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Einstein and Climategate

The Atlantic's Megan McArdle has, in my opinion, offered the best analysis of the Climategate scandal. An excerpt from her most recent piece on the subject:

I can imagine a sort of selection bias in the grant process. I cannot imagine hundreds of scientists thinking, well, I put ten years into getting my PhD--time to spend the rest of my life faking data in order to get some grant money! One, yes. All of them, no.

To me, the worry is the subtler kind of bias that we indisputably know has led to scientific errors in the past. Richard Feynman has the most elegant exposition I've ever read:

We have learned a lot from experience about how to handle some of the ways we fool ourselves. One example: Millikan measured the charge on an electron by an experiment with falling oil drops, and got an answer which we now know not to be quite right. It's a little bit off, because he had the incorrect value for the viscosity of air.

... Why didn't they discover that the new number was higher right away? It's a thing that scientists are ashamed of--this history--because it's apparent that people did things like this: When they got a number that was too high above Millikan's, they thought something must be wrong--and they would look for and find a reason why something might be wrong. When they got a number closer to Millikan's value they didn't look so hard. And so they eliminated the numbers that were too far off, and did other things like that.

... The first principle is that you must not fool yourself--and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you've not fooled yourself, it's easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.

That is the actual worrying question about CRU, and GISS, and the other scientists working on paleoclimate reconstruction: that they may all be calibrating their findings to each other. That when you get a number that looks like CRU, you don't look so hard to figure out whether it's incorrect as you do when you get a number that doesn't look like CRU--and maybe you adjust the numbers you have to look more like the other "known" datasets. There is always a way to find what you're expecting to find if you look hard enough.

There are other issues: selection bias in the grant process, papers with large results being much more likely to be published than papers with equivocal results, professors preferring students who agree with them, and so forth. I doubt that could amount to faking the entire thing. But it could amplify the magnitude.

Like Ms. McArdle, I happen to disagree with those who infer from the recent "Climategate" emails that the CRU team was deliberately "faking" or "falsifying" their data. It is much more likely that they were routinely performing seemingly innocent data massaging in order to move their results toward an outcome that was assumed beyond question to be correct.

This type of bias does not discriminate. Even the greatest scientific minds have been hindered in both their theoretical and experimental work because their initial assumptions were wrong.

A little over a century ago, Albert Einstein published a short paper with the rather uninteresting title "On The Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies." Einstein was intrigued by the persistent problems that were caused by the conflict between Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism and Newton's laws of motion. Building on the work of Lorentz and others who were also working on the same problem, Einstein proved conclusively that the speed of light was a constant, while it was distance and time (erroneously assumed by Newton and everyone else to be universally constant) that changed, from the point of view of one observer to another, when one of those observers was traveling at a velocity near the speed of light. From this work, Einstein also derived his famous expression e = mc2, which showed that energy and mass were equivalent, related to one another by the speed of light. Einstein's discoveries were astounding, and they literally changed the way physicists understood nature.

Ten years later, Einstein published his greatest comprehensive work, General Relativity, which took his newly-discovered relationships between mass, energy, and the speed of light, and applied them to the universal (or "general") phenomenon of gravitation, which was the cornerstone of Newtonian physics. The mathematical models that came out of General relativity predicted a number of surprising phenomena including black holes and gravitational waves, and something that greatly troubled Einstein himself: an expanding universe.

Ever since the dawn of time, mankind had assumed that the size of the universe as a whole was static. Individual bodies moved in orbit and interacted with one another through the effects of gravity, but the spatial dimension of the universe did not change. That was simply a given. An expanding universe was an absolute impossibility, and therefore must be the result of a mathematical error. In order to correct this error, Einstein introduced a "fudge factor" that he called the Cosmological Constant into his equations. The Cosmological Constant eliminated the expansion and gave the "right" result, a stationary universe. After astronomer Edwin Hubble found conclusive observational evidence for an expanding universe, an embarrassed Einstein admitted that introducing the Cosmological Constant had been the "biggest blunder" of his career.

