Monday, October 31, 2016

Negative and Positive Results in Climate Research

“Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they are blind.”  Dr. Tim Ball

Marston Bates

A friend was doing research on a climate topic peripheral to his normal research. He had difficulty finding information, especially data, so asked for some links. He thought it was his inexperience or unfamiliarity with the subject that created his difficulties. He confronted the nemesis of too much modern research, namely the need for positive results. It is parallel to the question frequently asked after I make a public presentation. How come we haven’t heard any of this before?

The answer is, “Ask yourself that question.”

The information exists, so either you did not know where to look, or someone did not want you to know? Or, the data doesn’t exist or is inadequate for the claims made, and there is no basis for the proposed policies.

Western society and science are imbued, to its detriment, with the need for positive results. It likely began with the policy of students not failing in school. I became fully aware of this problem in research when talking with a colleague doing a doctorate in mathematics at Oxford. He obtained his early degrees, started his doctorate but took a university job before its completion. He continued work on it because, as I understand, it involved creating a new theorem. He worked for two years on two possible solutions and then, during the summer, returned to Oxford for discussion with his supervisor. Remember, this in pre-internet and email days......To Read More...

No comments: