You’ve heard about the “scientific method.” If your memory is excellent, and you took a lot of science classes in American schools, you learned two of them, because life science textbooks and physical science textbooks teach somewhat different concepts called “scientific method.” If you study the history of science, even at a superficial level, or do actual science, you will find that the “scientific method” you learned in high school, the very same “scientific method” people who either love or hate science, but are not scientists, and talk a lot about science, incessantly refer to, is not what scientists actually do. Neither the procedures for developing a study nor the inferential process of advancing understanding follow this method, or at least, not very often. Doing science is much more haphazard and opportunistic, nuanced and visceral, much less clean and predictable. Like the famous physicist once said, “The scientific method; that is what I fall back on when I can’t think of anything else do to.”
Climate scientist Michael Mann is no stranger to smear campaigns. Man has the distinction of having made important contributions to climate science, for which he shared the Nobel Peace Prize. He is famous to many of you for having come up with the “hockey stick” metaphor.
Michael Mann is a good scientist who has done honest, important, and high quality work, but there are those who don’t want to hear about the results he and other climate scientists have come up with. So, they hate him. And by “hate” I don’t mean that they sit there not liking him. I mean, they actively hate him. They wake up every morning and try to think of things to do to ruin his life, and they conspire with each other to carry out these nefarious acts, and in some cases, they are paid by special interests to do these things.
We all get this hate, to one level or another. I was amused the other day when one of the haters, someone who had made death threats against me, had apparently pressed the button on his Linked In account to “find people to link to” and thus accidentally sent me an invitation to “Link In.” I get an email that says “I want to kill you” then I get an invitation to link up. Made me laugh.
But in reality this is no laughing matter. Even though we all take a certain amount of crap for either being a climate scientist or a person who teaches about climate change or a blogger or journalist who covers these issues honestly and critically, no one has taken the crap that Michael Mann has had to take. I don’t know how he does it.
Anyway, Michael has written a commentary for CNN that covers not so much the attacks on him, but rather, the attacks on climate science more generally. He talks about the theft of emails and subsequent dissemination and misuse of their contents and related events:
In the most infamous episode, somebody stole thousands of e-mails and documents from leading climate researchers, including me. They cherry picked key phrases from the e-mails and published them out of context, like a black-and-white political attack ad with ominous music. Fossil fuel industry-funded groups gleefully spread the e-mails online and badgered the mainstream media into covering the “controversy” they had manufactured.
It was no accident that this happened on the eve of a major international climate change meeting. … The dozen independent investigations that did follow — all of which exonerated the scientists — got much less media coverage than the original nonscandal.
Go read his essay. Also, please, please check out the comment section and say something not horrible there to help diffuse the crap that I’m sure is going to appear there over the next few days!
This seems to be fairly big news. The Heartland Institute is a conservative and libertarian “think” tank that cut its teeth on denying the dangers of cigarette smoking back in the 1990s. These days the Heartland Institute seems to be focused on Anthropogenic Climate Change Denialism and Science Denialism in general.
A piece of one of the revealed documents suggesting that the Heartland Institute wants to “dissuade teachers from teaching science.”
Well, just a few hours ago, members of the climate change science, journalism, and blogging community received an interesting Valentine’s Day gift from someone who must be a Heartland Institute insider: The institute’s budget, fundraising plan, climate related strategy, and numerous other things. The story broke here on Desmog Blog.
You’ve heard about “ClimateGate.” ClimateGate was a very successful but illegal campaign by anti-science to discredit climate science and climate scientists. Rest assured, the climate science is fine and the climate scientists are just trying to do their jobs, and doing quite well at that. Nonetheless, a combination of inaccurate representation of the contents of various emails written between climate scientists and what amounts to unethical treatment of climate science by the press resulted in a shift among the general populous in the US from about half of the people thinking that Global Warming is some sort of hoax (at worst) or bad science (at best) to something closer to 80% of citizens thinking this to be the case. Continue reading An Important Victory for Climate Science→