The Myth of Neutral Academic Peer Review Exploded

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A generation ago, Daniel Ellsberg stole thousands of documents from the Rand Corporation, photocopied them, and gave them to the New York Times, which began publishing them. Ellsberg was prosecuted by the government. So was the Times. The defendants won.

Only after the Times broke the story did the mainstream press pick up on it. The Times got its scoop, and the Nixon administration had no way to stop it. This led to Nixon’s decision to stop the leaks with the Plumbers squad. That led to his defeat.

The Pentagon Papers did not directly undermine Nixon. He was re-elected in 1972 by a landslide. But the papers reinforced seeds of doubt about the war in Vietnam. Four years later, President Ford pulled the plug on the war.

What made this possible? Ellsberg’s theft, the photocopy machine, and the decision by the Times to publish the papers.

Fast-forward a generation. Because of the World Wide Web, the stolen “Climategate” emails were on-line within hours. The mainstream media did their best not to promote the story, but it could not be stopped.

The perpetrators’ careers are finished. Jones has left the institute that had flourished as a promoter of global warming. Mann is under investigation by his employer, Penn State University.

The details of the science are beyond you and me. So are the details of just about everything. The world is complex and growing more complex. What we do understand is deliberate chicanery by experts with a political agenda.

The stolen emails have killed the careers of two experts: Mann and Jones. These men are now up there with Janet Cooke, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism for her faked story for the Washington Post. She never recovered. Neither will Mann and Jones. They are now pariahs. They did the unforgivable in any ideological movement. They got caught. The global warming movement has already cast them into outer darkness.

These academic con men got their hands caught in the cookie jar. This has undermined the #1 myth of the global-warming crowd: the myth of peer review.

Poor Ed Begley, Jr., the greenest actor in Hollywood, could only repeat the mantra of “peer review, peer review” when he unwisely appeared on television to defend global warming. He told listeners that his scientific views as an actor are irrelevant — a correct observation — but peer review is authoritative. (If his ideas are irrelevant, then why did he consent to be interviewed?) At the end, he was frantic.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=wIl2gdDtbCg%26hl%3Den_US%26fs%3D1%26

Peer review is the central issue of Climategate — not temperatures. The peers reviewed, then suppressed. The scientific peer review mantra has died for this hotly contended political issue. We non-scientists can read the snippets. The authors of those emails cried “out of context!” Mann can (and has) cried “cherry-picking.” This has done him no good. There were cherries to pick. The two are history. Finished.

President Obama has announced that he will not attend the opening of the Copenhagen climate conference this week. Neither will other heads of major states. Politicians know which way the political wind is blowing. They are not going to wind up twisting slowly, slowly in that wind.

An Australian member of my Website community who has expertise in this area posted an enlightening report on one of the forums last Saturday. He has nailed the issues involved.

This was posted on my site’s forum by a member.

Climategate — Declare Victory and go home.

Could it be? Heads of state are changing their schedules: heading to Copenhagen later in the conference.

I’ve seen the climategate data, it is huge. It will kill the Climate Research Institute. The emails are not fatal, bad but not fatal. They indicate bias, manipulation, junk science, criminal behaviours and fraud but that would not convince heads of state to change their plans. However there’s raw data and blocks of code attached to these emails. Forget smoking guns; this is the whole armoury. With bloody finger prints and all.

People have now had time to analyze the data and code as well as the emails.

Questions are being asked by too many entities.

What breakthrough could they possibly have in mind? What sudden glimmer of progress could they possibly see? Are they just rushing to action while the mainstream media is silent? Acting before the majority of old media watchers [victims] catch on?

I’ve done climatology and international environmental law. The process does not adapt well to new information but it does work well when it switches to the blame game mode.

I don’t think a cover-up will work for several reasons. It may not even be tried.

Government hackers in CIA, MI5 and a dozen other intelligence agencies will probably have hacked their way into Hadley and other institutes to check the data for their political masters. Obama, Hu Jintao, Medvedev and even Brown may not like climategate but you can bet your bottom dollar that they are checking to see if the hacked/leaked emails are real and match the data in the institutes hard drives. Anyone acquainted with Fabian socialism will know that when a Fabians’ plot is exposed the networks generally turn on those members sloppy enough to get caught in the act: i.e., Jones and Mann. Obama is very much a master of this fabian socialist tactic, dropping hot potatoes faster than anyone I know. The British parliament entitlements leak has resulted in a majority of the politicians there not renominating. The parliament after the next election will be clean skins. Untainted with the errors of the past. The election may also go to the conservatives with the Liberal democrats forming the main opposition. Labour could be decimated. All the investigators will probably know this. There’s no point protecting the status quo, if its already busted or in flux. Many of the investigators will be personally more concerned with the economy and keeping their own jobs. Few will be climatologists. All will face carbon taxes. If anthropogenic climate change fades away it costs them nothing. If they cover up and succeed; it still costs them much via carbon taxes. If their cover-up is blown it costs them everything. To the few ‘disinterested’ climatologists in the investigation, the fall of Jones and Mann from the top will be of benefit. It raises their chances of promotion. Everyone moves up a rung in the bureaucratic hierarchy. Lastly there is an internal division within the UN over the Food verses Fuel debate. It’s just as bogus as climate change but it’s a strongly-held position and climategate undermines one side, those pushing biofuels. The other is waiting in the wings to cry “we need global governance to avoid famine.”

There thus good reasons to throw the Hadley institute and its sister institutes to the wolves and cry victim, ‘We were conned!’ Many more reasons to cover your tail and scapegoat these scientists than to stand by your local ‘warmist’ and fall with him or her. I think we will see a radical change of direction. With heads of state ordering the IPCC to do a massive review, perhaps acting on the biggest demand of the skeptics and publishing all the data. Declaring that the problem is smaller than expected so after a review we will implement a minimal-cost no-regrets climate plan.

Such a plan would cost much less because they could throw out the expensive cap and trade and most of the first-world to third-world subsidies by setting much lower targets. Scrap the taxes and industry-destroying clauses but leave in a small wedge of bureaucracy [Government always grows]. That would turn COP-15 into a giant union deal. One where they come to the table with a huge list of demands, most of which are unreasonable bargaining chips to be thrown on the table, while you manoeuvre your opponent to the position of perceiving your small but still significant demand as quite reasonable.

I hope I’m wrong. A cover-up is more fun and, when it comes unstuck, does more damage to the status quo. A massive stuff-up at Copenhagen just as the truth hits the mainstream will be devastation for the players in this global game. Particularly those facing elections soon.

While we all agree that governments are somewhere between hopeless and dangerous we all know that the one thing they do best is protecting their own vested interests and positions at the top.

As for the perpetrators of the fraud: Jones, Mann, etc., “Bernie” Madoff got 100 years for stealing or loosing a few billion dollars from a few thousand people. The climate mob have ripped off or wasted ten times as much with billions of victims.

Or to put it another way: “If someone did a graph like this in a stock prospectus, he would be jailed.” ~ Jo Nova, on Michael Mann’s hockey stick graph.

December 9, 2009

Gary North [send him mail] is the author of Mises on Money. Visit http://www.garynorth.com. He is also the author of a free 20-volume series, An Economic Commentary on the Bible.

Copyright © 2009 Gary North

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