Thursday, October 01, 2009

Salute to Steve McIntyre

In the days of the Royal Society, scientists were hobbyists, pursuing their own whims, pushed to Truth by group norms and the standards of their peers. There was plenty of nonsense then, too (Isaac Newton was an Alchemist) but a small group of individuals, with modest means, got a lot of Science done.

Fast forward to 2009, where science is now big non-business. The nexus between Federal Agencies and science is tight, and scientists produce the results they are paid to produce. Both "Good Calories, Bad Calories" and this expose from Steve McIntyre fit exactly with my own experience in the most prestigeous laboratories on the planet. Don't believe anything you read in the NYTimes.

My favorite quote:
In a novel this refusal would have been put down to a deep and deadly conspiracy. What it really concealed was the slipshod data handling, tiny samples, the loss of essential metadata and the careless merging of datasets on which the earlier conclusions were based.
Yup, but they forgot to mention how politically, the wrong answer has become blasphemy. And we think we've moved on from Galileo Galilei's day.

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