Dangers of a Monoculture -- Reactions to the CRU Emails

Cross-posted from Climate Skeptic:

I am disappointed to see folks like Lord Monkton calling for scientists to go to jail over what has been discovered in the Hadley CRU emails.  No one is going to jail, at least based on what we know so far.  Laws were broken, but of the type that perhaps people lose their jobs but not their freedom.  And demanding that people go to jail just paints skeptics as opportunistic, over-the-top and vindictive.   We sound like the looniest of the alarmists when we say stuff like this.

This is not to say that the emails (as well as the source code, which Steve McIntyre and his readers are starting to dig into) don't give us useful insights about the climate science process.  And what they really point to for me is the danger of a monoculture.

For years, with the media's active participation, criticism of the mainstream scientific position on global warming has been painted as somehow outside the bounds of reasonable discourse.  Skeptics are called "deniers," with the intent to equate them with those who deny the Holocaust.  At every turn, global warming activists with the help of the media, have tried to make it uncomfortable, even impossible, to criticize the science of catastrophic man-made global warming.  In the extreme, this has degenerated into outright threats.

NASA's James Hansen has called for trials of climate skeptics in 2008 for "high crimes against humanity." Environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. lashed out at skeptics of 2007 declaring "This is treason. And we need to start treating them as traitors" In 2009, RFK, Jr. also called coal companies "criminal enterprises" and declared CEO's 'should be in jail"¦ for all of eternity."

In June 2009, former Clinton Administration official Joe Romm defended a comment on his Climate Progress website warning skeptics would be strangled in their beds. "An entire generation will soon be ready to strangle you and your kind while you sleep in your beds," stated the remarks, which Romm defended by calling them "not a threat, but a prediction."

In 2006, the eco-magazine Grist called for Nuremberg-Style trials for skeptics. In 2008, Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki called for government leaders skeptical of global warming to be thrown "into jail." In 2007, The Weather Channel's climate expert called for withholding certification of skeptical meteorologists.

The examples go on ad infinitum.  Several folks have emailed me and asked why I have not joined the feeding frenzy over the "climategate."  In part, this is because I don't think there is anything in the emails that is a whole lot worse than what many of the actors have been saying publicly.  The media has played along not only because many of its members were sympathetic to the message, but because the catastrophe played well into the "if it bleeds, it leads" culture.  Even when the media was not "picking a winner" in the science, it supported the catastrophist message in its editorial decisions, choosing to cover (for example) ad nauseum a 30-year low in Arctic sea ice but failing to even mention a 30-year high in Antarctic sea ice which occurred on nearly the same day (more here).  Ditto hurricanes, tornadoes, floods droughts, etc "” only events and records in one particular tail of the normal distribution were covered.  Even when they worked to be fair,  the media were frequently criticized by alarmists for  allowing even a mention of the skeptic position in an article otherwise generally supporting the orthodoxy.  The term "false balance" was coined.

The result was a group who were effectively exempt from criticism "” and knew it.

The most amazing thing to watch has been the absolute scorn and obstructionism piled on Steve McIntyre and his readers and partners.  I  have read Steve's work for years, and find it to be incredibly fair and deeply analytical.  I took as one of my early roles at my climate site the explanation to laymen of exactly what McIntyre was talking about in his posts.  He often challenged the climate orthodoxy - which in most scientific disciplines is highly valued, but in climate science is a crime.  In the emails we even see scientists within the monoculture raising the exact same issues that they have blasted McIntyre for "” apparently it is OK to raise such issues as long as 1) you are an insider and 2) such concerns are suppressed in any public document.

Perhaps the single most abusive part of the monoculture has been its misrepresentation of peer review.  Peer review was never meant as a sort of good housekeeping seal of approval on scientific work.  It is not a guarantee of correctness.  It is really an extension of the editorial process "” bringing scientists from relevant fields to vet whether work is really new and different and worthy of publication, to make sure the actual article communicates the work and its findings clearly, and to probe for obvious errors or logical fallacies.

Climate scientists have tried to portray peer review as the end of the process"“  ie, once one of their works shows up in a peer-reviewed journal, the question addressed is "settled."  But his is never how science has worked.  Publication in a peer-reviewed journal is the beginning, not the end.  Once published, scientists attempt alternatively to tear it down or replicate its conclusions.  Only work that has survived years of such torture testing starts to become "settled."

