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Earth Science

Climategate and the Need For Greater Scientific Openness 701

Posted by Soulskill
from the protecting-the-wrong-data dept.
The Guardian follows up on the recent news that CRU climate scientists were cleared of scientific misconduct with an article that focuses on how the controversy could have been avoided, and public trust retained, had the scientists made more of an effort to be open about their research. You may recall our discussion of a report from Pennsylvania State University; that was followed by another review with similar conclusions. Quoting: "The review, led by Sir Muir Russell, does not mention the media. Instead, it examines the reaction of the scientists at the UEA's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) to the pressure exerted by bloggers: 'An important feature of the blogosphere is the extent to which it demands openness and access to data. A failure to recognize this and to act appropriately can lead to immense reputational damage by feeding allegations of cover-up.' The review adds: 'We found a lack of recognition of the extent to which earlier action to release information might have minimized the problems.' Pressure on the scientists, whose once esoteric work creating records of past temperatures had gained global significance, was intense. In 2005, CRU head Phil Jones replied to a request: 'We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?' But, the review implies, the more they blocked, the more the Freedom of Information requests flooded in."
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Climategate and the Need For Greater Scientific Openness

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  • Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @01:26PM (#32867562)

    Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?

    I think this demonstrates that the idealized version of the scientific method isn't always followed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 11, 2010 @01:26PM (#32867564)

    "Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?"

    Because that is how science works. Any decent scientist would rather say "here is my data, please help me find something wrong with it."

  • Response (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @01:29PM (#32867580)

    Hey, I've got a response for you: Fuck the blogosphere.

    There is sufficient transparency in the scientific community, but you know what? People have opinions in the community as well. They don't claim its science, they argue, they piss each other off behind closed doors, and they deserve to have their personal e-mails kept private. They aren't politicians -- they aren't accountable to the public, though they often do perform public services. But then they set it all aside, they publish their work to peer reviewed journals, and move towards some kind of consensus using common criterion. Demanding greater transparency (ie reduced privacy) because a small number of people from a much, much larger community made a poor judgement call (at best) is uncalled for.

    And the blogosphere is not exactly what I would call a bastion of unbiased requests! For shame...

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @01:31PM (#32867596)

    I think this demonstrates that the idealized version of the scientific method isn't always followed.

    Nothing that's been idealized has been proven to be of practical value in the real world. Human beings need areas of grey to function -- we aren't computers or robots with discrete logic processors. We are, in the end, quite a bit more fuzzy, which makes attaining an "idealized" anything impossible. That isn't to say our attempts to do so aren't laudable, but demanding it instead of seeking it are two very different propositions.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SQL Error (16383) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @01:31PM (#32867600)

    We know that. Scientists are people.

    Of course, Jones neatly answers his own question there - that's the very best reason to make your data available. Is he so incurious that he doesn't even want to know if he's made a mistake?

  • Re:Response (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 11, 2010 @01:37PM (#32867640)

    which is why everything the police do is completely transparent and open to the public.

  • !Science (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @01:37PM (#32867646)

    Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?

    Um, that is precisely why. Do you even know how to spell the word "science", Phil?

  • Re:Response (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Compholio (770966) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @01:38PM (#32867656)

    They aren't politicians -- they aren't accountable to the public, though they often do perform public services.

    If they are using MY tax dollars then they damn well ARE accountable to the public.

    So all of their private conversations are suddenly public record because they get paid with tax dollars? I'm sorry, but you have no right to take away our privacy just because you are the source of our paychecks.

  • by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Sunday July 11, 2010 @01:41PM (#32867668) Journal

    Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?

    ...and he wants to have a word with you about the scientific method [wikipedia.org].

  • by bkeahl (1688280) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @01:41PM (#32867672)
    The leaked communication, the content, and the attempts to delete them before they were found all indicate there was an attempt to cover up problems with the data. The problem now is that so many in the scientific community are vested in this process as a result of the funding competition, there's little room to trust at this point.

    The ONLY way to have credibility is to make all the data available. However, now that we know they'll play games with the data I fear now that all we'll see is people more careful about laundering their data before releasing it.

    To apply it to everyday life, how can the spouse of someone who has betrayed them ever really trust them again? These guys didn't even kiss us first, and they're free to continue doing what they've been doing again!
  • Re:Impressive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 11, 2010 @01:42PM (#32867686)

    No, he just doesn't want a bunch of people funded by exxon-mobil selectively quoting tiny portions of his data to support bullshit positions,

  • Re:Response (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dfetter (2035) <david@fetter.org> on Sunday July 11, 2010 @01:43PM (#32867690) Homepage Journal

    You will, of course, be demanding accountability in military spending that's equal to what scientist using public funds have now, right? How about starting with the total decommissioning of our nuclear weapons? We spend about 8 billion dollars on each nuclear submarine. Has anyone been asked to present a post-Cold War case for ever having one of those?

  • false (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeek Elemental (976426) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @01:45PM (#32867696)

    It was only a big deal to the paid US shills, there was no "loss of public trust".
    Reasonable people listen to scientific consensus.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bersl2 (689221) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @01:52PM (#32867738) Journal

    OK, so they'll make shit up to support bullshit positions. Who needs to bother with factual data, especially when they aren't made publicly available?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 11, 2010 @01:53PM (#32867744)

    One of the problems that I see with the blogsphere is that it is a never ending trap. How much time will people who work on controversial topics now have to spend working on dealing with unending requests for data, of which very few people will understand either the facts or sometimes more importantly the context of the conclusions reached.

    If I was one of the scientists putting my life and soul into researching something this important; and yes, the conclusions can go either way, but the research IS important; the last thing I would do is spend more than half my time to respond to useless requests by bloggers pretending to be journalists. Bloggers are opinion, not news. They need to be treated as such.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:01PM (#32867802)

    The scientists are going "why should I be releasing all this data which I spent 25 years on"... it's partly because of a "pride of ownership" and a desire to be first publisher (= status in the "community").. but there's several financial reasons why, too. These folks don't get huge budgets to do their work, and responding to those FOIA and similar requests takes some non-zero amount of time and effort, for which someone has to be paid. It's particularly grating to have to respond when some number of the recipients are not going to understand and either ask MORE questions (which need time and money to answer) or worse, to use the data incorrectly to try and get your already limited funding cut.

    No wonder they go "bleh.. just ignore it and hope it goes away.. it's lose/lose"

    This is particularly the case with older research. Today, many grants have a "must release raw data within (some small number of months)" and explicitly ask for your budget to do so as part of the application. But you still have the "do I spend my time doing research or doing explanations for the general public" resource allocation problem. There's also the cultural problem (as shown in the recent AAAS report) that many scientists consider "explaining" to be beneath them. Look at the scorn heaped upon "science popularizers". It used to be that there were dedicated science journalists with good writing skills and science knowledge who filled the gap between esoteric journal pubs and general public, but the budget for them has gone by the wayside. Science rarely fits in the "if it bleeds it leads" category, nor does it fit in the "watching the train wreck" voyeurism of the antics of Paris, Britney, and LiLo.

  • Re:Response (Score:4, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:02PM (#32867808) Journal

    >>>Demanding greater transparency because a small number of people... made a poor judgment call is uncalled for.

    You need to read Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" in which he makes the case that Non-transparency (i.e. hiding data) is what enables the old guard to protect their favorite theories. It happened to Kepler when he was afraid to publish his math proving the sun was the center of the solar system (he waited until he was on his deathbed). It happened to Galileo who was imprisoned by the Catholic Church. It happened to Planck for suggesting that lightwaves could travel through a vacuum instead of a medium like water. The journals refused to publish his work, because it challenged the prevailing theory and was considered "nuts".

    It is censorship through suppression of minority views, and the only way to fight it is through openness (share the data).

  • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:03PM (#32867818) Homepage

    "Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?"

    Because that is how science works. Any decent scientist would rather say "here is my data, please help me find something wrong with it."

    Well, except that it isn't how science actually works; it's an idealized view of how science "ought" to work, by non-scientists. Right from the very beginning, Galileo first published many of his results in the form of cryptograms, claiming the priority of the discovery, but holding back on the details until he could analyze and confirm his results. As a general thing, no, scientists don't make the details of their data available until they're done analyzing it and have published.

    You apparently have a view of scientists that does not accept the fact that they are actually human beings. Let me suggest that if somebody who has already convincingly demonstrated to you (from blog postings) that they do not have a very good understanding of work that you have devoted twenty-five years of your life to comes to you and says "You're wrong, give me your data so I can prove it," your first instinct probably would not be to say "sure, here's all my unpublished work, go wild."

    In general, scientists are happy to share their data (after they've finished analyzing it and have published) with other scientists who they believe might have some competence in understanding it.

  • Re:!Science (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:04PM (#32867820)

    If you think climate has not already changed, go outside and take a good look.

    If you think it's not man-made, read up on chemistry about how for example CO2 behaves in the atmosphere.

