Climate Change and the Death of Science


[Note: the following was written on October 31 and updated November 3, before the ‘Climategate’ CRU email scandal broke, and it is all the more pertinent in the light of those disclosures. The CRU emails show how science has been perverted into a political movement, and how scientists conspired to serve a ‘post-normal’ agenda where truth is trampled – exactly as the proponents of ‘post-normal’ science had anticipated. With the association between ‘post-normal’ science developed by Ravetz and its application in climate science by Hulme now widely exposed by this present post, Ravetz and Hulme jointly authored an article, published by the BBC on December 1, entitled ‘Show Your Working’: What ‘ClimateGate’ means in which they sought to promote post-normal science further by capitalizing on the public disgust at the corruption of ‘normal’ science. This is cynical because normal science was corrupted by covertly introducing post-normal activities in the first place.]

What has become of science? We thought that science was about the pursuit of truth. Then we became perplexed at how quickly scientists have prostituted themselves in the service of political agendas. We have seen the unedifying spectacle of scientists refusing to share their data, fiddling their results, and resorting to ad hominem attacks on those who have exposed their work to be fraudulent. We have seen the Royal Society becoming a shamelessly crude advocacy society. We have seen President Obama choosing notorious climate alarmists and liars to be his personal advisors. We have seen the peer review process and journal editors colluding to prevent publication of results that do not serve the politically-correct agenda, and scientists refusing to consider results that demolish their pet theories. What is going on here?

What is going on is that science is no longer what we thought it was. It is now a tool in the hands of socialists, and the smart money is flowing into the pockets of ‘scientists’ who will serve their agenda. Follow the money. Whilst traditional physics and chemistry departments are closing in British universities, and there is a shortage of science teachers, there is an abundance of cash being poured into departments that will serve socialist ends, and no shortage of acolytes desirous to use this as a route to power. Once there was modern science, which was hard work; now we have postmodern science, where the quest for real, absolute truth is outdated, and ‘science’ is a wax nose that can be twisted in any direction to underpin the latest lying narrative in the pursuit of power. Except they didn’t call it ‘postmodern’ science because then we might smell a rat. They called it PNS (post-normal science) and hoped we wouldn’t notice. It was thus named and explicated by Silvio O. Funtowicz and philosopher Jerome R. Ravetz, who in 1991 wrote the paper A New Scientific Methodology for Global Environmental Issues, followed in 1992 by The good, the true and the postmodern, and in 1993 by Science for the post-normal age, where they promoted the idea that

…a new type of science – ‘post-normal’ – is emerging…in contrast to traditional problem-solving strategies, including core science, applied science, and professional consultancy…Post-normal science can provide a path to the democratization of science, and also a response to the current tendencies to post-modernity.

The ‘response’ wasn’t to be a reaction against postmodernism, but an embracing of it, and going beyond it. And it has sinister ramifications.

We had already been warned about Ravetz in the 1987 work Changing Boundaries of the Political, which stated

From the perspective of Anglo-American liberalism it seems easy enough to…point out that the old predictions of the British Marxist J.D. Bernal about the triumph of basic research under socialism have proved hopelessly wrong, and that the demands of J.R. Ravetz of the University of Leeds that science be made instrumental and moral will destroy the enterprise whatever its short-term benefits.

Ravetz, who described himself as a peacenik intellectual, was a political radical who drew on neo-Marxism, and was a stalwart in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), anti-nuclear lobbies, and the Anti-Concorde Project. He is well known for arguing that the pursuit of truth in science is an obsolete and dangerous concept. He declared

…the puzzle-solving approach of ‘normal science’ is obsolete. This is a drastic cultural change for science, which many scientists will find difficult to accept. But there is no turning back; we can understand post-normal science as the extension of democracy appropriate to the conditions of our age.

For us, quality is a replacement for truth in our methodology. We argue that this is quite enough for doing science, and that truth is a category with symbolic importance, which itself is historically and culturally conditioned.

To pursue truth is to make a category mistake, so pursue the nebulous concept of ‘quality’ instead. So much for facts: scientists need to learn how to serve the craft of rhetoric. Even though it was concealed from those who constructed the models, the purpose of climate models was to provide the power of metaphor to political rhetoric:

…climate change models are a form of “seduction”…advocates of the models…recruit possible supporters, and then keep them on board when the inadequacy of the models becomes apparent. This is what is understood as “seduction”; but it should be observed that the process may well be directed even more to the modelers themselves, to maintain their own sense of worth in the face of disillusioning experience.

…but if they are not predictors, then what on earth are they? The models can be rescued only by being explained as having a metaphorical function, designed to teach us about ourselves and our perspectives under the guise of describing or predicting the future states of the planet…A general recognition of models as metaphors will not come easily. As metaphors, computer models are too subtle…for easy detection. And those who created them may well have been prevented…from being aware of their essential character.

In 1990 Ravetz published The Merger of Knowledge with Power, then in 2002 a paper The Challenge beyond Orthodox Science. Of the book by E.F. Pecci, Science and Human Transformation: Subtle Energies, Intentionality and Consciousness, a book about parapsychology, psychokinesis and extrasensory perception, he says it “creates a bridge between modern physics and the realm of subtle energies…it opens the way to an expansion of our scientific conceptions to include those other energies that are increasingly important for our comprehension of the world around us.” In 2007, Ravetz, then at the University of Oxford, published a paper Post-Normal Science and the complexity of transitions towards sustainability saying that post-normal science needed to be taken to the next stage.

The theory of Post-Normal Science…needs to be renewed and enriched…The time is not ripe for a modification of PNS, and so the best move forward is to raise the issue of Sustainability. For that I sketch a theory of complex systems, with special attention to pathologies and failures. That provides the foundation for a use of ‘contradiction’ as a problem incapable of resolution in its own terms, and also of ‘characteristic contradiction’ that drives a system to a crisis. With those materials it is possible to state the characteristic contradiction of our modern industrial civilisation, and provide a diagram with heuristic power.

Heuristic power is the power to explain ‘factual novelties’. ‘Contradiction’ and ‘characteristic contradiction’ are Marxist speak. Heard about ‘sustainability’ recently? You bet! Ravetz gives the Greens the tools they need to do their dirty work. He gives them the philosophical blueprint to attack modern industrial civilization. Now, let’s be clear: post-normal science is one of the manipulative arts that Machiavelli would have been proud of.

We will take as classic examples and exponents of post-normal science the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, and Mike Hulme, the founding director of this Tyndall Centre, and Professor of Climate Change at the University of East Anglia (UEA). Hulme makes it clear that the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is well and truly in the bag. Stuart Blackman interviewed Hulme back in May, 2009, and described him as “one of the UK’s most distinguished and high-profile climate scientists” and the Tyndall Centre as “an organisation so revered by environmentalists that it could be mistaken for the academic wing of the green movement”. The Tyndall Centre is deeply infiltrated by those serving the Green agenda, and produces work for advocacy groups such as Greenpeace and the IPCC. It is funded by the British taxpayer, receiving grants from the three Research Councils NERC, EPSRC and ESRC. We read today on their website

Situations Vacant: Three Lecturers in Climate Change at Tyndall UEA
These new academic staff appointments at UEA have been created as a result of substantial new investments in the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. The posts offer excellent opportunities for continuing, or developing, internationally outstanding research careers.

Notice that these are not lecturers in climate science, but climate change. We will see below what these lecturers will be expected to espouse and teach. The fig leaf that this might have been science has now been dropped. As Mike Hulme has said

[The] chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recently urged the media to focus on the “scientific rationale for action” rather than the political aspects of climate…I disagree…In the end, politics will always trump science…we need better politics, not better science.

So what actually is ‘Post-Normal Science’? Dr John Turnpenny of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, in his paper What is post-normal science? A critical review of its development, definitions and usages (“Post Normal Science – perspectives & prospects” June 26/27, 2009 at Oxford), had this to say:

The concept of post-normal science (PNS) has been developed as a potential approach to addressing wicked issues…As such, the ‘science’ in PNS is not limited to a conventional understanding of the word…

So let’s stop calling it science. For a fuller description of post-normal science we turn to the essay by Eva Kunseler, Towards a new paradigm of Science in scientific policy advising (headings and italics added):

Normal science
[Normal] Science is a logic inductive process leading to theory formulation, while all the way put through critical tests that have been deductively derived from the theory; Popper’s critical rationalist concept of science is an objective progression toward the truth…The term normal science refers to the routine work of scientists within a paradigm; slowly accumulating knowledge in accord with established theoretical assumptions…The paradigm is enlarged and frontiers of knowledge and techniques pushed forward.

The exercise of scholarly activities is defined by the dominance of the Mertonian CUDOS norms of science. They include:
(C)ommunalism – the common ownership of scientific discoveries, according to which scientists give up intellectual property rights in exchange for recognition and esteem;
(U)niversalism – according to which claims to truth are evaluated in terms of universal or value-free criteria;
(D)isinterestedness – according to which scientists are rewarded for acting in ways that appear to be selfless;
(O)rganized (S)kepticism – all ideas must be tested and are subject to structured community scrutiny.

Post-normal science
A new concept of science was introduced by Funtowicz and Ravetz during the 1990s…The concept of post-normal science goes beyond the traditional assumptions that science is both certain and value-free…The exercise of scholarly activities is defined by the dominance of goal orientation where scientific goals are controlled by political or societal actors…Scientists’ integrity lies not in disinterestedness but in their behaviour as stakeholders. Normal science made the world believe that scientists should and could provide certain, objective factual information…The guiding principle of normal science – the goal of achievement of factual knowledge – must be modified to fit the post-normal principle…For this purpose, post-normal scientists should be capable of establishing extended peer communities and allow for ‘extended facts’ from non-scientific experts…In post-normal science, the maintenance and enhancement of quality, rather than the establishment of factual knowledge, is the key task of scientists… Involved social actors must agree on the definition of perceptions, narratives, interpretation of models, data and indicators…scientists have to contribute to society by learning as quickly as possible about different perceptions…instead of seeking deep ultimate knowledge.

So this is not science as we know it. Science has to re-invent itself as a political tool, just as it was under Hitler and Stalin. Scientists must learn ‘as quickly as possible’ what will please the political elite, and serve it up. As one Richard Fernandez has written:

All in all, the notion of “post-normal science” seems like a complete contradiction in terms or a perversion of the standard definition of science as commonly understood. It appears to be an elaborate and dishonest attempt to pass off the preferences of a single group as some kind of pseudo-science. There’s a much simpler term for this dishonest phrase: politics. Post-normal science is nothing but a cheap and lying term for a political diktat; for the rule of the self-appointed over everyone else. Whatever truth “Global Warming” may contain it has surely been damaged by its association with this disreputable and vile concept which brazenly casts aside the need for any factual basis and declares in the most unambiguous terms that whatever values it chooses to promote constitutes a truth unimpeachable by reality and a set of values that none dare challenge.

Mike Hulme, founding director of the Tyndall Centre, and Professor of Climate Change at the University of East Anglia (UEA), prepared climate scenarios and reports for the UK Government (including the UKCIP98 and UKCIP02 scenarios, and reviewer for UKCP09), the European Commission, UNEP, UNDP, WWF-International and the IPCC, and was co-ordinating Lead Author for the chapter on ‘Climate scenario development’ for the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC, as well as a contributing author for several other chapters. Hulme has been a champion and exponent of post-normal science for some years to serve his own socialist agenda, and this is what he has to say about post-normal science (some italics added):

Philosophers and practitioners of science have identified this particular mode of scientific activity as one that occurs…where values are embedded in the way science is done and spoken.

It has been labelled “post-normal” science. Climate change seems to fall in this category. Disputes in post-normal science focus…on the process of science – who gets funded, who evaluates quality, who has the ear of policy…The IPCC is a classic example of a post-normal scientific activity.

Within a capitalist world order, climate change is actually a convenient phenomenon to come along.

The largest academic conference that has yet been devoted to the subject of climate change finished yesterday [March 12, 2009] in Copenhagen…I attended the Conference, chaired a session…[The] statement drafted by the conference’s Scientific Writing Team…contained…a set of messages drafted largely before the conference started by the organizing committee…interpreting it for a political audience…And the conference chair herself, Professor Katherine Richardson, has described the messages as politically-motivated. All well and good.