Today, none of us would vilify Einstein as a "liar" or the perpetrator of a hoax. We recognize that he simply attempted to correct his work it in what he assumed was an appropriate manner, given the prevailing assumptions of his day. Similarly, the climate scientists at East Anglia's CRU worked very hard to figure out why their measured data was not corresponding to their own prevailing assumption that the climate had experienced a steep warming trend since the beginning of the twentieth century. Their solution to the problem was to adjust the data in order to obtain the "right" result. A conspiracy of sorts perhaps, but probably not a deliberate or malicious one.

Einstein admitted his error, and history exonerated him; it remains to be seen if the CRU team and other climate change proponents will admit to the ideological biases that we now know resulted in sloppy record keeping, questionable statistical methods, and apparently deliberate attempts to silence critics. With billions, perhaps trillions of dollars at stake in the climate change debate, they owe it to us to come clean.


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Comments (31)

The difference between Eins... (Below threshold)
Gren:

The difference between Einstein and the CRU fellows is that Einstein changed theory to fit the observed where CRU changed the observed to fit theory. CRU committed a much more egregious error. The basis of the scientific method is adjusting your theory when data fails to support it. Its almost as bad as just faking evidence like that fellow in Korea (can't remember his name, big scandal). They practically made up evidence as they change real measurements into not so real ones that fit their ideas.

RE: " Their solution to the... (Below threshold)
Andrew:

RE: " Their solution to the problem was to adjust the data in order to obtain the "right" result. A conspiracy of sorts perhaps, but probably not a deliberate or malicious one.'

A conspiracy, yes, there were more then two people involved.

Deliberate, yes, they actually did it.

Malicious, that is yet to be determined.

Their confirmation bias crossed the line when they altered the data.

<a href="http://factcheck.o... (Below threshold)
Victory is Ours:

ClimateGate is the hoax. It's all bullshit.

In late November 2009, more than 1,000 e-mails between scientists at the Climate Research Unit of the U.K.'s University of East Anglia were stolen and made public by an as-yet-unnamed hacker. 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:

* The messages, which span 13 years, show a few scientists in a bad light, being rude or dismissive. An investigation is underway, but there's still plenty of evidence that the earth is getting warmer and that humans are largely responsible.
* Some critics say the e-mails negate the conclusions of a 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but the IPCC report relied on data from a large number of sources, of which CRU was only one.
* E-mails being cited as "smoking guns" have been misrepresented. For instance, one e-mail that refers to "hiding the decline" isn't talking about a decline in actual temperatures as measured at weather stations. These have continued to rise, and 2009 may turn out to be the fifth warmest year ever recorded. The "decline" actually refers to a problem with recent data from tree rings.

They tell you it's "X", but when you actually delve into it you find out it is they who are lying.

The e-mails (which have been made available by an unidentified individual here) do show a few scientists talking frankly among themselves -- sometimes being rude, dismissive, insular, or even behaving like jerks. Whether they show anything beyond that is still in doubt. There are two investigations underway, by the U.K.'s Met Office and East Anglia University, and the head of CRU, Phil Jones, has "stepped aside" until they are completed. However, many of the e-mails that are being held up as "smoking guns" have been misrepresented by global-warming skeptics eager to find evidence of a conspiracy. And even if they showed what the critics claim, there remains ample evidence that the earth in getting warmer.

Is it because they hate liberalism so much? Is that why the deniers are bullshitting us about "ClimateGate"?

Or worse - is this part of the paid community of lies - those corporate interests who actually fund misinformation campaigns?

My guess is there's a little of both at work in the whole "ClimateGate" scam.

Vic

Evolutionary biologist Step... (Below threshold)
Edward Sisson Author Profile Page:

Evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould said something like "if I had not believed it, I would not have seen it" to express the idea that it is the pre-conceived idea of truth presented by an attractive theory that can lead scientists to "see" as existing in the world what the theory tells them ought to exist in the world. If the initial data-observation does not compel the conclusion that they have seen what they expected to see, the response is to feel that more and deeper investigation is needed, to attain the complete picture. The scientist genuinely feels that he or she is merely pursuing the data-investigation in the direction where truth really exists. The pursuit is exciting and engages the mind in a very stimulating and satisfying fashion. Other factors are considered, other influences on the data, until at last there is the "eureka" discovery moment -- a moment that typically occurs when, at last, the scientist comes to the point of concluding that yes, finally, the data is revealing what the favored theory said ought to be there.

