For much of the last decade as the internet allowed people outside universities to not only have access to the same data but to comment on what academia was doing and even propose their own ideas.
Personally, that process has revealed some horrendous failings in academia with appalling standards seeming to be everywhere from climate to archaeology. In other words, people were just making up history (e.g. the “celts”) and making up “science” (e.g. “global warming” after 18years without any).
The one thing that defines sceptics is that they demand high standards. And like a dog with a bone, once we find areas where absolute rubbish is being printed daily and poured into the ears of students, then we have outed this nonsense.
And yes, we are still finding many instances of absolute nonsense from academia and rightly those who standards are so appalling are being heavily criticised on the internet.
What about everyone else?
The worst offenders are having a hell of a time and either going off in a huff or like Mann trying to fight back when it is obvious he cannot win.
But what about those who do try to do good work? How does all this criticism from outside affect them?
They can no longer get away with printing rubbish
In the past, it’s my perception that there was a “slime race” in academia in which only the slimiest least credible academics got on. Because in the slime race, the winners were those who were prepared to commit outright fraud and manipulate the data to so that they and their universities got more and more papers out and so gained more and more money for more and more fraud.
And what could the more honest academics do? If they kept to higher standards, it meant losing out in the slime race. So, everyone was forced to drop standards and I am sure many an academic was told to drop their standard by University principle intent on their University winning the slime race.
And what on earth was the problem? They all had their snouts in the trough. The slime race created massive funding in areas like “Climate” which no honest academic could have secured and which kept thousand upon thousands of academics in jobs.
But then along came the internet, and internet bloggers and alternative and BETTER sources of scrutiny and authority than the slime-reviews that most papers go through.
Suddenly the honest academics had a reason to be honest – because the fraudulent ones were being found out.
No one likes a profession where the worst possible scumbags get on. Secretly many academics will be overjoyed to see the internet imposing higher standards on them, because most academics would prefer to do their best and not just enter the slime race to the bottom.
So, maybe, just maybe, beyond the front line of squealing pigs like Mann who are in the direct line of fire from sceptics for their poor quality work, just maybe there’s many academics thinking:
It’s about time those people that have so disgraced our profession had their comeuppance.