Qualifications

I note that WtD is up to the usual al hominem attacks on those who signed “The Oregon Project”. Why is it none every mention that one of the researchers in the latest marketing survey showing 97% consensus is a (former?) self-employed cartoonist? Isn’t that important to them? The qualifications and beliefs of skeptics certainly are. Skeptics are attacked for any beliefs not mainstream. They are attacked for their religious beliefs. Not so the anointed purveyors of climate change belief.

The website of John Cook says “He is not a climate scientist.” Yet there his name is on a peer-reviewed climate change article. If Cook is not a scientist, how did he get published in a peer-reviewed journal? If it’s not peer-reviewed, how can it be addressed on SkS? There is a clear rule about only using PEER_REVIEWED literature.

Answers anyone?

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37 comments on “Qualifications

  1. Youkipper–Sorry. My professor of logic clearly stated “Argument from Authority” means ALL authorities. The redefining was to give science more power. The redefining applies only to science (never religion or other such things).

    That being said, yes, we do rely on authorities, some people more than others. Many of the advocates here seem inclined to do whatever a physician tells them without question. While it may be necessary to follow an authority’s advice in medicine (gee, I just had a disagreement with my doctor over that yesterday…..), I for one would not have surgery (except in an emergency) without researching it and getting second opinions, maybe third opinions. Some people just go with the first opinion because they like the doctor, think the doctor is sweet, or just don’t want to make a decision on their own. Also, surgeons and physicians take time to explain things and at the ones I know do not mind answering questions. They want their patients fully informed.

    While following authorities may be better option in many cases, may be easier than thinking. Bottom line, it is a logical fallacy no matter who the authority is. Science is based on evidence, not consensus or authority.

  2. youkipper says:

    You demonstrably don’t agree with what peer review is as previous comments show.
    You also demonstrate that you do not understand the ‘Argument from Authority’ fallacy. it is only wrong to use an authority in one area to support a case in another. Look it up. To appeal to an authority on a subject about that subject is not wrong, it is rational.

    • I’m not sure to whom your comment on peer review is directed.

      I understand what “argument from authority” is perfectly. I also understand that it was altered to “argument from appropriate authority” to force people to listen to “authorities” and convince them they lacked the ability to think for themselves. I learned this in my logic classes, not by reading the internet. Authority is a way to try and control people.

  3. Roy Hogue says:

    If it’s not peer-reviewed, how can it be addressed on SkS? There is a clear rule about only using PEER_REVIEWED literature.

    Answers anyone?”

    The answer is spelled, L-I-e. Lie like your life depended on it.

  4. “In the absence of peer review some other method of validating scientific research would need to be used in order to prevent the proliferation of untested ideas, invalid conclusions, incompatible theories, pseudoscience and polemics”, and “Without any means of distinguishing the scientifically valid and coherent from the unfounded assertion, scientific progress would be severely (perhaps fatally) compromised.”
    The Royal Society says if we don’t use peer review, another method would be need to be found to prevent fatally compromising science. We need a new method since the current peer-review system threatens scientific integrity.

    My “credible alternative” is to teach people the scientific method, to teach them to think before they dive in and believe, Of course, the Royal Society would probably not approve because that would rob scientists of their current “god-like” status. Which is exactly why we need to it.

    • youkipper says:

      “My “credible alternative” is to teach people the scientific method”

      But you don’t agree with the science academies what the scientific entails. You might as well have stated a wish to teach people world geography according to a belief that the world is flat as a “credible alternative”.

      • Yes, I do agree with what has always been regarded as the scientific method, at least for the last 100 years. Only when certain parts of science started to be shown for the erroneous, politically and personally motivated misrepresentations they were did the “argument from authority” become their fallback position. At this point, backing “mainstream climate science” is equivalent to being on the side of the flat-earthers. They refused to change even when it was very apparent they were wrong. This is what happens when science is replaced by basically a religion that operates on faith (that would be climate change). I believe in the scientific method–replicatable results, open discussion, etc. No dogma and shutting down all who question the results. Serious discussions of the actual limitations of the science, predictability. Knowledge of how statistics work, not just pretty graphs. And contrary to your assertion, this is not like wanting to teach flat earth (some current followers of said theory do believe in climate change, I would note) as a credible alternative, but rather like teaching that theories are not facts and probability is not fact. We know what the earth looks like–maybe we could debate what the core is made of. So far as I know, that’s still speculation.

