Posted by: Barry Bickmore | August 23, 2011

Hockey Stick Conspiracy Expands

The National Science Foundation Inspector General’s office just released a report on its investigation of allegations that “Hockey Team” captain Michael Mann had falsified data.  (Read all about it from Joe Romm.)

Finding no research misconduct or other matter raised by the various regulations and laws discussed above, this case is closed.

The NSF investigation essentially confirms the finding of an earlier Penn State University internal investigation.

Clearly, the circle of conspirators implicated in hiding wrongdoing by Michael Mann has expanded once again!  But never fear–the allegations didn’t go away when the British government found no evidence of data tampering, or when the National Research Council in the USA found the same.  They didn’t go away when over a dozen subsequent studies showed the original Hockey Stick graph was about right, and the main conclusions drawn were correct.  After all, where loudmouth ideologues are blowing smoke, there must be fire!

The allegations won’t go away now, either.  One man–Virginia State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli–has the courage to ignore the utter lack of supporting evidence for the allegations, and use his position to go on a fishing expedition for the evidence that must be out there, somewhere.  And even if he doesn’t find any evidence for these particular allegations, well, Mann must have done something wrong, sometime, or at least said something in an e-mail that can be taken out of context to make it sound like he’s done something wrong.  When you’re dealing with a giant, yet super-secret, conspiracy, you have to play hardball.

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Responses

  1. Deniers *know* that Mann falsified the hockey stick, and they’ll keep investigating until they “prove” it!

    • It’s the same with the anti-vax crowd who *know* vaccination harms children, the Homoeopathy crowd who *know* water has memory and has made them better, the creationists who *know* evolution is simply untrue…

      If you can’t make the evidence hit your world view, then you’ve simply overlooked something and must reject all contrary evidence until you find this elusive (yet, already known) “truth”..

      You won’t change the minds of such people – you just simply can’t. It’s an internal war; cognitive dissonance.

      It gets tiresome listening to them….

      • Of course, it’s *impossible* that any institution has blind spots. That could *never* happen to *science* or *medicine*. They are 100% fool proof!

      • That’s the great thing about conspiracy theories. They’re not “impossible”–at least in a theoretical sense.

      • Brandon:
        I don’t remember saying that.. Nope… re-reading my comment, I don’t imply that science is beyond question – in fact, the very reason science is effective is because it’s ALWAYS in question!

        Tim Minchin most concisely explained what I’m getting at; “Science adjust it’s views based on what’s observed. Faith is the denial of observation, so that belief can be preserved.”

        The above groups ignore the contrary evidence that, yes, scientific methodology discovered via questioning itself and the conclusions drawn.

        For instance, I’d never say that “A” is true because science says so, but instead that “A” is most likely the case, based on the evidence we have so far.

        What I consistently hear from such groups is, “I don’t care what the science says, I know that “A” has to be true.”

        This they bundle up with various conspiracy theories to support their held conclusions. As Barry puts it – conspiracy theories are a wonderful device as they simply remind us of the far reaches of what is possible (regardless how unlikely).

        You’re point is just in the same league as such. No-one pretends that science is “fool proof”, but at the same time, that by no means undermines the confidence drawn from mounting evidence. What the above groups do and you’re playing into as well, is one of the far reaching possibilities at the expense of our hard won certainties. Vaccinations have saved billions of lives, for instance – that some vaccines aren’t perfect doesn’t change this fact. It’s very unlikely Earth’s pleasant climate is the result of anything other than a greenhouse effect, regardless of the ridiculously debated “feedbacks”.

        You’re point is nothing short of unreasonable doubt which is based on a lack of understanding of the scientific process.

      • Hypocrites. If you don’t enjoy being lumped in a box, don’t do it to others yourself.

      • Really Brandon? Is that all you have to say?
        It’s far easier to cry “conspiracy theory!” and “science is an unquestioning religion!” than it is to actually provide evidence of such.

        I’ve tried to explain how you’re wrong and all you’ve done is attempt to put words in my mouth (that I suggest science is beyond question – which I clearly didn’t, if anything it’s based on being questioned) and to label me a hypocrite; based on what?

        It’s a huge leap from the groups mentioned above who seem to know better than the best available evidence and do their best to disregard this evidence to maintain their strongly held world views, and myself – who simply bases my views with increasing certainty on the available evidence. I change my views based on strong contrary evidence while the groups above do not.

        I’m not a hypocrite, you simply have nothing better to say.

      • I’m the good guy and THEY are a bunch of bad guys, I mean, just LOOK at their TEETH. Don’t treat ME like a bad guy cause I’m NOT. No no no. I’m good and patient and wise and look at all their vile evil attributes!

        It’s impossible to discuss anything with you when you have already dismissed any notion that there is any merit to the opposing view points. Call them names, dehumanize and derationalize them with the best iron willed blind stubborn fanatics of the world. This isn’t setup to be a discussion at all but a 2 minutes of hate session, and I’m just pointing it out.

      • Brandon,

        Let’s all cool off and try again to have a productive discussion.

        It angers me that a decent guy like Mann has been subjected to repeated witch hunts based on trumped up evidence. Do you believe there was real evidence ignored by the review panels? If so, what is it?

      • Maybe I’m being a little harsh, it is too easy to shout names and I’m not a big fan of that and that’s all I was feeling from the early comments. Whenever anyone says “conspiracy theory” the brain has already turned off. The reality is that everyone knows people who have been involved in conspiracy, most high schools have tons of conspiracy groups (under age drinking? typically requires at least 2 people involved and it’s against the law – a conspiracy). They are everywhere. To dismiss conspiracy as if it doesn’t exist is rediculous. Only meticlous study of detail is worthwhile… Anything else is just handwaving.

        Why would you even mention creationists with horror in a scientific forum? By definition science cannot disprove religion. Sure, some may discount evolution as the creation method, but if a higher intelegence is involved with the capability of creating life it isn’t beyond reason for them to use cut-n-paste-n-modify to populate a world with a variety of life. It’s their perogative to believe how they will and it’s neither here nor there to you or me.

        I don’t know a thing about homeopathy so I won’t go there… Though you didn’t even spell it right so I suspect you don’t either. Speaking in ignorance is probably unwise.

        As for vaccinations, I find myself on the limited-or-no-vaccination boat.

        Personal annecdote: I have a friend of mine who’s daughter got very sick and died from a rare illness we vacinate for. A few days later while morning he was cleaning up some of his daughter’s papers and found the vaccination record. She was vaccinated for the very illness listed as cause of death one week previous to the death. Daughter was in perfect health prior to the vaccination. So he called the doctor to follow up… “Impossible for the vaccination to have caused the disease and thus the death” was the responce and then wouldn’t give him the time of day.

        Perfectly healthy child dies of a rare disease shortly after being vaccinated for that same disease? I believe it is at least reasonable to suppose that the vaccine was *probably* involved. It should at least have been registered as a possible vaccine side effect or result. A little tracking, investigation was certainly called for. But the doctor’s attitude and ignoring the possibility leads me to believe that vaccine reactions go under reported.

        I’m privy to much more than this single annecdote having an inside view as to how related studies are actually run by a relative of mine who does this kind of work among other things, and all this together leads me to blieve there is a likely blind spot. The medical professionals believe vaccines are safe and thus sometimes, even often do not attribute adverse reactions to them when they should.