The danger of a “normal” reading of science is that it assumes science can first find truth, then speak truth to power, and that truth-based policy will then follow…exchanges often reduce to ones about scientific truth rather than about values, perspectives and political preferences.

…‘self-evidently’ dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth-seeking…scientists – and politicians – must trade truth for influence. What matters about climate change is not whether we can predict the future with some desired level of certainty and accuracy.

Climate change is telling the story of an idea and how that idea is changing the way in which our societies think, feel, interpret and act. And therefore climate change is extending itself well beyond simply the description of change in physical properties in our world…

The function of climate change I suggest, is not as a lower-case environmental phenomenon to be solved…It really is not about stopping climate chaos. Instead, we need to see how we can use the idea of climate change – the matrix of ecological functions, power relationships, cultural discourses and materials flows that climate change reveals – to rethink how we take forward our political, social, economic and personal projects over the decades to come.

There is something about this idea that makes it very powerful for lots of different interest groups to latch on to, whether for political reasons, for commercial interests, social interests in the case of NGOs, and a whole lot of new social movements looking for counter culture trends.

Climate change has moved from being a predominantly physical phenomenon to being a social one…It is circulating anxiously in the worlds of domestic politics and international diplomacy, and with mobilising force in business, law, academia, development, welfare, religion, ethics, art and celebrity.

Climate change also teaches us to rethink what we really want for ourselves…mythical ways of thinking about climate change reflect back to us truths about the human condition…

The idea of climate change should be seen as an intellectual resource around which our collective and personal identifies and projects can form and take shape. We need to ask not what we can do for climate change, but to ask what climate change can do for us…Because the idea of climate change is so plastic, it can be deployed across many of our human projects and can serve many of our psychological, ethical, and spiritual needs.

…climate change has become an idea that now travels well beyond its origins in the natural sciences…climate change takes on new meanings and serves new purposes…climate change has become “the mother of all issues”, the key narrative within which all environmental politics – from global to local – is now framed…Rather than asking “how do we solve climate change?” we need to turn the question around and ask: “how does the idea of climate change alter the way we arrive at and achieve our personal aspirations…?”

We need to reveal the creative psychological, spiritual and ethical work that climate change can do and is doing for us…we open up a way of resituating culture and the human spirit…As a resource of the imagination, the idea of climate change can be deployed around our geographical, social and virtual worlds in creative ways…it can inspire new artistic creations in visual, written and dramatised media. The idea of climate change can provoke new ethical and theological thinking about our relationship with the future….We will continue to create and tell new stories about climate change and mobilise these stories in support of our projects. Whereas a modernist reading of climate may once have regarded it as merely a physical condition for human action, we must now come to terms with climate change operating simultaneously as an overlying, but more fluid, imaginative condition of human existence.

We always said that Climate Change was a belief system, and there you have it. It has abandoned the pretence of objective science. As Hulme reveals, it is a postmodern narrative and the IPCC is a “classic example of a post-normal scientific activity”. This is leading to ridiculous situations. In early November 2009, a certain Tim Nicholson was granted permission to take his former employer Grainger to a tribunal. Commenting on this, his lawyer states:

Essentially what the judgment says is that a belief in man-made climate change and the alleged resulting moral imperative is capable of being a philosophical belief and is therefore protected by the 2003 religion or belief regulations.

Nicholson said he had tried to set up a carbon management system for the company, but was unable to work out its carbon footprint because staff had refused to give him the necessary data. He accused the chief executive, Rupert Dickinson, of showing “contempt” for his beliefs by not minimizing carbon emissions. Commenting on this issue in The Guardian, Andrew Brown, clearly in favour of coercion, writes in an article entitled We’re doomed without a green religion:

The justification for burning heretics was perfectly simple: dissent threatened the survival of society…not to coerce, itself becomes immoral…Compulsion will be needed but compulsion alone won’t do it…They need to believe in what they are forced to do…and that will also mean its dark side: the pressure of conformism, the force of self-righteousness, huge moral weight attached to practically useless gestures like unplugging phone chargers. They need, in fact, something that does look a lot like religion…Should that happen, the denialists, who claim that it is all a religion, will for once be telling the truth…

Mike Hulme has recently published a book entitled Why We Disagree About Climate Change from which some of his quotes above are taken. I can do no better than quote extracts of the book review by Joseph Bast in American Thinker:

More than a few people will be tempted to buy this book based on the promise, implicit in its title, that it offers an examination of the ideas and motives of both sides in the global warming debate. But that is not what this book is about. Rather, it is the musings of a British socialist about how to use the global warming issue as a means of persuading “the masses” to give up their economic liberties. The fact that the author, Mike Hulme, is a scientist who helped write the influential reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and many other influential government agencies makes this book more disturbing than informative.

…socialists like Hulme can frame the global warming issue in such as way as to achieve seemingly unrelated goals such as sustainable development, income redistribution, population control, social justice, and many other items on the liberal/socialist wish-list.

It is troubling to read a prominent scientist who has so clearly lost sight of his cardinal duty — to be skeptical of all theories and always open to new data. It is particularly troubling when this same scientist endorses lying by others to advance his personal political agenda.

Read this book if you want insight into the mind of a scientist who has surrendered all moral authority to speak truthfully about global warming. Avoid it if you are looking for a book that explains why we disagree about climate change.

From what Hulme has admitted, the climate change debate is not about truth and physical reality, but a way of making it the “mother of all issues” in order to achieve socialist and Marxist aims, including de-capitalizing the West, and bringing about global governance by an elite. Hulme is delighted to be in the vanguard, and it is paying him handsomely. Critical to this is capture of the scientific institutions. Hulme says, we are all actors “in the unfolding story…alongside the personal gods of the heavens”. Climate change is a new lying narrative serving an agenda as old as the hills. Here is an account of the very first post-normal science experiment, pitting against ultimate truth a lying agenda and narrative with an ‘extended peer community’ and ‘extended facts’ in the pursuit of power:

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

[For further development of these thoughts by a reader ‘berniel’ (comments below), see his posts ‘Post-normal science and the corruption of climate science‘ and ‘Revolutionary Science: Post-Normal Climate Science and neo-Marxism ]

80 Responses to “Climate Change and the Death of Science”

  1. 1 DennisA November 1, 2009 at 9:50 am

    The Tyndall Centre is the centre of government propaganda and one of their successes was this:

    “The Social Simulation of the Public Perception of Weather Events and their Effect upon the Development of Belief in Anthropogenic Climate Change” September 2004.

    Global warming (or climate change) is, without elaboration, a much debated and contested issue. Not only is it contested among scientists, but also among all those with vested interests.

    We suggest that, in the realm of the public, forces act to maintain or denounce a perceived reality which has already been constructed. That is, an issue introduced by science (or media for that matter) needs continual expression of confirmation if it is to be maintained as an issue.

    In this paper, we explore under what conditions belief in global warming or climate change, as identified and defined by experience, science and the media, can be maintained in the public’s perception.

    As the science itself is contested, needless to say, so are the potential policy changes. So how then do people make sense or construct a reality of something that they can never experience in its totality (climate) and a reality that has not yet manifest (i.e. climate change)?

    To endorse policy change people must ‘believe’ that global warming will become a reality some time in the future.

    Only the experience of positive temperature anomalies will be registered as indication of change if the issue is framed as global warming.

    Both positive and negative temperature anomalies will be registered in experience as indication of change if the issue is framed as climate change.

    We propose that in those countries where climate change has become the predominant popular term for the phenomenon, unseasonably cold temperatures, for example, are also interpreted to reflect climate change/global warming.

    Sound familiar? Seems to have worked.

    Hulme annoys me because he is now portraying himself as the “reasonable scientist” and criticising scientists who use extreme scenarios. This is the man who set up the Tyndall Centre in 2000 and was behind things like the UK Climate Impact scenarios. He criticises the Exeter conference on Dangerous Climate Change, yet was involved in its delivery. “It wasn’t me guv, I’m an honest scientist I am.”

    ScientistForTruth responds

    Many thanks. Readers can download the whole paper here. This paper sets out how the grand experiment of belief formation can be formulated, assessed and tweaked, and how the effectiveness of the propaganda in ‘belief formation’ and the ‘social construction of quasi-reality’ can be measured. The paper

    …presents a quantitative dynamic simulation model of the social construction of a quasi-reality. By quasi-reality we mean a reality that thus far is defined by expert knowledge and is surrounded by uncertainty.

    One should keep in mind, that although we are dealing with a public construction of reality, the reality per se has not yet manifest…In effect, it is the social construction of quasi-reality.

  2. 2 hunter November 27, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Wow. Just, wow.
    From their own mouths.
    What a prophetic and timely essay.
    Thank you very much.

  3. 3 tallbloke November 28, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    I attended some of Jerry Ravetz seminars at Leeds University in the late ’80’s and got a very different impression of the man than the one given here.

    Some relevant quotes from Jerry Ravetz website:

    “we embarked on a project that combined practical application with a fundamental analysis of mathematics. This culminated in our joint book “Uncertainty and Quality in Science for Policy”. There we developed a notational scheme which encompasses the different sorts of uncertainties, social determinations and implicit value-loadings in quantitative expressions. Of course, a statement like the above might seem outlandish to many readers, who have never had occasion to question the faith that numbers are not merely necessary for scientific truth, but also sufficient. Silvio and I share the conviction that so long as people are deluded about the information conveyed in numbers, there can never be an effective management of the the scientific and practical problems where uncertainty and value-loading are significant.”

    “Wherever we turn, be it in global climate change, new-variant CJD, weakening of male sperm in many species, or the rising incidence of asthma, we find serious, perhaps very threatening problems, for which science provides no easy answers. The situation might be summed up in two epigrams. One, from Robert Sinsheimer, is that formerly we asked what science is doing for us, while now we ask what science is doing to us. The other, from myself and Silvio, is that formerly science was considered as having ‘hard facts’ in contrast to the soft, subjective humanities, while now we confront hard policy issues for which the scientific inputs are frequently irremediably soft.”

    non-scientists are given confidence to join in the debate on matters which until recently had been the exclusive domain of accredited experts. The basis we chose for Post-Normal Science is in methodology. We argue that the quality-assurance of scientific inputs into policy processes requires an ‘extended peer community’, including all the stakeholders in an issue. This new peer community can also deploy ‘extended facts’, including local and personal experience, as well as investigative journalism and leaked sources.”

    I submit that Jerry Ravetz is much more with us than against us.

    ScientistForTruth responds

    Ravetz is certainly not with us. We don’t want post-normal science hitching a lift on the back of corrupt ‘normal’ science, we need honest normal science before we start formulating “hard policies” on the back of “irremedially soft” inputs. I’ve let Ravetz speak for himself, of course, by quoting him at length. He clearly says that truth and searching for truth plays no part in his methodology.

    I have read plenty of Ravetz, but I certainly can’t claim to have attended Ravetz’s seminars in the 1970s. I’m sure that must have been most interesting. He is an extremely intelligent and perceptive man, but I do not like what I see – it is exceptionally dangerous both to science and society. From the quote you included above, Ravetz is seen to be begging the question – not a good sign in a philosopher. To include “global climate change” in a list with increasing incidences of new-variant CJD, infertility, and asthma is completely disingenuous. Those things and their trends are all relatively easily measured and diagnosed. Ravetz is not stupid – he was originally a mathematician – and he knows a lot about numbers, so he knows that he is pulling the wool over our eyes by including climate change in a list of diseases that affect populations of discrete entities. Is the incidence of “global climate change” increasing? Do we have a population of thousands of other similar earths with which to compare our earth?

    Moreover, if a patient presents with CJD, you know from experience that it’s life threatening and not the natural state. You might have difficulty finding the causes and dealing with them, but you know for certain that this is not the normal state of affairs. The same can’t be said of “global climate change”. Ravetz has absolutely no grounds to say that “global climate change” is a “serious, perhaps very threatening problem”, nor should he include it in a list of things that are measurably increasing and deleterious. People have died of asthma and CJD, so there cannot be the slightest doubt that they are “serious…very threatening” – we know the likely prognoses. But climate change has been happening for thousands of years, and no one has yet been able to demonstrate that this is anything but a normal state of affairs – natural variation – nor can we make any realistic prognosis. What Ravetz has done is assume that climate change is an unnatural phenomenon with a deadly causative agent (anthropogenic, of course!) – he assumes the ‘normal’ science can tell him that, so that the ‘post-normal’ science can be applied to the allegedly difficult problems it throws up. But you don’t need policies to deal with things that haven’t been shown to be problems in the first place– don’t waste your time chasing those shadows when there are plenty of real problems in the world that can be diagnosed and dealt with.

