Doug Cooper: Biased research isn’t scientific
July 18, 2014
After discussing a variety of current issuses with numerous people I have decided that most environmental controversies have similar themes and proposed solutions. From climate change to sage grouse, and from the Environmental Protection Agency expanding the reach of Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act regulations, the details are different but the agendas and the politics are the same. We are told that profit seeking greedy corporations are causing a problem, then scientists largely funded by the government recommend solutions that require more government programs, while environmental groups file law suits. Our government readily agrees to more complicated and costly regulations and then recommends increased funding for research. We end up with an ever growing bureaucracy, more dollars spent on research, and generous settlements for environmental groups. Industry and tax payers get to pay the bill.
In true science there would be time taken for research that would yield data so that a hypothesis could be tested. Now the most popular theory is pursued without waiting for the facts. These convient theories dictate that funding goes to those that agree with the people who control the money. This ensures a consensus before the research takes place. Rarely is money given for research without a strong shove being given in the approved direction.
Nowadays there are almost no scientific papers that report a negative result. Real science should be full of work where the idea to be tested didn't pan out. Here we fund our prejudices and are happy to learn that we are always right. The same process in Nazi Germany had universities churning out papers proving Aryan racial superiority. Research today will never say a problem is not solvable.
Sadly, the government isn't the objective keeper of truth. The National Atmospheric and Oceanographic Administration was caught recently changing their data to show that 2012 had the warmest July on record rather than admiting that 1936 was actually the warmest. Australian weather people changed the records to show three degrees of warming when the raw data indicated one degree of cooling. When challenged, the down under solution was to claim that the data needed to be homogenized.
President Eisenhower, in his farewell address said, "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." That statement was made well before the ESA and the other major environmental laws were passed. The suspect science that is the underpinning of these laws makes that prospect of domination even more likely.