Well-known denier Benny Peiser complains in a recent Reuters story that: “scientific journals refused to take papers from scientists who doubted climate change.”
Of course, this speaks to the worn-out claim that there is a grand scientific conspiracy to silence those who deny the realities of climate change. Given the necessary level of organization – not to mention the need to convince thousands of the world’s most accomplished scientists that they should misrepresent the truth of such a critical issue – that would be an impressive conspiracy.
What if we assume instead that Peiser’s unimpressive publication rate is a reflection of a “conspiracy” among journal editors to favour high quality research?
Many DSBlog readers are familiar with Peiser’s attack on Naomi Oreskes’ 2004 study published in the prestigious journal Science. Having looked at 928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords “climate change,” Oreskes concluded that “not one of these studies disagreed with consensus view on climate change.”
Peiser immediately penned a contradictory paper, claiming that Oreskes had fudged her data and that “in light of the data [Peiser] presented… Science should withdraw Oresekes’ study and its results in order to prevent any further damage to the integrity of science.” Science rejected Peiser’s paper.
Was this rejection part of this grand conspiracy? Not even close.
On October 12, 2006, after being challenged repeatedly to back up his claims, Peiser admitted that he had found just one research paper that took issue with the climate change consensus – an article in the journal of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists that had not been subject to peer review.
Peiser’s paper was rejected because it was flawed, proving that, in this case at least, the peer-review process worked quite well.
Of course, the process isn’t perfect, and our scientific understanding is always evolving. Yesterday’s prevailing theory can be swept aside in a single gesture – a single brilliant, illuminating and compelling peer-reviewed paper.
If Peiser ever writes such a paper – if he ever even finds one – the world should sit up and take notice. In the meantime, let’s conspire to recognize the paucity of intelligence (and sometimes integrity) in everything he says.