The context of Climategate

Defenders of the climate scientists whose embarrassing e-mails have cast doubt on their work are saying that the messages are taken out of context. Well, Steven F. Hayward supplies the context in a fascinating article on the whole fiasco and what it means.

Basically, the principles were the researchers responsible for the famous “hockey stick” graph that shows global temperatures as being essentially flat for the last millennium, then shooting up in the 1990s. But this model ignores the Medieval Warming Period beginning in the year 1000 (in which Greenland was apparently actually green, with data from tree-rings and other sources suggesting that the pre-industrial Middle Ages were actually warmer than today). The hockey stick graph also ignores “the Little Ice Age” from the 16th century through the 1850s.

Climategate has to do with researchers trying to make the Medieval Warming Period disappear. The e-mails record the “hockey team” trying to suppress that data. They also record climate scientists admitting that the hockey-stick graph has problems. We also see evidence of scientists using selective data to prove their pre-conceived theories and leaving out evidence that doesn’t fit. The attempts to sabotage their critics by manipulating the peer review process did not involve just climate change deniers, but respected paleo-climatologists. The article also shows how the Climategate crew are refusing to share their data, which in some cases has apparently been destroyed to evade British Freedom of Information Act requests. That flies in the face of the scientific method, in which evidence must be subject to continued testing and replication.

HT: my son Paul

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://wipfandstock.com/store/As_Though_It_Were_Actually_True_A_Christian_Apologetics_Primer Matt C.

    No method is good enough to overcome fallen nature. The unconditional trust we’re supposed to have in SCIENCE is becoming more apparently absurd.

  • http://wipfandstock.com/store/As_Though_It_Were_Actually_True_A_Christian_Apologetics_Primer Matt C.

    No method is good enough to overcome fallen nature. The unconditional trust we’re supposed to have in SCIENCE is becoming more apparently absurd.

  • Carl Vehse

    It’s more than embarrassing; the misuse and destruction of scientific data is deceptive and corrupt. There are a number of scientists (and supporting politicians) who should end up doing hard time in prison, but don’t expect it in the 0bozo regime.

    And we should recognized there were many scientists who questioned the claims and tried to examine the data or do their own studies, but who had the funding denied or their projects cut and who were castigated by the global-warming con artists and sycophants, including some within scientific professional organizations.

    A few years ago, a number of major scientific papers claiming the discovery of new elements had to be retracted because one of the scientists in the multi-author papers was altering the data to make it look like the new elements had been created. The other authors had not reviewed the altered data before they used it in their work, although the alterations were identified once the discoveries were questioned by other scientists doing similar scientific studies. Fortunately the questioning scientists were not subjected to intimidation and retaliation in raising doubts about the alleged discoveries of the elements.

    The political and financial support, and Algore’s alarmist flatulence ignited by the clymer press, contributed to the spirit of retaliation against any doubters of the global warming dogma.

  • Carl Vehse

    It’s more than embarrassing; the misuse and destruction of scientific data is deceptive and corrupt. There are a number of scientists (and supporting politicians) who should end up doing hard time in prison, but don’t expect it in the 0bozo regime.

    And we should recognized there were many scientists who questioned the claims and tried to examine the data or do their own studies, but who had the funding denied or their projects cut and who were castigated by the global-warming con artists and sycophants, including some within scientific professional organizations.

    A few years ago, a number of major scientific papers claiming the discovery of new elements had to be retracted because one of the scientists in the multi-author papers was altering the data to make it look like the new elements had been created. The other authors had not reviewed the altered data before they used it in their work, although the alterations were identified once the discoveries were questioned by other scientists doing similar scientific studies. Fortunately the questioning scientists were not subjected to intimidation and retaliation in raising doubts about the alleged discoveries of the elements.

    The political and financial support, and Algore’s alarmist flatulence ignited by the clymer press, contributed to the spirit of retaliation against any doubters of the global warming dogma.

  • John C

    I doubt whether you will advance your argument by quoting the Weekly Standard Gene. Most Murdoch publications are not taken seriously and even under the Weekly Standard’s new ownership the FOX motto “we deceive, you decide” is unlikely to change.

