Tuesday, February 21, 2012

More on Fakegate

Below, I write about "Fakegate" -- the deception involved in a phony scandal involving the Heartland Institute perpetrated by one of the leading pro-global warming scientists. Of course, most of his pro-global warming contemporaries have adopted either the "nothing to see here, move along" or the "fake, but accurate" defenses. 


I've written all I care to write about this matter, but I do want to quote from Megan McArdle (hardly a global warming skeptic) that I would like the readers of this blog who are pro-global warming to think carefully about her words:


Gleick has done enormous damage to his cause and his own reputation, and it's no good to say that people shouldn't be focusing on it.  If his judgement is this bad, how is his judgement on matters of science?  For that matter, what about the judgement of all the others in the movement who apparently see nothing worth dwelling on in his actions?

 

When skeptics complain that global warming activists are apparently willing to go to any lengths--including lying--to advance their worldview, I'd say one of the movement's top priorities should be not proving them right.  And if one rogue member of the community does something crazy that provides such proof, I'd say it is crucial that the other members of the community say "Oh, how horrible, this is so far beyond the pale that I cannot imagine how this ever could have happened!" and not, "Well, he's apologized and I really think it's pretty crude and opportunistic to make a fuss about something that's so unimportant in the grand scheme of things."  

 

After you have convinced people that you fervently believe your cause to be more important than telling the truth, you've lost the power to convince them of anything else.

 

Gleick was -- get this -- chair of the ethics committee of the American Geophysical Union, another pro-GW organization.

 

Courtesy of WattsUpWithThat, here are parts of an open letter to the new chair of the AGU's ethics committee written by Willis Eschenbach:


Make no mistake. If Peter Gleick walks away from this debacle free of expulsion, sanction, or censure from the AGU, without suffering any further penalties, your reputation and the reputation of the AGU will forever join his on the cutting room floor. People are already laughing at the spectacle of the chair of a task force on scientific integrity getting caught with his entire arm in the cookie jar. You have one, and only one, chance to stop the laughter.


Because if your Task Force doesn’t have the bal … the scientific integrity to take up the case of its late and unlamented commander as its very first order of business, my Spidey-sense says that it will be forever known as the “AGU Task Farce on Scientific Integrity”. You have a clear integrity case staring you in the face. If you only respond to Dr. Gleick’s reprehensible actions with vague platitudes about “the importance of …”, if the Task Force’s only contribution is mealy-mouthed mumblings about how “we deplore …” and“we are disappointed …”, I assure you that people will continue to point and laugh at that kind of spineless pretense of scientific integrity.


Folks are fed up with climate scientists who lie, cheat, and steal to attack their scientific opponents, and who then walk away without the slightest action being taken by other scientists. As long as there are no repercussions from the scientific community for the kind of things Dr. Gleick has done, mainstream climate scientists will continue to do them. Indeed, Dr. Gleick’s own actions were no doubt greatly encouraged by the fact that you noble scientists were so full of bul … of scientific integrity that you all let the Climategate un-indicted co-conspirators walk away scot-free, without even asking them the important questions, much less getting answers to those major issues.


You have the opportunity to actually take a principled stand here, Dr. Gundersen, and I cannot overemphasize the importance of you doing so. Dr. Gleick’s kind of unethical skullduggery in the name of science has ruined the reputation of the entire field of climate science. The rot of “noble cause corruption” is well advanced in the field, and it will not stop until people just like you quit looking the other way and pretending it doesn’t exist. I had hoped that some kind of repercussions for scientific malfeasance would be one of the outcomes of Climategate, but people just ignored that part. This one you can’t ignore.


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  1. [...] of the global warming movement to try the scientific method to persuade their critics rather than faking documents, blocking legitimate papers from being published, and saying there is a “lack of [...]

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