Climate model snubbed for politically incorrect origins

Climate Change | Journal drops global warming research paper by scientists who used pseudonyms to evade reviewers’ bias
by Julie Borg
Posted 9/22/16, 11:04 am

Science is defined as knowledge about, or study of, the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation, according to the dictionary. But apparently those facts are only worthy of publication in scientific journals if they agree with the political agenda of the day. At least that’s what two scientists who don’t believe in manmade climate change discovered recently.

The researchers, physicist Ned Nikolov and retired meteorologist Karl Zeller, developed a mathematical model that accurately predicts the surface temperature of a rocky planet using only two factors—electromagnetic radiation beamed into a planet’s atmosphere by the sun and the atmospheric pressure on the surface. The model worked for known temperatures of celestial bodies such as Mars, the moon, and Venus.

If it worked for Earth as well—and the scientists claim it does—the model would indicate any warming our planet may experience is not man-made but the result of solar radiation.

Despite their interesting hypothesis, Nikolov and Zeller had a problem: Over time, their research landed them on the politically wrong side of the climate change debate.

For years, Nikolov believed in global warming and humans’ culpability. But in the midst of information that came out of the 2009 “Climategate” scandal, he decided to investigate further. Climategate refers to an incident in which someone hacked into a British research center’s emails and found global warming researchers discussing flaws in their own scientific data and appearing to scheme to keep the data out of the hands of those who doubt manmade climate change. U.S. National Science Foundation investigators later cleared the researchers of wrongdoing.

Nikolov’s investigation of the data led him to conclude global warming is the product of our sun’s radiation and not manmade carbon emissions.

In 2011, Nikolov and Zeller’s work hit the blogosphere and their names became associated with those who doubt manmade climate change. Their notoriety became a death knell for publishing their work in peer-reviewed journals.  

“Journal editors and reviewers would reject our manuscripts outright after Googling our names and reading the online discussion,” Nikolov wrote in a statement to The Washington Post. “There is no doubt that trying to publish research results, which do not conform to accepted theories or mainstream beliefs, poses a challenge in today’s world of academic political correctness,” he added. 

The researchers decided to submit their latest work under pseudonyms—spelling their names backward. The plan worked. Their article passed peer review, and on Aug. 18, 2015, the journal Advances in Space Research published the study online under the names Den Volokin and Lark ReLlez. 

When the journal editors found out about the pseudonyms, they quickly withdrew the article from their site. The scientific community erupted in a debate over the ethics of publishing under a pseudonym. David Grinspoon, an astrobiologist, told The Washington Post the “sneaky” approach of using pseudonyms doesn’t promote a collegiate exchange of ideas. 

But researchers did not seem interested in scrutinizing the ethics of refusing to publish work not deemed politically correct.

“Rejecting articles, not because they’re wrong but because their authors hold politically incorrect views, doesn’t promote any exchange of ideas,” said Calvin Beisner, a Christian theologian and founder of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. “If the article was worthy of publication under pseudonyms, it was worthy of publication under real names; withdrawing it once the real names were known reveals anti-scientific, anti-logical, bias. This is a travesty of which every honest scientist should be ashamed for the profession.”

Nikolov and Zeller told The Washington Post another scientific journal is reviewing their work for possible republication.

Julie Borg

Julie is a clinical psychologist and writer who lives in Dayton, Ohio. She reports on science and intelligent design for WORLD Magazine and WORLD Digital.

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  • TxAgEngr
    Posted: Thu, 09/22/2016 12:56 pm

    The Left politicizes and corrupts everything it gets its hands on.  The credibility of the "Climate Change of Doom" community is totally destroyed.  They will do and say anything for fame and fortune.  

  • socialworker
    Posted: Thu, 09/22/2016 04:20 pm

    It's interesting that this "let's ignore the facts" mentality is also prevalent in the scientific community, which you would think would be immune.  I watched the protesters in Charlotte last night (15 minutes was all I could take) and they were saying things that indicated they had no interest in the actual facts and figures concerning mortality of black people.  They just said things to make themselves (I guess) feel better and feel vindicated.  It's funny to me that the scientific community is almost doing the same thing.  Won't actually discuss the ramifications of their actions but only how they've been victimized.

  • Fuzzyface
    Posted: Thu, 09/22/2016 07:47 pm

    The article by Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller is interesting and available online.  If you go to the Washington Post article linked here and click on the comments you will see several comments by Ned Nikolov that explain things about their work, along with links to the articles they have written on the subject.

