Home » Poe's Law » Coffee! The “climategate” reporters only picked out the most damning e-mails? How unethical of them!

Coffee! The “climategate” reporters only picked out the most damning e-mails? How unethical of them!

Googling “climategate + Dembski” (as a simple way to retrieve a file from our site that I wanted to link to), I came across this” comment at Open Parachute, which makes excuses for the ‘gates:

Predictably only the most apparently damning emails have been quoted in the media.

Sure, it is pretty predictable that the most damning statements would be quoted, rather than the office pizza order.

After all, suppose some fellow – for whatever reason – doesn’t like me much. He wastes his employer’s time recording his opinions – and his computer gets hacked: So we read:

O’Leary’s taste in clothes is terrible … her writing style stinks … she has a most inappropriate sense of humour … I am going to hire a thug to beat her up … her garden is nothing but a tangle of weeds … I bet she is unemployed right now …

Which of these comments do you think would most interest me? I am afraid I cannot offer a prize for guessing.

Open Parachute whiffles on:

While I think some of the language in the emails is disappointing I don’t think it is surprising for informal private communications.

Well, that depends on who you are, I guess. How about this one:

“The two MMs [Canadian skeptics Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick] have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.”

Wow, the open society on display.

Re Freedom of Information Act:

I am delighted to hear – and publicize the fact – that Britain now has a Freedom of Information Act, as does Canada. Applying that Act in Canada enabled me to establish that mine is not one of the 1200 names that the head of the “human rights” commission said she was keeping on a list of bad guys who misinform the public on the Commission’s work. However, I don’t know what to believe. After all, this is the same Commission some of whose employees pretended to be Nazis on the Internet, among many other misdeeds discovered by Canadian bloggers.

But presumably, they cannot now produce any files that they claimed they were “not” keeping on me, so that is progress, maybe.

Government-sponsored anti-hate organizations tend, in our Canadian experience, to attract a disproportionate share of people who get off on sneaking around and minding their neighbours’ business. Civil rights abuses become inevitable. Soon, the shakedown starts, because most targets cannot really afford a long legal defence in a “human rights” court that has no English Common Law standards anyway. Thus they just pay up. Worse, groups with little commitment to civil rights can twist the process to their own purposes, to silence opponents.

And the self-righteousness these “human rightsers” exhibit in their own defense can be truly nauseating, perhaps the worst offence of all. If they could just be an outlaw motorcycle gang, I would have more sympathy for them. At least the bikers are not self-righteous about shakedown.

Here’s Ezra Levant, the Canuck guy who started fighting back effectively, after years and years of abuse and corruption.

Anyway, Brits, use your Freedom of Information Act.

(Here are all the climategate e-mails. Here is an account of some of the smokers.

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11 Responses to Coffee! The “climategate” reporters only picked out the most damning e-mails? How unethical of them!

  1. OT, but what’s with the whole “Coffee!” thing?

  2. It’s for posts that aren’t generally dead serious about a particular subject.

  3. Barb,

    Thanks. So I should take those posts with a grain of salt, or perhaps a spoonful of sugar as compared to posts without the “Coffee!” code?

    Thanks again. I think I’m getting the hang of this.

    Doug

  4. “Coffee” means we are on a virtual coffee break and discuss subjects that are only marginally relevant -or else I think it is so stupid that it does not deserve the name of science.

    In this case, the guys who wrote some of those posts are on the level of “Pay up, Bub, or your cat dies!”

    It is coffee! because it is not science.

  5. Thanks O’Leary. I’ve got the idea now – and a nice Latte!

  6. By the way, the parallels between ClimateGate and ID are astonishing. To me the worst & most dangerous aspect of CG is the willful disregard for FOI law. If there is anything there (beyond the obvious taxation issues) worthy of federal government digging into, that’s it.

  7. Since we all support the concept of freedom of information perhaps, in the interests of full and open disclosure, all the emails and other communications that passed between Richard Sternberg and the reviewers of the paper by Stephen Meyer that was published in the journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington could be released. We are surely also entitled to know the identities of those reviewers.

    The same should also apply to the producers of the movie Expelled. It would be illuminating to know how the purpose of the movie was shaped internally compared to the way it was represented to those invited to be interviewed for it.

  8. Seversky at 7, your comments are usually better than 7:

    No one is stoppping the Biological Society of Washington from making this Sternberg stuff public, unless it is the reviewers themselves, who fear being Sternberged.

    Expelled was financed by a private investor and – absent a court case -the investor is under no legal obligation to make internal corporate communications public.

