Guest opinion: Dr. Tim Ball
There are many parallels between the Jonathan Gruber story and what has occurred in climate science. Gruber used a computer model to produce justification for a US national healthcare system. This parallels the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) use of computer models produced to justify the need for international climate control. They both claim their models are accurate and solid as the basis for draconian policy changes. They both fail to understand that playing with models in a university requires they satisfy research and scientific standards. We don’t know if they do, because so much of
what they produce that is critical to proper analysis, such as computer codes, is proprietary. Gruber’s models are proprietary, even if the taxpayer pays him and they are the basis for public policy. They both fail to understand that a different set of standards and responsibilities are applied when you take your lab work in to the public forum.
From The University To the Real World
There are social consequences, as Gruber discovered when he appeared before Congress on December 9, 2014. Paul Driessen has written on the consequences often on WUWT. Gruber’s appearance underscored the distance between academia and the real world. It is a distance I have experienced and confronted during my 25-year academic career. A distance demonstrated by Gruber and throughout the 6000 emails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia and countless other horror stories that never reach the public.
I was aware of this distance as a mature student going back to university after military service. I experienced the distance as a faculty member and did many things to bring the world into the university for students. It is a gap academia wants to exist, because if people knew how little they do and what is actually going on, funding would be mostly withdrawn. Faculty does very little teaching. They produce very little research, most of which is to further their career. Other faculty members judge their performance, in a truly incestuous, backbiting system. I could fill a book with my personal knowledge of faculty and academic horror stories.