Saturday, June 18, 2011

The perfect propaganda circle

"Peer review or Pal review," that's the gist of an op-ed from Patrick Michaels in Forbes online this week. Michaels points out that the process of peer review, long held as the gold standard method of sussing out truth in science, is failing miserably because the double-blind rule is ignored in climate science. Unlike blogging, getting published in scientific journals is supposed to be tough, Michaels says.
In peer review, names are removed from submitted manuscripts to avoid favouritism or any other conflicts. Very sensible, and by and large the process works....eventually. Even hoaxes like Piltdown Man, are exposed, except that one took 40 years to fix. Michaels argues that climate science is riddled with favouritism and the double-blind rule is ignored. What about objectivity and fairness? He points out that: "in the intellectually inbred, filthy-rich world of climate science, where billions of dollars of government research money support trillions of dollars of government policy, peer review has become anything but that."
Rex Murphy in the National Post echoes some of Patrick Michaels' points but goes on to discuss the supposed great saviour of our planet: renewable energy. Murphy tells about Steve McIntyre's revelation that the "IPCC used a Greenpeace campaigner to write a key part of its report on renewable energy and to make the astonishing claim that 'close to 80% of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies' " (my emphasis). But that same "Greenpeace campaigner approvingly cited a Greenpeace report that he himself was the lead author of. He peer-reviewed himself." So much for conflict-of-interest or any of that double-blind bullshit; it is as Murphy calls it the "perfect propaganda circle." That last story is detailed earlier in the week by Lorne Gunter and Steve McIntyre.

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