Post-Modern Science: Academics ‘Regularly Lie To Get Research Grants’

GWPF | 11 March 2016

The climate debate shows how you can intimidate all of society in not speaking freely. It works, unfortunately, and unless we learn the lessons of how the stifling and the intimidation and the demonisation of certain topics actually not only stifles debate but intimidates a whole group of people, this will be used by activists as a very strong tool to force down their views. –Benny Peiser, Climate Scepticism, 8 March 2016

In news that should shock and anger Americans, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that not only has she discussed internally the possibility of pursuing civil actions against so-called “climate change deniers,” but she has “referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action.” –Hans von Spakovsky, The Daily Signal, 10 March 2016

This not only represents a serious blow against the free flow of ideas and the vigorous debate over scientific issues that is a hallmark of an advanced, technological society like ours, it is a fundamental violation of the First Amendment. As I have noted before, this is also reminiscent of the old Soviet Union, where Joseph Stalin persecuted those whom he thought had the “wrong” scientific views on everything from linguistics to physics.  Both Lynch and Whitehouse might want to read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s book, “In the First Circle,” in which he outlined the Soviet government’s suppression of dissenting scientists and engineers. –Hans von Spakovsky, The Daily Signal, 10 March 2016

Unsure about climate change? Watch out: You may be risking jail. “We have received information” about certain allegations and “have referred it to the FBI,” US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at a Senate hearing Wednesday. The legal threats are a warning to dissenters: Shut up, or risk legal armageddon. It all adds up to an outrageous attack on free speech — and a pander to ideologues. –Editorial, New York Post, 11 March 2016

1) U.S. Attorney General Lynch Looks Into Prosecuting ‘Climate Change Deniers’
The Daily Signal, 10 March 2016

2) Editorial: The Prosecutors’ Drive To Squelch Climate-Science Dissent
New York Post, 11 March 2016

3) Benny Peiser On Free Speech & The Climate Of Intolerance
Climate Scepticism, 8 March 2016

4) Post-Modern Science: Academics ‘Regularly Lie To Get Research Grants’
Times Higher Education, 9 March 2016

5) Australia Fires 100 Climate Scientists & Outsources Their Work To Britain
The Daily Caller, 9 March 2016

6) Shock, Horror: Climate Change Will Bring Deserts Back To Life, Say Scientists
The Times, 9 March 2016

Academics routinely lie and exaggerate when telling funding agencies what impact their research will have, a series of candid interviews with scholars in the UK and Australia has suggested. It was normal to sensationalise and embellish impact claims, the study published in Studies in Higher Education found. Academics felt pushed into lying on their impact statements by the logic of ferocious academic competition, the paper found. “If you can find me a single academic who hasn’t had to bullshit or bluff or lie or embellish in order to get grants, then I will find you an academic who is in trouble with [their] head of department,” said one professor in Australia. –David Matthews, Times Higher Education, 9 March 2016

It looks like no job is immune to outsourcing, not even climate scientist jobs in Australia. The country’s science bureaucracy is considering having all climate modeling work done in Britain after announcing the firing of some 350 employees, including 100 climate scientists. It’s speculated CSIRO contracting with the British Met Office — the U.K.’s top climate agency — is part of an effort to cut the country’s funding of climate science while also showing the international community they still care about the issue. Obviously, the scientists fired were livid. –Michael Bastasch, The Daily Caller, 9 March 2016

Desert travellers will one day have to pack umbrellas and wellies along with their sun hats, according to a long-range weather forecast by climate change scientists in Australia. Their research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, challenges the assumption that higher temperatures will make dry areas even drier, and wetter regions even wetter. The scientists believe that arid parts of California, central Asia, the Sinai, southern Africa and central Australia will be hit by more frequent downpours. More rain raises the prospect that deserts could bloom with flowers more frequently — an uncommon spectacle but one that can be influenced by several factors, including ground temperature. Death Valley in California is now in bloom with spring flowers. –Bernard Lagan, The Times, 9 March 2016

1) U.S. Attorney General Lynch Looks Into Prosecuting ‘Climate Change Deniers’
The Daily Signal, 10 March 2016

Hans von Spakovsky

In news that should shock and anger Americans, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that not only has she discussed internally the possibility of pursuing civil actions against so-called “climate change deniers,” but she has “referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action.”

Lynch was responding to a question from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who urged Lynch to prosecute those who “pretend that the science of carbon emissions’ dangers is unsettled,” particularly those in the “fossil fuel industry” who supposedly have constructed a “climate denial apparatus.” Lynch is apparently following in the footsteps of California Attorney General Kamala Harris and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, both of whom have opened up investigations of ExxonMobil for allegedly lying to the public and their shareholders about climate change.

