Monday, 28 November 2016

Bias leads to cherry picking.

Nicholas Thompson

... The authors don’t seem to deny that they have a bias against nuclear energy. I completely believe that any mistakes that were made in this paper were honest mistakes. But in this response, they state that their, “…contribution was intended to challenge a widespread assumption about the supposed climate benefits of nuclear power.

In this sentence, the authors seem to be saying that it is their belief that nuclear does not have climate benefits, or at least that was what they were trying to prove ...

Said more diplomatically than me.

It's clear the authors were engaged in advocacy not analysis. Hardly surprising they got it wrong. They do not follow any clear cut method [They were comparing index values that began = 100 in 1990. Yet they take too small a slice: 7 years, 2005 - 2012]. The indices only have meaning when followed per country from 1990. So that progress can be clearly seen, countrywise. Some countries are large, others small. Some used energy far more inefficiently (the ex-communist countries) in 1990 than today. Some are very highly populated (Malta), some sparsely (Northern Baltic region) Some were more badly affected by the GFC during that time than others. I can go on all day like this ...

A cross-country comparison of indices never made sense. Their data selection has no clear rules to select time periods. Their choice of index (a derivative indicator), rather than GHG emissions per capita (a more primary indicator) made no sense.

They can cherry pick to their hearts content until they find the right combination of data and method that just so happens to imply what they want to show.
Their peers and journal editors are clearly happy with that state of affairs because they allowed the original article to be published.

This is bias right through the academic process. Even the critics and gatekeepers at Retraction Watch are biased. They censored my criticisms.

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