        Which explains nicely the dicotomy of medical science disavowing that there is a problem and a growing movement of parents who are anti-vaccine. You can shout your evidence from the ivory tower of science all you like, when I and people like me don’t believe your studies are done correctly, it’s irrelevent. So yes, we don’t listen to your “evidence” because we don’t trust that you’re doing it right. Perfectly rational from my point of view.

        Secondary evidence is that Big Pharma has been given a vaccine liability shield by the federal government. First, that can’t have come for free. If the vaccines really were all that safe they wouldn’t *need* a liability shield. It must have cost them a significant lobbying effort to do that. Second, if you will not stand behind your product that tells me you don’t trust it. If you don’t trust it, I don’t trust it either.

      • I figured that you would’ve fit into one of the groups above and felt insulted that I grouped you with the others, which you see as silly (most typically creationists – but have a look around for evolutionary blogs – the ID fans are as serious as yourself when it comes to their claims: I came by this cracker of an example yesterday – just read some of the comments and replies).

        It’s always the same; anecdotal evidence and “ivory tower science”.

        You should watch The Vaccine War. There are so many people who *know* damn well that the vaccines hurt their children and science is, in one form or another, covering it all up. No amount of research that states otherwise will ever be enough – such people will forever scream blue in the face until some day the evidence might back them up. As no-one can rule that out, their “scepticism” is validated – at least to them. This is exactly the mindset pursuing Mann (ie. Mann is guilty until proven guilty with no chance of being found innocent) and exactly why I group the two.

        Sure, any claim should be investigated until at the very least we have an evidence base weighty enough to make contrary hypotheses extremely unlikely. Such people will still play on “science is never 100% certain” in what can only be compared to as “waiting for Godot”.

        In a like fashion you’re right about me because you’re right because, well, you’re right. You’ve labelled me whatever fits your perception without substantiation and seeing as it validates your world view, you’re content. Fortunately science doesn’t work that way nor am I silly enough to fall for it. If you call me something, or if you wish to challenge a standing view within science, it is not up to me or the standing scientific conclusions to provide counter evidence, but firstly you who needs to back up your claims with evidence. If there is merit to your claims, well I’m happy to admit that I’m wrong and if it challenges the held scientific view, it will be appreciated. Anecdotal isn’t enough, by the way.

        Indeed you haven’t, thus your accusations about my character are void.

        Similarly many researchers from around the globe have looked into, and continue to do so, the potential risk of immunisation. So far, the benefits far out weigh any side effects and the claims made by the anti-vax groups just haven’t been backed up by the observations at all. If you watch that documentary, you’ll see that this fact doesn’t for a second take the wind out of the sails of the anti-vax groups.

        On the back of such scientific evidence, I continue to vaccinated my children. I like living in a world without smallpox and to have lived in an age where polio and TB haven’t been a concern to my generation (in this country). However, it would take only one serious study to suggest that a certain vaccine poses a serious risk for me to demand the doctor not provide that vaccine to my children (while I would continue to use the rest).

        That’s the difference between such groups and people like myself. I am sceptical of the evidence, but even more so of claims that cannot be backed up observation. Such groups ignore the observations to persist with their views.

        I’ve heard your story so often and such stories do hold weight in the public eye, but I’ll tell you my initial thoughts; you didn’t state the cause of death or how it could be related to a certain vaccine (also unstated) and if there’s merit to this, why wasn’t a police investigation done? That you know someone who “does this kind of work among other things” is an old starter (eg. “a friend’s sister works in X and she told my friend B”) without any real weight. How am I to know their views on the subject are worth more than, say, a dentist? “Secondary evidence is that Big Pharma has been given a vaccine liability shield…” again without substantiation.

        Look, I’m going to have to get off this merry-go-round. You clearly *know* that I’m a hypocrite and medical science is overlooking a massive risk to society that goes beyond whatever observations come to light. Like Mann, vaccination is guilty until proven guilty.

        There isn’t a lot more that either of us could say to convince the other otherwise, so let’s just cut our loses and get on with our lives.

      • Looks like my initial assesment WAS correct. You don’t listen, and only seek to put me in my bucket so you can continue your own little reality…

        Opened myself up for that one.

      • Oh, just FYI

        http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/02/22/133964322/supreme-court-upholds-liability-shield-for-vaccine-makers

        Without substatiation indeed… *rolls eyes*. Do I really have to link this myself? You just assume I’m making stuff up?

        Here’s some further reading on meta-research

        http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/8269/

        You can get people to listen, but it involves fixing the scientific discovery process. You must earn trust before you will be believed. You buy into the system, I get that, many people don’t and they don’t *owe* you *anything*.

      • My 2nd reply got eaten by the system…

        I’ve presented lots of evidence here and in the past. You don’t want to listen to or address the evidence, you want to IGNORE it, cite some scientific paper something or other rather than address the failures in the institution of science itself.

        How much meta-research have you seen?

        Here’s a reasonable primer…

        http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/8269/

        Contrary to popular retort, annecdotes are not without value. Please note that my annecdote was not directed at the vaccine itself but at the reaction to the possibility of a bad reaction by the observer science is trusting to report back truthfully. It’s less a direct statement to vaccine safety, which it is admittedly not very useful for, but the fact that the observers are not giving the complete story. Which it very poignantly demonstrates. Ignore evidence of observer bias at your own peril.

        “This is the mindset that… blah blah blah”. Did you ever stop to think about WHY science is not the trusted expert that many in the field believe it should be? Everyone else is an irrational ignorant fool? Really? That’s an arrogant stance you know, and you wonder why people refer to it as the ivory tower?

        I’m not going to watch the documentary anytime soon, I don’t have time for a propaganda piece. If you have some cites on how you’re addressing known observer bias I’m listening.

        “On the back of such scientific evidence, I continue to vaccinated my children.”

        I haven’t mentioned this yet, but half the reason I’m pro-limited-vaccination is because half of the ones offered to my children were completely OPTIONAL and UNNECESSARY and only offered because it was the most convenient opportunity for the medical staff (their reasoning). The message was loud and clear… Your health and well being comes secondary to my conveniece. Nothing to do with science and everything to do with smarter-than-thou medical industry that puts independent types like me on the defensive and make me want them to justify everything. I mean, it’s just so completely rediculous to vaccinate a completely not-at-risk newborn for hep B. How do you measure risk/reward when the reward is near zero? Ugh.

        “you didn’t state the cause of death or how it could be related to a certain vaccine (also unstated) and if there’s merit to this, why wasn’t a police investigation done”

        I don’t recall the particular illness without digging through a good deal of stuff, I can locate it, it just takes more effort than I’m willing to put forth to satisfy your every whim. Listed on the autopsy was the illness as cause of death. The very illness the vaccine was for. Why SHOULD the police be involved? Where was the crime? The medical staffs did their best, ignoring the possibility that it was the vaccine was not a crime.

        I have no interest in being more specific with you beyond the general details because you aren’t actually listening. Evidenced by:

        ‘“Secondary evidence is that Big Pharma has been given a vaccine liability shield…” again without substantiation.’

        http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/02/22/133964322/supreme-court-upholds-liability-shield-for-vaccine-makers

        I wasn’t aware I need to substantiate with links public knowledge, and I thought common knowledge to anyone who argues vaccines.

      • And now it appears!

