    That may make good politics, but it is bad science, and I think that's what Kevin might have been getting at.

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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    Peer review is important and necessary.
    More important, yet a large diminutive (hehe) to it is the follow up work that supports or refutes the conclusions of the original paper. Only now are people able to openly respond to papers in the literature via forums and publisher's websites.... And it is actually quite infrequent that responses are posted. The debate is required. Disclosure is also required.
    I like willr's posts. It gets people interested in science and evidence based inquiry (which is sorely lacking in society and government these days). What is needed though is less hyperbole, and more specific examples that undermine the data analysis.... Like the cherry picking of data points.
    -------
    Cheers,
    --Rick

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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    Callee/Ryan:

    Surprisingly I agree with you on much of what I wrote and that you wrote.

    However, You said I was quoting "conclusion driven" articles. I don't see that that is true -- or at least any more than so many that I read. However, if you focus on just one of them, and show the points, I might understand better rather than saying "They".

    Like you I have written peer reviewed papers. (Not bad for a high school dropout eh?). I have also read and written both pal reviewed papers and peer reviewed papers. Pal reviewed papers are difficult to spot at times. I can refer you to a discussion about a recent paper of this nature. Even Pal Reviewed papers can produce good science -- it is just that if a group of people want to drive an unsupportable conclusion -- it can make bad science look good. See here:

    http://climateaudit.org/2012/06/08/g...l-put-on-hold/
    Daid Karolly said: An issue has been identified in the processing of the data used in the study, which may affect the results. While the paper states that “both proxy climate and instrumental data were linearly detrended over the 1921–1990 period”, we discovered on Tuesday 5 June that the records used in the final analysis were not detrended for proxy selection, making this statement incorrect. Although this is an unfortunate data processing issue, it is likely to have implications for the results reported in the study. The journal has been contacted and the publication of the study has been put on hold.

    This is a normal part of science. The testing of scientific studies through independent analysis of data and methods strengthens the conclusions. In this study, an issue has been identified and the results are being re-checked.

    We would be grateful if you would post the notice below on your ClimateAudit web site.

    It was "Blog Review" or Extended Review -- not Peer review or Pal Review that found the problem. Good science and bad science can happen every and any where...

    The Gergis et al paper confirmed the Climate "Hockey Stick" in Australia -- it used Paleo-Climate series from thousands of kilometers distance for the shores of that fair continent.... some think it is more than data processing and some think it is worse than amateurish statistical work. I would give you a reference to the paper -- but they have all been pulled. I have a copy -- but since they pulled it, I will not pass it along.

    The "peer review" process is relatively new. Peer review has never been essential to the advancement of science. If it always worked it often could be.

    Now, if you feel that people who are skeptical of CAGW (Note the "C" stands for Catastrophic) publish bad papers -- put one up here... and have some fun with it. As an aside: I don't know any Global Warming Skeptics with a science degree -- not even myself.

    I will even give you a link to the 1000 most referred to papers. If you really feel they can be made fun of -- do so. I will join in with great merriment.
    http://www.populartechnology.net/200...upporting.html

    Interesting post.

    Thank you!
    Last edited by willr; 06-16-2012 at 10:28 AM.
    ---
    Will

    “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” —- Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    nitpik:

    Quote Originally Posted by willr View Post
    You said I was quoting "conclusion driven" articles.
    did I say that?

    here's what I posted:

    much of what you present appears to be conclusion driven
    there's some real differences there.

    For example, I said "much of" which indicates that I'm not condemning everything you post, and not denying that you do post some good material. Your version, "You said I was quoting" sounds much more absolute, as if I was condemning the entirety of what you post.

    Also, note how I said "appears to be" whereas you summarise that with a simple "was". The former concedes that things may not actually be as they appear to me to be, whereas your version makes it sound like I'm making a confident, definitive judgement.

    I'm not trying to be nitpiky (it comes naturally!) but I think words matter. Yes?

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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rickbird View Post
    Peer review is important and necessary.
    More important, yet a large diminutive (hehe) to it is the follow up work that supports or refutes the conclusions of the original paper. Only now are people able to openly respond to papers in the literature via forums and publisher's websites.... And it is actually quite infrequent that responses are posted. The debate is required. Disclosure is also required.
    I like willr's posts. It gets people interested in science and evidence based inquiry (which is sorely lacking in society and government these days). What is needed though is less hyperbole, and more specific examples that undermine the data analysis.... Like the cherry picking of data points.

    Considering your qualifications I feel truly humbled.

    This high school dropout thanks you!

    And if anybody reads sarcasm here -- boy have you got it wrong!
    ---
    Will

    “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” —- Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    Quote Originally Posted by callee View Post
    nitpik:



    did I say that?

    here's what I posted:


    there's some real differences there.

    For example, I said "much of" which indicates that I'm not condemning everything you post, and not denying that you do post some good material. Your version, "You said I was quoting" sounds much more absolute, as if I was condemning the entirety of what you post.

