“A scientist is a person who makes up scary stories in order to frighten the body politic into giving his organization grants to fund research.”
This statement is scandalous, defamatory, and outrageous. Yes, that is so, and it is also true perhaps 50% of the time.
For science to be accepted it has to be demonstratable, and most importantly, repeatedly demonstratable. If a scientific paper claims that when certain substances are placed in certain relationships, circumstances, and conditions, a specified result will be observed, that is not science. It becomes science only when it is confirmed by repeated experimentation. Science which is not repeatable is not science. It may be storytelling, mythology, an active imagination, wishful thinking, a zealousness to do good, or fraud or something else again. The only surety is what it is not; it is not science.
Gaining increasing attention in science now is what is called the “replication crisis”. Professor John Ioannidis of Stanford University impelled it into wider discussion with his published paper of 2005 entitled “Why most published research findings are false.” In it he stated:
“There is increasing concern that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims. However, this should not be surprising. It can be proven that most claimed research findings are false.”
An article in Nature Review Drug Discovery in 2011 by scientists from the drug company Bayer, claimed that 75% of the literature used for potential drug discovery targets is not reliable. As the magazine The Economist of 19/10/2013 said “A rule of thumb among biotechnology venture-capitalists is that half of published research cannot be replicated. Last year researchers at one biotech firm, Amgen, found they could reproduce just six of 53 “landmark” studies in cancer research.”
Surely this was not wholly a matter of fabricating evidence. Some error would be from incompetence no doubt, and some would be arrived at through an unacknowledged wish to please with a politically acceptable or popular outcome. One would need a well-developed ability to delude numbers of people in one’s team to arrive at unreplicable nonsense so often. One suspects the possibility of a future Nobel Prize being awarded for contributing to our understanding of “Why bullshit baffles brains?”.
Peter Ridd, a marine geophysicist formerly of James Cook University, in his recent book Reef Heresy examines the claims that human activity has damaged the Great Barrier Reef through nutrient pollution from agriculture causing the crown-of-thorns starfish to multiply, dredging shipping lanes, climate change, coal dust, over-fishing and herbicides. Not one of these claims has been able to be verified to any significant, or even measurable degree.1
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on “saving the reef”; the world is convinced that the reef is dead or dying, and all this is based on science which is not replicable. The producers of alarmists’ “scientific” papers have been well rewarded indeed for their duplicitous propagandizing. Though few would ever dare to say so, the whole of marine science on this issue takes on a distinctly brothel-like hue. I say this in the hope that it will be proved to be so, that a good verbal thrashing can produce discipline and reform, and that this proves to be a replicable science.
Would that it were true that these instances of sciences’ self-abasement are isolated. Alas, it would appear not. The alarmism over CO2 presents another prime suspect of a scary story designed to loosen up the cash boxes of the frightened.
Carbon dioxide is known by true science to be both an effective and a limited hot house gas. The sun’s energy is reflected from earth back into space as infrared radiation. Hothouse gasses interrupt this escaping heat and cause some of it to stay a little longer.
The infrared radiation leaving earth has wave lengths of between 0.6 to about 20 microns. Water vapor can intercept this radiation which has wave lengths under 8 and over 15 microns, and this accounts for more than 70% of the hot house effect. Wave lengths between 8 and 15 microns return into space without any significant interruption.
CO2 operates very efficiently at the infrared radiation lengths of 4.102 and 15.589 microns, and with decreasing efficiency as the wave lengths vary out to 0.5 microns either side of this. If more than 0.5 microns either side of these key lengths, then CO2 has absolutely no hothouse effect whatsoever. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57pU2F-bIQs for a full explanation.
What this means is that even if CO2 were more than 400 parts per million, even if it were 4,000 parts, it could and never can intercept more than 10% of the heat escaping earth. This is all well known in geological science. Professor Robert Fagan’s website shows the geological science at https://www.dr-robert-fagan.com/greenhouse-gases-the-co2-debate-and-sea-level-rise/ In the Cambrian period when CO2 was over 2,000 parts per million, the earth’s temperature was 3.5 degrees centigrade warmer than now. So why all the fuss and why is it believed?
One of the nice things about human beings is that in the main, they like to be “easy-to-get-along-with”. They prefer to agree rather than disagree. When climate scientists either gang-up or are prevailed upon to pronounce that global warming threatens, two things are inevitable. One is that most will agree out of an instinct to conform, and the other is that the fear engendered will make the decarbonisers rich.
The Asch Experiments in conformity show that even when a correct answer is obvious to a subject, if six others all say something which is wrong, 37% of subjects will join them in answering with this obvious falsehood. When the untrue is less obvious, and is reiterated by a larger and seemingly unanimous majority, the truth becomes impossible for most subjects to see. The link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyDDyT1lDhA is a good place to start in understanding the utter credulity of persons when the majority proclaims a falsehood.
Another conformation of the enormity of the power of conformity is provided by the Milgram Experiments conducted in 1961 at Yale University. A detailed outline and commentary on this experiment is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment People conformed to authority even when it was causing intense pain to another person, or so they thought. It is worthy of being read in full.
Conformity is an enormous flywheel in social norms, and it makes us extraordinarily vulnerable to authoritative falsehood. Climate scientists, climatologists, have been seduced by the opportunity to put themselves at the centre of a threatened world, and pig out on the grants from a grateful population viewing them as saviours. They did not conspire in this of course, they simply acted in their own self-interest as they perceived it; just the same as the ladies in your common or garden-variety whorehouse.
We are not short of examples of science being complicit in falsehood, and sometimes it can be more implicit than complicit too.
Science tells us that gravity causes objects falling through a vacuum to accelerate at a rate of 32 feet (about 9.6 meters) per second per second. They fall through water at less than half this rate, and through concrete reinforced with steel much more slowly yet again. A concrete and steel structure which has borne the weight of its uppermost 20% for decades, may fall. It will however still exhibit some resistance. From one instant to another the Twin Towers fell down in free-fall time.
Fifteen thousand engineers and architects signed statements pointing out that this was not possible, other than when professional demolition is employed. And of course, it isn’t. These people are heroes. Ninety-nine percent of scientists, however, were pleased not to notice this violation of Newtonian verities. Futile wars were fought on this unchallenged falsehood.
In Peter Ridd’s book Reef Heresy he points out that Australian Governments have committed $500 million to “saving” the reef. If 2% of these funds had been invested in auditing the “scientific” papers which stampeded this expenditure, it would have been shown to have been unnecessary.
Further, Australia spends $2 billion funding scientific research each year. If 5% of this, that is $100 million, was spent in auditing, verifying and replicating this research independently, then as much as 50% of it could be removed from policy considerations, and further, the charlatans and incompetents in science could be removed as beneficiaries.
That science is losing its standing in society is a tragedy, and unfortunately, this can only be addressed now by contributing to its humiliation. Only a humble science can be indeed, great. Without the strictest adherence to truth in science, we are taken all the way back to alchemy, shamanism, and superstitious conjecture.
Let us get the oldest profession out of the newest!
1 Peter Ridd’s work of 278 pages Reef Heresy, published by Connor Court Publishing Pty Ltd in 2020 is available from firstname.lastname@example.org