The emails help to shed light on some aspects of peer review that skeptics have suspected for years.  It is increasingly clear that climate scientists in the monoculture have been using peer review to enforce the orthodoxy.  Peer review panels are stacked with members of the club, and authors who challenge the orthodoxy are shut out of publication, while authors within the monoculture use peer review as a shield against future criticism.  We see in the emails members of the monoculture actually working to force editors who have the temerity to publish work critical of the orthodoxy out of their jobs.  We are now learning that when alarmist scientists claim that there is little peer-reviewed science on the skeptic's side, this is like the Catholic Church enforcing a banned books list and then claiming that everything in print supports the Church's position.

History teaches us that whenever we allow a monoculture - whether is be totalitarian one-party rule or enforcing a single state religion, corruption follows.  Without scrutiny of their actions, actors in such monocultures have few checks and little accountability.  Worse, those at the center of such monocultures can become convinced of their own righteousness, such that any action they take in support of the orthodoxy is by definition ethically justified.

This, I think, is exactly what we see at work in the Hadley CRU emails.


  1. JBurns:

    How about rather than calling for them to be jailed, we call for them to be investigated and, if the investigation confirms that they (i) falsified data, (ii) obtained government funding using false pretences, (iii) used threats of unlawful boycotts to coerce third parties to withhold information, and (iv) destroyed evidence of their conduct in violation of law, that they be treated in the same fashion as a corporate executive who had engaged in such conduct.

  2. morganovich:

    as ever, you provide a reasoned and balanced view.

    one question however: what is the penalty for deliberately destroying evidence subject to FOI? while these e-mails are likely insufficient to convict phil, they certainly seem to be enough to support a subpoena that could gather the evidence that might.

    so, while it's too early for calls for jail, calls fo investigation seem warranted.

    this whole thing is far from settling the AGW argument, but if the result is a serious opening of hadcrut and maybe giss data and methodology to review by the scientific community, this will have been a very good thing.

  3. alanstorm:

    "...this is like the Catholic Church enforcing a banned books list and then claiming that everything in print supports the Church’s position."

    Nicely put.

  4. DrTorch:

    Same claims are routinely made supporting Darwinism. It is very much a monoculture.

    It'd be nice to tear down that house of cards too.

  5. ben:

    Nicely put.


  6. palm beach sugar daddy ken doll:

    must regretfully disagree. you're wanting to be fair to; and judiciously apply the use of law to people who have demonstrated repeatedly they don't give a rat's arse about the law or ethics and will cheerfully break or ignore the laws/established ethical norms to advance their political agenda. see, that's what leftist fascists (or, to use your word, "monoculturists") DO: they use law as a tool or a weapon *against* their enemies, and laugh when those enemies expect them to respect that same law. IIRC, back when we gutlessly abandoned south vietnam, the north viets signed a peace treaty, said the war was over, they will fight no more forever, all that. they then broke the treaty as soon as we bravely ran away, before the ink on the treaty had even dried. there are literally **thousands** of examples like these you can bring up from the last 60 years.

    you're advocating fighting the huns - who've demonstrated they give no quarter and take no prisoners - using marquis of queensbury rules. you're suggesting we bring a knife to a gunfight. that's always a bad plan, and merely encourages the enemy. this ain't cricket, the other side ain't men of honor, and there's a *very great deal* and a *whole lot of money and freedoms* at risk here. why not try fighting to win for a change?

  7. John Cheek:

    You really did lay out a nice reasoned dispassionate explanation.Will the enviro wack jobs ever relent.People by and large aren't stupid.The lefties always lie. JaC

  8. astonerii:

    I think they should go to jail. They have caused hundreds of billions of dollars in damage to the world's economies. I would imagine that even RICO could be used against them.

  9. DrTorch:

    JBurns makes a good point, comparing what would happen if a similar incident occurred in the private sector.

    I think this is worse. These people are using public funds, they knowingly submit to higher scrutiny. And yet they're still trying to hide things.

    Furthermore, it only encourages growth of the gov't. If you get greater protections committing fraud while working for the gov't than in private industry, where are you going to go?

    Talk about incentives...

  10. Tim:

    I disagree that you need to 'fight to win' -- that's what the other side is doing. And in doing so, they are doing irreparable harm to Science as Science. It's kinda like, as Warren puts it, Coke vs Pepsi. If we just line up sides and fight by any means necessary; the end result isn't much different than "It was necessary to destroy the village in order to save it."

