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Should Global-Warming Activists Lie to Defend Their Cause?

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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When, if ever, is lying justified? I talked about this conundrum this week in a freshmen humanities class, in which we were reading Immanuel Kant on morality. Kant proposed that we judge the rightness or wrongness of an act, such as breaking a promise, by considering what happens if everyone does it. If you don’t want to live in a world in which everyone routinely breaks promises, then you shouldn’t do so.

That’s a fine principle, in the abstract, but my students and I agreed that in certain situations lying is excusable. Shouldn’t you lie if your girlfriend asks you if you like her new haircut? If your boss, who’s a vindictive bastard, asks your opinion of his new business plan? What about lying in order to reveal a plot that you believe imperils all of humanity?

That brings me to the latest scandal to emerge from the debate over global warming. Two weeks ago, an anonymous source distributed internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a conservative organization, to journalists and bloggers. As reported on this site on February 15, the documents revealed, among other facts, that the Heartland Institute, as part of a larger strategy for undermining support for global warming, was supporting prominent skeptics such as physicist Fred Singer and geologist Robert Carter.

Last week, Peter Gleick, a global-warming researcher and environmental activist, admitted on Huffington Post that he had been the source of the documents. Gleick confessed that he obtained the documents by approaching the Heartland Institute under a feigned identity.

The incident has exposed a deep fissure not just between global-warming deniers and believers but within the green community. For example, the journalist Andy Revkin, author of the blog Dot Earth, deplored Gleick’s actions, for the following reasons:

“One way or the other, Gleick’s use of deception in pursuit of his cause after years of calling out climate deception has destroyed his credibility and harmed others. (Some of the released documents contain information about Heartland employees that has no bearing on the climate fight.) That is his personal tragedy and shame (and I’m sure devastating for his colleagues, friends and family). The broader tragedy is that his decision to go to such extremes in his fight with Heartland has greatly set back any prospects of the country having the ‘rational public debate’ that he wrote—correctly–is so desperately needed.”

Another blogger, Joe Romm of Climate Progress, granted that Gleick “committed a serious lapse of professional judgment and ethics. He is right to regret his actions and make a personal apology.” But Romm went on to demand that Revkin apologize for quoting global-warming sources who, according to Romm, have “been repeatedly debunked, the disinformers and confusionists.” Romm is referring not to deniers but to believers—such as Roger Pielke, a respected scientist–who do not accept the most extreme climate-change scenarios and solutions. To my mind, Romm is faulting Revkin—who is one of the most knowledgeable, conscientious, hard-working journalists I know–for doing his job well.

Gleick himself sounded contrite. He put it this way: “My judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts–often anonymous, well-funded, and coordinated–to attack climate science and scientists and prevent this debate, and by the lack of transparency of the organizations involved. Nevertheless I deeply regret my own actions in this case. I offer my personal apologies to all those affected.”

Kant said that when judging the morality of an act, we must weigh the intentions of the actor. Was he acting selfishly, to benefit himself, or selflessly, to help others? By this criterion, Gleick’s lie was clearly moral, because he was defending a cause that he passionately views as righteous. Gleick, you might say, is a hero comparable to Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who in 1971 stole and released documents that revealed that U.S. officials lied to justify the war in Vietnam.

But another philosopher my students and I are reading, the utilitarian John Stuart Mill, said that judging acts according to intentions is not enough. We also have to look at consequences. And if Gleick’s deception has any consequences, they will probably be harmful. His exposure of the Heartland Institute’s plans, far from convincing skeptics to reconsider their position, will probably just confirm their suspicions about environmentalists. Even if Gleick’s lie was morally right, it was strategically wrong.

I’ll give the last word to one of my students. The Gleick incident, he said, shows that the “debate” over global warming is not really a debate any more. It’s a war, and when people are waging war, they always lie for their cause.

Image by Dave Burnham, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

 

About the Author: Every week, hockey-playing science writer John Horgan takes a puckish, provocative look at breaking science. A teacher at Stevens Institute of Technology, Horgan is the author of four books, including The End of Science (Addison Wesley, 1996) and The End of War (McSweeney's, 2012). Follow on Twitter @Horganism.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. priddseren 3:37 pm 02/24/2012

    What a ridiculous article by a warmist. Sorry author but science is the only thing that should matter and science requires facts not lies. If your warmist religion can’t be sold on its facts, then you either need to prove your case with better facts(such as using the real world for your analysis instead of the fantasy world in your climate models) and thats it. Lies will be seen through and even far fetched conclusions such as your warming theory. That is the problem you have, you simply do not have evidence to support your claim. So resorting to lies or writing an article like this where you determine a warmist was morally right to lie, well this just adds to the fact that your warmist theory has no legs to stand on.