  5. And I will accept that will continue in your current beliefs until a more compelling argument comes along.

    Actually, I do commend you for recognizing that sometimes an impasse is reached. We are not going to agree on everything and that’s fine. Maybe in the future you will have evidence that convinces me or I will have evidence to convince you. Maybe not. However, without discussion, nothing changes and you were willing to discuss.

    • youkipper says:

      Reality check says:

      “I do commend you for recognizing that sometimes an impasse is reached. “

      You leave a person little choice.

      When someone is presented with evidence from various sources stating how peer review is a corner stone of the scientific method. When scientific academies and scientists agree, for example the The Royal Society, the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence, has used peer review to make all its publishing decisions since its foundation in 1660.

      The RS state “In the absence of peer review some other method of validating scientific research would need to be used in order to prevent the proliferation of untested ideas, invalid conclusions, incompatible theories, pseudoscience and polemics”, and “Without any means of distinguishing the scientifically valid and coherent from the unfounded assertion, scientific progress would be severely (perhaps fatally) compromised.”

      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmsctech/writev/856/m69.htm

      When “ The Association of Medical Research Charities, whose members in total fund over £360M of research per year, regards the adequate practice of peer review as a condition for membership of the Association;

      http://royalsociety.org/uploadedFiles/Royal_Society_Content/policy/publications/1995/10260.pdf

      And the American Association for the Advancement of Science state that “In all cases, the use of high quality peer reviewers is of utmost importance.”

      http://www.aaas.org/spp/rcp/capabilities/proposal_review.shtml

      How else is one to respond to someone who without any supporting evidence states;

      “I do not accept that it is vital to science. I have read the reasons given for why it is necessary, but I don’t find the argument compelling”?

      When confronted with someone who is immune to evidence form multiple sources including the scientists and scientific organisations themselves and accepts their un evidenced beliefs over those scientific sources and the evidence on just how important peer review is to the work they carry out, I think stating that an impasse has been reached is about the politest thing I could say.

      • Youkipper: I take back my statement. You obviously do not recognize an impasse.

        The Royal Society is correct: some other method is needed. Peer review is currently not functioning as it was designed to. So let’s get something that works.

        What science associations say is necessary is not the same as what the definition of the scientific method is. Right now, peer review allows people to remove all the science they disagree with and designate themselves all-knowing. It creates an impasse.

        As for those high standards, faked and completely faulty science gets through review on a regular basis. Again, peer review for journals does not go through the data, etc and see if it is valid. That’s not how it works.

        So, I am not saying peer review as in openly shared data and duplication of results to check for errors is not needed. I have never said that. I have only said that peer-reviewed journals are not the definitive source of climate change science. If that is what you disagree with, then an impasse has indeed been reached.

      • youkipper says:

        “The Royal Society is correct: some other method is needed. Peer review is currently not functioning as it was designed to. So let’s get something that works.”

        They Royal Society is certainly not saying peer review is not functioning. Didn’t you understand what they said?

        ““In the absence of peer review some other method of validating scientific research would need to be used in order to prevent the proliferation of untested ideas, invalid conclusions, incompatible theories, pseudoscience and polemics””

        Means that without peer review, exactly what you are rejecting because you certainly haven’t offered any credible alternative, that is what you would get. What you accept as ‘science’ thathasn’t bee peer reviewed, the RS is calling “the proliferation of untested ideas, invalid conclusions, incompatible theories, pseudoscience and polemics”. that is how important the RS see peer review is to science.

        Without peer review “scientific progress would be severely (perhaps fatally) compromised.”

        That is what the Royal Society is saying.

        I have given the actual definitions of peer review on another thread so I wont repeat them here but I will repeat that; The fact that peer reviewed research is often published in journals, a method used by most scientific institutes and academies who often have their own publications, doesn’t make research any less peer reviewed.

  6. I do understand peer-review very well. I do not accept that it is vital to science. I have read the reasons given for why it is necessary, but I don’t find the argument compelling. Non peer-reviewed articles are equally valid sources of information. The only check is do they follow the scientific method.

    You misunderstand–I am not the one demanding peer-review. It is climate change advocate sites such as Skeptical Science that demand only peer-reviewed information. It is the climate change advocates who have this rule. As noted, I am okay without it and so is science.

