MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Government-Funded Scientists: Never Hide Anything from the Public

Actually, science only works well when all researchers show their work

NOAAMeltingNOAA HistoryClimate scientists funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are resisting subpoenas for their emails and other communications from the House of Representatives Committee of Science, Space and Technology issued at the behest of committee chair Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.). Smith, a prominent skeptic of man-made global warming, wants to look behind the curtain to see how the NOAA-funded study that questioned the notion of a 15-year "pause" in man-made global warming was put together. That study reported that "the rate of global warming during the last 15 years has been as fast as or faster than that seen during the latter half of the 20th Century. The study refutes the notion that there has been a slowdown or 'hiatus' in the rate of global warming in recent years."

Smith and other skeptics suspect that the study was just a bit too conveniently designed to undermine one of their major talking points: there is a significant mismatch between climate model projections and actual global temperature trends. If future warming is lower than the models project that would drain some of the urgency out of proposals to radically restructure the world's energy production systems.

In December, NOAA sent along some staff emails to the committee. However, NOAA is still refusing to turn over the emails from the climate researchers who are claiming "harassment." But don't researchers, especially those funded by the government have a responsibility to show their work? The researchers respond that all of the data and analyses that went into their study has, in fact, been made publicly available. Is that enough public accountability?

In an intriguing op-ed, "Scientists, Give Up Your Emails," in Sunday's New York Times, investigative journalist Paul Thacker cogently argues that it is not. He details case after case in which such Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) scrutiny uncovered questionable connections between researchers and their funders. He reasonably asks, why should not government-funded scientists be subject to similar scrutiny? Thacker writes:

Last August, a colleague and I wrote an article on the importance of transparency in science for one of the blogs of the science journal publisher PLOS. The argument was fairly simple: When research is paid for by the public, the public has a right to demand transparency and to have access to documents related to the research. This might strike most people as reasonable.

One of our examples focused on a small nonprofit, U.S. Right to Know, which advocates for the labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms. The group filed Freedom of Information requests seeking the correspondence of scientists at public universities, some of whom wrote for a website backed by the agrochemical industry.

Our article promptly came under attack by several scientists and by the Union of Concerned Scientists. PLOS then removed our article from its site, though left the comments about it online. Never mind that the article had been peer-reviewed and promoted on social media by PLOS. In removing the article, PLOS explained that it “was not consistent with at least the spirit and intent of our community guidelines.” ...

As interest groups on both the left and right increasingly try to politicize the scientific process, there’s little question that there will be misuse of the Freedom of Information laws that some journalists and watchdog organizations have used to uncover wrongdoing.

Scientists have been harassed in the past and no doubt will continue to be harassed in the future, just like other public servants. You can argue that Mr. Smith’s broadsides against NOAA are a case in point. In turn, scientists are free to fight these information requests or seek to narrow the scope of the inquiries to protect against what they believe threatens the integrity of the scientific process or chills research.

But the harassment argument should not be used as an excuse to bar access to scientific research that the public is paying for and has a legitimate interest in seeing. ...

Scientists who profess agreement with transparency only when it is on their terms are really not for transparency at all. The public should be alarmed.

Absolutely correct.

Earlier I was leery of possible FOIA abuse, but I now am persauded that the far greater danger is that researchers and government bureaucrats will use claims of harassment to hamper public debate and as excuses to hide information from the public that would embarrass them.

Finally, the whole archived PLOS article by Thacker and New York University journalism professor Charles Seife is well worth reading.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    They're not scientists. They are either gravy train parasites or religious true believers, or both, even. And they have absolutely zero incentive to reveal any information that might slow down their funding gravy train or go against the One True Faith.

    Once something becomes this politicized, it cannot be approached scientifically any more, because all the vested political interests won't allow it. It becomes so infested with lies that that's all there is any more.

  • ||

    You're not a scientist!

    /Tony

  • Suicidy||

    Tony is! He claims to be a 'political scientist'.

  • ||

    He also claims to be unemployed. Funny how that works.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Really? I thought he claimed to work in the biology field.

  • KDN||

    The earliest backstory I can recall is that he's a former philosophy undergrad doing corporate communications work in the energy sector (which is truthy: he's a self-aggrandizing windbag from OK, after all). But I'm sure it's changed since then.

    I'm actually amazed by the Tony evolution, both in his own case and what the board says about him . He is legend. I'm also pretty certain that handle gets a new writer every year or so.

