Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media

By Patrick J. Michaels | Go to book overview
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12
Breaking the Cycle

This book details a natural process. As explained in Chapter 11, scientific paradigms compete with each other for a finite outlay of taxpayer funding. Paradigms, resistant to change to begin with, become even more calcified by the support structure that has evolved for science, largely a consequence of the federalization of science created by Vannevar Bush's Science: The Endless Frontier published in 1946. In this environment, scientists are rewarded and promoted in the academy largely on the basis of research productivity that must be funded from within existing paradigms. Those who do not support the existing paradigm are therefore not likely to be funded sufficiently for promotion. Scientific papers are reviewed by scientific peers, who are functioning within the same dynamic. The canon of science, as represented by the refereed scientific literature, becomes increasingly skewed and resistant.

Some will take offense with this argument, but the phenomenon is real and inescapable given the way that we do science. There are simply too many stories in this book that fit so neatly into this paradigm, with direct reference and discussion of dozens of important articles in top-line scientific journals implying peril from global warming and containing egregious errors that should have been caught in the peer-review process. There are also dozens of instances in which prominent scientists gave alarmist quotes to the press that were far beyond the scope of the scientific publication to which that coverage referred. And there is a National Assessment of global warming based on models that can't simulate the climate of the nation. As a result of all of this, in the last five years, there are more than 50 examples in which the pioneer media uncritically accepted or embellished the vision of climate doom and gloom. There is simply no analogous balance on the side of moderation despite the fact that moderate climate change is much more likely in the foreseeable future than anything extreme.

How do we stop this spiral of exaggeration?

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