The Global Warming Challenge

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Speculation Elimination: Did the Bush administration really censor science?

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Paul Georgia on National Review Online concludes with a reference to the Green and Armstrong (2007) paper in his article “Speculation Elimination,” critiquing the press’s emphasis on the Bush administration’s “censoring” of science.

The claim that the Bush Administration censored science is without merit. What it seems to have done, is cut the portions of the testimony that were based in expert speculation about the future. According to the scientific literature on forecasting, expert opinion is the least reliable source for accurate predictions.

A new paper by Professors Scott Armstrong and Kesten Green, leading experts on forecasting, argues that “Comparative empirical studies have routinely concluded that judgmental forecasting by experts [rather than scientific forecasting] is the least accurate of the methods available to make forecasts.” They also show that, “Agreement among experts is weakly related to accuracy,” when it comes to forecasting.

The media storyline is backwards. Rather than censoring science, the Bush Administration responsibly removed baseless speculation from the CDC’s testimony. If the purpose of congressional hearings is “fact finding,” then such speculation is inappropriate and the Administration acted appropriately.

Paul Georgia is the executive director of the Center for Science and Public Policy. The article was adapted from a paper published by the Center.

Written by climatebet

November 30th, 2007 at 2:45 am

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