  • Citizen X||

    He went through a period where he was super into trains, but i haven't seen him mention the subject since.

  • Ship of Theseus||

    I first read this as, "...he was super into trans..."

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Yeah, it's definitely not the same author.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    Didn't he claim to live in NYC and talk about how the schools are so great there and that was a sign public school didn't need any changes?

    In the wealthy parts of NYC, of course. :-D

    Or was that another troll?

  • ||

    Well, they may be scientists in that their training is in the wishy-washy scientific method of high school. They are not scientists in the Karl Popper style of "we should try to falsify all we believe we know and that which cannot be falsified must be true". Few are these days.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Popper's falsification never has been the dominant epistemological paradigm of science. Most scientists are not willing to give up inductive reasoning, and instead, subscribe to scientific realism.

  • Lee G||

    Most climate scientists don't even qualify under that definition.

    The argument begins with the widely accepted premise that our best theories are extraordinarily successful: they facilitate empirical predictions, retrodictions, and explanations of the subject matters of scientific investigation, often marked by astounding accuracy and intricate causal manipulations of the relevant phenomena.
  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Most climate scientists aren't.

  • ||

    Fair enough. I agree that many things like relativity were proven by "this is the only coherent theory that predicts this data and all the other data we can gather." But there are problems with things like Dark matter/energy versus MOND. We really need Popper's falsification aplied to cosmological scale gravity. Otherwise, its a fucking hash like this. We may have to settle for scientific realism, but it should be with a solid effort to explore Popper Space.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Oh, I agree with you on that. I am mostly a Popperian, myself.

  • μ Aggressor||

    Oh man don't even get me started on dark matter/energy; it's like science's version of a deity.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Word.

    Go look at the CVs of some of these people. Most of it is activism.

  • Lee G||

    That's because they're trying to save us.

  • ||

    government bureaucrats will use claims of harassment to hamper public debate and as excuses to hide information from the public

    Barack Obama supports this message

  • Old.Mexican||

    Climate scientists funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are resisting subpoenas [...]


    Translation: They're not really scientists. They're simply bureaucrats hiding their crap.

    But don't researchers, especially those funded by the government have a responsibility to show their work?


    "Not to the unbelievers and heretics, we're not!"

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    Ike called it:

    Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

    In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

    Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

    The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
  • DEG||

    Ike's brother Milton was a university president. If I remember correctly, Milton was president of first Kansas State, then Penn State, then Johns Hopkins.

    When Milton was president of Penn State, Ike made sure Penn State got a few handouts from the Feds.

  • DEG||

    I remembered order correctly.

  • DEG||

    the order.

  • ||

    Ike called it:

    Yes, but you can't use Ike in *any* libertarian arguments because without him, you wouldn't be able to drive from Boston to San Francisco on crumbling infrastructure.

    It is a *known* *fact* that people died while traveling on trails through the wilderness and that Chinese labor was widely trafficked and exploited by greedy corporations before he created roads.

  • Ron Bailey||

    E: Once something becomes this politicized - applies to all "sides" in a politicized science debate, right?

  • thrakkorzog||

    Yes, all scientists need to publish their data. Period. If you have a story about right wing climate deniers refusing to publish their data, please share it with us.

  • WTF||

    "Climate deniers" is just the proggie smear to make it seem as if any skeptics are trying to deny reality. Let's not buy into their attempts to re-shape reality by controlling the language. They are actually "AGW skeptics".

  • ||

    Not the the Holy Church of Global Warming, they're not. They're heretics. Burn them!

  • tarran||

    applies to all "sides" in a politicized science debate, right?

    Of course! Because the guys who refuse to provide information needed to reproduce their results are not doing science.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Yes, ideally.

    But in the real world, an Exxon study is going to get orders of magnitude more scrutiny and skepticism than a study funded by an environmental organization.

  • BearOdinson||

    Absolutely!

    If however, Exxon-Mobil paid for research, and published results that contradicted the research, and it could be proved that it manipulated stock prices for their benefit, there could probably be a case made for financial shenanigans. But having some vague results, and then publicly stating the results are vague shouldn't get anybody in trouble.

  • ||

    Give us an example, Ron. Then I might be able to respond, once I figure out what exactly you're getting at.

