Friday, November 27, 2009

Climategate, one more time.

The recent theft and publishing of emails written by top climate scientists in which various troubling statements (see below) are made has made a lot of news headlines. Disappointingly many academics have treated this story as no big deal stating that anyone who knows academia should not be surprised by such vitriol. To me this response smells suspiciously like academic damage control. The best response by far that I have read is here in the Economist. Instead of brushing off the email statements the Economist rightly contends that skeptics should not be silenced if for no other reason than Science itself works only to the extent that it is open to alternate or new theories and data. Without and open mind Science literally cannot function.
My personal position, as I have said before, is that anthropogenic climate change is likely a reality, though I don't think anyone has good numbers on its extent, or on our ability to reverse it. What is certain, however, is that the attitudes represented by the below statements are not helpful towards furthering our knowledge and that reasonable people should question the data that such scientists have produced.

"I've tried hard to balance the needs of the science and the IPCC , which were not always the same."(

"I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is !"(

"If anything, I would like to see the climate change happen, so the science could be proved right, regardless of the consequences."(