I read this commentary (click here) on the above paper, and decided to link to this post because this is a very good example of the post-modern view of science…in this case a climate paper. In the post modern university something is true because it is believed (in this case because it can be modeled). Nothing is “true” in a real sense in post modern science beyond what is believed….no validation required.
The alternative is to use the methods of science to determine what is “true” and then believe that…..in which case the error bars and uncertainly analysis that are absent from this paper become all the more important…..and in fact they are critical so that readers can decide if this is something to pay attention to, or if the paper is, from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, “…a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Unfortunately, post-modern journals publish these type of papers routinely….if the story fits the expectation of the reviewers and editiors the paper is usually published….if the story does not fit the expectation of reivewers and editors, no matter how much statistical support it may have, the paper is at high risk to not be published.
I do realize that there are various degrees of quality of scientific papers and not all studies that warrant publication can be statistically strong. But the problem with post modern science journals is that papers with very weak statistical support are published and over blown because they say the “right” story, whereas contrarian papers are stopped even if they have strong statistical support. This type of editorial prejudice is very harmful to science……
I do not argue that this paper should not have been published. I argue that papers with a contrarian view or alternative hypothesis to this one should also be published if it meets the same minimal statistical standard presented here.