Other things being equal . . . .
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/11/21
“Hundreds of private e-mail messages and documents hacked from a computer server at a British university are causing a stir among global warming skeptics, who say they show that climate scientists conspired to overstate the case for a human influence on climate change” (New York Times, 20 November 2009; “Hacked e-mail is new fodder for climate dispute”, by Andrew C. Revkin).
Mutatis mutandis, the same story could be written about HIV/AIDS:
“The e-mail messages, attributed to prominent American and British climate HIV/AIDS researchers, include discussions of scientific data and whether it should be released, exchanges about how best to combat the arguments of skeptics, and casual comments — in some cases derisive — about specific people known for their skeptical views. . . . In one e-mail exchange, a scientist writes of using a statistical ‘trick’ (and a computer model) in a chart illustrating a recent sharp warming trend increase in HIV/AIDS. In another, a scientist refers to climate HIV/AIDS skeptics as “idiots.” . . .
Some of the correspondence portrays the scientists as feeling under siege by the skeptics’ camp and worried that any stray comment or data glitch could be turned against them. The evidence pointing to a growing human contribution to global warming HIV as cause of AIDS is so widely accepted that the hacked material is unlikely to erode the overall argument. However, the documents will undoubtedly raise questions about the quality of research on some specific questions and the actions of some scientists. In several e-mail exchanges, Kevin Trenberth, a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, (any of Fauci, Gallo, etc.) and other scientists discuss gaps in understanding of recent variations in temperature failures of vaccine trails, increasing death rate from side effects of HAART, and no sign of heterosexual HIV/AIDS epidemics outside Africa. Skeptic Web sites pointed out one line in particular: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming findings that viral load, CD4 counts, and clinical progression are not correlated with one another . . . and it is a travesty that we can’t,” . . . . The revelations are bound to inflame the public debate . . . .
Dr. Trenberth (you choose) said Friday that he was appalled at the release of the e-mail messages. But he added that he thought the revelations might backfire against climate HIV/AIDS skeptics. He said that he thought that the messages showed “the integrity of scientists.” Still, some of the comments might lend themselves to being interpreted as sinister. In a 1999 e-mail exchange about charts showing climate HIV/AIDS patterns over the last two millenniums, Phil Jones (you choose), a longtime climate HIV/AIDS researcher . . . said he had used a ‘trick’ . . . to ‘hide the decline’ in temperatures HIV and AIDS numbers. . . . Dr. Mann (you choose) . . . said the choice of words by his colleague was poor but noted that scientists often used the word ‘trick’ to refer to a good way to solve a problem, ‘and not something secret.’ . . . .
But several scientists whose names appear in the e-mail messages said they merely revealed that scientists were human, and did nothing to undercut the body of HIV/AIDS research on global warming.”
[Yes, it does. Since humans can make mistakes, and since scientists are now acknowledged to be human, therefore scientists can make mistakes and claims made by scientists may be wrong — especially when they have conspired for a decade or two or three to suppress data that contradicts the theory they have been peddling.]
“At first, said Dr. Michaels, the climatologist who has faulted some of the science of the global warming consensus, his instinct was to ignore the correspondence as ‘just the way scientists talk.’
But . . . after reading more deeply, he felt that some exchanges reflected an effort to block the release of data for independent review. He said some messages mused about discrediting him by challenging the veracity of his doctoral dissertation at the University of Wisconsin by claiming he knew his research was wrong. ‘This shows these are people (John P. Moore, Mark Wainberg, et al.) willing to bend rules and go after other people’s reputations in very serious ways,’ he said.”
“Spencer R. Weart, a physicist and historian who is charting the course of research on global warming, said the hacked material would serve as ‘great material for historians.’”
So will the files of Peter Duesberg, John Lauritsen, Neville Hodgkinson, Joan Shenton, Gordon Stewart, and the many other courageous fighters for the integrity of HIV/AIDS research.