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  2. 2. jtmodel 3:59 pm 02/24/2012

    There’s a piece here that’s being overlooked — taking Gleick at his word, he lied to verify the authenticity of documents he had already obtained by other means.

    In my book that’s investigation or journalism– fact-checking an anonymous source, which is actually ethical behavior. This is a difference in kind, not degree, when compared to the East Anglia hack. If he had obtained the documents fraudulently from the get-go, then they would be morally equivalent.

    Put it this way, would it have been more ethical to just publish the documents without checking their authenticity? And if not, given the imperative to fact-check, would calling up the Heartland Institute and saying “I’m Peter Gleick, well known Heartland Institure gadfly, and I’ve got some of your documents and I wanted to check their authenticity. Would you do that for me?” have worked?

    In hindsight, perhaps, he could have found slightly less unethical ways to confirm the documents — e.g. exhaustive research to confirm a donation number or tax filing that shows the numbers add up, or found a 3rd party contact that could obtain them under more honest terms. But this is a relatively minor sin.

    Now, if, as Heartland contends, the leak is a fabrication and Gleick obtained the documents fraudulently from the beginning, and concocted a particularly damning one, passing it off as real, then there’s little disagreement about the lack of ethics displayed. But let’s be clear about to what Gleick admitted.

    –jt

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  3. 3. atlane 4:07 pm 02/24/2012

    The author doesn’t even identify the most odious aspect of Gleick’s actions. Gleick not only approached Heartland under a feigned identity, he also included forged documents in the set of real documents that he released. Out of the materials released by Gleick, the memo that was seen as being most damaging did not actually come from Heartland. Gleick included this memo in the set of real documents to make it appear as if it came from Heartland.

    Megan McArdle, who writes for The Atlantic and accepts the occurence of AGW, has a good summary of what Gleick did: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/02/peter-gleick-confesses-to-obtaining-heartland-documents-under-false-pretenses/253395/

    Clearly, the analogy with Daniel Ellsberg breaks down at this point, as Ellsberg did not include unauthentic information in the documents he released. I’d like to know if this changes the author’s moral judgment of Gleick’s actions. But something tells me that if the author thought all of Gleick’s actions were justifiable, he would have made a better fuller disclosure in this article.

    Based on this display, I feel sorry for the Freshmen who have the author as their professor.

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  4. 4. atlane 4:09 pm 02/24/2012

    I now see that jt beat me to the punch.

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  5. 5. mbrysonb 4:20 pm 02/24/2012

    Warmism as religion– now there’s a textbook case of projection if I ever saw one. Have a look– no, a serious look– at the literature on climate science. Find out what science associations around the world have said about greenhouse gases and the threat they pose. You’ll either learn something, or wind up believing that they’re all out to destroy the world economy (for paranoia that deep, I have no prescription).

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  6. 6. Damarch 5:00 pm 02/24/2012

    If you honestly can’t see the difference between lying about your girlfriends hair and lying to promote a scientific theory that may or may not be correct (and if you don’t accept the fact that it may or may not be correct than you’re just a fanatic who knows nothing of science) you’re truly lost.

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  7. 7. parobinson 5:25 pm 02/24/2012

    @atlane: “…Gleick included this memo in the set of real documents to make it appear as if it came from Heartland.”

    How on earth do you know that ??? The HI claim that it is a fake, but then they would say that, wouldn’t they?

    Megan McArdle took the line that since the PDF file was created in a different geographical region from HI’s offices then it must be a fake – a fallacious argument since it appears that it was mailed to Gleick in hardcopy and he would have scanned it !

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  8. 8. atlane 5:38 pm 02/24/2012

    @parobinson: Gleick has admitted that he did not receive the memo from Heartland; he received it from a third-party. He then included that memo in the materials that he received from Heartland. Gleick had to have known that by including the memo with authentic documents, it would give the memo an air of authenticity that it did not deserve. That goes beyond the ethics of assuming a false identity in order to obtain the documents.

    McArdle gives many, many reasons to believe that the memo never came from Heartland, but was forged. Not the least of which is that the memo contains several factual errors regarding the amount of funding Heartland has received in the past. Even before Gleick admitted that he received the memo from a third-party, McArdle identified numerous ways in which the memo was different from all of the other Heartland documents: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/02/heartland-memo-looking-faker-by-the-minute/253276/

    At this point, you’d have to be willfully blind to believe that the memo is legit.

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  9. 9. am10nxw 5:46 pm 02/24/2012

    Lets address these.

