Friday, January 1, 2010

Hometown Smackdown! Part II!

Did you know global warming scientists recently have been caught manipulating and suppressing data in one of the biggest scientific frauds of the century? The Gazette along with other like-minded media outlets must consider these global warming revelations no big deal because they’ve chosen to ignore or downplay this scandal for several months now.
A team of reporters at the Associated Press did an “exhaustive review” of the climate scientists’ e-mail stolen from the University of East Anglia in the UK and concluded that “the messages don’t support claims that the science of global warming was faked.” at the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg Public Policy Center said: “Climate skeptics are claiming that they show scientific misconduct that amounts to the complete fabrication of man-made global warming. We find that to be unfounded….E-mails being cited as ‘smoking guns’ have been misrepresented.
In Climate Denier Gate (Stephen Schneider’s term for what the deniers call “Climategate”), “the private frustrations of a few climate scientists was turned into an ostensible plot by the entire climate science community in dozens of countries, hundreds of institutions, and hammered out over 40 years of peer reviewed assessment studies—as some kind of fraud.” Schneider says, “The big untold story here is how broken the 2009 media is for investigating the wrong folks and giving credibility to a non-event that changes nothing in climate science.”

I could easily cut and paste much more on the issue, but these are representative of the informed commentary.

Of course, the main problem is that uninformed commentary has a what seems like a hundred to one advantage on the issue. Why? Could it be that simple, comprehensible narratives about falls from grace are more appealing to most people than complex mathematical operations (the so-called "manipulation of evidence")? Who'd have thought that?
In the history of the last century, can anyone point to a large-scale scientific fraud of the nature alleged? I'm not aware of any comparable episode in countries where research is free of government interference. (No, government funding is not interference. You can write a grant proposal for whatever research idea you can come up with. We have a very good, very open review process which determines whether funding is granted). Of course, large groups of scientists have been wrong, seriously wrong, about issues within their area of expertise before. These issues have been resolved by examination of their work, not by scorched-earth smear campaigns in the media.

On the other hand, can anyone point to a campaign to discredit scientific research which indicated that the activities of an industry were harmful to human health and the environment, or which simply contradicted the dogma of people who, to borrow a phrase from one of the geniuses of our time, believe the same thing Wednesday that they did on Monday, regardless of what happened Tuesday? You'd have to be living in a cave in Antarctica to not know about the public relations wars over at least one of the following: tobacco, lead in gasoline and paint hexavalent chromium, the AIDS virus, various drugs pushed by pharmaceutical companies... the list is long.

So that's what it comes down to. You can believe that something which has never been seen before is happening now, i.e. that scientists worldwide have abandoned their tried and true methods and engaged in a conspiracy, thousands strong, for political power or money (regardless of the fact that either could be achieved by easier means) or you can believe that reactionary elements in the public, in collusion with corporate interests, are engaged in manipulating the views of government officials and average citizens to safeguard their "right" to harm and impoverish you, something that has happened with depressing regularity throughout the last century.

No comments:

Post a Comment