Inconvenient results

Director of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, Doctor Phil Jones, has apologized for the content of emails leaked last week.

My colleagues and I accept that some of the published emails do not read well. I regret any upset or confusion caused as a result. Some were clearly written in the heat of the moment, others use colloquialisms frequently used between close colleagues.

I had not realized that emails “not reading well” was significant. I had not realized these particular clearly and precisely written emails were confusing. I had not realized that “beat the crap out of him,” as one American Anthropogenic Global Warming promoter scientist emailed about skeptic Pat Michaels, was some sort of arcane scientific expression used among close colleagues in the heat of scientific debate. And, of course, none of that is the case.

That such email might be “upsetting or confusing” isn’t relevant. Dr. Jones is apologizing for insider political language that is antithetical to scientific debate. He isn’t apologizing for what was done, only for what was said about the doing of it.

I suspect what Dr. Jones really regrets is that the language, taken in context and from a broad scope, is revealing. While I am certain Dr. Jones is sorry he and his accomplices have had their insularity, lack of integrity and pettiness revealed, his apology is more about changing the subject than acknowledging serious ethical and professional failure.

The problem is not that the language was intemperate, it’s that Dr. Jones and his co-conspirators have not been practicing what we know, colloquially, as “science.” The problem is that when data proved not to be ‘temperate,’ he felt free – even compelled – to hide it, ignore it, delete it, or manipulate it to reinforce his prejudice. He ought to apologize for the deeds, not the discussion of them.

Science means following where the data leads, not jamming them by main force into the shredder if they fail to confirm your preconception. Science means changing your theory to explain new information, not changing your programs to produce the same conclusion for each new dataset. What the leaked emails show is, as scientists, these guys make rather below average politicians. Their agenda is to secure funding for proving AGW, not to do science. Living on the proceeds of the prostitution of science is another thing Dr. Jones ought to apologize for.

The peer review process Dr. Jones’ supporters continue (against all logic) to cite as the reason the East Anglia models are to be believed has been destroyed at their hands. Evidence of intent to corrupt the peer review process – coupled with an established practice of scurrilous, personal political attacks – is liberally scattered throughout the emails. Dr. Jones ought to apologize for overt attempts to destroy the careers of others.

It is malfeasance he should apologize for. Instead, he portrays his colleagues as guilty of no more than socially inept over enthusiasm – only to be expected of uber-geeks trying to save the planet. He won’t even admit misfeasance: Which is proved beyond reasonable doubt by comments in East Anglia’s computer programs about lack of documentation, bug ridden code, and missing and/or worthless data. No scientist would have trusted the data or conclusions.

Dr. Jones assures us that those computer programs, which include comments like “Specify period over which to compute the regressions (stop in 1960 to avoid the decline,” can produce a public-policy model fully robust enough to risk crippling the world economy. How can he continue this charade? He says IT’S BEEN REPLICATED at other climate research centers.

Our global temperature series tallies with those of other, completely independent, groups of scientists working for NASA and the National Climate Data Centre in the United States, among others. Even if you were to ignore our findings, theirs show the same results. The facts speak for themselves; there is no need for anyone to manipulate them.

This is sad news indeed for the expanded list of co-conspirators those independent groups of “scientists.” Dr. Jones has just broadly hinted that other AGW researchers appear to have the same crappy systems, methods and data he does: All backed up by a similar commitment to the scientific method?

If no one needed to manipulate the data, Dr, Jones, then why did they?

You do owe us an apology, but not for incivility.

2 thoughts on “Inconvenient results”

  1. “I apologize. We behaved badly. I regret damaging the reputation of my employer and my family. I, of course, have tendered my resignation.” This would have done nicely.