This is a natural part of science and indeed of any human investigation to seek out an unknown fact. I bet lots of police investigations proceed along these lines: the police and prosecutors are convinced they are on the trail to proving that suspect X did the crime. I don't know that there is any good way of telling valid investigations from invalid ones -- unless, as is the case in "ClimateGate," there are so many world-wide and history-wide countervailing amounts of data that it ought to have been obvious long ago that this "investigation" had gone bad.

Ironically, the Cosmologica... (Below threshold)
Tregonsee:

Ironically, the Cosmological Constant is coming back into favor these days. Delicate measurements currently indicate that the rate of expansion is increasing rather than decreasing. A repulsive force accounts for this nicely, though the situation is much more complicated than was the one Einstein considered. Check back in 10 years and see if the observations and theory have changed again.

Interesting. I used the an... (Below threshold)

Interesting. I used the analogy of Niels Bohr and the search for atomic structure, myself. I think it's a slightly closer fit to climate science.

The closest analogy for cli... (Below threshold)
Kathy:

The closest analogy for climatology is astrology. This 'new' science has all sorts of 'new' techniques that are unacceptable in EVERY OTHER GENUINE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY.

But is there premeditation and conspiracy? Your argument is that they believed the outcome so devoutly (religious fervor) that they preselected the outcome. We call that in the scientific community: DATA MINING. If you really believe in the outcome, you trust that the data will support your conclusions. They didn't.

Under no circumstances would any statistical analysis remain valid with the types of manipulations in those programs that consistently altered temperature data UPWARD.

Reproducibility is an absolute MUST in proving theoretical validity. Not only can this data not be reproduced, the underlying data was destroyed to prevent it. THEY KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING WAS A LIE.

And it kept the money coming in.....
And it kept their prestige at their ivory towers.....

The truth wouldn't do that.

Motive
Opportunity
Means

They committed premeditated deceit. It was no accident and there is no remorse or embarrassment - that alone tells you all you need to know.

The facts do not support your conclusion that this was an innocent mistake like the misinformation one receives in a game of 'telephone'. They colluded to defraud through intimidation, ostracization, and manipulation of the data.

To support your theory, they would have to doubt their own data in the extreme, and that is not conviction of fact - it's fear of being caught dead wrong.

How many millions of new gr... (Below threshold)
klrtz1:

How many millions of new grant money did Einstein and Millikan get as a result of their "blunders"? Bet the CRU got a lot more. I don't cut these climate "scientists" any more slack than any other white collar criminal who commits fraud for money.

I wonder how much Vic gets paid for commenting here. I've lied for money before. I can tell you, Vic, that eventually you start to feel real bad about yourself. I hope you don't have to go as far down as I did to find out it's just not worth it.

Like Ms. McArdle, I happ... (Below threshold)

Like Ms. McArdle, I happen to disagree with those who infer from the recent "Climategate" emails that the CRU team was deliberately "faking" or "falsifying" their data.

I don't think I can agree. The reason is one simple line they used in compiling their data:

"Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline"

[misspelling and caps in original]

Yeah Vic, I remember very w... (Below threshold)
wright:

Yeah Vic, I remember very well when Einstein and his buddies conspired to have Hubble's findings kept out of the scientific journals, and how they vilified anyone who agreed with him or had the audacity to question Einstein's settled science. There was, after all, a consensus.

From Vic's entry above:... (Below threshold)
Hank:

From Vic's entry above:

"* E-mails being cited as "smoking guns" have been misrepresented. For instance, one e-mail that refers to "hiding the decline" isn't talking about a decline in actual temperatures as measured at weather stations. These have continued to rise, and 2009 may turn out to be the fifth warmest year ever recorded. The "decline" actually refers to a problem with recent data from tree rings."

