Science Under Assault

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Science is under siege by those with economic or political agendas. The environmental area is one of the worst examples. [For the more detailed version of this presentation see "ScienceUnderAssault.Info".]

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  • I am not a scientist, but care about what we are doing to our environment in the name of saving us from global warming. One of my biggest concerns is the rapid move to Wind Power without the application of true science as justification!
    Thank You,
    Donald Moore
    Orono, Maine
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  • John - I've read your shortest version, and am very impressed -- lots of food for thought. A little disappointing, however, was your uncharacteristic endorsement of a single energy producer -- the thorium reactor WAMSR -- from a field with a number of other contenders. In particular, the uranium-based IFR (GE's PRISM) is far closer to commercialization, and has all of the advantages that you cite for the WAMSR.
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Science Under Assault

  1. 1. SCIENCE Under AssaultJohn Droz, jr. Physicist & Environmental Advocate NC State Legislature 2/6/13 b
  2. 2. NOTE: SlideShare has had some issues with translating presentations properly. Hopefully they are temporary. If some slides are hard to read, or are missing graphics, please download the PDF version, which is much better quality. (Click the “Save” button above the window: it’s only a 6± MB file.)(Use your keyboard arrow keys to navigate here, or the PDF. This will allow you to proceed at your own pace.)
  3. 3. Science Under AssaultThese are the slides of my talk given to the North Carolina Legislators (as well as other NCAgency people, and the public) in Raleigh, NC, on February 6th, 2013.This version is without audio (or extra annotations on the slides), so is missing a considerableamount of information presented with the dialogue that accompanied the slides. A video of thisslide-set with audio is at YouTube: <<tinyurl.com/bjpnfmk>>.An expanded edition of this presentation is at ScienceUnderAssault.Info. That versionincludes about a hundred extra slides that the live version did not have the time for. It alsoincludes six pages of links for the material presented and referenced here.In other words, this (and the YouTube video) versions are shorter & simpler — but lesscomplete. Your choice.Email me at “aaprjohn@northnet.org” for any questions, or suggestions for improvements. — ENJOY! john droz,jr.
  4. 4. A LOT More About What You’ll See Today, is Online at:ScienceUnderAssault.Info
  5. 5. Part 1:Some Basics
  6. 6. Scientist are Regular People! That means there are: — some who are smart and others not, — some who have integrity and others do not, — some who have a sense of humor and others do not, etc. Who said: “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girlis simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves”?
  7. 7. Words are IMPORTANT! The difference betweenthe right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug. — Mark Twain
  8. 8. Note How the Promoters Keep Lookingfor the Most Persuasive Marketing Words... Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming Anthropogenic Global Warming Global Warming Climate Change Climate Disruption
  9. 9. Whatever Happens, It’s All “Climate Change”
  10. 10. What is “Science”?
  11. 11. Science is nota collection of Theorems E = MC (Einsteins Theory of Relativity) F=G (Newton’s Law of Gravitation)
  12. 12. Science is a way of thinking, much more than it is abody of knowledge. Our species needs, and deserves, acitizenry with minds wide-awake, and with a basicunderstanding of how the world works. — Dr. Carl Sagan (Astro-physicist)Science has its weaknesses and it doesnt have astranglehold on the truth, but it has a way ofapproaching technical issues that is a closerapproximation of truth than any other method we have. — Dr. Richard Muller (Physicist at Berkeley)
  13. 13. Science is a PROCESS
  14. 14. Scientific Process is an assessment that is:1) Comprehensive, 2) Independent, 3) Transparent, 4) Empirical Technical, All Data Available Economic, & Objective Real World Environmental
  15. 15. Science is a PROCESS that Works Like This: When a new idea (hypothesis) is proposed as a potential solution to a problem, it is up to the advocates to provide the scientific evidence that verifies its efficacy. (It’s not our obligation to disprove it.)
  16. 16. Part 2:Science and Religion
  17. 17. Science ReligionFacts Faith
  18. 18. Environmentalism:The New Religion,Freely Taught in Schools
  19. 19. NewScience ReligionFacts Faith
  20. 20. NewScience ReligionFacts Faith
  21. 21. Public Praises Science
  22. 22. NewScience ReligionFacts Faith
  23. 23. NewScience ReligionFacts Faith
  24. 24. New New“Science” Religion Fiction Faith
  25. 25. Science is the enemy of agenda promoters.