    Essentially what has happened since the industrial revolution is something like a continuous ever-increasing volcanic eruption spewing long-stored gasses into the atmosphere (*). This upsets the equilibrium which has developed over time. Therefore the climate changes, as it seeks a new equilibrium. And yes, the climate change is caused by humans.

    People don't want to hear this as they ride their lazy asses on their cars 500 m to the nearest megamarket. Why not take the bicycle instead? It's not an option - people don't want to hear this. As they slowly kill their lives away commuting for hours at a time, stuck in traffic jams caused by a culture of over-driven consumption, they never stop to wonder "is this the right thing to do".

    And the worst is that this consumption-culture is fuelled by debt! So you destroy both your nest AND your economical livelihood for generations to come.

    And yet some still see fit to defend the people who benefit from this mess. Applause. The people you defend are well within their means to fly their private jets to other places, when push comes to shove. Can you do the same? Or will you be knee-deep in shit, trying to manage?

    And then these beneficiaries come up with "solutions" to fight this problem in their terms, so that nothing really needs to change and they can keep on benefitting. Their idea is to say hydrogen is the future, so that you still have "gas stations" and the infrastructure and reliance on the provider of hydrogen; their idea is to store the CO2 underground, so that instead of fixing the problem at its source (=reduce CO2 emissions with cleaner, less consuming technology and non-fossil energy sources), let's just pretend the problem doesn't exist. Newsflash: pumping CO2 somewhere does not get rid of it, it only slows down the atmospheric absorption. There is no container big enough that does not leak.

    And you, the one driving the SUV, buying plastic junk and consuming goods farmed half a world away, are part of the problem.

    The problem is real and will not go away by voting Republican, Democrat, Liberal, whatever. No-one else will save you. YOU must change your actions. It's not leftist-greenist-ecofascist propaganda, it's common sense. /End rant

    (*) Plus other garbage, causing other effects like acid rain and poisoning of the food chain.

  • Re:Response (Score:2, Insightful)

    by countertrolling (1585477) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:05PM (#32867834) Journal

    So all of their private conversations are suddenly public record because they get paid with tax dollars?

    No they are subject to public scrutiny if their private conversations become a basis for public legislation. I have a right to take away your professional (as opposed to personal) privacy if I am to be subject to any law based on your work.

  • Re:Response (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khallow (566160) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:07PM (#32867852)

    Has anyone been asked to present a post-Cold War case for ever having one of those?

    The post-Cold War case remains the same as the pre-Cold War case. The purpose is to retain enough nuclear strike capability to be able to take out Russia or some other nation-level foe, if the US gets wiped in a nuclear (or other technology) attack. There's no reason for the case to change until there is no longer a potential enemy with the ability to do this. Whether the justification warrants the bill mentioned above is another story.

  • Re:!Science (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Abcd1234 (188840) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:08PM (#32867854) Homepage

    You misunderstand his comment. His point isn't that we have interested skeptics who just want to assist in the advancement of science. No, what we have are partisan hacks interested in spinning the ambiguous statements, innocent comments in code, climatology jargon (eg, "trick"), so that they can be used as political weapons in an ideological battle against the science and scientists of climatology.

    In the face, of that, I'd tell those assholes to fuck off, too. They have no interest in advancing the public discourse, and are only interested in advancing their own agenda in the most dishonest, disrespectful way possible, by attacking the researchers and their research with lies and slander.

    In short, to all you faux skeptics who would have us believe you're just heroes fighting the good fight against those evil scientists who want to curb our freedom, I say: fuck off you lying sacks of shit.

  • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:09PM (#32867860) Homepage

    Because that is how science works. Any decent scientist would rather say "here is my data, please help me find something wrong with it."

    That only works when the person asking for the data is honest. When that person's only goal is to discredit you by any means possible, it is human nature not to want to cooperate with them.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jythie (914043) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:12PM (#32867884)
    Or even worse, amateurs who do not know how to read the data using it to 'prove' nonsense.

    I can recall years ago working on a physics project. When the raw data was released, one of the pieces was a graph showing the distribution of particle speeds. The distribution was not due to different speeds, but due to measurement limitations (i.e. errors) that people who were working with the data knew how to understand. Some amateurs got ahold of it and held it up as 'proof' that tachyons existed and that the physicists were trying to cover it up.

    That is the frustrations with releasing raw data... even if you are open, that openness will be used against you by people who really want to not only find a particular answer, but smear anyone who actually can read the data and informs them they are wrong.
  • by dwguenther (1100987) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:15PM (#32867904)
    Although this article esquire.com - marc morano [esquire.com] is admittedly pop-media, it demonstrates that most of the fault here lies with reporting, not the science or even the scientists. The researchers at UEA have been doing the best job of measuring and analyzing that anyone can, yet when they are harassed by payed pundits and gadflys the objectivity of the media is completely lost. Even now that the researchers have been cleared of any professional wrongdoing, they are still being criticized (or apologized for) because they expressed frustration that their work was being misrepresented. If we should take away any message from this incident, it should be concern about how easily information can be corrupted in the public mind, even at times when clear public debate is critically important. Case in point: The Guardian is not the most balanced news outlet, and often has a sensationalist agenda of it's own.
  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jawnn (445279) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:19PM (#32867936)
    There is a vast difference between academic peer review, conducted by those qualified to conduct it, and the sensationalist bleating by those with an agenda that is impeded by the research under question. When the team of "experts" assembled by Fox News demands access to the data, "fuck off" should be a perfectly reasonable response unless that team can present credentials that indicate that they are worthy of even the minimal inconvenience providing that access would entail. If those experts are qualified, then their appraisal of the research should be welcomed.
  • Re:Impressive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DiamondGeezer (872237) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:32PM (#32868008) Homepage
    Any evidence that the experts had been assembled by Fox News? No.

    But when you're trying to hide a lie, the best tactic is to create an even bigger one to distract.
  • Re:Impressive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by v1 (525388) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:32PM (#32868010) Homepage Journal

    It sounds like some of those scientists are placing more value on being right, or perhaps moreso in others believing they are right, than actually being right. They want people to believe them, and yet they hide their work out of fear of being suspected of perhaps even proven wrong. How screwed up is THAT?

    As a true scientists, your quest is not for fame or notoriety or people believing you are right, but of finding the Truth. To those, public scrutiny is welcome. If nothing else, they DO prove you wrong, or at least find a flaw in your theory, and that is part of the process of greater understanding, refining your theories, and ultimately finding the perfect Truth. I have zero respect for scientists that place the public's view of them or their security in being right above finding the Truth.

    Besides, even if you hide your work, if you turn out to be wrong, eventually it's going to be found out anyway. If you truly wanted to get to the bottom of something, quickly flushing out the flaws in your theories should be a top priority, and not showing your work is working against that. Nothing debugs your theories faster and more thoroughly than public scrutiny. That's the whole point of publishing papers.

  • by DiamondGeezer (872237) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:33PM (#32868020) Homepage
    Its also human nature when you're caught in a lie, to try to defame your opponent. That's exactly what Jones and Mann did.
  • Re:Impressive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:33PM (#32868024)
    I'm just amazed you can't see how your response looks. It reeks of arrogance. I agree that most people wouldn't be able to properly analyze the data. But there are some, maybe many, who can. When you spit on the "unwashed masses" don't be surprised when they spit back.
  • #3 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hackus (159037) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:33PM (#32868026) Homepage

    This is like what, the third time they have had to come out and tell us that the Phil Jones and crew are cleared of all wrong doing?

    Why aren't they back at their posts then?

    I predicted they would do, none other than 3 very public "Nothing to see here...move along" sort of PR stunts like this back in October when I posted my response on slashdot when this whole scam was blow by an insider who followed the money trail.

    Rubbish all of it.

    If anyone is really interested, take a look at the work most of the scientists that were Black Balled in the Emails that were leaked (Jones lists them) (which you can get anywhere on the internet) and look at the research they are doing.

    I think you will find some problems with the idea of man made warming, although they do find a slight warming trend that is consistent with Historical Solar flux. (11 Year Sun Spot Cycles) and the gradual changes in the earths orbital and processional characteristics.

    It is a MONEY SCAM. Al Gore is a partner in one of the firms that setup the entire idea of a Global Tax on carbon.

    The best way to start cleaning up this planet, is to start giving the damn Nobel Prize to people who actually contribute something to the science to protect this planet.

    Not some idiot like Al Gore.

    -Hack

  • by Grygus (1143095) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:35PM (#32868036)

    I don't see where your link says anything about giving highly technical raw data to bloggers who know nothing and couldn't care less whether what they say is actually true.

    There seem to be many assumptions here that bloggers are equivalent to the scientific community. I believe these assumptions are ill-considered.

  • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:39PM (#32868058) Homepage

    Of course there's the problem of those private emails revealing naked attempts to massage what qualifies for peer review and who qualifies as a peer to do the reviewing.

    You're aware that the papers that Jones was referring to when he said he would "keep them out somehow" from the IPCC report were, in fact, not kept out, and did [nature.com] appear in the report?

