Climatologist Judith Curry, mainly controversial for letting research findings determine her views rather than the needs of Big Climate, draws attention to a recent article in Nature,
Don’t let transparency damage science,
Stephan Lewandowsky & Dorothy Bishop, essentially arguing for censorship in science in order to protect Big Agendas. We can all think of a few besides the GlobalWarming Apocalypse, apparent successor to The Population Bomb.
She quotes from it, with responses:
Many organized attacks call for more data, often with the aim of finding an analysis method that makes undesirable results go away [JC note: most would call that ‘skepticism’].
Even when data availability is described in papers, tension may still arise if researchers do not trust the good faith of those requesting data, and if they suspect that requestors will cherry-pick data to discredit reasonable conclusions. [JC note: ‘universalism’ does not care whether researchers trust the good faith of those requesting data].
What’s more, the scientific community should not indulge in games of ‘gotcha’ (intentionally turning small errors against a person). Minor corrections and clarifications after publication should not be a reason to stigmatize fellow researchers. Scientific publications should be seen as ‘living documents’, with corrigenda an accepted — if unwelcome — part of scientific progress. [JC note: ‘disinterestedness’ doesn’t care about the reputations of specific scientists, nor their feelings. How on earth can you justify corrigenda as being ‘unwelcome’?]
Scientists who are harassed often feel alone. Universities do not tolerate harassment based on race or gender, and neither should they tolerate harassment based on contentious science. They should provide training and support to help their researchers cope. [JC note: big boy pants please. Be a scientist and learn to embrace disinterestedness and skepticism. Training researchers in ethical behavior and their legal responsibilities (and maybe also the philosophy and sociology of science) is all the coping support that they need.]
Public declarations can be particularly useful: in 2014, in response to the harassment of one of its professors, the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York publicly acknowledged the scientific consensus on climate change and its support for academic freedom. [JC note: this might be most frightening statement in the entire paper – institutionalizing a politicized, manufactured consensus on a highly uncertain scientific topic as an argument for rejecting the norms of communalism and skepticism].
Similar attention must be devoted to stressors and threats to science that arise in response to research that is considered inconvenient. The same institutions and bodies that have scrutinized science must also start a conversation about how to protect it. [JC note: ‘disinterestedness’ doesn’t care whether research is convenient or inconvenient. Policy advocates care whether research is convenient or inconvenient] More.
Comment of the week, were it on our site: “Disinterestedness’ doesn’t care whether research is convenient or inconvenient. Policy advocates care whether research is convenient or inconvenient”
Such statements amount to an admission that the purpose of the science for which protection is sought is to support and advance a political agenda.
The skinny: A double whammy. When science morphed into a naturalist religion, it became unproductive as science and intolerant as religion. And co-dependent with authoritarian politics. At that point, everything flourishes except the science.
See also: Physicist Brian Cox targeted over free speech?
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