  26. 26. Their Primary Goal:Undermine the Authority of Science
  27. 27. NewScience ReligionFacts Faith
  28. 28. Many mainstream environmental leaders want to be free of Science, so they can then pursue other political objectives.
  29. 29. Environmentalism is a Substitute for a Religion
  30. 30. War of World Views:Environmentalism vsthe Judeo-Christian Tradition
  31. 31. Part 3: Some Tricks to Try toGet Around Real Science
  32. 32. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... 1- Using Correlation to imply Causality.
  33. 33. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Correlation Does NOT prove Causation!
  34. 34. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Correlation Does NOT prove Causation!
  35. 35. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Correlation Does NOT prove Causation!
  36. 36. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Correlation Does NOT prove Causation! Does this prove that there is Global Warming?
  37. 37. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Correlation Does NOT prove Causation!
  38. 38. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Correlation Does NOT prove Causation!
  39. 39. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Correlation Does NOT prove Causation!
  40. 40. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... 2- Using Consensus to imply Correctness.
  41. 41. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Two Points — 1 - Consensus is not part of the Scientific Process, and 2 - Whether there is a real consensus is unknown.
  42. 42. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Consensus is not part of the Scientific Process“Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do withconsensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on thecontrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,which means that he or she has results that are verifiable byreference to the real world.“Consensus is irrelevant: what is relevant is reproducible results. Thegreatest scientists in history are great precisely because they brokewith the consensus.” — Michael Crichton January 17, 2003: speech at the California Institute of Technology
  43. 43. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Consensus is not part of the Scientific ProcessEinstein re consensus —“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt.He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him a spinal cord would suffice.” “Few people are capable of expressing opinions that differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.”
  44. 44. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Consensus is not part of the Scientific Process Up until recently, the entire medical establishment believed that ulcers were primarily caused by stress… Every Medical Doctor in the world, Every Medical PhD Researcher in the world, Every Medical Hospital in the world, Every Medical School in the world, Every Medical Textbook in the world, Every Medical Journal in the world, Every Pharmaceutical Company in the world, etc. THEY WERE ALL WRONG!
  45. 45. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Consensus is not part of the Scientific Process
  46. 46. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Whether there is a Real Consensus is Unknown A March 2008 canvas of 51,000 members of the Canadian Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysics of Alberta (APEGGA): of the respondents — — 99% believe climate is changing. — Only 32% agreed with the statement that: “…the debate on the scientific causes of recent climate change is settled.” — Only 26% of them attributed global warming primarily to: “human activity like burning fossil fuels.”
  47. 47. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Whether there is a Real Consensus is Unknown Note how they subtly (dishonestly) changed it from being “97% of scientists” to “97% of scientific experts”. Those are not the same thing. And the “97% of scientific experts” is also false.
  48. 48. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Whether there is a Real Consensus is Unknown
  49. 49. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Whether there is a Real Consensus is Unknown Note: 75÷77 = 97%, but 75÷10,257 ≠ 97%!
  50. 50. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... 3- Using “Peer Review” to imply Accuracy.
  51. 51. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... What is Peer Review?1 - "Peer Review" is applicable in one primary situation: when a scientist is proposing a new hypothesis.2 - "Peer Review" is simply the opinions of selected other scientists about the acceptability of a proposed hypothesis.3 - Even if all these selected other scientists agree with the hypothesis, that does not constitute scientific proof that the hypothesis is accurate.
  52. 52. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... “Peer-Review” is an Abused Credential
  53. 53. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... “Peer-Review” is an Abused Credential
  54. 54. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... “Peer-Review” is an Abused Credential
  55. 55. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... “Peer-Review” is an Abused Credential “The real mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability — not the validity — of a new finding. “Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong.” —Richard Horton, editor of the British medical journal The Lancet
  56. 56. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... “Peer-Review” is an Abused Credential
  57. 57. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... 4- Using Scientists to imply Scientificness.
  58. 58. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Is every priest a holy person? Is every lawyer a law-abiding citizen? Is every scientist a promoter of science?
  59. 59. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... NO!
  60. 60. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... There are tens of thousands of scientists who are off the reservation! This happens due to reasons like: 1) financial incentives (e.g. grants), 2) concerns for job security, 3) the influence of peer pressure, 4) interest in promoting a personal agenda, etc.
  61. 61. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... When a Priest violates his profession — he is defrocked.
