September 18, 2019

Big Science is Broken

Below are some excerpts from the article titled “Big Science is Broken.” By design, all Government agencies that deal, even in the slightest, in science, base their entire decision-making process on “Best Available Science.” We are, of course, programmed to believe (True Believers) that Best Available Science is what the title states – the best, most accurate, honest, well-researched and reviewed science.

But, some have come to discover that science, the process anyway, is seriously flawed and laced with corruption driven by money and greed. This should come as a surprise?

Big Science is Broken, examines the faults of the “new” scientific process, to a point where it discovers that intentionally flawed written works were placed before other scientists for “peer review.” The scientists were told there were serious flaws and yet they could not find them, or didn’t want to.

At issue also is the fact that the “new” scientific process has become an echo chamber. What was once a structure designed to question and prove scientific theory has become a means of echoing personal beliefs and agendas as scientific process. Instead of peer reviewing, the information was used by the peer scientists to support their own agendas.

Unless you are a well-trained, and honest, scientist, a person will latch onto those statements of theory as truth – even those so-called “peer reviewed studies” that have bounced around criminally and emerged as some kind of viable “settled science.”

This criminal process may pad bank accounts and serve to offer chicken feed to anyone wishing to promote agendas, but, unfortunately, it does nothing to substantiate a normal, honest, scientific process. For that, we are doomed.

When we consider the administering of the Endangered Species Act, it is driven by “Best Available Science.” When it is discovered, as one example, that in the utilization of “Best Available Science” administrators decided at what threshold determined gray wolf recovery in the Northern Rocky Mountains, was nothing more than a number that was pulled out of thin air, what does this accomplish scientifically? We are witness to what it accomplishes politically.

The fraudulent broken/corrupt science netted the introduction of wolves. This kept the program running, which pleased the environmentalists and the wolf lovers, as they heavily depended upon the mythical, broken science that 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs equaled “recovery.” Scientifically it meant nothing. Politically it meant everything.

On the flip side, the fraudulent and broken science set off anger among those who opposed unchecked numbers of wolves, claiming the system was rigged and the science no good. Don’t be mistaken here. Fraudulent science has no separation of bounds between right and left, conservative or liberal, or any other such false paradigms. Fraud is fraud and it can pay large dividends when used correctly within a population of non thinking sheep eager to head for the slaughterhouse.

Of course presenting information that will suggest and convince that the scientific process is broken will result in the same predictable responses. When one person’s “peer reviewed science” is questioned, they will defend it to the end. Then, when another discovers the claim that peer review is broken, all peer review becomes broken. What results is nothing more than a bigger divide, by design, that further destroys the scientific process.

What a mess!

But don’t go look!

From Big Science is Broken:

Science is broken.

That’s the thesis of a must-read article in First Things magazine, in which William A. Wilson accumulates evidence that a lot of published research is false. But that’s not even the worst part.

For starters, there’s a “replication crisis” in science. This is particularly true in the field of experimental psychology, where far too many prestigious psychology studies simply can’t be reliably replicated. But it’s not just psychology. In 2011, the pharmaceutical company Bayer looked at 67 blockbuster drug discovery research findings published in prestigious journals, and found that three-fourths of them weren’t right. Another study of cancer research found that only 11 percent of preclinical cancer research could be reproduced. Even in physics, supposedly the hardest and most reliable of all sciences, Wilson points out that “two of the most vaunted physics results of the past few years — the announced discovery of both cosmic inflation and gravitational waves at the BICEP2 experiment in Antarctica, and the supposed discovery of superluminal neutrinos at the Swiss-Italian border — have now been retracted, with far less fanfare than when they were first published.”

Then there is outright fraud. In a 2011 survey of 2,000 research psychologists, over half admitted to selectively reporting those experiments that gave the result they were after.

The peer review process doesn’t work. Most observers of science guffaw at the so-called “Sokal affair,” where a physicist named Alan Sokal submitted a gibberish paper to an obscure social studies journal, which accepted it.<<<Read Entire Article>>> (although this link takes you to a website I am not responsible for, I apologize for sending you to a sight that forces unwanted videos and ads on you.)

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Beware the Peer Review

ExposeCorruptionFor several years now, Roxanne Quimby, founder of Burt’s Bees, has tried to get Maine to buy into the idea of creating, yet another, national park in the Baxter State Park region. Quimby sits on the board of directors for the National Park Service and recently turned the idea of the park over to her son Lucas St. Clair.