        I appologize for the repetition…

      • I did listen; to a lot of unsubstantiated claims that you expected me to take at face value. But just like your claims on my character and scientific methodology, you rather assume (continuing even now) what you see (regardless to the effort I placed into explaining myself in the previous comments) to maintain your world view than look objectively at what’s presented.
        Oh, are either of those links scientifically peer reviewed articles in respected science journals that demonstrate how vaccination has been proven to be detrimental to ones health – that the risk far out reaches the improvement to human health – or simply commentary in any given media that you’ve inflated to be the “final nail in the coffin”?
        As is usually the case with people like yourself, the latter is more likely. Either provide the scientific evidence for the dangers of vaccination or simply, I’m not interested.
        I know you think otherwise, and I know you’re sincere, but you clearly don’t understand scientific methodology (also expressed in your discussion with Barry) and obviously have fallen for the conspiracy theory of “the unknown” in that you feel science is done in secret, behind closed doors but the sci-fi “mad scientists”.
        While it’s not perfect, it’s nothing like you think it is. If one’s work can’t be replicated, it doesn’t hold much weight. Things get really exciting when entirely different approaches confirm other conclusions (eg. the various proxies for paleo-temperature reconstructions). In short, we wouldn’t have confidence in conclusions unless every other alternative that has been conceived has been tested and rejected.
        It’s testable and repeatable; unlike the word of someone you know “who does this kind of work among other things” and commentary journals.
        Honestly, you really should’ve read what I wrote, before demonising me as deaf to a wiser mind – it just makes you silly when you throw around such claims continually without the scientific basis to back it up.
        Now, honestly, you’re not worth my continuing this discussion so write whatever unsubstantiated claim you will; I won’t reply.
        Barry: sorry – whenever you mention mention one of the groups above, most often the anti-vax or creationist reply on one of their typical hyperbolic rants about how the science is wrong and even how scientists are now even walking away from these “theories”. I should’ve known better than to stir up yet another…

      • “Oh, are either of those links scientifically peer reviewed articles in respected science journals”

        Why does evidence that Big Pharma has a vaccine liability shield need to be peer reviewed? I mean… REALLY? You’re going to flat out ignore a point because of that? You asked for “substanciation” of my claim and then you move the goal posts and change the topic and put your fingers in your ears, la la la, I’m not listening. Sigh.

        “that demonstrate how vaccination has been proven to be detrimental to ones health”

        I didn’t attempt to prove that, so why should I provide the evidence for it? Your listening comprehension is pretty low. Unabashedly among the worst I’ve encountered here or even more hostile sites.

        I’ll say it one, last, time. The evidence I listed is evidence against the scientific inquiry process of the safety of vaccines – not the vaccines themselves as you state here, and that the makers themselves don’t trust their own product. I had a few other complaints but that’s the core.

        I don’t NEED to prove they are bad to decide not to vaccinate, all I need is a feeling that I shouldn’t or an unconscience doubt and I don’t. I don’t NEED to prove they are bad to point out problems as I see them. If you want another customer or advocate of vaccines, you must convince me. If you attack others because of their freely born choices I occasionally feel the need to stand up for them.

      • Brandon, I actually read your linked article about the liability shield, and I came away with a different impression. To me, it doesn’t say anything about the integrity of science. Rather, it says something about weaknesses in our legal system. If people aren’t able to prove negligence in a federal court that specializes in vaccine cases, why should they be allowed to keep suing ad nauseum in every lower court they can find (which would have no expertise in the area)? Seems like a reasonable step in tort reform to me.

      • “You asked for “substanciation” of my claim and then you move the goal posts…”
        Actually, it’s you who initially moved the goals posts.
        You’re the one who entered claiming that vaccination is evil because of some story you’ve heard of and on the word of someone “who does this kind of work among other things” (clearly not trained in a relevant medical science or else you would’ve referred to that authority) but apart from this circumstantial evidence, you provide articles on what you feel is legal “blind spot” in medical science.
        Nothing that you’ve offered demonstrates how vaccination is scientifically proven to be more harmful than beneficial. I’ve listened to your claims (although to preserve your held position, you’ve continually insisted that I have ignored you and proved myself to be a hypocrite) and I’ve attempted to explain why your claims are circumstantial at best – good enough only for a lawyer or to support a confirmation bias – but are not damaging to the scientific evidence that vaccination has revolutionised our modern societies with little side-effect.
        You’ve continually utilised another technique I’m very familiar with; to accuse the other of traits that you are actually employing yourself. You’re not listening to me at all. You’re hypocritically demonstrating all the traits that I initially pointed one (to which you took offence).
        I’ve continually tried to explain that you provide no credible reason for me to question the safety of vaccination and rather than listening to why explanation, you’ve let your feeling blinker your perception. You’re thinking, “How on Earth is this idiot not getting it? A child died… My relative who knows a lot told me the truth about it! These articles point to a get-out-of-jail-free card for the vaccination manufactures! It’s so obvious!”
        All I’m telling you it that such “evidence” isn’t enough. Global studies that have compared groups of children who were and weren’t vaccination have not supported higher incidence of medical conditions in vaccinated groups. The evidence just doesn’t support you.
        I’d suggest you talk to the supporters of Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrie’s anti-vax group. They’re just as certain as you are that vaccination is evil (in their case is largely focuses on vaccination causing autism, but not their exclusive claim) and to hell with the contrary scientific evidence. Like you, they have anecdotal “evidence” and the word of various “authorities” whom they are willing to trust over genuine experts (sadly the result of cognitive dissonance, I’d suggest).
        No matter how much the science disagrees with them, they’ll be out on the street imploring people to deny their children a safe guard from preventable disease. It’s all fun and games until whooping cough does the rounds or TB or polio are reintroduced…
        Likewise, nothing I can say will convince you otherwise. I have tried to explain not only my position, but also the errors in your own. You will continue to believe me to be a hypocrite and to not listen to you unless I jump on board with your argument. It’s the only way you can preserve the credibility you feel your position has.
        So, for the last time, just let it drop. I will not be swayed by such a flimsy evidence base and you will not be swayed by reason.

      • As for your last paragraph – look back to your initial comment;
        “Of course, it’s *impossible* that any institution has blind spots. That could *never* happen to *science* or *medicine*. They are 100% fool proof!”

        I never said that and as I tired to explain any possible problem with vaccination should be explored – and in fact is. As I continued to explain to you this hasn’t been enough to slow down the anti-vax groups, hence why I included them. Again, you haven’t listen to me at all.

      • “You’re the one who entered claiming that vaccination is evil because of some story you’ve heard of and on the word of someone “who does this kind of work among other things” (clearly not trained in a relevant medical science or else you would’ve referred to that authority)”

        1) I didn’t say vaccination was evil. There’s that bad reading comprehension again. I questioned how much I should trust the science. Placing a doubt on the proported safety of a procedure is not the same as disparaging the procedure or calling it “evil”. I believe there is a reason to doubt and listed my reasons and in an absense of trustable evidence I choose not to vaccinate.

        2) Medical science requires arms and hands to do the work. I’m familiar with the arms and hands. Nurses out looking for candidates for medical studies, watching through the observation process, etc. It’s nothing monumental, but it’s key to the process of trial studies.

        “but apart from this circumstantial evidence, you provide articles on what you feel is legal “blind spot” in medical science.”

        Come now, anyone who believes everything coming from medical science is an imbicile. Did you actually read the article I linked? It has many points that are accurate that many/most everyday Joe’s understand intuitively from the widely known and flagrent medical backpedals that are so famous.

        Claiming there are imperfections in the current method employed is hardly monumental.

