An Evil Denier (TM) Writes: Why I Don't Read 'Peer-Reviewed' Climate Science Papers
An earnest young man from Vice claims to have "crashed" the Heartland Institute's 9th International Conference on Climate Change.
Actually, no: he was given a press pass and afforded every courtesy because that's how we Evil Deniers (TM) roll - we welcome open debate. He has written disobliging things about many of the eminent scientists who spoke at the conference but I'm sure they can look after themselves. I just want to focus on one of his criticisms: the shock revelation that Evil Denier (TM) James Delingpole still doesn't read peer-reviewed climate science papers.
It's true. I don't.
Let me explain - *sigh* - just one more time why not.
1. "Peer-review" - certainly where climate "science" is concerned - is a busted flush.
We learned this from the Climategate emails. Here's one from Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.
"I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"
The Kevin, by the way, is another member of the Warmista cabal, Kevin Trenberth. What Jones is privately admitting here - remember, he never realised that the Climategate emails were going to go public - is that where climate "science" is concerned, "peer-review" has long since degenerated into "pal review".
That is, climate scientists in on the scam, have conspired to: shut dissenting voices out of the debate; close down journals that publish views with which they disagree - either that or get the editors sacked; big up the papers of the shysters on their side of the argument, regardless of whether they have any scientific validity Etc.
What would be the point of my wasting time trying to decipher papers which - for all I know, for all anyone knows - could be as risibly inept as, say, Michael Mann's Hockey Stick?
2. Division of Labour.
It's one of the fundamental principles of the capitalist system. (And unlike the greenies and earnest young men from Vice, I believe in the capitalist system). Leave the scientific analysis to the PhDs, I say. I'll take care of the spin and the snark and cultural analysis and the long, recondite words. Hey, it's what I trained to do. It's what I'm good at. I'm an English Literature graduate. From Oxford. Which - like, I read somewhere, recently - is the top place to read English in the whole world. So sit on this upraised middle finger and swivel, mofos!
3. Primary Sources Schrimary Sources
Here's a non-scientific example to which most of us can relate. D-Day. I've read very few original source documents on this subject; I've never been through the battle reports of 352 Infantry division at the Bundesarchiv or driven a Sherman tank or consulted the tidal records of Normandy from 6th June 1944. But by reading widely from secondary sources, I think I still have a pretty fair idea that the Allies got ashore and that the Germans didn't win. Apparently, though, in this Vice hack's Weltanschauung my opinions are invalid because I've never fired an M1 Garand in action nor even consulted the manual on how to do so.
4. Has this Vice guy ever read any of my stuff?
At a rough estimate, I'd say that around 0.0003 per cent of all the stuff I write involves analysing scientific papers. Of my writing on the environment, maybe 5 per cent. But the science isn't my main interest because I keep saying until I'm blue in the face, this debate is and never was about "the science". It's about politics and religion and greed and mass hysteria and ideology and stupidity and rampant corruption - none of which you need to be a scientist to deconstruct and analyse.
5. Peer-to-peer review
I mentioned this in my discussion with Vice Gimp. Basically, the invention of the internet has rendered "peer-review" redundant because it has now been replaced by a much less corruption-prone form of analysis known as "peer-to-peer review."
That is, any scientific paper can now be posted up on a site and quickly analysed by any number of expert witnesses all over the world. How can we trust that they're right? Because their verdicts are in turn subject to the judgement of their peers.
If someone is talking bullshit there will, within a few minutes, appear a dozen other expert commenters eager to call him on it. It's often how I decide myself which climate stories to run and which ones to steer clear of.
For example, the other day, via Climate Depot I chanced on what sounded like an intriguing paper on post-industrial anthropogenic CO2 emissions. It could have been a good story: "only 11 per cent of post-industrial CO2 is man-made." But then, reading the comments at another sceptical website Bishop Hill, I realised that the case wasn't sufficiently clear cut to turn it into a major news story. So I held back. This is what we sceptics do. It's called healthy scepticism. It's why, unlike some left-wing ecoloon hacks I could name, our position in the great Climate Wars is one day going to be vindicated by history.