If the question “is climatology a real science?” is fair game, the question “is economics a real science?” cannot just be dismissed as subversive. What we really know, how valuable our conceptual models are and how reliable our computational embodiments of them are, are questions everyone offering expertise should be willing and able to answer.
It appears that a few economists are asking the question of one another. Here’s a brief article in an online economics periodical called Economists’ Voice. Consider the abstract:
How do economists know what they know? In a call for a new empiricism Barbara Bergmann asserts that economists mainly make it up.
Alas, Bergmann’s plea for evidence-based economics is adorned with the following motivational exhortation:
If we had some realistic ideas about how business people arrive at their decisions on investment in plant and equipment, our ability to formulate policies that would stimulate growth would improve.
Sigh. Naturally. Of course there is not even the slightest hint of re-examination of the idea that the objective of macroeconomic management must be to stimulate growth.
Regardless, the article closes with the observation that a pioneer in the use of observations in economics does not teach the technique to his students on the grounds that this would be likely to “ruin their careers”.
See also this letter in response in the same publication.