    This was, basically, a frustrated scientist blowing off steam in a private conversation. Out of a thousand stolen e-mail messages, one of them was frustrated and hot-tempered. Turns out, scientists actually are human.

  • by Kreigaffe (765218) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:43PM (#32868094)

    What we have here is a neat little conundrum.
    They're not making the details of their data available because they're not done analyzing it, you say? Great for them, but the rest of us are dealing with climate change and climate change legislation *right now*. That means the whole damn issue is polarized. They're worried about people using their data to prove they're wrong? They're acting like petty assholes in private emails, they're talking about tricks to make graphs display their data in the specific way they want it displayed? I can think of no better way to get the public at large to become distrustful of everything you've been saying than that sort of confluence of events. All they're missing is being on video laughing like a villain and maybe slapping an orphan and kicking a puppy.

    And you act like these guys had any intention of ever releasing their data.... don't be silly, that was never on their agenda anyway. Ever. Their data. It was going to be the source for many, many papers, for the rest of their careers, and to hell with any good any other person or people could have potentially done with that data; they've figured out job security, humanity be damned.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:43PM (#32868102) Homepage Journal

    I think this demonstrates that the idealized version of the scientific method isn't always followed.

    Ideals are just that: goals for which to strive. They are not standards expected to be met.

    However, as we've seen with this recent hoax that was perpetrated on climate scientists and then trumpeted by the corporate media, there are those that would act in bad faith in order to protect their profits or political agenda, no matter the cost.

    The least I would have expected, though, in light of the evidence showing that this climate-gate so-called scandal was nothing but a trumped-up attack on science perpetrated by the energy industry, faux-conservatives and the right-wing media, was that Fox News would have taken the time to clarify for their viewers that there was no scandal, that data was not falsified. After all the air time they spent on this story trying to discredit real scientists, Fox News owes those men and women (and their own viewers) an apology for having misled them.

    The biggest shame of this episode is that so much more time has been wasted on this non-controversy, and so many people are still out there who are denying the facts.

  • by m_number4 (902127) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:43PM (#32868106)
    Its always about $$$ and the false idea that money will solve the problem. Lets just tax everyone to death and we can solve global climate change. This turns me sceptical to the point that I want nothing else to do with climate change. You have the Al Gores of the world setting themselves up to cash in on the climate change movement together with many of the large corporations, all frothing at the bit to cash in on climate change. While this remains the focus of climate change I'm not having anything to do with it. I'd really appreciate it if some of these top scientist can focus on demonstrating to the general public in a way that is understandable by the general public how they have proven that the climate change is the result of MANS interference with nature and not some cyclical climatic movement that has been going on for millions of years. Is this so hard for them to do, to clearly just give us the proof in a way we can understand and accept.
  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @02:57PM (#32868208)

    I find that there are parallels between the climate science and evolution and vaccines. All are under attack by those who distrust science and especially intellectuals. There have been many depictions about the controversy in each topic has but there have been misrepresentations of the nature of the controversy within the fields themselves. The vast, vast majority of biologists believe in Darwin's theory of evolution; Intelligent Design proponents would like to believe that there is scientific doubt about it. The vast, vast majority of climate scientists believe climate change is happening and humans are most likely the cause; Big Energy would like you think that the science is immature and there is no consensus. The vast, vast majority of doctors think that vaccines are safe and effective; doubters would like to blame everything from Autism to paralysis on vaccines.

    One thing that is evident in many of the claims is the lack of understanding of statistics. For example vaccines are safe and effective for the vast majority of people but no treatment is safe and effective for 100% of all people. Some people may have reactions to the vaccine but they are in the small minority. Yet the small percentage of a bad reaction is often quoted as the reason why parents refuse to vaccinate and at the same time the parents refuse to acknowledge the much larger percentage of a contracting and serious complications of the disease which is being vaccinated.

    Climate science is somewhat abstract in that it takes place in scales larger than most people can handle: the world over millions of years. Most people cannot process that kind of scale so when the northeast experiences a colder than normal winter, their limited scale tells them that scientists must be wrong.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:01PM (#32868232)

    The problem isn't the unwashed masses, it is a malicious organization willing to spend tens of millions to discredit you.
    And with a marketing department you won't even get a chance to be heard (outside the scientific community) no matter how wrong they are.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Krahar (1655029) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:04PM (#32868246)
    He is describing a real concern and even proving it real with an experience he himself had. I don't see how to read arrogance into that other than to be trying to find it.
  • by hsthompson69 (1674722) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:08PM (#32868270)

    Ten grand per paper? And this compares to the government funding of warmist science by what, a factor of 1 to 1000? 1 to 100,000?

    The whole "living in glass houses" idiom comes to mind here -> if money is a corrupting influence on science, than it's clear the warmist position is the more corrupt position. Best to stick the basics of the falsifiable hypotheses being discussed, rather than drip into distracting ad hominem.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:09PM (#32868272)

    Or even worse, amateurs who do not know how to read the data using it to 'prove' nonsense.

    As opposed to those using the data for public reports with an amateur understanding of statistics doing statistical analysis of data?

    Why is that OK with you? And why is it NOT OK to lat "amateurs" like Richard Feynman who may not be amateur at all in some tangentially related field access to the data? Because that is who you are blocking along with the rest of the "amateurs".

    People like you are going to have to get used to true experts who simply lack a degree in the field in question. The small blip of time where the presence of a degree is the end-all of understanding of a topic is a historical aberration. And it's not even like "climatologists" as a degree has been around very long at all.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:10PM (#32868286) Journal

    Bullshit that can be backed up with data truly shines.

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:11PM (#32868288)
    An important feature of the blogosphere is the extent to which it demands openness and access to data.

    .
    Another feature of the blogsphere is that it gives a loud megaphone to anyone who has the intelligence to type, and many who do not.

  • Re:!Science (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rising Ape (1620461) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:12PM (#32868298)

    No, climate change won't go away even if people don't believe in it. But any attempts to reduce the problem will be affected by disinformation campaigns.

    Anyone who says that facts speak for themselves hasn't been paying much attention to the world. Open, honestly motivated scientific inquiry only works as long as all sides are open and honest. In the battle for acceptance of ideas amongst non-experts, dirty tricks beats honesty every time. In the face of the FUD campaigns by the so-called "sceptics", non-cooperation by the scientists is only to be expected.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hsthompson69 (1674722) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:13PM (#32868306)

    Peer review is not what you think it is. It is not an endorsement of the validity of any hypothesis. It is simply a way of deciding what does and does not get published in journals. It is not double checking the data and it is not reproducing the experiments. It is subject to corruption, peer pressure, popularity and politics.

    When a bum off the street demands access to the data that was produced by research funded by his tax dollars, he damn well deserves access to it.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:17PM (#32868330)

    If the data can't be made available, because they fear Exxon, then they've already lost... that is the definition of a cover up.

    If the science is so weak that it can't take scrutiny, then it needs work.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dalambertian (963810) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:22PM (#32868364)
    I believe the catholic church held a similar view when the Gutenburg press came out. They argued that the general public would not understand the scriptures and would take parts of it out of context. They thought that a version filtered through the priesthood was more appropriate; if you really wanted to study the bible on your own, well there's a solution for that: become a priest.
  • Re:!Science (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hsthompson69 (1674722) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:27PM (#32868388)

    If you think that climate does not always change, take a look at any proxy record.

    If you think that climate change is man made, provide us with your falsifiable hypothesis -> be very specific about what observations would prove your theory false.

    If you enjoy ranting about being such a superior environmentalist, please, feel free to turn off the computer, eliminate all electricity in your life, and for good measure, stop exhaling CO2 into the atmosphere.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jawnn (445279) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:28PM (#32868396)

    However, who decides who's qualified?

    Excellent question! The most insightful I've seen here in a long time.
    The answer would be rather complex. There should be some recognized panel and/or process for evaluating and deciding on such things. This is, or should be, a "big deal". Flashing your B.S. in biology from Liberty University, or from Harvard, for that matter, should be nowhere near adequate. One's own body of published and reviewed work would be good starting place. The point is that any serious evaluation of the work in question should be undertaken by those who have demonstrated that they have; a) the chops for the task, and b) no ties to those whose interests are financially/politically adverse to the work in question.

  • by Sique (173459) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:28PM (#32868400) Homepage

    Except that Mann and Jones were cleared from the suspicion of actually lying. Insisting they would have done so is -- tada! -- defaming your opponent.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:29PM (#32868408)

    It takes a fair amount of funding to research something from scratch and make some intelligent conclusions. Taking a report already available and picking it apart by cherrypicking the data is cheap. In more than one sense.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kohath (38547) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:39PM (#32868456)

    A real concern? His "real concern" is his personal "frustrations" with some misinterpretations of some data.
    Presumably, the misinterpretations were explained and people learned more about what was actually going on. This is a bad thing?

    The idea that his personal frustrations are more important than openness is quite self-centered. Hiding data is not better than educating people when they come to incorrect conclusions. Is it?