    Again, only a very small percentage of papers ever make it through peer-review. So if Marcott had not published, or had been rejected, his research was: 1. worthless 2. rejected by Skeptical Science or 3. research worth reading. Which of the three? You can chose more than one.
    Again, you contradict yourself. I am reading articles that were not “included” in peer-review and the only reason I can find for your rejecting them is they disagree with your viewpoint. Yet if climate change is advocated, they are okay to read.

    A list of the parts of the scientific method is all that is required, not what is excluded. Demanding that I prove peer-review is not part of science is asking me to prove that just because unicorns are not mentioned in biology texts, I will not accept they are not real until you provide a biology text says explicitly that unicorns are not real. So, when you find that biology text, get back to me and I’ll consider that your request may be reasonable (of course, proving a negative is a logical fallacy, so I won’t hold my breath.).

    No, I am not asking that you accept anything. You are free to believe what you wish. I present my evidence and if you do not find it compelling, I expect you to reject it. To suggest otherwise would be to trash the scientific method and squash independent thinking. You can quote from any source and I won’t delete comments like SkS does because all evidence is important. I may reject it as meeting my standard of proof just as you may reject my evidence.

    • youkipper says:

      I believe we have reached an em-pass.

      You do not accept the importance of peer review despite the evidence I have presented from academic and science related sites and I cannot accept someone’s belief that isn’t supported by enough evidence to overturn evidence I already have.

      So I will just have to accept that even though you have been given evidence showing the importance of peer review you it will not persuade you from your own un-evidenced beliefs.

  7. youkipper says:

    Reality check says:
    August 20, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    “so you are saying that peer-reviewed journals are NOT a requirement for science to be valid.”

    It would be a big help if you actually understood what peer review is and how important it is – it would save a lot of effort.

    Yes, peer review is not a requirement for science to be valid. To quote yet a gain from one of the links I gave in the hope you would read it and learn exactly what peer review is;

    “Many people think that the process of peer review is meant to settle the actual validity of the work, and that in any paper that has passed peer review, the science is entirely correct. This is not the case.”

    You are clearly one of these many people but I have given you plenty of opportunity not to be. Science can be as valid before peer review as after. There is plenty of valid research that never goes through a formal peer review process, company research for instance where copy right protection is wanted.

    But for general scientific research that is made public to be accepted by other academics and perhaps used as a basis further research for policy’s, then peer review is the arbiter of scientific quality – ‘a quality-control system that requires all new scientific discoveries, ideas and implications to be scrutinized and critiqued by expert scientists before they become widely accepted.’

    Why would anyone be prepared to accept science that hasn’t even gone through those basic checks? How would you judge a researcher that isn’t prepared to have their work scrutinized and critiqued by experts?

    “I will not respond to your question on the scientific method since you demand that actual rejections of peer-review is needed. If it’s not in there, it’s not part the process. When you agree to this fact, then I will provide links.”

    Of course I demand actual rejections of peer review since that is what you are suggesting is OK to do. Just because something is not mentioned can mean acceptance as much as rejection. Since I have given several links, and can supply many more, stating peer review is a corner stone in science, and a key part of the scientific method then I have given evidence and unless you are suggesting people should accept what you believe without supporting evidence then you will have to accept all the web sites that clearly state peer review is an important part of the scientific method.

    Are you suggesting I accept your assertions without evidence over the contrary evidence I have supplied?

    “how does a journal get to be “peer-reviewed’?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_review#Procedure

  8. “Just because science has not gone through the formal modern peer review process”–
    so you are saying that peer-reviewed journals are NOT a requirement for science to be valid. All of the questioner’s science is subject to precisely the same “informal” review that was Newton’s, Einstein’s and so forth. Either a formal peer-review and publication in a journal is necessary or it’s not. Which one??? (If it is, then Newton, Einstein, etc are NOT science until a genuine formal peer-reviewed article confirms this–you cannot change the criteria to suit your whims. If it is not, then the questioner’s science is just as valid all others.)

    I will not respond to your question on the scientific method since you demand that actual rejections of peer-review is needed. If it’s not in there, it’s not part the process. When you agree to this fact, then I will provide links.

    Your second point I do not understand at all. You do bring up a point I have always wondered about–how does a journal get to be “peer-reviewed’? Obviously, you reject some claims of peer-review. Was there a vote? How would I start a new journal and get it labeled “peer-reviewed”?

    Actually, reproducibility does not enter into peer-review. No one checks and if the data is reproduced “after the fact”, then the original research may have no reproducibility.
    Again, my points seem to stand.

