Thursday, November 12, 2009

How Skeptics Lie

Here's a perfect example of how ideological skeptics twist the truth to promote their side:

In her article "Global Warming Peer Reviewed" on the (so-called) Accuracy in Media web site, someone named Allie Winegar Duzett claims that Christopher Monckton's paper in last year's newsletter Physics & Society by the American Physics Society was "peer-reviewed."

In fact, it was not, as the APS clearly states at the top of the article.

More importantly, I don't know of a single climate scientist who took Monckton's article seriously -- or, for that matter, has ever taken anything Monckton has written seriously. All his comments are op-eds in (usually) friendly places. He is just not in the class of people that real scientists seriously or pay attention to. He doesn't have the chops.

And, as every single one of us knows knows, whether you're a freelance science journalist or an engineer or an AIM pundit, chops matter.

Monckton is a class A 2nd baseman trying to tell Derek Jeter how to play shortstop.

Of course, this doesn't seem to matter to Mrs. Duzett. She thinks (mistakenly) that because Monckton's paper was peer-reviewed (when it was not), it's somehow important.

Of course, real scientists know that peer-review means little about a paper's veracity. Papers that are peer-reviewed and yet incorrect get published all the time. A paper/finding must work its way up through the scientific ladder, through seminars and colloquia and conference talks and plenty of heated blackboard arguments in the offices of every scientists who has read and struggled through the article and its details.

Who is Allie Winegar Duzett?

As it turns out, I wrote to her last week about another article she wrote. I wondered about her credentials. Here's what she told me.
I was also a key researcher involved with the recent discovery of and publications regarding Calligrapha verrucosa, a previously unknown beetle a colleague of mine discovered in Nevada.

Having spent hundreds of hours in various laboratories, entomological and otherwise, I can tell you with certainty that I do indeed understand the type of hard work and dedication scientific discovery requires.
Well, frankly I am not impressed. I gather she's a 22-yr old just out of college. When I was a 22-yr old BS, I didn't know squat. Did you?

Perhaps I still don't know squat, but I certainly didn't then. I could barely look up an integral, let alone understand what it meant.

Here's a big question: Why do we have 22-yr old BS graduates writing punditry?

And why can't they get even the most basic facts right?

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