  62. 62. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... When a Lawyer violates his profession — he is disbarred.
  63. 63. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... When a Scientist violates his profession — he is funded by advocacy groups.
  64. 64. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Unfortunately there are numerous indicators that there are MANY scientists who are not fulfilling their professional obligations.
  65. 65. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... A Report by Scientists ≠ a Scientific Report! Just because a scientist makes an assertion, does not make that claim scientific. What makes a claim “scientific” is that it has followed the Scientific Process.
  66. 66. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary...
  67. 67. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... There Is NO SUCH THING as “BAD SCIENCE”!
  68. 68. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... 5- Using Computer Models to imply Reality.
  69. 69. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... 1011011110011011 0100101000010000 1010001000101000 1000100011011110 0101010001110101 0100010111001001 ? 0010101010001010 = 0011101001001111 0010110010010101 0100001010101000 1010100100101010 1000111101010101 0000001010101011 1000010101010100 1010001010100010 1000101001000...
  70. 70. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary...
  71. 71. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary...
  72. 72. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary...
  73. 73. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary...
  74. 74. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... (continued)
  75. 75. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... 6- Using Selective Data to imply Actuality.
  76. 76. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary...
  77. 77. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Seeing the WHOLE Picture is Critical. Let’s Look at Some Graphs of Greenland Ice Core Temperatures.
  78. 78. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Graph #1: Last 600± Years Greenland Ice Core Temperatures: Conclusion: Things are Getting BAD
  79. 79. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Graph #2: Last 1,200± Years Greenland Ice Core Temperatures: Conclusion: Oh. Maybe it’s not really so bad.
  80. 80. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Graph #3: Last 5,000± Years Greenland Ice Core Temperatures: Conclusion: Wow. We’re really in GOOD shape.
  81. 81. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Graph #4: Last 10,000± Years Greenland Ice Core Temperatures: Conclusion: We’re actually at a LOW point.
  82. 82. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Graph #3: Last 5,000± Years Greenland Ice Core Temperatures: Will this make people afraid? Not Likely.
  83. 83. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Graph #2: Last 1,200± Years Greenland Ice Core Temperatures: Will this make people afraid? Doubt it.
  84. 84. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Graph #1: Last 600± Years Greenland Ice Core Temperatures: Will this make people afraid? Probably so!
  85. 85. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Seeing the WHOLE Picture is Critical. Let’s Quickly Look at Offshore Wind Energy Job Claims.
  86. 86. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary...The Sales Pitch:
  87. 87. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Offshore Wind Jobs Reality Check #1 “Britain is leading the world in building wind projects off its coastline… but this has provided ‘negligible’ work or services to UK companies.”
  88. 88. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Offshore Wind Jobs Reality Check #2 “Even though a record of new capacity came online, few jobs were created overall, and wind manufacturing employment fell...”
  89. 89. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Offshore Wind Jobs Reality Check #3
  90. 90. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Conclusion: Net is 30,000 job-years lost!
  91. 91. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Conclusion: Net is $900± Million lost!
  92. 92. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... 7- Using PNS to imply better Science.
  93. 93. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary...
  94. 94. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... “Post Normal Science” is bogus science. Post-Normal Science is a concept attempting to characterize a methodology of inquiry that is appropriate for cases where: "facts are uncertain, values are in dispute, stakes are high, and decisions are urgent."
  95. 95. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... “Post Normal Science” is bogus science.
  96. 96. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... “Post Normal Science” is bogus science.
  97. 97. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... 8- Using PP to imply Reasonableness.
  98. 98. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary...
  99. 99. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... The Problems with Precaution: A Principle Without Principle “The Precautionary Principle allows regulatory agencies to shape and influence policy decisions that have little or no scientific substantiation.”
  100. 100. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary...
  101. 101. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary...
  102. 102. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... 9- Using Engineering to Replace Science.
  103. 103. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... A Simplified Summary — Science: Proves principles Engineering: Applies Proven principles
  104. 104. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary...This implies a proper sequence Science —> Engineering
  105. 105. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... What Happens When Engineering gets ahead of Science?
  106. 106. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... When We Are Presented With Technical Options... the appropriate initial question is: “SHOULD We Do This?” (i.e. does it make sense to do this?) This looks at problems from a SCIENCE perspective.
