A few weeks before the Climategate scandal started to bounce around the blogs, I wrote an essay here about how the global warmists were acting just like every other doom-shrieking huckster from the past five decades. Since all of the others were wrong, terribly and horribly wrong, I said that I wasn’t too worried about any toasty catastrophe.
That is why I haven’t been paying too much attention to the collapse of the latest doom-of-the-week. After all, it isn’t like I haven’t seen this tired process play itself out over and over again.
But it is tough to avoid it altogether if you rely on blogs for your news. And there is a recurring theme that gives me pause.
Most climate scientists that appear on news programs, or who write op-eds for the various news outlets, all say the same thing. This scandal might cast more than a decade of work done by the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia into doubt, but it doesn’t invalidate research done by other scientists which support the idea that this planet is warming due to human action.
Well, gee, why in the world doesn’t it invalidate their work as well?
Didn’t the CRU boast the largest and most comprehensive collection of climate data in the entire world? Didn’t this massive collection of data inspire, if not directly influence, just about every other climate scientist’s work? Aren’t the people who authored the Emails which prove dirty tricks, data manipulation, and collusion to hide problems with their research the most prestigious and influential climate scientists in the world?
So why in the world should anyone take any climate scientist’s word for their integrity, and soundness of their work? Isn’t the onus on them to prove that they aren’t crooks and liars, like the big guys were?
This seems perfectly reasonable to me, but I may be missing something.
16 thoughts on “Riddle Me This”
It’s about faith, not reason.
Plus lots of hucksters are loathe to lose their income.
The American Physical Society is now under some pressure to rescind its position on AGW because it was “based on cheating.” The dam is bulging and will soon break.
Point of detail: it’s simply “CRU”. The Hadley centre is separate – it’s on the other side of England and belongs to the Met Office.
It does invalidate the work of others because (1) they all claimed to reproduced the CRU’s work (2) they all claimed to have reviewed the CRUs work and (3) they defended the work against scrutiny.
(1) Cast their competence in doubt and (2) and (3) call their integrity into doubt.
NASA (Hansen at Goddard) has been no more forthcoming than was CRU about sharing data and being open about adjustments.
Just go to NOAA’s website and you’ll be quite impressed that a govt agency can devote so much effort and be so upfront about advocating a controversial scientific position.
They were and are all in it together. Threats, intimidation, gobs of money… it’s all a giant RICO.
The biggest problem that I keep seeing is that so many people are too stupid (including those with an emotional need) to “unlearn” all the lies, so they just keep going on autopilot — even tho they can see the mountain approaching, it’s “steady as she goes.”
“The Hadley centre is separate – it’s on the other side of England and belongs to the Met Office.”
I see! Thank you for the correction.
However, the basic massaged data are 95% overlapping between the CRU at Univ. of East Anglia, the Hadley unit at the British Meteorological Office, and the NASA temp records kept by leading hoaxer James Hansen at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Science. In this regard, the Hadley unit announced a few days ago that they were going back to the original data to re-create their massaged data…so, there are NOT independently kept records, at all.
Maybe one of the regular posters here can explain the conservative position on climate change.
First, as to the answer to the “riddle,” it appears to me that whether data, especially important data, was being fudged by these scientists is debatable:
The second answer is related to the larger question of why the right seems so convinced that global warming isn’t a mistake, but a deliberate fraud.
I read two books on climate change, back when Kyoto was being fashioned: one pro, and one from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, against Kyoto. I decided that the topic was far too complex for me to grasp without a serious commitment to devoting dozens if not hundreds of hours to the question. So, in the end, my position has to be more derived from counting heads and evaluating sources, than from understanding the current data.
As I understand the argument from the global warming supporters, the scientific concensus supports the theory. The supporters include many accomplished scientists. It is perfectly rational to me to believe that on an industrialized planet with 6 billion people, human activity could affect the climate. On the other hand, the concensus may not be a concensus, or it may be completely wrong. I have no issue with qualified, reasonable skeptics challenging the data, or with the argument that political advocates are claiming the concensus is stronger than it is. I hope they are right.
