Chair of House Science Committee Says the Journal ‘Science’ Is Not Objective


The date today is rather unfortunate because this is a serious topic. To read that the chair of the US House Science Committee disparaged the most prestigious science journal on the planet and instead prefers Breitbart as a more credible source feels very much like a prank, but this is all very real.

The full video of it all is available on-line.

You might, or perhaps might not be aware, but the US House Scientific Committee recently held a hearing that was basically a bit of a farce. It was chaired by anti-science Lamar Smith, who recently announced at a climate denying conference his intent to do this exactly this …

“Next week we’re going to have a hearing on our favorite subject of climate change and also on the scientific method, which has been repeatedly ignored by the so-called self-professed climate scientists,” Smith told the Heartland Institute’s 12th annual conference on climate change in Washington, D.C. The audience cheered loudly as Smith read the names of three witnesses—climate scientist Judith Curry, who recently retired from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta; policy specialist Roger Pielke, Jr. of the University of Colorado in Boulder; and John Christy, a professor of earth system science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville—he expects to support his view that climate change is a politically driven fabrication and that taking steps to mitigate its impact will harm the U.S. economy.

Then boos filled the ballroom of the Grand Hyatt hotel in downtown Washington, D.C., after Smith mentioned the fourth witness—Michael Mann, a climate researcher at Pennsylvania State University in State College and a frequent target of climate change doubters. “That’s why this hearing is going to be so much fun,” Smith said with a huge grin on his normally impassive face.

What happened at that conference was written up in the journal “Science”.

Did it all pan out exactly as he had described, and have a day of “fun”?

Not exactly.

“Science” is not an Objective Magazine

So here is what happened …

DR. MANN: According to an article that came out a few days ago in the journal Science, chairman Smith was on record at the Heartland Institute — this is a climate change denying, Koch Brothers funded outlet that has a climate change denier conference every year — and Chairman Smith spoke at that conference.

CHAIRMAN SMITH: Dr. Mann, don’t mischaracterize that conference. No, they do not say that they are deniers and you should not say that they are either either.

DR. MANN: We can have that discussion, I’d be happy to …

CHAIRMAN SMITH: Well be accurate in your description.

DR. MANN: I stand by my statement.

[Procedural discussions]

DR. MANN: [Smith] indicated at this conference that he, according to Science, and I am quoting from them, he sees his role in this committee as a tool to advance his political agenda rather than a forum to examine important issues facing the US research community, as a scientists I find this deeply disturbing.

CHAIRMAN SMITH: Who said that?

DR. MANN: This is according to Science Magazine, one of the most respected outlets when it comes to science …

CHAIRMAN SMITH: Who are they quoting?

DR. MANN: This is the author, Jeffrey Mervis.

CHAIRMAN SMITH: That is not known as an objective writer or magazine.

… and that is what is known to some as an “alternative fact”, or to put it more bluntly, an outright lie.

For the record, here is the precise status of Science …

Science, also widely referred to as Science Magazine,[1] is the peer-reviewed academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science[2][3] (AAAS) and one of the world’s top academic journals.[4] It was first published in 1880, is currently circulated weekly and has a print subscriber base of around 130,000. Because institutional subscriptions and online access serve a larger audience, its estimated readership is 570,400 people.[5]

… founded by New York journalist John Michels in 1880 with financial support from Thomas Edison and later from Alexander Graham Bell.

What source does Chairman Smith deem to be credible?

If indeed Science,  the peer-reviewed academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is dismissed, then what sources does Chairman Smith in his official capacity as chair of the US House Scientific Committee turn to and officially cite?

This is quite frankly hilarious.

His goto sources for credible scientific data is …. (insert drum roll here) … Brietbart.

I’m really not kidding, here are a few tweets from the official US House Science twitter account citing Brietbart as credible science …

Judgement

The one thing that this entire farce reveals is that it is not the credibility of Climate Science that is being trashed here, but rather the credibility of the the US House Scientific Committee themselves.

The House twitter account attacks Dr Mann

After being seriously embarrassed by Dr Mann, the response by the official House twitter account has been to launch a personal attack upon him …

Links

Reactions on twitter

A few Last Tweets – important ones

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