        You act like I need an iron clad case to even offer doubts, when it’s the exact opposite that is true. You should have a solid case if you want to propose treatment. You do not need such a case to refuse it which is every patient’s and parent’s right.

        Now, if I were seeking damages, or trying to outlaw the treatments – you would be correct that I would probably need to make the case as you desire. But that is not my desire. I want 1) my right to choose and 2) my right to speak up about those choices if I so choose.

        “Nothing that you’ve offered demonstrates how vaccination is scientifically proven to be more harmful than beneficial.”

        *claps*, and I never intended to prove that. Why do you assume that I do?

        “You’ve continually utilised another technique I’m very familiar with; to accuse the other of traits that you are actually employing yourself. You’re not listening to me at all.”

        Well now, that’s not completely true. It was initially when I decided to throw your own medicine back at you. I am guilty as charged there, that was completely calculated and intentional – not accidental. I’m seldom as guilty of projection as strongly as you state here. Besides, you can’t even make this accusation if you don’t understand what I’m even trying to communication. You can’t even state in your own words the key points that I’ve tried to communicate to you, you have failed every time.

        “I’ve listened to your claims (although to preserve your held position, you’ve continually insisted that I have ignored you and proved myself to be a hypocrite) and I’ve attempted to explain why your claims are circumstantial at best – good enough only for a lawyer or to support a confirmation bias – but are not damaging to the scientific evidence that vaccination has revolutionised our modern societies with little side-effect.”

        You see, this is where you’re WRONG. “circumstantial” and “annecdotal” evidence is all that’s required to blow smoking gaping holes into the poor trust medical science has garnered for itself. You’re right that I cannot identify actual risk rates to weigh against the actual benefits – it’s simply enough for me to know that they are mistaken in not even cross examining one fatal case, which even you admit is wrong. My further observation of circumstantial and annecdotal bias just cements the doubts. I don’t TRUST medical science in many regards and I DON’T NEED TO PROVE IT. Trust is earned, and they don’t have it.

        Infant morality rates also closely track economic and sanitary improvements in society. As they say… coorelation and causation… I’m not saying I know, but just stating that there is more at play here.

        “You’re thinking, “How on Earth is this idiot not getting it? A child died… My relative who knows a lot told me the truth about it! These articles point to a get-out-of-jail-free card for the vaccination manufactures! It’s so obvious!””

        No, I’m not. The PROBLEM WAS THE DOCTOR’S REACTION, not that the child died. I’ve already told you this! I can accept the death for the greater good and all that, if the medical industry had cared to acknowledge the potential failure to throw into the risk-reward equasion. It’s when you LIE to me you lose trust, not the fact that you made a mistake.

        But the get-out-of-jail-free card remains a problem. How is it not? Are you going to defend that?

        “Global studies that have compared groups of children who were and weren’t vaccination have not supported higher incidence of medical conditions in vaccinated groups.”

        I haven’t seen a single one that included an unvaccinated control group in the same circumstances as the vaccinated test groups. They’re all compared across major economic, sanitary, and cultural boundaries. So, in this case, “Global” is, in fact, a deterrent to their credibility. I find that a pretty large shortcoming. From everything I’ve read and been told “unvaccinated” is nearly a mythical group in any industrialized nation and nobody even proposes it in a study cause it’s taboo not to vaccinate. I would be very curious if you can actually point one out to me, still leaves the doubts of the eyes not seeing what the hands do, but it would at least look like an honest attempt at the question.

        “I’d suggest you talk to the supporters of Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrie’s anti-vax group. They’re just as certain as you are that vaccination is evil ”

        *shrug*, I don’t have any interest in associating with their groups at the moment.

        “Like you, they have anecdotal “evidence” and the word of various “authorities” whom they are willing to trust over genuine experts (sadly the result of cognitive dissonance, I’d suggest).”

        Well, that’s pretty much all that trial studies represent too – a bunch of “anecdotal evidence” recorded and run through a forumla that can be tweaked at the whim of the guy at the top who only needs to sell his tweaks to a few colleagues. And he only need sell just the summary sheet at that (“peer review paper”). He needs not show the whole picture in the raw, just how he wants to spin it.

        Yes, the selection procedures and analytical criteria *should* be better than the emotionally charged self proclaimed self collected victems, but don’t pretend it’s worthless. It might well be wrong, but it’s still not worthless. I do find that the quantity and vehemence with which they gather a stronger case than 100 peer review papers glued into a wall. It is… compelling in a way few things are.

        Ahh yes, cognitive dissonance. I suspect you think it’s there more often than it actually is. Most human beings are very rational to their experience and learning. You don’t see 95% of their experience so you’re hardly in a position to judge what is truely dissonant in their minds. If you’re comparing their actions to your experience, it will certainly appear very contrary.

        “No matter how much the science disagrees with them, they’ll be out on the street imploring people to deny their children a safe guard from preventable disease. It’s all fun and games until whooping cough does the rounds or TB or polio are reintroduced…”

        Which is their right. *shrug*

        “Likewise, nothing I can say will convince you otherwise.”

        For starters, you can admit science as we know it is flawed, fix the biases, make the process transparent, do the right study correctly, and then show me the results while letting me audit all the data. Then you will convince me.

        If you’re expecting to point me to an existing magical study done with the current system and have all my doubts evaporate, you are probably correct. It ain’t going to happen. Too many known and potential issues.

        “You will continue to believe me to be a hypocrite and to not listen to you unless I jump on board with your argument.”

        Well, I do think you are somewhat hypocritical, but I was too harsh earlier and I really shouldn’t succum to such base and useless insults. Nothing good came of it. I appologize.

        I would be quite content for you to acknowledge the existence of bias, and that it may well play a role in these events. Especially in medical science which has such an incredibly obvious and poor track record for “discoveries”.

        I guess I’m also hoping that you acknowledge that other people have the right to make their own choices however wrong you may feel they are.

        “I never said that”

        Actually, you’ve implied as much through the course of our conversation. You pay lip service to uncertainty in science, but in your heart, you don’t think there is any other valid method of discovery. Hense your insistance that all rebuttal be in peer-review form and sources.