What is beyond my comprehension is the vehemence in opposing the theory, or the claim that the theory is not an honest mistake, but a deliberate hoax. To me, this is so unhinged that I have trouble listening to it. I can’t imagine the incentive for largely middle class scientists, toiling away in universities, to invent some phony worldwide crisis that they can somehow collectively maintain for decades. They may want grant money, but it seems to me that there is reseach money available from corporations and conservative groups as well. Accepting that maybe a great many scientists honestly believe in the theory doesn’t make a person a radical, a neo-pagan, a socialist, a hater of industry, a hater of America, or a proponent of one-world government. One doesn’t need to destroy the economy to support green industries.
Which is a second answer to your riddle: if one believes that scientists are acting independently and in good faith, then the dishonest actions of a few, even if they are prominent, doesn’t discredit the work of the rest. In order to believe otherwise, you need to believe that some sort of fraud is being sustained, and frankly, that is a position that seems fundamentally at odds with common sense.
This is not to exonerate those with a political agenda on either side. Gore is not a scientist, and has staked his career on the theory. For that reason, he should not be considered objective or an expert. But Palin and Beck are at least equally worthless, and politically motivated. There is every reason to believe that the politicians and pundits are acting as they always do – tools of the respective interests of their parties – but no reason to believe that any of them are sustaining a conspiracy of the worldwide scientific community.
“What is beyond my comprehension is the vehemence in opposing the theory, or the claim that the theory is not an honest mistake, but a deliberate hoax. To me, this is so unhinged that I have trouble listening to it.”
I’m hardly an expert on climate science and completely unqualified to have any opinions of same. This is something I’ve voiced more than once.
I am, however, somewhat skilled when it comes to recognizing criminal and dishonest behavior.
The authors of the leaked emails from the CRU were not shy about discussing deleting data and private messages to avoid complying with FOIA requests, or fudging data for the same end. They discuss schemes to punish the editors of journals who publish research that reaches different conclusions than their own, and hatch schemes to blacklist those journals in order to reduce their standing.
Please note, Don, that this has nothing whatsoever to do with the science. These are dirty tricks, which are extremely obvious even to a layman. And they are online for all to see.
“Which is a second answer to your riddle: if one believes that scientists are acting independently and in good faith, then the dishonest actions of a few, even if they are prominent, doesn’t discredit the work of the rest.”
As I very clearly pointed out in the original post, these are not only the most prominent climate scientists in the world, but their research had a huge influence on just about every other academic who claimed that AGW was a serious problem. If all the others were acting in good faith, how come they didn’t speak out against the dirty tricks? How come they didn’t insist that the scientists in question act according to law, and comply with the FOIA requests? If they are so honest then why didn’t they raise a ruckus, and put their own reputations on the line?
One last note. As Shannon Love mentions in the comments above, the others signed off on the tainted work of the CRU, and defended it against scrutiny. If that doesn’t indicate complicity, I don’t know what would!
I’m still not seeing it:
Forged results? The youtube link deals with the most often-cited emails that are alleged to establish fraud. (The video is unnecessarily snarky, but the points are clear). I see a questionably worded email about tree rings that I don’t really understand. That’s it, in 13 years of emails. There isn’t any evidence of fudging results. If you think the points made in the video are incorrect, please point out where.
Reliance by others? Even assuming that there were evidence of serious fraud, in order to discredit others who relied on their work or claimed to reproduce it, you would need to know what work was at issue. Was it field work? Statistical modeling? Theorizing from others’ experiments? How important was the work? Is there any evidence it was fraudulent?
Punishing editors? I’ve read these emails: I think this claim is silly.
Noncompliance with FIO requests? This seems to me to be damning on an ethical level. But the effect on the science depends on the information at issue, which I don’t claim to understand. Destroying documents in response to FIO requests is a personal act of dishonesty. There have been many, many FIO requests directed at many institutions – is the claim that it is routine for scientists to hide evidence?
I see very little evidence that these emails have much if anything to do with the vast majority of research done on climate change. Can you connect the dots for me on how this touches the actual science?