Frm the actual email:

From: Phil Jones
To: ray bradley ,[email protected], [email protected]
Subject: Diagram for WMO Statement
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:15 +0000
Cc: [email protected]@XXXX

Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,

Once Tim's got a diagram here we'll send that either later today or first thing tomorrow.

I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline....."

Sure looks to me as if the "nature trick" was temperature related.

What the media and climate change loons are banking on is that hardly anyone will read the emails so they can feel free to misrepresent their contents. Still, let's finish with this email.


From: Kevin Trenberth
To: Michael Mann
Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 08:57:37 -0600
Cc: Stephen H Schneider , Myles Allen , peter stott , "Philip D. Jones" , Benjamin Santer , Tom Wigley , Thomas R Karl , Gavin Schmidt , James Hansen , Michael Oppenheimer

Hi all

Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming ? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about 18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low.

This is January weather (see the Rockies baseball playoff game was canceled on saturday and then played last night in below freezing weather).


Trenberth, K. E., 2009: An imperative for climate change planning: tracking Earth's global energy. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 1, 19-27, doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2009.06.001. [1][PDF] (A PDF of the published version can be obtained from the author.)
***

The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.***


The "problem" with tree rin... (Below threshold)

The "problem" with tree ring data, Mann's latest spin to explain away the controversy instead of, you know, producing his data, is that it doesn't fit their hypothesis, so, like the satellite measurements and pretty much everything else actually observed, the data must be wrong and is, therefore, a "problem" to be corrected with "VERY ARTIFICAL" "tricks" to "hide the decline".

I would be more inclined to... (Below threshold)

I would be more inclined to be charitable toward these scientists if they had not shown such stunning arrogance. To conspire to prevent dissenting papers from being published is not the work of scientists who have the requisite humility, no matter how some of the other emails could be construed by apologists.

Here is a relevant article on the blog of the congressional candidate I am helping out.

Climategate - Global Warming Hucksters Revealed

Funny how the 'solution' to... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Funny how the 'solution' to the 'problem' just happens to be something that hurts the West, especially the U.S., while letting the worst polluters and most populous nations (like China and India) off the hook. It just happens to force 'rich' countries to transfer money to poor countries with carbon tax schemes. Pure coincidence, I'm sure.

Andrew said it best in the comments here earlier:
"It has been noted: Beware the advocates of a "crisis", who tell you the solution is for you to do exactly what the advocates have been insisting you do since long before the "crisis" arrived.

3. Posted by Andrew X | December 10, 2009 2:36 PM |"

Re "Einstein proved conclus... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Re "Einstein proved conclusively that the speed of light was a constant"

That is the thought fallacy that you condemn on one hand then turn around and do. No conclusion is beyond question. There have been many quantitative parameters added to above statement in order to keep it true such as through a specific medium, etc.

Yes there is a tendency to "adjust" data to conform to the expected. However it is still wrong, wrong and wrong especially for professionals. Being common doesn't make it right.

Once in a chemistry class, I was getting unexpected data. Everyone else finished and left. The professor and I redid and redid the experiment and got pretty much the same results. We ended up finding that the concentration of solution on one of the main bottles was mislabeled by factor of ten. How did the rest of class and others that used that bottle get the right results?

In my opinion Megan McArdle... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

In my opinion Megan McArdle's analysis of the Climategate scandal is lacking an understanding of the root causes behind Climategate.

The story starts with a look at the black body analysis of the Earth and a realization that there's a discrepancy between what the temperature of the Earth should be and what it is. The initial fundamental error is assuming that the only explanation of that discrepancy is the so-called greenhouse effect of various gasses in the atmosphere, with CO2 being second only to water vapor in that regard. However, it can be demonstrated experimentally that there's another factor that allows our 99.94% by mass IR transparent atmosphere to warm the planet, and the introduction of greenhouse gases into that system tends to cause cooling. It may well be that the two effects balance to some degree over a large range of CO2 concentrations, but that hasn't been looked into because the original assumption is so strongly embedded in the minds of climatologists that they refer to it as "forcing".

