Many Scientific “Truths” Are, In Fact, False

GWPF | 14 March 2016

British Universities And The New Fascism

left-wing-fascists-left-wing-fascism

Just imagine, if you will, their shock. Their outrage. Their incomprehension. Britain’s most famous, achingly right-on, liberal lefties being blackballed from university campuses because they are insufficiently achingly right-on and liberal. They are being out-pioused from the far left — not simply told that they are wrong and vile, which they certainly are being told, but also that they are not allowed even to speak in case they upset people even more left-wing than themselves. Boy, are they furious. You would need a heart of stone not to laugh. Up to a point.  –Rod Liddle, The Sunday Times, 13 March 2016

In 2005, John Ioannidis, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, published a paper, “Why most published research findings are false,” mathematically showing that a huge number of published papers must be incorrect. He also looked at a number of well-regarded medical research findings, and found that, of 34 that had been retested, 41% had been contradicted or found to be significantly exaggerated. Since then, researchers in several scientific areas have consistently struggled to reproduce major results of prominent studies. By some estimates, at least 51%—and as much as 89%—of published papers are based on studies and experiments showing results that cannot be reproduced. —Olivia Goldhill, Quartz, 13 March 2016

1) Many Scientific “Truths” Are, In Fact, False
Quartz, 13 March 2016

2) British Universities And The New Fascism
The Sunday Times, 13 March 2016

3) UK Scientists To Investigate Global Warming Hiatus
Watts Up With That, 12 March 2016

4) Spinning The Climate Message Doesn’t Work
Climate Scepticism, 11 March 2016

5) Forget Paris: South Korea Abandons CO2 Target For 2020
Carbon Pulse, 26 February 2016

6) February 2016 Global Temperature Update
Climate Observations, 12 March 2016

7) El Niño May Be Weakening, but It Is Still Clobbering Crops
The Wall Street Journal, 14 March 2016

The student activists do not wish to hear anything at all that conflicts with their views. Or even hear anything that does not conflict with their views but allows for the fact that there might be conflicting views. “This mob mentality has echoes of the Red Guard in China back in the 1960s,” says Peter Tatchell. –Rod Liddle, The Sunday Times, 13 March 2016

A fascinating rift is growing in the climate community. While US scientists appear to be doing everything in their power to bury the ongoing pause in global warming, with questionable adjustments to their data, UK Ocean Scientists are refusing to give up without a fight. On the basis of a 2014 paper, UK Ocean scientists have just secured a budget, to launch a major investigation into why global warming has paused, and to work out how to predict future pauses. –Eric Worrall, Watts Up With That, 12 March 2016

For years, climate activists have been concerned and puzzled by the fact that a lot of people don’t agree with them. In order to rectify this problem, they tried to get the message out about climate change, thinking that if everyone had the correct information, we could all happily live together in a world of onethink and pursue the rapid and drastic political agenda they wish for. They then realised that this naive idea, called the deficit model, didn’t really work: despite an enormous effort from the climate propaganda machine, public concern about climate change and support for action continued its steady decline. This “problem” is a regular concern at Adam Corner’s blog, Climate Outreach. The next idea was finding the right words: spinning the message in a particular way so that it might appeal to, for example, Conservative voters, or “framing the narrative”, to use the sociology jargon. Unfortunately for them, this doesn’t seem to work either.  –Paul Matthews, Climate Scepticism, 11 March 2016

We recently discussed the February 2016 El Niño-related upsurges in the RSS and UAH lower troposphere temperature (TLT) data in the post March 2016 Update of Global Temperature Responses to 1997/98 and 2015/16 El Niño Events.  Not to be outdone, the GISS Land-Ocean Temperature (LOTI) data showed a +0.21 deg C jump in global land+ocean surface temperatures from January to February 2016…tacked on to the +0.24 deg C jump from September to October 2015. –Bob Tisdale, Climate Observations, 12 March 2016

The El Niño weather pattern, while weakening, continues to hurt crop farmers as well as cattle ranchers across the Asia-Pacific region with its hot and dry conditions. Global temperatures in February were 2.43 degrees Fahrenheit above the average temperature for that month in the period from 1951-1980—a three-decade yardstick the National Aeronautics and Space Administration uses to understand recent temperatures—according to data released Saturday by the agency. The El Niño phenomenon began in the first half of 2015, peaked in December and has started to recede. But the phenomenon will continue to affect weather patterns as it breaks down. Normal conditions are expected in the second half of 2016, according to weather bureaus in Australia, Japan and the U.S. –Lucy Craymer, The Wall Street Journal, 14 March 2016

1) Many Scientific “Truths” Are, In Fact, False
Quartz, 13 March 2016

Olivia Goldhill

In 2005, John Ioannidis, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, published a paper, “Why most published research findings are false,” mathematically showing that a huge number of published papers must be incorrect. He also looked at a number of well-regarded medical research findings, and found that, of 34 that had been retested, 41% had been contradicted or found to be significantly exaggerated.

