Knowledge Vs. Power
“I think today there is a new kind of battle. It’s not just about ideas but whether people actually trust science… Science has created our modern world so I would like to understand why scientists are under such attack and whether scientists are partly to blame,”
– Sir Paul Nurse, President of British Royal Society (HT UK Independent).
It was about three years ago, and I was my usual, tactless, blog-thug self. An attorney in Mississippi had recently filed a class action lawsuit in pursuit of many ambulances dispatched to rescue survivors of Hurricane Katrina. The suit named 26 oil companies and alleged that these organizations had failed to adequately prevent global warming. This, he alleged, led to Katrina being a worse hurricane, and therefore entitled this tassel-loafered, over-credentialed liver fluke of litigiousness to steal money from twenty-six corporate entities.
I made the proposition that if the scientific knowledge used to support this laughable attempt at lawfare could actually start being used to extract billions of dollars from private enterprise, than it needed to go through much greater regulatory review than the peer review that currently waves through so much bull-feces and proclaims it SCIENCE!
Admittedly, I went too far in my suggestion. I wanted the Michael Mann’s and Stephen Schneiders of the so-called Climate Science profession to face a standard of audit and review commensurate to what private corporations face under The Sarbanes Oxley Law every time they took Federal Money to undertake scientific study. This was before I was convinced by others more understanding of what SarbOx contained that Sarbanes-Oxley itself was an unjust law.
However misguided my initial proposed solution, I believe a major problem still remains. Scientists are still allowed to murder truth and get through peer review. They still follow Dr. Schneider’s iniquitous path of lying and overselling their findings. They demonize their opponents in direct opposition to how science should really work.
Finally, based upon this dishonest and ad hominem collection of “science”, the lawsuits keep rolling in. Blessedly, these charlatans have yet to break through with a win. David Victor, of UCSD, describes the burgeoning growth in AGW-based class action lawsuits.
“There’s a large number of entrepreneurial lawyers and NGOs who are hunting around for a way to gain leverage on the climate problem,” said David Victor, director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California at San Diego. “The number of suits filed has increased radically. But the number of suits claiming damages from climate change that have been successful remains zero.”
Whether Sarbanes-Oxley is fair to inflict on even the iniquitous “Hockey Team” is a subject of fair debate. However, assuming the NKVD shouldn’t watch where Federal dollars spent on scientific inquiry go, the current litigious climate raises two ugly problems.
One, if slip-shod science gets published, it takes years to debunk. During this time lag, lawsuits, regulations, government power grabs and all sorts of dishonest abuses of power can occur while the untruth is still labeled by society as SCIENCE! The recent use by CARB of a fake scientific study authored by a man with an invalid Ph.D, led to the loss of 600 jobs in California. The truth went viral, but nobody is getting their life back since CARB banned the trucks that they drove and forced them out of business.
Two, people who work hard enough to master a scientific discipline and earn a non-Tran Hein Ph.D, also know enough to understand how their work can be leveraged outside the environment of academic science. In President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, he specifically mentioned this as a potential threat.
The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
So, to use a little climate science modeling lingo, the worst-case scenario would go as follows. More junk global warming science makes it through the laughable peer review process by which bull feke is transubstantiated into SCIENCE! A crop of litigious parasites uses said scientific fertilizer to raise multiple bumper-crops of disingenuous lawsuits. Rather than sue a private corporation that will devote resources to disemboweling such legal hoddypeak, they will follow The Pigford Algorithm and sue their willing allies in government. Congress then expropriates billions to the “victims” of “scientifically proven” global warming.
There is, however, a less malicious case. One, the science of AGW is treated with proper professional scientific skepticism. Climate forcings are then adequately evaluated and understood without hyperbolic, blame-casting language. Two, the system of allowing the hail-Mary class action lawsuit undergoes tort-reform that forces plaintiffs to become more judicious in their use of lawsuits. Three, the new Congress passes some sort of reform legislation to make Pigford-like “litigation” illegal. Thereby the court system cannot be hi-jacked to use the government as an ATM paying out Danegelds to various political interest groups. Any or all of the above events would finish convincing me that Modern Science no longer needs its own nasty version of the Sarbanes-Oxley Law.
Then Sir Paul Nurse could breathe easier as science got out of the power game and back into the knowledge business. At this juncture, attacking scientists over physical findings would be no more logical than attacking the referee of a basketball game for sending someone we didn’t like to the foul line. That would seem to be the state of affairs the Noble Sir Paul would desire.