The journal Science joins the cover-up


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It’s not the crime it’s the cover-up: According to Science, Michael Mann of the climategate scandal did not advocate the illegal deletion of emails that had been requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as reported earlier by the Daily Caller. All he did was forward an email by Phil Jones, also part of the climategate scandal, that requested that emails should be deleted. He is therefore innocent.

This is getting absurd. That a journal like Science would try to justify this idiotic argument puts a serious stain on almost everything they publish. Michael Mann was requested by Phil Jones to contact Eugene Wahl and ask him to delete emails illegally. Mann took the easiest approach, and simply forwarded Jones’s email. Without question he was complicit in this illegal act.

If the scientific community doesn’t wake up soon and honestly deal with this scandal, they are going to destroy a four hundred year track record of honesty. Worse, they are going to find it increasingly difficult to get funds from anyone for their research.

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2 comments

  • Scientists won’t find it difficult to get money for research. They’ll just go with the prevailnig political winds du jour. So it has ever been.

  • Tom Billings

    This has happened before.

    When the Greek philosophers were inventing the first scientific methodologies, though lacking experiment, people like Thales were making excellent observations of the physical and social world, and were using logical inference, and other logical methods in doing so. These philosophers were called “The Ionian Sophists”.

    Then, the imperial successors to Alexander divided up the Greek Cosmos. Funds were available, because a reputation for supporting philosophy was politically useful. But what the sophists of Athens did was to place logic at the service of powerful patrons who would support them. They were willing to lie, to use logical fallacies, to assume tautologies, just to come to the conclusion the current ruler desired. Thus, our modern understanding of sophistry was born.

    Sophistry, even inside the scientific community, never really died, though it was hoped that the demand for experimental replication would keep it within tight bounds. It is notable that the first prominent politically potent examples of modern sophistry have been those which claimed that replication was impossible. First, in the social sciences, because of the perceived need for individual privacy, and in climate science, because governments demanded that their data be kept sequestered.

    Until we refuse, to accord work that does not meet the standard of replication the status of “the scientific method”, we will keep getting this sort of scam. The vast majority of scientific funding comes from a small number of governmental and NGO sources that amount to an oligopsony verging on monopsony. These bottlenecks in funding have allowed those in political power for long periods to shape entire scientific disciplines, by funding what helps their power, and ignoring or suppressing work that undercuts their political arguments for more power. The result has been a power elite that cannot tell, and in many cases does not *want* to tell, the difference between a sophisticated argument, and a sophistical argument.

    There are few greater contributions to science that can be made today, than a system to connect voluntarily donated money from the majority of individuals in the population, to researchers in need of funding, in a network of so many possible paths, that political power cannot create a funding bottleneck to exploit it for bending scientists to sophistry.

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