      • “You act like I need an iron clad case to even offer doubts…”
        No, I merely ask for compelling evidence if you wish to put forth reasonable doubt in vaccination. Otherwise, and this is exactly the same as people, such as Monckton, do against climate science; build a case of unreasonable doubt that produces unreasonable fear and paralysis in the face of avoidable impacts.
        You have provided nothing but unreasonable doubt and statements like, “anyone who believes everything coming from medical science is an imbicile” demonstrates your attitude and perception of me. I did say that that any death or potential harm should be investigated – and it is! You’ve not provided compelling evidence of a “lie”.
        I see the studies that find no compelling case for anti-vax concerns, you see a conspiracy in general articles. I can’t see why you’d shrug off checking out other anti-vax groups (and yet accuse me of not listening/doing my research) when they too are driven by such claims/emotions as yourself.
        You put too much weight on the personal experience – we are naturally inclined to do so. In the general public, this too often sways the audience. You’re right, it could win the public/political debate, but it doesn’t mean it’s right, hence why it doesn’t interest me much – rather concerns me in the face of strong contrary evidence.
        “Other people have the right to make their own choices”
        Fair enough; what about unregulated gun ownership? Effluent pollution of water ways. Thief? Unregulated CO2 emissions? The wild transfer of otherwise avoidable viruses? Choice is one thing, but when that choice impedes on others, degrades environments or unfairly exposes my children to disease that could have been avoided, then that “choice” is immoral and inhumane. We all should have the right to the best possible standard of living, but not at the expense of others. You really should watch The Vaccine War – a mother on there feels it’s fine not to vaccinate her children as they’ll be surrounded by others who have been. That is disgusting, anti-social behaviour.
        All I ask is for compelling reason not to take part in herd protection before I do something as radical as not vaccinate my children and myself. So far, I see nothing but anecdotal evidence and emotionally charged parents.
        “You pay lip service to uncertainty in science, but in your heart, you don’t think there is any other valid method of discovery.”
        Shows that you have little scientific training. No I do not think scientific methodology is perfect – but it’s the best device we’ve yet developed. The re-testable, transparency of it allows us to develop greater certainty in our conclusions. Before we developed this methodology, we only have philosophy and religion – which is about as useful as stoners debating over corn chips.
        I rely on the peer-review process because of this dependable nature of science and while I’ll never believe anything to be “fact”, it’s only through scientific methodology that I’m able to say, “to the best of our knowledge…”
        Hence why I continue to say to you that if there is any truth in your claims, they should be investigated. For it is through this approach that, yes, I feel certain that we can get the most plausibly accurate results. Placing these results up against competing experts means that the conclusions will be examined by the best minds in the field in question. This is why I put more weight on peer-reviewed science than personal experience or, as you’ve offered, hearsay.
        I require strong evidence if I’m to reject the general conclusion held in medical science regarding vaccination, based on many hundreds of studies that have withstood peer-review and you’ve not provided that – only a lot of poorly spelt waffle and bombastic assertions.
        There is far too much anti-science BS around out to unfairly remove the credibility of scientists for the sake of various ideologies. It is, after all, hard work gaining the qualifications and credibility within the scientific community and who knows – for all your hard working effort, you may not be able over turn the currently held conclusions which drew you to the pursuit to begin with (after all, many thousands of researchers are also trying to do the same thing, believe it or not). Why waste the time when, at least in the public and political arena, it’s far easier spread rumours of misconduct, mad/greedy/elitist scientists or pull at the heart strings with anecdotal/hearsay evidence?
        We’re surrounded in this type of hogwash and I simply don’t pander to it. If you think that science is wrong in this way, prove it with credible evidence. If you think a scientist or a field of science is misleading the public, investigate it and build a strong case.
        I don’t see any strong and reliable evidence that rejects the conclusion that vaccination has proven to be one of the most effective practices in modern medical science to prevent disease (in fact, the only other great change, IMHO, has been the development of hygienic procedures first discussed and developed in the mid to late 19th century).
        If there are other valid methods of discovery that provide better results than modern scientific methodology, then guess what? Science will implement them! It’s not an ideology, but a tool for discovery that changes with the observations and techniques available.
        If these “other methods” are not better, but only equal or worse; why on Earth wouldn’t you just use the tools of scientific investigation?
        No, the only “lip service” going on here (it’s far too easy to throw around such terms, which sound impressive and can sway the audience, but in reality, hold little weight or meaning) is your pandering to “other ways of knowing” which all too often reinforces unreasonable doubt in scientific methodology and confidence in personal, often untestable ideologies.
        I’m sick of this…

      • “No, I merely ask for compelling evidence”

        “Oh, are either of those links scientifically peer reviewed articles in respected science journals that demonstrate how vaccination has been proven to be detrimental to ones health”

        These two statements don’t mesh very well. You never did address the liability shield other than to scoff or scorn.

        “build a case of unreasonable doubt that produces unreasonable fear and paralysis in the face of avoidable impacts.”

        I work professionally in quality assurance. I find your standard of quality is woefully lacking for the actions you desire to take. Yes, this is my professional opinion. I don’t find it unreasonable at all to doubt the procedures, methods, and thus the evidence science has given us for AGW or vaccines.

        Science is not good at self review of their process. Meta-research is celebrated by the honest in the community, but way too many are wrapped up in egos or just disliking change.

        “You put too much weight on the personal experience – we are naturally inclined to do so.”

        Since you don’t listen, I will yell it at you again. WHAT ELSE IS THERE WHEN THE SO-CALLED EXPERT IS UNTRUSTWORTHY AND UNWILLING TO BECOME SO? The standby is personal experience, which is right and proper. What are you gonna do that’s superior? Invent stuff? Trust the untrustworthy? No, both are logically inferior.

        “You have provided nothing but unreasonable doubt and statements like, “anyone who believes everything coming from medical science is an imbicile” demonstrates your attitude and perception of me.”

        So I guess if someone throws a study out there stating that dirt is the new health craze, you go out and eat lots of it? Even science buffs like you are generally not THAT enthusiastic about what comes out of the med world. It was not intended to be a dig to you but an appeal to reason because of some of the junk we’ve seen. Anti-depressants? Big wiff, and they KNEW it and still let it be perscribed like candy. Maybe I’m just colored by my characteristic skepticism, but the number of about faces in medicine is amazing.

        “I did say that that any death or potential harm should be investigated – and it is!”

        And I provided a first hand example that it IS NOT. Your faith in the system is so unshakable that even first hand evidence they are ignoring problems doesn’t even phase you… I get that it’s heresay to you, but not to me. You can’t even recognize one iota of ground on the other side…

        You want me to believe acknowledged untrustworthy strangers over my own eyes.. Sigh.

        “Shows that you have little scientific training.”

        Shows your ignorance. How could one who is possibly familiar with science bemoan it’s results and operation?!?! Unthinkable!

        I’ve paid my dues in acadamia, got some stuff published in a paper, in a text book. The two are married pretty closely. I’m reasonably familiar with it. I don’t say this to crow credentials as my contributions are hardly notable, but the argument “you just must not understand” is hollow on it’s face.

        “No I do not think scientific methodology is perfect – but it’s the best device we’ve yet developed.”

        Utter and complete MALARKY. It is not the best. You’re one of the many who has been sucked up into science as a religion. “Peer review” is the lowest form of acceptable quality assurance beyond “I did my best — Original Author”. Nobody builds a bridge that is merely “peer reviewed”. Nobody builds a plane, or a nuclear power plant, or a dam that has merely been “peer reviewed”. We only demand the best as a people when it’s IMPORTANT because it’s EXPENSIVE and HARD. It works as a scientific discovery process because it’s CHEAP and EASY and science is a very low yield, time consuming, wide open field discovery method. It’s not the “BEST”, it’s “GOOD ENOUGH FOR NOW” given the money and labor available. Peer review is a reasonable way to run things, don’t get me wrong, but it’s limitations should be understood by rank-n-file science buffs.

        “The re-testable, transparency of it allows us to develop greater certainty in our conclusions.”

        And no, re-testability is not a substitute for an accurate quality assesment of the original paper. 5000 lead bars do not a gold bar make. This is an elementary concept so often missed. You build scientific theories or concensus of lead bars (typically), and this is fine. But you need gold bars if you want me to agree to new regulation.

        TRANSPARENCY? WHAT TRANSPARENCY? There is no auditability. Everyone hides away their raw data, this is “standard practice”. Everyone whines about how hard it might be to come up with it on demand. It’s as TRANSPARENT AS MUD. It has a form of transparency where you explain your original question, your methods and results, but there is no real assurance that you actually did what you said you did, that you didn’t throw out disagreeable data, etc etc. You can lie your brains out and nobody can call you on it unless there is a formal inquiry into your conduct. You have a fundamental element that everyone is assumed to be truthful until proven otherwise. In QA, we typically assume the opposite.

