Sunday, December 6, 2009

Science vs. Religious "Science"

I am currently reading Richard Dawkins latest book: The Greatest Show on Earth. It is a book whose sole purpose is to lay out the evidence for evolution. I haven't finished it yet, but already I highly recommend it. It's pretty awesome. Anyway, I was struck by this passage:

One of the nice things about science is that it is a public activity. Scientists publish their methods as well as their conclusions, which means that anybody else, anywhere in the world, can repeat their work. If they don't get the same results, we want to know the reason why. Usually they don't just repeat the work but extend it: carry it further.

It struck me because this is exactly the opposite approach taken by many of the climate scientists involved in the so-called “climate gage” e-mail scandal. The e-mails admit to destroying original data, using statistical tricks to hide trends and pressuring scientific journals not to publish skeptical papers. One of the most compelling reasons for me not to take climate change skeptics seriously was the fact that there appeared to be a very strong consensus of scientists who were very much alarmed. Now we know that that consensus was, at least to some degree, manufactured. This is the sort of behavior one would expect from creationists, not scientists. Perhaps even more concerning is the lack of play that climate gate seems to be getting in the media.

Just an interesting contrast.