Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Confirmation bias preferred at the Sydney Morning Herald

Pity a once great paper has gone to rubbish. Our well crafted letter tossed into the editor's bin in favour of crap.

Professional scientists often request assistance from citizen scientists. However when a group of "amateurs", including retired engineers and scientists find problems with mainstream science, for example with BOM's system of temperature homogenization or errors in palaeoclimate reconstructions made famous by the hockey stick saga, we see their contributions attacked, not by looking at the evidence they present, but by resorting to personal attacks, name calling and appeals to authority (Climate change deniers raise the heat on the Bureau of Meteorology, 10/9).  
It is sad that many professional scientists are unable to work constructively with a veritable army of enthusiastic highly skilled volunteers interested in making substantial contributions to science. It seems these contributions are only appreciated when they confirm the researchers' preferred models. When they show the opposite, the shudders of authority go up and professional heads get buried in the sand. It's time researchers showed more maturity and humility and engaged with an interested public rather than treating them like pariahs.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The climate bookie

A letter in the Oz today but most of it went missing, here's the full text:

With respect to climate science Brian Schmidt claims to have "considerable knowledge of the science at hand" yet in his proposed bet with Maurice Newman he is unwilling to put a figure on the amount of warming he expects in 20 years. He would be aware that the real debate is not about whether it will warm or not, but the amount of warming, and its effect. Based on the IPCC's current report the range for future warming based on estimates of the climate's sensitivity to CO2 is quite broad and implies anything from inconvenience to catastrophe. With his "considerable knowledge" I would have thought Dr Schmidt would have been confident enough in the science to nominate a figure against which Mr Newman could bet rather than take him for a mug punter.