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In the continuation of her article, Dr. Oreskes cites the story of plate
tectonics denial. I just wanted to add that perhaps the most
influential voice in 20th century statistics--that of R.A.
Fisher--continued to rail against the association of smoking and lung
cancer until his death. There are relativity-deniers,
evolution-deniers, HIV-deniers etc. I agree with Dr. Oreskes that they
are not the problem. The problem rests with the people in power who try
to turn such arguments into convenient truths.
Valdis Krebs wrote:
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> In today's LA Times, the author of the original study responds to the
> WSJ op-ed piece...
>> I am the author of that study, which appeared two years ago in the
>> journal Science, and I'm here to tell you that the consensus stands.
>> The argument put forward in the Wall Street Journal was based on an
>> Internet posting; it has not appeared in a peer-reviewed journal —
>> the normal way to challenge an academic finding. (The Wall Street
>> Journal didn't even get my name right!)
>> My study demonstrated that there is no significant disagreement
>> within the scientific community that the Earth is warming and that
>> human activities are the principal cause.
>> Papers that continue to rehash arguments that have already been
>> addressed and questions that have already been answered will, of
>> course, be rejected by scientific journals, and this explains my
>> findings. Not a single paper in a large sample of peer-reviewed
>> scientific journals between 1993 and 2003 refuted the consensus
>> position, summarized by the National Academy of Sciences, that "most
>> of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been
>> due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations."
> On Jul 14, 2006, at 9:47 PM, Valdis Krebs wrote:
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>> Opinion piece in today's WSJ claims that SNA shows that the scientists
>> whom agree on global warming are all a tightly-knit group -- a mutual
>> admiration society -- that dismiss all contrary findings without
>> Here is an excerpt... Wall Street Journal; July 14, 2006; Page A12
>> > In addition to debunking the hockey stick, Mr. Wegman goes a step
>> > further in his report, attempting to answer why Mr. Mann's mistakes
>> > were not exposed by his fellow climatologists. Instead, it fell to two
>> > outsiders, Messrs. McIntyre and McKitrick, to uncover the errors.
>> > Mr. Wegman brings to bear a technique called social-network analysis
>> > to examine the community of climate researchers. His conclusion is
>> > that the coterie of most frequently published climatologists is so
>> > insular and close-knit that no effective independent review of the
>> > work of Mr. Mann is likely. "As analyzed in our social network," Mr.
>> > Wegman writes, "there is a tightly knit group of individuals who
>> > passionately believe in their thesis." He continues: "However, our
>> > perception is that this group has a self-reinforcing feedback
>> > mechanism and, moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized
>> > that they can hardly reassess their public positions without losing
>> > credibility.
>> > In other words, climate research often more closely resembles a
>> > mutual-admiration society than a competitive and open-minded search
>> > for scientific knowledge. And Mr. Wegman's social-network graphs
>> > suggest that Mr. Mann himself -- and his hockey stick -- is at the
>> > center of that network.
>> Since this has become a political issue, is the opposing group also an
>> echo chamber? Similar to the red-blue political divide we see in the
>> Would be interesting to run Mark Newman's community algorithm on all
>> scientists/papers involved in global warming, eh?
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Richard Rothenberg, MD
Professor, Department of Medicine
Division of Infectious Disease
Emory University School of Medicine
Editor, Annals of Epidemiology
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