Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What is so disturbing about Climate-gate

My husband has a round-up of links on the burgeoning scandal arising from the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Center. Powerline has been excellent on reading through the emails and posting on the implications. John Lott writes today about why we should care about this whole story.

What should be disturbing to anyone involved in science or who just took a high school science class is the cavalier attitude to data and research. What raises scientific research above research in other fields such as the social sciences is the rigor demanded of observing phenomena and reporting on the results. And the sine qua non is the willingness to share data so other scientists can duplicate your tests and examine your methods. And yet, this is what those researchers at East Anglia and other researchers at American universities have been trying to do. They've been refusing data requests, trying to avoid Britain's Freedom of Information laws, while intimidating scientific journals to keep critical studies out of publication. Then they deride their critics by saying they're not being published in the same journals that they just threatened if they published such critical studies.

This is a total rejection of the scientific method. And for what? To protect their theories about man-made global warming. Here they're asking nations across the globe to spend hundreds of billions of dollars and rejigger their entire economies because of their warnings about global warming. And yet they totally reject any attempts for an honest, yet skeptical examination of their theories.

One of my favorite activities is to drive in my care while listening to a Teaching Company class. I love the feeling of arriving at my destination having learned something new. Coincidentally, I've been listening to an excellent course on the Renaissance, Reformation, and the Rise of Nations and had been listening to the lectures on the Scientific Revolution. And there was a stark juxtaposition between reading about these global warming scientists perverting the scientific research to further their theories along with listening to medieval scientists twisting themselves into knots trying to explain observed phenomena that contradicted Aristotle and Ptolemy's theories of the earth as the center of the universe.

East Anglia has revealed itself as the Ptolemy of global warming research. Shame on them for perverting the scientific method in pursuit of their idée fixe. But they are much worse. They know better about how scientific research should be done, but they've resorted to sabotaging all their critics in order to manufacture they're vaunted "scientific consensus" on man-caused global warming.

UPDATE: Robert Tracinski well describes the travesty of science that this reveals.
The picture that emerges is simple. In any discussion of global warming, either in the scientific literature or in the mainstream media, the outcome is always predetermined. Just as the temperature graphs produced by the CRU are always tricked out to show an upward-sloping "hockey stick," every discussion of global warming has to show that it is occurring and that humans are responsible. And any data or any scientific paper that tends to disprove that conclusion is smeared as "unscientific" precisely because it threatens the established dogma.

For more than a decade, we've been told that there is a scientific "consensus" that humans are causing global warming, that "the debate is over" and all "legitimate" scientists acknowledge the truth of global warming. Now we know what this "consensus" really means. What it means is: the fix is in.

This is an enormous case of organized scientific fraud, but it is not just scientific fraud. It is also a criminal act. Suborned by billions of taxpayer dollars devoted to climate research, dozens of prominent scientists have established a criminal racket in which they seek government money-Phil Jones has raked in a total of £13.7 million in grants from the British government-which they then use to falsify data and defraud the taxpayers. It's the most insidious kind of fraud: a fraud in which the culprits are lauded as public heroes. Judging from this cache of e-mails, they even manage to tell themselves that their manipulation of the data is intended to protect a bigger truth and prevent it from being "confused" by inconvenient facts and uncontrolled criticism.

The damage here goes far beyond the loss of a few billions of taxpayer dollars on bogus scientific research. The real cost of this fraud is the trillions of dollars of wealth that will be destroyed if a fraudulent theory is used to justify legislation that starves the global economy of its cheapest and most abundant sources of energy.

This is the scandal of the century. It needs to be thoroughly investigated-and the culprits need to be brought to justice.