Those of us who were around in 1989 will remember the excitement when a couple of chemists announced they had perfected ‘cold fusion’.
Fusion was considered the holy grail of energy production because it could offer all the benefits of nuclear power in a much cleaner version than the one we have now.
Martin Fleischmann made the greatest discovery since fire: replicating the furnace of the sun at room temperature in a jar of water, essentially solving the world’s energy needs forever.
…The implications were staggering: unlimited energy made from seawater with no deleterious effect on the world’s climate. Dr. Fleischmann unleashed his penchant for large statements: he said the first practical cold-fusion device would be worth $300 trillion. —NYTimes
What they thought was a miraculous discovery did not hold up under scrutiny.
Other scientists tried to see if they could replicate results, checked and double-checked the conclusions their findings arrived at to determine if what they claimed was really true.
This is what honest scientists do to separate facts from fantasies… or at least they used to do so.
We have seen, since then, that other factors sometimes muddy the water of scientific integrity.
With the documentary about Chernobyl, the critical information provided by science was ignored by government officials. Why? Because it provided evidence that they had cut corners on safety for financial reasons.
With COVID, we have seen any number of instances — from the WHO, to CDC guidance, to China, to political pressure from teachers’ unions — that objective evidence is facing other pressures to ‘massage’ its findings to satisfy one or another special interest. In one instance, the Lancet, a well-respected Peer-Reviewed Journal had to retract an entirely discredited study based on falsified data.
This study just ‘happened’ to align with and amplify the negative press associated with the use of HCQ in treating COVID-19.
The strongest safeguard against that corruption is the self-regulation process of peer review. The kind of peer-review that exposed the bogus study in Lancet and the premature declaration of successful cold fusion are true of other fields of study as well.
The more invested we are in an idea, the more likely we are — like those Soviets in Chernobyl — to hide our eyes from uncomfortable truths.
The Green Movement has enormous incentives to tow the party line — everything from financial pressure (funding being pulled from ‘heretics’), peer pressure pushing you to conform, people have political commitments to the cause, and entire industries all hinge on the premises of certain points of orthodoxy.
It’s all well and good for scientists to scoff at the Catholic Church over who they reacted to Gallileo talking about the Earth moving around the Sun, but does Scientific orthodoxy put today’s dissenters in the same heretical box?
Let’s look at how these guardians of orthodoxy are responding to science’s best facting-checking tools tools sifting fact from fantasy among their own most cherished beliefs.
James Cook University holds to what has become a point of faith, that CO2 (specifically CO2) has been responsible for a particularly devastating effect on coral reefs.
A group of scientists — who do not necessarily reject climate change premises, and who began with one scientist believing the foundational study of that belief, and setting out to replicate it as the baseline for studies that would branch off from that foundation — ran into a problem.
He couldn’t replicate the original findings.
But a group of determined and principled scientists – I call them the Magnificent 7 – have doggedly questioned, and investigated, these claims. The remarkable article appearing in Science magazine on 6 May 2021 documents the many twist and turns in this story. Are the remarkable results on fish behaviour fraudulent? Is there a cover up of fraud by universities and funding agencies? And why do senior scientists attack the Magnificent 7 just for wanting to check previous work?
The Magnificent 7 is led by Tim Clark and Fredrik Jutfelt along with five other international scientists. They are risking their careers blowing the whistle on a very powerful organisation in the marine biology community – JCU’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. Despite Clark and Jutfelt’s work showing that CO2 does not seem to have much affect on fish behaviour, they still worry about other aspects of climate change. They are not climate “deniers” or hard-core sceptics. But they believe in scientific integrity, and that is a rare thing these days. —TheGWPF
The article explains the story about the study he couldn’t duplicate before describing some other troubling discoveries the scientists have made, causing them to wonder how much of the dogma is fact and how much is fraud.
The Seven discovered another study — this one about the effect microplastics had on fish — was based on fraudulent data, fighting a long battle with a university to prove their claim. They were just scratching the surface.
In early 2020, the Magnificent 7 published their replication study. All the major results from JCU fish behaviour studies were unable to be replicated. They were 100% wrong. Much of the work was done by the group leader Prof Philip Munday and Danielle Dixson, who had since moved to U. Delaware.
The article in Science focuses on other work from Munday and Dixson – 22 papers. Clark and Jutfelt have called for an inquiry by funding bodies and universities, but it seems that nothing has happened. The Science article contains allegations of fraud that will have to be properly answered. Some of it is very concerning.
But it is not just the Magnificent 7 who are questioning whether fraud was committed. Other scientists from Holland, Spain and the UK have pointed out inconsistencies and suspicious data. There is also now testimony from co-workers of Munday and Dixson, “some of whom monitored Dixson’s activities [in the lab] and concluded she made up data” according to Science. —TheGWPF
The problem isn’t limited to the studies themselves, so much as the process, and the accountability safeguards that are (or are not) built-in.
We have conditioned ourselves to ‘believe the science’ but have we maintained a culture where the scientists themselves can be believed?
Predictably, the scientific “establishment” has attacked the whistleblowers and much of the Science article is devoted to this. Perhaps the most scandalous attack came from Hans-Otto Portner from the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany who does not seem to believe hard questions should be asked. Portner, a co-chair of one of the IPCC’s working groups, stated that “building a career on judging what other people did is not right.” Even worse, he apparently wanted to keep the scandal quiet and objected to the Magnificent 7’s work stating “if such a controversy gets outside of the community, it’s harmful because the whole community loses credibility.”
…The Science article, by Martin Enserink, is long, thoroughly researched, but well worth the read. It shows how corrupted the scientific establishment, from the funding bodies to the journals, has become. But it also shows that there still are scientists who value the truth over all else – and will jeopardise their careers to find the truth.
It also shows that we need a formalised system for replicating important science results – especially if it is being used for public policy decisions. The present system of peer review, which is now well known to have, roughly, a 50% failure rate, is a pathetic apology for a quality assurance system.
In Australia, I have been advocating for an Office of Science Review that would fund the type of work that the Magnificent 7 took upon themselves – replication, checking, and testing of important scientific work. My interest is the Great Barrier Reef. I believe much of the work claiming damage to the Reef has serious flaws. But most importantly, almost none of it has been subjected to rigorous replication or checking. —TheGWPF
It takes guts to stand up to the guardian’s of orthodoxy and proclaim ‘The Emporer Has No Clothes’.
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