Friday, November 20, 2009

{Climatoligist Facepalm}

First off, I have to confess: I'm not a scientist. I don't even have PhDs in psychology and parapsychology. The "kids" do not love me. And there is no way I'm being moved to better quarters on campus.

I do know this: If, as a scientist, a researcher, a journalist, a writer, a whatever noun you want to insert, if you falsify your data because you're not getting the result you expected or wanted, then, indeed, you are a poor scientist, Dr. Venkman. (Go to 3:36 for the "Poor Scientist" speech from Dean Yeager.)

I'm speaking here, of course, of reports that hacked files and e-mails from The Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England reveal researchers, including some top=flight folks at the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration have colluded to falsify and cloud some climate data in order to support their theories ot anthropogenic climate change (or climate change caused by human activity).

Does this mean Global Warming, with the proper capital letters, is dead? No, I think reports of ACM's demise is premature, at least until, as Gen. Turgidson would remind us, all the facts are in.

If, indeed, the CRU folks have falsified their data and colluded across the Atlantic to do so, their research is at best questionable, at worst, completely worthless. I'm curious to know, however, how they hope to build or retain credibility in the scientific community if their research and methods are called into question. If they have indeed lied, which, it appears, they have, at least to some extent. I'll watch this unfold with much interest, to say the least. I just know that anything that even stinks of impropriety means that there's something rotten in the refrigerator.

Do we need legitimate research into mankind's effects on the environment? Absolutely. However, it's just as foolish to think that mankind's activities have no effects on the environment as it is to falsify data to make that appear to be the case. If these reports (here, (that's the one I recommend) here, (an even better one) and the leaked documents here (it's The Pirate Bay, so don't open this up on work computers and be prepared for safe-for-work but eye-bleach worthy photos of bimbos)) are true, then shame on those who falsified their data. That's not science. That's dishonesty. That's doing your science a disservice. That's telling the world that you are, frankly, a poor scientist.

What will also be interesting to watch is how the climate change true believers take this news. So far, as far as I can tell, there are a lot of folks saying, wow, these creeps ought to be jailed for what they did. And they're speaking of the hackers, not the scientists. Of course, what the hackers did was illegal. What the scientists are accused of doing is merely unethical. There seems to be a bit of denial out there -- this time on the part of the true believers. They may find crow tasty. They may not. It'll still be interesting to watch.

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