  • Jimbo||

    I like (meaning, I don't) how you had to throw that in there. Who are the ones trying to hide information? Sounds to me like your man Obama. (Of course, I'm pretty sure you voted for Obama, correct? Saw some reference to that in a post a week or so ago. So maybe we shouldn't trust you either?)

  • Hyperbolical (wadair)||

    E: Once something becomes this politicized - applies to all "sides" in a politicized science debate, right?

    Of course it does. However, the other side is typically made up of skeptics who are scrutinizing the proponents. Skeptics should make publicly available any data they use in their published results, but if they're merely scrutinizing the research of CAGW true believers, they have nothing to display.

    BTW, Mr. Bailey, I commend you for your openness regarding your own acceptance of CAGW (or, at least AGW). Otherwise you could not be credible writing anything about the subject. Openness is necessary to avoid the kinds of skepticism that CAGW now finds itself under siege from. The CAGW True Believers brought this upon themselves with their secrecy, fallacious attacks on skeptics, fascist treatment of skeptics, and calls for criminalizing skepticism. They have little to no credibility among thinking people because of these antics and you should revisit your own buy-in.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Better yet, defund the NOAA and transfer its actual useful activities (e.g. weather forecasting, tidal and current charts) over to the Coast Guard.

  • BakedPenguin||

    But, but, all the polar bears are dying!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    *narrows eyes*

    Not sure if tasteless exploitation of the horrific choice some made on 9/11....

  • Jimbo||

    Those Polar Bears better have insurance...look what they did to my car?!

  • ||

    Haha. Saw some people with very green sentiments liking a post of FB about "last 20,000 polar bears on Earth trapped on icebergs." Totally missing the fact that 20,000 is the largest polar bear population in history.

  • Citizen X||

    Or that polar bears are excellent swimmers for whom crossing a hundred miles of open ocean is no big whoop, and which therefore are never "trapped" on icebergs, ever.

  • dantheserene||

    I believe polar bears are classified as "marine mammals". while they can drown from exhaustion in open water, it takes a *lot* of water.

  • Ivan Pike||

    426 miles is the current longest swim known (9 days).

    http://www.livescience.com/200.....acked.html

  • Citizen X||

    Their scientific designation is Ursus maritimus, the sea bear, for a reason.

    Side note: the brown bear is Ursus arctos - bear in Latin plus bear in Greek. The Arctic is called that because the ancient Greeks thought of the far north as the place where bears were.

  • Citizen X||

    Close tag, dammit.

  • ||

    Yeah, but if it gets too warm, they actually fall out of the sky and splat! Not sure how that works, but don't you watch the intertoobs? Duh!

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

  • ||

    Mockery is underrated I agree. And since the assholes, who stoop to calling others deniers and refuse to engage in real debate, it's what they deserve.

  • R C Dean||

    Let's start referring to the hardcore activist/"scientists" as "climate hysterics" as a bookend to "climate deniers".

  • Hyperbolical (wadair)||

    I like that. May steal it from time to time.

  • ||

    How was the climate conference held? Via some kind of computer conference, wasn't it?

  • Glide||

    Even when done pretty scrupulously government-funded research is implicitly slanted, in that no one is going to publish results at all that would immediately end their project and cut their funding.

  • kinnath||

    All research is implicitly slanted.

  • thrakkorzog||

    Yeah, that's the fun thing about science. If done right then it doesn't matter about your personal beliefs. Newton was a lead and mercury crazed alchemist, but when he was right about Physics, he was really right.

  • thrakkorzog||

    Seriously, if you can't publish your data you're data because you think somebody might misinterpret it, you're not a scientist.

    You might as well claim you have some cold fusion going on in your desktop, fueled by a perpetual motion machine.

  • commodious spittoon||

    They have published their data. They're resisting publishing their correspondence.

  • thrakkorzog||

    No. They published their conclusion.

    The actual data that people can look at in order to debate requires a FOIA request to see. That's not how science works.

  • ||

    You're both right. In different ways. The concern is that there was no pre-registration so there may be some hypothesis revision to make data and guess agree. If you chose which data to gather not on a random sampling of representative data but something else, you didn't really collect data about what you said you did. The data in this case would be "real" and "published" but not valid. Which is important to know.

  • Mickey Rat||

    My understanding is current government regs require private business correspondence to be made available to investigators.

    They are government scientists, Congress are the Boss's representatives. Their argument is weak.

