Sunday, November 22, 2009

The CRU Hack/Leak/Whatever

The exposure of the childish behavior of many climate scientists has been pretty entertaining, and some of it is truly appalling, including the threat to delete data files that might come under the influence of Freedom of Information Requests. But I think Robin Hanson characterizes it all best:
Yup, this behavior has long been typical when academics form competing groups, whether the public hears about such groups or not. If you knew how academia worked, this news would not surprise you nor change your opinions on global warming. I’ve never done this stuff, and I’d like to think I wouldn’t, but that is cheap talk since I haven’t had the opportunity. This works as a “scandal” only because of academia’s overly idealistic public image.
It is a shame that academia works this way, and an academia where this stuff didn’t happen would probably be more accurate. But even our flawed academic consensus is usually more accurate than its contrarians, and it is hard to find reliable cheap indicators saying when contrarians are more likely to be right.
The scientists who have been exposed should feel dreadfully embarrassed; they behaved like utter asses. But it does not yet refute any of the science, just makes the debate rage on, as it always should have anyway.


At 4:38 PM, Blogger Allan said...

As someone who has published in refereed scientific journals
I do not know of any cases where my colleagues have conspired
to have the editor of a journal removed
or to change the nature of peer reviews
in order to have a paper rejected.

But then I work in a field
where researchers genuinely want to know the 'truth'.


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