A new report published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation reveals the extent to which current policy-making is reliant on untrustworthy peer-reviewed research, much of which cannot be replicated and “may be simply untrue”. “Fraudulent research makes it past gatekeepers at even the most prestigious journals,” says Donna Laframboise, the study’s author and the investigative journalist behind the 2011 exposé of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) entitled: The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert. The report, entitled Peer Review: Why Skepticism is Essential, describes the peer-review process as “haphazard and byzantine”, raising serious questions about the state of modern science and casting doubt on policies that claim to be ‘evidence-based’. —Global Warming Policy Foundation, 31 October 2016
We’ve all heard the buzzword. Whether it’s an anti-bullying program in Finland, an alcohol awareness initiative in Texas, or climate change responses around the globe, we’re continually assured that government policies are ‘evidence-based.’ Science itself guides our footsteps. There’s just one problem: science is in deep trouble. Last year, Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, admitted that “much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.” In his words, “science has taken a turn toward darkness.” Government policies can’t be considered evidence-based if the evidence on which they depend hasn’t been independently verified, yet the vast majority of academic research is never put to this test. If half of the scientific literature “may simply be untrue,” then half of the climate research cited by the IPCC may also be untrue. –Donna Laframboise, Global Warming Policy Foundation, 31 October 2016
It is startling for non-scientists who actually visit the sausage factory of science for the first time. There, peer review proves to be an often biased, prejudicial, and perfunctory process contrary in every respect to popular expectations about science. It is clear that people who have never studied the history of science, or have never been on the unfashionable side of a scientific debate are in for a shock upon encountering this messy and sordid reality for the first time. The field of climate science could supply a rich harvest of examples of this crisis of scientific credibility all on its own. Yet it is the scandal that dare not speak its name. The discussions of the crisis in peer review in Nature, Science, the Economist and elsewhere studiously ignore any examples from climate science. Why is this? It is an article of faith among certain scientists and science journalists that because climate scepticism is also a position supported by those on the right of politics, so nobody in science must give fodder to the sceptics. This is nothing less than the modern manifestation of gatekeeping continuing its ancient legacy, driven by sheer ignorance and self-delusion, to keep the forces that actually advance science away from the door. Scientific research stretches human faculties to their limits, and it is at such limits where human frailties become most prominent. –Christopher Essex And Matt Ridley, Global Warming Policy Foundation, 31 October 2016
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