Peter Gleick’s “truly flabbergasting” lapse of judgement.


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Peter Gleick’s “truly flabbergasting” lapse of judgement.

Gleick has done enormous damage to his cause and his own reputation, and it’s no good to say that people shouldn’t be focusing on it. If his judgement is this bad, how is his judgement on matters of science? For that matter, what about the judgement of all the others in the movement who apparently see nothing worth dwelling on in his actions?

When skeptics complain that global warming activists are apparently willing to go to any lengths–including lying–to advance their worldview, I’d say one of the movement’s top priorities should be not proving them right. And if one rogue member of the community does something crazy that provides such proof, I’d say it is crucial that the other members of the community say “Oh, how horrible, this is so far beyond the pale that I cannot imagine how this ever could have happened!” and not, “Well, he’s apologized and I really think it’s pretty crude and opportunistic to make a fuss about something that’s so unimportant in the grand scheme of things.”

After you have convinced people that you fervently believe your cause to be more important than telling the truth, you’ve lost the power to convince them of anything else. [emphasis in original]

As I’ve said repeatedly, until the climate community stops circling the wagons to protect the liars and frauds that pepper their field, no one is going to believe anything they say, even when they are right. Worse, their dishonesty is continuing to do serious harm to the field of science itself.

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4 comments

  • Jim

    Yes. But of course you had no complaints over the climate-gate email thievery.

  • Garry

    There’s no evidence that the climate-gate e-mails were taken by a prominent scientist under false pretenses who also happens to hold a leadership position in ethics in science, or that they were taken by anyone who has made public statements on climate science.

    The climate-gate e-mails should have been released in response to Freedom of Information requests, as they were written by people who received public funding and therefore legitimate subjects of FOIA requests. They had been illegally withheld, and the case can be made that you can’t call obtaining illegally withheld property stealing. Heartland, as a private nonprofit, has no obligation to disclose internal info. Private property still matters in this country (at least for now).

    There are no allegations that any of the climate-gate e-mails were fraudulent. The most charitable description of what Gleick did is that he received a highly suspect memo and passed it off as legitimate. That’s called fraud. There is evidence that he actually produced this document.

    Except for these minor details, the two cases are exact parallels.

    The point is, science should be based on truth, and Gleick, a scientist who has played a prominent role in pushing the Climate Change agenda and on top of that was aleading ethnicist in science, lied. At least in the context of science, lying is a much worse offense than stealing. There is no proof that a scientist was the one who “stole” the climate-gate e-mails, or that lying was involved in that “stealing.”

  • Jim

    No defense of Gleick from me. What he did was reprehensible.
    And so was theft of emails (and lets face it, thats what that was).
    Thievery is thievery, whether its on your side or mine, whether it was done by a scientist or not.
    But hey, thats just me.

  • Garry

    The issue is lying (in teh course of thievery in this case). Since science is about seking the truth, in this context the much worse offense is lying.

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