    Otherwise one would be like a man who has spent all his life in a pine forest, who suddenly comes across a deciduous tree. A few months later, he sees the leaves turn brown and drop off, so that the tree looks dead. He deduces from the size of the tree that it must have survived healthily for years before he arrived on the scene, but now he is there, the tree is dying, so it must be an anthropogenic effect. In fact, the tree is not dying, there is no anthropogenic effect, and the phenomenon is perfectly natural.

    Do we really want “hard policies” to be put into place in our society to deal with problems that we have no evidence that they exist, where the facts are “irremediably soft”? If you are a Marxist or a fascist, you might.

  4. 4 Freddy November 28, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    You say that some of the quotes from Hulme are taken from his book “Why We Disagree About Climate Change”. Can I ask, from where are the others ?

    ScientistForTruth replies

    It will take me a while to give you references quote by quote, but you can find most and many more in a list of articles archived by Hulme himself here, here, and here

  5. 5 DennisA November 28, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Whilst this is not the time or place to go back over CJD, there are parallels. There never was and still isn’t any demonstration of a direct link between BSE and vCJD. There was a political demand for answers and so the scientists said the likelihood of a link was there. There were claims of disaster to come with hundreds of thousands to die in decades to come. Alternative answers were rejected. Remember CJD has always been around, it was the variant that was claimed to be caused by “modern farming”, (anthropogenic). The threat never materialised, although I would not make light of the suffering for the small number of actual patients and their families. There was a promoting scientist who claimed he knew the causal agent, a prion. He received a Nobel prize. There is a strong counterclaim that it was virally caused. The Precautionary Principle was invoked in the face of lack of evidence.

    When politicians demand answers to something perceived to be a problem, there will always be vocal scientists who will provide an answer, whether right or wrong.

  6. 6 tallbloke November 29, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    ScientistForTruth responds

    “Ravetz is certainly not with us. We don’t want post-normal science hitching a lift on the back of corrupt ‘normal’ science, we need honest normal science before we start formulating “hard policies” on the back of “irremedially soft” inputs. “

    You have made some good points in your response, many of which I agree with. I also feel though, that some of these criticisms you aim at Ravetz are misdirected, and should be aimed at those who have misappropriated his concepts to further their own ends.

    When you say that “he [Ravetz] clearly says that truth and searching for truth plays no part in his methodology” I think you are selling him short. The point I think he is making is that when (for example) climate scientists claim to have “incontrovertible evidence of AGW” (truth), they are glossing over the more fundamental truth that nothing is known for certain in a field of such incomplete knowledge and complexity. The numbers game isn’t adequate to the task, and qualitative statements preclude absolutes.

    Apart from your valid criticisms,there are some positives to be taken from what he says. For example, he is explicitly stating that we shouldn’t bow to the superior knowledge of “experts” just because they present us with numerical data which they claim leads to certain conclusions. Ravetz is explicitly condoning the participation of non-experts and their use of investigative journalism and leaked sources (prescient if he wrote that before ClimateGate) and validating their right to a say in the debate which leads to any policy formation. In fact, I don’t see anything in his writing which precludes the possibility that the result of a debate about policy formation might be that there will be no policy, because none is necessary.

    ScientistForTruth responds

    I don’t doubt that Ravetz is very perceptive and makes some interesting observations. Unfortunately, there is the ‘poison in the pot’. Ravetz will forever be remembered for his championing a new type of science, post-normal science. You will see from my post just where this leads: you have Mike Hulme explicitly espousing and adopting the ideas of Ravetz and turning ‘climate change’ into metaphysics and politics. Ravetz never masked the fact that his scientific method was political – having been a radical leftie, he drew heavily on neo-Marxism to formulate his PNS theory. And in his 2006 paper Post-Normal Science in the context of transitions towards sustainability which I mentioned in the post, he explicitly states that “PNS has always had strong political aspect…Given its deep political commitments, PNS should have been making a contribution to this process, offering its insights about the way science will need to be done in the cause of justice and sustainability.” Of course, in the mouth of Ravetz, nice sounding words like “justice and sustainability” are really Marxist goals. “…even now there is no clear focus on science among the new movements for social reform. Those of us who are involved in PNS can help to shape a new ‘science of, by and for the people’ when the time is ripe.” First of all, ‘normal’ science must be destroyed, then a new science can be introduced which serves the political agenda of the Greens and the hard left.

    You really should read that paper – it reads like a communist position paper. He even discusses Marxism and its relevance to PNS: “Marxist political theory spoke of ‘leading contradictions’…as when local struggles of classes and communities interact with common struggles against external enemies…The crucial thing in our understanding of it, is that it is a compounded contradiction. We can see its historical roots in what Marx considered to be the characteristic contradiction of modern capitalist society…But there was more to it than that, in the resolution of Marx’s characteristic contradiction…In our terms, they shifted the contradiction elsewhere, thereby staving off rebellion…”

    So the question we must ask is, do we consider that introducing strong politics (for example, those of the far-Left) into science is doing it a service? What has happened in the Climategate scandal is that, indeed, pretty strong politics are heavily involved, and climate science is all the more discredited for it. Hulme makes no secret about it that he is a fully paid up member of the Labour Party for 19 years, and is riding the tiger of ‘climate change’ to further his socialist ends, and that Ravetz gave him the idea and the ammunition.

  7. 8 tallbloke November 30, 2009 at 10:52 am

    “First of all, ‘normal’ science must be destroyed, then a new science can be introduced which serves the political agenda of the Greens and the hard left.”

    In the case of climate science, the ‘normal scientists’ have done a pretty good job of destroying the credibility of ‘normal science’ themselves. They hitched themselves to a political agenda, and have reaped what they sowed. Or maybe you’d contend that they are ‘post-normal scientists’ masquerading as ‘normal scientists’?

    [ScientistForTruthmany climate scientists are still operating as ‘normal’ scientists: these are the ones who are being marginalized (and they are not all ‘sceptics’: for example Roger Pielke Sr is pretty neutral). The dirty dealing has been done by those who would masquerade as ‘normal’ scientists to get the benefits therefrom, while operating with a different agenda (not in every case ‘post-normal’, but a perversion of ‘normal’) to get one over everyone else before they realize. Mike Hulme, as you can see in the post, is now candid enough to admit that climate science is operating post-normally, and that the IPCC process is post-normal. The thing is, many of the contributors and authors, many of the journalists and politicians, and certainly most of the public believe this is a process and a body working along the venerable lines of ‘normal’ science. Somebody should have blown the whistle on this long ago and educated the contributors, the media and the politicians that the IPCC process was not about matters of fact and truth: it was NOT speaking truth to power, it was speaking what power wanted it to speak. So many politicians and advocates such as Al Gore appeal to the IPCC as some kind of ‘authority’ as if it were the best of ‘normal’ science. The truth of it is that what comes out of the IPCC process is nothing like ‘normal’ science, but it is being sold as if it were.]

    The practice of science has always happened in a social context which shapes the direction and motivation of scientists. Only scientists deny this, because of their self delusion about their level of objectivity. At least Ravetz’ analysis makes this explicit, even though the observation isn’t original. It is up to us how we make use of his insight and analysis. PNS is up for grabs.

    [ScientistForTruthno one can be totally objective, that is true: we all have certain presuppositions. But because scientists are not particularly aware of their presuppositions, that is no excuse to introduce deliberate partisanship. Surely the answer is to ensure that scientists can’t qualify without having completed some courses in philosophy and history, including the philosophy of science, the history of science, philosophy and religion, logic, epistemology and ethics. Scientists who know little or nothing about those topics are basically ignorant and arrogant prattlers. ]

    For every group of ‘post-normal scientists’ trying to manipulate the science one way, there are a hundred bloggers and independent researchers practising their own kind of ‘post-normal science’ pushing against them. They don’t fall neatly into left right categories either.

    Post-normal science (lower case) isn’t a political movement, it’s simply the state of affairs in some scientific fields.

    Personally, I think it’s largely a sorting of wheat from chaff issue on both sides of the climate debate. Climate science will move forward by:

    1) Debunking the over-extension of claims about the effects of this or that climate factor.

    2) Learning more about the inter-relation of those factors and their relative importance.

    That is or should be the work of normal science. Let the commentators commentate all they want.

    [ScientistForTruthI can agree with some of that. As I see it, determining whether a change is anything other than natural variation, the extent of those changes, and their likely causes, are very much the remit of ‘normal’ science. I don’t think we should countenance ‘post-normal’ activities and massive political machinations (such as we now have) until ‘normal’ science has given answers to those. It is nowhere near giving an answer to those, and the work of the IPCC and the scurrilous activity of The Team who have been manipulating the science has simply set back ever getting answers to those questions, and has possibly irreparably damaged science into the bargain.]

  8. 9 tallbloke November 30, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    I can agree with some of that.

    Good, because I agree with pretty much everything you’ve written in this last post. Except this:

    I don’t think we should countenance ‘post-normal’ activities and massive political machinations (such as we now have) until ‘normal’ science has given answers to those. It is nowhere near giving an answer to those

    It not a matter of countenancing it, it’s happening from both sides whether we like it or not, and while this is unfavourable to the signal/noise ratio, we shouldn’t ignore it or pretend it’s not happening. We should let those who wish to fight fire with fire get on with it, and be happy for them to use the results of the normal science we produce to do it, along with their other ‘extended facts’ (Al Gore is a jetsetting hypocrite, Michael Mann has his head upside down etc).

    I agree that the climate situation is non-urgent and therefore shouldn’t qualify for Ravetzian ‘special measures’, but since the other camp does, and they have had the ear of government, there is no choice but to enter the fray, or at least support those willing to.

    Ravetz taught me some of my history and philosophy of science, so I emailed him and got a reply.

    He says is a great PNS site, and that your criticism is valuable to him because it told him he hadn’t emphasized key factors such as integrity well enough. He also asked my opinion about what would become of science in the wake of the climategate scandal. It’s clear that he is re-evaluating his assumptions about the ‘normal’ climate science too.

    Every good scientist should be prepared to re-evaluate assumptions, follow the data, and be prepared to let the chips fall where they may. Politicians on the other hand, like their five year plan, and hate admitting past errors. It’s an essential tension in the relationship between truth and power.

    The synthesis of this Hegelian dialectical opposition lies in the action of informed PNS blogosphere to kick the collective arses of the rotten institutional scientists and rotten politicians and help get science back on track.

    Interesting times indeed.

  9. 10 Katabasis December 5, 2009 at 10:51 pm


    “I agree that the climate situation is non-urgent and therefore shouldn’t qualify for Ravetzian ’special measures’, but since the other camp does, and they have had the ear of government, there is no choice but to enter the fray, or at least support those willing to.”

    Could you specify further what you mean by this; I’m not sure what your position is, especially re: Climategate and – from what I gather the apparent twisting of Ravetz’s philosophy by the likes of Hulme et al.

    [SFT: The quoted text was ‘Tallbloke’s’ comment, so he must answer himself]

  10. 11 chris December 7, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    great post. PNS scares the [snip] out of me i’m afraid, it really is the death of ‘real’ science as you suggest. did you notice the file ‘therulesofthegame.pdf’ in the a ‘communication manual’ that i found to be by far the worst thing about the whole ‘climategate’ event. most rational folks already suspected most of what has come out but that document was a brainwashing manual (a uk government mandated brainwashing manual whose buzzwords appear all over uk gov websites in various forms). various updated versions of this document are also available and the shifts in emphasis as the ‘rules’ evolved is particularly interesting. for instance in its next incarnation ‘newrulesnewgame.pdf’ use of fear is no longer recommended however it encourages ‘labelling people’. both these docs are available on the website of Futerra, the ‘sustainable communication company’ who was hired by uk gov to create ‘the rules’.

    some choice rules:

    1. Challenging habits of climate change communication
    Don’t rely on concern about children’s future or human
    survival instincts
    Recent surveys show that people without children may care moreabout climate change than those with children. “Fight or flight” humansurvival instincts have a time limit measured in minutes – they are of
    little use for a change in climate measured in years.

    Don’t create fear without agency
    Fear can create apathy if individuals have no ‘agency’ to act uponthe threat. Use fear with great caution.

    Don’t attack or criticise home or family
    It is unproductive to attack that which people hold dear.

    2. Forget the climate change detractors
    Those who deny climate change science are irritating, but
    unimportant. The argument is not about if we should deal with climate change, but how we should deal with climate change.

    18. The context affects everything
    The prioritisation of these principles must be subject to ongoing assessments of the UK climate change situation.

    19. The communications must be sustained over time
    All the most successful public awareness campaigns have beensustained consistently over many years.

    20. Partnered delivery of messages will be more
    Experience shows that partnered delivery is often a key component for projects that are large, complex and have many stakeholders.

    stakeholder (maybe ‘comrade’ is what they mean?) seems to be almost as critical a buzzword for these folks as ‘sustainable’ ie pre-industrial. when i brought ‘the rules of the game’ to the attention of a friend of mine he directed me towards the lingua tertii imperii wiki page:

    ‘It underlines odd constructions of words intended to give a “scientific” or neutral aspect to otherwise heavily engaged discourses, as well as significant every-day behaviour.’

    ‘LTI shows a German language twisted into a Newspeak-like language. It also demonstrates how the new language came to be naturally spoken by most of the population. On the reverse, the text also emphasizes the idea that resistance to oppression begins by questioning the constant use of buzzwords. Both the book and its author unexpectedly survived the war. LTI was first published in 1947 in Germany.’

    the rules mentioned above are still in play, rule 2 crops up a lot in comments sections i’ve read recently. As a result of loving the book Dune by Frank Herbert (and reading a little history) i’m of the opinion that jihad/crusade/holy war is the single most powerful motivational force in human society.

    i disagree that the only answer to PNS is to adopt its method to counter its use. those who advocate PNS seem to have been insanely brazen to my mind and it hinges on underestimating ‘the masses’ and control of information in the internet age. neither of which are traditionally successful policies.

    ‘resistance to oppression begins by questioning the constant use of buzzwords’ victor klemperer

  11. 12 Jan December 10, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    We need to be pragmatic and clear in our approaches in science. We do face complexity and the connectedness of things is a difficult thing to work with. More reason to keep debate robust and to consider all options. No reason for sloppy science though! Thanks for the blog.

  12. 13 Jason Kravitz December 11, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Let me guess, this article was written by a Republican that has had his head buried in the sand regarding this since the beginning. You wouldnt want your “drill baby drill” theme song to go by the way side would you? No need for alternative energy as oil use emits oxygen that we need to breathe rather than CO2 emitted by automobiles/coal plants that choke us right? Alarming rates of upper respiratory illness but it is not human caused? The article above is a typical calculated political move just in time for the elections.

    I have an undergraduate in Natural Resource Management and received the education far before Gore came on the scene or any of these environmental groups in which I have participated. I worked for Rocky Mountain National Park more than 13 years ago when from minturn you could see the brown cloud encroaching from the overpopulated front range. The one thing Obama has done is chose experts in their fields not ones that agree with his agenda. Unlike the right-wingers that come into office thinking they know everything and will not take any advice from anyone if it goes against what they “know,” Obama will at least reach across the aisle and listen and retool a program accordingly if necesssary.

    He’s far less arrogant than his predecessor. If there is anything we should learn we should refrain from depending on the government and make our own decisions. If you do crossfit, and think that working out should extend beyond just the one hour or so you expend each day and would like to break your workout into a discontinuous process throughout the day then ride your bike to work rather than doing your part to keep your carbon footprint low; do it for your health!

    ScientistForTruth responds

    No, not a Republican; not even an American; and have no idea what elections you are talking about. This post is about the corruption of science: it has nothing to do with the politics of any nation state.

  13. 14 lnocsifan December 13, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    I had anticipated a very different “Death of Science” from the one you depict. You are writing about the bastardization of scientists for political ends, and the seeming willingness of many to comply with unbelievable amounts of enthusiasm. I was thinking about the public reaction to scientists committing fraud for research grant purposes, and the upcoming difficulty scientists will face in the future with grant requests. The first question on the new grant application will be: “Are you making up data to alarm the grant reviewers so we will provide you with even more funding than you asked for?” Skepticism will become the mainstay, instead of a trust that scientists seek truth over money. They will be seen like everybody else on the take. In that type of environment, grant funding will dry up, both private and public. CRU and the other conspirators have done irreparable harm to the future of science.

    ScientistForTruth responds

    You are quite right. This corrosion will instill a greater degree of mistrust of science. But science is not doing itself any favours – have you noticed how so many climate scientists have been closing ranks around the climate scammers? They are defending them and adopting the ‘nothing to see here, move along’ attitude, and not taking this matter seriously. It is like painting over corrosion to cover it, which doesn’t stop the corrosion at all and only allows it to go on untreated to do worse damage. These scientists are like dodgy used car salesman trying to cover up, hide evidence, and pull a fast one. Until they are rounded on by the wider scientific community and left hanging out to dry this rot will continue until the whole of science collapses. One other dangerous thing about this climate scam is the degree to which the media have conspired with the scientists. Bad scientists. Bad journalists.

    I was reading a comment on another blog recently where a scientist was bemoaning that his funds were cut off when he produced findings that did not support Anthropogenic Global Warming. When he asked what the conditions were for further funding, it was a sine qua non that the research had to demonstrate AGW and the deleterious effect it was having. If research funding has prescriptive conditions like that, then all scientific papers will of course espouse AGW, whether the findings actually support it or not – evidence will be faked to support it, and honest scientists will leave the field. As in economics, bad money drives out good.

  14. 15 اس ام اس عاشقانه December 15, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    the blog is good i like it very much

  15. 16 calumog December 24, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Just a general comment. I have just discovered your blog and I feel that Christmas has come (half an hour) early. Excellent work. I shall look forward to visiting here much more in the new year.

  16. 17 David January 4, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Since retiring at the beginning of December last year, I have been avidly following both the ‘rubbishing’ of the Copenhagen ‘summit’, and many other websites dedicated to the REAL truth about so-called ‘global warming’.
    Having found your site, not only am I truly impressed with the depth of your scientific argument, but am absolutely terrified by your exposure of the systematic and deliberate misleading and scaring tactics by the ‘warming’ lobby. It is actually far worse than I thought. It amounts to an attempt to take over the world.
    I have taken the step of writing to the British Tory Party (Gordon Brown, the present Prime Minister, is FAR too brainwashed) advising them to ‘step away’ from the matter – and advising them to read your website. There is hope for us all if they take heed.
    I have read all your recent posts with great interest, and look forward to more of the same..!

  17. 18 DennisA January 4, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    I am pleased to read your comment. I don’t wish to disillusion you, but I have written to David Cameron on many occasions and merely get a reply back from his PA at the time, confrming that the Tories believe “Climate Change” is the biggest problem facing the globe and sending me a copy of the Tories’ Energy Policy, bearing a striking resemble to policies from Friends of the Earth. He is in thrall to WWF and Greenpeace and strives to outdo Gordon Brown in his claims of how much he is going to cut back on emissions. In addition, his front bench team has members involved in publicly subsidised “green” projects. I doubt he ever reads anything in detail and has set his policy regardless of the contrary evidence, including the direct observation of climate over the last few years.

    I am afraid you will receive no encouragement there.

    ScientistForTruth responds

    I’m afraid the three main parties in the UK are trying to out-do each other as to who has the greenest credentials. There’s no debate or questions being answered. This is a failure of the democratic process.

    However, the mainstream media did their best to ignore Climategate, hoping it would go away, and all that happened is that it exploded on the blogosphere. This has weakened the MSM as a source of reliable information – they shot themselves in the foot: people now realize that the MSM are part of the problem. There are some in the media that are cottoning on to the fact that climate change is a scam and are starting to expose it, and when that happens it will develop its own momentum. It is ultimately a lie, and will not stand the test of time.

  18. 19 Michael H Anderson January 4, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Wonderful juxtapostion here:

    chris: “resistance to oppression begins by questioning the constant use of buzzwords”.

    Jason Kravitz: “Republican”; “drill baby drill”; “right-wingers”; “carbon footprint”.

    Good job Jason, keeping up the illiberal tradition of browbeating your intellectual superiors with empty BUZZWORDS.

  19. 20 Emmie January 9, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    “It is ultimately a lie, and will not stand the test of time.”

    I think not!! Lets face it people, truth in todays highjacked and manipulated ‘science’ is dead!! “Any criticism of the powers that be (the Scientific Dictatorship) will be (IS) psychologically impossible” – Bertrand Russell

    From the insistance that everyone should drink many pints of (chlorinated and flurodated) water each day to stay healthy – wash out the toxins (lol) to the acceptance (through lifelong indoctrination) of serfdom, packaged as saving the earth, we are well and truly stuffed!!

    This is an excerpt from a speech by Aldous Huxley given in 1962. Applause from the attendant ‘elite’s’ was deafening….

    ..”I’m inclined to think that the ‘Scientific Dictatorships’ of the future – and I think there are going to be Scientific Dictatorships in many parts of the world – will be probably a good deal nearer to the ‘Brave New World’ pattern than to the (George Orwells) 1984 pattern. They will be a good deal nearer, not because of any humanitarian qualms in the Scientific Dictators but simply because the ‘Brave New World’ pattern is a good deal more efficient than the other.

    If you can get people to consent to the state of affairs in which they are living – the status of servitude, the state of being, well, it seems to me that the nature of the ultimate revolution with which we are now faced is precisely this – that we are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy – who have always existed and presumably always will exist – to get people to actually love their servitude.

    A people can be made to enjoy a state of affairs which by any decent standard they aught not to enjoy and these methods are, I think, a real refinement of the older methods of terror because they combine methods of terror with methods of acceptance.

    But then there are the various other methods one can think of. There is, for example, the pharmacological method – this is one of the things I talked about in ‘Brave New World’ and the result would be that – I mean, you can imagine a euphoric which would make people thoroughly happy even in the most abominal circumstances – I mean these things are possible…..”

    Bertrand Russell said the following…
    .” The impact of Science on Society”
    “The injections and injunctions will combine fom a very early age to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable. – And any serious criticism of the powers that be will be psychologically impossible”


    “Western populations would accept serfdom if it was packaged as saving the earth”

    Sorry people – Truth in science is broken! There is no turning back – it’s too late – unless we have a Russian style revolution with every person in every city of the world on the streets searching for and doing away with the ‘controlling oligarchy’ – the ‘scientific dictators’

  20. 21 David Shipley January 27, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Thank you. A very interesting and shocking essay. I had not realised how heavily Hulme has implicated himself in this premeditated abuse of the scientific process – let’s hope the two inquiries are able to understand how far back the problems go. It makes Lysenko look like an amateur.

    History will look very unkindly on Postmodernism in all its manifestations, as a profoundly destructive and destabilising influence on literature, the visual arts, scientific integrity and political behaviour. It is a grim irony that the people who most enthusiastically peddle their relativism are those who are most oppressive towards opposing viewpoints which, by their own standards, should be of equal value. I never understand why collectivist politicians (and, apparently scientists) are described as being “liberal” when even in the pub they are anything but liberal.

    PS I think tallbloke has a point about Jerry Ravetz. Whether you think it is opportunism or not, I can say categorically that he is now on what you and I would call the “right side” of this discussion, although it will be interesting to see whether the reasons he gives soften your view of him.

  21. 22 Brian February 8, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Re: “Ravetz on the right side of the discussion”, Maybe we need Ravetz to set Hume straight. This situation is going to get uglier before it clears up. And we need good people on the right side to make a stand. I’m a red blooded American “normal” scientist and I can’t sit this one out.

    Thank you SciForTruth for your efforts.

  22. 23 Pete February 10, 2010 at 3:46 am

    Elizabeth, I came over from WUWT today following a link on a guest post by J R Ravetz.