  • John C

    I doubt whether you will advance your argument by quoting the Weekly Standard Gene. Most Murdoch publications are not taken seriously and even under the Weekly Standard’s new ownership the FOX motto “we deceive, you decide” is unlikely to change.

  • ELB

    Well, (John C at #3) having read the article and compared it to many others, it certainly displays more credibility than AP’s ex cathedra to the effect: — Experts at AP have reviewed the emails and have found that there is nothing in them that draws any of the scientific consensus of climate change into question.–

    The issue with all sources in this ideological age is how far they are removed from the primary source. The Hayward article is far closer than AP.

  • ELB

    Well, (John C at #3) having read the article and compared it to many others, it certainly displays more credibility than AP’s ex cathedra to the effect: — Experts at AP have reviewed the emails and have found that there is nothing in them that draws any of the scientific consensus of climate change into question.–

    The issue with all sources in this ideological age is how far they are removed from the primary source. The Hayward article is far closer than AP.

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    John C, the article published in the Weekly Standard included specific facts, quotations from the e-mails, and citations of specific details (the hockey stick graph, the Medieval Warming Period). To refute the article, one must deal with this information. It isn’t enough to discredit the publisher or the owner of the publication.

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    John C, the article published in the Weekly Standard included specific facts, quotations from the e-mails, and citations of specific details (the hockey stick graph, the Medieval Warming Period). To refute the article, one must deal with this information. It isn’t enough to discredit the publisher or the owner of the publication.

  • DonS

    John C. @ 3:

    Your post is a superb exemplare of the entire problem with the left, including the climate scientists responsible for declaring the science behind global warming computer modeling “settled”. You just sneeringly dismissed a substantial part of the world’s media with a single hand wave. On what basis do you get to decide who’s credible and who isn’t? As Dr. Veith says, you need to deal with the presented material and respond to it. If you disagree with the article, refute it substantively.

  • DonS

    John C. @ 3:

    Your post is a superb exemplare of the entire problem with the left, including the climate scientists responsible for declaring the science behind global warming computer modeling “settled”. You just sneeringly dismissed a substantial part of the world’s media with a single hand wave. On what basis do you get to decide who’s credible and who isn’t? As Dr. Veith says, you need to deal with the presented material and respond to it. If you disagree with the article, refute it substantively.

  • http://mesamike.org Mike Westfall

    I just noticed this morning that the World Wildlife Federation is running their Polar Bear Scare propaganda TV ads again. That stuff was debunked, like, oh, a long time ago.

  • http://mesamike.org Mike Westfall

    I just noticed this morning that the World Wildlife Federation is running their Polar Bear Scare propaganda TV ads again. That stuff was debunked, like, oh, a long time ago.

  • http://www.trinitylutheranellettsville.org Rev. Ray Salemink

    What I’d like to know is why would these scientists falsify the data? What is to be gained by this? What goal or agenda did they have in mind when they left out data or skewed the facts? What was the POINT?

  • http://www.trinitylutheranellettsville.org Rev. Ray Salemink

    What I’d like to know is why would these scientists falsify the data? What is to be gained by this? What goal or agenda did they have in mind when they left out data or skewed the facts? What was the POINT?

  • http://mesamike.org Mike Westfall

    The point, I think, would be continued funding for their pet project and continued employment. Scientists have to feed their families, too.

  • http://mesamike.org Mike Westfall

    The point, I think, would be continued funding for their pet project and continued employment. Scientists have to feed their families, too.

  • Cincinnatus

    Salemink@8:

    Political power? Enormous fame? Industrial contracts? A place in history?

    I’m not saying that they did or didn’t falsify data, but either way, the stakes are inhumanly massive. If proven, anthropogenic global warming could be (and already is being) used to justify lucrative industries and, more importantly, dramatic reconfigurations of the global political order (new taxes, new trans-national regulations, new positions of power, etc.). There is abundant motivation to confirm AGW–and consequently much to lose if it turns out to be a false alarm–so it’s quite believable that certain unscrupulous characters with especially large potential rewards would, er, “ensure,” that the theory is confirmed.

