Imagine it is star date 41315.6. The USS Enterprise has gone into orbit around a remarkably Earth-like planet and Spock is uploading data from the surface which reveals the planet is peopled by sentient beings who do ‘science’. The first actual scientific paper he uploads is Harvey et al, Internet blogs, polar bears, and climate-change denial by proxy. Then imagine the scene on the Bridge, after everyone has read the paper via their console:
Spock is the only one not amused. He is shocked at the extreme illogicality of the paper and even more shocked that it was peer-reviewed.
“It is not science as we know or understand it. Yet it is peer-reviewed, it exists”, he says, arms folded, to Kirk, who’s almost falling off his captain’s seat in stitches.
On the planet’s surface, there are some beings who agree with Spock. Richard Tol is one of them. Someone called Mosher is also one of them:
Steven Mosher and Richard Tol are objecting to the dirt poor ‘scientific analysis’ used to arrive at the paper’s main conclusions. On Vulcan, for instance, demonstration that the methodology is flawed would automatically render the conclusions arrived at using that methodology invalid, unless some independent analysis was performed which otherwise confirmed them. On this planet, that isn’t so, as another scientist Ken Rice explains:
I’m not quite [sure] how to make it clearer that I don’t really care. I have no great interest in defending Harvey et al. – the result seems pretty obvious, whether or not their analysis is sound. I have no great interest in criticising Richard’s response – people are free to make them.
In other words, ‘the result is obvious, so how you get there don’t matter, innit’.
Then the ‘climate scientist’ Mosher who’s a stickler for doing things correctly, lays his climate scientist’s cards on the table and reveals that he may not be as emotionally detached from his favourite core subject as Spock might consider necessary or desirable.
Spock and the crew are about to learn a lot more about this weird phenomenon known as ‘climate science’, and the beings who do it, called ‘climate scientists’, on this far off Earth-like planet. They’ll discover that ‘climate science’ and climate scientists (and various hangers on, activists, apologists and other pretenders in academia) seek to rationalise and explain the causes and effects of a 0.9C rise in global average temperatures over 150 years – and some bad weather – as ‘anthropogenic’ which, if the crew ran the atmosphere and surface through their sensors, they would immediately identify the principal cause as being somewhat different to that which ‘climate science’ claims. But it’s the 24th Century and you can’t go warp-driving from one planet to the next with the aim of making the primitive inhabitants suddenly ‘woke’ – it would cause chaos; they have to learn, slowly and painfully, through their own mistakes.
In Part II, we’ll look at another two examples of ‘climate science’ research papers which might make Spock grimace and raise rather more than a wry smile from the rest of the Enterprise crew.