Wednesday, April 22, 2009

IPCC process leaves door open to cherry-picking

From today's Australian newspaper by Marc Hendrickx:

IN his praise of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Peter Doherty (Letters, 22/4) ignores the fact that the IPCC process is dominated by a small clique of climate scientists who review their own work for inclusion in IPCC reports. This unusual process apparently overrides the generally accepted practice that peer review be conducted by a qualified, anonymous third party. I don’t imagine this sort of review process would be tolerated in the medical sciences. It hardly comprises an honest approach to science and leaves the door open to manipulation and cherry-picking of research results.
Another Nobel prize-winning scientist, American physicist Richard Feynman, described this sort of practice as “cargo cult science”—one that is missing “a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty”. As Feynman said, “The first principle (of science) is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.” The time for honesty and healthy self-scepticism from the IPCC is long overdue lest they continue to make fools of us all.

No comments: