Yesterday, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) published an open letter on its website with the headline: AAAS Board: Attacks on Climate Researchers Inhibit Free Exchange of Scientific Ideas. In the letter, the Board said:
Scientists and policymakers may disagree over the scientific conclusions on climate change and other policy-relevant topics. But the scientific community has proven and well-established methods for resolving disagreements about research results. It uses a self-correcting system in which research results are shared and critically evaluated by peers, and experiments are repeated when necessary.
The harassment of leading climate scientists is exemplified by the American Tradition Institute’s suit against NASA (in particular climate scientist Dr. James Hansen). In this case, the ATI is going after a scientist who has been a leader in NASA’s climate science research program. This is a serious intrusion in the way science is conducted. Hansen’s work has been published in major scientific journals and his work has been subjected to peer review process which science used to verify the reliability and validity of research papers. The ATI, which does not use the same peer review tradition as used in scienc, relies on media outlets and its own website to claim it is presenting the “otherside” of environmental findings that have been documented and established as credible science in scientific journals.
Here is the approach taken by the ATI. Instead of doing research that might shed light on global warming and the effects of CO2 on global temperatures, they instead file this request:
This request seeks records of longtime, taxpayer-funded activist Dr. Hansen, to determine whether Dr. Hansen has filed applications for outside employment, like speeches, books (emails obtained already indicate NASA staffed worked on this), cash awards and other gifts, and other support.
Does this organization provide a list of references that call into question some of Hansen’s findings. No, they want to uncover any dirt they might find on the “taxpayer-funded activist.” Instead of providing credible evidence that disputes Hansen’s findings, they take a “legal” approach to try and sue NASA and Hansen, and in so doing change the way science proceeds.
But this is the way individuals and groups deal with scientific findings that oppose personal or corporate beliefs. That is to say, they realize that they can not compete in the scientific world of journals and research papers, and instead rely on courts, and media outlets to propel their ideas into the public.
So, how is a teacher to deal with this sort of bias? How does the science education community respond to groups such as ATI? How would explore this your science classroom?Tags: AAAS, ATI, censorship, climate change, James Hansen, NASA