    You are now in my bookmarks and I thank you for the time and effort you put into this post. You cleared the mist from my mind and I am grateful.

    ScientistForTruth replies

    Many thanks for your encouragement. However, I’m not ‘Elizabeth’ – I’m decidedly male!

  23. 24 Drew February 10, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Strange how the world works.

    I found your excellent article just yesterday, and today find it’s relevance over at WUWT, like Pete above, but the other way round.

    Having never contributed a comment at WUWT before, despite being a regular reader, today I felt compelled to, in order to point out your article as an antidote to the many comments appearing to fall for the post modern “non-science is valid” argument.

    I look forward to reading your future posts.

  24. 25 wormthatturned February 10, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    I think there is a comparison between “normal science /post normal science” and “accuracy /precision” in analytical chemistry.

    Normal science is the search for scientific truth (‘accuracy’ or ‘trueness’) and post normal science is more obsessed with reproducibility of results to the detriment of truth and reality (‘precision’).

    “In post-normal science, the maintenance and enhancement of quality, rather than the establishment of factual knowledge, is the key task of scientists… Involved social actors must agree on the definition of perceptions, narratives, interpretation of models, data and indicators…scientists have to contribute to society by learning as quickly as possible about different perceptions…instead of seeking deep ultimate knowledge.”

  25. 26 Oliver K. Manuel February 10, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Thank you, thank you for this excellent site.

    The sad fact is just this, and nothing less:

    An international alliance of politicians, publishers, and news media have formed a secret and unholy union to use science as a propaganda tool to control people.

    The cartoon illustrates the dilemma faced by every scientist.

    This is the situation that former President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address to the nation:

    “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.”

    1. It is no mere coincident when –

    the BBC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Nature, Science, the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, the US National Academy of Sciences, major newspapers, APS, ACS, AGU, major research institutions and universities, the Norwegian Nobel Committee, NASA, DOE, the UN’s IPCC, Al Gore, George Bush, Barack Obama, and the Met Office –

    are all distributing the same misinformation:

    2. Neutron repulsion – a nuclear energy source that is greater than fusion (H-bomb) or fission (A-bomb)- powers the Sun and generates solar luminosity, solar neutrinos and solar wind Hydrogen in the exact proportions observed – despite falsehoods from the above group [“Neutron repulsion confirmed as energy source”, Journal of Fusion Energy 20 (2002) 197-201].

    Click to access jfe-neutronrep.pdf

    3. The Sun is not a ball of Hydrogen – despite the NASA fiction that is distributed by our most prestigious research journals and the news media [“The Sun is a plasma diffuser that sorts atoms by mass”, Physics of Atomic Nuclei 69 (2006) 1847-1856]:

    4. Solar neutrinos do not oscillate away – despite the DOE funded distortions published by one of the leading physics journals with more than 175 co-authors. [Bureaucrats do not realize that 175 real scientists will never have the same interpretation of a signal that is accompanied by an unknown background signal]:

    5. Man-made CO2 does not control Earth’s variable climate. Earth’s heat source – the variable Sun quite naturally produces Earth’s variable climate [“Earth’s heat source – the Sun”, Energy & Environment 20 (2009) 131-144:

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Emeritus Professor
    Nuclear & Space Sciences
    Former NASA PI for Apollo

  26. 27 tomfarmer February 11, 2010 at 2:28 am

    @SFT responds
    This post is about the corruption of science: it has nothing to do with the politics of any nation state.

    well-written blog, thank you.

    In the content you cite Copenhagen March 12, 2009 conference data which would appear to oblige some implementation of President G. W. Bush’s (second administration as I recall) call for a simple straightforward narrative for politicians etc of the large IPCC Report. Commonly taken to be akin Executive Summary in suitable language.

    My interest lies in whether these two are tied. Perhaps the Copenhagen information no less than a corporately implemented form to accomodate the reported presidential request.

    Response, ideas welcome

    ScientistForTruth responds

    The conference in March 2009 was preparatory to the December COP15 meeting, looking at what had changed since AR4 was published in 2007.

    See here

    I don’t like Wikipedia except as a starting point for one’s own research. Here is their page.

  27. 28 Kendra February 11, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I too discovered your site through WUWT. I was immediately attracted to the article there, as I have only recently discovered there really was a term Post Normal Science.

    I’d previously identified in a vague sort of way that a post-modern attitude seemed to be present in quite a lot that I’ve seen (started investigating AGW / ACC almost 2 years ago), so I was delighted to see this analysis (including the explanation of the terms).

    I’ll be back for sure!

  28. 29 PhilJourdan February 11, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Ditto Kendra. These refrerrals from other sites show the power of the Internet in checking the power of mainstream outlets that no longer do their job, but instead rely on a system of indoctrination to convert others to their point of view.

    I dare say that when I first read Revetz’s article on WUWT, I thought he had a good point. However, in reading the comments, and then an excellent explanation by Paul Dennis at Harmonic Oscilations, my opinions has changed radically. Your piece pre-dates all of this and provides an even better analysis of what PNS is, and for that I thank you.

    I will be back to read more.

  29. 30 David S February 11, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Thanks for the reference to Paul Dennis. He really has got off to a cracking start.

  30. 31 DennisA February 11, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    For an idea of Mike Hulme’s input to climate scares, have a look at this selection of Press releases from Tyndall from 2000:

    For more on social manipulation check here:

  31. 32 Oliver K. Manuel February 12, 2010 at 11:48 am

    With an obvious bias that nuclear energy ultimately heats the Earth, the Sun and sustains life, I offer the following names of knowledgeable reviewers that might serve on the new enquiry panel being organized by the University of East Anglia or to replace of Dr. Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief of Nature, on the enquiry panel chaired by Sir Muir Russell to investigate claims that scientists covered up and/or distorted data on global temperatures.

    1. Dr. Stephen O. Dean, editor, Journal of Fusion Energy.

    2. Dr. Tibor Braun, editor, Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry.

    3. Professor Freeman Dyson of Princeton University.

    4. Dr. David Whitehouse, science news reporter.

    5. Dr. Benny Peiser, editor of CCN, Cambridge Conference Network.

    6. Lord Nigel Lawson, Chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation and former Chancellor of the Exchequer.

    7. Dr. Yurii G. Abov, editor, Physics of Atomic Nuclei (Yadernaya Fizika).

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Emeritus Professor of
    Nuclear & Space Sciences
    Former NASA PI for Apollo

  32. 33 Fred Smith February 15, 2010 at 2:04 am

    Like Kendra I had not heard the term “post normal science” before, although concepts like this are common in the environmental field. I was surprised at Ravetz’s earlier writings but would not rule out the possibility that he might truly have joined the Bright Side of the Force. Certainly, my history suggests that possibility.

    As an operations researcher (a leftie technocrat to be more precise), I too went through my “science is a tool to bring about social justice” phase. I “modeled” a sector of the US paper industry to “prove” that markets were failing to “realize the optimal level of recycling.” But, along the way, I found out much about the actual efficiency of that sector of the economy.

    As an EPA analyst, I also became more acquainted with the actual operations of the political system. Initially, I like several other EPA “analysts,” was an aggressive advocate for green taxes to save our planet. But, slowly, I became aware that our policies were rather simplistic and rarely science-based (this was the period when Superfund and Synfuels were enacted).

    I doubt if my situation was that unique. Many young people, especially arrogant intellectuals, succumb to Hayek’s Fatal Conceit temptation. Working to achieve Heaven on Earth (or, in the Green variant, preventing Hell on Earth) is pretty exciting to utopian idealists.

    My goal was to do all in my power to ensure that EPA increased its power, that as many environmental laws as possible would be enacted as soon as possible. Public ignorance, constitutional constraints, the weakness of theory and data – all mere impediments to the better world that could be — if only the political will could be mustered.

    But, my modeling experience led me away from self-convincing simplifications of reality; my EPA experiences made me all too aware that the failures of concentrated political power were far greater than those exercised by the dispersed power of business. Perhaps, Ravetz has undergone a similar experience.

    Let us hope so, because the poison of PNS ideas has long distorted environmental policy. America spent some $500 million to study acid rain – and when the answer came up “wrong” – enacted a sulfur dioxide cap-and-trade system anyway (after all, it was a “market mechanism”). EPA pushed “toxic” control legislation on the basis that large quantities of some materials handled carelessly could harm people. Little consideration was given to the possibility that, used properly, such materials could reduce far more risks than the controls would entail.

    As but one example, an EPA Administrator, William Ruckelshaus, elected to ban DDT. His decision was based on the need to strengthen EPA’s credibility – making DDT a “toxic” substance would link environmental issues with public health. Green advocacy(Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”), disregard of skeptics, political pressures — all themes revealed again in the current debate.

    The US ban – permeating through US and other global agencies – contributed to the resurgence of malaria and the deaths of millions, a tragedy that continues to this day. Global warming justified energy rationing would have had a vastly greater toll.

    The peoples of the world owe thanks to that handful of individuals who worked to expose the fraudulent nature of global warming “science”.

    Fred Smith

  33. 34 berniel February 22, 2010 at 1:31 am

    Thanks for this background on PNS. I followed your lead from Ravetz’s WUWT paper. It helps to explain Hulme and Tindall Centre etc. And Ravetz’s manoveuring to shoe-horn the now exposed corruption of climate science into his theory also explains Hulme’s strange ambivilence to ordinary ‘normal’ science – which must be so far away from what he sees practiced at UAE in the last decade.

    What is clear is that PNS has been used to justify the involvement of advocacy and advocacy groups, and the process of science. The idea of PNS could operate as a panacea to outrage for insiders to the corruption of normal science in the generation of the IPCC reports.

    My question is: how much is this a problem of PNS or of its abuse? I ask the same question about the anti-psychiatry movement (R D Laing etc) and a policy interpretation of it where the loonies end up on the streets or in the gaols. At the moment I think Ravetz has more to answer for than R D Laing. But we should also give him credit for admitting that he first took the kool-aid – and then woke up in Climategate. Yes, we could see his WUWT article as a trojan horse, but I dont think we need be so suspicious, and we wont get our hands burn if we pass the olive branch.

  34. 35 Bernie February 22, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    I assume you are Kevin. If so, I have ordered your book on Elizabeth Bury.
    Like others I found your blog via WUWT. I urge you to contact Anthony, if you have not done so already, and continue the dialogue there. I believe it is very important that as many people as possible understand the worldviews that pervade climate science and that serve to justify and/or explain the confirmation bias that needs to be controlled in much of the research in this area.

    PNS, IMHO, has little to do with science and serves to obscure what the basic issues are. Alas, Ravetz has done little to improve the clarity of his original position and argument in Part 2 of his essay. When your concepts, vocabulary and nomenclature confuse rather than clarify, it is time to return to concrete examples. In my mind, the facts of climategate largely speak for themselves and there is no need to resort to more complex constructs to explain some of the disappointing, unprofessional and unscientific (normal science that is) behavior on the part of key actors. The notion that the uncertain effectiveness of specific policy recommendations somehow legitimizes the hiding, masking or denial of those same uncertainties is flat out wrong and largely indicative of a “con job” in process.

    Many thanks for adding such clarity to the debate.

    ScientistForTruth responds

    Many thanks for your encouragement.

  35. 36 Oliver K. Manuel February 22, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    I agree.

    Jerry Ravetz’s Post-Normal Science (PNS) has been a disaster!

    Peer-review has been used as a tool to limit limit funds and publications to points of view that are endorsed by ~ 99% of the reviewers, i.e., to consensus science.

    The late Dr. Michael Crichton’s had a much better understanding of science:

    “Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

    There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”

    –Michael Crichton, The Caltech Michelin Lecture, 17 January 2003

  36. 37 berniel February 22, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    I have done a bit of research – and now want to do more.
    I now take back what I said above:
    “Yes, we could see his WUWT article as a trojan horse, but I dont think we need be so suspicious, and we wont get our hands burn if we pass the olive branch.”

    I agree with the other Bernie above. It would help for WUWT folks to understand the involvement of PNS in justifying the corruption of ‘normal’ science by activism. Yes, this is every bit like a trojan horse! I remember the marxists used to call it cooptation – on that basis they took over such things as our food coop so as to turn a bunch of soy drinkers into a revolutionary organ.

