Re: [asa] Hadley files stolen and published on the internet...

From: <>
Date: Mon Nov 23 2009 - 14:10:13 EST

I can definitely see Schwarzwald's & Cameron's points of view here (which could
in fact be coupled with the Scriptures like "be sure your sins will find you
out" or "whatever is whispered now will be shouted from the rooftops...") BUT
--I'm afraid I think Keith has the moral high ground over all of you on this
one, because such verses do NOTHING to justify the means used to the end. It is
precisely because people are quick to consign ethical behavior to "mere
technicalities" that makes so much of our communication world into untrustworthy
garbage in the first place. Think about it: if it wasn't for the admission on
the part of the (Hadley?) people in the first place, all we would have would be
an alleged email exchange which hackers could only claim to have gotten from
said source. Even digital photos are no longer considered court evidence (and
for very good reason.) Whatever last vestiges of truth or integrity any science
community (or any community at all) still enjoy in this age of "end justifying
the means" is ONLY because of people like Keith who still try to adhere to these
"mere technicalities". Without them what you have is a digital pile of hearsay
no better than the usual blog content around the internet.

Please note ---I do aspire towards truth-seeking in the midst of all this
towards whichever global temperature trends it may eventually lead, and
therefore don't consider myself as having any major axe to grind. (Though I
will always be pro-stewardship on quite independent and Biblically supported
grounds which have nothing to do with global warming.) I think Cameron's
cynicism has proven well warranted, but I continue to share that cynicism
towards the other side as well which I remain convinced is at least as short on
integrity as their political opponents. (Just witness our willingness to appeal
to or dismiss 'technicalities' according to self-benefit.)


Quoting Cameron Wybrow <>:

> I agree entirely with Schwarzwald. Keith's comments sound to me far too much
> like Big Science (not to mention Big Politics) trying to excuse the
> inexcusable by means of a legalistic technicality: "Well, we did wrong, but
> we wouldn't have been caught except for illegal e-mail hacking, so everyone
> should pretend they don't have this information."
> What is being exposed here is not some private scandal (marital infidelity or
> income tax evasion or a gambling addiction or the like) that has nothing to
> do with the science of climate change. What is being exposed is (possibly)
> proof that some of the people responsible for convincing the world of the
> existence of a climate change "crisis" have been altering data which
> disproves their hypothesis. If the "consensus of the experts" which has been
> so loudly insisted upon (here on this list among other places) proves to rest
> in part upon deliberately falsified data, then the consensus of the experts
> is not only built upon falsehood, but also upon dishonesty. If that's the
> case, it's absolutely imperative that the world should know. And given that
> those who falsify data are unlikely to confess having done so, the only way
> that the world will ever know is via means that are legally questionable.
> Essentially, these are institutional e-mails, not personal e-mails. It is
> precisely to protect those who violate the confidence rules of institutions
> (whether corporations or governments or research institutes) that
> whistle-blowing laws have been brought into existence. The purpose of
> whistle-blowing laws is to put the public good above the private survival
> interests of corporations, government bureaucracies, politicians, and
> interest groups. Even if the release of these particular e-mails was (in
> terms of current law) a legal violation, it was certainly in the spirit of
> whistle-blowing, which elsewhere in our society is regarded as honourable and
> in many cases is completely legal. It is thus far from clear that it was
> either an immoral or an un-Christian action.
> I wrote a lengthy post -- unanswered by anyone here -- giving reasons why the
> experts should not automatically be trusted. The possibility of outright
> dishonesty and manipulation of data, as opposed to plain old academic and
> scientific bias, was not among my reasons. I now add it to my reasons. I
> was not, it seems, cynical enough.
> If these reports are true, we have people who have betrayed the very spirit
> of science, and have misled the public, hoping to goad it into a policy which
> may not be necessary, and which might wreck Western economies, especially the
> American economy, creating untold suffering to the families of tens of
> thousands of unemployed workers, as the jobs move to countries immune from
> Kyoto restrictions (while the university professors and millionaire former
> Vice-Presidents who support the policy live on in luxury). If the e-mail
> hackers had used their information for private gain, e.g., for blackmail, I
> would condemn them. But as they have released it freely to the world, and
> stand nothing to gain from it, I regard their action as whistle-blowing and
> in the public interest. As Schwarzwald says, whistle-blowing, even where it
> technically violates privacy (as it usually must, if it is to do any social
> good), can be a morally justifiable activity.
> All the facts aren't in yet, and all these e-mails need to be studied
> carefully. But once they are studied, if they do say what they are alleged
> to say, I hope to hear some retractions of some of the statements made about
> climate change, both on this list and elsewhere. Like Schwarzwald, I don't
> reject the AGW hypothesis out of hand. But I have objected to the
> unscientific, unprofessional tactics (bullying, fear-mongering, exaggeration,
> insults, mockery, appeals to authority and consensus, suppression of
> dissident views, etc.) which have accompanied the promotion of that
> hypothesis. If dishonesty is also one of the tactics that has been used,
> well, that just confirms the fishy smell I detected about the AGW debate from
> the beginning.
> Cameron.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Schwarzwald
> To:
> Sent: Monday, November 23, 2009 10:29 AM
> Subject: Re: [asa] Hadley files stolen and published on the internet...
> There's something innately humorous about suggesting no one read,
> distribute or discuss the content of those emails owing to, of all things,
> professional ethics. The violation of which these emails, if they are
> accurate, are exposing in great detail.
> And as someone who has watched one bit of "Christian ethics" after another
> fall under question over the years - from sodomy to gay marriage to abortion
> to who knows what else - I find it hard to accept that the line is now so
> clear, so utterly crystal clear, when it comes to leaking emails indicating
> politicking and corruption of the scientific process. It's not like the
> reason everyone is talking about this is because it was exposed that
> Scientist X sure has a hankerin' for hookers. (Not that Christian ethics are
> clear on that being unethical anymore, I suppose, depending on who one
> asks.)
> I wonder how many people, if these were the emails of climate skeptics,
> would be calling it "whistleblowing" and an act of heroism. Indeed, I wonder
> how many people would consider *the contents of these emails, if true* to be
> heroic acts. After all, their hearts were in the right place. Right?
> Sorry. I'm not even an AGW denier. But there's something grimly comical
> about the reaction to the whole thing, and damned if I'm gonna pretend
> otherwise.
> On Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 10:12 AM, Keith Miller <>
> wrote:
> With utter and deserved shame, if the contents of those emails are
> accurate, and if we had any decency.
> The content of the e-mails is utterly irrelevant to the unethical nature
> of their aquisition and distribution. Distributing private e-mails is a
> breach of professional ethics, let alone Christian ones.
> Keith

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Received on Mon Nov 23 14:10:42 2009

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