That is, Scientific American showing signs of once again being about science, including the crucial aspect of skepticism.
I just received the issue for November 2010 and I almost fell off my chair at two of their articles. They now admit for the first time the sceptics might be right and they invite discussion on their website.
The first article, page 8 entitled “Fudge Factor” tells of a scientist who always found the results which fitted theory when they did not, how this sort of thing happens all too frequently and includes a sentence questioning whether proxy temperatures measured from tree rings are not an example..
The second article, page 58 has a full page photograph of Judith Curry, Climate Heretic who has been consorting with the likes of Chris Landsea, Roger Pielke Sr, Steven McIntyre and Pat Michaels, who has doubts about the entire IPCC process. I had noticed her intelligent letters on the various blogs.
There is a diagram showing how ridiculous the Hockey Stick becomes when you put in the uncertainties.
I’ve pretty much quoted the meat of Vincent Gray’s email, which is short but too significant to pass over. Excellent, excellent news.
Excerpt from Michael D. Lemonick’s article on Elizabeth Curry.
For most of her career, Curry, who heads the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been known for her work on hurricanes, Arctic ice dynamics and other climate-related topics. But over the past year or so she has become better known for something that annoys, even infuriates, many of her scientific colleagues. Curry has been engaging actively with the climate change skeptic community, largely by participating on outsider blogs such as Climate Audit, the Air Vent and the Blackboard. Along the way, she has come to question how climatologists react to those who question the science, no matter how well established it is. Although many of the skeptics recycle critiques that have long since been disproved, others, she believes, bring up valid points—and by lumping the good with the bad, climate researchers not only miss out on a chance to improve their science, they come across to the public as haughty. “Yes, there’s a lot of crankology out there,” Curry says. “But not all of it is. If only 1 percent of it or 10 percent of what the skeptics say is right, that is time well spent because we have just been too encumbered by groupthink.”
She reserves her harshest criticism for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). For most climate scientists the major reports issued by the United Nations–sponsored body every five years or so constitute the consensus on climate science. Few scientists would claim the IPCC is perfect, but Curry thinks it needs thoroughgoing reform. She accuses it of “corruption.” “I’m not going to just spout off and endorse the IPCC,” she says, “because I think I don’t have confidence in the process.”
See, here’s what originally raised my alarm bells: when I first began hearing serious talk about Anthropomorphic Global Warming, the science was already settled, and skeptical voices were harshly and publicly silenced. I didn’t get to watch the rough and tumble of skeptics on all sides actually, you know, settling the science. It just appeared, full blown, in the public press, and no one was allowed to question it.
Horrible, horrible mistake. If AGW actually turns out to be right, then we’ve just wasted about twenty years of supporting research and model refinement. We’re not that much closer to understanding what’s actually going on, settling on the underlying mechanisms.
That’s changing, now that the skeptics are once again finding voice. Data will be collected. Models will be refined. Hypotheses will be tested. Science will be done.
And it’s down to real scientists like Curry, who, along with the Anonymous hacker who spilled the CRUtape emails, will eventually go down in the history of science as great heroes.
I’ll be buying the current SciAm issue next time I’m at the newsstand.