Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This Should be a Huge Scandal

I've been sort of shocked by the language, but unsurprised that folks at the East Anglia climate center who advocate AGW dismissed skepticism or criticism of their research in emails that were released in the MSM a few weeks ago. I used to be an academic, and I can tell you that this kind of stuff happens all the time in universities. People are people, and they tend to buy into a conclusion and overlook details that don't fit their world view, dressing up the results with fancy models and at times heroic assumptions. The research may or may not get it right, but too often people's careers and lives get intertwined with an investment in the work. ALL scientific and social scientific research should be submitted to public cross-checking by posting of all available data. See this quote from Declan McCullagh:
The irony of this situation is that most of us expect science to be conducted in the open, without unpublished secret data, hidden agendas, and computer programs of dubious reliability. East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit might have avoided this snafu by publicly disclosing as much as possible at every step of the way.
But now it's starting to look like there's a big reason why none of these folks disclosed the information: many of the conclusions that AGW are based on use data that now no longer exist, which is a huge, enormous, and really troubling problem. If the folks who advocate AGW are saying that the "science" is settled, but they no longer have the raw data that support the scientific findings, that's bad. And whether or not those emails show bias or lack of sensitivity or whatever, if the whole thing can't be re-examined because the data got thrown out, it's really, really, really, really, really, really, really, bad.

The financial, economic, and political consequences of policies that limit carbon emissions will cost trillions of dollars - 1,000,000,000,000's. And all of this legislation may be based on temperature measurements that may be ALL WRONG? Even in my deeply cynical world view this is pretty depressing.

Happy Holidays!

1 comment:

  1. So many of us (especially in the Academy) believe that we are above the base needs of other humans (prestige, sex, security, sex, money and sex). Why are we shocked when people hide their failings and exaggerate their successes in the sciences; but we all too readily expect these weaknesses in other disciplines (religion, politics, business, etc). All of these institutions are human-based and as such share human needs. When the Academy is “shocked and dismayed” aren’t we really just showing our arrogance?