Monday, June 21, 2010

Weathering the storm

Last November there arose a great clamor among the birthers, drill-baby-drill chanters, anti-evolution chest-beaters and climate-change deniers when someone hacked into the computers of a noted British climate-research organization and found stuff that cast doubt, to them at least, on the whole enterprise. Various scientists were seen to make disparaging remarks about people seeking basic data, talking about "tricks," and so on.

Now, half a year later, no less that four separate, independent investigations have exonerated the organization.

To be sure, (surprise!) scientists can prove to be human. You bet they were stingy with data for critics. Why help their debunkers? The investigations recommended better transparency. As for "tricks," the investigations showed the reference was to ways to deal with mountains of data - much as Sudoku solvers use what they call logical "tricks" to (accurately) solve difficult puzzles.

But overall, the probes found no scientific misconduct. Said one panel: the "work has been carried out with integrity, and the allegations of deliberate misrepresentations and unjustified selection of data are not valid."

Of course, the brouhaha in no way addressed the many other studies showing that it is human activities that are accelerating the warming - just as minor academic squabbles among biologists have nothing to do with the essential fact of evolution. (Or oil-company lovers can convincingly ignore spills, or birthers' paranoia can change the place in which Obama came into the world.)

But the investigations, in an ideal world, should put an end to the climate-change carping. (Sure, and Rush Limbaugh will go off the air due to a lack of listeners.)

No comments:

Post a Comment