Well,what data wasn’t contaminated by these crooks?This clearly isn’t science,and one must pity someone so gullible as to not see that.
The following connection has wonderful graphs to give one a good context.
“Can you connect the dots for me on how this touches the actual science?”
Oh, that’s as easy as pie! Here you go!
Note how Phil Jones, who was the head of the CRU, is discussing deleting emails concerning a dataset with Michael Mann.
Who is Michael Mann? The author of the infamous Hockey Stick graph, which is probably the single most influential bit of propaganda to push cap-and-trade that was ever created!
Why were they deleting their emails? In order to destroy data that an FOIA request required them to produce. And Jones even mentions the FOIA in the subject line of his message, where he urges Mann to delete away!
This is just one out of many examples of dirty tricks and illegal behavior. Many, many examples. Pick a reasonable number, a threshold where would become convinced, and read the leaked emails yourself.
As I’ve said, they are all online.
James R. Rummel:
First, your link discusses the email deletions (already covered in my comments), but doesn’t connect the deletions to a topic and show its significance (at least not in a way I understand).
Second, the hockey stick controversy was the subject of a couple of studies, which came to different conclusions:
The hockey stick controversy wasn’t part of the email exchange, as far as I know. It is proof of, at most, disagreement, not fraud or conspiracy or even routinely lax methods.
Do you concede that the “travesty” emails and the “hide the decline” emails in no way affect the major conclusions of climate change theory, as indicated in the video I posted?
You say it’s easy as pie, but I see this as completely nonresponsive. For some reason, we aren’t communicating.
Do you think that global warming is a conspiracy? If so, what motivates it?
“First, your link discusses the email deletions (already covered in my comments), but doesn’t connect the deletions to a topic and show its significance (at least not in a way I understand).”
I am at a loss. The email deletions are, very clearly, an attempt to avoid complying with an FOIA request. When you say that it “…doesn’t connect the deletions to a topic and show its significance…”, all I can do is ask: What in the world do you think is the topic of my post above?
“Do you concede that the “travesty” emails and the “hide the decline” emails in no way affect the major conclusions of climate change theory, as indicated in the video I posted?”
One more time, then….
Science is supposed to be based on free inquiry, and the honest pursuit of information.
Climategate proves, by their very own hands, that the most influential and prominent climate scientists in the entire world have been dishonest, deceitful, and even criminal when it comes to their work. That means none of their conclusions can possibly be trusted.
Yet there are all these other climate scientists who claim that, sure, the CRU’s work might be tainted, but their own research is as pure as the driven snow. So the idea of AGW bringing doom and ruin must be trusted.
But if these other, lesser known scientists are so noble, so pure in intentions, and their own work is so far beyond reproach, why didn’t they call out the CRU group while they were indulging in more than a decade of dirty tricks, unethical behavior, and crime? That makes their own reputations suspect, and their own work should face scrutiny before anyone trusts them.
“Do you think that global warming is a conspiracy? If so, what motivates it?”
Could just be extreme bias.
So far as motivation goes, how much did the CRU collect in public funds in the last decade? I don’t know myself, but I’ve read that it was around 85 million pounds.
That goes beyond motivation. That is karma with a universal adapter.
James R. Rummel:
I can see why you’re at a loss.
If you think that one scientist’s deletion of emails or deceptiveness taints all of the work of the entire discipline, but can’t explain how the deletion of emails in some way casts doubt on the other’s scientists’ work, or even the significance of the topics involved, then you are either intentionally dodging the weakness of your point or you lack rudimentary reasoning skills.
I posted a link specifically addressing the most often cited emails – the “travesty” email and the “hide the decline” email – which I think rather convincingly shows them to be of little, if any significance.
You show no interest in understanding the link, debunking it, or discussing it. You just ramble about dirty tricks, the noble pursuit of science, etc, without dealing with the actual topic of the emails at issue, which are (as far as I am aware) the only direct evidence offered of fudging data. Again, you either lack the grace to concede the point, or you lack rudimentary reasoning skills.
I believe what Doc is saying is damn the ehthics and facts only the ideology mattters, not proper scientific method.
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