by Locker Room contributor
Paul, the NYT and other statists labor under the silly notion that only government funding produces research free from the ulterior motivation of skewing the research to fit the presumed agenda of the benefactor. (Set aside for the moment that the charge ? Wull, ya only found that cuz you made it up to suit your hateful donor! ? is a feckless ad hominem used apparently to exonerate the one making the charge (e.g., the NYT) from the intellectually honest but challenging prospect of reading and dealing with the study itself.)
I believe it was indeed Prof. Michaels who testified before the North Carolina Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change (set up on the batty idea that the state of North Carolina could affect the world’s climate) that federally funded climate change research was running, if memory serves, about 15 to 1 in favor of the climate getting hotter. Michaels observed that in meteorology, forecasts are made days in advance, but as each new datum arrives, it changes those forecast slightly ? to either cooler or hotter, depending. Each new datum holds an equal likelihood of influencing the forecast to warmer or cooler, Michaels observed ? so the odds of a new fact changing the forecast to warmer is therefore 50 percent. This principle should hold for climate change forecasts as well, Michaels said ? each new finding should be equally likely to alter the global-warming forecast to slightly less or slightly more warming.
That’s not the case for climate-change forecasts, Michaels found, not at 15:1, when the chance of a new fact leading to a warmer forecast is not 50 percent, but almost 94 percent. Based on his finding, Michaels argued in favor of research bias owing to the nature of federal funding. It is incumbent upon researchers to prove that their area receiving federal funds is critical, worthy of federal funds. Finding that a problem is less worrisome than previously thought is unlikely to persuade Congress to spend as much on research toward that problem ? what with all the other near-crisis areas of federal research.