        “There is far too much anti-science BS around out to unfairly remove the credibility of scientists for the sake of various ideologies.”

        You poor persecuted soul… And yet you say things like this…

        “Fair enough; what about unregulated gun ownership? Effluent pollution of water ways. Thief? Unregulated CO2 emissions? The wild transfer of otherwise avoidable viruses? Choice is one thing, but when that choice impedes on others, degrades environments or unfairly exposes my children to disease that could have been avoided, then that “choice” is immoral and inhumane.”

        Anyone who owns a gun, doesn’t vaccinate, or who drives an old car is a murderer or an accomplice! You’re not just a science zealot, you’re a tyranical overbearing one. Please tell me you’re at least a non-American tyranical overbearing zealot.

        You self expose yourself to anything out there by entering the public arena, it’s a risk of life and blaming someone else for unintentially “infecting” your vaccinated “immune” self (or children) is rediculous. I’ve never seen anyone locked up or even charged for “infecting the healthy” under any law system.

        “Why waste the time when, at least in the public and political arena, it’s far easier spread rumours of misconduct, mad/greedy/elitist scientists”

        You wouldn’t be nearly so vunerable to this if you could prove otherwise in an audit… But science won’t humble itself enough to do that.

        “your pandering to “other ways of knowing” which all too often reinforces unreasonable doubt in scientific methodology and confidence in personal, often untestable ideologies.”

        Ohhh! I’m a heretic! Oh noes! Not just a heretic, I’m an immoral and inhumane one! Oh the humanity!

        PS your stuff is easier to read if you break it up into visible paragraphs rather than using the nearly inpenetrable wall of text. Double line break is best, not just one.

      • “These two statements don’t mesh very well.”

        They mesh perfectly well to anyone who has been trained in critical analysis of data. You on the other hand are willing to place too much faith in what has been proven time and time again to fallible; the human experience. Anecdotal evidence and the word of your relative who clearly is not an expert isn’t enough. But I’ve made this point over and over again and I’m sick of repeating myself.

        “You never did address the liability shield…”

        You never addressed Barry’s reply to your articles. It sounds to me to be the same type of argument anti-GM advocates attempt to use. You attack the private interests of industrial heads to undermine the science (in their case it’s the big Agro-Business monsters). It doesn’t cut it and if Barry’s right, the paper is about improving the industry, not demonstrating fundamental problems with vaccination.

        I might go on a tangent for a second here to also add that I do not condone any death for the “greater good”. If there were any truths to your claims, they should have been investigated. Otherwise complaining about them now is a luxury beyond examination and I haven’t any time for that as I don’t for anything else claiming to be beyond examination.

        “I work professionally in quality assurance. I find your standard of quality is woefully lacking for the actions you desire to take.”

        Again, you’re not trained in critical analysis in the same fashion as a scientist and thus willing to rely on circumstantial evidence. Continuing to chuck in “professional” does nothing to improve that fact or provide extra credibility to a weak position.

        “Science is not good at self review of their process.”

        Another demonstration of your ignorance in scientific methodology. We don’t practice in the same fashion as we did, say a century ago – even twenty years ago – as we do today. Why? Because the critical tools utilities in science are constantly being reviewed and ever refined.

        You’ve falling for propaganda that cannot fault the conclusions drawn through scientific investigation so has attacked the credibility of science itself. It’s a strawman believed in only by the gullible.

        “Since you don’t listen, I will yell it at you again.”

        Rich… I have been listening. Your evidence base and mediocre attack on reason is flimsy at best. I have been listening, but what you believe to my ignorance is in fact my unwillingness to be swayed by a faith position. I’ve had Christians scream at me also because I’m “not listening” to their “evidence” that refutes evolution.

        If you find genuine error in the conclusions drawn in climate science, in medical science or even in the scientific methodology itself, such things should be brought to the attention of the scientific community via the best process humans have yet derived to weed out crap – that is; peer-reviewed literature. You would be doing the world a massive favour by bringing scientists up to flaws in out processes – you would refine the tools more so and help to chisel our collective ignorance further.

        That you instead troll around the blog-o-sphere undermining reason on anecdotal evidence and hearsay, demonstrates that even you are not really convinced in your “evidence”. You instead use little more than fear tactics to scare people into your way of thinking. Who knows how many people you’ve talked out of vaccinating their children, but the sole fact that this is your angle is purely inhumane.

        “The standby is personal experience, which is right and proper. What are you gonna do that’s superior?”

        The conspiracy theorist is starting to show his colours.

        Any forensic investigator will tell you that a witness to an event is far less reliable than the evidence that is left at the scene. The forensic investigator uses scientific investigation to demonstrate not only how we can fool ourselves over and over and over, but also how trace evidence can reliably build a strong case.

        What I’m “gonna” do is to rely on such forensic science over a brilliant mind that unfortunately makes up most of the scene it is witness to.

        “So I guess if someone throws a study out there stating that dirt is the new health craze, you go out and eat lots of it?”

        And, as any mother would say, “if they jumped off a cliff, would you join them?”

        You provide a case that intentionally looks silly to undermine scientific logic. You need to do better than that. No-one would reasonably think science will ever state that eating dirt is healthy for you. Luckily for me, I’m trained in ecology and I’ve learnt a thing or two about soil ecology. Both the well understood chemistry of the soil and the life found within are well known to harbour bacteria, nematodes, heavy metals etc.

        It’s a ridiculous strawman you build because you’ve really got little else to fall back upon to discredit my position. Just as those who do not understand science attempt to demonise it because they can’t build a case to undermine the scientific conclusions that don’t sit well with them.

        “And I provided a first hand example that it IS NOT. Your faith in the system is so unshakable…”

        Right, a child dies and well all simply go on living. I totally believe that… Children don’t just die and if there was a relationship between the vaccination and the illness, it should have been investigated. As stated above, now it’s untestible and enjoys an untouchable status. That’s as much evidence as a tree is for the existence of God.

        Faith? Please. I’m attempting to provide examples of critical thinking. Again it’s another strawman designed to demonise my stance. I won’t be swayed by anecdotal evidence and hearsay so, apparently, I’m blindly faithful to what – critical thinking? Lol

        No, it is you who rejects the validated observations to preserve your position so it is you who takes a faith position.

        “You want me to believe acknowledged untrustworthy strangers over my own eye…”

        Untrustworthy? What, scientists? Of course they are no more trust worthy than anyone else – that’s exactly what the transparent peer-review process exists so, for us to have any certainty in a conclusion we rigorously retest is continuously until other potential conclusions become incredibly slim. That you would trust your own eye over such impartiality is a weakness on your behalf. Sigh all you like.

        “Shows your ignorance. How could one who is possibly familiar with science bemoan it’s results and operation.”

        I think I’ve demonstrated your ignorance of scientific methodology as much as I need. You bemoan and avoid challenging the process and conclusions on the blog-o-sphere because you’ve really got nothing valid to contribute to increasing our understanding. Taking this sarcastic retort simply avoids, yet again, genuinely challenging scientific reasoning while wearing a mock sense of authority.

        Me thinks your argument is about exhausted…

        “I’ve paid my dues in acadamia, got some stuff published in a paper, in a text book. The two are married pretty closely. I’m reasonably familiar with it.”

        Misspelt waffle. What did you get published and where? So far, I’ve seen nothing that would lead me to believe you’re “reasonably familiar” with science (presuming this is what “it” is).

