Bespoke science on the rise

A flurry of recent publication activity on the health impacts of carbon dioxide by the catastrophic climate change community is evidence that it has now moved beyond post-normal science.  That was the philosophical answer to traditional science founded on rational hypotheses, reproducible experimentation, and impartial confirmation of results.  Post-normal science was to be the answer to really difficult research problems; it would apply in cases where "facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent," according to its advocates Funtowicz and Ravetz, 1991.  These same attributes accurately describe the status of climate research.  Loosening the traditional standards of acceptable proof to include some postulating and science conclusions based on consensus and opinion would expand the universe of available answers desperately desired by governing bureaucrats and environmental activists.

Financial linkages between EPA-funded researchers and their reported influence on EPA policy advocacy is a step beyond, and vindicates President Eisenhower’s admonition (1961): “The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

The community of man-made climate-change catastrophe advocates has been smarting for lack of catastrophes.  Droughts, tornadoes, sea level rise acceleration, coral reef sinking have all failed to increase dramatically on schedule, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased about 10 percent over the past eighteen years.  Most annoying to the alarmists has been the plateau in global atmospheric temperatures over this same time period.  They have proffered an array of imaginative excuses for the lack of observed global atmospheric temperature rise.  No catastrophes means bad news for the United Nations plans for its Paris conference on climate mitigation and wealth transfer later this year.  It would seem even more outrageous to the public at large to pay for a non-problem.  The transfer of wealth from the developed nations to the less developed nations to combat a nonexistent climate problem becomes that much more embarrassing without the drama attendant to scary numbers portending global disaster.

Just-in-time advocacy science has now produced a paper that claims to have the data to show that there has been no pause in the global temperature.  The global fever has been there unabated all these eighteen years.  It was hiding in a variety of data sets just waiting to be found, much like Michelangelo’s David hiding in a block of raw marble.  Singer, Michaels, and others have analyzed the claims of the paper, and unlike David, what has been revealed is not a thing of scientific beauty, but a construct of dubious data-doctoring portending that climate disaster is right on schedule. 

I propose a new label for science papers that attempt to challenge established concepts by refashioning data banks to achieve a desired conclusion.  Borrowing from the fashion world, I term such science efforts as “bespoke science.”  Made-to-order…made to measure…made to fit the desired outcome by selective data trimming, adjusting, and stitching together.  Be ready to see much more tailoring of data to fit the U.N. agenda as December approaches.

Charles G. Battig, M.S.,M.D., Piedmont Chapter president, VA-Scientists and Engineers for      Energy and Environment (VA-SEEE).  His website is

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