  • Cincinnatus

    Salemink@8:

    Political power? Enormous fame? Industrial contracts? A place in history?

    I’m not saying that they did or didn’t falsify data, but either way, the stakes are inhumanly massive. If proven, anthropogenic global warming could be (and already is being) used to justify lucrative industries and, more importantly, dramatic reconfigurations of the global political order (new taxes, new trans-national regulations, new positions of power, etc.). There is abundant motivation to confirm AGW–and consequently much to lose if it turns out to be a false alarm–so it’s quite believable that certain unscrupulous characters with especially large potential rewards would, er, “ensure,” that the theory is confirmed.

  • L. H. Kevil

    Gents,

    A few commonly accepted facts should be sufficient to dispel our anxieties:

    http://icecap.us/index.php/go/new-and-cool/fact_based_climate_debate/

    A few of these facts as related by an IPCC expert reviewer: water vapor creates 95% of the greenhouse effect; logarithmically declining greenhouse effect as CO2 is increased.

    The money involved in climate research is very substantial. But, IMO, the most important factor is the lack of belief in a loving God in charge of creation. A godless universe will always be in danger from man’s foolishness; the elite will try to protect us from ourselves.

    L. H. Kevil

  • L. H. Kevil

    Gents,

    A few commonly accepted facts should be sufficient to dispel our anxieties:

    http://icecap.us/index.php/go/new-and-cool/fact_based_climate_debate/

    A few of these facts as related by an IPCC expert reviewer: water vapor creates 95% of the greenhouse effect; logarithmically declining greenhouse effect as CO2 is increased.

    The money involved in climate research is very substantial. But, IMO, the most important factor is the lack of belief in a loving God in charge of creation. A godless universe will always be in danger from man’s foolishness; the elite will try to protect us from ourselves.

    L. H. Kevil

  • John C

    Don, I do not have the time nor the expertise to respond directly to the assertions made in the Weekly Standard. I hope the Weekly Standard will allow an opportunity for scientists to respond to Hayward’s analysis.
    Given Murdoch’s deeply conservative political agenda, I remain suspicious of any critique of global warming that originates from a News Limited source. Would you trust Fox on Global Warming Don?
    What about Iraq? Murdoch predicted $20 a barrel.

  • John C

    Don, I do not have the time nor the expertise to respond directly to the assertions made in the Weekly Standard. I hope the Weekly Standard will allow an opportunity for scientists to respond to Hayward’s analysis.
    Given Murdoch’s deeply conservative political agenda, I remain suspicious of any critique of global warming that originates from a News Limited source. Would you trust Fox on Global Warming Don?
    What about Iraq? Murdoch predicted $20 a barrel.

  • DonS

    John C: I don’t trust any news source, per se, whether they be liberal OR conservative. Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, and its owner for many years, is a committed liberal. Did that mean an automatic dismissal of everything that CNN reported? No. Each report should be tested by the consumer, verified against other reports, researched, checked, etc. Would I trust Fox on global warming? No. Nor would I trust AP, or Gannett, or anyone else, without properly researching and evaluating the report. But, on the other hand, there is no substantive report (I’m excluding celebrity gossip here, which I do not appreciate or consume) that I dismiss out of hand, just because of the source, as you appear to do.

  • DonS

    John C: I don’t trust any news source, per se, whether they be liberal OR conservative. Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, and its owner for many years, is a committed liberal. Did that mean an automatic dismissal of everything that CNN reported? No. Each report should be tested by the consumer, verified against other reports, researched, checked, etc. Would I trust Fox on global warming? No. Nor would I trust AP, or Gannett, or anyone else, without properly researching and evaluating the report. But, on the other hand, there is no substantive report (I’m excluding celebrity gossip here, which I do not appreciate or consume) that I dismiss out of hand, just because of the source, as you appear to do.

  • DonS

    THIS is why the science on climate change is ANYTHING BUT settled!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1245636/Glacier-scientists-says-knew-data-verified.html

  • DonS

    THIS is why the science on climate change is ANYTHING BUT settled!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1245636/Glacier-scientists-says-knew-data-verified.html


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