Whether or not global warming turns out to be more about cooked books than a cooked planet, it has exposed a cancer on the body of science that seeks to bar heterodox thinkers from having their work published in respectable journals. Very convenient. In that way, if someone has an idea you would rather not debate, after keeping their work from being published, you just sniff, “They aren’t in peer reviewed journals.”
I wrote about this earlier, but the always provocative and readable Mark Steyn does it better, hitting some important nails squarely on their heads. From his column:
The trouble with outsourcing your marbles to the peer-reviewed set is that, if you take away one single thing from the leaked documents, it’s that the global warm-mongers have wholly corrupted the “peer-review” process. When it comes to promoting the impending ecopalypse, the Climate Research Unit is the nerve-center of the operation. The “science” of the CRU dominates the “science” behind the UN’s IPCC, which dominates the “science” behind the Congressional cap-and-trade boondoggle, the upcoming Copenhagen shakindownen of the developed world, and the now routine phenomenon of leaders of advanced, prosperous societies talking like gibbering madmen escaped from the padded cell, whether it’s President Obama promising to end the rise of the oceans or the Prince of Wales saying we only have 96 months left to save the planet. But don’t worry, it’s all “peer-reviewed.”...
Here’s what Phil Jones of the CRU and his colleague Michael Mann of Penn State mean by “peer review.” When Climate Research published a paper dissenting from the Jones-Mann “consensus,” Jones demanded that the journal “rid itself of this troublesome editor,” and Mann advised that “we have to stop considering Climate Research as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers.” So much for Climate Research.
When Geophysical Research Letters also showed signs of wandering off the “consensus” reservation, Dr. Tom Wigley (“one of the world’s foremost experts on climate change”) suggested they get the goods on its editor, Jim Saiers, and go to his bosses at the American Geophysical Union to “get him ousted.” When another pair of troublesome dissenters emerge, Dr. Jones assured Dr. Mann, “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!”
This is very serious. If peer reviewed literature can’t be trusted to retain relative objectivity—and I have reported often about the problems with the system—then it compromises the entire scientific method.