    Also, note how I said "appears to be" whereas you summarise that with a simple "was". The former concedes that things may not actually be as they appear to me to be, whereas your version makes it sound like I'm making a confident, definitive judgement.

    I'm not trying to be nitpiky (it comes naturally!) but I think words matter. Yes?
    Academics often nitpick. That is true.

    Let's accept what you say -- move on -- and have you present a really bad skeptical paper.

    I will assist you in tearing up the science.

    Also -- feel free to present and discuss those "much of's". Feel free....

    Far be it from me to say that you disagree with what I write when you only mean "much of"...

    I have to go out for a while -- but let's see you present one skeptical paper -- peer reviewed -- that we can all have access to -- and see what we can say about bad science... and it has to simple -- I'm limited to facility with arithmetic.
    ---
    Will

    “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” —- Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    Quote Originally Posted by willr View Post
    Let's accept what you say -- move on -- and have you present a really bad skeptical paper.

    I will assist you in tearing up the science.
    can't do it. it's not even remotely my field. I'm no more qualified to do that than I am to perform brain surgery.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Junk Science Week...

    Quote Originally Posted by callee View Post
    One of the problems, Will, is that much of what you present appears to be conclusion driven, i.e. they have a conclusion and then set out to marshal any argument they can find that supports that conclusion.

    But it is nevertheless the antithesis of the scientific method that forms the basis of western knowledge, and in that way it is nothing but an anti-intellectual power grab.

    Take the snipe above about peer-review. Why on earth would they attack the process of peer review? As someone who has published peer reviewed articles, I can tell you, the process is essential to the scientific method.

    The process isn't perfect
    , but it generally works, and it's the best way we have to accomplish what is obviously a necessary function.

    So given all that, why oh why would someone try to sniper the peer-review process?

    It seems transparent that the only reason they would do so is polemic.

    They disagree with the conclusions of a certain body of scientific work. Therefore they would like to discredit that work [Note: That much is indeed the purpose of some peer review -- whether for good or for ill.]- not because the work is sound or un-sound, but simply because they dislike the conclusion. But then they are told they cannot discredit that work, because it is already peer-reviewed. What to do then? Aha! That's it! Just discredit the peer-review process! Expose that hokus pokus for what it is! After that, they'll have a free and clear road to discrediting the work, and then dismissing the conclusion that they started out not liking.

    That may make good politics, but it is bad science, and I think that's what Kevin might have been getting at.
    I remind people that they are not compelled to read the entire post -- or to follow the links unless they have an interest in that type of content...


    Ryan/Callee:

    I was so stunned by that remark that it took me a while to formulate a response -- which I will try to keep simple so that other people if they wish can follow three links and see what is being discussed -- one of them will be a real-time, live "peer review" -- of sorts.

    I underlined and bolded the portion we seem to agree on...

    First -=- a short history of peer review is here. It agrees with my contention that formal peer review is a relatively recent practice:
    http://michaelnielsen.org/blog/three...c-peer-review/

    Note: The use of the word Myth is not mine -- but it could be difficult to disagree.

    Myth number 1: Scientists have always used peer review

    The myth that scientists adopted peer review broadly and early in the history of science is surprisingly widely believed, despite being false. It’s true that peer review has been used for a long time – a process recognizably similar to the modern system was in use as early as 1731, in the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Medical Essays and Observations (ref). But in most scientific journals, peer review wasn’t routine until the middle of the twentieth century, a fact documented in historical papers by Burnham, Kronick, and Spier.


    ...
    How many of Einstein’s 300 plus papers were peer reviewed? According to the physicist and historian of science Daniel Kennefick, it may well be that only a single paper of Einstein’s was ever subject to peer review. That was a paper about gravitational waves, jointly authored with Nathan Rosen, and submitted to the journal Physical Review in 1936. The Physical Review had at that time recently introduced a peer review system. It wasn’t always used, but when the editor wanted a second opinion on a submission, he would send it out for review. The Einstein-Rosen paper was sent out for review, and came back with a (correct, as it turned out) negative report. Einstein’s indignant reply to the editor is amusing to modern scientific sensibilities, and suggests someone quite unfamiliar with peer review:


    Myth number 2: peer review is reliable

    Update: Bill Hooker has pointed out that I’m using a very strong sense of “reliable” in this section, holding peer review to the standard that it nearly always picks up errors, is a very accurate gauge of quality, and rarely suppresses innovation. If you adopt a more relaxed notion of reliability, as many but not all scientists and members of the general public do, then I’d certainly back off describing this as a myth. As an approximate filter that eliminates or improves many papers, peer review may indeed function well.


    Every scientist has a story (or ten) about how they were poorly treated by peer review – the important paper that was unfairly rejected, or the silly editor who ignored their sage advice as a referee. Despite this, many strongly presume that the system works “pretty well”, overall.
    There’s not much systematic evidence for that presumption. In 2002 Jefferson et al (ref) surveyed published studies of biomedical peer review. After an extensive search, they found just 19 studies which made some attempt to eliminate obvious confounding factors. Of those, just two addressed the impact of peer review on quality, and just one addressed the impact of peer review on validity; most of the rest of the studies were concerned with questions like the effect of double-blind reviewing. Furthermore, for the three studies that addressed quality and validity, Jefferson et al concluded that there were other problems with the studies which meant the results were of limited general interest; as they put it, “Editorial peer review, although widely used, is largely untested and its effects are uncertain”.



