The National Association of Scholars (NAS), a group that looks to foster intellectual freedom on the campuses of America, is under a left-wing and climate-hysteric attack for having the temerity to host a conference called Fixing Science: Practical Solutions for the Irreproducibility Crisis. Among the attacks is the absurd claim that the NAS is harboring a “white supremacy” agenda.
Irreproducibility, simply explained, means that a conclusion brought forth by scientists cannot be reproduced experimentally. As the event’s description points out, “If you can’t reproduce a result, it isn’t science.”
So, it’s not surprising that many climate-hysteric types are now coming out of the woodwork to attack such an event.
Leonid Schneider of For Better Science accuses the NAS of not only climate-change denial, but also of having an agenda that supports white supremacy:
[The NAS] fight is against “political correctness,” embodied by climate change science, but also by liberal values, by the state persecution of erotically-inclined male academics, and what drives NAS mad is any discussion on gender, feminism or racism. Instead, NAS would rather have students learn about the historic achievements of white Europeans, while firmly rejecting any insinuation that USA as the world’s most prosperous nation was built on white supremacism.
Schneider also complained about the lack of female representation at the conference, but as NAS president Peter Wood pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, women were indeed invited to speak at the conference but all declined those invitations.
Another scientist, Leonid Teytelman (pronouns he/him), biologist and the co-founder of protocolsIO, a company that looks to assist scientists in making their methods reproducible, issued a warning on Twitter regarding the event: “Warning: I just got an invite to ‘Fixing Science’ conference from NAS. This is not @theNASEM! It’s @NASorg, a political organization that has weaponized reproducibility to derail science policy. They are cleaver and dangerous.”
Wood responded, “Mr. Teytelman, who holds a doctorate in computational and experimental biology and who works in the field of replication, is someone who does worthy science and deserves to be taken seriously on matters within his competence,” Wood wrote. “But he becomes unhinged at the thought of ‘conservatives’ or ‘climate skeptics’ getting a seat at the table. And he is far from alone.”
Two of the original 19 speakers have backed out of participating in the conference. Wood described them as graduate students who feared that their careers would be damaged by the climate-hysteric mob. Those speakers who dropped out have been replaced and, as of now, the conference is still a go for February 7-8 in Oakland.
So, is irreproducibility in science an issue or not? On one hand, Teytelman would seem to say it is an issue, since the company he founded looks to assist researchers in how to make their science reproducible. On the other hand, he apparently only wants the “right people” looking into the issue. And a traditionalist organization with a mission statement that seeks to uphold “the standards of a liberal arts education that fosters intellectual freedom, searches for the truth, and promotes virtuous citizenship” is persona non grata in the discussion.
In 2005, John Ionnidis, now a professor of medicine, health research and biomedical data science at Stanford University, published a landmark paper entitled Why Most Published Research Findings are False. The study found, in essence, that most published research findings at the time were false owing to the fact that they could not be reproduced.
“Several methodologies have pointed out that the high rate of non-replication (lack of confirmation) of research studies is a consequence of the convenient, yet ill-founded strategy of claiming conclusive research findings solely on the basis of a single study assessed by formal statistical significance,” he noted.
The main reason climate hysterics do not want the question of irreproducibility in science looked at closely is because science respectably done would rob them of their catastrophic headlines. The way things are, there is no penalty for publishing a report that later turns out to irreproducible. Climate-hysteric websites and newspapers get to have their catastrophic headlines but, later, if the study turns out to be wrong, who writes that story?
If future government policy — climate policy or otherwise — is to be made based on scientific studies, shouldn’t those studies at least be correct, and reproducible?
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