Climategate Shatters Scientific Process

THE FALLOUT FROM Climategate was disturbing enough: suspect adjustments of data, exclusion of dissenting views, illegal destruction of information and intimidation of journal editors. But they all had one ugly common denominator — the corruption of legitimate science.

In early 2009, the Science Council in Great Britain came up with a "new" definition of science: "The pursuit of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence." Wikipedia offers this:

"The methods of scientific research include the generation of hypotheses about how phenomena work, and experimentation that tests these hypotheses under controlled conditions. Scientists are also expected to publish their information so other scientists can do similar experiments to double-check their conclusions. The results of this process enable better understanding of past events, and better ability to predict future events of the same kind as those that have been tested."

The revealed e-mails and documents from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia undermined every step of the scientific process.

No one knows where the global warming hypothesis started, but rather than test it under controlled conditions, the scientists controlled the conditions to support their hypothesis. One of the best-known Climategate e-mails, from CRU Director Phil Jones, talked about how he used Penn State University scientist Michael Mann's "trick" to "hide the decline." On a chart, Mann cut short records of tree-ring data at the year 1960, because that set showed a temperature decline after that year. Instead, Mann (and Jones) overlaid instrumental data from 1960 onward, making an apples vs. oranges comparison.

Elsewhere, as Marc Sheppard at American Thinker discovered,¹ underlying code in programs revealed efforts to "exclude proxy data that demonstrated poor correlations with local temperature."[1] Simply, the code was an attempt to remove numbers that did not support the scientists' global warming hypothesis.

Compounding the problem was the fact that CRU scientists — especially Jones — apparently plotted to withhold or destroy raw data so others could not test the global warming alarmists' theory. In addition, the research of many skeptical scientists was excluded from publication in peer-reviewed journals, thanks to efforts by the same conspirators. These elites were the gatekeepers of input to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports - which is considered the authoritative source on global warming. Independent double-checking was thwarted.

As a result, this warped "understanding of past events" compromised climate science's "ability to predict future events." Climategate showed that global warming concerns were not the product of science but of activism. 

Paul Chesser is a special correspondent for The Heartland Institute.

[1] Marc Sheppard, "Understanding Climategate's Hidden Decline," American Thinker, Dec. 6, 2009, (accessed Jan. 13, 2010).