I thought the recent “Climategate” (or “Climaquiddick” or whatever you want to call it) story was just as funny as the next guy. Not just because I don’t like the prospect of paying $17 a gallon for gas or having a government functionary assigned to stand in my hallway and watch the setting on my home thermostat (“We’re expecting a cold snap tonight. May I turn the heat on?” “Sure, just fill out these forms and we’ll try to put in for that change by next Tuesday. Next!” “But I’m the only person here…” “NEXT!”).
More than that, I am just sick and tired of being constantly browbeaten by environmentalist schoolmarms, and seeing a fat bag of gas like Al Gore get so thoroughly lanced that he’s afraid to show his face in public is just about as enjoyable a piece of news as I can imagine. I’m also glad to see this news inspiring some more vociferous pushback on the whole global warming scam, especially from the Christian community, which can be susceptible to the guilt trip tactics favored by eco-nags.
However, while comeuppance for con artists is a good thing, this is the kind of scandal that could cripple our faith in all kinds scientific research, and that would be a bad thing. Scientists are in danger of being lumped in with used car salesmen on the professional respect scale. Though the vast majority of them toil in honest anonymity, just like any other profession, the ones that get all the ink seem to always be tangled up in politicized controversy. Good advice for scientists might be to stay away from the limelight for a little while, and stop throwing away your data.