    This PNS is a fasinating link between 1. the old academic marxist crew moving into environmental philosphy and 2. Activist science of the Hockey Team type. Hulme is the link – and what an extraordinary beast he is. I an trying to get his book. I have already read a number of Ravetz articles. And I will now read WUWT Ravetz pt 2. Is yours the only critique critique of PN Climate science? Please point to some more.

    What players they are Ravetz and Hulme!…so quickly jumping from the the disaster scene, brush themselves off, and jump into the commentary box as though they were not complicit in the whole disaster.

    Here is Hulme on Dot Earth (NYT)
    “It is also possible that the institutional innovation that has been the I.P.C.C. has run its course. Yes, there will be an AR5 but for what purpose? The I.P.C.C. itself, through its structural tendency to politicize climate change science, has perhaps helped to foster a more authoritarian and exclusive form of knowledge production – just at a time when a globalizing and wired cosmopolitan culture is demanding of science something much more open and inclusive.”

    ScientistForTruth responds

    I’m not aware of any in-depth critique of PNS, and my own is just a blog post before Climategate blew up as I was trying to understand the epistemology of the nonsense we were hearing inn the debate. I struggled to find any solid assessment in the literature: I could find plenty about Ravetz from his writings, and from Hulme his acolyte, of course, and let them hang themselves by their own words.

    I do find this particularly worrying. When Merton, Kuhn, Popper et al published their work there was (and still is) healthy debate. However, Ravetz’s PNS has been adopted without so much as a whisper. It found its way into climate science long ago – for example, Bray and Von Storch wrote a paper in 1999 in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society Climate Science: An Empirical Example of Postnormal Science

    Funtowicz and Ravetz (1990b) applied their concept of postnormal science to global warming (greenhouse) research, pointing in particular to the level of uncertainty regarding baseline and empirical data in regard to global warming and to the fact that climate science, at the same time, is at risk of distortion by political power plays, ideological conflicts, and differences both internal and external to the scientific community. They suggest that researchers with different academic credentials will also impose different views.

    They report this as all pretty usual, as elsewhere they make the case that

    The products of the science were not politically or socially charged, and climate science might typically have been perceived as valuefree curiosity driven research…however, interestingly enough, this has not necessarily been the historical case in climate sciences…at least in some cases, the interaction of science and politics has a long history, and climate science is no exception.

    and they note (from Jasanoff and Wynne, 1998)

    Funtowicz and Ravetz…saw a region of postnormal science, where scientific experts share the field of knowledge production with amateurs, such as stakeholders, media professionals, and even theologians or philosophers.

    I have read a lot of Ravetz and he certainly identifies climate science as a postnormal science, as of course does Mike Hulme, the Tyndall Centre, and scores of climate scientists. Ravetz provided the philosophical basis (and is cited thus in the IPCC process and reports) and ‘gravitas’, if you will, for allowing advocacy groups, Marxists and the media to generate a postmodern form of knowledge and call it ‘science’. Hulme freely admits as much, and is very happy with the outcome since he can use it to advance his personal aspirations and socialist political agenda.

    In doing research into Ravetz’s influence in the IPCC process I found that the IPCC relied upon Ravetz’s idea of ‘extended peer review’ to justify allowing advocacy groups such as Greenpeace into the process.

  37. 38 Lucy Skywalker February 23, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    I want to write another article … something like “Real Science, Normal Science and Post Normal Science”… IMO the Trojan Horse sits at stage 2 not stage 3.

    Thank you ScientistForTruth, and thank you for your moniker Elizabeth Bury. It has been an enlightening afternoon.

  38. 39 Hey Presto February 23, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    The article is excellent, but I feel it would be more effective without the political marxist/leftist/socialist antagonism.

    Although I agree, and see your point, I feel the article could have reached a wider audience with a stricter focus on science, without making it a left/right issue.

    As we know, the mainstream media is skeptical of attacks on the leftist view of the world.

    But there might still be room for a more clinical attack on contemporary science.

  39. 40 Mike Davis February 23, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    This entire issue brings up the association of climate alarmism with Cult and such “pseudo-scientific” groups as astrologer and palm readers. Such terms as Parapsychology, Theosophy, Occultism, and Metaphysics come to mind. Post Normal Science fits the pattern so can be included in that group.
    I took training and was a practitioner in those fields in the 70s so I am able to see the similarities.

  40. 41 Oliver K. Manuel February 23, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Post Normal Science is PostMortem Science. But underground science is alive.

    One example that may be of interest is the Yahoo Group, “Neutron Repulsion: An Alternative Energy,” moderated by Kirt Griffin.

    To subscribe, go to


    Or send e-mail to:


    Here are a few of the fundamental truths under consideration there:

    01. The lightest element is Hydrogen (H), element #1. Helium (He) is the next lightest one, element #2. The top of the solar atmosphere is 91% H and 9% He. These same lightweight elements cover the surfaces of most stars.

    02. The Sun discards 50,000 billion metric ton of H each year in the solar wind. If the Standard Solar Model (SSM) were correct, then the Sun discards its own fuel.

    03. Gravity is a nuclear force; almost all atomic mass is in the nucleus.

    04. Visible light comes from changes in energy levels of atomic electrons.

    05. Neutrons have no atomic electrons.

    06. In neutron decay, matter changes from invisible => visible.

    07. In neutron decay, the volume increases by a factor of ~10^15.

    08. On Earth a neutron decays to a hydrogen atom in ~ 10 min, n => H.

    09. In a strong gravitational field the process is reversed, H => n.

    10. Neutron repulsion is indicated in every nucleus at Z/A = 0 from nuclear rest mass data plotted against charge density, Z/A.

    11. There is no Coulomb barrier to neutron emission – a nuclear decay mode that occurs promptly in Earth’s weak gravitational field, e.g., in neutron-rich isotopes like Br-87 and I-137.

    12. A strong gravitational field is a barrier to neutron emission, just as . . .

    13. A strong Coulomb field is a barrier to alpha emission from U-238.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Emeritus Professor of
    Nuclear & Space Sciences
    Former NASA PI for Apollo

  41. 42 berniel February 24, 2010 at 1:41 am

    OK, so where do you want to take this?

    You seem to have enough information here, and in your WUWT comments, to put together an article that would be of broad interest at this time of the debate. Would you be interested in doing this? (If not you, then others (Lucy?) or I could have a go – but I would need to catch up to you!) What I think would work is something non-partisan in style. Here – if you dont mind – is a suggested outline:


    Open with the notion of science as ‘praxis’ as developed and practiced by Marxist social scientist so as to follow ‘Thesis 11’ etc. Say how this was mostly restricted to the social science and up until the 1980s. But then ask: Could such an approach to science have then been taken up in the natural sciences?…this is what we would like to explore….

    1. What is PNS?
    – Name from Kuln, the definition of the supposed condition of being “post-”
    – A situation of ‘urgency’ and ‘uncertainty’ permits activism.
    – The leftie perspective: Corruption of the scientific process is permitted in the fighting against corporate polluters, big oil type vested interests etc – who are corrupting the science.
    2. Flip to Climate Change Science and show how corruption by activism is evident:
    – Institutional Licence: The Tindal Centre as an activist institution – teaching and researching climate CHANGE not climate science etc
    – Editorial Direction; Schneider, Houghton etc. von Storch’s advice to IPCC editors….etc
    – Evidence of apparent application of the licence to distort the science to create alarmism in Climategate
    – Glaciergate etc – IPCC reports openly ignoring peer review literature to cite activist literature.
    3. The evident links between PNS and Climate change activism (especially at Tindall and CRU)
    – Schneider, von Storch and Hulme – with big emphasis on the latter (2007 guardian article etc)

    Followed by analysis:
    4. What is PNS really permitting?
    – Acting on ignorance – PNS as anti-science
    – Example of application to Islamic science
    – Why climate change science was ripe for PNS to give legitimation its activist practices – to permit the corruption of science and the promotion of a pseudo science not driven by evidence but by an alarmist agenda

    Conclude with Hulme and Ravetz’s recent moves: Hulme to distance himself from IPCC corruption; Ravetz claiming the blogosphere sceptics as his extended peer community (rather than Greenpeace WWF etc).

    What da ya think?

    And may I add…
    This quote you found so concisely sums it all:

    The management of uncertainties is not just an academic issue but an urgent task for climate change policy formulation and action. Various vested interests may inhibit, delay, or distort public debate with the result that “procrastination is as real a policy option as any other, and indeed one that is traditionally favoured in bureaucracies; and inadequate information is the best excuse for delay” (Funtowicz and Ravetz, 1990).

    This explains precisely how this theory serves Climate Change science:

    Step 1 Alarmism as a precondition:
    Urgent action is required (let’s leave aside the various ways we come to this belief)
    Step 2 A recognition that this postion is actually not supported by the science.
    So now we have urgent action required in a situation of uncertainty.
    Step 3 There are opponents to urgent action with vested interests who argue the science, nit pick and distort it like well paid lawyers that dely action…potentially until it is too late c.f. the tobacco industry.
    Step 4 To combat this threat we to fight fire with fire, we need activist science.
    That’s it, and so corruption of scientific processes is morally legitimated.

  42. 43 Oliver K. Manuel February 24, 2010 at 12:43 pm


    First, we have to take time to contemplate reality:

    Our opponents have enormous resources to make certain that we do not expose the decades of filth and deception at the base of the Climategate iceberg: Modern science is now simply a tool of propaganda by those who would control the world.

    E.g., this brand new, slick, and persuasive propaganda sheet:

    “New NASA Web Page Sheds Light on Science of Warming World” at:

    http://www.jpl. news/news. cfm?release= 2010-062&cid=release_ 2010-062

    My earlier comments simply verify that astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, and nuclear physics have already been badly compromised.

    Hang in there, Berniel. We will hang separately or we will all hang together.

    Best wishes on the journey,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  43. 44 berniel February 26, 2010 at 12:56 am

    An interesting angle on this is to look at Schneider in the late 1980s struggling with the problem of forcing policy decisions on science that he recognised as uncertain. And then at the end of the 1990s (or before that?) he discover post-normal science as providing a way out.

    First comes the problem of uncertainty – and it is explicitly discussed as politically problematic:
    The famous “scary senarios” article (Oct 1989) was preceded by this major feature by Revkin.
    Note that Hansen is quoted with “99% certainty” but Schneider does not go with that.
    And consider another problem with uncertainty of prediction at the time, namely that Paul Ehrlich’s scary predictions were brought into question when he lost his wager with Julian Simon in 1990.
    Another option was John Houghton’s religious approach. He recognised that “if we want a good environmental policy in the future, we’ll have to have a disaster” In 1995 he suggests to the press ‘God…uses disasters’ and suggest that we are being punished for our sins. I am not sure that Schneider would be keen on running with that one either.
    So then at the end of the 1990s (or earlier?) he finds Ravetz with is manifesto for Science ‘after centuries of triumph and optimism’ to now “remedy the pathologies of the global industrial system of which it forms the basis” and to do so by a now methodology for science involving activism.

    ScientistFor Truth responds

    Thanks. I have amended a couple of typos in the quote from Houghton for accuracy. For the benefit of other readers, the quotes from Houghton were in the Sunday Telegraph, September 10, 1995. In context, Houghton said “God tries to coax and woo, but he also uses disasters. Human sin may be involved; the effect will be the same. If we want a good environmental policy in the future, we’ll have to have a disaster. It’s like safety on public transport. The only way humans will act is as if there’s been an accident.”

  44. 45 Oliver K. Manuel February 26, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Today’s news that IPCC’s Dr. Rajendra Pachauri is under investigation, reconciliatory messages of Professors Judith Curry and Jerome Ravetz on WUWT, and NASA’s new attitude of humility in its 5 Feb 2010 news release on the Solar Dynamics Observatory:

    – “We only want to work together with you now to find the truth about global warming and the role of the variable Sun in it” . . .

    . . . are, in my opinion, well coordinated acts of appeasement.

    The Climategate scandal has exposed the dark, shadowy outline of an international alliance of politicians [US’s Al Gore, UN’s Rajendra Pachauri, UK’s Tony Blair, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, Germany’s Angela Merkel, etc.], news media [BBC, PBS, CBS, CNN, Washington Post, New York Times, LA Times], public research agencies [NAS, NASA, EPA, DOE, etc], and research journals [Nature, Science, etc.] that seek to use science and scientists as a propaganda tool to save the world, after first getting in a position of control.

