Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spining the Truth as Lies in Climate Change

There is a great, very analytical discussion and dissection of some of the claims of 'proof' of scientific fraud from the hacked climate change emails. What the denialist krew have been doing is quote mining - taking a small section of a quote out of context so it appears to say something it does not. Now I regularly remove bits of quotes, not to change the meaning but to focus on the important bits. When that editing changes the meaning of the original writer, you're in the realm of lies and propaganda. Here's an example. Take this quote:
But the current diagram with the tree ring only data somewhat contradicts the multiproxy curve and dilutes the message rather significantly. ... This is probably the most important issue to resolve in Chapter 2 at present.

So this sounds like the author to the email is concerned that the proxy data (tree rings) are messing with the overall message so need to be resolved. The implication with this is that the resolution needs to 'fix' the proxy so it does not contradict the message. So what does the ... miss out? Here's the same quote with the middle portion restored:
But the current diagram with the tree ring only data somewhat contradicts the multiproxy curve and dilutes the message rather significantly. We want the truth. Mike thinks it lies nearer his result (which seems in accord with what we know about worldwide mountain glaciers and, less clearly, suspect about solar variations). The tree ring results may still suffer from lack of multicentury time scale variance. This is probably the most important issue to resolve in Chapter 2 at present.

Wow - what a difference - now we see that the main aim is the truth; the scientists want to know what the data is telling them. That line, "We want the truth" blows a hole in the denial case of communist conspiracy evil mad scientists scientific fraud - when you read the emails, rather than somebody else's spin on them, you can see this was normal science. No conspiracy or fraud - just normal science that leads to some uncomfortable truths for cultures built on capitalism, oil addiction and hyper-consumption.

1 comment:

watchingthedeniers said...

Great article mate.

You know what we need? A project that puts together the cherry picked quotes and puts them into context for all to see.

Perhaps it's been done? Climategate is the central claim of conspiracy for the denial movement. Time to take that apart even more.