    What kind of person thinks he should hide data to avoid any possible interaction with "others" -- people who might have diverse knowledge, opinions, and backgrounds? An arrogant person?

  • I had wondered (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:42PM (#32868488)

    When I read the summary, I was wondering just how in the comments those who have been making excuses for the "scientists" who would not let anyone review data. I mean, with a quote so plain, bold and absurd how could anyone possibly make excuses for the "scientists" who would not let real peer-review happen?

    Well thanks to your post, now we know. It's apparently because only the "right" kind of peer can see the data. I can see a mind like yours, a century prior, arguing that the data shouldn't be released because women might try to look at it and get all confused.

    And as a side note, "Fuck You" is never a valid response to any question covering scientific study. Lest the students here be confused and a new era of obscenity in response to criticism is tolerated or becomes the new norm.

  • by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:51PM (#32868566) Homepage Journal

    The blogosphere needs to stuff it. If they really think they can understand anything in the world without subject-specific training and education, if they think their arguments should be taken as seriously and responded to with the same frequency as in-channel discussion, and if they think reputation in their sphere is the most important kind of reputation, they're deluded. You find the same idiots digging out a law book, arguing about terms of art as if they were common-speak versions of the term, ignoring the weight of history and legal philosophy that governs the sphere, and thinking they have some great insight. It's a good thing they don't crack medical books, or we'd have the geeks following the homeopaths into placebo-land.

    In academia, science is open. It's not perfect, but it works, and the fringe science is kept roughly at the right distance where on the one time in ten thousand they have a good idea, it can be tested by the mainstream and maybe eventually join the broad scientific consensus. If you want a publication, you can get it. If you want data, you can probably get that too. If you don't think a study is valid, reproduce it under the same or slightly different circumstances. You have to know what you're doing or the journals will weed you out.

    People outside of the research community should tone down their hubris and get comfortable with the fact that to be qualified to talk about something, they should become educated about it first and be prepared to deal with the way the scientific community works. Until then, they're best off relying on the broadest scientific consensus they can find on whatever topic is at hand.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:54PM (#32868586)

    How about starting with the total decommissioning of our nuclear weapons? We spend about 8 billion dollars on each nuclear submarine. Has anyone been asked to present a post-Cold War case for ever having one of those?

    Considering the use they are seeing around Iran right now and the obvious to all usefulness as a result, that was probably the poorest analogy you could make. Not to mention you jumped suddenly between nuclear WEAPONS and submarines POWERED BY NUCLEAR ENERGY, which may also have nuclear weapons onboard...

    You come off rather unhinged, arguing that instead of clean nuclear submarines we should instead be using noisy polluting diesel submarines instead. And in an article on climate change no less! Those Nuclear Submarines you wish had never bee made have done more to reduce carbon emissions than you ever will.

    If you don't think that's worth 8 billion dollars, then you really are not going to like what is coming down the pike...

  • Re:Impressive (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 16K Ram Pack (690082) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (dnomla.mit)> on Sunday July 11, 2010 @03:57PM (#32868616) Homepage
    That's what's so ironic about Jones and his defenders (I'm not discussing climate science, just the attitude to openness): the reaction is very similar to hardcore religious types than scientists.
  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kohath (38547) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @04:00PM (#32868632)

    There is a vast difference between academic peer review, conducted by those qualified to conduct it, and the sensationalist bleating by those with an agenda that is impeded by the research under question.

    Skeptics actually look at the data and try to poke holes in it because they have a real interest in the results ( an "agenda"). Peer reviewers don't. Peer reviewers don't, in general, try to disprove the thesis.

    If correct conclusions are the goal, then studies should withstand the attentions of skeptics. If correct conclusions are not the goal, then please continue to hide the data and demonize the skeptics and rig the peer review process. It's not working any more and it just brings further discredit on the profession. (This discredit is either deserved or not, depending on whether correct conclusions are the goal.)

  • Re:Impressive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bunratty (545641) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @04:04PM (#32868684)
    They did publish their papers, and no one seems to be able to find any fundamental flaw in them. The data they used is publicly available for anyone else to analyze. What's your point?
  • Re:Impressive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by squidfood (149212) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @04:10PM (#32868716)

    So what? Sometimes, flaws with the data are found; sometimes, the researchers overlook things.

    And sometimes, a well-funded opponent who finds results politically inconvenient can paralyze the process by demanding the data constantly be defended against frivolous "challenges" and nonexistent "flaws".

  • by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @04:19PM (#32868794) Journal

    Although this article esquire.com - marc morano is admittedly pop-media, it demonstrates that most of the fault here lies with reporting, not the science or even the scientists. The researchers at UEA have been doing the best job of measuring and analyzing that anyone can, yet when they are harassed by payed pundits and gadflys the objectivity of the media is completely lost.

    Do you not find it interesting that when the science actually says what the claims make it out to be, that the easiest way to silence paid pundits or gadflies is to publish the data and make the facts available in the most raw and uninterpreted ways with the research so it can be validates by anyone capable of checking it instead of hiding it, denying access to it, or even conspiring to keep it secrete from the people who don't share your views?

    I mean all this could have been avoided is openness and transparency was a commitment from day one. If the science says what it's being reported to say, then no paid pundits or gadflies can change that. Reality is what's left when you close your eyes and it won't just disappear.

    Even now that the researchers have been cleared of any professional wrongdoing, they are still being criticized (or apologized for) because they expressed frustration that their work was being misrepresented. If we should take away any message from this incident, it should be concern about how easily information can be corrupted in the public mind, even at times when clear public debate is critically important. Case in point: The Guardian is not the most balanced news outlet, and often has a sensationalist agenda of it's own.

    Good point. However, if everyone and anyone had access to the data when the research was published, then when the Nay Sayers demanded that 2+2=5, it would be ten times or more difficult to convince others because they have the power to check too instead of running into a wall of some indication of a veiled secrete agenda that hides it's information but you are supposed to just trust.

    You see, when someone wants to sell me something that I can't see or send someone I trust to evaluate it, when I can't look up the information and get the same answers to the letter that the salesman is claiming, I have all these alarm bells going off in my mind. Most others are the same but some of just gullible and will blindly accept anything told to them. An example of this might be all the swamp land sales in Florida or the sales of the Brooklyn bridge, or the Ocean front property in Arizona, or all the cars owned by a little old ladies who only drove it to the grocery store and church on Sundays. Yes, People Scam because it works on enough to be profitable. And when you know this, and someone is attempting to tell you something then makes it look like a scam, well, it's their fault for not making it appear as legit as possible if everyone else looks and thinks it's a scam.

    So if anything is brought away from this, it should be that no matter who's saying what, hiding your information will always place doubt on the claims you make with it. It's only with this doubt that information can be corrupted in the public mind. How forthcoming you are with the information will determine how easily is can be corrupted. So the moral boils back to the person making the claim originally needing to be open to subvert the subversion or corruption in the public's perception.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @04:21PM (#32868810)

    Science isn't a priesthood where you must reach a certain level of trust, experience, or whatever to be allowed in. It is open to all, and all have the potential to contribute. My favorite story along those lines is a 9 year old girl that debunked aura readers. The people said "I can feel your aura!" She said "Ok then you stuck your hands through this partition and I'll put my hand over one of yours, you tell me which." Results were taken and tabulated, readers couldn't do it (did a bit worse than chance actually). It was a complete, valid, experiment, has been referenced later and retested, and an elementary student came up with it.

    Now that doesn't mean anyone will have USEFUL commentary, but it doesn't mean that people should be excluded just because they aren't an "expert".

    In particular, someone may not be an expert at the given science, but might be an expert at something related that is important. So you have a document on climate and a mathematician wants to examine it. He knows jack and shit about climate, he usually doesn't even know what the weather is. However he knows math inside and out. He goes, examines your research and says "Wait a sec, this is wrong. The math here doesn't work. These numbers do not come out right." He can't analyze the climactic theories, but found out that the conclusion was incorrect because the data had been processed wrong. Or perhaps a philosopher who is very skilled at formal logic and analyzing arguments reads the research and says "Ok hang on, you have a gap in your logic. The conclusion does not follow the premises as stated here." Again he not an expert in the field, but he's an expert in logic.

    It is highly important that people of different disciplines be allowed to look at research, in particular when said research is very complex. When you are talking about something that is based off of a lot of math conducted on thousands of points of raw data, that is the sort of thing that is ideal to being in "non-experts" on. Get mathematicians, statisticians, probably some cryptography experts (recognizing patterns in randomness is their thing) to look at the data. They might not be able to understand the climate science, but they can analyze the data and the math and say "This calculation is solid," or "This calculation is incorrect." Looking at the parts of the whose with their given expertise can be as or more valuable than trying to look at the whole thing. The climate scientist might look at the whole thing and say "Ya, all the science fits," but only because they assume all the math is right. If the math is wrong then they might say "Oh, well this no longer shows what it says it does."