    I do not doubt that their goals were initially noble – to eliminate national boarders and thus save the world from mutual nuclear destruction – as were the goals of other self-appointed world rulers.

    Their immediate, short-term goal is preservation of their position of power. That will probably require them to appease climate critics ASAP, before the critics discover and insist on dismantling the research agencies that have manipulated data, public funds, and publications to hide these empirical facts:

    01. Anthropologic CO2 is no more dangerous than water. CO2 did not cause global warming. Earth’s heat source is the Sun, a variable star.

    02. Neutron repulsion – not Hydrogen fusion – powers the Sun and the cosmos. Nuclear rest mass data, when plotted against charge density, Z/A, reveals neutron repulsion in every nucleus. Neutron-emission from the solar core, followed by neutron-decay and partial fusion of the neutron decay product generates solar luminosity, solar neutrinos, and solar wind H in the proportions observed. H pouring from the surface of the Sun and other stars fills interstellar space with this waste product.

    03. The top of the solar atmosphere is 91% Hydrogen (H) and 9% Helium (He) because H is the lightest element (element #1) and He is the next lightest one (element #2). Solar mass fractionation is experimentally observed across isotopes (3 to 136 atomic mass units) in the solar wind and across s-products (25 to 207 amu) in the photosphere.

    04. The Sun discards 50,000 billion metric ton of H each year in the solar wind. If the Standard Solar Model (SSM) of a H-filled Sun were correct then the Sun is discarding its own fuel!

    05. Nuclear manner is mostly dissociating, rather than fusing together, in the Sun and in the cosmos. Gravity is a nuclear force, because almost all of the mass of each atom is in its nucleus. Dynamic competition between the long-range force of gravity and the short-range force of neutron repulsion powers the Sun and the universe.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Emeritus Professor
    Nuclear & Space Science
    Former NASA PI for Apollo

  45. 46 cbullitt February 28, 2010 at 1:28 am

    Just found this via a link from Simon at Australian Climate Madness. Stunning.
    Having Captain Carbon, Al Gore, admit AGW is the vehicle for establishing a global socialist regime is one thing. TO have one of the lead authors of, as EPA Chief Lisa Jackson laughably called it, “The gold standard” of climate science is quite another.
    Either he thinks Carbon Come is unstoppable because of the potential for trillionS to be extorted, or, as Mme. Sebastian said in Notorious, “We are protected by the enormity of (their) stupidity.”
    I hope the latter is correct.

  46. 47 Louis Hissink February 28, 2010 at 3:35 am

    Excellent summary of the AGW issue – I caught your blog via James Delingpole’s reference to it in one of his recent posts. I also read his Spectator article on Post Normal Science.

    I’ve concluded that, apart from the various usual suspects, that the Fabians and their cohort are running the AGW movement though I haven’t yet worked out how to combat it effectively.

    I’ve friends in the Australian Labour Party who confirmed my belief that AGW was first and foremost a means to force us to live in a more sustainable manner, (what ever that means)and that science really had nothing to do with it.

    I also realised during the middle 90’s that the Australian Native Title legislation was more about diminishing private property rights in Australia, than anything else, and it was introduced by the then prime minister, Paul Keating who is an Australian Fabian.

    Excellent post! I will refer to it in my Henry Thornton articles.

  47. 48 DennisA February 28, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    As the first poster on this, regarding Hulme and the Tyndall Centre, you may find the paper from which I drew the extract quite interesting, now reprinted at SPPI: Global Warming – the Social Construction of a Quasi-Reality?

  48. 49 John February 28, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Its been brewing like a stiff tea since the 1960s. Radical leftism in our schools / universities.. They have pumped out so many sleepers in the last 50 years that when GW Bush got power they went for the brass ring themselves..

    I have no idea how you fire 2/3s of our elite? I have no idea if we even can.. What a complete mess.. But we can start at kindergarten and work our way up to restore balance.. Its gonna take a lot of work and 20 years to reverse this damage..

    So many brainwashed kids… and sadly professionals..

  49. 50 james wilson February 28, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Eisenhower famously warned of the Military-Industrial complex in his farewell speech. Those most fond of quoting it do not get beyond to the next paragraph.

    “Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present — and is gravely to be regarded.
    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

  50. 51 berniel February 28, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Hi again SFT and others,

    I remain very interested in this topic, and so have continued some discussion over here if any one is interested.

  51. 52 Riccardo March 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    “First of all, ‘normal’ science must be destroyed, then a new science can be introduced which serves the political agenda of the Greens and the hard left.”

    The interesting thing for me is how the Greens and the Left are now “owned” by the investment banks and the global financial elite. I wonder the Greens don’t wake up and ask themselves why they have expended their considerable intellects and their meagre finances just so Goldman Sachs, Lakshmi Mittal et al can make billions out of carbon trading. For that is the only outcome of the whole thing – not a sustainable world, but new taxes and the “securitisation” of non-existent assets (ie CO2 in the air).

    Recently we had the spectacle of protesters in the City of London, entirely unaware that they had become the tools of their adversaries.

  52. 53 Dennis Falgout March 2, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    I knew little about PNS before I read this article and the discussion that followed it. I now wonder if there is a significant difference between PNS and “The ends justify the means”.

  53. 54 Oliver K. Manuel March 2, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    I agree, Dennis.

    PNS seems to facilitate the use of science as a tool of propaganda.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  54. 55 Bernie March 3, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Oliver, Riccardo et al:
    When confronted by these types of abstrractions I always believe that current real examples help to refine otherwise overly abstract constructs. I suggest you take an look at what I believe is a classic example of unself-conscious PNS: It iniolves Andrew Revkin at, Roger Pielke Jnr and one Sabrina McCormick.

    Andy Revkin’s link is here:
    Roger’s is here:
    Sabrina’s is here:

    This is PNS operating in the real world and it is without doubt a blow to science. A taste of what Sabrina might bring to the debate can be seen here:

  55. 56 Gederts Skerstens March 3, 2010 at 4:36 am

    I got to this via The Spectator. The link goes to everyone I know.
    The Left-Right contest was bound to finally reveal the bedrock difference: seeing Truth as irrelevant or as the ultimate Good.
    In speculating who wins, there’s cause for optimism.
    The West still runs the show, more or less, and the Western democracies can tip anyone out of power if The Most Of Us want to.
    The upcoming election in Australia is particularly stark in the choices: One candidate about to levy huge taxes on the voters to save the coming generations from drowning and the other stating that climate change is crap.
    The popular vote can make all the PNS tracts landfill in the course of an evening and have Ecologists retraining as more useful Electricians. But it needs effort. You have to get to the front bar, so to speak, and tell people the larger electricity bills they’ll be paying would make them stooges of self-admitted Liars.

  56. 57 Gederts Skerstens March 5, 2010 at 8:43 am

    John noted:…”They have pumped out so many sleepers in the last 50 years that when GW Bush got power they went for the brass ring themselves..

    I have no idea how you fire 2/3s of our elite? I have no idea if we even can.. What a complete mess.. But we can start at kindergarten and work our way up to restore balance.. Its gonna take a lot of work and 20 years to reverse this damage..

    So many brainwashed kids… and sadly professionals..”

    Well, it looks dispiriting but could be as quick as a revolution. This Climate [snip] is clearly a Lefty overreach. The most ambitious project they ever had, now falling to bits.
    Cheer up. The rest (Law, History, Education, Multi-Culti and PC) should follow soon.

  57. 58 Gederts Skerstens March 5, 2010 at 10:09 am

    To continue, as a reply to “I have no idea how you fire 2/3s of our elite? I have no idea if we even can.. ”

    The ‘Elite’ of Leftism don’t actually produce anything elitely useful. They aren’t engineers, medical researchers, programmers, builders or composers. They’re ‘Elite’ because other effete Lefty Elite say they are.
    They could be sacked from every NGO, QANGO, Board, Panel, Committee without a dent in the Nation’s wealth. It can be done when the guys that pay them, The Most Of Us, realise they aren’t worth paying.

  58. 59 Fed Up March 17, 2010 at 3:59 am

    Well, if “climate change” can be regarded a “religion” entitled to protection by the courts, then as a “religion” it has no place in politics or the State – separation of religion and State.

    Can’t have it both ways, warmists.

  59. 60 radar March 20, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Fantastic post, I added you to my blogroll and did a copy/source/link to this article. You have them pinned to the cardboard with their own lies and distortions!

  60. 61 John A. Jauregui March 21, 2010 at 3:48 am

    Do you see any of these stories on television news after two decades of relentless press coverage of Global Warming with no questions asked? The national media’s continued silence on ClimateGate and increasing revelations of outright fraud and wrongdoing at all levels of government, academia and the media itself, tells the truth of the tail. That truth is there’s a lot more to this ClimateGate story than what little is being reported. The small (2 to 3 dozen) international cabal of climate scientists could not have possibly gotten to this point without extraordinary funding, political support at virtually all levels of government, especially at the national level and unparalleled cooperation from the national and world media. This wide-spread networked support continues even as we-the-people puzzle over what this is all about. I ask you, “What are you seeing and hearing from our national media on the subject?” Anything? What are you seeing and hearing from all levels of our government, local and regional newspapers and media outlets? Anything of substance? At all of these levels the chatter has remained remarkably quite on the subject, wouldn’t you say? Why? What points and positions are you beginning to hear on the radio and see on the television? This cabal of scientists has an unprecedented level of support given the revelations contained in the emails, documented in the computer software code and elaborated in the associated programmer remarks (REM) within the code. And —- this has gone on for years, AND continues even in the presence of the most damning evidence one could imagine, or even hope for. Watergate pales in comparison, given the trillions of dollars in carbon offset taxes, cap & trade fees hanging in the balance and the unimaginable political control over people’s lives this all implies. The mainstream media’s conspiracy of silence proves the point. Their continued cover-up is as much a part of this crime as the actual scientific fraud. ABC, CBS and NBC are simply co-conspirators exercising their 5th Amendment rights.

  61. 62 DennisA March 21, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Absolutely right John, they are determined to push this agenda:

    4 March 2010 – Philanthropist George Soros and prominent British academic Nicholas Stern ( are among the 19 members of the high-level advisory group set up by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon seeking to mobilize financing to help developing countries combat climate change, it was announced today.

    Last month, Mr. Ban launched the Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, which will be headed up by the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom and Ethiopia, Gordon Brown and Meles Zenawi.

    It was also revealed in February that President Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway will participate.

    The four leaders will be joined by high-level officials from Government ministries, including Mexican Finance Minister Ernesto Cordero Arroyo, as well as representatives of central banks, such as Jean-Pierre Landau, the Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of France.

    The Advisory Group is slated to hold its first meeting on 29 March in London and is expected to submit its final report to Mr. Ban before the next conference of parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Mexico later this year.

    The Copenhagen Accord reached at December’s UN conference in the Danish capital aims to jump-start immediate action on climate change and guide negotiations on long-term action, with developing countries to be given $30 billion until 2012 and then $100 billion a year until 2020.

  62. 63 Oliver K. Manuel March 22, 2010 at 3:33 am

    I agree with John A. Jauregui and DennisA.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Emeritus Professor
    Nuclear & Space Science
    Former NASA PI for Apollo

  63. 64 John freeman March 22, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    I spent 19 years as an applied scientist (electronics development engineer) and 25 years as an Anglican clergyman. Since working machinery is not designed by neglect of objective (though necessarily incomplete) truth, I became a passionate seeker after as much truth as I could master in every field of human endeavour. The development engineer works alone. No one has gone where he/she hopes to go. The necessary new truth required for progress is only to be won by patient and rigorous experiment with frequent and expensive admissions of failure, ignorance and the pursuit of blind alleys. This is real science. There are no postnormal scientists employed by Boeing, ABB or GlaxoSmithKline. They want their customers to stay alive!

    I will not say that pursuit of truth alone led me into Christian ministry, for I did experience God’s call. Of necessity, I studied theology, which at its best is as passionate about truth as I. But it was within the field of theology that I first encountered postmodernism with its denial of objective truth. My scientific sensibilities were at once aroused by the stink of intellectual accommodation of academic endeavour to political purpose. As elsewhere, this was presented as the championing of a cause. My country (South Africa) was at that time in the throes of the struggle against apartheid. I witnessed at first hand how theological truth was bent to the service of that struggle.

