Like talking to a brick wall: climategate

Loggerheads. That’s what it is. Perhaps a definition of science would include rational discussion and that would include intellectually honest efforts to tie rhetoric to reality. Willis Eschenbach provides a comparison and contrast in his open Letter to Dr. Mann at Watts Up With That?

What you have here is an opinion column Dr. Mann published in the Washington Post complaining about his being persecuted by zealots who deny human caused climate change. Eschenbach comments on the nature of the opinion as much as its content. It is the nature of the opinion – and Eschenbach’s commentary – that provide the comparison and contrast of most note. He starts with an assertion:

On the other hand, your opinion piece published in the Washington Post contains a number of omissions, misrepresentations, exaggerations, and misstatements of fact.

and then proceeds to describe what they were and why he though they fit this description. As with Professor Lewis, he quotes President Eisenhower’s farewell speech in 1960 as as means for him to understand what he is seeing. In doing so, he provides a referent for his bias. That provides a contrast to the anti-human fears that appears to drive the climate alarmists in tone, substance, and basis.

Perhaps the biggest red flag in Eschenbach’s commentary is asking whether Dr. Mann “had any actual evidence that you were innocent” – That is like the current flap about accusations of foreign political funding. Our value system is not to prove innocence (the Napolean Law basis) but rather for the accuser to prove guilt. The issue here is not for Dr. Mann to provide proof of innocence but for him to comply with requests for evidence in accord with the law. Much of the controversy since the unintended release of the CRU Freedom of Information act information bundle is due to the reluctance to provide (or actual destruction of) information regarding research methods, datasets, and procedures paid for with public funds.

The truth is, your objections have nothing to do with climate research. You are simply worried what an inquiry might find out, otherwise the idea of an investigation wouldn’t bother you a bit. But since all the indications are that you and others conspired to subvert the IPCC process , and then conspired (as shown in the Climategate emails) to cover it up, I can understand your all-pervading unease …

It is this behavior that started the brouhaha. Some folks were puzzled by the published results and wanted to know where they came from. Instead of being provided answers to their questions, they were shut out of the discussion. Then, when they brought up the reluctance to support results, they were subject to evasion and a parade of logical fallacies, especially the ad hominem.

What Eschenbach illustrates in his post is a point, counterpoint commentary based on quotations from his target as well as other cited sources. It provides a comparison and contrast between how the climate alarmists think about things and how it might be done with a bit more intellectual integrity.

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