Since then, researchers in several scientific areas have consistently struggled to reproduce major results of prominent studies. By some estimates, at least 51%—and as much as 89%—of published papers are based on studies and experiments showing results that cannot be reproduced.

Researchers have recreated prominent studies from several scientific fields and come up with wildly different results. And psychology has become something of a poster child for the “reproducibility crisis” since Brian Nosek, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia, coordinated a Reproducibility Initiative project to repeat 100 psychological experiments, and could only successfully replicate 40%.

Now, an attempt to replicate another key psychological concept (ego depletion: the idea that willpower is finite and can be worn down with overuse) has come up short. Martin Hagger, psychology professor at Curtin University in Australia, led researchers from 24 labs in trying to recreate a key effect, but found nothing. Their findings are due to be published in Perspectives on Psychological Science in the coming weeks.

Why are they getting it wrong?

For example, there’s massive academic pressure to publish in journals, and these journals tend to publish exciting studies that show strong results.

“Journals favor novelty, originality, and verification of hypotheses over robustness, stringency of method, reproducibility, and falsifiability,” Hagger tells Quartz. “Therefore researchers have been driven to finding significant effects, finding things that are novel, testing them on relatively small samples.”

This has created a publication bias, where studies that show strong, positive results get published, while similar studies that come up with no significant effects sit at the bottom of researchers’ drawers.

Meanwhile, in cases where researchers have access to large amounts of data, there’s a dangerous tendency to hunt for significant correlations. Researchers can thus convince themselves that they’ve spotted a meaningful connection, when in fact such connections are totally random.

Full story

2) British Universities And The New Fascism
The Sunday Times, 13 March 2016

Rod Liddle

Just imagine, if you will, their shock. Their outrage. Their incomprehension. Britain’s most famous, achingly right-on, liberal lefties being blackballed from university campuses because they are insufficiently achingly right-on and liberal.

They are being out-pioused from the far left — not simply told that they are wrong and vile, which they certainly are being told, but also that they are not allowed even to speak in case they upset people even more left-wing than themselves. One after another they are being banned and then vilified, all the people you have watched on those protest marches for the past 40 or 50 years demanding justice for something or other, or delivering themselves of impeccably bien-pensant homilies on Question Time. They include the doyenne of feminists Germaine Greer, Nick Lowles — head of the anti-racist campaign group Hope Not Hate — the gay activist Peter Tatchell, the Cambridge professor Mary Beard, the Iranian communist Maryam Namazie, the feminist journalists Julie Bindel and Suzanne Moore, the feminist comedian Kate Smurthwaite. Boy, are they furious. You would need a heart of stone not to laugh. Up to a point.

The latest — and, if you have a cruel streak of humour, the funniest and certainly most ironic — is the aforementioned Peter Tatchell. A man of enormous principle and some bravery, for 50 years Tatchell has fought for homosexual equality, frequently being beaten up for so doing. He has also campaigned for equal rights for transgendered people — but this has not prevented senior members of the National Union of Students claiming that he is “transphobic” and (for reasons I do not entirely understand) “racist”.

I know Tatchell, and he is the least transphobic person in the short but wonderful history of transphobia. His crime was not that he had said anything derogatory about men who have subsequently decided that they are women, or the other way about — far from it. It was simply to have signed a letter to a newspaper suggesting that there should be greater freedom of speech on Britain’s campuses — and that included the rights of some feminists to explain their political objections regarding men who insist, contrary to the objective chromosomal evidence, that they are women. The letter was got up by a bunch of lefty academics, campaigners and journalists and sent to The Observer (presumably in the hope that not too many people would read it).