    At some point, somebody may actually want to use the scientific method for real, honest inquiry. As in, "There's evidence that contradicts the orthodoxy; maybe it's significant."

    Ultimately, this debate; and how to engage in it, is like how to oppose Islamofascism. Do you want to fight to win, or would you like Habeas Corpus at some point in the future?

  11. RickZ:

    If these so-called scientists committed fraud to obtain government funding -- our money (otherwise called stealing), then they deserve a perp walk, a trial, and a little quality time with Bubba in a 7 by 10 foot cell.

    This shit has to stop. Examples must be made.

  12. morganovich:


    well said. giving up one's principles to win a fight about principles is not a victory.

  13. txjim:

    Palm Beach SDKD said it well. Bringing a knife to a gun fight...no thanks. Concerns over the niceties of observing traditional scientific debate only apply if the debate is really about science. The ideological lefties who hated to see the Iron Curtain fall are the same people who are using the global warming scam as a vehicle to achieve their goals. They are not scientists. They are left wing apparatchiks. And they are all to happy to "go Alinsky" by holding their opponents to the rules while they themselves ignore the rules at every turn. They must be defeated.

  14. Mesa Econoguy:

    Gotta call you on this one Coyote. Criminal prosecution needs to happen here. The science is only ½ of the arena.

    When you 1) act in an expert capacity 2) in a supposedly dispassionate scientific inquiry 3) whose “evidence” is used to back up a movement designed to transfer trillions of dollars and impose a literally world-economic-changing new regulatory structure, you are held to a very high standard.

    In the US alone, millions of public dollars have already been spent pursuing this “crisis,” and now that we know (as we suspected before) that this evidence was either 1) highly manipulated, or 2) outright fabricated, that fraudulent misrepresentation needs to be prosecuted.

    I’ll also put it out there that Mr. Gore, who has been the primary driver behind this movement in this country, should be hauled in front of Congress (preferably after the 2010 elections) to answer some very pointed questions, under oath, and with a truckload of subpoenaed FOIA material nearby. Any refusal to produce the requested evidence should immediately be addressed and investigated, and people should go to jail for obstruction as they would in any other prosecutorial setting.

    Mr. Gore should then be hauled before the SEC for questioning about the veracity of the financial statements (based on potentially highly bogus scientific information) published by any and all companies associated with Kleiner Perkins.

    As you say yourself Coyote,

    The result was a group who were effectively exempt from criticism — and knew it.

    They thought they were exempt from accountability too, so it appears they manipulated and potentially destroyed evidence. When they potentially control the spigot to hundreds of billions of dollars, that’s incredibly dangerous. That goes well beyond the science and is more than worthy of criminal prosecution.

  15. Mesa Econoguy:

    By the way, I don’t think that will happen, but that’s what should happen.

  16. Rob:

    Nope, if guilty of willful misrepresentation with a cost of billions of wasted dollars, JAIL.

    Madoff is in jail for theft.

    How is their continued falsification of data to manipulate political machinations and obtain grants any less theft?

    There are real dollar damages created knowingly by these charlatans.
    Snake Oil salesmen used to get tarred and feathered. I suppose I would find this an acceptable alternative.

  17. Dr. T:

    "I am disappointed to see folks like Lord Monkton calling for scientists to go to jail over what has been discovered in the Hadley CRU emails."

    Why? Some of the possible violations (related to the Freedom of Information Act and to destruction of court-requested data) are criminal and are punishable by imprisonment.

    Unrelated to the above is the entire issue of climate science as exemplified by the e-mails. Climatology, on a good day, barely qualifies as science. Climatologists typically ignore the scientific method: they observe, but their hypotheses often bear no relationships to their observations. They rarely perform experiments. Instead, they create half-ass models, tweak the coefficients and powers of the variables, look at the models' "outcomes," and draw ill-founded conclusions based on those unreal outcomes. In any true science field (chemistry, physics, biology, geology, etc.), such behaviors would get them laughed out of their faculty positions and grant supports. But, with so many people wanting humanity to be labeled as bad for the environment, climatologists who support anthropogenic global warming have been rolling in grant money. They are pseudo-scientific prostitutes selling their opinions to the highest bidders. They should never again get a science-related job.

