Despite the fact that a peer-reviewed journal was cancelled for the stated reason that it published work critical of the IPCC claims, two distractions have now surfaced:
- that the peer review was actually "pal review" - i.e. review by known friends, associates, etc., of the author(s);
- that this has somehow compromised the entire 'climate sceptic movement'.
So let's deal with (1):
If the publishers discovered all this in 24 hours and gave the editors a chance to defend themselves, and made a decision to cancel the journal, they are superhuman. So I'd love to hear any theory as to what actually went on except for either:
- they knew about the 'pal review' in advance but it didn't matter to them until they learned that the journal was publishing results they didn't like; or
- they cooked up this excuse after the fact.
Please note that I am not commenting on either the question of whether pal review happened, or on whether the research was sound. Not having read it, it might be the worst research ever published. But the right scholarly way to deal with bad research is by writing rebuttals, not by punishing the editors. The right way to deal with pal review is by a careful process of correct procedure - was it deliberate, was it dishonest, did the editors get a chance to respond? You can't do that in 24 hours.
And with (2):
The message being spread now is that somehow all 'skeptics' have become tarnished by the alleged bad actions of this journal. Let's put that to bed forthwith. The journal concerned was:
Pattern Recognition in Physics
- Most of the key names amongst skeptics have already gone on record to say they had never even heard of that journal before the scandal broke. I add my name to the list.
- Next, there are no 'climate skeptics' because (a) it doesn't make any sense: this planet has climate, so how can one be skeptical of the fact? But lots of people are either skeptical or outright disbelievers in this proposition: "that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide cause catastrophic warming above that calculated for carbon dioxide alone, due to a multiplier effect from extra water vapour, and human beings are responsible for adding enough carbon dioxide to cause said catastrophic warming in the near future." This is abbreviated "CAGW" - catastrophic, anthropogenic global warming.
Being skeptical of CAGW is a far cry from being skeptical of 'the climate'!
- And there is no 'movement'. I investigated global warming in September 2008 after leaving full-time employment, having no prior opinion on it. Seeing it to be baloney came soon after because (a) the predictions of the theory all fail (tropocal hotspot - no, it got cooler; more water in the upper atmosphere - no, there's less; less radiation into space as the planet heats - no, there's more), and (b) I can't find any evidence in favour of the theory - and my point-blank requests for some in many forums since hasn't resulted in my being given any.
So in my case, I came to be, not a mere skeptic but an outright disbeliever, due to my own personal investigation - and without being paid by "Big Coal", BTW. From what I have seen, every other credible skeptic or disbeliever has a similar individual, personal journey. There is no organisation, behind the scenes or otherwise, except for the obvious fact that people with similar opinions end up talking to each other and frequenting excellent blogs like wattsupwiththat.com, where all opinions are welcome to be stated and critiqued.
In summary, we see the catastrophists defending their turf, as always, with strong arm tactics instead of reason. When caught out, they have tried to turn the tables by claiming that, in the case of this journal, the editors behaved badly - that is, they behaved the same way the catastrophists have consistently behaved.
Pal review is bad, it infects peer review in all fields, and contributes to the (IMO) decreasing relevance of peer-reviewed publication for the future of good science. But when it is tacitly allowed everywhere and only objected to when one wants to do nasty things to those one disapproves of, one is not upholding what is right, but only pretending to uphold it. That is, it is hypocrisy. It will be very interesting to watch further developments and see if that is what happened in this case.