        “Utter and complete MALARKY. It is not the best. You’re one of the many who has been sucked up into science as a religion. “Peer review” is the lowest form of acceptable quality assurance beyond “I did my best — Original Author”

        Again, you pay homage to the “science is your religion” strawman – grow up. If it is not the best, please enlighten to me to what trumps it. This statement is the real “malarkey” which again shows that you really don’t understand science at all – funny that you should do so on the very machine made possible by its every refining tools, which leads wonderfully into;

        “Nobody builds a bridge that is merely “peer reviewed”. Nobody builds a plane, or a nuclear power plant, or a dam that has merely been “peer reviewed”

        Umm.. okay.. That makes sense. The science that goes into each of those (and most other things) because credible due to the scientific process, with increasing certainty resulting from thousands of research hours that requires the backbone of peer-review.

        You waffle without substance – a bit like the evidence basis to your position.

        “science is a very low yield…”

        LMAO – look at human societies pre-enlightenment and compare them to now. You can have a “doctor” deliver your wife’s baby with hands freshly removed from the guts of a dead man, I’d prefer one that’s sterile. Science is the best we’ve got and if improvements are to be made, bring them to the table within the scientific literature rather than this baseless online waffle.

        “And no, re-testability is not a substitute for an accurate quality assesment of the original paper. 5000 lead bars do not a gold bar make.”

        What? What do comparing different elements have to do with transparent investigation? You really don’t know science.

        “TRANSPARENCY? WHAT TRANSPARENCY? There is no auditability. Everyone hides away their raw data, this is “standard practice”.

        “Auditability” isn’t a word. This is another one conspiracy theorists, such as yourself, love.

        I personally manage a flux and micro-meteorological station. No, I wouldn’t make my absolute raw data available. We provide to our national members validated data as well as our refined and analysed data, but not the raw. Can you guess why?

        I have three anemometers; one 3D sonic anemometer and two simply cup and vanes. All three face different directions due to their position on the station. If I provided the raw data, others would analyse this and think they’ve found 3 different wind patterns at the same site! Wow! Incredible! But of course, nonsense. Likewise, the anemometer sits with an IRGA collection very fast data (10Hz). They are susceptible to noise due to wind “hitting the station”, so such wind paths must be removed or else people will analysis nonsense yet again. Also, I do monthly visits. The car fumes can be picked up. My checking of devices could be picked up – again this data is full of noise.

        In the raw data, the people actually involved are the only people who know when it’s real data and noise (usually kept in a meta data pack). It’s “standard practice” not to leave others to wade through the noise to analyse the data, allowing for greater sources of error.

        All raw data is kept be quality operators and yes, it, along with its meta data, can be audited if needs be. This also occurred with Mann and he was found to be doing his job well.

        You don’t understand scientific practices well enough to criticise it.

        “You’re not just a science zealot, you’re a tyranical overbearing one.”

        lol – big coming from someone who can provide nothing but fear to attempt to talk people out of vaccination. When human activities threaten the standard of living, I have a right to be annoyed.

        “I’ve never seen anyone locked up or even charged for “infecting the healthy” under any law system.”

        You should’ve watched The Vaccination War. Generally the very young and old rely solely on herd immunity. That has let people done in the past (as they explain in the case of a young child) and you’re right, no-one is held accountable for such anti-social behaviour.

        “You wouldn’t be nearly so vunerable to this if you could prove otherwise in an audit… But science won’t humble itself enough to do that.”

        Flat out lie. Mann has been audited to death here! I was audited in my previous position as part of working in a NATA accredited facility (look it up) and my work is cross-checked by national members currently.

        It’s not as secret a venture as you would like to demonise it as such. But that helps you to reject the observations to preserve your faith.

        “Ohhh! I’m a heretic! Oh noes! Not just a heretic, I’m an immoral and inhumane one! Oh the humanity!”

        More sarcasm as you’ve obviously got little credible evidence to reply with. It’s the last resort of the scoundrel and the typical trench of the blog-o-sphere troll.

        Really, I feel that if anyone looked over your comments critically, they’d find nothing but sarcasm, rhetoric, anecdotal evidence, circumstantial evidence and an overwhelming sense of authority over a system of critical analysis that you simply don’t understand. As far as you go it’s; you’re right because you’re right – because your eyes don’t lie and I’m wrong because I’m wrong – because I don’t hear your “truth” and submit to what you think is a dogmatic why of seeing the world.

        You know a guy. You’ve written some stuff. You know a tragic story. You know of more robust ways of analysing the universe.

        Good on you!

        You are full of waffle and can build a wonderful little shell, but it’s weak and beneath it, you provide no substance to back it up. This has been a time consuming activity that has got neither of us anywhere. You still see evil masters of the universe working in labs around the globe and I’m still convinced that the ever refining tools of scientific investigation have wielded amazing results that we can feel more confident about than we could anything else – including the fallible human experience.

        Nothing has change, but for the date. Move on.

      • I’m going to ignore most of these insults and garbage this time… no more time for that.

        “Nobody builds a bridge that is merely “peer reviewed”. Nobody builds a plane, or a nuclear power plant, or a dam that has merely been “peer reviewed”

        “Umm.. okay.. That makes sense. The science that goes into each of those (and most other things) because credible due to the scientific process, with increasing certainty resulting from thousands of research hours that requires the backbone of peer-review.”

        Science’s contributions (or lack thereof) to the required understanding of the utilized engineering is immaterial, the actual process of science wasn’t used because it isn’t up to the task. That was the point you apparently missed. You can’t credit science’s methodology when it doesn’t actually perform the work.

        Critical analysis indeed… *rolls eyes*

        “You waffle without substance – a bit like the evidence basis to your position.”

        You ignore what actually happens and credit science with everything. This is the reason why “science worship” is so very accurate seeming… It’s not a straw man, it is a statement about you over-idolizing what science is and does! Though it does put your back up and you revert more and more to base insults instead of logic, so I probably shouldn’t use it.

        “”science is a very low yield…”

        LMAO – look at human societies pre-enlightenment and compare them to now. You can have a “doctor” deliver your wife’s baby with hands freshly removed from the guts of a dead man, I’d prefer one that’s sterile. Science is the best we’ve got and if improvements are to be made, bring them to the table within the scientific literature rather than this baseless online waffle.”

        And that had absolutely nothing to do with what I said… Fail. Par for the course though I’m afraid, sigh.

        Low yield means low economic returns for economic inputs. If we want to “improve” something, we send in the guys who designed and built the original or someone with similar training – that’s typically an “engineering” problem. If it wasn’t built by a human, you have a more fundamental question and you might fund a scientist to look at the problem – usually without expectation that anything immediate will be forth coming – if ever. This is typically NEVER done inside anything that resembles tight budgets and time tables.

        You rarely have R&D units that employ researchers to find new ways to do stuff. When we do have it, externalized “retestability” or such forms of publishing is not typically on the radar. It’s “can we manufacture/utilize/leverage that”, and perhaps a patent is in order. I wouldn’t call it modern science though it might share some simliarities with science, and privatized R&D is reponsible for a good deal of discoveries itself over the “enlightenment period” rather than the modern or evolved scientific process as we know it.

        Don’t oversell the modern scientific process for what it is not.

        ““And no, re-testability is not a substitute for an accurate quality assesment of the original paper. 5000 lead bars do not a gold bar make.”

        What? What do comparing different elements have to do with transparent investigation? You really don’t know science.”

