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Is stealing OK? Alarmist climate scientists don’t know – “in tumult!”

The Guardian: Gleick apology over Heartland leak stirs ethics debate among climate scientists

Whoops. Suzanne Goldenberg unwittingly exposes how empty the Ethics Vault is in establishment climate science. Peter Gleick used a false identity to steal documents, and released them without permission and without an effort to redact private irrelevant details. So let’s ask climate scientists if stealing, deception and breaching privacy is OK.  It’s a yes or no choice, is it a/ heroic, or b/ misguided? We’d hope a ten year old could get this one, but Goldenberg tells us that its thrown “the scientific community into tumult, with fierce debates…”. Oh.

The correct answer was not even on offer in the Guardian:  c/probably criminal.

So when is stealing OK?

Other (scientists and activists) acknowledged Gleick’s wrongdoing, but said it should be viewed in the context of the work of Heartland and other entities devoted to spreading disinformation about science.

Here’s a face-meet-palm-moment: if Heartland is spreading misinformation on science then why not try explaining where their science is wrong, rather than just repeat this mindless, unsubstantiated claim?

As it happens, if Heartland wanted to spread “disinformation” it sure seems an odd strategy to go out of their way to invite establishment climate scientists, and even Gleick himself, to speak at their conferences?

In this upside down world, Heartland are the ones trying to start a science debate on a shoestring budget, while the establishment scientists, with 10,000 times the funding, debate whether they should steal things instead.

The so-called “hero” scientists hurl names and unscientific ad-homs in lieu of evidence and reason.

Goldenberg didn’t do enough research to understand that she is acting as an unwitting tool of activists, quoting preposterous falsehoods that are known to anyone who can enter “climate science, controversial, skeptic” into a search engine  (see ClimateDepot, and btw Bing is better). Dear Suzanne, there are lots of polite scientists who can help you, you just need to ask.

“Heartland has been subverting well-understood science for years,” wrote Scott Mandia, co-founder of the climate science rapid response team. “They also subvert the education of our schoolchildren by trying to ‘teach the controversy’ where none exists.”

No controversy eh? What’s the definition of “controversial”?  It’s when 30,000 scientists (including 9,000 PhDs, 2 Nobel Prize winners, former IPCC lead authors, and 4 NASA astronauts) disagree with the IPCC and quote 900 papers to back up their case.

Mandia went on: “Peter Gleick, a scientist who is also a journalist, just used the same tricks that any investigative reporter uses to uncover the truth. He is the hero and Heartland remains the villain. He will have many people lining up to support him.”

I seem to remember the News-of-the-world team using “tricks” like that, and no one seems to think they were too heroic. Does “investigative reporter” Goldenberg use these kinds of “tricks” too? I would think not, but why repeat an activist’s claim that these are legitimate activities when they are not — how does that misinformation help the public?

At least to Goldenberg’s credit, she did manage to find two climate scientists who get it right:

Richard Klein, a climate researcher at the Stockholm Environment Institute, said he was astounded at Gleick’s actions. “All I can say is: what was he thinking?” he said. “It’s an own goal. It’s not just his own credibility, his own integrity on the line. It’s a whole community of climate scientists who, with the odd exception, want to do good science and make sure science is recognised.”

He went on: “It doesn’t just blur the line between climate science and science policy. It blurs the line between what are acceptable and what are not acceptable methods. He is not perceived by the outside world as acting in his personal capacity. He acted also by responding as Peter Gleick the scientist and of course that hurts other scientists as well.”

John Nolt, a professor of environmental ethics at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville…(said)… The revelations in the Heartland document – many already familiar to the environmental community – were not worth that cost.

“Nothing serves climate change deniers better than the loss of perspective that ensues when debate turns from urgent matters of science and policy to largely inconsequential disputes about personal behavior,” said Nolt.

The debate in our media is advancing at a crawl because the journalists keep repeating propaganda points for the establishment science team, rather than asking independent scientists for another view.

And the excuses are weak:

However, scientists almost invariably noted that Gleick had come clean, unlike those who carried out the East Anglia hack.

Goldenberg flat out assumes that it was a hack, but two years after ClimateGate and with a police investigation, there is no evidence that it was. No one, apart from FOIA, knows if it was an illegal hack or a legal leak by a genuine whistleblower.

If there was no hacker we can hardly expect that non-existent hacker to come clean. Real investigative reporters ought to investigate, not provide a cover for poor reasoning and bad behaviour.


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