A New Prize for Exposing Junk Science

As government has grown in size and activism, so have lucrative research grants to people who intentionally or unintentionally produce results in support of the public policy measures preferred by various interest groups. The ongoing climate science scandals show how this corrupts both research and researchers, produces a whole lot of junk science, and makes it increasingly dangerous to accept reported results at face value.

Sense About Science is a London based charitable trust that equips “people to make sense of science and evidence” and chases down “dodgy science and mobilize[s] networks of scientists and community groups to counter it.” In conjunction with Nature, is has announced the John Maddox Prize for standing up for science. The prize is £2000.

The prize is open to nominations for any kind of public activity, including all forms of writing, speaking and public engagement, in any of the following areas:

  • Addressing misleading information about scientific or medical issues in any forum.
  • Bringing sound evidence to bear in a public or policy debate.
  • Helping people to make sense of a complex scientific issue.

Nominations close on August 20, 2012.

An obvious candidate is Steve McIntyre, the mathematically sophisticated Canadian minerals consultant who exposed the glaring weaknesses in the data underlying the claims about global warming. Mr. McIntyre notes that “There is far more independent due diligence on the smallest prospectus offering securities to the public than on a Nature article that might end up having a tremendous impact.”

Comments (7)

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  1. Alex says:

    Oddly enough it was studying the data that came from Antarctic ice cores and the relevant discoveries about past atmospheric carbon levels that led me to doubt humanity’s impact on climate change. Note, I still believe climate change is real, I just think it’s part of a larger global shift than most self-absorbed environmentalists claim.

  2. Otis says:

    Aside from global warming, the myth about the trash island in the Pacific is another item that comes to mind.

  3. Devon Herrick says:

    I love reading about academic research that either seems like scholars are rigorously testing the obvious; or drawing flawed conclusions about something quite simple. There were several studies that found longevity was tied to church attendance. The conclusion: belief in God promotes better health. Maybe they should have realized people who are near death are unhealthy. Unhealthy people nearing their demise don’t have the strength to attend church.

  4. Thompson D. says:

    When more outsiders, who don’t fit the usual progressive grain, are able to break into academia, we’ll hopefully see less global warming junk science coming from our universities.

  5. Alexis says:

    I unfortunately read a piece of “junk science” today that was based solely on computer models with no actual observed data factored into the final results. It’s disappointing when studies are published in an obvious attempt to mislead the public into forming one opinion or another.

  6. Kanvin says:

    People need to get away from using the phrase “global warming” and just stick to using the phrase “climate change”. Furthermore, they need to not assume that climate change includes global warming.
    There are holes in the science (or junk science) from what I can tell.

  7. jacksmith says:

    “Give me Liberty, or Give me Death!” – Patrick Henry

    What a brilliant ruling by the United States Supreme Court on the affordable health care act (Obamacare). Stunningly brilliant in my humble opinion. I could not have ask for a better ruling on a potentially catastrophic healthcare act than We The People Of The United States received from our Supreme Court.

    If the court had upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate under the commerce clause it would have meant the catastrophic loss of the most precious thing we own. Our individual liberty. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Supreme Court.

    There is no mandate to buy private for-profit health insurance. There is only a nominal tax on income eligible individuals who don’t have health insurance. This is a HUGE! difference. And I suspect that tax may be subject to constitutional challenge as it ripens.

    This is a critically important distinction. Because under the commerce clause individuals would have been compelled to support the most costly, dangerous, unethical, morally repugnant, and defective type of health insurance you can have. For-profit health insurance, and the for-profit proxies called private non-profits and co-ops.

    Equally impressive in the courts ruling was the majorities willingness to throw out the whole law if the court could not find a way to sever the individual mandate under the commerce clause from the rest of the act. Bravo! Supreme Court.

    Thanks to the Supreme Court we now have an opportunity to fix our healthcare crisis the right way. Without the obscene delusion that Washington can get away with forcing Americans to buy a costly, dangerous and highly defective private product (for-profit health insurance).

    During the passage of ACA/Obamacare some politicians said that the ACA was better than nothing. But the truth was that until the Supreme Court fixed it the ACA/Obamacare was worse than nothing at all. It would have meant the catastrophic loss of your precious liberty for the false promise and illusion of healthcare security under the deadly and costly for-profit healthcare system that dominates American healthcare.

    As everyone knows now. The fix for our healthcare crisis is a single payer system (Medicare for all) like the rest of the developed world has. Or a robust Public Option choice available to everyone on day one that can quickly lead to a single payer system.

    We still have a healthcare crisis in America. With hundreds of thousands dieing needlessly every year in America. And a for-profit medical industrial complex that threatens the security and health of the entire world. The ACA/Obamacare will not fix that.

    The for-profit medical industrial complex has already attacked the world with H1N1 killing thousands, and injuring millions. And more attacks are planned for profit, and to feed their greed.

    To all of you who have fought so hard to do the kind and right thing for your fellow human beings at a time of our greatest needs I applaud you. Be proud of your-self.

    God Bless You my fellow human beings. I’m proud to be one of you. You did good.

    See you on the battle field.


    jacksmith – WorkingClass 🙂