"There was an article in the New Yorker last year - I wish I could find it - that talked about the enormous about of pressure being put on academic journals that affect big industries. It described cases where Monsanto and another big corporation set out to destroy an otherwise well-respected scientist who discovered a high health risk from one of their products."
It sounds like you're describing:
"A Valuable Reputation
The company documents show that, while Hayes was studying atrazine, Syngenta was studying him, as he had long suspected. Syngenta’s public-relations team had drafted a list of four goals. The first was “discredit Hayes.” In a spiral-bound notebook, Syngenta’s communications manager, Sherry Ford, who referred to Hayes by his initials, wrote that the company could “prevent citing of TH data by revealing him as noncredible.” He was a frequent topic of conversation at company meetings. Syngenta looked for ways to “exploit Hayes’ faults/problems.”
In 2005, Ford made a long list of methods for discrediting him: “have his work audited by 3rd party,” “ask journals to retract,” “set trap to entice him to sue,” “investigate funding,” “investigate wife.” The initials of different employees were written in the margins beside entries, presumably because they had been assigned to look into the task. "
Syngenta couldn't find any legitimate scientific flaws in Hayes's research so they waged a PR war against him.
"A virus with high mortaility and rapid spread will rapidly kill all susceptible individuals within it's catchment area, so it's likely that such things have never really gotten off the evolutionary drawing board."
Generally speaking I agree, but only when the virus is lethal to all susceptible individuals.
If the virus is non-lethal to some susceptible individuals then those individuals could become carriers (a reservoir where the virus can continue reproduce but does not kill its host). Carriers are how a virus can have a high mortaility and rapid spread without becoming an evolutionary dead-end.
In the case of Ebola I have heard that it is suspected that fruit bats are carriers. If it is true that fruit bats are Ebola carriers then I think that means Ebola has some susceptible individuals (humans) where it is highly lethal and some susceptible individuals (fruit bats) where it is non-lethal.
"If you think a whitewash of 5 reports makes all of this ok
I have seen the "skeptics" of climate change state that the independent investigations were, as you have said, "a whitewash" yet they've never provided a shred of credible evidence to support that statement. Prove it (let's just get this out of the way: blogs & op-eds do not count as evidence).
It is time for you to put-up or shut-up.
All I've seen so far is you "skeptics" complaining about getting exactly what you asked for (you asked for "an audit of climate science") but it didn't arrive at the conclusion you wanted (the conclusion you wanted "climate science is a hoax/fraud/scam")!
"Science is not supposed to be driven by consensus."
It isn't and nobody ever said it was. You're arguing against position that nobody believes.
Scientific consensus is only important as a signal to the general public. When a scientific consensus forms around a new theory it signals that the evidence for a theory is so strong that it has convinced a large majority of scientists in a field of study that the theory is accurate. It tells us "you can take the theory seriously now".
"You are supposed to design a theory that makes worthwhile predictions about some aspect of the real world and then test it in the real world to ensure it actually predicts stuff."
I'm not a Climatologist but I'm pretty sure that is exactly what they've been doing: Making predictions and testing them.
I suspect that the recently launched Orbiting Carbon Observatory satellite is going to collect data that will be used to test some predictions climate science has made about the sources and sinks of carbon.
The value of a program is proportional to the weight of its output.