top of page

Scientism – con’t: Threats to the Integrity of Science

Aktualisiert: 15. Nov. 2020

re:look Aufriss – The statement of Peter Gleick to the Senate 2007

Ade Adedokun,

Dr. Philipp Lengsfeld

October 2020

Primary source: Testimony of Dr. Peter Gleick, February 7, 2007. Climate Change Research and Scientific Integrity - Threats to the Integrity of Science Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation, USA.

The aim of this outline is to draw attention to the work of Dr Peter Gleick which highlights important issues posing a threat to the integrity of science. Although the source is from 2007, the topic and issues are very current.

The above referenced paper is a testimony delivered to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in early 2007. Dr Gleick is a respected American scientist from California; he has produced various works related to environmental issues and has received several honors for his significant contributions to science. In 2011, he became the new chairman of the "new task force on scientific ethics and integrity" of the American Geophysical Union. He is the cofounder and president emeritus of the Pacific Institute.

In his testimony, Dr Gleick submits that good science should be independent, devoid of abuse or manipulation, hence providing genuine information. As opposed to good science, when data is being ignored or distorted for political or ideological reasons, it results in bad science and misinformation.

While addressing the issues of Scientific Misconduct and Alteration of Good Science, Dr Gleick stated that: “Policy makers have the right to make decisions that consider, but then discount, good science. Science is, after all, only one factor among many that must be weighed in making policy. But they have no right to seek bad science to support predetermined conclusions, to misrepresent, misquote, misuse, or suppress science that contradicts those conclusions, or to penalize scientists who seek to inform and educate the public.”

He went on to say that:Equally important, political operatives and appointees must not be permitted to alter scientific findings and edit scientific conclusions to support pre-determined outcomes, as has recently been reported in the fields of climate change, the health effects of pollution, and the need to protect threatened animals and plants under the Endangered Species Act.”

For better understanding, Dr Gleick created a framework by categorizing the different tactics and deceitful strategies employed in the abuse of the scientific process. These categories are replicated below.

Re: look conclusion:

This brilliant submission brings to light the deceitful tactics used to argue for or against scientific conclusions. These tactics stand as threats to the integrity of science; they need to be given more attention, and necessary actions should be taken to abate their practice.


Copy of Attachment of Testimony of Peter Gleick:

Categories of Deceitful Tactics and Abuse of the Scientific Process

There are many tactics used to argue for or against scientific conclusions that are inappropriate, involve deceit, or directly abuse the scientific process.

Appeal to Emotion

This is a large category and involves using various tactics to incite emotions in people in

order to persuade them that a particular argument or hypothesis is true or false,

independent of the scientific evidence.

· Appeal to Fear

· Appeal to Flattery

· Appeal to Pity

· Appeal to Ridicule

· Appeal to Spite

Personal (“Ad Hominem”) Attacks

This approach uses attacks against the character, circumstances, or motives of a person in

order to discredit their argument or claim, independent of the scientific evidence.

· Demonization

· Guilt by Association

· Challenge to Motive (such as greed or funding)

Mischaracterizations of an Argument

This approach typically mischaracterizes an issue or evidence and then argues against the

mischaracterization. It can include.

· Begging the Question

· Circular Reasoning

· Partial Truths

· Selective Choice of Problems

· Straw Man Argument (includes substituting a distorted, exaggerated, or misrepresented position for the one being argued)

· Loaded Question (includes posing a question with an implied position that the opponent does not have)

· False Dichotomy (for or against)/False dilemma (includes assuming that there are only two possible opinions or choices)

· Misplaced Burden of Proof

· Confusing Cause and Effect

· Red Herring (includes presentation of an irrelevant topic to divert attention from another topic)

· Slippery Slope (includes the assertion that one event must inevitably follow from another)

Inappropriate Generalization

Accusing all of a group of people or arguments or set of facts as having the

characteristics of a subset of that group.

Misuse of Facts

· Numerical Mischaracterization

· Selective Choice or Presentation of Data; Biased Sample

· Inadequate Sample; Hasty Generalization; Leaping to a Conclusion

Selective Omissions of Data

· Illusory Precision (where precision isn’t needed or available)

· Inappropriate Vagueness (where precision is needed)

· Unrelated Facts (bringing unrelated facts that seem to support a conclusion)

· Misuse of Uncertainty

· Misplaced Certainty

· Misrepresentation of Uncertainty

False Authority

Including appeal to authority not competent to address issue

Hidden Value Judgments

Including judgments based on ideological or religious rationales rather than reviewable and testable evidence.

Scientific Misconduct

The violation of the standard codes of scholarly conduct and ethical behavior in

professional scientific research, including:

· Fabrication (the fabrication of research data and observations)

· Falsification (manipulation of research data and processes or omitting critical data or

· results)

· Failure to Acknowledge and Correct Errors

Science Policy Misconduct

The manipulation of the process of integrating science and policy, including:

· Packing Advisory Boards

· Imposing Litmus Tests

· Altering or Suppressing Information

· Bullying of Scientists

· Selective Funding or De-funding


References and Sources:

Testimony of Dr. Peter Gleick, February 7, 2007. Climate Change Research and Scientific

Integrity - Threats to the Integrity of Science Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Peter H Gleick -

Pacific Institute

Personal Homepage of Peter Gleick

Aktuelle Beiträge

Alle ansehen

re:look climate Aufriss

Coupled stratosphere-troposphere-Atlantic multidecadal oscillation and its importance for near-future climate projection Coupled stratosphere-troposphere-Atlantic multidecadal oscillation and its impo

Light pollution – environmental risks/issues

Source: Office for technology-assessment at the German Bundestag Type: Report Author: Christoph Schröter-Schlaack; Christoph Revermann; Nona Schulte-Römer, Institution: Institute for technology assess


bottom of page