    It disgusted me! I myself was no spectator; although I am a white man, my Bishop wisely sent me to a black seminary, and apartheid’s injustice was an evil to be righted. But not at all costs; and as I witnessed the progressive erosion of theological truth by partial ones like liberation theology, accepted without criticism ‘by consensus’ my heart sank. Christian voices and example had been among the clearest and bravest in fighting apartheid’s violence. lies and cover-ups. Now the truths that had motivated the fight were being denied and even ridiculed.

    The wheel has come full circle! When I first realised that the Christian establishment was beginning to jump on the climate change bandwagon, I became suspicious and started reading. Here was the same willingness to compromise truth that I had met in theology – but now in the very field where I knew from hard-won experience that truth most mattered. Even before Climategate I was convinced that the major players were dishonest by the standards of real science.

    My study of Church history produced a parallel that postmoderns and postnormal scientists should find disturbing. The thought of the middle ages was dominated by the (quite unverifiable) fear of hell, fostered and nurtured by an all-controlling Church. This enabled it to promote the sale of papal indulgences, the purchase of which would ensure that the buyer escaped a quantified period of ‘purgatory.’ He was happy; the pope was delighted and nobody questioned the theology! So today, I saw at once that the global market in carbon credits became possible once our thought was dominated by the equally unverifiable perils of climate change. The same market forces are in place: personal fear, peer pressure and political correctness. Is this not the exact parallel of that earlier chicanery? Yet many who smile at the credulity of medieval society seem unable to see that their purchase of carbon credits will have very similar benefits to those obtained from the purchase of indulgences! Both ideologies enrich the peddlers of the dogma enormously. Both are totally ineffective for their stated purpose. Both are the result of failure to seek and guard objective truth for its own sake.

    This piece of history gives me hope, too. Though the fog of lies and the web of investment in them were almost universal in the fifteenth century, there WAS a Reformation and a new look at false assumptions. If the theologians could do it 600 years ago with only the Bible and the printing press to aid them, I think we can do it today with our vastly greater resources! But we do need a Luther, a Calvin and a Henry VIII…

    What do do? Soon I had writtten to my Bishop to warn him of the quicksand we were walking on. I have not had an acknowledgement. But I have joined my Church’s environmental watchdog panel and have ensured that they hear what I hear.

    Thank you, ScientistForTruth, for introducing me to the concept and the origins of PNS and its intimate relationship with postmodern thought. Be assured that I will spread the word!

    ScientistForTruth responds

    Many thanks for your encouragement.

  64. 65 David S March 22, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    John – a most enjoyable comment but I have one quibble: GSK, or SmithKline Beecham as they then were, certainly had some post-normal scientists in their risk management department in the late 1990s when I had some dealings with them. Even worse than Jerry Ravetz’s examples, they thought the truth was whatever it needed to be for their corporate requirements, just like Michael Mann or Tony Blair.
    Landed them in some horrible litigation.

  65. 66 Oliver K. Manuel April 13, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    John Freeman,

    I especially enjoyed your message.

    I am convinced that nature itself is simple, like this video illustration of neutron repulsion,

    Complicated theoretical physics seems to indicate a misunderstanding of our beautiful universe.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  66. 67 Kon Joo Lee May 2, 2010 at 6:24 am

    Most of the people believe climate change are very complex, and no single technology or strategy that will solve the problem of climate change.
    But It is a misunderstand. Current environmental technology is wrong and bad. The basic principle are wrong.
    If we change the wrong method, We can solve climate change, water pollution, energy etc.

    manure, humic acid(water pollutant, air pollutant, soil pollutants) + O2 (with electric energy) + bacteria=
    1. GHG emitted(CO2, CH4, votalic organic matter, NO3 NH3, H2
    2. sludge may digest with CH4 and CO2
    3. remaing pollutant may water pollution source
    4. emitted GHG may be comeback with rain
    It make environmental crisis only

    My new method
    manure, humic acid(water pollutant, air pollutant, soil pollutants) + CO2(GHG) + algae+catalyst+ sun energy= clean air+clean water + biomass

    Waste water treatment is an ongoing process driven by necessity. However, current treatment process requires significant energy use accounting for approximately three percent of all electricity usage in the US. Many practical design and operating decisions on waste water treatment plants can have significant impacts on the overall environmental performance, in particular the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The main factor in this regard is the use of aerobic or anaerobic treatment technology. Current waste water treatment adapt the mineralization. But mineralization are wrong concept. Few organic substance becomes impregnated by inorganic substances. Most of phenol compounds, flavonoid, carotenoids are not mineralization. The low molecular compounds combined with the composted end products. So current waste water treatment method are incompatible.
    It also creates sludge (biosolids) and greenhouse gas emissions (VOC, CH4, CO2, NOX, etc.). The biosolids are reused as compost and fertilizers creating more greenhouse gases. These gases emitted in atmosphere returns to land and water stream in rainfall. Some pollutants that are not emitted remain in water even after treatment. This small amount of untreated pollutants is delivered straight to our home through tap water. So, the current process does not completely eliminate pollutants, and it creates dangerous greenhouse gas emissions that drives global warming. Global warming is one of the most deteriorating factors to the earth, and it poses threat to livelihood of human being in the future.

    The end products of compost are composed of humus, humic acid and fulvic acid. The current activated sludge process is unable to degrade these end products. These are emitted to air using aeration process that requires significant energy use. So, there is still a need to change the current process to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and reverse the global warming trend.

    There is one way. This new approach provides the solution by cultivating algae and diatom. These plants absorb all the organic matters and minerals (NO3, NH4, PO4, SO4, etc.) during photosynthesis. Significant amounts of CO2 is consumed, removing them from the air. Not only does this process removes CO2 from air, it does not emit any greenhouse gases. So, using natural sunlight, this method provides clean air and clean water. Growth of algae is considered the most efficient method of converting solar energy into organic matter. The biomass produced can be used directly as a solid fuel, or the oil extracted and refined into liquid oil or gasoline. The growth of the algae depends upon the removal of carbon from its environment. By applying this method to waste water treatment for human, animal and industrial wastes, significant amount of greenhouse gases will stop emit into air and removed from it. Therefore, it will remove more than what is and has already emitted in the air and reverse the global warming.

    A new research that applies this method to auto gas emissisions is currently undergoing. The potential to remove greenhouse gases from the air is unlimited.

    Please refer to our US Patents for more information:United States Patent 7297273

  67. 68 shockwaver May 3, 2010 at 1:39 am

    last june i wrote a short piece on a related topic. i have to admit, you did a much better job. but i was on the right track.

  68. 69 krazykiwi July 3, 2010 at 10:33 am

    An excellent essay. Thanks for sharing with us.

  69. 70 Geof August 3, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    It is a pity that the attempt to debate – if that is the word – is spoiled by the usual right-wing ranting.

    ScientistForTruth responds

    Well, you are not engaging with the argument at all, are you? Why don’t you add something useful instead of simply commenting on comments? Your comment is cheap, unwholesome and unprofitable.

  70. 71 Jeffrey Eric Grant April 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    This is a very interesting post. Thank You! I have been investigating the “real science” results by reviewing BLOG entries (I tried to get to the original published articles, but cannot afford the fees for each one).

    I read BLOGS from the right and also from the left. I know the answer is somewhere between the two. I used this method in the 60’s when I was an Engineer aboard a freighter….I would listen to Radio Moscow and Voice of America and knew the answer was somewhere between them.

    As an Engineer, I am interested in the truth. The crux of the matter is the statement that increased CO2 “CAUSES” increased global temperatures at a level that will prove to be “an emergency”. I have yet to find a single source that provides creditable scientific empirical evidence of this! NOT ONE. I have been at this search for over three years; I’m ready to give up.

    I asked Gavin for help. He pointed me in a direction that didn’t help. I read the IPCC reports (how many of you have read them?) and they did not point to the information I wanted. I have made this request on many BLOGS….

    Still, nothing.

    Can anyone here provide a link to a study finding correlating increased CO2 to increased temperatures large enough for me to be woried?

    This fits in nicely with this article….if the science cannot prove the hypothesis, then change the science.


  71. 72 Paul J.C. Ropper May 30, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Good site.

    If you visit mine you’ll see that the corruption of science goes back to at least 1945 when the subversive Marxist society of scientists called the ‘Quots and Tots’ took over the Royal Society. Through declassified MI5 files I’ve linked their leader – Solly Zuckerman, the UK’s first chief scientific advisor – to his shadowy protecter and benifactor Baron Nathon Rothschild, the MI5 disinformation and propaganda expert and head of the Rothschild banking clan who also probably ran the Cambridge spy ring of Philby, Mclane, Blunt and Burgess.

    These were at least 27 members of the Royal Society, and gave quotes like “Science is communism”.

    Ideological scientists are responsible for a great deal of harm, the global norming scam is not the only fraud. Visit us at

    You are very welcome. Great work. Thank-you.

  72. 73 Ron Pavellas February 7, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Is science, indeed, a quest for “truth”? Here is what British philosopher of science Karl Popper says on this: “I think that we shall have to get accustomed to the idea that we must not look upon science as a “body of knowledge”, but rather as a system of hypotheses, or as a system of guesses or anticipations that in principle cannot be justified, but with which we work as long as they stand up to tests, and of which we are never justified in saying that we know they are “true” . . . —Karl R. Popper (1902-1994), The Logic of Scientific Discovery

    ScientistForTruth responds

    I have a great deal of sympathy for Popper’s position. Science does not arrive at ultimate truth, and it is not, even as Popper says, a ‘body of knowledge’ because knowledge isn’t really knowledge unless it is knowledge of the truth. Of course, science can be very useful in an instrumental sense, positing systems ‘with which we work as long as they stand up to our tests’.

    However, saying that science never arrives at ‘truth’ is different from saying that it is a quest for ‘truth’. In a sense, it ought to act (in my opinion) as though it is headed in the direction of truth otherwise there can be no sense of progress in science. We do this sort of thing all the time – head in the direction of what we will never attain. For example (to give an engineering illustration), we believe that we can never build a power plant with perfect thermodynamic efficiency. But we keep developing products and processes that are headed towards that unattainable goal because it is useful to do so. If we give up the concept of ‘quest towards’ then we must give up on the possibility of progress.

    Sadly, it is possible to be deluded, and sometimes science is heading in the wrong direction with a momentum that is difficult to correct.

    Also, there are certain things that are considered ‘real’ in science that have no reality whatsoever outside the human mind, for example the concept of the ‘laws of physics’. While I use the concept instrumentally, and even sometimes appeal to this concept in an ad hominem sense or a conventional sense, because that is how people think, and I don’t want to set a hare running on this philosophical issue, I do not believe that there are such things as the Laws of Physics, and I agree with the philosopher Gordon Clark when he says that ‘all the laws of physics are false’, and with the philosopher Nancy Cartwright who says of laws ‘Rendered as descriptions of fact, they are false; amended to be true, they lose their fundamental explanatory force’. The so-called laws are merely human constructs, very useful though they be, abstracting the behaviours, properties and capacities of ‘things’. I use these so-called laws, cast into these mathematical constructions, every day at work, because they are instrumentally useful, not because they are true or real.

  1. 1 Jerome Ravetz and Post-normal science « Harmonic Oscillator Trackback on February 11, 2010 at 6:27 pm
  2. 2 Jerry Ravetz part 2 – Answer and explanation to my critics « Watts Up With That? Trackback on February 22, 2010 at 6:00 pm
  3. 3 Post-normal science and the corruption of climate science « Enthusiasm, Scepticism and Science Trackback on February 28, 2010 at 5:11 pm
  4. 4 Maggie's Farm Trackback on February 28, 2010 at 6:54 pm
  5. 5 Sola Scriptura » Blog Archive » Global Warming? Trackback on March 23, 2010 at 8:14 pm
  6. 6 NewsReload Trackback on May 2, 2010 at 10:26 am
  7. 7 Cliftonchadwick's Blog Trackback on May 3, 2010 at 3:57 am

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