Monday, December 7, 2009

The climate is getting hot on the blogosphere

I have been following this climategate imbroglio since the beginning, and was really appalled by some of the e-mails. This week both Nature and Science magazines stepped into the discussion, with a balanced account from Science. Nature, OTOH, preferred a smoke and mirrors approach focused on the media, writing a sloppy and loaded editorial: they call for "better support in face of public scrutiny", against "paranoids", "obstructionist politicians" and "denialists' conspiracy theories", even while they acknowledge that some of these denialists are practicing researchers:
...when the [IPCC] assessment report was published in 2007 it referenced and discussed both papers [one from McIntyre and McKitrick and the other from Soon and Baliunas].
If there are benefits to the e-mail theft, one is to highlight yet again the harassment that denialists inflict on some climate-change researchers, often in the form of endless, time-consuming demands for information under the US and UK Freedom of Information Acts.
Did Nature's editor realize that the very same researchers who had peer-reviewed material incorporated  into the IPCC report were "demanding" data through FOIA requests? Tell me about straw man and ad hominem... they are in desperate need of reading David Goldston's last column on their own magazine (the one in which he says that "credibility is scientist's to lose").
But anyway, my purpose was to write down here a list of articles worth reading on the subject, together with a few links. They speak louder than I could explain:
The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the news about the leaked data was the (heavily criticized) article from Lawrence Lessig "Against Transparency". On it, Lessig maintains that a "naked transparency" (whose only concern would be a complete open government, without oversight) is potentially harmful because of the low attention span of the general public eye. People will consistenly find the same correlations, despite spurious. 

But if you like to compare AGW critics to creationists, be careful: that's exactly what cdesign proponentists are longing for.

update 2009.12.14: I just realized that Andrew Gelman is not the only one to write on his blog, some posts are written by a mysterious "Phil". I corrected the entry. 

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