  9. And AGW advocates don’t remove al but 3% of disagreeing literature? Seems they have the larger problem. I would still call them sacred texts since for many, many years only 3% of the texts contain articles that are not pro-AGW. The percentage never changes. So while the actual articles may change, the message remains unchanged through time. (There are occasional claims of increased support, up from 66%, but 97% remains the magic number in most places.)

    Science accepted without peer review:
    Newtonian physics
    Much of Einstein
    Darwin’s theory
    Copernicus

    I keep explaining what scientific method is and you reject my definition. You explain scientific method and reject my definition. Where to from here?

    I’m still waiting for examples of a horrible papers rejected by peer-review. So far, no one has produced one and explained the flawed methodology. Also, I am assuming that you are still rejecting even pro-AGW papers that lack peer-review since you didn’t argue that point.

    Yes, I am advocating research without peer-review–just as was done by Newton, Einstein, Darwin, Copernicus, some Nobel prize winners, etc. Are you rejecting these?

    Your examples of what horrible things would be believed if peer-review were eliminated have two flaws:
    1. People already believe them even though peer-review rejects them. The peer-review is irrelevant in these cases.
    2. Actual scientific method as outlined here would cause rejection of these ideas–you don’t need peer-review.

    • youkipper says:

      Oh dear, RC, you have just listed some of the most intensely peer reviewed scientific theories in history. I notice you can only mention historical science, nothing modern. Just because science has not gone through the formal modern peer review process does not mean it hasn’t been checked for unscientific or pseudoscientific content and obvious errors.They are still being reviewed today. That is why those works have stood the test of time while other works on subjects like phrenology are now just interesting historical documents. Science has never existed without peer review. Every piece of research that relies on them, refines them and reviews them.

      “I keep explaining what scientific method is and you reject my definition. You explain scientific method and reject my definition. Where to from here?”

      Well you could give a link to a credible source for scientific explanations as I have tried to do, showing that your definition, (you have never actually defined it, just claimed you understood it), and how it shows peer review isn’t required (rather than one that just omits to mention it).

      I will accept your definition as valid if your source is credible.

      “Your examples of what horrible things would be believed if peer-review were eliminated have two flaws:
      1. People already believe them even though peer-review rejects them. The peer-review is irrelevant in these cases.
      2. Actual scientific method as outlined here would cause rejection of these ideas–you don’t need peer-review.”

      The problem with your flaws are that they are terribly flawed themselves. ‘Peer reviewed’ journals exist for all this pseudo-science and it is believed by people because they accept the evidence for them, such as it is.

      Here is a ‘journal’ for creationism;
      http://www.answersingenesis.org/arj

      The scientific method alone would not eliminate those ideas, some research on intelligent design has actually made it in to some real peer reviewed journals, as has some ‘made up science’ as you know.

      The second stage of peer review are other scientists reproducing the research. This is how peer review allows science to self correct. If it is good science other peer reviewed research will confirm and expand upon it as it has with the historical examples you list. If it can’t then it has been found out.

  10. youkipper says:

    Since science is always changing as research provides more understanding and less uncertainty and religious ‘sacred texts’ are usually taken to be unalterable I really think you should re-think your analogy since it is usually the contranians who are first to cry foul when new research alters or refines the old especially if it makes issues related to AGW more certain.

    Why do you insist you understand the scientific method then prove you don’t? I would suggest the links I gave are a lot more credible than a comment from someone called Peter and they show how important peer review is to the scientific method.

    Still don’t agree? Then answer this; What is to weed out people who carry out all of Peters 7 steps, believing they have got them right, while they have made fundamental errors or even with good intentions, made the facts fit the theory?

    And answer this; Name one single piece of scientific acquired knowledge, in any scientific field, that has been accepted without peer review? If you can’t then you have rejected the whole of science as a religion.

    Unless you are saying nothing more is required, and you certainly haven’t offered anything up to now?, can you outline something that is better then peer review, as described in the links I provided, at determining science from pseudo-science?

    If not then you are advocating the acceptance of ‘research’ without peer review. A lot of people do this and you have joined their ranks. They are the people who believe creation science and the world is less than 10K years old, they are the people that insist planets and stars have a measurable impact on who we meet and what events take place in our lives, they are the people who believe that vaccinations are more dangerous than the illnesses they prevent, they are the people who believe water, metals, or precious stones can be found with a stick. Are you really rejecting ‘the criteria of peer-review’?