        Are you intentionally being dense? Maybe I didn’t explain it well. Gold bar symbolizes a high quality and transparent research where it is known that all methodologies and maths are correct and have been completely independently verified (audit level verification). Lead is where you have a peer go over the summary (peer review level verificaiton). Multiplying lead results does not grant you gold level confidence, you cannot transmute the elements, you cannot elevate your quality level by using multiple iterations of the same thing.

        ““TRANSPARENCY? WHAT TRANSPARENCY? There is no auditability. Everyone hides away their raw data, this is “standard practice”.

        “Auditability” isn’t a word. This is another one conspiracy theorists, such as yourself, love.”

        Sigh, are you really reducing yourself to this level of pedantry? And you accuse ME of throwing up strawmen to knock down.

        I did miss Barry’s comment about the court. A last quick coment on that.

        I don’t find the creation of special federal courts such as this as a positive one. Especially outside of the jury system as this is. My experience with arbitration and such is that the deck is stacked against the inexperienced/outsider even though they make claims to the contrary.

        Yeah yeah, call me paranoid. I can accept that.

  2. There is no evidence for the following:

    There is no evidence for anthropogenic global warming and so climate scientists have had to make it all up, for the purposes of greed and/or ideology.

    And so, denialists have had to make it all up, for the purposes of greed and/or ideology.

  3. [...] Hockey Stick Conspiracy Expands!!! by Barry Bickmore [...]

  4. Starting a new thread on Mann with regards to Barry Bickmore’s comment.

    I’ve already spent a good deal of time on here discussing my point of view on science and how it is conducted today. I believe that science does not have adaquate quality assurance to be the basis for monumental regulations and policy as represented by carbon regulation. Because of this belief, I find the specifics of the case of Mann to be irrelevent and I don’t intently follow them.

    I believe he did work using US grant money and that means all his work is property of the public in my eyes. Everything should be perfectly transparent and I’m disappointed that it does not appear to be. Which is also a wide institutional failing.

    • So you believe that if a scientist obtains grant money from the US government, all their personal e-mails should be made public?

      • It depends on what you mean by “personal e-mails”, all coorespondence done relating to said research should be included. IE, it’s “on the clock” so IMHO it would be included as paid-for-work.

        An easy enforcement mechanism would be to have a researcher use an e-mail address for research related mail and to leave strictly personal e-mail to a personal account.

      • Or, here’s another idea. We could make sure science is reported so as to be replicable. I.e., say you put together a composite paleotemperature graph from multiple data sources. You should be required to 1) make sure your data is archived in an accessible manner (check–Mann did that), and 2) explain what you did with the data in such a way that someone else could replicate your study (check–Mann did that). The National Research Council looked into the allegations, were able to replicate what Mann did, and concluded that his statistical method could have been better, but improving it wouldn’t have affected his results much.

        What else is there to talk about? If the data were obtained in a reasonable way and archived, and if people can replicate your methods to make sure your analysis is ok (whether it turns out to be ok, or not,) how can you possibly be accused of scientific fraud?

        It’s the same thing with the CRU e-mails. How many times have I heard about how they conspired to keep a couple papers out of the IPCC Report? And yet, those papers magically appeared in the IPCC Report. So after all the hot air and calls for witch hunts, all that came out of it was that some guys got mad about some papers they thought were crap, and talked tough about what they were going to do about it… and then did the right thing, anyway.

        My problem is that, after this experience, I absolutely do not trust pitchfork-waving hillbillies like Cuccinelli to abstain from trying to ruin lives by leaking out-of-context quotations from private conversations, when he knows darn well that he doesn’t have the goods to make a fraud charge stick. Because the ONLY thing that would constitute scientific fraud would be to intentionally report your study in such a way that it couldn’t be replicated. And since it HAS been replicated, what’s the point of asking whether it was intentional?

      • You can crow the scientific discovery process is sufficient all you like. My professional experience in quality says otherwise. I might buy in at my discression when it’s unimportant, but when blood or treasure is on the line – I want fully auditable measurements, data, computer code, etc. Not “replicatable”, AUDITABLE. Which you don’t provide.

        It’s not fraud. I never claimed it was. I hate the fact that you use public funds for what appears to be a pseudo-private enterprise. It’s standard procedure to stand up FOIA requests when convenient and ignore people who want to look under the covers. It’s standard procedure to have covers. And this is why the general institution of science cannot be trusted for anything important.

      • I see your point, although I don’t agree with it. However, the post we’re commenting on was about official investigations of alleged scientific fraud.

        Let me take your POV to its logical extreme, and see how it looks. (I realize you may not have such extreme views–I’m just trying to illustrate why I don’t think it’s ok to make e-mails the subject of FOIA requests and fraud investigations without any probable cause.)

        1. What if I suspect (without any real evidence) that a Pell Grant recipient is cheating in his classes? Should I be able to make a FOIA request for all his e-mails that involve schoolwork issues? He’s using public money for his education, after all.

        2. Same question for a welfare recipient I suspect of having a business on the side, but have no real evidence. Should I be able to obtain his income-related e-mails and records?

        I could go on, and on, and on. My point is that there are lots of people who receive public funds for various purposes, and if there is real evidence that they are doing something wrong with it, it’s possible to get a court order to obtain their relevant records, e-mails, and so on. I don’t see the receipt of public funds as license for every conspiracy theorist weirdo to make my life a living hell by looking at all my e-mails to see if I said anything nasty about a colleague. I see your proposal as equivalent to introducing a strange sort of mobocratic police state.

      • It would seem unpleasent, but what I outlined is pretty close to what occurs between an employee and an employer in private industry. If you keep your coorspondence professional and on topic I don’t see anyone having problems with it. When you use your employer’s equipment and accounts, it belongs to them. When you are in the shower at home thinking about work, it belongs to them. You sign away your creative and analitical talent in exchange for money volentarily. As for losing some privacy, with social networking sites like twitter and facebook, publicly read interaction is getting pretty common. Blogs like this, you don’t seem to have a problem posting your opinions here for the world to see. It’s really not much different. How many people are rumaging through your blog looking for misconduct? Might someone sue? I suppose it’s not stopping you now, but you might also buy some legal insurance if it concerns you that much, it’s not that expensive. If anything I suspect you approve when you get more traffic and more eyeballs ;-)

        The fraud levels on government funded stuff is extremely high. If I got to re-write the rules, you wouldn’t *seek* the public help unless you had no other alternatives. And yes, your privacy would not even be a blip on the radar with regards to what the government is paying for. It does discourage people, and that’s a good thing so they stop digging bigger and bigger holes for our treasury. These kinds of assistance programs should have been oriented towards this in the first place. Chapter 9 housing? Subject to inspection, and should be required to be kept clean (not a white glove inspection mind you). And yes, if you appear prosperous, you’re out. Get your own place if you want to conspicously consume or do drugs/cigarettes/alcohol of any kind.

        You don’t *have* to work for the government, or take money from them. You should still get 4th ammendment related protections when not taking their money and even when taking their money you get it in the unrelated areas. Your private e-mail is still your private e-mail.

      • I gave you a general responce.. Specific to 1) If you have no evidence how do you suspect him? I would consider his grades and inquiries to the school and professors as fair play to fish for evidence. No, e-mail’s probably overboard and rightfully so.

        2) This is a non-starter for me because the welfare system should be pushing people to make money and get jobs and start businesses, not the opposite. That’s exactly what you *should* be doing. I would want to punish the opposite behavior.


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