    He either makes his stash or he doesn’t.

    Surely, you must know that.

    Publicly funded enterprises adhere to different standards precisely because they are publicly funded.

    If I am one of the funders, as a taxpayer – and in the case of climategate, maybe someone who will be forced to follow usseless idiot rules, due to corrupted data – I want and need to know.

    It is completely consistent with Darwinism that Darwinists would accept authoritarian beliefs and standards (such as the loss of distinction between public and private that your post beautifully illustrates) – along with the corruptions and coverups that inevitably ensue – cf climategate.

    And don’t think for a minute that this is going away. We all paid for a science project that has less integrity than an outlaw biker gang – at least they are not self-righteous.

  9. O’Leary @ 9

    No one is stoppping the Biological Society of Washington from making this Sternberg stuff public, unless it is the reviewers themselves, who fear being Sternberged.

    No, but neither are they voluntarily releasing them. Presumably, they feel that private, internal communications should remain private.

    Expelled was financed by a private investor and – absent a court case -the investor is under no legal obligation to make internal corporate communications public.

    He either makes his stash or he doesn’t.

    As before, he is assumed to be entitled to his privacy.

    There are clearly two conflicting rights in play here. There is a right of access to information about matters of public interest but there is also a right to privacy for individuals and organizations.

    If, to borrow from your example, I were to be tried for using my bank account to launder money from drug-smuggling operations then you and other members of the public would have a right of access to that information because the crime and my trial would be a matter of public interest.

    On the other hand, if all my financial dealings are perfectly legal, neither you nor anyone else is entitled to know the contents of my account or the account numbers or passwords. I, like you, have a right to privacy in these matters.

    Publicly funded enterprises adhere to different standards precisely because they are publicly funded.

    If I am one of the funders, as a taxpayer – and in the case of climategate, maybe someone who will be forced to follow usseless idiot rules, due to corrupted data – I want and need to know.

    I was not aware that the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom is funded by Canadian dollars but I could be wrong.

    However, I agree that science should, indeed must, be a transparent enterprise. In principle, they should be making their software and data available, at least to other researchers. Replication is a key process in the scientific method. If the CRU’s work cannot be verified by other scientists then its findings must be regarded as provisional at best.

    It is completely consistent with Darwinism that Darwinists would accept authoritarian beliefs and standards (such as the loss of distinction between public and private that your post beautifully illustrates) – along with the corruptions and coverups that inevitably ensue – cf climategate.

    As I understand it, applications have been made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to have that data and code used by the CRU released into the public domain. These have been declined. In the case of the data, at least, this has been because much of it is supplied by the national meteorological services (NMS) of other countries. That data is owned by the governments of those countries and some of them have refused to give permission for it to be released.

    There is also the issue of privacy for those working at the CRU. They are entitled to discuss their work freely and in private without having to constantly look over their shoulders to see who is waiting to pounce on the slightest ambiguity or mis-statement. Anything else would undoubtedly having a chilling effect on scientific research.

    The way in which this information was pilfered may well have been a crime. Any one who watches US police procedural shows will know that evidence which is obtained improperly is inadmissible in court. Although spokespersons have said the material seems to be authentic it has not been verified in detail. We do not know if it has been tampered with. There is supposed to be another 100Mb or more of data which has yet to be released. We have no way of knowing what, if anything, is being done to it now or whether everything taken will be published.

    And don’t think for a minute that this is going away. We all paid for a science project that has less integrity than an outlaw biker gang – at least they are not self-righteous.

    If, and this is a big ‘if’, the CRU as a whole or individuals within it are found to have behaved improperly then their work and their reputations will be in ruins and rightly so. For scientists, that will be the almost the worst punishment they could suffer.

    However, this has not been proven yet. Much as you might want the “climategate” allegations to be true, the CRU researchers are entitled to the benefit of the doubt, to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. The whole point about human rights is that they must apply to all, including those with whom you might disagree or not like for whatever reason.

  10. Seversky,

    Welcome to the information age.

    If you send an email it is fair game for anyone who can get their hands on it.

    I have people who I have sent emails to- knowingly private emails- who then turned around and made the information public.

    Now I know better.

    Now I know that everything I put down can and will be used against me.

    If you have something written down on paper it is also fair game for anyone who can get their hands on it.

    Own a computer- all data is fair game to anyone who can get their hands on it.

    You want privacy then you hand-carry the note and make sure it is destroyed after it is read.

    Two words:

    “Plausible deniability”- can’t have that with a hard paper trail to follow.

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