This story is being widely reported around the media, but it needs reporting some more. Everyone's future happiness and freedom depends on taking a lesson from this disgrace.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America have published a "refereed" "paper" whose sole purpose is to assassinate the reputations of scientists who do not agree wholeheartedly with the alarmist global warming position. As Anthony Watts puts it:
It doesn’t get much uglier than this. A stasi-esque master list of skeptical scientists and bloggers, with ratings put together by a “scientist” that rants against the very people he rates on his blog. Meet the author, Jim Prall here. And he uses this for a peer reviewed paper. What next? Will we have to wear yellow badges to climate science conferences?
To make it clear what is wrong here: science is about discovering truth by the scientific method. Truth-finding has no respect for qualifications, only for evidence and rationality in handling that evidence. But the full imprimateur of a (previously) premier scientific society has now been given to mud-slinging against those who disagree with, no, not a scientific theory, but a religious theory about a scientific matter. This is made all-too-clear by the very first sentence of the "paper":
Although preliminary estimates from published literature and expert surveys suggest striking agreement among climate scientists on the tenets of anthropogenic climate change (ACC), the American public expresses substantial doubt about both the anthropogenic cause and the level of scientific agreement underpinning ACC.
Make no mistake about it: science doesn't have "tenets":
1. a religious doctrine that is proclaimed as true without proof
2. a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school
Science is about truth, not authority, not doctrines. Yes, we humans are fallible, we believe things we shouldn't, we make big mistakes. But we do not have to make the mistake of deliberately promoting antiscientific practices as science in (previously) scientific journals. Attacking people for holding differing beliefs and establishing "tenets" of "science" are the direct opposite of genuine science. I go so far as to say that a single publication of this nature destroys the entire journal's credibility: no scientist should be even close to finding this acceptable; its publication condemns the entire editorial panel of the journal, and with them, the journal itself.
There are not, it seems, enough good scientists left in the world to keep premiere scientific societies from making horrible attacks upon central core of the scientific method. Here's an important but little-known fact: The Roman Empire did not fall because it was invaded from without (although that happened too). It fell because so many people moved into the empire seeking the good life that there were not enough people within the empire who understood any longer what it was that kept it going. Despite everyone's wanting to keep their empire working, they simply couldn't do it. We have reached that point now with modern science.
Calling people "deniers" to deliberately taint them by association with holocaust deniers, establishing "tenets" in "science", firing scientists for global warming skepticism, attacking the man not the message; all these are the weapons of anti-science.
We are at the point where we will have a highly technological, but scientifically illiterate, society, one which knows the processes (solder this to that, etc.) but completely lacks the insight or the will to keep genuine scientific freedom and inquiry healthy. Expect democracy to fall, expect elites to control your lives. Human freedom, especially freedom of thought, is about to die.
All is not yet lost. I believe that those of us who still love freedom, who still love real science, who still love real spirituality instead of fake spirituality cobbled together around a scientific fallacy, can still turn the tide. But we won't do it by underestimating the tidal wave of obscurantism that is threatening us all. Nor will we succeed if we wait until the worst has happened. This is a "Germany 1930" - type situation (terrible danger at the gates, but most people don't see it yet), but very much worse, in that the entire world is embroiled in it this time, so there will be nowhere to flee if the blow falls. Everyone who loves freedom needs to speak out against the anti-scientists, and they must do it soon.