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Climategate: Applying the Mary Mapes Standard, Part II


Many of you will remember that Conservativity spoke out about Mary Mapes, the disgraced editor of the infamous "Rathergate" scandal.  You know, thatís the scandal where Dan Rather backed up a highly-inflammatory story about President George W. Bushís National Guard Service, based entirely on a forged set of papers supposedly from his (deceased) commanding officer?  Rather ran the story on the eve of the 2004 presidential election, but the blogosphere, led loudly by our hero Michelle Malkin, showed that the memos could not have been produced in 1972 as alleged, but they instead lined up pixel-perfect with Microsoft Wordís default settings.  We inducted Mr. Rather as the inaugural member of our Hall Of Shame based on this event.  Mr. Rather and Ms. Mapes lost their jobs in the aftermath of their fraud upon the public.  A year later, Ms. Mapes was hawking her book, and made the absurd statement that those who doubted the authenticity of the forged documents had the burden to prove their cases (which they did), and she and Mr. Rather did not bear the burden of authenticating the documents prior to running with the story.  I lampooned her viewpoint with ridiculous examples of "documents" that had not been proved to be forgeries.


Skip to the present day.  On December 7, 2009, another December 7 which should live in infamy, CNN interviewed Peter Liss, interim head of the disgraced Climate Research Unit ("CRU") at East Anglia University.  Mr. Liss became interim head when his predecessor stepped down as Climategate began to unfold.  The scandal, for those of you just joining us after an intense blackout by the extreme Leftist propaganda machine, a/k/a the American press and news media (Fox excluded because they have covered this in detail), involves leaked emails that show: (i) "Trick[s]" used to manufacture global warming where there is none; (ii) Intimidation and silencing tactics employed against those who were skeptical of man-made global warming; and (iii) deletion of emails about the most critical temperature monitoring station, AR4, organized internally.  These emails have led skeptics to conclude that CRUís data, used as the primary source by the worldís scientific "consensus" to establish this putative global warming, is unreliable at best, forged at worst.

Mr. Liss comes on board at CRU as the Copenhagen Global Warming conference is commencing.  In his CNN interview, however, Mr. Liss said the following:

(regarding the leaked email scandal): "I donít think it should influence things at all. Of course, I mean, Iím not a politician, but I can sort of see that it might have some impact. I hope itís- I say small, or insignificant. But youíve already seen people saying- well, this knocks the bottom out of the climate argument. I mean, I donít think thatís true at all. But people will say that because it suits to say that."

and: "Well, youíve heard various politicians and represented politicians making statements this week saying exactly that it will have an influence, as far as theyíre concerned. Weíll have to wait and see whether the bulk of the nations are swayed by that....I think itís very hard to be a denier. And in some sense, you might say itís really up to the deniers to explain why it is when weíre pumping so much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, why it wouldnít have such an effect. I mean, scientists tend to be a bit on the defensive, but in fact, they shouldnít be defensive because the evidence is very strong."

Mr. Liss is arguing along the Mary Mapes standard.  As Rush Limbaugh pointed out at the close of his December 8, 2009 show, Mr. Lissí logic "stands science on its head."  Rush is, as per usual, right.  Mr. Liss, in the above quote, is standing on the evidence -- from the unit he assumed in the middle of a scandal -- that has been proven to be tainted, and denying the taint, with a straight face no reasonable person could ever accomplish.  Then comes the logical fallacy:  Appeal to authority:  Argumentum ad Verecundiam -- "man-made global warming must be true because scientific authorities say so."  However, the primary source of these authoritiesí data is tainted. Neither Mr. Liss nor anyone else has proffered any evidence to rebut the proofs of taint.  If there is "very strong" evidence, bring it on, supported by verifiable measurements! CONVINCE US!  Donít demand that we engage in the bandwagon fallacy.

Mr. Liss refuses to dabble in inconvenient trivialities such as facts.  Instead, he challenges the deniers to prove that man-made global warming is not happening!  Aside from the difficulty of proving the negative, which is the fallacy known as Argumentum ad Ignorantiam, he reverses the burden of proof.  Mr. Liss and the extremists who rely on his unitís "research" in order to justify drastic reductions in our personal liberties and standards of living assume that their evidence is de facto unimpeachable because they say it is -- the fallacious appeal to their own putative "authority."  Yet, their own emails admit that they cannot explain the "lack" of warming that their measurements reveal.  

One does not have to master the means of detecting logical fallacies in order to rebut such nonsense.  The global warming fanatics argue, in essence:  "The CRU data are unimportant because the ístrong evidenceí (conclusions based on the impeached CRU data) shows that global warming is real, and the deniers have not proved it is not happening."  As I previously noted, one extremist cited the satellite photos of the melting of the Greenland Ice Shelf as proof of the imminent destruction of the coastal areas of the world.  Of course, Mr. Tidwell ignores the fact that Antarctic ice is increasing as the South Pole temperatures are below normal.  Therefore the ice coverage on the planet is increasing -- compelling evidence against the concept of man-made global warming.

Mr. Liss would do well to address the real concerns of the people he dismisses as "deniers," and if he cannot rebut the evidence against man-made global warming with sound proofs, then to admit that man-made global warming is not the truth.  That would be the scientific thing to do.