    I look forward to your answers.

  11. You accept science published in the sacred texts of your gods. That is not accepting science, it’s following a religion. Peer-review does NOT represent the best we have–it represents whatever the publisher chooses to publish. Peer-review does not look at the data, does not double -check the experiments, nothing. Completely falsified data has been published in peer-reviewed journals. This is not science.

    You are right–PeterB does not mention peer-review because it is not part of the scientific method. It is part of the religion of science where you have sacred texts published. Your journals serve exactly the same function as a Bible–if it’s not in there, it’s not true. You preach from the sacred texts. And you think it’s science.

    I do understand science and that is why I reject the criteria of peer-review. Your only definition of science is “published in the sacred texts”. So what about studies that turn out to be completely made up? You’re calling that science.

  12. youkipper says:

    I can only base my assessment on the evidence presented, and you either seem very critical of aspects of the scientific process or appear to misunderstand the method.

    I claim to know nothing about science, just that I can tell if it follows the process and that process is the best we have come up with to understand how the world works and it is self correcting. I know that my views are more likely to be correct than yours simply because I accept the science and if that science changes so will my views. You appear to dismiss almost all the accepted science on AGW and rely on blogs, and contrainian views. You may end up being correct but as it stands your views are not supported by the current and best scientific evidence we have.

    “For an explanation of the scientific method, check “It’s all about Science, Right?” on this blog.”

    Peters’s explanation mentions nothing about peer review or how the scientific method corrects. If you had read even just my first supplied link you would have read “Peer review is a key part of the scientific method, where the goal of the system is to ensure that work is stripped of biases, unjustified assumptions and other errors, through the review by one’s professional colleagues.”

    If you do understand science they you will understand just how important that is and why Peters explanation lacks the vital checks and balances.

  13. Glenn: You’re starting down the troll path again. Please don’t let youkipper’s recent appearance get you banned.

    I cannot believe that thousands of papers written by highly qualified individuals, some of whom started out believing the climate change research was correct, have no valid points and all do shoddy work. You’ll need to provide some proof of this. Please avoid the “oil company shill” claims and so forth. Present actual papers written by questioners and show me why it’s shoddy work.

    Your questions on conmen–the exact same questions apply to your view. You like climate science because it agrees with your world view. Your argument is equally probable both ways. You are sure the world is in danger and you have to save it. You like to follow the crowd. You love authorities and tend to believe them. Perhaps your job requires you to believe in climate change. I have no monetary stake in this game, am not paid for what I write, and have no other stake in the game. Can you say the same? What makes your view “pure” and mine dirty? You need it to be that way? Come on, Glenn, you are smarter and better than this.

    Update:
    Okay, I am cruising down the information highway and what do I find?
    “I posted over at Politico just recently. Hey, we can tag team it a bit if you like, use time zone differences.” – Glenn Tamblyn [Skeptical Science], February 10, 2011
    Glenn, Glenn, Glenn. I thought this was about science. I am so disappointed. Sigh…….

  14. Youkipper–you are violating policy and will be blocked from posting here if you continue. You continue to simply name call. One more time with “You do not understand the scientific method” without a lot of documentation why, and you’re out. I provided evidence that I DO understand the scientific method. Provide some that I don’t. Explain in detail the scientific method and provide documentation.

    Glenn: I know how John now describes himself. My point is until he started doing “citizen science”, whatever that is, he was a self-described cartoonist who said he doodled his way through classes. Yet the climate change group adores him. Questioners with PhD’s in physics, meteorology and statistics are said to be unqualified when they disagree with the mantra of climate change. Until you can adequately explain to me why people with advanced degrees who actually worked in the field are not “qualified” and a cartoonist turned spokesperson is, I will not stop writing on this. The only qualification I can find for a climate scientist is that they agree with the idea that humans are destroying the earth with fossil fuels and we have to stop.

    • youkipper says:

      I have no idea what your ‘policy’ is but you do seem to be struggling to answers criticisms without resorting to the ‘banning’ card. No problem to me if you do, I just thought your blog could do with some difference of opinion since you offer comment but now you are restricting what words and phases I use.

      As for the scientific method, there are plenty of sources which explain how it works and the checks and balances that ensure the Chaff doesn’t overwhelm the Wheat. Having good quality scientific peer reviewed journals is one aspect.