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kohath (38547) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @04:25PM (#32868842)

    His real concern is legitimate research being lambasted as a cover up precisely aided by openness. The kind of people who make that kind of accusations so easily are not the kind of people to be calmed down by reasoned debate.

    But the people on the sidelines can learn. (Unless you've arrogantly decided that everyone except you is hopelessly benighted.)

    His contention was not that data should be closed. He shared one of the problems with releasing data.

    Why is this problem relevant? For sympathy?

    Lots of things that honest people have to do are problematic in some way. But they still do it because it's the right thing to do, regardless.

    The issue he brings up goes well beyond his personal frustration and I find it puzzling how you can... this is the point where I realized you were a troll (yep, as I was writing it). Good one - got me going for a bit.

    I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Anyone who doesn't sympathize is a troll maybe?

    If it's easy to draw incorrect conclusions from raw data, then it's important to point out how to tell the difference between the correct conclusions and the incorrect ones.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Sunday July 11, 2010 @04:37PM (#32868934) Homepage Journal

    The problem is, SuperKendall, that all of the claims of "hoax" or "falsified data" have turned out to be phony.

    All of them. I've learned that even Fox News aired a very brief item about how the scientists in this case were completely exonerated from absolutely any wrongdoing. It was about 12 seconds long and does nothing to correct their hours and hours of coverage of this fictitious "climategate" story, but at least they admitted their culpability.

    You're going to have to find a different hobby horse to ride. That you would still claim that there is a "controversy" over climate change is pitiful. The only controversy is political, not scientific. It's very similar to the non-existent scientific "controversy" over evolution.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rm0ny (722443) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @04:41PM (#32868956) Journal

    I suggest you try being a public skeptic of AGW and see which side really controls the media and squashes dissent. The Independent [independent.co.uk], a major British newspaper, published a big opinion piece by their columnist Johan Hari, which basically boiled down to "we don't need evidence of AGW because we know it's real and you hate the world and all life upon it if you ask for any". When comments on the story were pointing out flaws in what he said (he's not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination) and politely making intelligent points against AGW, the newspaper deleted everyone's comments. Try being skeptical here on /. about AGW. You'll get a smattering of people that will actually engage what you say and a whole load of downmods, strawmen and personal attacks.

    You and others keep saying that proponents of AGW are fighting some battle against media conspiracy and underhand tactics. The reality is that anyone publically skeptical of AGW gets viciously hammered. I might be able to get away with this post because of the irony factor, but the general case is that AGW proponents have an overwhelming influence in the media, in government and in academia. They ain't the underdogs. They're the Establishment.
  • Re:Impressive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @04:43PM (#32868974) Journal

    The goal here is not to impeach data, but to impeach a scientist. For that, private emails would be helpful.

  • Re:!Science (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xyrus (755017) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @04:49PM (#32869000) Journal

    Do you know how to keep things in context?

    Let's say you've been doing research on something for 20-30 years. Now some asshole who has little in the way of knowledge or experience in the field comes along and starts screaming across the net that your research is a pile of crap. He shows a lack of understanding of the science, continuously posts incorrect or skewed facts, and encourages an environment that's openly hostile towards your research. Said asshole then comes along and DEMANDS that you give him all your research and data.

    Now seeing the way said asshole has manipulated and incorrectly used data in the past to "prove" his naive and fallacious hypotheses, and his past hostile tendencies towards your research, what do you do about the request?

    A) Give him what he wants, knowing full well that your research will be deliberately misused and distorted. Except now, it will be YOUR NAME giving "credibility" to his bullshit since it was the data YOU USED to conduct your research.
    B) Tell him to fuck off because you have better things to do with your time than to placate a hostile, ignorant asshole with delusions of grandeur.

    Phil eventually chose option B. Perhaps not the best option in hindsight, but either way he would have been screwed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 11, 2010 @04:53PM (#32869020)

    Isn't that rather like equating the money paid to RIAA corporate members for a song and the money actually paid to the average performer of said song?

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by budgenator (254554) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @04:57PM (#32869048) Journal

    Or even worse, amateurs who do not know how to read the data using it to 'prove' nonsense.

    That is the frustrations with releasing raw data... even if you are open, that openness will be used against you by people who really want to not only find a particular answer, but smear anyone who actually can read the data and informs them they are wrong.

    I think the interesting point is that your correct, but in this case there is a roles reversal. The Climatologists are taking a dataset that is both sparse temporally and spatially, measured by instruments never intended to be used for the purposes they are being used for and typically installed in a manner that introduces errors in the majority of the instruments who then adjust, normalize and homogenize the data using methods that are often poorly defined and just expect everyone to except it on their authority. When ever someone has the audacity to question their data or methods, the result is a vigorous ad hominem attacks which reeks more of politics or religion than scientific debate.

    When was the last time a nuclear physicist ever said "The science is settled"?

  • No, they weren't (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 11, 2010 @05:10PM (#32869114)

    They weren't "cleared" at all, they where declared cleared by the same jerks who keep pushing their political agenda. Anyone who has honestly followed this story knows full well about the malfeasance and bad science that went on.

    These people at the very top have a political and economic agenda that they will and are pushing regardless of any science, part of that is to institute some global carbon cap and trade conjob, and segue into some heinous global government, using that as part of the excuse. It's a pure scam, another wall street and city of london bailout, a huge grand theft in the making of money and power. It's worth trillion$, and that influences a lot of politicians and institutions who get grants, let alone individual scientists.

    The science is *not* settled. The science was tainted and needs to be thrown out and a new effort started from scratch, totally open this time. Until then, the bulk of us, the people who pay taxes, are highly suspicious of these dubious claims, especially now with such obvious whitewashing of events.

    I was a fence sitter, completely content to look at the evidence, with a bias towards wanting cleaner energy anyway, but i really wanted more proof about CO2 levels and so on. When it became very clear the evidence was massaged left right up and down and sideways, that they completely wanted to eliminate any solar influences, or ignore typical long term cycles, and that that scam cap and trade deal was the main part of it, that this was going to be the grand "solution" for AGW, well, forget it, I can spot a conjob and lie, and millions of others can and did as well. Busted! They should be ashamed of this, it's an obvious cover up and spin damage control effort. I have zero respect for the parties involved any longer, typical high level corruption, white lab coats or not. Liars and crooks are liars and crooks, it matters not a bit if they have some letters next to their name, they can't keep hiding behind that forever.

  • Re:Pot/Kettle (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shma (863063) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @05:13PM (#32869142)
    I was responding to a post about the review's conclusions, not the scientific validity of the proxies, so obviously I didn't respond to McKitrick's claims. Don't insult me because I'm not discussing the topic that you so desperately want to debate. Start a new post if you can't stay on topic.

    "If they were intentionally misleading the public, why would they omit the data from a later publication with much wider circulation?"

    A report for the WMO has a wider circulation than NATURE, arguably the most prestigious science journal in the world? Are you kidding me?

    The later publication contains all the information necessary to find the original articles. Anyone who actually deserves the label 'skeptic', instead of 'blind-faith conspiracy theorist' would have looked up the original articles by Mann and other to see how the proxy data was used to make the graph. Are you actually arguing a cover-up of data that is publicly available in the most prestigious journal in science? What kind of cover-up involves covering up material that is already in the public domain? If people like McKitrick are too damn lazy to check sources that's a mark against them.
  • Re:!Science (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Abcd1234 (188840) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @05:13PM (#32869150) Homepage

    They only want to find something wrong with it!

    Ah, clever, if only that were the case.

    They *aren't* interested in "finding something wrong with it". No, they're interested in waging a PR war. As such, they don't attack the science. They simply misquote the science and the scientists, they lie and deceive, they cheat in order to win a battle that, frankly, they can't help but lose if it were being fought honestly.

    And the sad thing is, people are listening to these lying bastards. Oh well, it just goes to show, in the end, facts and reason will lose out to lies and slander.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kreigaffe (765218) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @05:20PM (#32869214)

    And how, exactly, would you propose that would happen? How is that any different than what's going on right now? pr0tip, it's not, except the public would have access to the data and it would be more clear who's full of shit and who's not.

    Thing of it is, to the public, to any reasonable person.. if you make a claim, and say evidence and data supports that claim, *and then refuse to provide that evidence or data*, it really speaks volumes about the veracity of your claim. Maybe there is evidence and data that support it, clearly, obviously, and without question.. but if that's the case, a reasonable person would expect you to share that proof openly and willingly.

    That perception? That's harmful. That's breeding a lot of climate-change-deniers, because it is entirely reasonable for them to doubt the claims of people who make loud statements and then tell you to sod off when asked to support those statements.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by demonlapin (527802) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @05:29PM (#32869292) Homepage Journal

    The point is that any serious evaluation of the work in question should be undertaken by those who have demonstrated that they have; a) the chops for the task, and b) no ties to those whose interests are financially/politically adverse to the work in question.

    Shouldn't they have to demonstrate that they also have no financial, political, or professional affinity to the work in question, too? It might end up as a circle-jerk, or it might end up as a circular firing squad - but either way, the results will be suspect.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 11, 2010 @05:40PM (#32869354)

    Xyrus, you are taking a partisan political approach to what should be a process that should follow the scientific method.