The blind acceptance of "forcing" is the underlying cause of Climategate. Because climatologists accept as fact that as CO2 concentrations rises, so too MUST the global temperature, and thus, they KNOW the measured temperatures MUST rise year to year. The problem is that the climate warming signal they are looking for is below the background noise of daily temperature fluctuations, so they must employ complex and unproven statistical means of extracting the climate warming signal from weather station reports that were never designed for that purpose. They know their statistical and correction methods are working when the results show the expected warming as determined by computer models that are themselves based on the same erroneous assumption about "forcing".

It's even more dicey when trying to use tree ring data to produce a temperature reconstruction as the climate warming signal is not only below the background noise of daily temperature fluctuations, but also of growth due to rainfall and CO2 itself. Once again, the climatologists creating these proxy temperature reconstructions know they have gotten their statistical and correction methods working when the results show the expected warming. Never mind that well documented warm and cool periods disappear, the results must be right because it shows the "forced" warming. So strong is the "forcing" conviction that other scientists are ignored when they demonstrate that the statistical and correction algorithms produce a hockey stick graph even when they are given white noise as the input. There's an example of that in the leaked emails.

It's into this environment that someone who has put ten years into getting their PhD finds themselves. To them the science of "forcing" is settled and the real goal is to figure out how natural cycles are able to hide the warming, or if the measurements are just not up to the task.

You can understand the frustration of such climatologists at the constant din of skeptics who obviously don't understand "forcing", or who must be on the payroll of big oil. And then to top that off nature throws this cooling cycle at them, which just happens to coincide with the Sun spot theory skeptics keep bringing up. Little wonder we see in the leaked emails how climatologists are trying to control the peer review process, thwart FOI requests, using tricks in their data, and even delete data to keep it out of the hands of skeptics.

At some point climatologists will be impinged upon by reality to go back and look at their forcing assumption. Then they will discover the effect caused by the shifting emissivity of the "Earth and IR transparent atmosphere system", which I have explained before on these pages. Then it will all make sense to them. Until then be nice to you neighborhood self-deluded climatologist.

As for Climategate, yes the... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

As for Climategate, yes there was probably those who adjusted or look to hard for confirmation data instead of all data. It is call being bias and it is wrong and doesn't make good science. However the e-mails showed more than innocent mistakes and there is a good probability that they are not the only ones. Excusing their behavior instead of condemning them shows us more about how the system and people are corrupted than the e-mails do.

Einstein's constant was kno... (Below threshold)

Einstein's constant was know by everyone. However, the Climategate team hid their tricks from public view and only shared the real data among a few 'insiders.' That is a huge difference. Also, Einstein's constant Cosmological is a fixed number. The global warming alarmists changed the value they adjusted temperature data from year to year to 'smooth' the data into the required 'Hockey stick." They did this so the IPCC would include their data in their reports. .bluegrasspundit.com/2009/12/hide-decline-email-put-in-context.html

This just boils down to a w... (Below threshold)
Buckeye:

This just boils down to a way to "spread the wealth" and has nothing to do with climate change.

For the climate change theory to be scientifically valid the results must be reproducible. It is impossible to reproduce these conclusions because some of the data submitted was false and some of it was destroyed.

Don't much bother with the ... (Below threshold)
Son of a Pig and a Monkey:

Don't much bother with the Atlantic anymore, since their massive onset of Bush Derangement Syndrome, Andi Sullivan, etc.

As someone else pointed out... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

As someone else pointed out--the analogy is flawed. Einstein added a constant to account for observed data. The Climategate guys adjusted observed data to match a hypothesis.

Buckeye:You need a... (Below threshold)
Rance:

Buckeye:

You need a to take a course in Aristotelian logic.

The fact that one group produced an invalid report based on "adjusted" data does not mean that all climate change data is bad and all climate change theory is invalid.

i.e. "Some A is B" does not imply that "All A is B".

If it were otherwise, one could argue that the fact that Millikan's results were wrong means that electrons don't exist.

Rance, whether buckeye's lo... (Below threshold)
alanstorm:

Rance, whether buckeye's logic fits the Aristotelian mold is irrelevant - he (she?) is correct.

