Friday, July 24, 2009

Can we trust scientists if there is money involved?

...or so asks the typical AGW alarmist when dismissing a skeptic's opinion with a casual reference to "he gets money from Big Oil".

If it is possible that chasing grants and funding affects someone's outlook on the world, then what mischief could the following chart suggest? If this was the chart of Big Oil funding of the climate debate, what rhetoric would we hear?

As Watts up with That suggests, Follow the Money.

18 comments:

PKD said...

Except of course, climate science / global warming science started well before 89.

Secondly, any scientific field needs research funding. Whether the funding in question is conditional in return for certain results is of course completely unproven in the case above. So why suggest it?

Because thats the world of FUD denialists are forced to live in - can't debate the science so throw enough enought emotive mud to cloud the issue.

I mean c'mon Half - try and stick to *some* facts!!!

Halfwise said...

Of course you are right. Your humans are above all that. And their accusations of their opponents' bias being driven by money are fully substantiated.

Right.

No double standards in the AGW world.

JR said...

PKD, typical denier of the legitimacy of any and all AGW skepticism.

While working on this post I read in the comment thread to the Spectator interview with Ian Plimer this comment which you might like:

Shaun Hexter, July 10th, 2009 8:57pm
"Where is the scientific evidence for global warming? Models do not make evidence - they try to extrapolate from measurements. Where are the measurements of more than 250 years ago? Not there. So if the climate change doom-mongers are so certain, why is that? Follow the money! The scientists are basing research grant applications and their salaries on climate change. The politicians don't understand the science, but realise this is one big tax raiser. The civil servants are all for bigger budgets (and taxes). The greens and their friends are also following the money. Even industry is getting in on the act. If climate change is not real (and it will take some time for them to realise), where is their money going to originate? David Bellamy is a good example of a climate change denier (he is on a pension not a research grant). He is also a pretty fair scientist. My background is also scientific - at the best university in Britain. Too many academics are afraid of the truth. They are suffering peer pressure as well as money pressure. The band wagon is one giant juggernaut - let's hope the wheels come off soon and everyone realises.
If you have any doubt about the religious nature of climate change believers, read Monbiot's blogs and wonder why the politics of his opponents differ from his. This is a political and religious argument - based on good old fashioned money - the science just gets in the way!"

Halfwise said...

JR - any mass movement is fuelled by "true believers", to use Hoffer's term. One characteristic of a true believer is a double standard for generalizations, and PKD exemplifies this.

The point of the posting was only that if money is said to corrupt one set of human beings, why would it not corrupt human beings in the set that opposes the first group?

True to form, PKD smugly missed this point entirely and informed us that money is needed for research. How revelatory.

PKD said...

PKD, typical denier of the legitimacy of any and all AGW skepticism.

Utter tosh JR. If your skepticism was based on scientific grounds you might have a case. I am not anti scepticism - I am pro-evidence. Show me the evidence JR!

Half, you of course are stuck in the logic of criticising AGW for not being proven being all doubt, then criticising the need for funding into GW in the 1st place.

I mean, can either of you denialists even demonstrate how much of the research money in the graph above was definitely beyond all doubt spent on research only if that research met the critieria of supporting AGW regardless of the evidence?

Somehow I very much doubt it!

Halfwise said...

PKD, you miss my point so completely that sometimes I think you must do it on purpose.

Research is necessary. We agree on that. Research needs funding. We agree on that. Research funding involves human decisions. I trust we agree on that.

My point, and I will make it very simple, is this. If anyone in this debate claims that money can influence research outcomes (eg "Denialists are funded by oil companies") then that criticism must be considered for all researchers. We know that a recognized polar bear researcher in Canada whose research confirms that polar bear populations are strong and growing is not welcome at AGW conferences. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/5664069/Polar-bear-expert-barred-by-global-warmists.html. If opposing points of view are unwelcome, how likely are they to get funding from true believers?

Thanks for playing, PKD. You continue to make points, but not for your side.

PKD said...

Ah and you miss the point even more.

The fact is that research funding can be either given openly independent of result or given only dependent of a biased result based on the funders bias. Think tobacco industry 'research' into smoking.

Now the insuation of Watt and yourself by supporting his 'unbiased' article, is that most of the funding in the graph shown is the latter - biased funding.

This is a completely baseless and unfounded allegation.

Unless of course you can prove it.
Well, can you???

Halfwise said...

Would you accept one item of proof?

Because that is all it would take.

PKD said...

Sure - show me how most of the funding in the graph you've shown was given only dependent on pre-prescribed results.

Because thats what you and Watt are insuating....

Halfwise said...

>Sure - show me how most of the funding in the graph you've shown was given only dependent on pre-prescribed results.

Hmmm, PKD, that is a rather different standard of proof than "He got money from Big Oil so his results are invalid". Are you sure you understand the original post? Perhaps you should go back and read it again.

PKD said...

Oh, so you're NOT suggesting that climate change research is done by scientists 'following the money'.

One wonders not then about what michief the chart suggests (as you put it), but what michief you are getting up too by your entire post.

Halfwise said...

You are up to your usual standard, PKD, of both comprehension and repartee.

PKD said...

Which is far above your standard, I see. I mean, you offer to show me your so-called evidence and then go all shy when I ask you to stump up the goods.

Quelle un surprise.

Halfwise said...

Clearly, you do not comprehend when you read. But you are good at straw man arguments.

I posed a question based on the AGW practice of blanket dismissal of skeptics based on the premise that funding affected their integrity. This dismissal is offered entirely without proof, and an example appears in one of your snippy little posts as a reference to the tobacco industry.

Now you want evidence of funding creating bias? Watch for a post on the topic, rather than a comment, which no one reads except you and I.

btw your French is also wrong.

PKD said...

I posed a question based on the AGW practice of blanket dismissal of skeptics

No you didn't! And there is NO blanket dismissal of skeptics in any case...

based on the premise that funding affected their integrity.

...And this is a faulty premise of yours anyway - 'sceptics' get their 'science' dismissed because they do not follow scientific process primarily and their science is flawed.

This dismissal is offered entirely without proof

Again - wrong, becuase your premise beforehand is faulty.

Your French is also wrong.

Well, thats probably the 1st thing you've got right in this thread then!

Halfwise said...

I posed a question based on the AGW practice of blanket dismissal of skeptics ... No you didn't! And there is NO blanket dismissal of skeptics in any case.

You must be uniquely gifted to tell me what I wrote and what I based it on. Believe me, PKD, I was there at the time, and you were not.

Since you seem so fixed on proof, why not prove your assertions instead of taking shots at mine?

Start with "There is no blanket dismissal of skeptics", perhaps using some of the rhetoric at Real Climate and describing how it does NOT amount to blanket dismissal.

As for the scientific proofs, neither you nor I are doing research today, so that would amount simply to a Google war, which would be silly. The difference between us is that I have actually done climate science, whereas you are a poseur with a loud voice.

Actually, debating you is silly. You go practice your religion, and I shall remain an agnostic. See you in the afterlife; I bet it is colder than you expect.

PKD said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Halfwise said...

Bye bye PKD.