Scandal-lessJuly 7, 2010
The New Scientist has an interesting piece on the Climategate Scandal that never was:
In truth, climategate was a pseudo-scandal, and the worst that can be said of the scientists is that they wrote some ill-advised things. “I’ve written some pretty awful emails,” admitted Phil Jones, director of the CRU at the time. The scientists also resisted turning over their data when battered by requests for it – requests from climate sceptics who dominate the blogosphere and don’t play by the usual rules.
But there is nothing very surprising, much less scandalous, about such behaviour. Yes, a “bunker mentality” developed among the scientists; they were “huddling together in the storm”, in Pearce’s words. But there really was a storm. They were under attack. In this situation, the scientists proved all too human – not frauds, criminals or liars.
So why were their hacked emails such big news? Because they were taken out of context and made to appear scandalous. Pearce repeatedly faults the sceptics for such behaviour. Yet he too makes the scientists’ private emails the centrepiece of the story. Pearce’s investigations don’t show any great “smoking gun” offences by the scientists – yet he still finds fault. And who wouldn’t, when they can read their private comments in the heat of the battle? (I can’t help but wonder what Pearce might think if he had the sceptics’ private emails too.)
Meanwhile, the Guardian offered some insight into the vitriol sloshing around in the buckets and pails immediately afterwards.
The scientists revealed they have been told to “go gargle razor blades” and have been described as “Nazi climate murderers”. Some emails have been sent to them without any attempt by the sender to disguise their identity. Even though the scientists have received advice from the FBI, the local police say they are not able to act due to the near-total tolerance of “freedom of speech” in the US.
Mmm. Razor blades. Made in Germany.
And on that note, today Germany will slash Spain.