  18. ArtD0dger:

    Well, I'm with Warren. It is important to NOT engage in the sort of rancor and hyperbole that could be used to dismiss this outright. This is why I don't like the "Climaquiddick" moniker that's being bandied about (even though "Climategate" is distinctly boring).

    What Warren said is exactly right -- this is a monoculture, not a grand conspiracy. The people involved actually believe they're doing science by the book, and that is going to come out as a big part of their defense. It is much more important to show that the scientific method is subtly but surely corrupted in such an environment than to make accusations of malfeasance that will be refuted.

    Hopefully, there will be investigations and hearings galore into this affair. Perhaps the grossest violations (FOI shenanigans, etc...) will eventually bring criminal proceedings, but the biggest mistake would be to proceed towards an outcome rather than towards discovery of the truth -- which is exactly what the CRU crew appears to have been doing.

    I do disagree, however, that there is nothing in the emails that is a whole lot worse than what many of the actors have been saying publicly. I think the phrase "mushroom cloud" was particularly apt.

  19. txjim:

    ty mesa for the link. Hopefully Inhofe can get a hearing.

  20. palm beach sugar daddy ken doll:

    tim, your comment puzzles me some. you "disagree we should 'fight to win' (because) that's what the other side is doing, and doing irreparable to (pure) science." i agree that they ARE doing great harm to truth and honest science, that's why i think they ought to be stopped.


    since - as they themselves have shown by their actions and said in their own leaked emails, since they are quite willing to ignore rules and break laws and fight dirty and destroy their doctrinal opponents, what would you *suggest* we do about it?? they're rats gnawing on the electrical cables of science. this must be stopped, or - as you quite rightly noted - science will suffer great & possibly permanent harm. but - again, as they've shown repeatedly - since they won't listen to reason; or calls to 'argue fair'; and they'll publish lies & distort the data & blackball dissenters......and they're NOT going to just stop or give up & walk away....

    how do we stop them *without* a fight? as in the case of the islamofascists - who, interestingly, use **exactly the same methodology** as their leftist counterparts - how do you stop an extremely determined mad dog who's determined to rule you WITHOUT fighting them???

  21. ArtD0dger:

    Another thing that strikes me as (almost) funny is the fact that climate scientists all over the world are probably frantically deleting disks and shredding documents even as we speak. Look for a lot more "the dog ate my data" moments in the future.

  22. Tim:

    Palm Beach, the same way you refute people who use their First Amendment rights to spew hate and demagoguery -- with better speech.

    Ignoring evidence that doesn't fit with pre-conceived notions isn't science; but the average person on the street doesn't know that. If you provide some basic education on how science is supposed to work; that when the data doesn't fit the theory, after double checking your data accuracy, you work to find a new theory that does fit all the data. That's how you fight. And when they resort to their bully tactics; you remind everybody that isn't science either.

    (That's one prong on how to fight Islamofascists, by the way. Yemen has some success with actually teaching Islam, real Islam, to terrorists; and getting them to renounce their ways. The Islamofascists have the same connection to faith as the KKK or the Crusaders have to Christianity. The other prong is to create economic growth in the cradles of IF: Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan. If you create a stable middle class; the radicals don't have as much sway over the population.)

  23. dr kill:

    I was promised a statement by Penn State concerning Professor Mann, promised for today. Has anyone seen it?

  24. Doug:

    Rob: you took the words out of my mouth: Bernie Madoff. Mesa Econoguy: your words say it better than I ever can. Thank you!

    These guys are thieves. No more, no less. They have attempted to cause me great economic harm via their "science." This isn't about being better than they are. This is about retribution for their very deliberate acts to manipulate their "science" to extract MASSIVE amounts of money from me, and unquestionably harm me and my family. This is no time for "let's be better than they are." Bull crap!

    I frequent Warren's site daily, but on this one he is very wrong. His attitude parallels precisely how/why the Republican party is the bunch of .... "powerless pansies" (to be polite) that they are today. I.e. they have no backbone. Attitudes like this are how the Nazis managed to take over Germany in the 30s without a shot being fired. And some might argue, how this country is similarly being overtaken today: unopposed.

    As was said in the Untouchables movie by Al Capone, "I want this guy DEAD!"

    Does the world really care? I notice this morning that the lede story on the radio news was Fisher Price's recall of a baby crib. Just about says it all, doesn't it? Steal TRILLIONS of dollars via bogus science, and no one cares. Harm one baby? The press pants. Gee, I won't know what to think until John Stewart tells me...

