Friday, December 14, 2007

Marconomic Analysis of the state of play in Climate change

In Principia Marconomica
principle #2, I have stated that perception is not reality, and having a quick look at Wikipedia's Determining political spectra, the climate change state of play is that people's views are highly correlated on this, thus a one dimensional line is very apt to describe it. Principle #2 states that it is very likely that none of the points on the line reflect reality. The perception of the majority, including those that are uncertain, is that if the "alarmist" is right about one thing (say rapid increasing temperature prediction) that they will also be right about a correlated view (Disaster will befall the Earth). Similarly for "denialist" views.
Politics is certain to use this line to influence certain peer groups as units to obtain votes; activists are going to try to influence individuals to join their peer such as to increase their numbers and weight as efficiently as possible.
The unfortunate thing is that a set of views that is without peer almost always gets misunderstood, ignored or forever questioned. What we need is a set of scientists and other professionals that is unburdened by their peers or lobby groups. I just wonder whether "Peer review" leads to "peer pressure" when it comes to the spin on scientific research.


Jenny said...

Well the peer system certainly means that if you do good science that follows the accepted understanding, it will get published.
If however, your results indicate the accepted understanding is wrong, your science had better be spectacularly good to get it through...eventually.

Chris Fellows said...

Over the past year I have made a point of writing letters to out-and-out denialists in the blogosphere explaining the science to them and suggesting they move towards a defensible position aka Bjorn Lomberg. Most of them are not answered. Ditto a few overtures I have made to more sensible actionalists inviting them to come to my blog to rebut my anti-ctastrophist arguments: people are just not interested in discussing climate change rationally any more. (Dave: If you are reading this, as a self-confessed alarmist, come on over and alarm me!)

Marco said...

I think the peer system has a tendency to fail "science", especially within interdisciplinary research. However, I must stress that there isn't much alternative, except to weed out category abuses, collusion etc. I think the peer review process might do with a bit of review itself, from time to time.

As far as climate change goes, most discussion areas on the net tend to be linear. I still think the most interesting lines are ones which are predicting future policy (taxation, trade, treaties etc.) which if we predict well, we could get a competitive advantage. Much more interesting than the alarmist vs denialist dialogue.