Sunday, November 29, 2009

ClimateGate scandal demonstrates intellectual protectionism of modern scientists

NaturalNews -

The inconvenient release of private email conversations among climate change scientists has been a boon for climate change skeptics. What emerges from the leaked emails is a depiction of a group of scientists who practice "intellectual protectionism" -- meaning they know they're right and they'll do anything to protect their beliefs, even if it means hiding or manipulating data.

Sound familiar? Scientists in the pharmaceutical industry have been practicing this for decades. If you think the ClimateGate emails are revealing, just imagine what kind of similar emails are flying around between Big Pharma scientists who routinely manipulate study data and commit scientific fraud in the name of medicine. Time and time again, we see revelations of manipulated clinical trials where data was intentionally distorted in order to make a dangerous, useless drug appear to be safe and effective.

What ClimateGate scientists and Big Pharma scientists have in common is that they have both abandoned the core principles of good science in their quest to be right. Rather than asking questions of nature and humbly listening to the answers provided by the data, these scientists have staked out a position and decided to defend that position at all costs -- even if it requires hiding or distorting data!

That approach is entirely unscientific, of course. In my mind, it now puts much of the recent global warming science in the same category as Big Pharma's research: Pure quackery.

As Christopher Booker explains in The Telegraph, "The reason why even the Guardian's George Monbiot has expressed total shock and dismay at the picture revealed by the documents is that their authors are not just any old bunch of academics. Their importance cannot be overestimated. What we are looking at here is the small group of scientists who have for years been more influential in driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others, not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)." (

Claiming to save the planet is no excuse for scientific fraud

Global warming may, indeed, be a real phenomenon. But trying to "prove" it by conspiring to manipulate the data in order to be right is absolutely the wrong way to go about studying the issue. In fact, these ClimateGate revelations have soundly discredited much of the global warming scientific community to the point where whatever these people say from now on simply cannot be trusted.

And that's a shame because the question remains: What if the global warming scientists are really right? What if they're right for all the wrong reasons, and they let their egos and their professional pride get in the way of conducting real science, thereby discrediting the very notion they were attempting to prove? That's a possibility we would still do well to consider.

Yet, from their released emails, it's quite clear these scientists were manipulating data to make the "science" fit their beliefs. They weren't focused solely on the real facts; they were interested in forwarding their climate change theories using any means necessary -- including scientific trickery.

What's truly sad about all this -- both in the climate change community and the pharmaceutical community -- is that real science has seemingly been replaced by pseudoscientific quackery. I've known for a long time that you can't trust scientists who work for pharmaceutical companies because they tend to distort their findings to support their employer. Now learning that a similar approach to junk science was apparently pursued by climate change scientists is more than a little disconcerting. It makes me wonder: Are there any honest scientists left anywhere?

The structure of scientific revolutions

It seems that in all realms of science, egos are more important than observational data. Whether you're dealing with astronomy, oceanography, anthropology or biology, every scientist wants to be right, and most will do whatever it takes to defend their proclaimed theories and beliefs. This is why it remains so ridiculously difficult to penetrate the minds of modern doctors with facts about vitamin D and cancer, for example: These "scientific thinkers" have already decided what to believe, and they'll defend those beliefs at all costs, even in the face of strong evidence that contradicts their beliefs.

What I've come to realize in all this is that many of today's scientists aren't scientific thinkers. They're really just followers of their own private cult. Some "scientists" belong to the Cult of Pharmacology, and they believe pharmaceuticals are the answer to everything. Others belong to the Cult of Climatology, where scientific evidence is replaced with "faith" beliefs that are not allowed to be questioned. These micro-cults of scientific "truth" explain why science usually doesn't advance until a whole generation of scientists either retires or expires.

It all brings us back to the amazing book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. As this book explains, science almost never advances based entirely on new research, new ideas and new data. Instead, these new understandings collide with a wall of ego-driven resistance from the established scientific community. At times, such new ideas may linger for decades or even centuries before finally being seriously considered by the scientific community and then adopted as "truth." The classic example of this is the "Earth is the center of the universe" belief that was eventually replaced with the current sun-centric solar system model -- but not before many scientific thinkers were condemned (and even put to death) for their "preposterous" belief that the Earth was not the center of the universe.

In reality, modern science advances much like vomit -- in sudden wretched heaves that are both painful and revealing. The modern scientist is far more interested in being right than in being humbly informed about the mysteries of nature, and this makes much of so-called science more of a laughing matter than anything to be taken seriously. There are, no doubt, many very good scientists operating today who truly take to heart the Scientific Method and who avoid entangling their egos in their work, but I'm coming to discover that the number of such scientists may be far smaller than I had hoped.

In my mind, all of this further discredits the very idea that science is a reliable pathway to knowledge. There are many ways to glean knowledge about the world around us, and science is only one of them. Other methods included meditation, "communing" with nature, spiritual study or even embarking on spirit journeys with the help of plant medicines. Western science has given us much in terms of practical discoveries in fields like electricity, chemistry and physics, but it has utterly failed to provide us with answers on the things that really count: What is the meaning of life? What is the nature of human consciousness? What is the human soul?

None of these questions, it seems, will ever be answered by an ego-driven, profit-focused scientific community that would rather be right than enlightened.

Three questions we need to be asking

In order to know what's truly happening with human-caused climate change, we need to get accurate answers to the following three questions:

Question #1) Are CO2 emissions on the rise? And by how much? (The answer to this is clearly yes. This part isn't being debated.)

Question #2) Will high CO2 levels in the atmosphere cause global warming? If so, what will be the climate effects at different CO2 levels? (This is the part being debated.)

Question #3) What can we do to prevent devastating climate change from occurring? (This is also being heavily debated.)

In my mind, there's no question that what we dump into the air affects the climate in some way, but as I'm not a climate scientist, I must rely on others to determine what levels of carbon dioxide are correlated with observable climate effects (such as a change in atmospheric temperature or lack thereof). What I've learned from the ClimateGate scandal is that I really can't trust these scientists to tell the truth about their findings, and that leaves me in a position of having more questions than ever before.

It won't change my behavior, though. I'll still engage in recycling. I'll continue with my plans to install solar panels to power my house. I'll keep planting trees and growing most of my own food locally. Regardless of who's right about ClimateGate, we all have a responsibility to reduce our footprint on this planet, or we may someday discover some other environmental tsunami rising up to haunt us in ways we may have never imagined.

The ClimateGate scientists may have made complete fools of themselves, but I believe we must still practice ecologically-sound "green living" in our own way, each and every day, to the best of our abilities. In other words, don't let the egos of a small group of scientists distract you from the very real need to protect the future of life on our planet. Reduce your own environmental footprint in ways that you can. Conserve and protect what we have on this planet, and we may yet have a planet left for our children a few generations down the line.

Remember: Just because these scientists manipulated the data doesn't mean we all have free license to endlessly pollute the planet. If these scientists really were hiding data indicating global warming isn't as bad as we thought, that would only be a blessing because it would mean we have more time than we thought to reduce the eco-footprint of human life on Earth (hopefully without invoking nefarious Big Brother population control measures...)

It will be fascinating to see how this story develops. We'll continue to cover it here on

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