The people who signed it are no longer welcome on campuses, to give talks and address meetings. Not for being transphobic, but for not supporting the “no platform” policy towards people who might say something that the activists believe is transphobic. The student activists do not wish to hear anything at all that conflicts with their views. Or even hear anything that does not conflict with their views but allows for the fact that there might be conflicting views.

“Something in the world has gone barking mad. They’ve gone bonkers, it’s very, very weird,” said another signatory to that letter, Mary Beard. “The world has gone upside down. It’s meant to be the young who are risk-takers and the elderly more worried [about controversy].”

Meanwhile, Tatchell was informed that the NUS LGBT officer, a woman called Fran Cowling, would not share a platform with him because he had signed that naughty letter, and pulled out of a speaking event. Then came the vitriol and abuse. “They claimed I was pushing her [Fran Cowling] to suicide!” says Tatchell. “The NUS women’s officer, Susuana Amoah, alleged that I’d harassed Cowling for ages. I’d written four very polite emails. This mob mentality has echoes of the Red Guard in China back in the 1960s.”

Full story

3) UK Scientists To Investigate Global Warming Hiatus
Watts Up With That, 12 March 2016

Eric Worrall

A fascinating rift is growing in the climate community. While US scientists appear to be doing everything in their power to bury the ongoing pause in global warming, with questionable adjustments to their data, UK Ocean Scientists are refusing to give up without a fight.

On the basis of a 2014 paper, UK Ocean scientists have just secured a budget, to launch a major investigation into why global warming has paused, and to work out how to predict future pauses.

… In 2014 scientists at the NOC and The University of Southampton published research showing the important role played by the absorption of heat by the North Atlantic, Tropical Pacific and Southern Oceans in the most recent slow-down of global warming. The world leading ocean models available at the NOC will enable a high quality investigation of the wider role the ocean plays in global warming variability.

Dr Bablu Sinha, who is the project lead for NOC, said that climate change is recognised as one of society’s most pressing problems. The SMURPHS project will address the question of why the rate of surface warming varies on decadal time-scales and will inform government policies on climate change adaptation. This will fill important gaps in the understanding of the different processes controlling climate and how they interact with each other. Absorption of heat by the ocean is one of the most important climate moderating processes. The NOC will provide world leading expertise in ocean observations and ocean circulation models to help ensure the success of SMURPHS. …

Read more: http://www.hydro-international.com/content/news/project-investigates-the-global-warming-hiatus

Full post & comments

4) Spinning The Climate Message Doesn’t Work
Climate Scepticism, 11 March 2016

Paul Matthews

For years, climate activists have been concerned and puzzled by the fact that a lot of people don’t agree with them.  In order to rectify this problem, they tried to get the message out about climate change, thinking that if everyone had the correct information, we could all happily live together in a world of onethink and pursue the rapid and drastic political agenda they wish for. They then realised that this naive idea, called the deficit model, didn’t really work: despite an enormous effort from the climate propaganda machine, public concern about climate change and support for action continued its steady decline.

This “problem” is a regular concern at Adam Corner’s blog, Climate Outreach. The next idea was finding the right words: spinning the message in a particular way so that it might appeal to, for example, Conservative voters, or “framing the narrative”, to use the sociology jargon. Unfortunately for them, this doesn’t seem to work either.  A recent paper by McCright et al, discussed previously on these pages, tried framing the climate action story in terms of the economy, security, stewardship and health found that  “Overall, these four positive frames have little to no effect on ACC beliefs”.

This week, there’s an interesting new paper in Nature that finds that however you spin the climate message, it doesn’t make much difference to people’s opinion: Simple reframing unlikely to boost public support for climate policy, by Bernauer and McGrath, based in Zurich. The paper is paywalled, but there is also a university press release, Everyone sees the world through their own prism:

“How can public opinion be influenced in favour of climate protection? ETH political scientist Thomas Bernauer explored the question in a recent study. His sobering answer is that there is no magic formula”.  “Someone who has always supported green policies will find their point of view validated by the arguments, whereas those who have always been sceptical about climate change will not be influenced by reasoning based on economic or health grounds.”  

Full post

5) Forget Paris: South Korea Abandons CO2 Target For 2020
Carbon Pulse, 26 February 2016

South Korea on Friday announced a raft of climate policy changes, including abandoning its GHG emissions target for 2020, stripping the Ministry of Environment of its responsibility for the emissions trading scheme, and lifting a cap on Early Action Credits that observers say could boost the market’s supply by more than 40 million tonnes.

