Frustrating

This seems to represent the general MSM reaction to Peter Gleick's fraud in obtaining Heartland documents:

Peter Gleick violated a principle rule of the global-warming debate: Climate scientists must be better than their opponents....

It’s very tempting for scientists and their allies to employ to tactics of their over-aggressive critics. Yet the global warming camp must make an affirmative case for ambitious action on carbon emissions. Critics need only poke holes in the scientists’ arguments, or, as is so often the case in global warming debates, merely insist they’ve done so. Manipulation and perfidy work much better for the deniers.

Whatever the misdeeds of those who attack climate research, however braindead the opposition to climate scientists appears to be, advocates degrade themselves when they allow their frustrations to get the better of their ethical responsibilities. They lend credence to the (wrong) impression that both sides of the debate are equally worthy of criticism, that global warming is another ideological war that both sides fight deceitfully. In that context, those who want to spend lots of money to green the economy lose, and those who want to do nothing win. As Rick Santorum tours the country accusing climate activists of treachery and conspiracy, this should be only more obvious.

In other words, shame on Gleick for stooping to the level of those corrupt and evil skeptics.  A sentence or two of denunciation of Gleick for an actual crime, accompanied by 500 words of unsubstantiated ad hominem attacks on skeptics.  Nice.  I try to have a "let's play nice" response and this is what comes back in return?  Very frustrating.

  • AWM

    I respect your desire to be even handed on this but I do think you have to accept that this isn't something where both protagonists are anything like equally guilty of bad behaviour. Since I've taken an interest in this issue I've been frequently disappointed by the routine spite, dishonesty and political bias on display in nearly all CAGW supporters utterances, verbal or written. In fact it's obviously de rigour, else it's not even published. Indeed that's what made me smell a rat in the first place, since if it is all so obvious etc., then there would simply be no need for this approach. So, I'm afraid you will have to be more critical of them because to do otherwise looks foolish in response to the unremitting barrage from their side.

  • Mark2

    I think they are referring to the emails - which should have been public domain under freedom of information like acts anyway - which were stolen from CRU.

    OK fair enough, but it seems like Peter Gleick stole the documents in an effort to divert attention from his Ratheresque document which he apparently forged.

  • a leap at the wheel

    "Critics need only poke holes in the scientists’ arguments"
    Yes. We call this science. It's tough work.

  • NL_

    Basically a way to chide an ally by refusing to cede ground to the opposition. Rather than evenhanded approach, this a message to allies and true believers. They aren't softening on the need to dictate the energy-related behaviors and investments of others; they are trying to write Gleick's actions out of the movement as something The Other Side does.

    Which is also how libertarians and socialists and other issue-based and ideology-based groups operate. You don't abandon the movement, you criticize the follower.

    The best you can say is that it allows them to criticize Gleick from the left. Which is valuable, because it separates command-economics environmentalism from stealing documents, so somebody can be faithful to a heavily regulatory environmental agenda and still criticize what happened. It's a message to fellow partisans.

    But yeah, it comes off really insulting to people on the outside. It's just easier to conceive of wrong people as intentionally and maliciously wrong. Especially annoying when it's the advocates of regulation and central control who are trying to use force to change the way other people live. It may be justified (if a behavior causes damage to others) but surely it requires humility any time you argue that your favored policies need the ability to seize assets and use police and prosecutors.

  • JAB

    I was always a climate 'skeptic' simply because I am interested in history and geology as well as 'science' and on longer time scales it was clear that warming was not unprecedented and probably a good thing. I also assumed that the man-made contribution to warming was exaggerated to advance a statist agenda. However, until 'climategate' I did not follow the issue closely. Since then, I have followed it and am amazed by what these various scandals reveal about the state of science in our society. A few things that stand out from the latest revelation.

    First, Heartland has a very small budget as noted above (in absolute terms and in comparison to government and wealthy donor support for climate change research and environmental organizations). They really punch above their weight. If I was a wealthy donor, I would take note.

    Second, Gleick, who was something of an 'integrity' scold, basically kamakazied his career to stop this relatively small (in dollar terms) contribution to the debate. Why? Was he a true believer who saw career suicide as the last best hope for mankind? Or did he think that he could do it with impunity then panicked when his amateurish scheme blew up?

    Third, the fake memo shows a cartoonish leftwing caricature of how skeptics think, with its mention of discouraging teachers from teaching science, etc. How can one be so ignorant of the other side's arguments when one is supposedly dedicating ones professional life to refuting them? It scares me that people
    can be considered leaders in their field, with significant influence on public policy and be so separated from reality. It really requires a cult-like existence to keep supposedly intelligent people so clueless. This is more a religion than an empirical scientific endeavor.

    The real tragedy is that the science is fascinating. We should be so excited to live in a time where new discoveries, such as the recent CERN cloud condensation experiments, are being made. Instead it is a political spin game everytime a new paper comes out.

  • filbert

    Peter Gleick violated a principle rule of debate: he got caught lying.

    You lie; you lose the debate. Simple as that.

  • CTD

    I proudly predicted that "the devil made me do it" would be the go-to excuse in this fiasco.

  • caseyboy

    Many in the global warming crowd worship "mother earth". Global warming is dogma and must be protected. Pantheists through and through. The world would be a great place if not for all these pesky humans.

  • Doug

    "Manipulation and perfidy work much better for the deniers."

    Let us not forget that Dr. Tom Wigley at National Center for Atmospheric Research attempted to clandestinely have Dr. Patrick Michaels' PhD revoked. This is Stromberg's idea of purity?

  • DoctorT

    "...Climate scientists must be better than their opponents..."

    I focus on that phrase because at least 90% of existing climatologists don't even know how to play a scientist on TV. A scientist doesn't begin with a biased conclusion, gather data with known errors, discard or alter data that contradicts the predetermined conclusion, deliberately create biased computer models, and publicize "the polar ice will melt and we'll all drown" conclusions. Yet that is exactly what the vast majority of "climate scientists" have done or condoned.

    Some may call this an unproductive ad hominem attack. I believe that pretending that unprofessional, highly biased climatologists are scientists gives support to their viewpoints and gives black eyes to true scientists.

  • MNHawk

    “Critics need only poke holes in the scientists’ arguments”

    Accusing opponents of adhering to the scientific method. Invoking Godwin's Law with the comparison to the Holocaust. Accusing opponents of something they never did...wire and identity fraud.

    So much fail for this young JournoLister.