Many seem to think that scientists have no reason to have political motivations, and that anyone who suggests that climate science is politicized is a deranged right-wing conspiracy theorist. That’s why it’s important to understand that there are reasons that are in fact well documented if you care to know about them.
So far in this series, we’ve seen that the claim that “a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming”, both because the scientists identified (the Handful, as I call them) were in fact not involved in all these issues, and because the claim that they “obscured the truth” does not hold water given Oreskes and Conway’s own idea of what that means. Also, there was no “tobacco strategy” connecting the issues.
Given this, there seems to be no foundation for any claim of disinformation. And yet, they use the term rather emphatically in the book, speaking of “the creation of doubt and the spread of disinformation”.
But let us try to find out what Oreskes and Conway base their claims of disinformation on. Part of it is guilt by association with Big Tobacco as I have mentioned. But there is more.
This post was originally published on Judith Curry’s blog. Reblogging it here for convenience.
In normal science, you get more certain the more the data turns out to fit the predictions of the theory. The IPCC and friends have come up with a method of calculating that turns this on its head: the weaker the match between predictions and data, the more certain you become. In this essay, I try to unravel the statistical gymnastics that help make this seem reasonable.