Former President Lee Myung-bak won international praise at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009 when he pledged to keep South Korea’s 2020 emissions at 20% below business-as-usual levels, a goal that was considered very ambitious by many.

But under the current administration led by President Park Geun-hye, Lee’s green growth strategy has faded into the background and the construction of a number of new coal-fired power plants have sparked concerns about whether the 2020 target can be achieved.

“The introduction of (planned) new coal plants after 2016 will represent a more than 65% increase in coal capacity, compared to Korea’s current levels,” Joo-jin Kim, a lawyer with consultancy ELPS, told Carbon Pulse.

South Korea’s Green Growth Act will be updated and the 2020 target will be replaced with Korea’s Paris pledge to keep 2030 emissions 37% below BAU levels and 2050 ambitions, a government press release said.

In effect, Korea’s emissions can continue to grow as more coal enters the generation mix without any domestic laws being broken.

Full post

6) February 2016 Global Temperature Update
Climate Observations, 12 March 2016

Bob Tisdale

We recently discussed the February 2016 El Niño-related upsurges in the RSS and UAH lower troposphere temperature (TLT) data in the post March 2016 Update of Global Temperature Responses to 1997/98 and 2015/16 El Niño Events.  Not to be outdone, the GISS Land-Ocean Temperature (LOTI) data showed a +0.21 deg C jump in global land+ocean surface temperatures from January to February 2016…tacked on to the +0.24 deg C jump from September to October 2015.

GISS Land-Ocean Temperature Index

This post provides an update of the values for the three primary suppliers of global land+ocean surface temperature reconstructions—GISS through February 2016 and HADCRUT4 and NCEI (formerly NCDC) through January 2016—and of the two suppliers of satellite-based lower troposphere temperature composites (RSS and UAH) through February 2016.  It also includes a model-data comparison.

Full post

7) El Niño May Be Weakening, but It Is Still Clobbering Crops
The Wall Street Journal, 14 March 2016

Lucy Craymer

A hotter-than-usual February devastated rice and other crops in the Asia-Pacific region

A family looks for fish on March 8 in a nearly dry canal in the southern Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang. Vietnam is suffering its worst drought in nearly a century. Illustration: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
The El Niño weather pattern, while weakening, continues to hurt crop farmers as well as cattle ranchers across the Asia-Pacific region with its hot and dry conditions.

Global temperatures in February were 2.43 degrees Fahrenheit above the average temperature for that month in the period from 1951-1980—a three-decade yardstick the National Aeronautics and Space Administration uses to understand recent temperatures—according to data released Saturday by the agency.

“Hot temperatures will persist for a few months after El Niño peaks, so this is to be expected. But underneath the impact of El Niño there is an underlying global warming trend, so the temperature keeps going up,” said Agus Santoso, a senior research associate at the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales.

The El Niño phenomenon began in the first half of 2015, peaked in December and has started to recede. But the phenomenon will continue to affect weather patterns as it breaks down. Normal conditions are expected in the second half of 2016, according to weather bureaus in Australia, Japan and the U.S.

The weather pattern occurs when winds in the equatorial Pacific slow down or reverse direction. That causes waters to warm over a vast area, which in turn can upend weather around the world. The severity of the phenomenon is measured by ocean temperatures and atmospheric convection activities.

An El Niño typically reduces rainfall across parts of Southern and Southeast Asia, while at the same time bringing precipitation to the western U.S. and parts of South America.

Vietnam has been one of the worst-hit countries in the region.

The country’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development estimates ongoing drought and salt water intrusion has affected 343,476 acres of rice in the Mekong Delta since late last year, reducing rice productivity by 30%-70%. The Mekong Delta, located at the southern tip of Vietnam, is the country’s largest rice-growing area.

“The drought and the intrusion of salt water are serious this year, causing damages to the socio-economy of nine provinces in the Mekong Delta,” Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said in the statement.

The dry conditions in the Mekong Delta may last until June or even later in the year, Mr. Phat warned.

The dry conditions are painful elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand also saw low rainfall in February, worsening an already pessimistic outlook for their sugar, rice and palm oil production.

‘If you look at a precipitation map for the last few months, it is so dry all over the region. We’ve seen another bout of El Niño-related weather, and it is very, very strong,” said Aurelia Britsch, Asia-Pacific agribusiness analyst at BMI Research.

Full story

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