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The climate science #socialfeedbackloop Part II: Nice career you have there

10 Jul 2024 | Science Notes

Continuing our look at Dr. Patrick Brown’s essay on the social feedback loops that govern climate science, we come now to the problem that leading scientific journals are led by people with political biases. Last week we discussed the gatekeeping role played by Science and Nature, the world’s most prominent science journals. Brown points out that researchers need to try to get their work published in them. And, he adds, the best way to do it “would be to mold the research so that it is in line with the high-level messaging espoused by the leadership of these journals.” Which is precisely what he did earlier in his career. And it is made easy by the fact that the publishers of these once-esteemed journals make no secret of their policy views.

Brown explains that:

“For example, Dr. Marcia McNutt, when she was editor-in-chief of Science, implied in the beyond-two-degree Inferno that humanity has sinned against nature and society should sacrifice economic well-being for the sake of remaining below 2°C of warming. Similarly, Magdalena Skipper, the editor-in-chief of Nature, is an outspoken supporter of the Paris Agreement and its temperature limits.

Nature as an institution officially endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, citing, among other reasons, his policies in support of the Paris Agreement. Facing some pushback on their explicit embrace of politics, Nature subsequently doubled down on their political statements. The current editor-in-chief of Science, Holden Thorpe, has defended the idea of scientific journals endorsing policies and politicians – implying that the authority of science subsumes the entirety of the climate problem all the way through to the amount of power that the government should yield in dictating a solution.”

Brown could have found many examples over the past decades of Nature editorializing against those who question climate science. For instance way back in July 2001 the editors denounced the early efforts to question alarmism and the climate policy agenda:

“To this end, they have championed specious scientific findings and worked to establish a bogus scientific debate between their own ‘experts’ – many of whom are not even atmospheric scientists – and the consensus view of climate researchers. In doing this, they have deliberately set out to take maximum advantage of media gullibility, ensuring that stories on the problem include both ‘sides’ of the debate...
Science can only progress through its strong tradition of debate and dissent. But this particular debate discredits the notion of scientific dissent. Some of the climate-change dissidents bring to mind the AIDS dissidents who spent the 1990s putting about notions that HIV didn’t cause AIDS and that there was no AIDS pandemic in Africa. Others resemble the tobacco-industry dissidents who resisted that industry’s regulation to the last, on the basis of what later emerged as the misrepresentation of science funded by cigarette manufacturers.”

Thus more than two decades ago the gatekeepers of science careers were telling everyone that if you undermine the “consensus”, which magically already existed before most of the research had even been done, you’ll be lumped in with AIDS or tobacco dissidents and that will be the end of your career and reputation. In fact the imperative to support the climate narrative was so strong they were even prepared to do away with the “strong tradition of debate and dissent.” Which means they were prepared to do away with science. All in support of science, you see.

The longstanding editorial position on the part of top science journals has had its intended effect. As Brown explains, it created a social feedback loop that affects “the generation of climate science itself, with real consequences”. Fortunately people are catching on, so whatever the high priests of global warming thought they would accomplish by tossing scientific processes out the window, ultimately it will fail. But not before a lot of damage has been done to science itself and society at large.

3 comments on “The climate science #socialfeedbackloop Part II: Nice career you have there”

  1. Speaking of consensus, stress causes ulcers. Then along came the Deniers Warren and Marshall and Helicobacter pylori. Crickets from Consensus types.

  2. Science is all but dead when it comes to discussion about climate.It's all about dogma and towing the alarmist line.After Jan/25 that will all change if Orangeman wins a second term.These woke institutions will be dismantled,and they'll be no more Paris Accord without America.And no American presence at future COP pigfests,which will eventually be doomed.Unlike the climate,which will change normally,naturally and cyclically.

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