27 November 2009

Glaciers melting in the dead of night

Climategate.

Has a ring, doesn't it? I'm not sure who coined it, but it would be funny if it weren't so predictable.

You are free to draw your own conclusions on climate change, and actually, I encourage you to do so. Read *all* the available information out there, pro and con, and don't just digest the gospel that an "expert" chooses to force feed you. Personally, I've never subscribed to the "science" that this climate stuff has been based upon but that's because I've been around the scientific publishing and peer review process far too long. I've also been around the geologic record for too long, and what the climate scientists preach really doesn't mesh with what's writ on Mother Earth's face.

But it's not politic to say so.

What is possibly most disturbing to me, is this quote from an opinion piece published in Wall St. Journal today:

'"What they've done is search through stolen personal emails—confidential between colleagues who often speak in a language they understand and is often foreign to the outside world," Penn State's Michael Mann told Reuters Wednesday. Mr. Mann added that this has made "something innocent into something nefarious."'

What I find most distasteful here is the ego. "You don't understand the language we speak because we're--SCIENTISTS!"

The WSJ piece goes on to note: "The furor over these documents is not about tone, colloquialisms or whether climatologists are nice people. The real issue is what the messages say about the way the much-ballyhooed scientific consensus on global warming was arrived at, and how a single view of warming and its causes is being enforced......According to this privileged group, only those whose work has been published in select scientific journals, after having gone through the "peer-review" process, can be relied on to critique the science. And sure enough, any challenges from critics outside this clique are dismissed and disparaged."

Of course, only approved reviewers are allowed to review the data, which then is more than likely to only appear in approved journals. What these guys have apparently created is a tidy little clique that supports their view... and their view alone.

This is not a first in the scientific community, and definitely not a first in the earth sciences community. I'm watching a dedicated band of hard-working young Ph.D.'s go head to head with another big ego that's held sway over certain aspects of the geologic community for far too long by quashing research he doesn't like.

Unfortunately, my sense of satisfaction in seeing these climate scientists exposed is tempered by my own certainty of the damage they've done. This is the most discouraging aspect of bad science: when the pendulum swings too far in the opposite direction. It will be tempting to many to say, "ok, global warming is the big lie! Back to business as usual!" rather than recognize that we continue to occupy this planet on borrowed time.

Go listen to some good music: "Supermassive Black Hole" from the album Blackholes and Revelations by Muse. Honest science isn't that which answers an opposing viewpoint with "you don't know what you're talking about." Honest science respectfully engages opposing viewpoints and creates an excellent argument for why its view is better.

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