"For the climate change theory to be scientifically valid the results must be reproducible."

Exactly - and the missing data makes this impossible.

And PLEASE do not bring up the idea that it's just one group out of many that's in trouble - the CRU data underlie many of the other studies claiming immanent catastrophe, and the CRU personnel and colleagues represent some of the most influential champions of same. Trying to dismiss Climategate as simply one errant group among a host of others is, to be quite blunt, LYING.

"...one could argue that the fact that Millikan's results were wrong means that electrons don't exist."

Sure, one could - but that person would have been disproved by further experiment, because Millikan PUBLISHED HIS DAMN DATA. He didn't claim "The science is settled!" Furthermore, Millikan was not asking for society to be restructured based on his experiment.

The AGW believers are making extraordinary claims, and that absolutely requires that they provide extraordinary proof. That, so far, has been lacking. I suspect more and more it's because they're wrong - and they're well aware of it - but are too deeply invested in the idea to quit.

If that's true and it was a... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

If that's true and it was an innocent mistake, then they would have been eager to offer it up to a peer review, wouldn't they? Algore said that the emails were 10 years old and maybe they were. That's a long time to be operating on bad data.

Megan McArdle and the autho... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Megan McArdle and the author of this article are missing an important point.

First, there is evidence of a conspiracy in the e-mails. A conspiracy to falsely present a non-existent consensus. So they conspired to prevent articles from being published in peer reviewed journals, and to punish those journals that did publish such work. Also a conspiracy to keep such work out of any IPCC reports.

But the gatekeepers work extends beyond who can and can not publish. It also extends to who can or can not become a climatologist. An IPCC contributor, who isn't a global warming skeptic, described how he started experiencing such pressure to make his work conform to the theory while working toward his PhD. He's Eduardo Zorita, and he works at the Institute for Coastal Research in Germany.

He initially put his manifesto on his site at

http://coast.gkss.de/staff/zorita/

Unfortunately while the link to it, "CRU files: Why I think Michael Mann, Phil Jones, and Stefan Rahmstorf should be barred from the IPCC process" is still at the top of the page, now it redirects you to a new blog, "Die Klimazwiebel." Where I've been unable to find the original.

But here's the relevant text from Anthony Watts blog, "Watts Up With That?":

"These words do not mean that I think anthropogenic climate change is a hoax. On the contrary, it is a question which we have to be very well aware of. But I am also aware that in this thick atmosphere -and I am not speaking of greenhouse gases now- editors, reviewers and authors of alternative studies, analysis, interpretations,even based on the same data we have at our disposal, have been bullied and subtly blackmailed. In this atmosphere, Ph D students are often tempted to tweak their data so as to fit the 'politically correct picture'. Some, or many issues, about climate change are still not well known. Policy makers should be aware of the attempts to hide these uncertainties under a unified picture. I had the 'pleasure' to experience all this in my area of research"

So it isn't so much that scientists start compromising their principles once they earn the PhD and subsequently compete for grant money. It's that the education process is slanted toward stacking the deck; toward producing scientists who accept AGW as a fact to begin with.

This sort of weeding out processs is common in other fields of study, particular the social sciences. You simply will not get your degree unless you hold the same opinion as your professor. So it shouldn't be hard to believe that the same pressures could be brought to bear in what passes for the "hard" sciences. Particularly one that is so intertwined with advocacy.

As Gren stated, Einstein on... (Below threshold)
JSchuler:

As Gren stated, Einstein only adjusted his theory to conform with accepted knowledge. When people looked into whether the universe was expanding or not, Einstein did not turn around and say that his cosmological constant proved the universe was static, and beat people over the head with it. Everyone know the cosmological constant was just a fudge factor, and not evidence of anything.

On a larger point, you really need to look up the term "straw man," as hoaxes do not have to start out as pure intents to deceive. Instead, they often start out as a mistake, a misunderstanding that catapults someone to prestige who, when he finds the pieces no longer adding up, cannot bear to give it all up. If that person is also in a position to have power over his field of study, he can quickly corrupt the whole endeavor, just to cover his error.

But, it's easier to simply pretend that people who contend AGW is a hoax believe some said "I put ten years into getting my PhD--time to spend the rest of my life faking data in order to get some grant money!"

I don't buy the premise of ... (Below threshold)
wtfo:

I don't buy the premise of the original post at all - comparing Einstein's famous error (which he publicly admitted) and the climatologists' conduct is downright asinine.

Einstein did not wage a 15 year long campaign to stifle critics of his notion of a static universe.

Einstein did not conceal his data and methodology, both before and after being called out.

And, most importantly, no one was attempting to anchor a campaign of massive social, economic, and political change on the outcome of Einstein's work.

These climatologists knew exactly what they were doing - their consistent behavior for the last several years shows that rather conclusively.

Someone says he cannot imag... (Below threshold)

Someone says he cannot imagine hundreds of "scientists" investing ten years to get PhDs and the rest their lives faking data in order to get money!

Couple of points: Projecting the contents of one's own character on those doing Evil is an even surer-fired a way to have their Evil prevail than if we do nothing. It is not necessary nor even possible that we "understand" Evil -- only that we recognize it!

Too bad whoever couldn't imagine that hadn't read what the Republican president, Eisenhower, said about other Evil men in another time. To the effect that:

" ... the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research ... (and) a government contract (has become) a substitute for intellectual (integrity). For every old blackboard there are now (millions of computers).


"The ... domination of the nation's 'scientists' by federal ... allocations, and the power of money ... (has absolutely corrupted 'science').

"Yet, in holding 'scientific research' and 'discovery' in respect, as we (once could), we must also be alert to the ... danger that public policy (has) become the captive of a (pseudo)-scientific-technological elite."
-- Dwight David Eisenhower - With apologies to

(Little wonder that second-generation traitor and runner-up to Big Ears in The World's Most Dangerous Dullard stakes, Al-Fredo Gore-leone, is the unelected Pope of the (godless) Church of The Flat-Earth No-Growth Environmental-Whacko Chicken Littles!)

Thinking about this some mo... (Below threshold)
Gren:

Thinking about this some more I find a more apt analogy would be the fight between Edison and Tesla on AC and DC. Edison fought hard to discredit Tesla at every turn even going so far as to install an AC electric chair in a prison to demonstrate how dangerous alternating current really is.

We can take heart that AC won out in the end despite the smear campaign.

[quote]Is it because they h... (Below threshold)
Harrywr2:

[quote]Is it because they hate liberalism so much? Is that why the deniers are bullshitting us about "ClimateGate"?

Or worse - is this part of the paid community of lies - those corporate interests who actually fund misinformation campaigns?[/quote]

I don't hate liberals. Take just one 'inconvenient truth', sea levels are rising.

This a a truth, they've risen 300 feet since the last ice ice, at an average rate of 19 inches per century for the last 18,000 years. The current rate of sea level change by all accounts is 17 inches per century.

The Globe has been warming for 18,000 years. There is just 'no denying' it. The Science is settled. A whole lot of people live in places that were once covered in ice. The glaciers extended south of the great lakes. Most of Northern Europe was covered in Ice.

Since the overwhelming majority of the sea level rise and global warming occurred prior to the industrial age the burden of proof is on those that claim global warming is caused by the industrial age.

The little plot of land I live on was once covered in 4,000 feet of ice. The Glacier didn't disappear because someone built a city, the city appeared because the glacier disappeared all by itself. "Man" had nothing to do with the glacier disappearing.

Here is some interesting info
http://www.nps.gov/archive/mora/notes/vol11-2b.htm

In the State of Washington not only were valley glaciers numerous in the Cascade Mountains but ice bodies of great size are now known to have filled the northern part of the Puget Sound region and covered the locations of Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia. Ice is believed to have been at least 4000 feet thick in the latitude of Seattle.

Back when they were suckeri... (Below threshold)
Flu-Bird:

Back when they were suckering all tose into this SAVE THE RAINFORESTS movment making some belive the dumb idea that the rainforests were the LUNGS OF THE EARTH or they were dissapearing at a alarming rate IT WAS ALL A LIE




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