Affirmative Action Urged for Climate Change Denying Scientists

Posted on June 15, 2010

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The Simple Sam Science Foundation (Simple Sam, the president and sole member) was complaining the other day about how the “real science” of denier scientists was being suppressed by the science establishment.  They couldn’t get their fundamental ideas published in peer-reviewed journals, for instance.

My goodness, Sam, I said.  Discrimination!  I’ve got a plan for that.  An affirmative action plan.

“That isn’t what I was saying,” Sam says, for some reason looking nervous.

I can see it now, Sam, I continued.  The root of the problem is this peer-review stuff.

Take Willie Soon.  Hero (and colleague) of the redoubtable Lord Monckton.  Pours his heart into writing a paper proving that the Medieval Warm Period is real and gets it published and everything.  He’s ready to party.  What happens?  Thirteen scientists that he happens to quote in his paper write a rebuttal, saying he misused and misinterpreted their data.  Two or three editors resign from the journal in disgust.  The whole party blows up.  The champagne goes stale and the potato chips get soggy.

Now don’t you think that hurt Willie’s feelings, Sam?

I think we should ease Willie’s hurt feelings by letting him publish in a real refereed scientific journal, like Science or Nature.  You know.  One of the prestigious ones that they usually only let real scientists into.  Like Michael Mann or James Hansen.  Of course Soon’s science could never pass the referee process if he continues to write drivel like the paper on the Medieval Warm Period, but that’s all right.

We could let Willie publish whatever he chooses to write in a special little section in the back of the journal.

(Maybe the pages could be a different colour—I suggest yellow—on special acidic paper that would quickly, mercifully, crumble and  fade.)

Beside the article we could have an asterisk, leading to a footnote within a footnote, which leads us to a special disclaimer, saying something like

In your dreams, Willie.

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The matters discussed in this piece are part of the public record.

Willie Soon’s paper, co-authored with Sallie Baliunas in 2003, was called “Lessons and Limits of Climate History” and was published in the journal Climate Research.

Willie Soon is chief science advisor to the Science and Public Policy Institute.  Lord Monckton is chief policy advisor to the same institute.