Government science

Watts Up With That? is a good example of ‘citizen science’ and the entry NCDC writes ghost “talking points” rebuttal to surfacestations project presents an illustration of what happens when a government agency that is supposedly scientific meets accountability by a citizen.

NOAA and NCDC are rebuking an analysis which I have not even written yet, using old data, and nobody at NOAA or NCDC had the professionalism to put their name to the document.

By not even so much as giving me a courtesy notice or even requesting up to date data, it is clear to me that they don’t think I’m worthy of professional courtesy, yet they’ll gladly publish error laden and incomplete conclusions written by a ghost writer in an attempt to disparage my work before I’ve even had a chance to finish it.

It appears that these agencies don’t quite know how to deal with criticism that is outside the scope of the routine science bureaucracy. Since WW II, scientific inquiry has evolved into major group efforts that are ‘discussed’ only in ‘peer reviewed’ journals of an esoteric nature. This evolution has lead to big government science where many researchers depend upon government grants or government jobs for their livelihood.

Advances in the I’net for communications and inexpensive computing power for analysis are stimulating change. One factor is that peer review is now actually going back to correspondence between individual scientists and open discussion between interested parties. There is a demand for data sets and processing algorithms by researchers, both professional and amateur, who want to examine the basis for conclusions and understand how an analysis was done. Their results are posted in blogs and discussed at length.

This is where the dissonance occurs. When ‘old’ science tries to use its mass, its money, its prestige, and its standard practices and lets things lapse a bit, ‘new’ science takes note when the emperor is not wearing any clothes. Embarasment results and that is often expressed as psychological denial behaviors as illustrated by Watts Up With That?

Comments are closed.