Saturday, March 19, 2005

Strangling Science

William M. Connolley is up for arbitration. So far, most of the wiki members are voting in favor of him, which is sad. WMC isn’t keeping up with the idea of mutual respect and compromise. (Most notably, he’s deleted my attempt to add the “disputed” label to the global warming article. He doesn’t even want people to know there are those who challenge conventional wisdom.)

The vote for it came from the user I only know as Cortonin, a scientist who’s much more middle of the road than I. Talk pages suggest he and WMC have been going back and forth for a while.

Mike thinks I should give this up (and I have taken a break from it), but so much about the article (and more importantly the edit wars of the article) have rubbed me the wrong way. It’s becoming to represent so much of what I dislike about today’s state of affairs.

Most notably is the sloppy science weaved in the article. In December of last year WMC demanded Cortonin to show him evidence of global cooling after he put up a similar dispute notice. WMC responded, “Again, I'm very familiar with both of those pages and they are perfectly compatible with this page, so (given your failure to find a model for cooling) I've removed the NPOV header.”

Models are not evidence, as WMC suggests. By definition they are based more on assumptions than observed data. It is items like this that make me think of the tag line on his blog: “Taking Science by the Throat…” Yes William, because you’re trying to kill it.

(Maybe I should stop keeping track of these articles. I have better things to do and talking to brick walls isn’t going to help me. Something to ponder.)

3 comments:

Robert said...

Wow…it sounds like religious dogmatists aren’t the only close-minded folks around.

David said...

Oh honey, you have no idea. Read March 22nd's post and note the title of the book.

Daniel Collins said...

"By definition they are based more on assumptions than observed data."

There's really a continuum. Put more trust in the models that put more weight in the data, and never forget the assumptions (which indeed every model makes, be it climatic, economic, or plastic).

I recently started looking around those Wiki pages (which led me here) and was struck by the bickering. But take care not to extrapolate the data of WMC's style (and that of others) to the rest of the climate/environmental science community. That assumption wouldn't pan out, even if all agreed on the science.