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.