Isbjørnen i videnskabet

Diverse — Drokles on August 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Biologen Charles Monnett satte et betydeligt aftryk på klimadebatten da han i 2006 stod fadder til en videnskabelig rapport, der forudså isbjørnens snarlige udøen. Udover et ikonisk billede af en enlig isbjørn på en isflage i Al Gores prisvindende film An Inconvenient Truth, der hurtigt blev et slagkraftigt våben i klimakampen og at isbjørne blev defineret som en truet dyreart to år senere gav det Monnet rådighed over 50 mill dollars i forskningmidler. Monnett er siden blevet suspenderet fra sit arbejde

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.”

Tilsyneladende er videnskab i dag et vidt begreb. En udokumenteret anekdote ekstrapoleres, det vil sige antages at være repræsentativ for virkeligheden. Konen synes det er flot og kollegaerne nikker anerkendende og viola, FORSKEREN HAR 50 mio. dollars, Al Gore har sin film og du har dine afgifte at betale ved kasse 1.

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