Lie of the Month, New York Times style

This New York Times editorial is simply filled with lies and distortions.  Let’s examine a few…

The e-mail messages represent years’ worth of exchanges among prominent American and British climatologists. Some are mean-spirited, others intemperate. But they don’t change the underlying scientific facts about climate change.

True dat.  But the emails do reveal a clique of scientists working to subvert the normal scientific process, including cherry-picking data, and weakening the peer review portion by freezing out any pesky scientists with embarrassing questions.  Richard Feynman described what these scientists are missing as “scientific integrity” in his famous Cargo Cult Science talk:

It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid–not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked–to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can–if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong–to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.

Let’s continue with the editorial…

However, most of the e-mail messages — judging by those that have seen the light of day — appear to deal with the painstaking and difficult task of reconstructing historical temperatures, and the problems scientists encounter along the way. Despite what the skeptics say, they demonstrate just how rigorously scientists have worked to figure out whether global warming is real and the true role that human activities play.

However we feel about the emails, by far the most damning evidence of the scientific incompetence comes from an examination of the data and programs that process the data.  The CRU was not working rigorously; the computer programs are a hash, and the original data have been tossed.  Not only can the CRU not reproduce their earlier work, but we can no longer have any confidence in the work of the CRU and its temperature record.  The effect this has is to taint any and all papers that reference any HadCRUT results.  This is not a demonstration of rigor, this is a demonstration of results first, proof later.

How can the NYT be any more wrong?

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