Is there a pattern for how bad science becomes ascendant?
“How did the Intelligent Design movement publish in a peer reviewed biology journal? A similar–and notorious–story from climate science sheds light on the question.
This is how it begins: Proponents of a fringe or non-mainstream scientific viewpoint seek added credibility. They’re sick of being taunted for having few (if any) peer reviewed publications in their favor. Fed up, they decide to do something about it.
These ‘skeptics’ find what they consider to be a weak point in the mainstream theory and critique it. Not by conducting original research; they simply review previous work. Then they find a little-known, not particularly influential journal where an editor sympathetic to their viewpoint hangs his hat.
They get their paper through the peer review process and into print. They publicize the hell out of it. Activists get excited by the study, which has considerable political implications.
Before long, mainstream scientists catch on to what’s happening. They shake their heads. Some slam the article and the journal that published it, questioning the review process and the editor’s ideological leanings. In published critiques, they tear the paper to scientific shreds.
Embarrassed, the journal’s publisher backs away from the work. But it’s too late for that.” (Read on.)