Home > Perspective
Climategate: The Standards of Evidence
When an attorney must make a case in a court of law, he or she must give proofs -- evidence. There is a burden of proof, such as, beyond reasonable doubt (the criminal conviction standard), clear and convincing evidence (as in civil fraud), or the preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not - the standard for most non-fraud civil matters). Then, the evidence that makes up the burden meets one or more standards. There is direct evidence, circumstantial evidence, and anecdotal evidence (usually inadmissible, e.g., hearsay).
The "consensus" of the scientific community is anecdotal evidence of man-made global warming, assuming that the Climate Research Unit ("CRU") at West Anglia University, the primary source of data to support their conclusions, can verify its raw data, calculations and conclusions to a burden of proof sufficient to convince the world that immediate and drastic action is necessary. If we cannot even prove that the Earth is warming, then how can we prove that Man is responsible for said warming, or that the proposed solution, reducing our worldwide "carbon footprint" to per capita levels not seen since 1875, will be efficacious? Simply put, we cannot.
Now, here is the rub: The Climategate scandal has completely
discredited CRU’ data and conclusions. While sycophantic defenders, such as Mike Tidwell in this op-ed in the Washington Post
, argue strongly for tough climate controls, they ignore the fact that the CRU has been completely discredited, and thus, all research in the "consensus" that depends on its research in whole or in part. Even worse are the CRU defenders, such as Clark Hoyt, the putative ombudsman for the New York Times
. Mr. Hoyt wrote an opinion "article"
with the following conclusions presented as fact:
“The story behind that graph certainly didn’t show that global warming was a hoax or a fraud, as some skeptics proclaimed,” Tierney wrote, “but it did illustrate another of their arguments: that the evidence for global warming is not as unequivocal as many scientists claim.”
This was the Times’ defense of its burial of the CRU scandal, as well as semantic discussions of the word "trick" and an analysis, highly deferential to CRU, that the graphs do not show a hoax but rather an equivocality in the data!
This horrid scandal is ignored by Mr. Tidwell he he issues dire predictions:
"As America joins the rest of the world in finally fighting global warming, we need to bring our battle plan up to scale. If you believe that astronauts have been to the moon and that the world is not flat, then you probably believe the satellite photos showing the Greenland ice sheet in full-on meltdown. Much of Manhattan and the Eastern Shore of Maryland may join the Atlantic Ocean in our lifetimes. Entire Pacific island nations will disappear. Hurricanes will bring untold destruction. Rising sea levels and crippling droughts will decimate crops and cause widespread famine. People will go hungry, and people will die."
What a crock. Of course I believe the satellite photos of the Greenland Ice Shelf. The problem with those photos is that the are only direct evidence of the condition of the Greenland Ice Shelf only. I want to know the condition of the ice coverage of the entire planet. I want to know the changes in the ocean levels going back to the first scientific measurement so that I can see a trend. Generally, when floating ice melts, the overall water level decreases, because water expands as it freezes. Since my conclusion is anecdotal, perform an experiment for yourself. Take a glass measuring cup, add water, add ice, note the level. Then allow to melt at room temperature after covering the cup with saran wrap to avoid evaporation. Measure the water level after the melting is done. this is basic science from the 5th grade. Now Mr. Tidwell may not be neutral, since he is the Executive Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, an organization with an agenda. However, I refuse to engage in the same ad hominem and Argument ad Verecundiam fallacies as do the man-made global warming "true believers."
I believe that true science, where people experiment to prove or disprove theories, will come to the correct conclusion. That will be direct evidence, the best evidence. I believe that the reliable evidence will prove that: (i) There is no Global warming, or what warming extent is not man-made; and (ii) The cataclysms that are suggested by the "true believers" are unlikely or impossible; and (iii) The contrary evidence presented by CRU, and all conclusions therefrom, are a fraud.