Reproducibility, not “differing belief systems” in science

A tweet from an Australian who is entering the scientific community as a paleoclimatologist goes like this:

«The anomalous weather station or reef that survived bleaching is not the point. It’s a strawman argument caused by a fundamental difference of beliefs and values around the climate. We don’t need myth busting – we need to recognise and address differing belief systems»(my boldface)

The scientist in question is Claire Krause calling herself @Clair_science on Twitter and the event is a convention on a joint australian-american meteorology and oceanography AMOS 2018 in Sydney, Australia in February, 2018.

Gavin Schmidt who is heading the key  climate institution the Goddard Space science institute where she also is employed «liked» her tweet without a comment. We cannot be sure that dr.Schmidt totally agreed with her but he had no comments on it.

My point of view is that science is based on testing ideas against measurements. Anomalous measurements cannot be decided for by some “belief system”. Reprocibility or attempts of “myth busting” is a lot more scientific and not addressing differing belief systems!

Reproducibility in science

Measurements can take a lot of different forms but they all essentially lead to some number or numbers that evaluate the idea by making it more or less probable. Ideally with a contrary idea that is made less possible or negligibly possible by a certain standard most scientists agree to in the particular field of research. After that, some other more or less competent scientist must try to replicate the procedure as complete as possible and see if the found probablilties for evalutation of the idea is reproducible. Ideally the idea itself does not need to be evalutated, only the test of the idea. If the results are found to be falsified or not some other researcher should test the idea with another experiment or procedure of some sort and evaluate the probablity of being it falsified or not with a new and different «null-hypothesis» but keeping the original idea intact. Again this work should be reproduced by another group of scientists as similar as possible and give the same results without evaluating the idea itself. This should go on and on and after some time, preferably years or perhaps a whole scientists’ career before being entered into textbooks and considered liable for further work.

The PhD in reproducing past climates Claire Krause seems not to be concerned with reproducing scientific results only by the beliefs behind climate or climate science. To my mind she tries to make critisism look like «myth busting» appearantly thinking of the Discovery show where myths from film and media is being tested. The kind of testing they did in that show mimics reproducing ideas or theories which should normally be the main thing in the process of peer reviewing science. «Myth busting» should be instrumental in science and this person with a PhD fresh in the scientific community seems to have no regard for this.

But she is not alone. Reproducibility in science is an issue both in natural as well as social sciences. Scientists seems to avoid it for convenience or for not insulting their colleags. Such is the case with an Australian fellow scientist of Claire Krause dr.Peter Ridd. It is possible that Krause was thinking of dr.Ridd when she made the remark on weather stations and living coral reefs but he is in bitter conflict with his institution, James Cook university. Not sacked, but accused for being uncollaegial. In the beginning of the process last year he was not even allowed to tell his wife about the case.

In an article on Fox News dr. Ridd does not deny that the coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef could be in crisis, he only states that the research is failing so one cannot judge properly on the matter. This has obviously insulted or incriminated his fellow scientist and made his university take a stand that he is opposing. He does this after 30 years of research on the matter and many publication on it. The official position of his institution on the state of the Great Barrier Reef(GBR) is that it is in grave danger primarily because of human industrial activity. They are probably taking the belief system mentioned in Krause’s tweet seriously but to dr Ridds opinion not the reproducibility of the results on the state of the GBR. His belief system which he has come to by his research is that like wildfires are a necessary condition for life in the Australian outbacks so is the more or less wrecking of the coral reefs a natural part of a natural cycle.

The comfortable climate?

In another tweet Krause which might give us an idea of her daily thoughts on climate science states that we should return to a «comfortable» climate.

«If we take carbon out of the atmosphere, does the climate bounce back? Andrew Lenton says no! The climate system is complex, and doesn’t move in a straight line. We may not be able to get back to the the climate we we’re comfortable with.(my boldface)»


I wonder what scientific value the concept of «comfortable» climate has. I suppose it is compared to the hypothetical future catastrophic climate condition they postulate for the next 100 years. I think that the same «belief system» is necessary to understand what a comfortable climate is.

Her answer to me about what comfortable climate was

«By comfortable climate I simply meant familiar climate; climate we know how to operate in.»

This is where belief systems and not science lead you to.

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