Conspiracy theories

Climategate has renewed calls that the IPCC and climate science in general is all just a big fraud. This is happening despite a lack of supporting evidence. The problem is that those claiming this is all a massive conspiracy have no idea of the amount of evidence required to not only prove mainstream science wrong, but fraudulent.

The leaked emails certainly do not provide the level of evidence required for rational people to accept that the IPCC and climate science are fraudulent.

What Was Actually Revealed [by climategate]

  • a rehash of a well-known controversy about how to present tree-ring data
  • frustration about too much attention to substandard scientific papers slipped into the literature by marginally qualified people with nonscientific agendas, and discussions about how to handle that
  • frustration about opposition by filibuster via freedom of information requests
  • a single suggestion about “deleting emails”, without any context, which plausibly does not refer to deleting emails from a server (scientists are probably aware that end users cannot really do this) but rather to deleting them from a response to one of many FOIA requests
  • some sloppy code and a pretty sad but perfectly typical lack of understanding of the advantages of dynamic programming languages
  • a couple of fudge factors explicitly labeled as such probably used in testing, commented out
  • some older data for which CRU is not the originator or primary repository is not in any known dataset at CRU
  • about 985 emails and 1995 other files of no apparent interest to anyone

In other words, (with the possible exception of the email deletion incident, which I imagine the lawyers are fretting about) the only things remotely unusual here are a direct consequence of the existence of a politically rather than scientifically motivated opposition…

It surely is no evidence of a conspiracy to see Jones or Mann being argumentative in emails against other scientists; surely it is the opposite of a sign of the massive big-bucks evil windmill conspiracy of the IPCC.

Yet we are are still asked to believe that climate science is a fraud, despite the fact that as of yet we have nothing more than vague claims of conspiracy.  No specifics have been given. As Carl Sagan was known for saying:

Extraordinary claims, require extraordinary evidence.

Claiming that mainstream science is not only wrong, but fraudulent is most definitely an extraordinary claim. Anyone wanting claims of scientific fraud to be taken seriously needs to provide much more evidence. Orders of magnitude more evidence. Extraordinary evidence.

Anything less simply wont cut it.

UPDATE: More from Throbgoblins International:

Obviously that is not what happened, but it isn’t that far off from reality.

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