  25. docgary:

    excellent post....and excellent blog...just discovered it 2 days ago!

    Although i must take exception to your 'reasonable' approach to the e-mails.

    These guys have knowingly allowed corrupted science to effect international

    economies and laws..they have turned back the honest debate of global change on

    its face!

    This deserves more than a "I told you so".

    Let them be brought up on civil and criminal charges in their respective

    countries. And lets FORCE the forerunner of GW, Al Gore, to admit his biases

    and do it publicly.

  26. Tim:

    Doug, now is the time where rational thinkers need to stick to principles.

    The Republican party isn't wandering in the wilderness because they lack backbone; they're lost because they've confused policies with principles. Think of Republican litmus tests: Low taxes, pro-life, anti gay marriage. Those are policies, not principles like a limited Federalist government that protects choice -- both economic *and* social.

    And the world doesn't care because they don't understand. They don't know science; so they can't comprehend why stuff like this isn't science:

    "Mann said the second portion of Jones' message referred to a known problem with certain temperature records gleaned from tree rings. Up until 1960, temperature records measured by weather stations agree with records extrapolated from tree rings. But after 1960, it's a different story. Some of the trees no longer accurately register temperature variations.

    That's a problem that CRU scientist Keith Briffa identified in a journal article more than 10 years ago, Mann said, arguing that scientists shouldn't use the inaccurate post-1960 data."

    from http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2009/11/24/24climatewire-stolen-e-mails-sharpen-a-brawl-between-clima-19517.html?pagewanted=1

    There's no challenge as to Mann's handwave stating that the post-1960 data is inaccurate. Is a layperson going to understand that you just can't erase your 'statistical outliers' to make the data fit? Not if nobody makes an effort. That has to be step one.

    In the end, playing by their rules is like getting into an argument with a fool. How will a passerby be able to tell the difference?

  27. gadfly:

    Twenty-five responses to Warren's incredible post, but not even Warren has perceived the sad conclusion to this brouhaha. The monoculture is ignoring the gnats buzzing around the rotten fruit. These one-world nut cases are proceeding as if nothing happened except some one broke the law by stealing confidential soft files.

    In a speech to the U.N. today, Prez Zero said that the U.S is "determined to act," since the "threat from climate change is is serious, it is urgent, and it is growing."

    No nation, however large or small, wealthy or poor, can escape the impact of climate change. Rising sea levels threaten every coastline. More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent. More frequent drought and crop failures breed hunger and conflict in places where hunger and conflict already thrive. On shrinking islands, families are already being forced to flee their homes as climate refugees.

    As usual, he and the U.N. rent seekers are ignoring the news of the day to futher their monoculture.

  28. T J Sawyer:

    I was tending to believe that the e-mails and files were real for the first twenty-four hours or so. But then I read the ones about deleting e-mails so that they wouldn't be found out. Obviously, these are phony!

    No scientist could be so naive as to believe this would work and then put it in an e-mail. Er, unless they are really really bad at science.

  29. txjim:

    Tim - There are no passersby - there is only us! We are the canary in the coal mine. As you wrote your thoughtful post, the Van Jones's of the world are out working laying the groundwork so that your thoughtful opinions are shut out of debate. As evidenced by these released emails.

    The Coke and Pepsi parties are both involved in this travesty, our only hope is that honest people stand up and call bullshit.

  30. palm beach sugar daddy ken doll:

    BINGO, gadfly! gadfly wins the thread!!

    the leftists/climate mafia just got their pants pulled down *on live TV in front of the whole world*. they were exposed as liars, hypocrites, and lawbreakers in their own words, in their own emails. incontestable, incontrovertible, undeniable PROOF they're frauds....and how do they (and their MSM allies) react?

    they carry on as if nothing at all has happened, that's how. they continue repeating the grosse lugen, louder and shriller since they've got to shout down those pointing at their current debacle, and - with no sense of shame or honor or embarrassment at all, as these are bourgeois emotions felt only by dilettante capitalist lackeys - they continue on in their quest for money and power.