  • Ernest C Beisner's picture
    Ernest C Beisner
    Posted: Fri, 09/23/2016 12:27 pm

    This episode is about as clear a case of genetic fallacy on the part of climate alarmist gatekeepers as can be imagined. Inthe WAPO article, Reiss says anonymity doesn’t guarantee objectivity. True enough, on the part of the authors, but that’s not the problem it’s meant to address, which is reviewer bias against particular authors--and it addresses that quite effectively, until the authors' names are revealed, and then when the reviewers reconsider they reveal their own bias. Frankly, the best cure to this kind of problem would be requiring not single-, not double-, but triple-blind procedure for submission and review of articles. Authors’ and reviewers’ names should be unknown to each other—and authors’ names to editors—until review and decision are complete. It would be nice if reviewers’ names could be unknown to editors, too, but then editors wouldn’t know their competence as reviewers.

    One clarification: It's unclear to me whether Nikolov nor Zeller completely deny all human influence on global atmospheric temperature. They might, and if so, I disagree with them. (From one of their abstracts: "Hence, the down-welling infrared radiation (a.k.a. greenhouse- or back-radiation) is a product of the atmospheric temperature (maintained by solar heating and air pressure) rather than a cause for it. In other words, our results suggest that the GH effect is a thermodynamic phenomenon, not a radiative one as presently assumed." As climatologist Dr. Roy W. Spencer put it to me in private correspondence, "this is muddled thinking...they seem to admit that the atmosphere emits IR downward, and that is what's required for a radiative greenhouse effect. But they seem to suggest it's CAUSE can be viewed differently somehow. Well, I don't care how you view its cause...temperature of ANYTHING is the result of rates of energy gain and energy loss....not atmospheric pressure. You could have 10 times the atmospheric pressure we have, but if the atmosphere doesn't absorb or emit radiation (no greenhouse gases), it will have no impact on surface temperature. Period.") But certainly the vast majority of "climate skeptics" acknowledge that adding infrared-absorbing ("greenhouse") gases (CO2, methane, and a few trace gases) to the atmosphere should, all other things being equal, result in the atmosphere's being warmer than it otherwise would be. What most deny is that the warming from this is or in the foreseeable future will be so dangerous as to warrant spending trillions of dollars to revamp nations' energy systems, raising energy costs and delaying the climb out of poverty for billions, to mitigate it.

    Nonetheless, whether Nikolov and Zeller are right or wrong, the fact that the article was accepted under the pseudonyms but withdrawn when the real names were revealed instances genetic fallacy at least. Who makes an argument is distinct from the argument's soundness--the validity of its inferences and the truth of its premises. If the journal editor and reviewers thought the article sound before they knew its authors, they should have thought it sound after they discovered the authors' real names. So if the journal wanted to withdraw the article, it should have done so on grounds of the falsehood of its premises or the invalidity of its inferences, not on grounds of the authors' identities.

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Tue, 12/13/2016 08:14 am

    The ideal gas equation is PV =n R T which shows there is a thermodynamic relation between pressure and temperature, so I am not completely sure of Dr. Spencer's point but typically this effect would be small given that most the pressure would be offset by an increase in number of molecules for a given volume.  If the temperature did increase, the density would tend to decrease resulting in the low density air moving upward, which would be advection (the transport of energy due to the movement of air).

    I find the "global warming" advocates to be alarmists who fail to appreciate the full complexity of the physics involved in climate and weather. Just one example highlights this.  It has been shown that the addition of CO2 in greenhouses will result in the plants growing faster and larger, causing them to eat up more CO2. In other words, the CO2 acts like a fertilizer helping the plants grow.  The same happens on a global scale where NASA has video clips of color graphs showing this effect throughout the year where you see a decrease in the atmospheric CO2 during spring and early summer, when there is a rapid growth of plants. The climate models need to be highly complex, modeling multiple physics, or else they will not capture the true impacts on the earth. This combined with the politically charged nature of the climate debate, makes obtaining unbiased scientific analysis near impossible where nonprofit groups are spending hundreds of millions, if not billions, to propagate the fear of world catastrophe! 

  • Bill Taylor
    Posted: Fri, 09/23/2016 01:35 pm

    I would be more worried about climate change if it weren't such a scam.

    "The Net Loss of Net Metering at shows that most "green" projects are ways to transfer money from middle-class taxpayers to rich people who want to feel good about themselves regardless of facts. reports that Singapore charged a Tesla owner an "inefficient vehicle tax" because of the environmental cost of generating the electricity.

    "Go Freeze in the Dark" at tells how the British mandated very expensive home heating boilers which stopped working when it got really cold.  The "green" businesses who'd paid off the lawmakers made out like banditos, of course.

  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Fri, 09/30/2016 01:06 pm

    It's funny how people who get caught with their pants down suddenly find ways to blame the messenger.  As with Planned Parenthood, so with Advances in Space Research.  But it is also hilarious that the entire team of reviewers and editors did not even notice the names spelled backwards!

    This reminds me of some of the bitter comedy that Solzhenitsyn found in the Gulag Archipelago.

  • J&
    Posted: Sat, 10/22/2016 07:34 pm

    Excellent article!  Truth penetrates darkness.


    Jeff Springer