At a recent meeting in the Millinocket area, proponents and opponents met to exchange barbs and attempt to discredit each other. Nothing new.

According to the Bangor Daily News, St. Clair said:

…he could not count the number of wrong facts and figures in the presentations, but that it was vast. As an example, he said, the economic studies done on the park’s effect were peer reviewed, and approved, by the state’s former economist and a University of Maine forest products professor.

I cannot address specifically the economic studies referred to in this piece because I have not read them. Therefore, my following comments are based upon general facts and information that all U.S. citizens should be educated about concerning the dreaded “peer review” of scientific data.

We all cherry pick when it comes to selecting information to support our causes. Often those that do don’t realize that for each document you produce to support your claim, there may be just as many to disprove it. So, which documents are right and which ones are wrong?

Well, I cannot answer that question honestly and herein lies the rub. The system of peer review is seriously flawed. It’s down right broken.

To those willing to not bury their heads in the sand and pretend things are just ducky, we have known for some time that peer review is a worthless instrument. Yes, and unfortunately that is the truth. Corruption and greed have destroyed what may have been a good system of checks and balances….or at least a better one.

With all the complaining that has gone on, perhaps we are now beginning to hear some noise about this peer review process.

All decisions are based upon “best available science.” Best available science is a vague term, with no conditions or parameters set in order to maintain a truthful method of checks and balances. For that reason, peer review, which once was necessary if you ever had any hope of being heard, is mostly worthless. Anybody, with money and connections can obtain peer review. The trick is to keep the available peers contained within a specialized group to ensure no opposition is heard or considered – stacking the deck or rigging the system.

We saw this play out nicely in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the reintroduction of wolves to the Greater Yellowstone area. While the fake and rigged process allows for anyone to submit information, studies, data, concerns and yes, peer reviewed documents, there’s no control over which ones get serious attention and which ones don’t. Never mind the rules. It’s a free for all.

Back in December of 2014, the House Natural Resources Committee released a report about the concerns over whether or not “best available science” was using independent peer review and in general the report actually questions the quality of the so-called “science” being used.

The ESA requires that decisions on whether to list a species as threatened or endangered must be based on the “best scientific and commercial data available.” As one of the chief agencies responsible for implementing the ESA, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (“FWS”) has issued policies and guidance concerning the use of the best available science.

A review by the Committee’s Majority oversight staff of the FWS’ recent ESA listing decisions has found:

* The FWS’ peer review process, information quality policies, and guidance documents are used to justify the FWS’ listing decisions under the ESA. However, the policies are ambiguous as to what constitutes “independent” peer review. This has led to inconsistency in how FWS Regional offices conduct peer review.

* The FWS regularly recruits scientists to peer review its listing decisions who are well-known experts on the specific species at issue. In fact, the FWS routinely bases its listing decisions on science that has been developed by the same people who have been recruited by the FWS to serve as peer reviewers. Rather than providing a fresh perspective on how the science was conducted or whether the listing decision is supported by science, the peer reviewers are in effect being asked to review how the FWS has characterized their studies and research.

* The FWS does not have clear or consistent procedures in place across all FWS Regional offices to ensure that potential peer reviewers undergo a screening to identify possible conflicts of interest or impartiality. In many cases, those who have received grants or financial assistance from the Department of the Interior (“Department”) and its bureaus or other federal agencies to study the species at issue or who have known biases, positions, or affiliations with groups that have advocated for conservation of the species under the ESA are allowed to serve as peer reviewers.

* The FWS does not consistently disclose to the American public information about who serves as peer reviewers for ESA listing decisions, the instructions they are given, the substance of their comments, or how their comments are addressed by the FWS. Peer reviewer identities are often withheld, and their comments are not clearly identified or made publicly available in the course of the listing decisions.

While this report of the House Committee on Natural Resources is specifically addressing science involved with Endangered Species Act, surely the same problems exist concerning peer review for any document. The short of it is, no longer can peer review be trusted.

Recently the Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) released a working paper addressing many of these same problems. In the Executive Summary, page x, it states:

Fueled by decades of ineffective oversight, federal agencies’ respect for science and the scientific process has severely diminished. For that reason, one can easily foresee many potential applications of the enforcement framework offered in this paper.

Clearly we are seeing more and more concerns about important decisions being made based on what more and more people are seeing as biased, unsubstantiated, politically and monetarily driven trumped up “science.”

