What a day! After the revelation of hacked files purporting to originate from the Hadley Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, it was impossible not to be sucked into the frenzy of search, read and comment. Now that their authenticity is assured, and links to the files posted and reposted, there is still no let up.
After reading, oh I don’t know, a hundred or so, a kind of banality sets in. These are mostly really boring emails; often repetitive and trivial. There are few startling revelations, and the small sections jumped upon in many blogs are seldom in themselves significant, yet, as a whole, and it is strange reading such illicitly obtained correspondence, the files leave a bad taste in my mouth. They reveal a disregard for the high principles of scientific method and show that the scientists themselves answer to political cause and self-serving practices.
Scientific method (extract)
“Among other facets shared by the various fields of inquiry is the conviction that the process be objective to reduce biased interpretations of the results. Another basic expectation is to document, archive and share and all data and methodology so they are available for careful scrutiny by other scientists, thereby allowing other researchers the opportunity to verify results by attempting to reproduce them. This practice, called full disclosure, also allows statistical measures of the reliability of these data to be established.”
I conclude with huge apologies to JRR Tolkein for borrowing his title; these fellows clearly are not deserving (IMO) of the title ‘Scientist’, and they most certainly lack the required attributes of Tolkein’s Fellowship.
[Update] 21 Nov: The whole set of emails reveals unacceptable behaviour. Another post on this will not be kind…