The fanciful world of the "Friends of Science"

There is no doubt that science would be made easier by throwing out the concept of 'peer review.' I am sure many scientists curse from time to time the rigorous questioning of their peers, the need to re-visit completed work and the possibility that years of research may be for naught based on the scrutiny of their colleagues.

That being said, the peer-review process of science plays an extremely important role in ensuring that conclusions drawn by research are in fact sound before being touted in the scientific community. Without peer review, science could easily fall into the category of opinion.

The Friends of Science, a Calgary-based cadre of climate skeptics who we have reported extensively on, delivered a statement today in the National Post via their appointed spokesperson, Albert F. Jacobs. This letter serves as a great example of the fantasy world the FOS promotes when it comes the concepts of science and peer-review.

Jacobs points out in his letter to the editor that “the mandate of the FOS is to compile, review, share and debate available science that relates to the causes of climate change.” He urges readers to visit their website to “… learn about what we really do.”

Such a visit shows that FOS offers up a host of opinion pieces, commentary and a very small number of peer-reviewed papers - all dedicated to the argument that the world's best climatologists are misguided, thick-headed or so lacking in integrity that they would invent an worldwide environmental scare story to help them bulk up their research budgets.

Here is a link to the FOS's list of scientific references, and here is a quick breakdown of some of what you will find there:

A speech by notorious climate change skeptic Sallie Baliunas and her testimony at Sen. Inhofe's Committee on Environment and Public Works.

An opinion piece
with graphs and flashing lights by the late John L. Daly.

A couple of pieces
by Hansen et al. that were published in the highly regarded Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

(These have been widely misinterpreted to indicate that climate change is not occurring. For example, in one paper, the talk about the success in reducing non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions and conclude this: “Combined with a reduction of black carbon emissionsand plausible success in slowing CO2 emissions, this reductionof non-CO2GHGs could lead to a decline in the rate of globalwarming, reducing the danger of dramatic climate change.” Which is to say, if we act responsibly we may be able to reduce the risk.)

An opinion piece by Richard Lindzen in from the Wall Street Journal, as well as some Senate Committee testimony.

Two opinion pieces by the Hockey-stick obsessed Ross McKitrick, appearing in the right-wing Fraser Institute Forum newsletter.

A dead link to another Fraser Forum piece penned by Willie Soon.

A controversial paper by New Zealand academic Chris de Freitas, published in the Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology at a time when his brother, Talisman Energy geologist Tim de Freitas, was the editor.

All in all, of the 26 FOS “scientific references,” only nine appear in a peer-reviewed journals. And numerous of these do not support the FOS contention that climate change remains unproven.

Mr. Jacobs claims that the “FOS is providing insight into climate change,” but it seems that instead the FOS is providing a window into a fantasy world where scientific proof takes the form of opinion articles, speeches, misrepresentations and familial nudging and winking.


These imposters are a bunch of liars and fraudsters led by a couple of well known pseudo-scientists who were very active in the lies and misinformation put out by the Tobacco Industry. It is a joke that they even consider them selves as scientists.

It is the urgent prerogative of any scientist who is involved and/or interested in the area of climate science to expose these people for what they are.

It should be mandatory for any Scientific Body that has any of these people as members to actively lobby for their removal from such bodies since they have infringed on the ethics of all science.

Ian Forrester

You comment seems to confirm the skeptics’ point that global warming theory is more of a religion than a scientific persuit.  Why do you have to denegrate accredited scientists - shouldn’t you be attacking their supposedly bad science instead?  Just because a significant number of climatologists happen to disagree with global warming conclusions doesn’t make them “fraudsters” or unethical.  Is it not possible for anyone to disagree with you people?  What exactly would your credentials be anyway?

… for that, we recommend

But it’s relevant - we think necessary - to point out that Friends of Science like Tim Ball are, in fact, a little weak on the accreditation front.

Ball and company are not performing science; if they were, their work would be appearing in peer-reviewed scientific journals, not on the opinion pages of daily newspapers. Instead, they are waging a public relations war, using their (often unrelated) academic qualifications to try to affect the course of public policy development.

When they withdraw from the field of policy debate and return to science, we’ll gladly fold up our tent. In the meantime, when we see “scientists” conspiring with energy-industry-funded PR firms to mislead the public, we’re here to cry foul.

What else but fraudster and unethical would you call someone who is deliberately distorting the scientific truth? Have you read their web site? It is full of untruths and misinterpretations. How any organization can call itself legitimate when it lists the likes of Tim Ball, Bob Carter, Chris de Freitas and Sallie Baliunas as “Scientific advisors.”


Everything on their web site relates back to the small band of vocal global warming deniers who have been distorting the truth for many years.


Only exposing what these people and their motives are will help in putting their garbage in the waste bin where it belongs. By even arguing at a technical level with them or about them does not serve any purpose since the average lay person (who is the primary target for their misinformation) does not realize that what they are saying is not the accepted consensus of the information.


As for your comment “Is it not possible for anyone to disagree with you people?” We are not talking about scientific disagreement here but the distortion of the scientific facts as reported and accepted by the vast majority (>99%) of climate scientists. None of these so-called “friends of science” has published a paper giving any proof for an alternative model for global warming; all they do is rubbish genuine and accepted results to muddy the waters.


Ian Forrester