Science in service to politics does no favors to either

Rick Moran
One of the pillars of global warming lore in the scientific community - the so-called "hockey-stick" graph that shows temperatures rising toward the end of the 20th century - has been discovered to be a fraud.

The problem isn't so much that the data was cooked (the hockey stick had been debunked by skeptics several years ago), but rather the fact that it has taken so long for the author of the theory, Keith Briffa, to release the underlying data that is supposed to support his theory.

This is as big of a scientific no-no that one can commit. And the reason for Briffa's reluctance became clear when a long time critic finally got his hands on the data.

John Steele Gordon writing at Commentary:

While widely published in such prestigious publications as Science, Briffa has consistently refused to release the raw data on which his studies have been based. That alone should have been enough to disqualify him, as that is about as serious a breach of the scientific method as you can commit. But, perhaps because his studies undergirded the received wisdom regarding climate change, he got away with it. Until he published a paper in a publication of the Royal Society. The Society has a policy:
As a condition of acceptance authors agree to honour any reasonable request by other researchers for materials, methods, or data necessary to verify the conclusion of the article...Supplementary data up to 10 Mb is placed on the Society's website free of charge and is publicly accessible. Large datasets must be deposited in a recognised public domain database by the author prior to submission. The accession number should be provided for inclusion in the published article.

Steve McIntyre, a statistician and noted climate change skeptic who has been repeatedly denied access to the data by Briffa for ten years, wrote the Royal Society, which was embarrassed that this requirement had not been enforced. Briffa was eventually forced to comply (the details of McIntyre's pursuit of the data he should have been given freely can be found in narrative form here ). It appears (and I am no statistician let alone a dendrochronologist) that the data was seriously cherry picked in order to produce a desired result. When a larger and more logical data set is used, the hockey stick disappears (scroll down to see the chart). The late 20th century does not look any different from earlier times.

As the 21st century marches on, governments and politicians will be forced to rely increasingly on science and scientists to deal with problems from agriculture, to the environment, to national defense. What makes this case so troubling is not so much another lie about climate change has been revealed, but rather how far some scientists will go in service to a political agenda.

Good governance requires accurate, unbiased information from scientists. Good science requires that the facts be laid out without regard to any political agenda. When one demands dishonesty from the other, neither is served well - nor are the people whose lives might depend on the facts and policies that arise as a result of scientific findings.

This is the insidious nature of climate change science. Scientists have been placed at the disposal of politicians who care less about the climate and more about aggrandizing power while using bad science or even fraudulent science to advance their agenda. The press - ignorant of the facts, or actually in league with the fraudsters - refuses to highlight debate. Thus skeptics can be dismissed as tools of industry - or worse.

If ever there was a need for alternative media to get the word out, it is here. Trillions of dollars are at stake, not to mention the future of industrialized civilization. If the climate change flim flam men win, we lose. And science will forever be tainted as an enabler of the fraud.







One of the pillars of global warming lore in the scientific community - the so-called "hockey-stick" graph that shows temperatures rising toward the end of the 20th century - has been discovered to be a fraud.

The problem isn't so much that the data was cooked (the hockey stick had been debunked by skeptics several years ago), but rather the fact that it has taken so long for the author of the theory, Keith Briffa, to release the underlying data that is supposed to support his theory.

This is as big of a scientific no-no that one can commit. And the reason for Briffa's reluctance became clear when a long time critic finally got his hands on the data.

John Steele Gordon writing at Commentary:

While widely published in such prestigious publications as Science, Briffa has consistently refused to release the raw data on which his studies have been based. That alone should have been enough to disqualify him, as that is about as serious a breach of the scientific method as you can commit. But, perhaps because his studies undergirded the received wisdom regarding climate change, he got away with it. Until he published a paper in a publication of the Royal Society. The Society has a policy:

As a condition of acceptance authors agree to honour any reasonable request by other researchers for materials, methods, or data necessary to verify the conclusion of the article...Supplementary data up to 10 Mb is placed on the Society's website free of charge and is publicly accessible. Large datasets must be deposited in a recognised public domain database by the author prior to submission. The accession number should be provided for inclusion in the published article.

Steve McIntyre, a statistician and noted climate change skeptic who has been repeatedly denied access to the data by Briffa for ten years, wrote the Royal Society, which was embarrassed that this requirement had not been enforced. Briffa was eventually forced to comply (the details of McIntyre's pursuit of the data he should have been given freely can be found in narrative form here ). It appears (and I am no statistician let alone a dendrochronologist) that the data was seriously cherry picked in order to produce a desired result. When a larger and more logical data set is used, the hockey stick disappears (scroll down to see the chart). The late 20th century does not look any different from earlier times.

As the 21st century marches on, governments and politicians will be forced to rely increasingly on science and scientists to deal with problems from agriculture, to the environment, to national defense. What makes this case so troubling is not so much another lie about climate change has been revealed, but rather how far some scientists will go in service to a political agenda.

Good governance requires accurate, unbiased information from scientists. Good science requires that the facts be laid out without regard to any political agenda. When one demands dishonesty from the other, neither is served well - nor are the people whose lives might depend on the facts and policies that arise as a result of scientific findings.

This is the insidious nature of climate change science. Scientists have been placed at the disposal of politicians who care less about the climate and more about aggrandizing power while using bad science or even fraudulent science to advance their agenda. The press - ignorant of the facts, or actually in league with the fraudsters - refuses to highlight debate. Thus skeptics can be dismissed as tools of industry - or worse.

If ever there was a need for alternative media to get the word out, it is here. Trillions of dollars are at stake, not to mention the future of industrialized civilization. If the climate change flim flam men win, we lose. And science will forever be tainted as an enabler of the fraud.