      Try theses sites, they will help you learn about how science is done and why much of what you referred to would not be considered sound or acceptable within the method;

      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Peer_review
      http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/scientific-experiments/scientific-peer-review.htm
      http://www.senseaboutscience.org/pages/peer-review.html

      • Why is it that if someone does not agree with AGW on a blog, the first assumption is “They don’t know science”? You have no idea what my education is, what my work is, nothing. Yet your first assumption is “I don’t understand science”. This would lead to the conclusion that “understanding science means agreeing with AGW”. Which is circular reasoning: Belief in AGW is science because understanding science means believing in AGW”.

        For an explanation of the scientific method, check “It’s all about Science, Right?” on this blog. Peter B gives an excellent description of scientific method in the third comment.

  15. youkipper says:

    You don’t understand the scientific method. I’d be surprised if I’m the first to notice it. Saying that you do while providing evidence that you don’t – rejecting peer criticism and review, the principle check of objectivity and correction for example, is a bit of a give away.

    You ‘questioners’ and most likely questioning because they don’t understand it.

  16. Glenn Tamblyn says:

    And on John Cook’s academic qualifications, he is now a multiply published academic. His field of research, that he moved into over the last couple of years, is Science Communication and the study of Agnotology – the study of how misrepresentations are created and spread and how highlighting misrepresentations can be used as an educational tool.

    John is currently the Climate Communications Fellow at the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland and Adjunct Professor of Psychology at the University of Western Australia.,He has published a number of papers in this field and is currently completing his PhD.

    John is now only partly involved at SkS as the original founder. Most of the day-to-day operation is carried out by a wide range of people in the author community there. Some are academics, others just passionate laymen.

  17. Glenn Tamblyn says:

    “I see no reason to be wary of highly intelligent people who have thoroughly researched climate science and have found it lacking”

    Possibly. However I can’t think of anyone who has done that. Whereas there are quite a number of people who will claim that they have done so, then present slipshod and very un-thorough research as the justification for their claims. Again, poor quality control lets slipshod work through.

    And you seem to be assuming someones intelligence is some measure of their integrity. When in the real world some of the most dangerous people are those who are intelligent and lacking in integrity. We are never more vulnerable to a conman than when the conman is intelligent. And a good conman knows, don’t tell your mark something they don’t want to hear. Always appeal to the sympathies of those you wish to con. Get them to trust you, like you.

    Is the idea that AGW isn’t real, that it couldn’t be happening, that we couldn’t cause something like that appealing to you RC, something that fits how you want to see life and think about things?

    So who do you think you are most vulnerable to? A conman who is trying to tell you that it is real, that what you think is wrong?

    Or the conman who agrees with you, who says the things you want to believe?

    If you want to distrust people RC, distrust those who are agreeing with you.

  18. Glenn Tamblyn says:

    “I fail to see how a non-scientist can pass “peer-review” for a science journal since his peers would also be nonscientists, by definition”

    Incorrect. The reviewers appointed by the journal will be regarded as sufficiently expert in the field that the paper refers to by the journal. I know nothing about Entomology. However I could seek to do some research in Entomology and have it published in a journal. That journal would then seek to find researchers sufficiently knowledgeable in Entomology to review my paper.

    The essence of ‘peer-review’ – and don’t get too hung up on a label – is that it is a first stage quality control on a paper. It is being quality controlled for workmanship – logical consistency, robustness of methodology, that the conclusion actually follow from the results, that the authors have given adequate consideration to existing research, even if they offering a view counter to that other research.

    This is why the peer-reviewed literature is regarded as superior to other forms of information, it has already gone through a reasonable degree of quality control. One can certainly use other sources but one then has to apply additional quality control checks oneself to what you read, such as reading mainstream journalism. No one says we can only use the peer-reviewed literature. However using it as our preferred source is more sensible. Follow the quality controls.

  19. I understand how the scientific method works and it has NOTHING whatsoever to do with peer-reviewed journals.

    Again, if the reviewers understand the study, then so do the questioners who read it and find problems in it. You cannot have it both ways.

  20. youkipper says:

    “You and Glenn’s points would certainly seem to help my argument that peer-reviewed is not really that authoritative….”

    Then you have totally misunderstood those points but you don’t understand how the scientific method works. Poor research that isn’t clear enough to be understood and critiqued by the reviewers would never be published in a quality journal and even then would be critiqued by other peers afterwards.

  21. You and Glenn’s points would certainly seem to help my argument that peer-reviewed is not really that authoritative….

