Friday, March 05, 2010

One Sided Transparency

There is an interesting mini-row developing around the statement by the Institute of Physics in response to another row over the hacking of emails. The first statement, which as seized upon of the denailopshere as proof of their claims, was then followed by a second statement that clarified that the Institute of Physics was not doubting the science of global warming. This then followed with predictable cries from denialists that the shadowy lizard-forces of the New World Order had pressured them into the second statement... it seemed that the cracks in the global conspiracy were beginning to show..

Isn't obvious that the Institute lost its nerve in view of the fuss (and, I don't doubt, following heavy pressure from Miliband's eco fascists)? Of course the initial submission represents its true opinion.

Except that it then turned out that there was no evidence of the axis of evil-NWO-Lizards-Ecofascists... something much more mundane (but important) has happened; the original statement had been co-drafted by an energy consultant with ties to the oil industry and a known climate change denialist.. and other members are not happy;

"If the IOP continues to stand by this statement then I will have no other option but to reconsider my membership."

But the denialists still stand by the original (well they would, wouldn't they...);

Politics aside, the IoP statement in favour of openness, transparency and accountability was a beacon for the integrity of science. I find it very telling that your biases on the subject of climate science coax such vitriolic aggression towards those who put their name to it.

Which does not accord well with the fact that the drafting of a statement asking for more transparency is itself shrouded in secrecy and undeclared vested interests...nice.

The IOP added that the submission was approved by three members of its science board, but would not reveal their names. The Guardian contacted several members of the board, including its chairman, Denis Weaire, a physicist at Trinity College Dublin. All said that they had little direct role in the submission.

The institute supplied a statement from an anonymous member of its science board, which said: "The institute should feel relaxed about the process by which it generated what is, anyway, a statement of the obvious." It added: "The points [the submission] makes are ones which we continue to support, that science should be practised openly and in an unbiased way. However much we sympathise with the way in which CRU researchers have been confronted with hostile requests for information, we believe the case for openness remains just as strong."

How about setting a good example by starting with how this statement came to be?


JMurphy said...

I have sent the following email to this address :

"Having just read the latest GUARDIAN article about your submission to the Select Committee on Science and Technology ("Climate emails inquiry: Energy consultant linked to physics body's submission"), I would like to ask you how you can state, as quoted in that article : "we believe the case for openness remains just as strong"; while also maintaining that 'the IOP would not reveal names' and releasing 'a statement from an anonymous member' ?
Either you agree with openness applied to all or you don't. Do you believe that openness only applies to certain people and organisations ?

To show your openness and transparency, please reveal the members of the Energy sub-committee of the Science board who drew up your submission to the above-mentioned Committee, as well as the members of the Science board who approved it and the 'anonymous member' who supplied the recent statement referred to in the GUARDIAN article mentioned.
What have you got to hide ?

Please be as open as you expect others to be."

Hopefully lots more people will do something similar.

anarchist said...

Great idea! Transparency is the order of the day!