    tim thinks these people can be made to go away with reasoned, well-thought-out, powerful words and arguments. once again, THEIR ACTIONS CLEARLY SHOW that ain't gonna happen. (and as for the "winning over radical islam with words" notion, tim, google "malmo, sweden" + "rape" sometime. see what you find.) you could doscover and expose film showing the 'hockey stick' frauds shooting JFK from the grassy knoll, or robbing a bank, or ritually sacrificing a girl scout to mother gaia, and IT STILL WOULDN'T MATTER. they'll keep right on lying, and tell you your own eyes must be wrong. "jaw-jaw is always better than war-war", goes the quip. fine, i get that. but at some point - usually when you realize the other guys are bargaining in bad faith and lying though their teeth - the wise man realizes that diplomacy and first amendments and well-crafted arguments have no effect at all on people like that, and never will. what then? how does one reason with a mad dog?

    they cannot be allowed to win the day, yet they will not leave the field despite the refs and the scoreboard saying they've lost the contest. like it or not, *their* actions leave us with only two choices: 1) surrender 2) fight. i say continuing on our current useless, impotent path of talk & dialogue is tantamount to surrender, and that's unacceptable. destroying those who seek actively to destroy you (in other words, lawful and just self-defense) is no sin, and it's not wrong. are we so timid, so schooled away from confrontation, as to have forgotten that?

    climate frauds delenda est.

  31. Gil:

    Yeah coyote show some backbone and don't fall into relativism! Some views are unacceptable if they're criminally dangerous. Fraud is a crime.

  32. Link:

    How will this unfold?

    First question: who leaked this stuff? In England a hard investigation may expose whoever was the leaker. It'll play differently if it was an outraged insider vs. a diabolical politically-driven outside hacker. There may be more stuff that gets leaked, some of it even more damning.

    Will the masses wake up to understand that AGW was just a theory all along? ... that climate science is no more scientific than sociology? Don't count on it. MSM may not report this unless pressed to. What's clear is that the science isn't settled. That was true a month ago. What's different today is that there's a story developing that we can all understand ... corrupt pseudo-scientists craving attention and grant money, facilitated by opportunistic politicians like Al "ManBearPig" Gore.

    Satire may be the way forward. Here's "Hide The Decline - Climategate" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEiLgbBGKVk
    Very funny, well worth watching. Hope it goes viral.

  33. Jim Collins:

    I agree with Coyote. There's nothing here that anybody needs to go to jail over. I'd prefer a firing squad.

  34. DrTorch:

    "Pro-life" is a policy not a principle?

    Wow, there's some seriou spin.

  35. PilgrimInUnholyLand:

    For more than 40,000 lives lost in downsized automobiles because of CAFE standards,
    For jobs lost and communities destroyed to protect spotted owls and fairy shrimp, etc.,
    For undue demonization of entire industries,
    For time and money spent by corporations and individuals attempting to comply with unnecessary legislation,
    For money and time spent replacing equipment in good working order to meet unnecessary regulation,
    For making us drive cars that are ugly, slow and gutless,
    For corrosive damage to those already gutless engines by fuel additives,
    For undue stress brought on adults,
    For fear instilled unnecessarily in our children,
    For discomfort of single-ply toilet tissue,
    For the nuisance of recycled cardboard cartons that are weaker than the glue that hold them together,

    We demand reparation.

    Algore: Are you listening? We want our money back. We want our communities back. We want our lives back.

    We demand a full restoration of our Liberty and private property rights.

    And for mocking and belittling us when Common Sense told us WE were right, we heartily extend to you the invitation to douse yourself with tar, roll in goose-feathers, and ride yourself out of town on a rail.

  36. Tim:

    Dr Torch, this is a bit of a tangent; but the Republican(tm) brand of pro-life is 'life begins at conception'; and would create a big-government apparatus to enforce that *belief* -- despite the fact that a fetus isn't viable outside of the womb until 28-30 weeks. So the principles of good government (and science) get sacrificed on an ideological tenet. On top of that; where reasonable people can disagree on a particular intersection of faith, politics, and ethics and still find common ground, look around and see what happens to Republicans who try and buck the pro-life policy on the basis of limited government principles. To touch on a slightly less controversial area of the same topic; this is why the Republican policy rejects stem cell research. The application of the policy is that stem cells are people; where the application of the principle would be that it isn't proper for the government to take any sort of stance towards what medical research gets done; as long as all participants are freely agreeing to participate.

    But, back to the topic at hand. I'm reminded of another intersection of faith and politics; since it is the 250th anniversary of "The Origin of Species". I'm wondering how many people who reject the science being done around evolution are also trying to reject the science, such as it is, of AGW. That really gets to my point of why it becomes important to 'fight fair'. In trying to discredit the good science being done in evolution -- because it doesn't fit with their faith -- they've undermined the very tools needed to reject the bad science being done in AGW.

