Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Global Warming Debate Heats Up

Scientific fraud?  Nonsense.  Wife peer reviews paper?  So what?.  And, who are you to ask?  That's the gist of an article by Audrey Hudson in Human Events entitled "Global Warming Link to Drowned Polar Bears Melts Under Searing Fed Probe."  What's the world coming to when lavish scientific claims are subject to scrutiny by the funders of research?

Biologist Charles Monnett, the lead author of a paper being investigated for scientific misconduct, was placed on administrative leave in July.  He manages $50 million in studies as part of his duties as a wildlife biologist with the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.  Dr. Monnett was eloquent in his own defense:
“I mean, that’s not—I mean, I mean, the level of criticism that they seem to have leveled here, scientific misconduct suggests that we did something deliberately to deceive or to change it,” Monnett said.

“I sure don’t see any indication of that in what you’re asking me about,” Monnett said.

The actual survey Monnett was conducting when he observed the dead bears in 2004 was the migration of bowhead whales.  Investigators questioned how he later obtained data for a table listing live and dead polar bear sightings from 1987 to 2004.

“So how could you make the statement that no dead polar bears were observed” during that time period? May asked.

“Because we talked to the people that had flown the flights, and they would remember whether they had seen any dead polar bears,” Monnett said.

Asked whether he had any documentation to back that up, Monnett said that he did not.

“Science is about making the best case you can to test your hypothesis,” Monnett said.  “You assemble your arguments and your data, you put it out there, and you see who’s going to knock it down.”

“And surprisingly, nobody, you know, knocked this down in any way.  Everybody was just kind of like, ‘Oh, yeah, four dead polar bears.  Okay, that’s kind of cool,’ ” Monnett said.

Dr. Rob Roy Ramey, a biologist who specializes in endangered species scientific issues for Wildlife Science International, Inc., reviewed Monnett’s paper as well as the inspector general's interviews for HUMAN EVENTS and said that the authors made unwarranted assumptions and large extrapolations based on a single event.

“They did not know if the polar bears actually drowned, they assumed that they had drowned.  There were no statistical tests, just extrapolations made with no accounting for measurement error,” Ramey said.

“The paper gives the appearance that rigorous surveying was done for polar bears, when it was not,” Ramey said.

“They were flying at 1,500 feet with the purpose of looking for bowhead whales, which are much larger and easier to spot.”

Ramey also says he sees a conflict of interest for Monnett’s wife to be part of the internal peer review, and questioned the awarding of a contract to Derocher, who also participated in the peer review.

“That’s not impartial,” Ramey said.  “It’s really important that peer review be truly independent.  If they can’t be, then everyone has to state their conflict right up front.”

“I think it’s very illustrative of the problems with government research on endangered species, and raises the question as to whether government should be in the business of science,” Ramey said.
Man made global warming--"climate change"-- may not be good science.  But, it sure is good business.  When the newly assembled super committee in Congress meets to find those trillions of dollars of cuts or taxes, they might want to look at the shenanigans in this government funded racket.

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