Posted By Confutus

   I've been trying to follow up on the "climategate" story, and I finally checked out the real climate site. I find that there has been work done on the questions that I couldn't find answers to, and these have been included. I'm less of a skeptic about Anthropogenic Global Warming than I was, but I'm still somewhat critical, and I do not believe that drastic and disruptive change in energy use and policy should be forced on the public, on the basis of science that has not been fully explained.  

   I'm also less inclined to believe the more damaging material that was in the e-mails. I must confess that I jumped to some conclusions before hearing both sides of the story, which is something I deplore.

   Some of material in the e-mails obtained from the CRU does appear damning, especially when the apparently less ethical and apparently obstructive statements are gathered together, concentrated, and dumped all at once. Knowing more of the context neutralizes a great deal much of the suspicion of impropriety, but hearing from other parties, not quite all of it.
   Given how much self-serving fraud has been committed by public figures in politics, business, religion, education, etc. over the last couple of decades alone, it is little wonder that people suspect scientists of being equally corruptible.
   The code that accompanied the emails looks just as bad, or even worse, in the eyes of the suspicious, especially when all the layman can read is the comments in it. This, too, comes without context. The reactions of computer programmers and statisticians who have examined it range from incredulity, through hilarity to profanity. Many of those who consider it to be no worse than other scientific programming concede that it is badly written, poorly documented, and possibly bug infested. It does not clearly reveal what was done to which data or why. Since so many methods and assumptions are embedded in the code, problems with it should also be addressed. On technical grounds alone, regardless of whether the underlying science is good or bad, the code which is currently in use by the CRU ought to be reviewed.
   Due to the proposals of severely disruptive economic measures proposed by political figures, when people are already burdened with government regulation and taxes in an economic recession,  with each new revelation (on either side) an endless parade of uninformed skeptics is going to come from out of nowhere, many of them through left field.
   This is not a coordinated assault on science, as some people seem to think. Those who are well educated tend to forget what it was like to be ignorant. Skeptics and disbelievers in global warming come from perfectly intelligent and competent lawyers, statisticians, computer programmers, financial analysts, and so forth, whose expertise does not overlap with climatology, as well as from the political noise machine. Good answers to the controversies of global warming are generally not in the science primers, and the advanced literature might as well be written in heiroglyphics, for all the layman can make of it.
   It does scientists, or defenders of science, no good and no credit to lump these all together and adopt an air of sneering and insulting condescension, attempt to hmiliate them, or accuse everyone who disagrees with them of bad faith. Those tactics have a nasty backlash, and do nothing at all to persuade skeptics that scientists are decent, honorable, truthful folk who ought to be listened to. But that same thing could be said about creationism vs science or Democrats vs Republicans, on all sides of all debates.


 
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