I know this story well about climate science. I am pretty sure it happens all the time in every scientific field that has social implications.
- The scientific paper details the uncertainties
- The IPCC chapter mentions the uncertainties
- The IPCC SPM (summary for policymakers) contains some indication of the uncertainties inside one item in the bibliography
- The Press Release doesn’t have space for the uncertainties apart from a side remark in the middle of the text
- The interviewed scientist is not asked about the uncertainties
- The journalistic article isn’t interested in the uncertainties
- The policymaker either doesn’t know the uncertainties exist, or pivots all his/her career about some of the uncertainties as reported to him/her third- or fourth-hand.
Broken telephones all around…
…please protect me from my friends. I can defend myself from my enemies
(original quote attributed to Voltaire, Claude-Louis-Hector de Villars. or Jean Hérault, sieur de Gourville)
Just to point out a disastrous attempt at demonstrating the lack of scientific consensus about Global Warming. The attempt, by a group including
“Dr. Frederick Seitz, now deceased, and […] now led by Dr. Arthur Robinson and his son, Dr. Noah Robinson, both members of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM)“
is torn apart decisively and conclusively by Gary J. Whittenberger Ph.D. in this week’s eSkeptic, the weekly newsletter the Skeptics Society.
As Roger Pielke, Jr. wrote a few days ago:
What is it about the climate change debate that causes previously excellent scholars to go absolutely insane and disregard all standards of research integrity?
Yes, one should always call things for what they are, independently from which side the person saying them is. Otherwise there is no chance to learn anything, and it’s not even a debate, but some kind of stupid shouting match.
Hats off to William Connolley then for doing the same with Naomi Oreskes et al.’s “wrong, or overblown” attack against William A.(Bill) Nierenberg.