  • Tommy_Grand||

    yeah, but they can stall for months and try to delete smoking gun emails

  • brokencycle||

    If you don't want to have to show your work, don't suck from the government's tit.

  • robc||

    I would take this further and require all software purchased by the government to be open source.

  • kinnath||

    Non-military & non-security . . . maybe.

  • Unreconstructed (Sans Flag)||

    Why exclude those?

  • kinnath||

    There is a place in this world for proprietary software.

  • robc||

    Yes, but not in government.

  • kinnath||

    autoflight systems, tactical networks, weapons targeting systems, blah, blah, blah.

    It's not that proprietary software make its better. It's that it keeps certain capabilities secret from the enemy.

  • robc||

    Okay, sure. Top secret with delayed release date. Like with other top secret info. It will still be open sourced, but not quite yet.

  • robc||

    Under the gpl, you only have to release the source code if/when you distribute the software.

    If used entirely in hoise, it can be open source AND not shared with enemies.

  • kinnath||

    If you release a box with embedded GPL software, you must release source code to whomever buys the box. This is a constant issue in our business.

  • robc||

    Military/nsa doesnt need to be selling their boxes.

  • robc||

    Nsa-linux should handle security.

  • kinnath||

    I work with some people that are very high on that product. But it is not clear that it is sufficient for all applications.

  • robc||

    So the nsa, or whoever, can make something more sufficient.

    How are they supposed to know that propietary software is secure?

  • R C Dean||

    It comes with a money-back guarantee?

  • Hugh Akston||

    It should go without saying that everything the government does or pays other people to do should be a matter of publicly accessible record. I mean if they haven't done anything wrong...

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Science can only march forward when skeptics step out of the way.

  • WTF||

    This is what proggies actually believe.

  • WTF||

    That study reported that "the rate of global warming during the last 15 years has been as fast as or faster than that seen during the latter half of the 20th Century. The study refutes the notion that there has been a slowdown or 'hiatus' in the rate of global warming in recent years."

    Not of you look at the actual temperature measurements, it doesn't. Gee, I wonder why they won't release all their 'data'?

  • tarran||

    One of the earliest claims of FOIA harassment came from the University of East Anglia, where the UAH temperature data set is compiled. At the time, the data set was being curated by Dr Phil Jones.

    The data set was published alongside some (but not all) station data used as inputs. A researcher noticed that after a major update of the data set the raw data had not been updated.

    The researcher asked him for a list of which stations were used to compile the data set.

    His reply:

    I should warn you that some data we have we are not supposed to pass on to others. We can pass on the gridded data – which we do. Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.

    At this point people started using FOIA requests to in a futile effort to get at the station data. At first, the UAE claimed the requests were too expansive. So people submitted smaller FOIA requests (eg all the stations in Burkina Faso). They were denied. The denials violated the FOIA law (Dr Jones was saved by the 6 month statute of limitations.

    In the end, it turned out that Jones didn't have the data properly archived and couldn't provide it.

  • GILMORE™||

    "In the end, it turned out that Jones didn't have the data properly archived and couldn't provide it."

    So they went Full-IRS?

    You'd think if they can't substantiate the raw data, then their published work relying on those data should necessarily be retracted.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.

    BECAUSE THAT'S HOW SCIENCE WORKS YOU FUCKING IDIOT!

  • Lee G||

    You might as well be asking the medieval church for a translated Bible.

  • robc||

    Ummm...it wasnt orginally written in latin.

  • tarran||

    +1 Vulgar Bible!

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    If you could read, you could read Slavonic...

  • WTF||

    Further evidence that this is not science, but politics masquerading as science.

  • R C Dean||

    Jones didn't have the data properly archived

    Which is a very polite way of saying he destroyed it.

    This in itself has become a major scandal, not least Dr Jones's refusal to release the basic data from which the CRU derives its hugely influential temperature record, which culminated last summer in his startling claim that much of the data from all over the world had simply got "lost". Most incriminating of all are the emails in which scientists are advised to delete large chunks of data, which, when this is done after receipt of a freedom of information request, is a criminal offence.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/com.....ation.html

  • Sevo||

    R C Dean|1.11.16 @ 1:49PM|#
    "Jones didn't have the data properly archived"

    'Gee, Mr. IRS Agent, sir, I must have miss-filed that documentation. You'll take my word for it, right?'
    But then it is working for that hag Hillary.