    In the end 'winning' debates about AGW, evolution, stem cells, energy, and even economics (the dismal science) without rational thought leave those victories built on sand -- easily washed away because you've created a popularity contest. And someday, you will not be popular. But, if you've won with objective truths -- those aren't subject to the whims of favor.

    And it isn't about trying to turn the bad actors here; it is about teaching the true policy makers -- the people -- what the bad actors are doing, and how they are doing it.

  37. Anonymous Mike:

    A not very modest proposal...

    With all respect to the question of jail or no jail, I think we should consider the possibility of public executions.

    I go back to this time last year with TARP and the idea of too big to fail (Bear with me a moment, this will come back to the CRU hack.) You had companies which were supposedly "too big fail" and had to be bailed out by the taxpayer which not only eliminated the risk/reward element to capitalism but undermined public faith in free markets. For such societal crimes, and the fact that we couldn't punish them through bankruptcy, I thought punishment should be exacted by some process of decimation where the CEOs of those companies should draw lots and those so chosen would be publicly executed - I was thinking on either Wall Street or the Washington Mall- as an example "pour l'encourager les autres" (excuse my poor French)

    Here with Climategate we have a number of scientists who have corrupted the public trust in science, growing sense of environmentalism, and not mention its propensity for believing environmental catastrophe into not only celebrity and lucrative grants for themselves but to provide the intellectual fuel for a bureaucratic coup d'etat to establish a soft totalitarian state. In other words their crimes (no other word for it) has put our freedoms and way of life at risk. So I think a Nuremburg type of trial should occur with executions to follow - sorry given the fact that Eliot Spitzer has re-emerged as a political commentator means that any sort of public chastisement and exile would prove fleeting and so a more permanent solution must be found.

    Actually I'm pretty open on the punishment part, I would also accept permanent public humiliation in the form of say, being placed in stocks during daylight hours for the rest of their natural lives, as a replacement. The point being that these people have betrayed (a word I don't use loosely) not only the society of which they are citizens of but also of their profession which is rooted in the great traditions of Western Civilization

    As for Al Gore, I think being given a wet willy, followed by a purple nurple, and then finally the dreaded rear admiral should be sufficient

  38. DrTorch:


    I respect that we're on tangent now, so I'll try to be brief as well. I'm not sure how the pro-life belief creates a big government apparatus to enforce it. But even if that is true, isn't protection of life pretty much the top priority of government?

    Second, I fail to see how science gets sacrificed on that belief. If anything, recent science has adamantly supported it. And yeah, I'm familiar and adept with that science.

    Finally, your concerns about the "science" of evolution should be of concern to you. It is the forerunner to AWG, establishing the precedent of the "monoculture." The approach to research, the tactics and language used for critics are all identical. Even if evolutionary theory gets proven by science, their approach deserves reproach.

  39. Steve Jean:

    (DrTorch) Same claims are routinely made supporting Darwinism. It is very much a monoculture.

    It’d be nice to tear down that house of cards too.

    DrTorch, I see similarities between the most extreme catastrophic AGW chicken littles and Creation "Scientists". Both groups tell me that I must ignore my own apparent self-interest. Both groups predict Armageddon. They both smear good scientists who are backed by reason and evidence.

  40. Tim:

    DrTorch -- Regarding the protection of life; yes that's a government function. However, "Life Begins at Conception" is an article of faith, not of science. Is a pre-implated blastocyst life? Would it be viable, without medical intervention, outside of the womb? These are questions of philosophy. The science answer is "Not yet".

    And yes, evolution vs creation science could be a prototype of the AGW argument. The objective evidence supports a yet-disproved theory; but the creation side points to gaps in the evidence not as "more work needs to be done", but as "this gap indicates that the whole theory, even the parts proven, are false". But a lot of the evolution side has been derelect in informing the public on how science works -- and has started to frame the debate the same way people here have avocated the global warming debate be framed.

  41. AStoner:

    "However, “Life Begins at Conception” is an article of faith, not of science."

    Actually, life does begin with conception according to science. The question is if it is a human being.

