Right-Wing pollster Scott Rasmussen baselessly accuses climate scientists of “Data Falsification”
The right-wing swiftboating campaign against climate scientists dubbed “Climategate” by its perpetrators is becoming frighteningly unhinged, accusing climate researchers of Hitlerian fascism for fighting against corruption of science by oil-funded ideologues. On Wednesday, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the top Republican on the House global warming committee, claimed these scientists were engaging in “scientific fascism.” After Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) denounced his egregious attack, Sensenbrenner defined “scientific fascism” of “intimidation in the scientific community of people who wish to be contrary what the convention wisdom is”:
I’ll define what I mean by scientific fascism. These emails trash the scientific conclusions by those who have disputed Michael Mann’s hockey stick theory. There are information in the emails that the scientific publication Climate Research in which they were published ought to be boycotted because they weren’t doing the politically correct thing. And I understand that the editor of Climate Research ended up getting fired as a result. There is intimidation in the scientific community of people who wish to be contrary what the convention wisdom is.
The incident to which Sensenbrenner is alluding in fact involves an admirable event in scientific history, when the scientific community successfully resisted attempts by Exxon-Mobil and Republicans to politicize and corrupt climate research.
In 2003, the journal Climate Research published a paper by astrophysicists Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon which argued that “the current global warming trend is not unique and that an even more dramatic episode occurred centuries ago, before widespread combustion of oil and coal.”
As illegally hacked emails from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit indeed reveal, the publication of this paper shocked climate researchers, who discussed an array of responses in March, 2003, from a joint response explaining the paper’s flaws to asking colleagues to shun the journal or encouraging the journal to “get rid of the offending editor,” contrarian Chris de Freitas.
What Sensenbrenner and the other smear merchants fail to mention is that the researchers were correct in their concerns that the journal had been taken over by biased ideologues. Despite Sensenbrenner’s claim, no editors were fired because of the climate realists. Rather, the editor of Climate Research, Hans Von Storch, quit in July 2003 because he was suppressed by the journal’s publisher when he attempted to disown the paper’s “severe methodological flaws“:
A science journal editor who recently published an article questioning whether industrial emissions are driving up the earth’s temperature has resigned, saying he was not allowed to publish an editorial repudiating the article.
Five editors “” half the editorial board of the journal “” soon joined Von Storch in a mass resignation “” while Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) held a hearing to promote the blatantly flawed paper during the debate on the McCain-Lieberman climate bill.
The Soon-Baliunas paper turned out to be crass Big Oil propaganda, “underwritten by the American Petroleum Institute and promoted by nonprofit organizations that receive support from energy interests, primarily ExxonMobil Corp.” Journal publisher Otto Kinne eventually admitted in August, 2003, that the Soon-Baliunas claims “cannot be concluded convincingly from the evidence provided in the paper” “” but only after the paper had served its political purpose.
We return to the present day, where mainstream environmental reporters have abetted this new, disgusting character assassination campaign. Reporters from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and the Associated Press “” among many others “” have wrung their hands about the ethics of the scientific community while the Fox Business Network compares scientists to Hitler and Stalin and Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com compares them to Nazi eugenicists.
One wishes these reporters would at least read their own, earlier reporting on the Soon-Baliunas affair.
INSLEE: Mr. Sensenbrenner suggested that there’s some “scientific fascism,” and that’s a quote. Is there any evidence of fascism in the NASA organization, “scientific fascism” associated with this?
HOLDREN: I’m not even sure exactly what that term would mean. But I don’t “” I’m not aware of any cabals, conspiracies, misbehavior in the characterization and use of data in NASA or NOAA.
INSLEE: I tell you, it’s troublesome to me that people who put man on the moon, people who discovered water on the moon, the people who are doing great research figuring out how the oceans are acidic, some of whom are my constituents “” It’s disturbing to me that people would come to this chamber and call them fascists!
I gotta tell you, I got a problem with that. I don’t think that’s right. These men and women to provide us data and conclusions to the best of their ability. And they through their professional work have created a very very strong consensus on these scientific issues, who are working for Uncle Sam. I think it’s wrong to say that about them.
And there’s a little bit of emotion in my voice because I’ve seen in my neighborhood what this phenomenon is doing. I’d like to be able to catch salmon and my grandson who celebrated his first birthday on Sunday to catch salmon that live on terapods maybe fifty or sixty years from now. And when people watch what I watched and say that this is just a big scientific fascist conspiracy that are ginning this stuff up, I got a problem with that….
SENSENBRENNER: I’ll define what I mean by scientific fascism. These emails trash the scientific conclusions by those who have disputed Michael Mann’s hockey stick theory. There are information in the emails that the scientific publication Climate Research in which they were published ought to be boycotted because they weren’t doing the politically correct thing. And I understand that the editor of Climate Research ended up getting fired as a result. There is intimidation in the scientific community of people who wish to be contrary what the convention wisdom is.
[JR: Of course, the hockey stick was essentially vindicated by the National Academy of Sciences (see NAS Report and here). See also “Michael Mann updates the world on the latest climate science and responds to the illegally hacked emails.” That was a Wonk Room repost. Here is another repost.]
Joining the Climategate swiftboating campaign against climate science, conservative pollster Scott Rasmussen has accused scientists of falsifying data about global warming “” an incendiary charge. In the most recent of his instapolls designed to reinforce conservative talking points, Rasmussen finds that “[f]ifty-nine percent (59%) of Americans say it’s at least somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified research data to support their own theories and beliefs about global warming. Thirty-five percent (35%) say it’s Very Likely. Just 26% say it’s not very or not at all likely that some scientists falsified data. ” Rasmussen goes on to make the baseless charge that there is confirmation of “such data falsification“:
This skepticism does not appear to be the result of the recent disclosure of e-mails confirming such data falsification as part of the so-called “Climategate” scandal.
There is, in fact, no such confirmation or evidence, which would mean the end of the careers of any scientists who would engage in that kind of practice. Rasmussen’s libel is groundless. As Nature’s editors explain:
A fair reading of the e-mails reveals nothing to support the denialists’ conspiracy theories.
Scott Rasmussen is just the latest right-wing hack to embrace this unprincipled and unhinged smear campaign against climate scientists on the eve on international climate negotiations in Copenhagen, following the lead of everyone from Glenn Beck to Newt Gingrich. One of these smeared scientists, renowned climatologist Ben Santer, has decided to fight back against the “forces of unreason“:
We are now faced with powerful “forces of unreason” – forces that (at least to date) have been unsuccessful in challenging scientific findings of a warming Earth, and a “discernible human influence” on global climate. These forces of unreason are now shifting the focus of their attention to the scientists themselves. They seek to discredit, to skew the truth, to misrepresent. They seek to destroy scientific careers rather than to improve our understanding of the nature and causes of climate change.
Josh Nelson has more at the aptly named SwiftHack.com.