  • kinnath||

    Most incriminating of all are the emails in which scientists are advised to delete large chunks of data, which, when this is done after receipt of a freedom of information request, is a criminal offence.

    I am still filled with rage over this. These people belong in orange jumpsuits occupying cells with big mean bastards.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.

    Given the alleged importance of the issue at hand, I'd think he'd want people to do that so as to be really sure his conclusions are correct.

  • tarran||

    His conclusions are correct!!!!!

    He has concluded that people need to leave mean lives where they get to consume very little energy!

    You assholes would do well to accept that and stop arguing against the obvious!!!!

  • GILMORE™||

    "...investigative journalist Paul Thacker cogently argues that it is not. He details case after case in which such Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) scrutiny uncovered questionable connections between researchers and their funders. He reasonably asks, why should not government-funded scientists be subject to similar scrutiny?'

    You'd think the hypocrisy would be blindingly obvious, given that the State is currently investigating Exxon-Mobil for what amounts to 'funding fallacious research'

    " the inquiry would include a period of at least a decade during which Exxon Mobil funded outside groups that sought to undermine climate science, even as its in-house scientists were outlining the potential consequences — and uncertainties — to company executives"

    The actual crime wasn't the research-funding itself, but the fact that they were communicating different consensus-views to investors as what they deliberated internally.

    But the same basic issue is at work = if NOAA is trying to push a preferred policy w/ research, their internal communications and personal views on the validity of those conclusions are relevant.

    Its notable that in both cases, these "scientific" views have enormous influence on billions of dollars of investment/funding. Just because one is publically funded doesn't make it any more "innocent"

  • Old.Mexican||

    As interest groups on both the left and right increasingly try to politicize the scientific process, there’s little question that there will be misuse of the Freedom of Information laws that some journalists and watchdog organizations have used to uncover wrongdoing.


    I don't agree with the implication suggested by that qualifier. How does one misuse a Freedom Of Information request? To me that sounds like sour grapes.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    How does one misuse a Freedom Of Information request?

    By overloading someone, or an institution, with a series of frivolous or vexatious requests?

  • robc||

    If they publish all the information,in advance, there is nothing to be FOIAed, sothey cant be frivolous or vexatious.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    In this case, yes. I'm thinking more a bored prisoner who has nothing better to do with his time.

  • GILMORE™||

    Misuse of requests could be legitimately argued if the requests were so broad and non-specific that the purpose of them was to impose huge due-diligence burdens on the complying agency and force them to devote massive resources to answering requests which would detract from their core-mission.

    I think one could only really claim that FOIA requests were being abused after having demonstrated repeated efforts to comply. You can't just go straight to claims of abuse while trying to stymie any disclosure whatsoever.

  • Sevo||

    "However, NOAA is still refusing to turn over the emails from the climate researchers who are claiming "harassment.""

    Yeah, when your boss (that's ME; the taxpayer) has his deputy ask to see your work, you're 'harassed' all right. How about a pink slip, pal?

  • Aloysious||

    How can FOIA requests be harassment? How can professional correspondence, in this instance, not be subject to scrutiny?

    We need more transparency from these people.

  • Aloysious||

    ...and now I see others have already asked and answered that question.

  • Old.Mexican||

    Re: Aloysious,

    and now I see others have already asked and answered that question.


    You're harassing everybody!

  • Jimbo||

    Yes, but how can FOIA requests be harassment? How can professional correspondence, in this instance, not be subject to scrutiny?

    We need more transparency from these people.

  • Jimbo||

    Her ass? I'll show you Her Ass!

  • kinnath||

    How can professional correspondence, in this instance, not be subject to scrutiny?

    Considering how stupid people can be in the business world where we are constantly reminded that corporate resources are business assets and not personal toys, I can only imagine how badly academics must be at co-mingling personal and official correspondence.

    With any luck one of these bastards is a furry that likes to pass around photos.

  • R C Dean||

    And your use of company assets to entertain yourself or for other personal purposes is your mistake, your problem, and no reason to ashcan a FOIA request.

  • kinnath||

    absolutely

  • ||

    I'm no genius, but I have to believe that if these emails were full of noble scientists debating how their study would attempt to account for all other signals in the data and how to make sure they got the broadest possible dataset, they would be publishing these emails in the New Your Times. Maybe NOAA is the last principled institution in the government, but given James Hansen's record while he was head, I don't feel like I need to gove them the benefit of the doubt. Bush II should have canned Hanson in 2003.