  42. palm beach sugar daddy ken doll:

    y'know, these last few comments bring up an interesting point i'd never considered: the methodology of the AGW true believers defending their faith - lies, ad hoc attacks on unbelievers ("heretics!"), suppression of information deemed harmful to the Cause... - IS *precisely* the way the cardinals of the holy church of evolution defends **their** sacred book. hmmmm. (i don't really have a dog in that fight because i'm not sure what to think. still, when a guy who was only one of the top 3 paleontologists at the time, a mr. gould, admits in print that "the extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. the evolutionary trees that adorn out textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; **THE REST IS INFERENCE**" (1977), well then, i'd say that at least leaves room for reasonable questions. questions which, just like in ADW gospel and cant, are not allowed or are shouted down.) as for the 'conception'/'life' thing, you're on your own, fellas.

    this might end up being REAL interesting, and have large ramifications before it's done. i read once where the reason east germany first opened up the berlin wall to let easterners into west berlin was due to a misinterpreted memo from on high that said no such thing. they had no intention whatever of allowing that to happen, but happen it did just the same. shortly afterward, the wall fell, and took the whole iron curtain with it. acorns & oaks; horseshoe nails & kingdoms, all that.

  43. TakeFive:

    The war on junk science needs to begin. I say let this be the first battle. Let there be real consquences for these people that used their trusted positions to terrorize children with BS about flooding and starving polar bears.

    These guys didn't make a mistake. That would be ok. The knew they were wrong but carried on anyway.

  44. tomw:

    Just one comment: If the HadleyCrut crew can reconstruct their original data, without adding 'correction factors' and reproduce their ORIGINAL output, I will believe they are not crooks.
    If, on the other hand, they have NO WAY to get their original plots, then it is as plain as the nose on my face that they are just crap mongers. They just made it up with no respect to reality as *I* know it.
    They are entitled to their own opinions, but they are NOT entitled to their own facts, nor are they entitled to make stuff up and attempt to pass it off as fact.
    It's the coverup, Jim....


  45. Lorenzo (from downunder):

    Great post. When I recently posted on why I tend to be sceptical on CAGW, I found that quite a few Coyote posts worth linking to.

    I am not legally knowledgeable enough, nor up on the emails, to know whether we have genuine fraud--which I believe includes an intention to deceive. But clearly, the emails raise very large issues about process. If they were "true believers" then that may make fraud harder to prove, but makes the process concerns even stronger.

  46. SunSword:

    See this link:

    I will quote some of Mike Hulme:
    One of the central reasons we disagree about climate change is because we have different conceptions of what science is and with what authority it speaks – in other words, how scientific ‘knowledge’ interacts with those other realms of understanding brought to us by politics, ethics and spirituality....Too often the reasons we disagree about what to do about climate change are framed in this way, as disputes about the truth claims of some aspect of biogeophysical science – is the world warming; are greenhouse gases responsible; will this ice-sheet collapse? This reflects one view of science, the conventional Enlightenment view of science as an objective, disinterested endeavour incrementally leading us closer and closer to a universal and immutable view of reality … past, present and future. This is ‘normal’ science...

    Disputes in post-normal science focus as often on the process of science – who gets funded, who evaluates quality, who has the ear of policy - as on the facts of science. The IPCC is a classic example of a post-normal scientific activity. The IPCC is a large procedural assessment activity involving first of all scientists, but then later entraining a broad range of other experts from government, business, civil society to evaluate the quality of the assessment, before the modified text is presented to government representatives for their amendment and approval....

    The unfortunate thing is that many people still hold onto a ‘normal’ faith in science such that it can first find truth, then speak truth to power, and that truth-based policy will then follow. Fred Singer has this view of science; so does Mark Lynas. That is why they reduce their exchange to one about scientific truth rather than about values, perspectives and political preferences. If the battle of science is won, then the war of values will be won.

    If only climate change were such a phenomenon and if only science held such an ascendancy over our personal, social and political life and decisions. To the contrary, in order to make progress about how we manage climate change we have to take science off centre-stage...What is ‘self-evidently’ dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth-seeking; we might gain some insights into the question if we recognise the socially contingent dimensions of a post-normal science. But to proffer such insights, scientists – and politicians – must trade (normal) truth for influence. If scientists want to remain listened to, to bear influence on policy, they must recognise the social limits of their truth-seeking...

    Climate change is too important to be left to scientists, least of all the normal ones.

    -- Professor Mike Hulme School of Environmental Sciences, and Director Tyndall Centre University of East Anglia

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