by Dan Juneau
The East Anglia University’s “Climategate” scandal is reminiscent of Galileo’s ordeal with the Pope. Galileo’s telescopic observations proved to him that our universe was sun-centered, not earth-centered. When he published those views and stood by them, he was punished by Pope Urban VIII and forced to live the rest of his life essentially under house arrest. The Pope isolated him to prevent him from spreading his “heresies.” Religion tried to dictate to science in Galileo’s case, and history proved it wrong.
The Climategate scandal centers around a group of scientists at the core of the U.N.’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which has attempted to stifle dissent from the view that global warming is real, devastating, and the product of man-made activity. Until recently, these advocates (it is hard to consider them scientists now) were very successful in stonewalling request after request to provide data to back up some of their most controversial claims about the science behind their global warming theories.
Recently, however, the walls of their ivory towers started to crumble around them. A whistleblower (likely within their ranks) obviously had enough of their advocacy parading as science. That individual released thousands of e-mails and hundreds of pages of research from the university’s Climate Research Unit (CRU). The result has been uproar in the world of climate science.
The e-mails indicate that some of the IPCC’s leading researchers are withholding legitimate requests for some of the basic building blocks of their research; are manipulating data to conform to their beliefs regarding global warming; and are trying to suppress contradictory evidence by gaming the peer review process and making it difficult for scientists with a contrary viewpoint to have their research published. The scandal (marginalized or ignored in the mainstream media) calls into question the science that is being used to promote a political agenda that could increase energy costs and reduce the standard of living for billions of individuals around the globe. It isn’t simply a squabble among scientific egos. It is a direct assault on the scientific process with huge ethical, financial, and perhaps even criminal implications.
Just a few days after the documents released by the whistleblower surfaced, the University of East Anglia made a rather startling announcement: the raw data that had been used to develop the CRU’s climate change model no longer exists! That means it is difficult if not impossible to go back and recreate the building blocks that went into the computer models that are predicting rapidly rising temperatures and subsequent global disasters. The data available has been selected and massaged from a much larger group of measurements that are no longer available. And it is interesting that this admission was never made when members of the scientific community had previously requested it. The acknowledgement probably would have never been made but for the work of the whistleblower.
Science is science, and religion is religion. Religion often asks us to accept on faith what we cannot see or prove. Science is not about faith. It is about making the rigid calculations called for in the scientific method and accepting rigorous review of the hypotheses drawn from that data. The leaked e-mails and data from CRU strongly indicate that the scientists in question were more concerned about protecting the tenets of their global warming religion than they were with providing sound scientific research. Galileo would have a lot to say to these self-serving charlatans if he were around today.
Dan Juneau is president of the Louisiana Assoiation of Business & Industry (LABI)