    You speak of FUD and yet use the FUD method in your argument defending poor research methods.

    The only way forward is through transparency and replication of results. Anything less is, well, just bullshit.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Lord Kano (13027) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @05:49PM (#32869410) Homepage Journal

    You forgot to mention Karl Rove, Tea Party Activists and a few other left-wing panic words.

    LK

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SpeZek (970136) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @06:05PM (#32869510) Homepage Journal

    I believe the catholic church held a similar view when the Gutenburg press came out. They argued that the general public would not understand the scriptures and would take parts of it out of context.

    I'd say that's exactly what's happened for a large percentage of Christians.

  • Re:!Science (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Burnhard (1031106) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @06:24PM (#32869636)
    In your post above, what's missing is the bit where you explain what was wrong with Steve McIntyre's analysis. Because although you delight in the ad-hominem against him, you will note that his criticisms are hard to dispute, particularly the excellent work he did on Briffa and the Yamal series. Indeed his work on the original hockey stick, showing that it could be produced with "red noise", was a very good example of the sceptical scientist performing verification on data and methods. All scientists should be sceptics; that's how science makes progress. The problem here is that none of the inquires bothered to interview those in a position to "verify" the claims. Indeed, I don't believe any of them even asked McIntyre for a statement, even though he was the subject of a lot of the bile in the emails.

    Now seeing the way said asshole has manipulated and incorrectly used data in the past to "prove" his naive and fallacious hypotheses, and his past hostile tendencies towards your research, what do you do about the request?

    You obey the law and honour the request. Your ego is not a higher authority on these matters, unless you're as arrogant and self-regarding as the Climate-Gate clique and their supporters. If your data, methods and claims are water-tight, you've got nothing to worry about. If they're cobbled together from poorly documented, poorly maintained, part-deleted data, with dubious analysis, as was the case here, then the claims *you* are making, upon which trillions of dollars depend, should not be taken seriously.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vintermann (400722) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @06:34PM (#32869698) Homepage

    My father taught computer science for 40 years, but technically he was a physicist, not a computer scientist - computer science didn't exist when he went to university.

    Statistics is important, but it's far from the only important thing in climate science.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Courageous (228506) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @06:55PM (#32869844)

    Peer reviewers don't, in general, try to disprove the thesis.

    That may be true, however this is a mistake. Revisit the notion of the Null Hypothesis from Freshman level Inferential Statistics so as to discover why. To wit: the process of science is to pull apart the other scientists theory, attempting to deny its validity. If one fails at it, the theory may just have some validity.

    Now, I happen to be aware this doesn't happen as often as it ought. But the more it doesn't, the more a cadre of select individuals push for a suppression of naysayers, the more the process isn't really science.

    And yes, I agree: the bleating of the public isn't particularly relevant to science, albeit if a mathematician says he wants to analyze a climatologists math, that climatologist had damn well better play ball. Anything less is blatant attempt to enshrine their position in something more tantamount to religion than science.

    As an aside, I worked for several years at the Salk Institute as a data steward and "statistics boy" for a major laboratory there. It is not at all true that a Nobel-nominated scientist has a complete grasp of even the elementary concepts of the correct use of statistics as a tool in their field. While one would hope that the full world-wide practice of climatology is more than subject to close scrutiny of their statistical methods, if a statistician who is not a climatologist wants to review, the community should yield. Whether they feel territorial, threatened, beleaguered or no.

    C//

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @07:50PM (#32870168)

    Well, the American Meteorological Society gave him their seal of approval (for informative, well communicated, and scientifically sound weather information), so he can't be all bad.

    I also call bullshit on the idea that only an expert in a given field could possibly understand when the facts don't jive. The basic concepts of science are very simple, and while the details may be hard or strange, what you do with the information is very familiar to anyone who has any scientific interests. A statistician is exactly the right person to analyze a climatologist's (as in, not a statistician) statistical models. That's what McIntyre does, and he's very good at it.

    A famous weather blogger known for only pushing scientifically sound information is a perfect mouthpiece to raise a stink when the qualified statistician can't get the data needed to analyze the statistical models of a climatologist who is not as qualified to perform the same analysis.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @08:02PM (#32870236)

    Statistics is important, but it's far from the only important thing in climate science.

    Uhh... statistics is practically the only thing in climate science. Seriously. You get spatterings of other fields, but it's very minor: Go somewhere and dig up core samples - ice, mud, rock, whatever (geology). Figure out how various compound concentrations correspond to temperature (geology/statistics). Write down numbers for temperatures that correspond to dates (statistics). Trend those numbers to find patterns (statistics). Measure and calculate the various heat-trapping qualities of compounds in the air (statistics - the physics were done a long time ago). Create a model to predict what the climate will be like in the future based on the trends generated from the data collected (statistics).

    Seriously, the meat of climatology is pure statistics, you touch a few other fields just barely in the collection of the data, but the heart and soul of climatology is statistics and there very few climatologists with statistics degrees of any kind.

    That should kind of scare you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 11, 2010 @08:26PM (#32870346)

    why is it NOT OK to lat "amateurs" like Richard Feynman

    He's been dead for twenty fucking years hasn't he? Oh the scandal! How dare they deny Zombie Richard Feynman access to data from beyond the grave?

    Just what the hell planet are you on where the CRU at UAE somehow travelled back in time to deny RF access to data that wasn't gathered until after he died? How dare you present such a pathetic failure of logic and reasoning and then demand for your puerile idiocy to be taken seriously? It's actually an insult to present someone with that kind of argument and then expect them to respect you for it; do you hope that we are all stupid? What kind of idiot must you expect everyone else in the world to be in order to say that to us and expect us to believe it? You can't just make shit up completely out of your imagination without any reference to the world outside your head and then demand everyone bow down to it, how massively narcissistic is that?

    In short: your argument is based on making something up that never happened, then observing how wrong it would have been, and trying to draw a conclusion from this imaginary event that never happened. However, since it never happened, you are just a bullshitter trying to trick us. And failing.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xonstantine (947614) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @08:27PM (#32870354)

    Seriously, the meat of climatology is pure statistics, you touch a few other fields just barely in the collection of the data, but the heart and soul of climatology is statistics and there very few climatologists with statistics degrees of any kind.

    That should kind of scare you.

    Why? The conclusions were reached a long time ago. All they are doing now is fitting the data to match the conclusions.

  • Re:Response (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tgibbs (83782) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @08:27PM (#32870356)

    It was found that Jones had obstructed FOIA requests and deleted emails associated with legitimate FOIA requests. While these inquiries might not consider that concealing data, I do

    The study found explicitly that he had not concealed any data. In fact, they went so far as to independently obtain the data from the original sources (you may not be aware that Jones's group did analysis only; it did not acquire data). They even wrote their own computer code from Jones's published description, and reproduced his conclusions. The committee stated:

    Any independent researcher may freely obtain the primary station data. It is impossible for a third party to withhold access to the data.
    It is impossible for a third party to tamper improperly with the data unless they have also been able to corrupt the GHCN and NCAR sources. We do not consider this to be a credible possibility, and in any case this would be easily detectable by comparison to the original NMO records or other sources such as the Hadley Centre.
    The steps needed to create a global temperature series from the data are straightforward to implement.
    The required computer code is straightforward and easily written by a competent researcher.
    The shape of the temperature trends obtained in all cases is very similar: in other words following the same process with the same data obtained from different sources generates very similar results.

    So Jones's only infraction was that he was not sufficiently responsive to demands for data, contending (correctly, as the committee found) that the data demanded was not needed to check his results. Nevertheless, it is clear that Jones's hostility toward demands that he perceived (most likely correctly, based upon the committee's findings) as sheer harassment played into the hands of his critics, enabling them to create a false impression that he had something to hide.

  • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @08:56PM (#32870512)

    The only controversy is political, not scientific.

    If there's no controversy in the science, then it isn't science. There is a consensus on the data - that the temperature has been rising for the last century, and it correlates to CO2 emissions - even Exxon's mouthpieces have said that.

    There is, however, no consensus on the long term effects of that warming, there is no consensus on the climate models being used to predict such effects, and there is no consensus on what should be done to limit or reverse the effects of that warming, or even if anything needs to be done.

    "Climategate" was a bunch of theatrics, but the climate scientists were not allowing their data to be peer reviewed, and were basically demanding that their conclusions be taken on faith. A stink was necessary to shake the data loose, and the scientists have since been vindicated of any wrong doing (except for being pretentious, selfish assholes who were desperately attempting to maintain their relevance - and source of income, of course).

    Now hopefully we can get a lot more qualified experts involved to solve what is potentially the greatest problem human kind has ever faced.

    In other words, this hobby horse has plenty more ride left in her, and if it's true science the controversy will probably never be over (just have a look at any well-established field of science to see what I mean - physics and cosmology are especially hot right now).