    I see no reason to be wary of highly intelligent people who have thoroughly researched climate science and have found it lacking. Actual presence during the research is not necessary or the only people reviewing the articles for publication would be the researchers. Plus, if a scientist cannot present research clearly enough for all those with similar or equal science degrees to understand and critique, I suggest they need remedial teaching on science and communication.

  22. youkipper says:

    But Glenn and my points still stand. You don’t need to be a scientist to publish research and Cooks research isn’t even climate research.

    As for the Oregon Petition, I have a degree and diplomas equal to almost any of the signers. It doesn’t make me qualified to claim I know better than those scientists who have carried out actual research. You should be very wary of those that do.

  23. John Cook’s website originally read as follows on the “About” page:
    This site was created by John Cook. I’m not a climatologist or a scientist but a self employed cartoonist and web programmer by trade. I did a Physics degree at the University of Queensland and while I achieved First Class Honours and could’ve continued onto a PhD, I instead quit academia and became a professional scrawler. Too much doodling in lectures, I think. Nevertheless, I’ve pursued a keen interest in science and if anything, found my curiosity about how the world works increased once I wasn’t forced to study for impending exams.

    I am taking John at his original word. He has since modified the page.

    I fail to see how a non-scientist can pass “peer-review” for a science journal since his peers would also be nonscientists, by definition. Plus, they don’t have the required degrees that you are demanding. You say the signatories on the Oregon Project have to have the required degrees but not to publish in a peer-reviewed journal????

    Signers of the Oregon Petition have degrees equal to those of any climate scientist out there. Any physicist, meteorologist, geologist, etc has the same qualifications as a climate scientist. (Yes, John Cook has a degree in Physics–but he himself said he was not a scientist and until recently did not work in any field of science. Again, his words, not mine.) Their opinions and studies are just as valid as those who believe in climate change. There is no difference.

  24. youkipper says:

    John Cook is a scientist, He studied physics at the University of Queensland, Australia. After graduating, he majored in solar physics in his post-grad honours year.

    He quite rightly says he is not s climate scientist. His research paper you mention isn’t about climate science.

    Glenn quite correctly states you don’t need to be a ‘scientist’ to get research published. Anyone can do that it isn’t an exclusive club if the quality of the research is good. But peer review ensures that it is at least checked by others in a similarly qualified field as the research.

    “The Oregon Project”, I think you mean petition, rightly gets a short shrift by anyone interested in quality data because it is just that, a petition and signatories need have no relevant qualifications in climatology or related sciences.

    A similar petition but aimed at people with a science qualification who accepted MMGW would certainly achieve more signatures and be just as meaningless.

  25. Yes, it does skate close, because I am trying to illustrate the hypocrisy I see in this. You are correct that I did not mention he had a degree in physics or that he did software development. I also did not state he writes cartoons for churches. If John has these titles and positions, why does his website state he is not a scientist?

    I do not understand why, if anyone can get a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal, why these people are to be regarded as “experts” and we can ONLY listen to these people. If it does not take an advanced degree and years of study, then anyone with a degree in meteorology, physics, etc can understand the science.

    You might want to check out Watching the Deniers and then reconsider whether or not skeptics are attacked for their beliefs. His latest post begs to differ with your assessment.

    Cherry-picked is a term applied to any data that comes to a conclusion the researcher choses to use. ALL scientists pick data by personal preference or “the way everyone else in the field does”. Only the dishonest ones refuse to admit their own prejudices. Plus, statistics is wonderful for cherry-picking whatever data you need to reach the desired outcome. It’s what makes the whole climate science argument so shaky. “How to Lie with Statistics” is a classic write-up on this behaviour.

  26. Glenn Tamblyn says:

    John Cook is a Research Fellow at the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia.

    And you don’t need to be a ‘scientist’ to get a paper published. Anyone can submit a paper to a journal. And the paper was peer-reviewed.

    I know this because I was one of the participants in the survey and saw the comments we received about the paper from the reviewers.

    And skeptics aren’t ‘attacked’ for their beliefs. What is criticized is the faulty logic, cherry-picked use of data and outright misrepresentation that is all to common among some skeptics.

    You stated that the rules for your site included no ad-hominem attacks on people. Doesn’t this post skate close to the edge of that. Even the cartoonist reference doesn’t mention that John Cook has a degree in Physics and worked for many years as a software developer.

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