Sunday, November 29, 2009

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Climate Scientists?

When those who deem themselves our betters can't persuade people to support their ideas, they will lie, cheat, and manipulate in any way they can. When we allow others to make our decisions for us, who oversees them?

The furor over these documents is not about tone, colloquialisms or whether climatologists are nice people. The real issue is what the messages say about the way the much-ballyhooed scientific consensus on global warming was arrived at, and how a single view of warming and its causes is being enforced. The impression left by the correspondence among Messrs. Mann and Jones and others is that the climate-tracking game has been rigged from the start.

According to this privileged group, only those whose work has been published in select scientific journals, after having gone through the "peer-review" process, can be relied on to critique the science. And sure enough, any challenges from critics outside this clique are dismissed and disparaged.

Chris Booker calls this "the worst scientific scandal of our generation."

James Taranto calls it a "corruption of the peer-review process."

Ed Morrissey says that "The AGW movement has been exposed as a religious belief and a political cash cow, not science."

The inevitable parodies are showing up too.

And now we find out that some of the raw data used to make their calculations has been destroyed. Welcome to ClimateGate:

The admission follows the leaking of a thousand private emails sent and received by Professor Phil Jones, the CRU’s director. In them he discusses thwarting climate sceptics seeking access to such data.

In a statement on its website, the CRU said: “We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenised) data.”

The CRU is the world’s leading centre for reconstructing past climate and temperatures. Climate change sceptics have long been keen to examine exactly how its data were compiled. That is now impossible.

Roger Pielke, professor of environmental studies at Colorado University, discovered data had been lost when he asked for original records. “The CRU is basically saying, ‘Trust us’. So much for settling questions and resolving debates with science,” he said.

If the science is so settled, measuring the data again shouldn't be a problem. Science is all about testing and retesting. The whole point of peer review is to allow others to make their own measurements and run their own experiments.

However, a peer-review process which excludes those who can't be trusted to arrive at the appropriate conclusion doesn't satisfy that purpose. Real scientific advances have been made chiefly by those who were willing to buck the consensus.

The fact that they have so much faith in their own good intentions is why they think it's okay for them to lie, cheat, and manipulate in order to get their way. But as Daniel Webster said, "Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions."

Ronald Reagan said it even better, "Trust, but verify."

This is why we do not allow unaccountable groups of people to wield great political power. Setting up watchmen to shoulder the responsibility that properly belongs to the people of controlling the government will always corrupt them into using the government for their own purposes. And who watches over them?

Decentralizing power is the only way to keep it accountable. Repealing the 17th Amendment is the best way to do that.

Here's John Stossel debunking the myths about climate science:

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