  • Re:Impressive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrsquid0 (1335303) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @09:10PM (#32870560) Homepage

    > I believe the catholic church held a similar view when the
    > Gutenburg press came out. They argued that the general public
    > would not understand the scriptures and would take parts of it
    > out of context.

    And that is exactly what happened.

  • Re:I had wondered (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quantaman (517394) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @10:11PM (#32870770)

    It means that Jones was pissed off after years of dealing with people whom he felt had no interest in the data, but were only looking for anything that looked like an error so they could blow it as far out of proportion as possible.

    Yes he regrets typing that message, and yes, they should be more open supplying the data. But if someone was asking me the equivalent of "hand me that shovel so I can start hitting you with it" I might be hesitant too.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Draek (916851) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @10:32PM (#32870874)

    Smear campaigns don't constitute "scrutiny".

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Draek (916851) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @10:38PM (#32870916)

    When was the last time a nuclear physicist ever said "The science is settled"?

    About a second after the last time a moron stated to a nuclear physicist that perpetual motion machines are possible to build.

    Sometimes a question is just stupid rather than audacious.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Draek (916851) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @10:58PM (#32871044)

    If correct conclusions are the goal, then studies should withstand the attentions of skeptics.

    Look, there's proof that evolution happens *everywhere*. You can make your own experiment proving its existence in your own backyard for God's sake, yet still the morons denying it persist and succeed in pushing their agenda over the truth in many places of the world, the US foremost among them, and you believe simply releasing some raw data will stop the ignorants and "skeptics" from doubting such complex phenomena?

    Ideally, I'd like them to release all their data to the world and all the "skeptics" be ignored by everybody at large, but we all know it ain't gonna happen because controversy, justified or not, simply sells more than consensus particularly when its financed by oil multinationals. So yeah, I do get where they're coming from.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @11:12PM (#32871146) Homepage

    And one who receives grants to study AGW. You don't dare provide data to prove otherwise. Because if you do, there's a very good chance you wont get another grant to study in this field. So naturally, the study of climate change becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Re:I had wondered (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 11, 2010 @11:49PM (#32871334)

    "Peer" implies some sort of qualification so the "right kind" of peer is...a genuine peer and not curious unqualified bystanders.
    "Fuck you" is completely inappropriate...I'd agree with that.
    "Fuck off" however would right and convey the right message!

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Monday July 12, 2010 @12:26AM (#32871528) Journal

    So let me please rephrase: ...if one's research findings tend to question human-caused climate change - means to live and work in an environment of constant accusations of fraud, calls for investigations (or for criminal prosecutions), demands for access to every draft, every intermediate calculation, and every email exchanged with colleagues, daily hate mail and threats, and attempts to pressure the institutions that employ us and fund our research. Through experience, we have learned that there is no critique of climate scientists' work that isn't deemed a "whitewash" by climate change advocates; there is no casual remark that can't be seized upon, blown out of proportion and distorted; and there is no person whose character can't be assassinated, no matter how careful and honest their research.

    Now how would you feel about it?
    There are serious, sober, and intelligent climate scientists that have serious questions about the anthropogenic climate change conclusions.

    Generally, extraordinary conclusions require extraordinary proof. When this 'proof' is found to be massaged, culled, 'smoothed', and ANY critique or question is pilloried and attacked as a 'shill' of the oil industry - you don't see any room for doubt?

  • by GNT (319794) on Monday July 12, 2010 @12:40AM (#32871586)

    Which in a rational world would be used to throw out ALL their results as the fantasy they are...

  • Re:Response (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tgibbs (83782) on Monday July 12, 2010 @12:56AM (#32871652)

    It doesn't just "limit the confidence" of the data, until the question is answered one way or another the data is currently completely unreliable.

    This is a fallacy: if there are any doubts or reservations at all, then the data is completely unreliable. That way lies crankdom, because scientists constantly have to deal with data in which there are potential artifacts. There are always doubts, and it is always possible to come up with unanswered questions to rationalize an excuse for discarding inconvenient data. The solution therefore is not to "throw out the baby with the bathwater, " but rather to develop multiple methods that can be cross-checked. For example, the reliability of the tree ring measurements at a particular time can be cross-checked by examining whether the conclusions from trees in different forests around the world are consistent with one another

  • by kayoshiii (1099149) on Monday July 12, 2010 @01:21AM (#32871770)

    There is a very important distinction here... There is a difference between having somebody try to disprove your stuff and somebody trying to wage a dirty PR war using arguments that have already been tested scientifically and have already been disproved (with the expectation that a large percentage of the intended audience will buy the argument). These issues would be worth revisiting if there was new data or new thinking on the problem but frequently the arguments put forwards but this tends not to be the case. I would like to see a non AGW explanation that fits the recent climate data that actually has scientific merit. It would hold a whole lot more weight than this being a global conspiracy between hundreds of scientific organisations and that everything was cooked up out of nothing.

    I suspect however that making things more open if done properly in the long run will be an improvement all round.

  • Never hesitate (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday July 12, 2010 @01:47AM (#32871902)

    But if someone was asking me the equivalent of "hand me that shovel so I can start hitting you with it" I might be hesitant too.

    If I had the data that supported what I said I'd hand over the shovel without delay, because all they could do would be to hit themselves with it.

    That's why IF THEY ARE RIGHT it's even more important they had over the data, because int not doing so they simply make themselves look guilty of hiding something. And again, that's the case even if they are not guilty at all.

    The whole issue is too important to hand leverage like "hiding data" to anyone over - if they are right and not simply afraid of what others might uncover when they can review the data and processing techniques used.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 12, 2010 @02:12AM (#32871976)

    The fact that they offered such an open scheme as the ten thousand dollar payment business makes it seem to me that the whole issue was to make those questioning the science look like hacks/criminals/egotists. Anyone who thinks that the oil companies wont be at the forefront of a 'green revolution' is wearing idealistic blinkers.

    It really is a hoot to see all the people who were once claiming that those big bad oil companies had bought up, patented, and destroyed every new energy technology(as it was invented) in the name of unbridled capitalistic greed now claiming to all and sundry that those same companies are now fighting with all their meager resources the chance to turn those evil patent portfolios into mountains of platinum.

    It's even funnier to see people here claiming that releasing the data is wrong because the people who want the data only want it to disprove the theories based on said data. You are all aware that the raw data that the climate models are based on has been destroyed by Mr Jones and crew don't you? The only data available now is the value added data created by the destroyers and they still don't like the idea of releasing it to all of us filthy unwashed hordes. And you wonder why there are sceptics? And you act even more surprised that those with some idea of scientific method would even want to try and discredit the data.

    Apologies for the grammar they wouldn't give me the textbook.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by catchblue22 (1004569) on Monday July 12, 2010 @02:12AM (#32871982) Homepage

    I've read Climate Audit. Here is a recent snippet on the "hiding the decline" meme: (http://climateaudit.org/2010/07/06/muir-russell-what-ill-be-looking-for/)

    Another obvious battleground issue. I don’t see how this field can rise above paleophrenology if they are not prepared to renounce such strategems as the “trick to hide the decline” or adopt Gavin Schmidt’s view that deleting adverse data is a “good way” to deal with a problem. It isn’t.
    Penn State took the position that deleting adverse data was “legitimate”, airily referring to non-existent authorities on the matter. However, the Oxburgh panel couldn’t abase themselves quite so low and did not agree that the trick was a good way to deal with the divergence problem, finding instead that it was “regrettable” that IPCC and others have “sometimes” “neglected to highlight” this issue (evading the obvious fact that the deletion of inconvenient data by CRU authors and their close Climategate correspondents was intentional).
    Given the opposite findings of Oxburgh and Penn State on the legitimacy of the trick to hide the decline (one finding it “regrettable”and the other “legitimate”), it will be interesting to see how Muir Russell splits the difference. I wouldn’t be surprised if they find a way of avoiding the matter altogether, saying it falls into someone else’s remit.

    The above quote displays very clearly the modus operandi of Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit. Specifically the strategy is to sound like you have the truth, to sound like you have a valid argument, without actually giving it, or at least without stating it clearly and logically. In the Climate Audit universe, it is good enough to sound like you have the truth. Perception is everything. The strategy is not unlike a magician's deliberate misdirection; in the practice of magic and illusion the most important skill is to understand how your audience forms their perceptions, what queues they use to decide what is true. When you know this, you can manipulate it; you can distract the audience, make them miss the real trick, and thus convince them that you can do something that is actually impossible.

    In the case of the above posting, McIntyre focusses on a very brief excerpt from the stolen email, which says something to the effect of "using a trick to hide the decline". He repeats this phrase, refers to it repeatedly. But notice how he does not elaborate on the subtext, the background of the email. Notice how he doesn't give any real scientific argument. He merely refers to the surface meaning of "trick to hide the decline", inferring something nefarious, a conspiracy to hide a decline in temperatures, something to trick us. The surface meaning is enough for him. His lack of elaboration is a form of misdirection.

