Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Statistics, science and sociology

The first in a series of articles by Lawrence Solomon, this article offers a few well-written gems that reveal much about the sociology of the global warming debate. Juxtaposing "science is settled" proponents with skeptics, Solomon offers a quick synopsis of why global warming advocates lose support in the wider context of the scientific community.
The fact that incorrect data were analyzed using incorrect statistical methods is thought to be irrelevant by promoters of global warming because the "right answer" resulted. Science does not progress this way. Statistics are not about accuracy, they are a measure of precision. That climate data are imprecise is the point. Failing this test, their accuracy can be assumed and no vociferous assertion otherwise can make them so. And that is the inconvenient truth.