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EUUUH, the scientists don't like dealing with Drudge and Beck! Skeptics are going to use these stunning revelations to stir up the creationists!  Most who will be swayed by this are already indelible skeptics. But they will have a wonderful foam-fest with the e-mails.

It could be that self-censorship by involved scientists out of concern that inconclusive models or inconsistent data would be used against them is retarding the process. It has always been an asymmetrical contest. The scientists have no choice but to employ peer review and to adhere closely to fact based arguments. That process is sufficiently problematic as it is, as Kuhn has shown, and tends to err on the side of conserving current paradigms. And there are skeptics with solid scientific credentials.

The beneficiaries and backers of the skeptics side are existing business interests and their political allies. For them rhetoric and public perception is all, however obtained.  The fear of the influence of the skeptics by the scientists, which, of course, was, in the USA, much more of a concern up until a year ago, as Bush 43's administration was both the ally of incumbent energy interests and had a tendentious view of "science", is much less of a problem just now. If the scientists' private e-mails had to come out, at least the timing is propitious.

It could be that this whole episode will lead to an increase in the rate of progress in climate research by opening up the field, much as when the USA declassified radar technology in the '50s. If key models are made more widely available to younger members of the community, as opposed to being closely held for fear of weaknesses being misused, the weaknesses may be more quickly remedied.

Meanwhile, it would help if someone of prominence did a public service by showing what happens when you put a thermocouple in a glass of ice water under a strong incandescent light and plot temperature vs. time.  If the evidence is that the polar regions are melting, this involves a massive phase transition that is going to absorb heat not just from the sun but also from the atmosphere and, hence, the weather patterns. It makes sense that this could produce local and intermittent cooling in the mid-latitudes until the last of the ice is melted, if we get to that point. Thus the freezing weather for the baseball playoffs in Denver and the mild summers I have been experiencing in the Ozarks.  We need to elevate the popular conception of global processes.

 

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Nov 21st, 2009 at 12:14:22 PM EST

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