    A bit of research and logic will lead you to the conclusion that the "trick" to "hide the decline" was a logically valid was scientifically valid IF the purpose of the research paper was to give a proper reconstruction of historical temperatures. The temperature reconstruction in question was using samplings of tree-rings to reconstruct temperatures before the existence of instrumental temperature readings. Within the tree-rings are certain chemical signatures that correlate closely with atmospheric temperatures. However, during the 1960's and onward the signals from the tree-rings diverge from temperature readings made using instruments such as thermometers. The tree-rings signals seem to show a decline in temperatures, while the thermometers show an increase during the 1960's and onward. Since the instrumental temperature readings are taken to be a more reliable method of measuring temperatures, the instrumental readings were substituted into the temperature reconstruction to "hide the decline". Honestly, what is the better indicator of temperature? A few tree ring measurements, o

  • Re:Never hesitate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by quantaman (517394) on Monday July 12, 2010 @02:23AM (#32872032)

    This isn't a simple math equation, the data is messy, there are inconsistencies, multiple versions, workarounds for known issues, and the occasional mistake.

    If someone has an axe to grind it's easy to do the equivalent of quote-mining, and even if what they say can be shown to be completely and conclusively wrong, people will still buy it. The unfortunate truth is that even if you are completely right you're probably still better hiding your data from critics. The critics don't have to be right, they just have to throw up some FUD and claim the data backs them up.

    I agree they should have handed over the data, but I also believe that there's a lot of ways for critics to hurt you even if the data is good.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 12, 2010 @03:05AM (#32872228)

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

    Hope that helps.

  • by hkmwbz (531650) on Monday July 12, 2010 @03:05AM (#32872232) Journal
    They were indeed cleared.

    Funny you should mention you were a fence sitter, because I was one too. I didn't even bother to look at the evidence. Then the CRU e-mails leaked, and all the claims about a huge controversy sparked my interest. So I started looking that the mails in context, and started reading up on climate research.

    Guess what, you are full of shit. I used to accept shit from assholes like you. Then I educated myself.

  • Insightful? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alef (605149) on Monday July 12, 2010 @03:57AM (#32872392)
    Honestly mods, how can the parent get any closer to a school book example of a flamebait? He doesn't respond to anything the GP said, nor give any arguments of his own. The fact that it was modded insightful shows how politicized the global warming debate is.
  • by HuguesT (84078) on Monday July 12, 2010 @04:31AM (#32872512)

    Many comments here are along the line : "how could the scientists *not* release the data, how rude and unscientific". I basically agree that data should eventually be public, however I also understand the scientists who spend decades obtaining data and want it to fructify in the form of publications before others can do whatever they want with it.

    Basically competing scientists are told to walk and get their own data. From the efficiency point of view this sounds stupid, but in fact in many case, the act of getting data is itself science. Think of all the effort spent in trying to get a Higgs boson trace! In many cases it makes sense for different teams to collect, analyze and publish based on their own data. It may well be that the analysis in one paper is correct but the data flawed in some ways. In something as complex as climate, this is in fact extremely likely.

    What must definitely be made public as soon as one publication it out is the acquisition protocol and enough data to reproduce the results, but maybe not before.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) on Monday July 12, 2010 @05:41AM (#32872738)

    In my opinion, it seems like bureaucratic incompetence rather than malice or ideology.

    It still breaks the publics trust.

    Making data available is a fundamental part of science. Explaining the results to people outside your field is a fundamental part of science. Explaining the results to the general public when the public is interested/affected is a fundamental part of science. Its our job. The whole idea of specialization is that others don't need to be a specialist to get a good idea of whats going on.

    Excuses like Exxon mobile will miss quote (they don't care--we are *dependent* on oil. Guess how much less energy a "greenie" uses? Guess how much less oil we use over the last 5 years?), or that some noob will look at the data just don't cut it.

    AGW is very political and scientist are bad at government politics. But they still oversell dooms day results even before the media gets a hold of it. Some scientists actively believe they *must* over sell so the "little people" take it seriously. This is not what scientist should be doing, we already have enough Politicians. When the dust settles the damage will go well beyond climatology.

    Whenever some group thinks they know better or think they are better than the rest of the people, and then take power.... things have never turned out good. I am a scientist. I know my field, but I am not better than anyone else. When it comes to policy that affects everyone, then everyone should be in the "know" and have a "say".

  • Re:Impressive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) on Monday July 12, 2010 @06:00AM (#32872786)

    Steve McIntyre is NOT a climatologist...

    So what? Al Gore isn't either, but everyone thinks he is the s**t when it come to climate change, never mind he make millions in carbon credit trading.

    Don't make the mistake that only the priests have the ability to understand. It never ends well.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) on Monday July 12, 2010 @06:17AM (#32872870)
    However AGW or even "climatology" is not one of those things. Its a wonderfully complex system, and our models have a long way to go. Predictions from models are not facts and indeed are not experimental result. You can't even use the scientific method properly(Control planet earth?). So the science is about as far from settled as it can get.
  • by TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) on Monday July 12, 2010 @06:28AM (#32872914)
    As a scientist, I can say bullshit. 10K is not a lot. Also most of us are not here for the money... since commercial work pays far better. Further more, some universities the Professor does get a slice of the grant pie personally.

    And what is the size of a grant for the CRU? There is money to be made by pushing AGW. Money *is* being made by pushing AGW.

    Oil companies really don't care. We are *dependent* on oil. After say 10 years or so of AGW is the doom of us all.... we have increased our oil usage.
  • As Goethe said (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hicksw (716194) on Monday July 12, 2010 @07:53AM (#32873164)

    "More light!"

    There is a lot more heat than light observable in this discussion.

    My own 2 cents worth:

    (1) The system is too complex to model. Perhaps the planet will get hotter for a while.

    (2) AGW may contribute to that warming. Should the early European explorers have taken the Amerind attitudes home and converted Eurasia back to neolithic hunter-gathering? Perhaps the industrial revolution has contributed to the issue. Perhaps slash and burn agriculture could be implicated a bit father back.

    (3) We can't fix it. To these egomaniacs that think destroying our technological civilization will make a difference: let me see you stop ONE hurricane, ONE tornado. You have no grasp of the energy levels involved in the system. You cannot placate the climate gods.

    (4) We should focus on surviving any possible warming/climate change. We might have that capability, if we stop the placation nonsense.

    end rant.

  • Re:Impressive (Score:2, Insightful)

    by deapbluesea (1842210) on Monday July 12, 2010 @09:55AM (#32874040)

    Look, there's proof that evolution happens *everywhere*. You can make your own experiment proving its existence in your own backyard for God's sake

    I'd be interested to see the experiment in your back yard yielding a new species over tens of thousands of years. There's plenty of observable evidence of changing traits in a given genotype, but that doesn't exactly get us from one species to another, it just provides proof that the theory may hold water.

    Peer reviewers don't, in general, try to disprove the thesis.

    As a peer reviewer, I have to agree with this. When reviewing a paper, you ask yourself questions such as: "Do the experimental results support the conclusion?", "Has the author clearly stated the problem?", and "Does the paper make sense based on the current body of knowledge?". You don't ask the author for all of their data and attempt to reconstruct their work.

    There is a presentation by Dave Patterson on "How to have a Bad Career in Academics". The first half of the presentation gives practical suggestions for how to sink your academic career. Interestingly enough, the climate sciences seem to have taken all of this advice to heart without realizing that it was given in sarcasm. There are suggestions such as "Don't ever share your results", "Claim that your field is too complex for anyone other than yourself to understand it", "Work on problems with 20 year time horizons, that way you have 19 years of being right before you have to prove anything".

    The fundamental question that should be asked of climate scientists is, "Do your models support the current temperature record, to include the current flat trend?" and "If not, why not?". I've searched quite a bit to see if any model actually predicted the last decade's temperatures, and thus far have not found anything. At a minimum, that points to a hole in the theory and makes me question the iron-clad conclusions that are based on models that, at best, have a few major flaws.

  • Re:!Science (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Abcd1234 (188840) on Monday July 12, 2010 @11:55AM (#32875214) Homepage

    Truly, they sound terrible, so I can see why we would want to keep them from blaspheming the sacred data.

    You really don't get it, do you? These jackoffs aren't "blaspheming the sacred data". They're cherry-picking, misquoting, lying, deceiving, and god knows what else, with the goal of discrediting these scientists in the eyes of the public in order to destroy their careers along with their research. Some of them are calling for climatologists to be arrested, ffs. It's a modern-day witchhunt, except the people doing the hunting know full well that they're full of shit, they just don't care so long as they achieve their agenda.

    In the face of that, it's entirely understandable that these scientists would rather not load the guns being pointed at them.

  • Re:Never hesitate (Score:2, Insightful)

    by the plant doctor (842044) on Monday July 12, 2010 @12:30PM (#32875578)

    Ahem, I think you're missing one key part here.

    The general public doesn't care what the data really says, they only listen to who screams the loudest and who they agree with. Handing the data to that person, even if you do have the data to back yourself up, can be detrimental.

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