Friday, December 19, 2008

Flawed Science, Ideology and Policy Advice

Over at the Tierney Lab, John Tierney has again raised the ire of many committed environmentalists by having the temerity to question the new US Presidential Science Advisor, John Holdren. I liked the comment and thought John made some excellent points with strong supporting links: apparently many readers feeling the need to comment disagree, and most of their posts vent their dismay at Tierney Lab for being published, quote from the dogma play book or repeat the very eco-hysteria the links disprove.

My reaction was as follows:
  • The point of this post is that Dr. Holdren has a demonstrated track record of ideologically guided "science" including resource scarcity, the Litany and AGW. That these views reflect the dominant ideology does not make them any less ideological nor does it make them any more scientifically valid. So those who believe similarly to Dr. Holden will praise his appointment and see it as non-problematic. Those with other perspectives will not be as enthused. But please, don't anyone suppose that his science is neutral nor unbiased and neither will his policy advice. Appoint a partisan, expect partisan advice.
Meanwhile, the Heartland Institute issued this release in reply to the ad hominem attacks issued by two alarmist scientists of a report refuting AGW theory.

And Lawrence Solomon has this update on an unexpected exchange when he agreed to appear at a debate on AGW theory.

People can, and will, assert that whatever they believe in is the truth. From their perspective, and within the context which it is defined, it does represent their truth.

But all truth is contingent.
Just asserting it, LOUDLY, frequently or to the exclusion of dissenting viewpoints does not make it any more "truthful". What validates our ideas, concepts and theories is experience and empirical evidence that substantiates what we suppose. And even then:

  • The biggest tragedy is to believe that the limit of our perception is the limit of all there is to perceive. Leadbetter