Climategate, So-called

There has been a major controversy roiling the Internet about emails stolen by hackers from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. They are being used to push the idea that global warming is a hoax (e.g. http://www.globalwarminghoax.com)

A fair reading is that there may have been some unethical behavior among some scientists in discussing (and perhaps performing) deletions of e-mails to prevent them from being turned over to global warming skeptics who requested them under freedom of information provisions. But this molehill, along with some nasty office politics, and charges of data manipulation that are most likely untrue, is being trumped up into a mountain on venues like the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page.

This piece in Popular Mechanics (via Andrew Sullivan) gives, I think, such a fair reading.

While there is some reason for a bit of skepticism about the most alarmist claims regarding global warming, the notion that the vast amount of research that finds evidence of global warming is a conspiracy among scientists (apparently so they can get rich off foundation grants) is off-the-wall. Indeed, it’s interesting to note the convergence between those tho reject evolution and those who reject global warming. It’s closer than I had originally thought.

There was an poll of U.S. scientists, (members of AAAS) done in July:

87 percent of U.S. scientists believe in evolution (I’m surprised it’s that low)

84 percent of U.S. scientists believe in anthropogenic global warming (I’m surprised it’s that high)

The two figures are almost identical. Very few scientists who accept evolution reject global warming.

According to the poll, among the public at large 32 percent believe in evolution,and 49 percent in global warming. The number on evolution seems low to me, and may have to do with how the question was asked. A Gallup poll which allowed people to answer that they believed in evolution directed by God found that 38 percent believed in theistic evolution, 13 percent in non-theistic evolution, while 45 percent believed God created humans in their present form.

Thus, about half the public believed in evolution, either with or without divine direction, and half rejects it. That’s about the same as the split on global warming.

I can’t prove that the half that rejects one is identical to the half that rejects the other. It stands to reason, however, that if you think God-forsaken scientists have conspired for 150 years to pull the wool over people’s eyes on evolution, you’re highly likely to believe that those devils are up to their old tricks with global warming.

I just wish that people who reject science would be consistent (like the Amish) and reject the fruits of science, like, for instance, the Internet.


1 Response to “Climategate, So-called”

  1. 1 David Kimball
    December 8, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    At first I thought that the comment of making a mountain out of a molehill was a hyperbole itself. Until I read the actual Wall Stree Journal. I was amazed that the article would say “Everyone working in science, no matter their politics, has an stake in cleaning up the mess revealed by the East Anglia emails. Science is on the credibility bubble. If it pops, centuries of what we understand to be the role of science go with it.” So far, I haven’t seen the reasons for the missing e-mails and have read that it could just as easily have been people pro global warming as much as people anti-global warming. We don’t know what’s behind it.

    But even if it turns out that the reason was malevolent, it’s hardly enough to shake apart all of science for “centuries”. The article was totally devoid of critical analysis but was full of hyperboles and extended metaphors with heavy negative emotional content.

    “The New England Journal of Medicine has turned into a weird weekly amalgam of straight medical-research and propaganda for the Obama redesign of U.S. medicine.” is a ridiculous statement to make – even for the Wall Street Journal. I find it ironic that it is so evident that this author is so much of a propagandist decrying propaganda.

    I felt no compunction for disregarding this article and considering it as total blather. Even if the Wall Street Journal has a different political opinion, it should still resort to presentations of good arguments utilizing critical analysis.

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