February 6th, 2010 by Zachary Shahan
Michael Mann, the somewhat infamous climate scientist from Penn State, shouldn’t be so infamous after all, we find out yet another time!
“An academic inquiry into the so-called ‘climategate’ email scandal has concluded that a well-known U.S. scientist [Mann] did not directly or indirectly falsify data in his research,” according to Mike De Souza of the National Post.
The investigation made it very clear (as other peer-reviewed analyses have done) that Mann’s “trick,” so horribly taken out of context and demonized by anti-science media and followers, was nothing unscientific, misleading or to be concerned about.
“They were not falsifying data,” said the report. “They were trying to construct an understandable graph for those who were not experts in the field. The so-called ‘trick’ was nothing more than a statistical method used to bring two or more different kinds of data sets together in a legitimate fashion by a technique that has been reviewed by a broad array of peers in the field.”
Furthermore, the report went on to praise Mann for how he dealt with this greatly unfounded skepticism and criticism of his scientific work. “The report praised Dr. Mann for his ‘composure’ and ‘forthright response’ to all questions, finding no evidence that he had attempted to hide or destroy information, emails or data from his research. It also cleared him of allegations of misusing any privileged or confidential information he had access to as an academic scholar.”
So, what does all of this really bring up?
Of course, this was a completely illegal act — breaking into researchers private emails and then sending all kinds of out-of-context quotes to the media in a way that makes it look like Mann and other climate scientists are criminals.
And the fact of the matter is, too much of this is going on and too much is getting the wrong attention by the media. When these emails were hacked, the pressure went onto the climate scientists immediately, questioning their integrity. Why not question the integrity of the people who carried out a completely illegal and obtrusive act?
How would you feel if someone hacked into your email history from over a decade and took a few quotes out of context to make it look like you did something illegal that you didn’t do? Think about that?
Well, it looks like it was more than just a “run-of-the-mill hacking” here, though. It looks like it was just another part of a coordinated, long-term effort to take the pants off of respectable climate scientists, metaphorically speaking, of course.
This current controversy, in particular, is presumed to have been triggered by a “co-ordinated intelligence operation” or something of the like according to some experts. A little more than an altruistic “let’s save the world from climate action that would actually help the economy, the air, and people’s health as well,” it seems.
“Sir David King, who was Tony Blair’s chief scientific adviser for seven years until 2007, said that the hacking and selective leaking of the unit’s emails, going back 13 years, bore all the hallmarks of a co-ordinated intelligence operation – especially given their release just before the Copenhagen climate conference in December,” according to Steve Connor of The Independent.
“A very clever nerd can cause a great deal of disruption and obviously make intelligence services very nervous, but a sophisticated intelligence operation is capable of yielding the sort of results we’ve seen here,” Sir David said.
“Sir David suggested the email leaks were deliberately designed to destabilise Copenhagen and he dismissed the idea that it was a run-of-the-mill hacking. It was carried out by a team of skilled professionals, either on behalf of a foreign government or at the behest of anti-climate change lobbyists in the United States, he said.” (For more information on this, read the Independent’s ‘Climate emails hacked by spies’ piece.)
When I first saw this news story, “climategate,” I thought, “Big news? Someone just did something totally illegal and are trying to set it up as if these respected climate scientists were the ones who did something illegal, which they can hardly even make a case for despite having over 10 years of email history to cherry pick and use out-of-context quotes from. This shouldn’t last more than a few seconds in the news.” But look where we are today and how much news coverage that got (is still getting). It is really just sad and brings down my view of the mainstream media as much as the hackers who did this horrible, illegal thing (and their funders, of course).
Somehow, fake Robin Hoods made these well-qualified scientists get portrayed as mob-like criminals in the media. What a life!
These perpetrators of already debunked claims by non-climate scientists should be vilified by the media. The organized acts of climate change deniers who are trying to halt action through disrespectful, counterproductive, and even illegal tactics should be brought to better light and called out for what they are rather than continuing to put pressure on climate scientists to prove what they have already proven and to prove that they are respectable people.
Mann’s response to this round of baseless and illegal accusations?
“I am very pleased that, after a thorough review, the independent Penn State committee found no evidence to substantiate the allegations against me.
Three of the four allegations have been dismissed completely. Even though no evidence to substantiate the fourth allegation was found, the University administrators thought it best to convene a separate committee of distinguished scientists to resolve any remaining questions about academic procedures.
This is very much the vindication I expected since I am confident I have done nothing wrong.
I fully support the additional inquiry which may be the best way to remove any lingering doubts. I intend to cooperate fully in this matter – as I have since the beginning of the process.”
In a much more interesting analysis of what has happened here and what has been happening for years on this matter, here is Dr. Michael Mann himself:
Looking back on history, we may find ourselves in a landfill of societal guilt for our inability to take action on climate change. Part of this would be because of our unwillingness to deal with the corrupt politics and business of those who are leading the fight against our world’s leading, honorable scientists on climate and climate change.
Image Credit: Andy Hares via flickr under a CC license
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