Cargo Cult Science in the Global Warming Community
Amazing news coming out of England lately. Private emails stored on the University of East Anglia computers used by the Climatic Research Unit were stolen and released publically. The University is confirming the theft but not the contents of the emails. The scientists are defending themselves claiming the communications are taken out of context. Below is a clip alleged to be part of the email haul….I offer it utterly without context:
The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.
Supposedly this was written by Kevin Trenberth, referred to as “a lead author with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.” Again, supposedly, the email was titled “BBC U-turn on climate” referring to a BBC article that apparently reversed the BBC position in agreement with the theory of man-made global warming.
Man-made-global-warming critics say that the message is an example of letting the theory drive the facts/observations. Which is similar to a cargo cult, but instead of a bamboo model of an airplane it’s an abstract theory and instead of hoping American soldiers return they’re hoping warmer temperature data magically appears.
However, I can see at least two other interpretations that are more generous to the scientists involved, they are as follows:
1. He is preparing lines for a drama of some sort…hence the use of the word “travesty” in the email. As you know British scientists have a reputation for their dramatic arts proclivities.
2. He is making self-depreciating humor (or should I write “humour” since he’s British). He and his buddy are joking to each other about what they imagine their critics to be imagining they would be writing to each other regarding the BBC article in question. It isn’t a rare thing for individuals in controversial battles to mock assertions against them.