Friday, November 20, 2009

Hacktacular!

HUGE news in the science world today...
It turns out that the University of East Anglia, Climate Research Unit - a facility funded to study Global Warming - got hacked this week. The data, containing a selection of over 1,000 emails over the past decade, as well as various other files and documents totalling about 62MB of information, was briefly posted up at a Russian server and quickly got disseminated throughout the internet.
It is now available here.
I first read of it last night at The Smallest Minority, but I didn't post on it right away because I wanted to see how things developed. The emails were quite damning, authored by and/or sent to some of the most prominent names in the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) camp, such as Michael Mann, the author/creator of the famous "hockey stick" diagram of warming, and some of the stuff in there seemed just a little too good to be true for Global Warming skeptics.
Well, the CRU confirmed today that it had been hacked, and Mann seems not a little pissed, which is unsurprising, because the contents of that data are more than enough to tarnish a number of careers.

Highlights include:
Deliberate fraud
Distorting data
Trying to delete information subject to a FOI (Freedom of Information) request
Conspiring to blackball scientific journals that publish dissenting views
Smug cheeriness at the death of a noted GW skeptic
Strategies to influence politicians at GW summits

Some thoughts...
Obviously hacking a research center like that is unethical, and it calls into question the validity of the data. That said, the consensus seems to be that it was an inside job, and may actually amount to whistle blowing, given the comments and practices outlined in the emails.
As to the veracity of the emails, at least some were genuine, as Phil Jones (CRU director) admitted as much, and Steve McIntyre, author of ClimateAudit.org said the emails released that were sent to/by him were "100% genuine"*
The release of this information is not necessarily proof that GW does not exist; however, it is pretty damning evidence of some major ethical issues with those involved in collecting the data, their shouting down of opposition, and the overt politicization of the whole subject - a classic example of what happens when politics enters the scientific arena.
In short this "science" - if it can even be called that - is tainted.**
Proponents of GW theory have called upon masive government intervention in the form of higher taxes, limited freedoms and immense spending to "save the world" based on what is increasingly seeming to be fraudulent data.
This may be the biggest hoax perpetrated on the human race to date, and if this turns out to be true, then a lot of "scientists" need to be going to jail for a long time.
Not going to happen, of course, since this whole theory dovetails quite nicely with big government agendas, but one can at least hope that their careers will be over - at least within the scientific community.

I've long been skeptical of AGW, partly due to the alarmist tone of the reports, the idiocy & hypocrisy of their famous figurehead, as well as the cries of "consensus!" (as though science is a democratic process. Science deals in fact, not popularity, and any findings must be peer reviewed as part of the process. The well documented resistance to such review by those at the forefront of this theory raised a few hackles for me, to say the least), but mostly because of the sheer arrogance of anyone who can stand up and say that they have all the answers on a subject so vast, with so many known and unknown potential variables, as the climate of the entire planet, and who will either ignore or ridicule any data (and believe me, there's plenty) that does not fit their hypothesis.

I haven't seen much on the MSM yet - I'll be most interested to see how this is portrayed.
The BBC is focusing on the hack itself, rather than the data released, as is Nature.
More GW defenders starting their spin.

Either way, kick back and grab the popcorn, because this promises to be a wild ride...



*See comment #23773 here
**Providing all these communications are legitimate, of course

4 comments:

Arnold said...

I always new that GW was bullshit!

FHB said...

GW may be happening, but it also happened in the friggin' middle ages. Natural phenomenon! The proponents act like it's their religion, and anyone going against them is a heretic. It's like the 1600s again.

Kevin said...

Yep. Nothing in the emails is proof that GW is fake, but the way they treated the data and the conclusions that they draw from it certainly raise the eyebrows. The planet may be warming - from what I've seen, even that may be in dispute - but to attribute the entirety of warming to Anthropogenic causes with no regard to natural ones is hubris.

DirtCrashr said...

I am SO doing my happy dance!
I hope there are plenty of lawsuits filed against these fraud merchants.