We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

This development may horrify the old guard, but peer-to-peer review was just what forced the release of the Climategate files – and as a consequence revealed the uncertainty of the science and the co-opting of the process that legitimizes global warming research. It was a collective of climate blogs, centered on the work of Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, which applied the pressure. With moderators and blog commenters that include engineers, PhDs, statistics whizzes, mathematics experts, software developers, and weather specialists – the label flat-earthers, as many of their opponents have attempted to brand them, seems as fitting as tagging Lady Gaga with the label demure.

– Patrick Courrielche, discussing the circumstances by which the Climategate e-mails came to light and were analysed by independent parties. Parts two and three of his article are unnecessarily on separate pages. I confess that I do like the phrase “Peer to peer review”. I am struck by how much of the progress here has been made by the so called “lukewarmers” – people who are (or at least were) open to the idea that global warming was real and human caused, who often had relevant expertise, and wanted to look at the data for themselves. After all, many interpretations are always possible.

(First link via Bishop Hill).

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2 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Yes, this is a very important point. Everyone who is now willfully ignoring the elephant in the parlor by hiding behind his professed devotion to peer review is doing so by supporting the institution over the intent. But Climategate is precisely a scandal of the breakdown of the institution, of perverting the institution so that it worked contrary to the original intent. Peer review is supposed to check that data are accurate, that conclusions follow from data, and that relevant alternate interpretations of the data have been addressed. In this case, as we all know, a group of people were able to get away without producing their data so that it was never properly questioned, so that no one could raise objections to the conclusions they drew from it, and so that alternate interpretations could be ignored. Anyone honestly devoted to peer review would find that problematic. The obvious conclusion being that people who will not now read skeptic papers on the basis that they haven’t been peer reviewed mean “peer review” in an Orwellian sense.

  • A layman’s reading of many of the Climategate files seems to point to serious doubts about the basic physical properties of our climate and the mechanisms that drive it. To me then, the biggest scandal of all, is that these doubters allowed politicians and media figures of stature to get away with “the science is settled claim”. It seems that the doubting scientists honoured their paymasters rather than express their doubts.

    Well thanks a lot guys. Where do you go from here to get some honour and credibility back ?