Putting Conspiracy Theories to Rest: Scholars and Rogues puts 'Climategate' in Context

Putting Conspiracy Theories to Rest: Scholars and Rogues puts 'Climategate' in Context
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As the stolen emails non-scandal from November retreats slowly in the rear-view mirror, it’s worth a quick re-cap of why it was so exciting in the first place.  Emails without context can be made to fit any story that someone wants to tell, which is one of the reasons we don’t like to release email correspondence that is inherently out of context.  Brian Angliss at Scholars and Rogues gives us an elegant run-through of how the stolen CRU emails are taken hopelessly out of context and cannot, in and of themselves, contribute to our understanding of climate science.

Given the demonstrated unreliability of electronic records that have been sorted or analyzed using automated tools, it’s unreasonable to make firm claims either of scientific misconduct, ethical lapses, or illegality based on only the published CRU emails. It takes full inquiries and investigations where the investigators talk with the involved parties to truly understand the details and the context surrounding claims like those made against the climate scientists mentioned in the published CRU emails. To date, three such inquires have been completed, and while there may be some areas where the inquiries can be fairly criticized, the fact that the results of all three agree with each other strongly suggests that Tim Osborn’s claim, rather than Geoff Sherrington’s, is closer to correct in this case – “It is impossible to draw firm conclusions from the hacked documents and emails.”

There is little that can dissuade someone who is convinced of a certain narrative, but fresh angles and a fresh perspective, such as Angliss offers, are an excellent part of the solution.  Check out the full article for interviews with both skeptics and scientists, and a fascinating look at how a study of computer bug fixes can be used to illustrate the incompleteness of the electronic trail.  See the full post at Scholars and Rogues

See DeSmogBlog’s ongoing coverage of how the denialosphere has tried to make a mountain out of a molehill for the past 6 months.

Putting Conspiracy Theories to Rest: Scholars and Rogues puts 'Climategate' in Context

Morgan Goodwin has been a passionate advocate for climate solutions since college, where he spent more time organizing than he did on classes.  There, he was a Chinese major, student body co-president and one of the leaders of Thursday Night Group, the campus climate action group. Since graduating in 2008 , in no particular order, Morgan has worked on a community energy efficiency campaign in western Mass, co-directed NH SPROG for the SSC and worked on Power Vote in Cleveland. He spent two months travelling in China, meeting youth climate activists and learning about the solar hot water business. He worked on Long Island for a solar and wind company doing home evaluations and sales. And he spent the better part of 2009 in DC at the Avaaz Action Factory advocating for stronger DC policy in the lead-up to Copenhagen.

Morgan writes and conducts research for Desmogblog and supports the activism of several youth climate organizations.  His writing has been published in the HuffingtonPost, SolveClimate, Watthead, and the The Climate Community. Morgan co-manages ItsGettingHotInHere.org, the largest single-issue youth blog in the world.

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