Scientific dogma

Climate heretic Judith Curry posted recently on the dogma that exists among most climate scientists.

She writes:

My posts on positive feedback loops (here and here) have engendered some interesting discussions, particularly at Collide-a-scape and Die Klimazweibel. While many are pondering the points I raise, most of the “insiders” don’t like the idea of “IPCC dogma.”

What did I mean by dogma? As per the Wikipedia, “Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization: it is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practioner or believers. . . The term “dogmatic” is often used disparagingly to refer to any belief that is held stubbornly.” The issue of dogma is tied to how dissent is dealt with.

(new text) Dogma refers to “belief”, it does not refer to the source of the belief. The Christian Bible is not dogma, but it can provide the source material for dogma. In same way, the IPCC Reports are not dogma, but can provide the source material for dogma. Dogma is in the eye of the beholder: both the person that holds the belief and is intolerant of dissent, and in the eyes of the dissenter, who perceives dogmatic intolerance. This is not something that you objectively prove.

And further down in her post she gives some examples of what we should expect if climate science were not plagued by the sort of dogmatic beliefs that are elsewhere decried (and rightly so) as being anti-scientific.

Well, lets try this. In 2010, lets assume that there are very very few climate scientists left that regard the IPCC as dogma. What might this look like?

  • no petitions signed by members of the IPCC or national academy members
  • Nature and Science not writing op-eds that decry “deniers”
  • no climate scientists writing op-eds that decry the “deniers”
  • no climate scientists talking about “consensus” as an argument against disagreement (argumentum ad populam, h/t Nullius in Verba)
  • IPCC scientists debating skeptics about the science
  • climate scientists stop talking about cap and trade and UNFCCC policies because the science demands that we do this
  • no more professional society statements supporting the IPCC
  • other ideas?
  • One of the great things that happened as a result of climategate is that many people started waking up to the fact that scientists have cognitive biases too and that they are not immune to the same sort of group-think and cultish attitudes that plagues all areas of human existence.

    Christians in particular should pay careful attention to the climate change fiasco and take careful notes. The same sort cognitive biases which have led many nations (including the US) down a path of spending billions on dubious (at best) “fixes” for an imaginary problem have also been at play when it comes to other issues like Darwinian evolution. Like anthropogenic global warming, proponents of Darwinian evolution, “deniers” of Darwinian evolution are not treated to facts, and their doubts are not taken seriously. Instead, they are ostracized, ridiculed, and expelled.


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