Stuart Jordan in the Humanist:
A more rational explanation for Climategate is that the climate contrarians had run out of alternative scientific hypotheses for global warming and were desperate to find another way to discredit the prevailing science. Several independent reviews of the controversy, completed in the UK this past spring, found no evidence of malpractice on the part of CRU, nor did they find anything to contradict the consensus that human-caused global warming is a threat. A Pennsylvania State University review of the work of faculty member Michael Mann (he of hockey stick and now Climategate fame) likewise found no evidence of wrongdoing. Yet Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has revisited the case. In April Cuccinelli ordered the University of Virginia, where Mann was formerly employed, to turn over more than a decade’s worth of emails, documents, “things or data” related to Mann’s research (most federally, not state funded). This tactic has been used before to intimidate scientists, or at least to waste their time.
A distinguished group of 255 members of the National Academy of Sciences published a letter in the journal Science on May 7, 2010, striking back hard against those who egregiously misrepresent science to a vulnerable and confused public in support of “special interests or dogma, not by an honest effort to provide an alternative theory that credibly satisfies the evidence.” They note that no serious study has found anything wrong with contemporary climate science, even though scientists have “quite expectedly and normally, made some mistakes.” They go even further in connecting their letter to Climategate in calling for “an end to McCarthy-like threats of criminal prosecution against our colleagues based on innuendo and guilt by association, the harassment of scientists by politicians seeking distractions to avoid taking action, and the outright lies being spread about them.”
Why can’t more journalists write like that?
Stuart Jordan is a senior staff scientist (retired emeritus) at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. He has a PhD in physics and astrophysics and is science advisor for the Center for Inquiry’s Office of Public Policy in Washington, DC.
Oh. Not a journalist. I see.
OK, then, why don’t scientists do the writing about science, then?