An article referenced at RC asks whether climatology is a real science.
The article is rife with the usual denialist sleight of hand and drivel, but it is not at all clear that the author is insincere.
The answer is yes, but why should anyone believe me? This leads me to broaden the question. How should one answer “is academic community X doing real science?”
After all, I have been known to ask whether economics is a real science. So I have to admit that the class of question is admissible.
I can’t just point to the best climatologists I know and say “if that’s not a scientist, I’m a blue armadillo”. Any economist could argue similarly.
Values of X where this is very uncertain from my point of view include:
psychology of consciousness
Others ask this of fields for which, for me, the answer is obviously affirmative, notably evolutionary biology, geology, climatology, any field which can’t function in the context of a hypothetical world created ten thousand years ago.
I think the class of question is legitimate, and that high dudgeon is not a useful answer. What then constitutes a science? Is there some reasonable way for society to distinguish between sciences and intellectual disciplines that are not sciences?
I suspect that the question has no objective test, which puts us in a pretty pickle.