  • Sevo||

    I believe Hansen shares the record with Ehrlich for 'number of correct predictions'.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    James Hanson : Scientist :: Gloria Allred : Lawyer

  • SoCal Deathmarch||

    Yoko Ono : Singer :: Vontaze Burfict : Linebacker

  • Citizen X||

    So Burfict is married to a better linebacker?

  • ||

    Here's something to consider for the casual observer who hasn't already made up their mind about what's going on with this climate 'debate'.

    We've been told by the people who say the debate is over, that man made global warming is a settled science, and only massive government intervention in the way of taxation and wealth redistribution can save us from certain doom (and this is our last chance, really this time), that engineers are not REAL scientists and are not capable of having a valued opinion on this topic. However, one engineer who agrees with them, a certain smug bowtie wearing jackass, does have an opinion that is of value BECAUSE HE FUCKING AGREES WITH THEM.

    I rest my case.

  • ||

    If it quacks like a duck...

    Geez.

    *gets another log for the fire*

  • Jerryskids||

    Now, as the global-warming hiatus enters its sixteenth year, scientists are at last making headway in the case of the missing heat. Some have pointed to the Sun, volcanoes and even pollution from China as potential culprits, but recent studies suggest that the oceans are key to explaining the anomaly. The latest suspect is the El Niño of 1997–98, which pumped prodigious quantities of heat out of the oceans and into the atmosphere — perhaps enough to tip the equatorial Pacific into a prolonged cold state that has suppressed global temperatures ever since.

    One of those climate deniers in that climate-denier rag Nature talking about all those other climate-deniers claiming there was a pause. Now that we know there was no pause, is anybody going back and exposing these charlatans who claimed to have studied the pause enough to develop a theory of what caused the pause? What the hell were these people even "studying"? Who was funding their "research" and publishing their "scientific papers"? If there was no pause you can't plausibly claim to have evidence of what caused it, can you, you lying scumbag denier?

  • Illocust||

    This so much. Somebody was wrong among all these explanations. Their methodologies need to be studied so we don't repeat what by their own consensus is now considered a mistake.

  • Jackand Ace||

    "All" researchers? Meaning all, as in not just government? Really?

    I'll refer you to someone's earlier response:

    ..."embarked on a public campaign to smear the reputations of climate researchers whose results he evidently dislikes. He launched his despicable campaign by sending letters to the presidents of seven universities demanding that they release information about the funding of the targetted researchers. The not-at-all subtle implication is that they are producing suspect research after having been bought off by evil purveyors of fossil fuels. The real intention is to gin up a "controversy" with the goal of making journalists squeamish about ever quoting them or ther work again in news stories about climate change."

    That was you when Grijalva wanted sources revealed. I guess you now must support that effort of his. I guess Smith isn't trying to "gin up a controversy, eh?

    Tough to keep up with the gyrations.

  • Hyperbolical (wadair)||

    That was you when Grijalva wanted sources revealed.

    That was who? Ron Bailey? Your comment is a top level one such that it is logically directed at Ron. Is that what you meant? Or are you merely indicting the entire commentariat?

    Nonetheless, you are missing the issue--either purposely or out of ignorance. On the one hand is the complaint that publically supported scientists refuse to release their publically funded research. On the other is the indictment of one side of this controversy by the other with lots of fiery adjectives. The former is the subject of this blog and its comments, the latter is something irrelevant that you brought up to shift the focus while pretending that the tax-paying public doesn't deserve access to the data from research it paid for because those demanding it might be protective of research paid for by private companies. You're either confused or disingenuous.

  • Jackand Ace||

    I'm just quoting the author a mere few months ago, when it was a huge problem for him when those who believe AGW wanted sources revealed. So no disingenuousness on my part, but probably his.

    But I guess you can't read. Up above it says "ALL researchers," not just public ally funded. And it would have to be, wouldn't it, if you thought funding might influence studies in science.

    Ronald would be slightly more believable if he didn't flip flop, depending on who is making the request. Let's face it, he is only having a change in heart because now it's the other side making the request.

    Now that is being disingenuous.

  • Hyperbolical (wadair)||

    Yes, all researchers should make their raw data available to others--but they don't have to make it available to anyone other than peers who want to reproduce their findings, and those who funded their work.