None of the public officials involved in this abuse of the prosecutorial power of the government recognize the outrageousness of what they are doing or are urging the FBI and the Justice Department to do. They want to investigate and prosecute corporations and individuals for their opinions on an unproven scientific theory, for which there is not a consensus, despite inaccurate claims to the contrary.

This not only represents a serious blow against the free flow of ideas and the vigorous debate over scientific issues that is a hallmark of an advanced, technological society like ours, it is a fundamental violation of the First Amendment. Will the FBI’s possible investigation include going after dissenting scientists who publish articles or give speeches questioning the global climate change hypothesis?

Will legislators who engage in blasphemy by refusing to recognize a scientific theory as fact and pass legislation to reduce carbon emissions be investigated, too?

The absurdity of this would be laughable if it were not so serious and so dangerous. The very idea that the FBI, the most powerful law enforcement agency in the United States, has had a referral from the attorney general of the United State to investigate whether those who disagree with the climate change theory meet the legal “criteria for which” the Justice Department “could take action” is evocative of Franz Kafka’s chilling novel, “The Trial.”

As I have noted before, this is also reminiscent of the old Soviet Union, where Joseph Stalin persecuted those whom he thought had the “wrong” scientific views on everything from linguistics to physics.  Both Lynch and Whitehouse might want to read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s book, “In the First Circle,” in which he outlined the Soviet government’s suppression of dissenting scientists and engineers.

Or perhaps General Lynch should review the Inquisition’s persecution of Galileo Galilei for disagreeing with the consensus of his time and advocating the Copernican theory of the universe.

Full post

2) Editorial: The Prosecutors’ Drive To Squelch Climate-Science Dissent
New York Post, 11 March 2016

The prosecutors’ drive to squelch climate-science dissent
Attorney General Loretta Lynch at a news conference earlier Monday when she announced a Justice Department investigation into the Chicago police. Photo: AP

Unsure about climate change? Watch out: You may be risking jail. It starts with the Justice Department eyeing legal action against fossil-fuel companies for questioning climate-science claims.

“We have received information” about certain allegations and “have referred it to the FBI,” US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at a Senate hearing Wednesday.

In January, Justice asked the FBI to see if a racketeering probe of ExxonMobil — presumably a criminal one — is warranted.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is also after the company.

Climate-change activists, including some lawmakers, claim ExxonMobil’s research years ago showed that fossil fuels contribute to global warming — but that it kept that info secret and misled investors.

But the idea is patently ludicrous.

Fact is, climate-change science is still quite primitive. Neither Exxon nor anyone else has ever had definitive proof of anything about climate change.

As for the company keeping dark secrets, even the anti-fossil-fuel New York Times admitted Exxon “published extensive research over decades that largely lined up with mainstream climatology.”

No, the legal threats are a warning to dissenters: Shut up, or risk legal armageddon.

(Plus, prosecutors might squeeze billions from the company along the way.)
It all adds up to an outrageous attack on free speech — and a pander to ideologues.

Testing assumptions is at the core of science, and Americans have a right to say whatever they want. If the true believers don’t like dissent, they’re equally free to refute it. If they can.

3) Benny Peiser On Free Speech & The Climate Of Intolerance
Climate Scepticism, 8 March 2016

Ian Woolley

As climate sceptics you’ll be no strangers to the idea of institutional authority clamping its hand over unwelcome mouths. The softly-sabotaging tactics now applied to Peter Tatchell and Germaine Greer are what critics of climate change alarmism have faced over many years. Fancy debating all this? Forget it: I won’t dignify your argument by even sharing a stage with you.

It was no surprise, then, to see Dr Benny Peiser at a recent debate on the growth of these speech-muffling tendencies. The debate was organised by online magazine Spiked and focussed on the growing popularity of ‘safe spaces’ on university campuses – that is, spaces where students can gather safe in the knowledge that their views won’t be challenged. As Dr Peiser points out, building a safe space is nothing new: academics and scientists, especially climate scientists, have been into the idea much longer than the current student body.


Transcript by Alex Cull

IW: So we’re here at the Spiked conference on free speech and safe spaces – what relevance does this have to climate, the climate debate, do you think?

BP: Well, climate issues obviously are part of the taboo issues that can’t be discussed freely on campus, the problem not just limited to students and their activists trying to prevent a debate, but the scientific community itself creating a space where the debate cannot occur. So we are concerned, not just what’s happening among the student body but also among academics themselves, and you could argue that the students are essentially copying the tactics of some of the scientists who have prevented critical speakers and sceptical speakers from voicing their opinion or asking questions. So it goes much deeper than just the student body.

