Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Allan MacRae – Dr. Willie Soon an Dr. Ronan Connolly discussing the chilling effect on scientific inquiry, of Facebook’s apparent policy of shutting down mentions of published, peer reviewed papers their inexpert fact checkers don’t like.
‘Fact Checks’ by Non-Experts Are Shutting Down Genuine Scientific Inquiry
We recently published a new climate change report in the peer-reviewed scientific journal
Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics (RAA). The nearly two dozen co-authors of
our paper are experts in solar physics and climate science from 14 countries.
We were looking at the role of the Sun in climate change. We found that,
depending on which scientific datasets you choose, you could explain the global warming
since the 19th century as being anything from mostly natural to mostly human-caused.
The huge uncertainty over such a key question is a major concern.
A few days after our paper was posted online, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC) published their 6th Assessment Report (AR6).
The IPCC AR6 concluded that it was “unequivocal” that recent global warming
was almost entirely human-caused.
The journalist Alex Newman was struck by the contrast between the two different reports.
He interviewed us, representatives for the IPCC, and several other scientists for
an article in The Epoch Times.
People began sharing Newman’s article on social media. One of Facebook’s “independent fact-checkers,” Climate Feedback, quickly stepped in. This “fact-checker” website, financially supported by Facebook, TikTok, Google News Initiative, and others, declared the article to be “incorrect” and “misleading.” Facebook then began censoring any posts sharing the link.
“Fact-checkers” claim to provide the solution. But a weaponized “fact-check” is nothing more
than a “narrative-check.”
Science thrives when scientists are allowed to investigate areas of scientific disagreement.
So, when journalists and social media platforms use “fact-checkers” to suppress genuine
scientific disagreements, they are effectively shutting down scientific inquiry.
Alex Newman’s Epoch Times article on the two contrasting views is available here.
The Facebook fact checkers might have asked NASA GISS Chairman Gavin Schmidt’s opinion on Dr. Soon et al’s solar paper. Epoch Times’ Alex Newman published Schmidt’s response in the original article: “This is total nonsense that no one sensible should waste any time on,”.
A strong view for sure. But is shutting down positions published in peer reviewed journals, which Gavin Schmidt thinks are wrong, really how science should work?
Science advances when mistakes are challenged and overturned, frequently against strong opposition from the scientific establishment.
Consider Dr. Barry Marshall, the hero who risked his own life, deliberately infected himself with Helicobacter pylori to prove that stomach ulcers are caused by bacteria, because the medical community refused to consider his work. Imagine if Facebook had asked establishment doctors their opinion, received the advice “this is total nonsense”, then decided to suppress any mention of the infection theory of stomach ulcers. Millions of people could still be suffering debilitating, lifelong medical problems, because the key to curing their condition had been suppressed.
Surely you don’t have to be a Dr. Soon or Dr. Connolly supporter to appreciate how wrong this is. Dr. Gavin Schmidt has expressed a strong opinion. But Dr. Gavin Schmidt recently admitted, his climate models are running hot.
But as climate scientists face this alarming reality, the climate models that help them project the future have grown a little too alarmist. Many of the world’s leading models are now projecting warming rates that most scientists, including the modelmakers themselves, believe are implausibly fast. In advance of the U.N. report, scientists have scrambled to understand what went wrong and how to turn the models, which in other respects are more powerful and trustworthy than their predecessors, into useful guidance for policymakers. “It’s become clear over the last year or so that we can’t avoid this,” says Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
Clearly there is something not quite right with Schmidt’s climate models.
I’m not saying that Dr. Soon and Dr. Connolly unequivocally have the answer, to what is off with Schmidt’s climate models. But if dissenting voices like Soon and Connolly are shut out of the conversation, then Schmidt might never find the missing piece to the puzzle, to why his climate models are running implausibly hot.
The missing piece to Schmidt’s puzzle could be something which Schmidt currently believes is nonsense – just as the missing piece to why stomach ulcers were so difficult to treat, was an insight which the entire medical community dismissed as nonsense, until Dr. Barry Price risked his own life and drank his toxic broth to prove them wrong.
Facebook and other communication platforms shutting down dissenting, peer reviewed views is a disservice to all science, not just to the scientists whose work is being censored.
via Watts Up With That?
September 23, 2021 at 12:41AM