Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Climate Conspiracy

A panel convened at The Amazing Meeting 8 (TAM8) to discuss the skeptical coverage of climate change.

Panelist James McGaha made a number of statements that I really disagreed with.  He's a self described climate skeptic, as any good scientist should be, only he demonstrates his patent ignorance toward the scientific method and the critical consideration of evidence.

During his time on a panel, clearly as a representative of the camp that anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is a figment of the imagination and a liberal conspiracy, he espoused several positions that demonstrated his clear departure from the scientific method.

Multiple times he stated, "Science is wrong".   He framed this in several ways, all of which will be more comprehensively disclosed once the TAM8 videos become available.

Science is not wrong.  Science is a tool to answer questions in an objective and powerful way.  Science is not wrong.  Science just disagrees with his non-scientific conclusions, so it must be faulty.

He also claimed that federal funding agencies do not fund or publish work that is contrary to the status quo on AGW.  He said that legitimate work that contradicts AGW is unpublished.

After his talk I stood in line to talk to him.  I asked specifics, especially about the funding for those that have data supporting a non-AGW position.  He told me that is was the NSF, JPL and NASA.  I could not disagree more, as NSF especially prefers to fund quality work that expands our understanding. The work that runs counter to the consensus is considered very favorably.

I sent him an email last week and asked for a few minutes of his time.  He graciously agreed to call me.

He called and the first thing he asked was, "Are you a believer in AGW or a skeptic".

My answer was that I accept the scientific consensus and I am a skeptic.  We were off to a unproductive start.

I mostly listened for 45 minutes.  He told me that the NSF was a major dupe of the AGW system, funding only work that agreed with the consensus on AGW.   I told him that I was interlaced reasonably well with NSF and would like to know which funding initiatives were showing such bias.  I told him that I could investigate this with the Program Managers (the people that make decisions and ultimately write the checks) from the appropriate sub-disciplines at NSF.  I was going to be in Arlington at NSF headquarters, so it would be easy to knock on some doors.

He then says, "Well it was not NSF as much as JPL and NASA".  The story changes.

... more in the next blog.  It gets weirder, but more backpedaling.