IW: So the kind of – the whole thing is a lot older than – it goes back generations, this encroachment on… free speech.

BP: Yes, of course it goes back much longer, but it has been very successful. And that was one of the things I wasn’t too happy with speakers here saying if – you know, even if you prevent speakers from speaking, they will then make their views noticeable on the web, or so.

IW: Yeah.

BP: I think this is a very successful strategy in shutting down views you don’t like. The climate debate shows how you can intimidate all society in not speaking freely. It works, unfortunately, and unless we learn the lessons of how the stifling and the intimidation and the demonisation of certain topics actually not only stifles debate but intimidates a whole group of people, this will be used by activists as a very strong tool to force down their views. It’s not about preventing debate, it’s about really enforcing what is acceptable and what isn’t.

Full interview

4) Post-Modern Science: Academics ‘Regularly Lie To Get Research Grants’
Times Higher Education, 9 March 2016

David Matthews

Academics routinely lie and exaggerate when telling funding agencies what impact their research will have, a series of candid interviews with scholars in the UK and Australia has suggested.
Display of Pinocchio puppets on shop shelf

Their dismissive comments about the “charade” of impact statements brings to light what appears to be an open secret in academia – that academics simply do not take such projections seriously.

A new study anonymously interviewed 50 senior academics from two research-intensive universities – one in the UK and one in Australia – who had experience writing “pathways to impact” (PIS) statements, as they are called in the UK, and in some cases had also reviewed such statements.

It was normal to sensationalise and embellish impact claims, the study published in Studies in Higher Education found.

In the UK and Australia, academics are asked for evidence of what impact their research might have when applying for grants. Research Councils UK introduced the need to write a PIS in 2009.

Respondents said that future projections of impact were “charades” or “made-up stories”. As one UK professor put it: “would I believe it? No, would it help me get the money – yes.”

Academics felt pushed into lying on their impact statements by the logic of ferocious academic competition, the paper found.

“If you can find me a single academic who hasn’t had to bullshit or bluff or lie or embellish in order to get grants, then I will find you an academic who is in trouble with [their] head of department,” said one professor in Australia.

Full story

5) Australia Fires 100 Climate Scientists & Outsources Their Work To Britain
The Daily Caller, 9 March 2016

Michael Bastasch

It looks like no job is immune to outsourcing, not even climate scientist jobs in Australia. The country’s science bureaucracy is considering having all climate modeling work done in Britain after announcing the firing of some 350 employees, including 100 climate scientists.

Alex Wonhas, executive of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) told Australian lawmakers the science agency “was considering contracting some work to counterparts in the British Met Office,” The Hepburn Advocate reported Wednesday.

“I don’t think that I can credibly claim that everything [we are doing now] will continue,” Wonhas said, according to The Advocate. “There will be a reduction in our activity.”

It’s speculated CSIRO contracting with the British Met Office — the U.K.’s top climate agency — is part of an effort to cut the country’s funding of climate science while also showing the international community they still care about the issue.

“It is part of consultation and discussions with stakeholders about how research in the climate area can be maintained and maximised in the future,” a CSIRO spokesman said, adding that Aussie officials secretly planned to layoff hundreds of employees.

“There was concern that distress may be caused to staff if options for staff reduction, which are not yet finalised, were leaked or distributed,” he added.

Aussie officials announced they were cutting 350-jobs from CSIRO in February, including the possibility of laying off 100 jobs involved in global warming research. Obviously, the scientists fired were livid.

“Firstly the overall number of people in CSIRO is projected to be unchanged at the end of a two year period, however up to 350 people may lose their positions as we change the focus of our work program,” Larry Marshall, CSIRO’s chief executive said in a statement in response to media criticism.

Full story

6) Shock, Horror: Climate Change Will Bring Deserts Back To Life, Say Scientists
The Times, 9 March 2016

Bernard Lagan

Desert travellers will one day have to pack umbrellas and wellies along with their sun hats, according to a long-range weather forecast by climate change scientists in Australia.

Their research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, challenges the assumption that higher temperatures will make dry areas even drier, and wetter regions even wetter.

The scientists believe that arid parts of California, central Asia, the Sinai, southern Africa and central Australia will be hit by more frequent downpours.

“The most significant finding was that the extremes are increasing in both dry and wet regions, and precipitation totals are also increasing in the dry regions,” said Markus Donat, from the climate change research centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. “This would then suggest that desert-like areas of the world on average are expected to get more rain.”

More rain raises the prospect that deserts could bloom with flowers more frequently — an uncommon spectacle but one that can be influenced by several factors, including ground temperature. Death Valley in California is now in bloom with spring flowers.

Full story

see also Philipp Mueller: The Sahel Is Greening

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