  107. 107. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... The anti-science proponents have changed the initial question to: “CAN We Do This?”This looks at problems from an ENGINEERING perspective.
  108. 108. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Of course the answer is always: “Sure, We Can Do It!” This change from a SCIENCE perspective to an ENGINEERING one, is a subtle but profound alteration. The focus is then almost entirely on implementation, so almost no one really cares about the cost or sensibility.
  109. 109. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... 10-Claiming the mantle of Science — yet being anything but.
  110. 110. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary...
  111. 111. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary...
  112. 112. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... Compare those articles to what actually happened: a scientific critique from some 30 international sea level rise experts, where the words “real estate” or “economics” are not even mentioned.
  113. 113. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary...
  114. 114. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary...
  115. 115. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary...
  116. 116. Some Tricks to fool the trusting and the unwary... The reason that these agenda promoters use ALL these tactics is that they know that Real Science is the biggest threat they face!
  117. 117. Part 4:Assuring A Compliant Populace
  118. 118. ¿No Comprende?
  119. 119. Wait a minute — something feels wrong here!“Shut up, you moron! Do as you’ve been told. It’s for your own good!”
  120. 120. Avoid TeachingCritical Thinking.
  121. 121. What Is Critical Thinking?A thorough, open-minded, logical effort to examine a claim, in the light of applicable evidence. One of the key ingredients of true science — and critical thinking — is SKEPTICISM
  122. 122. “A lie told often enough becomes the truth... Give me four years to teach the childrenand the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” — Lenin
  123. 123. Study: Many college studentsnot learning to think critically
  124. 124. Diminish theImportance and Quality of Science Education.
  125. 125. So What?One study concluded that a modest improvement of US 15-year-olds’ education, would mean a$41 trillion increase in the US’s GDP.
  126. 126. Diminish theQuality of Education,using Grade Inflation.
  127. 127. Undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) at UNC Chapel Hill
  128. 128. Guess What this Results in with Adults?
  129. 129. Some Other Good AcademicReform Ideas.
  130. 130. We are being warned here about the consequences of our education policies1 - We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology — in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.2 - I am often amazed at how much more capability and enthusiasm for science there is among elementary school youngsters than among college students.3 - We have arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for awhile, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces. — Dr. Carl Sagan
  131. 131. Exposed to Facts,the Misinformed Believe Lies More Strongly
  132. 132. Part 5:Some NC Solutions
  133. 133. A Superior Summary of the Situation“Since the waning years of the 20th century, politics has increasinglyintruded on science. Scientific insights achieved through systematic,objective collection of data and empirical testing, have been subjected topolitical screening. Pioneering research findings that do not conform topolitical orthodoxy have too often been considered ‘politically incorrect’and even attacked and censored.“This trend has been particularly apparent in the fields of environmentalscience, where the stakes are very large. Respected scholars have beenvilified when their research findings called into question the assumptionsof ‘conventional wisdom’ and the agendas of powerful special interests. ...
  134. 134. A Superior Summary of the Situation (cont.)“In the public arena, alarmist rhetoric over complicated issues has tendedto drown out calm, rational discourse. Highly significant findings of greatimport have been ignored. Politicians and government regulators havemade public policy decisions based upon false or fragmentary information.“As a result, a host of unscientific, intrusive and counter-productivegovernment policies have become commonplace, including takings ofprivate property, bans of harmless substances, unwarranted liability courtawards, byzantine bureaucratic controls, and regulatory measures thatendanger economic growth, public health, and the environment.” — The Independent Institute
  135. 135. The NC Legislature should:1 - Carefully study ScienceUnderAssault.Info.2 - Do what they can to see that the entire NC education system: a) aggressively teaches Critical Thinking, and b) prioritizes and promotes hard sciences.3 - As a major step to defuse partisan politics (and get better results), see that all state technical policies are based on genuine science.4 - Reach out to state-of-the-art companies that are developing science-based energy solutions, to locate in NC.
  136. 136. North Carolina can be a Leader in:1) Eighteenth century ideas like horse transportation and wind energy (buggy whip manufacturing, blacksmith and windmill jobs) OR2) State-of-the-art, Scientifically Sound energy solutions (like Geothermal Energy, Small Modular Reactors, etc.)
  137. 137. A Sample Business that would be a Natural Fit for NC
  138. 138. THANK YOUfor Giving This MatterSome Critical Thought!

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