    • George Zweig’s paper announcing the discovery of quarks, one of the fundamental building blocks of matter, was rejected by Physical Review Letters. It was eventually issued as a CERN report.
    • Berson and Yalow’s work on radioimmunoassay, which led to a Nobel Prize, was rejected by both Science and the Journal of Clinical Investigation. It was eventually published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
    • Krebs’ work on the citric acid cycle, which led to a Nobel Prize, was rejected by Nature. It was published in Experientia.
    • Wiesner’s paper introducing quantum cryptography was initially rejected, finally appearing well over a decade after it was written.


    Myth: Peer review is the way we determine what’s right and wrong in science

    By now, it should be clear that the peer review system must play only a partial role in determing what scientists think of as established science. There’s no sign, for example, that the lack of peer review in the 19th and early 20th century meant that scientists then were more confused than now about what results should be regarded as well established, and what should not. Nor does it appear that the unreliability of the peer review process leaves us in any great danger of collectively coming to believe, over the long run, things that are false.
    In practice, of course, nearly all scientists understand that peer review is only part of a much more complex process by which we evaluate and refine scientific knowledge, gradually coming to (provisionally) accept some findings as well established, and discarding the rest. So, in that sense, this third myth isn’t one that’s widely believed within the scientific community. But in many scientists’ shorthand accounts of how science progresses, peer review is given a falsely exaggerated role, and this is reflected in the understanding many people in the general public have of how science works. Many times I’ve had non-scientists mention to me that a paper has been “peer-reviewed!”, as though that somehow establishes that it is correct, or high quality. I’ve encountered this, for example, in some very good journalists, and it’s a concern, for peer review is only a small part of a much more complex and much more reliable system by which we determine what scientific discoveries are worth taking further, and what should be discarded.
    The entire article is much longer -- but it summarizes the main points and much of it matches with my experience. I could write a book on that...




    For a live peer review process -- follow this link.
    http://climateaudit.org/2012/06/17/s...-lot-of-noise/

    There has been a great deal of discussion on a recent CA thread on the efficacy of screening proxies for use in reconstructions by selecting on the size of the correlation between the proxy and the temperature during the calibration time period. During the discussion I asked Nick Stokes the following questions in a comment:
    Do you think that it would be appropriate to use correlation to screen tree rings in a particular site or region when doing a temperature reconstruction for that site? Would you not be concerned that the process could bias the result even if the trees did contain actual information about the temperature?
    The stats may be well above most people's level, However, some of the "English" comments summarize the points rather neatly...




    On Bishop Hill -- somebody made this comment regarding an article which has since been pulled...
    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/bl...last-post.html
    I think this explanation of their "science" sums up all that is wrong:

    "Iʻm talking, yes, about the scientific method. Simply put, to have a valid argument, a scientist will hypothesize about something, letʻs say the temperature of a certain place over a specific period of time. He or she will then record temperatures for a specific length of time then write a paper and send it in to a journal publication-for example Science or Nature. Before it gets published, various other scientists read it to assess the validity of the argument. If none can falsify it or find no major inconsistencies, the paper gets published and then is used as the basis for other scientific hypotheses. So, these peer reviewed articles are what constitute the scientific fact."

    In other words, if no "scientist" publishes a paper that says the world has not warmed - if no one questions warming because they don't want to rock the boat ... if for whatever reason the evidence contradicts the hypothesis or the models ... but no one publishes .... if no one sees it in their career interests to suggest the models are carp, .... then according to this absurd notion which wouldn't wash in an arts subject like literature criticism and is about as far from science as you can possibly get, .... despite the real fact that none of the models predicted the climate and the climate has not warmed in this bubble of madness it is a "scientific fact" that the world is warming and the models are all correct ... because none of them have published a paper saying otherwise.


    Mike Haselers comments are in normal type -- the original authors contention is in Italics.

    But again -- it's an interesting summary of the issues.

    Peer review has been with us a long time in some forms -- the Hemlock of Socrates -- the banning of Galileo -- the burning of Jean D'Arc are some of the extreme examples -- where peer review was effective -- and final.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trial_of_Socrates

    The trial of Socrates and the subsequent execution of that classical Athenian philosopher took place in 399 BC. Socrates was tried on two notoriously ambiguous charges: corrupting the youth and impiety (in Greek, asebeia). More specifically, Socrates' accusers cited two "impious" acts: "failing to acknowledge the gods that the city acknowledges" and "introducing new deities.

    But it was never an essential part of the scientific process, Archimedes and Aristotle might vouch of that -- not to mention Newton and Einstein.

    It has become part of the publishing process -- but that is entirely another issue.
    Last edited by willr; 06-18-2012 at 11:05 AM.
    ---
    Will

    “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” —- Mark Twain

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