In 2000, Congress passed the Information Quality Act, (IQA) supposedly for the purpose of making sure crap wasn’t brought into decision making processes. WLF writes:

The law requires federal agencies to ensure the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of the scientific, technical, and statistical information that federal agencies adopt and disseminate to the public.

Fifteen years after passage of the IQA, and what we are hearing from places like the House Committee on Natural Resources, is that it’s still “crap in and crap out.”

Evidently the Office of Management and Budget is responsible for implementing the 2000 IQA law. The OMB’s guidelines were supposed to set minimum standards.

OMB’s IQA Guidelines required that each federal agency develop and adhere to their own IQA guidelines, and set out minimum criteria for scientific peer review of agency-drafted and third-party studies and scientific assessments, as well as criteria for the selection of peer reviewers. OMB dictated that these peer-review standards be especially rigorous for “highly influential scientific assessments.” Federal agencies must also provide an administrative review mechanism that will allow affected entities to seek correction of agency-disseminated information that was not adequately validated. Agencies routinely carry out this mandate by addressing requests for correction as part of their responses to public comments in a final regulation—an approach, the paper argues, that does not afford sufficient due process to stakeholders.

Sounds nice but obviously it’s not working. To be honest, with this sort of self-regulation within a corrupt government and rigged process, I have just about zero amount of faith that there can ever be reliable science-based documentation done with valid, quality peer review. There’s just too much money involved. Best Available Science therefore becomes a travesty.

It’s a crying shame for the science industry. We live in a post normal scientific era. People are crying out for honest and reliable scientific processes and information. Yet, nothing and no one can be trusted. Agendas run too deeply. People must understand that peer review is garbage. Do not accept it and do not rely on it – even when it involves stuff you want to hear. You are being used.

Whether Maine buys into the sales pitch to accept 150,000 acres of land for the purpose of a national park, that is up to the people in the state of Maine. As far as the rest of are concerned, we should make sure that we let the National Park Service and our congressional representatives know how we feel about another park and this idea of peer reviewed science.

However, Maine residents need to tread lightly over claims that any data necessary to make these major decisions is “peer reviewed science.” It may be valid or it may not. It’s up to you, because nobody else can be trusted, to find out.

And we know that will not happen. Good luck!

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SHOCK: NR House Committee Discovers “Post-Normal” Science in ESA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 15, 2014

Committee Report Uncovers Lack of Independence & Accountability of Peer Review Process for ESA Listing Decisions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Natural Resources Committee majority staff released a report today that questions the independence and accountability of the peer review process in recent Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing decisions. The report entitled, “Under the Microscope: An examination of the questionable science and lack of independent peer review in Endangered Species Act listing decisions” studies the federal government’s peer review process for 13 different ESA listing decisions made by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) since July 2013. The report found numerous examples of potential bias and conflicts of interests with the peer reviewers and a lack of transparency and consistency in the peer
review process.

“The decision of whether or not to list a species under the Endangered Species Act has significant implications for the economy and livelihoods of impacted communities and private landowners. As such, these important decisions must be based on sound science that has undergone an independent peer review. This report raises troubling concerns about the lack of independence of the peer review process and whether many current, upcoming or recently finalized listing decisions, such as the White Bluffs Bladderpod in my Central Washington district, are scientifically sound,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04). “With hundreds of ESA listings driven by this Administration’s closed-door settlements with litigious groups, discovery of any potential bias about how ESA data and science are reviewed casts serious doubt on the credibility of these decisions, and provides more evidence that the ESA needs continued oversight and updating.”

Specific findings of the report include:

* The FWS does not have clear or consistent policies and procedures in place across all Regions to ensure that peer reviewers with potential conflicts of interest are identified and screened;

* The FWS generally seeks peer review of its proposed listing decisions at the same time they are made available for public comment, rather than earlier in the process when the peer reviewers may have more meaningful input;

* The FWS regularly recruits the same scientists on whose work a listing decision is based to serve as peer reviewers, including those who have known policy positions or affiliations with advocacy groups that support the listing decision, rather than truly independent scientists;

* The FWS uses scientists as peer reviewers who have received grants or other financial assistance from the Department of the Interior and its bureaus and other agencies; and

* The FWS routinely withholds from the public the identities of peer reviewers, qualifications of peer reviewers, and details about their comments.

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