    For example, sociological/psychological research into taboos or other embarrassing human activities, or health related issues should NOT publically expose all of its raw data, but the data must be available for peer review. But this is not the problem at hand.

    The problem is that the public has funded this climatological research for decades to researchers in public universities, private universities/labs, and to government organizations and some researchers refuse to release their data--especially raw data. Some are releasing only their massaged data and conclusions. Their refusal to release the raw data that citizens paid for is not only reneging on the obvious expectations that the customers get what they paid for, but it is also a problem because they invite increased skepticism for their refusal to show that their methods are/were proper and unbiased.

    Few people trust those who withhold information and refuse to act honestly. This is the main reason that I doubt CAGW as well as AGW. The science part is more difficult because of my own admitted lack of expertise into the specialty. Dishonest people are usually dishonest.

  • Jackand Ace||

    NOAA has acted honestly and has turned over the raw data used in the study. It's interesting to note that since getting that data Smith has yet to prove ANY of his claims of malfeasance. He just wants all communications from those scientists , which then amounts to nothing more than the type of witch hunt which so upset Ronald in the past. Do note that science organizations roundly criticized Zgrijalva back then, and he backed down. You shod read this, it has a link to the public ally available data used.

    http://www.factcheck.org/2015/.....e-science/

    You would think that with all the commotion over climate gate, which had 6 independent investigations proving no manipulation of data, that a lesson would have been learned. But Ronald had no problem back then about a theft of private emails that still showed no malfeasance.

    It's old.

  • Hyperbolical (wadair)||

    Though I haven't graphed the data myself, I've seen graphs showing the periodic manipulation by NOAA of its data to hide the so-called hiatus and turn it into a warming trend. It certainly appears that throughout the current warming hiatus, NOAA adjusted their data to manipulate the temperature curve. Given all the arguments on both sides, I'm convinced that it is NOAA that must relinquish it's raw data as well as it's applicable communications about the process or lose all credibility. I'd prefer the organization lose all funding.

    For forty years I have worked in technology from aircraft mechanics to tooling and manufacturing engineering to computer and networking systems. Over that time I have well learned that what works, works, and what doesn't, fails. Science is certainly important, but if it can't meet the application test, it is just whizz bang ideas. No matter what one believes about climate science, it is mostly whizz bang stuff. Climate science is very far from passing the application test. Anyone and everyone who believes otherwise is either extremely naive or extremely foolish. Which are you?

  • Jackand Ace||

    By the way, here is a group that received no government funding and came to the same conclusion as the Karl study. Maybe Smith, head of the SCIENCE committee should read it, instead of making wild accusations with no proof.

    http://berkeleyearth.org/natur.....peratures/

  • Jackand Ace||

  • block30||

    Yes, they absolutely need to show their work! They are not hiding state secrets, all their excuses are ludicrous!! How is this not making bigger headlines?

  • IMS||

    I don't see why scientists' e-mails should be considered part of their scientific positions. They presumably publish their results in government reports or scholarly papers. If the results of those papers stand on their own, then they stand on their own. If they don't, they don't. If there's some problem getting access to the data upon which their conclusions are based, then, by all means, address that. Insisting on disclosing their e-mails is just another example of people thinking that every truth is a political truth. Some truths are scientific truths, and should be evaluated scientifically, not on the basis of who pays the bills, or what people's personal bias is. This is just like the NYT dismissing Reason's view on regulations because Reason's known for being anti-regulation.

  • Hyperbolical (wadair)||

    I want to agree with you regarding emails. However, potentially manipulating data and consequent scientific conclusions that effect future grants and political policy put climate science ( and other areas of research) in another category. Purposely manipulating scientific conclusions could be something akin to fraud if committed against the American tax payer-IMHO.

  • Jackand Ace||

    The study in question was published in a respectable journal, Nature, and the data was made available. In fact one of the authors, Thomas Karl, has been interviewed by the science committee and Smith. Nothing was hidden. NOAA refuses to hand over communications between scientists because it amounts to nothing more than a fishing expedition when all the data and methodologies have already been turned over.

    And going even further, other studies from non-government entities like Berkeley Earth have come to the same conclusion. It's not a one off finding.

    It's funny that Ronald was so quick to conclude that Grijalvas efforts to get at funding were "despicable," nothing more than attempts to "gin up a controversy," and that had the effect of "smearing" those who came to different conclusions, and yet to Ronald I guess Smith's attempt must be righteous. Sad.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online