    That’s a fine principle, in the abstract, but my students and I agreed that in certain situations lying is excusable. Shouldn’t you lie if your girlfriend asks you if you like her new haircut? If your boss, who’s a vindictive bastard, asks your opinion of his new business plan? What about lying in order to reveal a plot that you believe imperils all of humanity?

    If you lie to keep your girl friend happy then she will keep doing things you don’t like because she thinks you like it.

    If you lie to your boss because you want to keep him happy he will keep putting you on projects that you don’t like or that you know are doomed ot fail from the beginning.

    If you lie in order to save all humanity you may actually doom humanity. Hitler who thought he had to cleanse all of humanity in order to save humanity. Lied about what he was doing with all the ‘tainted people’ he was removing from the gene pool.

    Climate scientist don’t know what problems may result from lieing to the public. An extremist may get power believe the lie and over correct the situation. After all the root of the problem is over population.

    Lies often pay off in the short, but rarely in the long run.

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  10. 10. Jim2B 5:56 pm 02/24/2012

    John,

    If you were truly interested in the subject as a topic for conversation for your humanities class, you would have briefly described several ethical systems and allowed the students to determine whether Mr. Gleick violated those ethics. IMO Gleick’s actions were contrary to most ethical systems although a case can be made that they didn’t violate a few of them.

    That completely ignores another aspect: that Mr. Gleick violated several criminal and civil laws including (but not limited to) identity theft, fraud, forgery, and libel. I trust our legal system to sort Mr. Gleick out in due time.

    Finally, Mr. Gleick’s behavior should NOT be taken out of context. His behavior reflects similar efforts by other warmists to falsely portray the evidence, severity, and consequences of global warming (for instance dire predictions of the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers by 2035 was included in AR4 because it might startle political and popular sentiment into action despite the fact that the article did not meet the AR4 standards for inclusion).

    Such a pervasive and repeated lying about warming evidence indicates it has become a political movement even among its scientific proponents and has lost any semblance to an actual scientific investigation to discover what is actually happening.

    Until this global warming movement cleans house and becomes entirely scrupulous and above board about all findings (both for and against), then it has lost any right to call its results “scientific”.

    Frankly the whole movement disgusts me now.

    On another note, the actual HI documentation showed an organization very poorly funded in comparison to the public funds funneled to even one pro-warming research (such as the CRU). It also revealed no surprises in regards to which scientists receive its funding.

    All in all these documents revealed nothing negative about skeptics involved but revealed a great deal about the levels and type of behavior warmists feel is appropriate to try to suppress any questions about their favorite dogma.

    Try reading some of Richard Feynman’s comments on cargo cult science:
    “There is one feature I notice that is generally missing in “cargo cult science.” It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty — a kind of leaning over backwards.”
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Richard_Feynman#The_Pleasure_of_Finding_Things_Out_.281999.29

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  11. 11. atlane 5:56 pm 02/24/2012

    @parobinson: I’d also note that McArdle made the argument about the different time-zones before Gleick had admitted that the documents came from him, and that the memo came from a third-party. Therefore, the argument was in no way fallacious, as it was used to support the contention that the memo was provided separately from the other Heartland documents. McArdle was, of course, proven right on that count within a day or two.

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  12. 12. Jim2B 6:22 pm 02/24/2012

    The people most offended by Gleick’s behavior should be the people most harmed by his actions.

    These are the Hartland Institute and honest climate scientists.

    Although we do see some protestations from pro-warming climate scientists, it is unfortunately not very vigorous or common.

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  13. 13. candide 6:53 pm 02/24/2012

    I will never advocate lying, but it seems to me that there are two standards here on deception.

    Deniers illegally gained access to emails, stole emails, cherry picked and manipulated them – and created an “incident” over that, which was widely reported and had a long shelf life. While some people objected to the way it was done, it was less than a slap on the wrist.

    Now someone deceived people, while ethically wrong it was probably not a crime and people are going nuts over that – while playing down what the memo shows.

    Deniers are hypocritically playing opposite sides of the same standard here for their benefit on both.

    Let’s just use one standard and apply it fairly, evenly and non-preferentially.

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  14. 14. jctyler 7:36 pm 02/24/2012

    “When, if ever, is lying justified?”

    In science? NEVER! Under no circumstances!

    Why not support plagiarism and tweaking evidence while you’re at it?

    Is my mind playing tricks or are you the guy who turned pro-nuke last year or something?

    I’ll have to remember:

    a) to drive around anything signed Horgan;
    b) to try to find out why there are no minimum standards for sciam blogs.

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  15. 15. jctyler 7:41 pm 02/24/2012

    I should add that what Gleick did is not science nor anything to do with science. It’s all about showing how that funny heartland thingie lies and fiddles with evidence to serve its corporate masters. Gleick used a trick that the FBI and the no-climate-change dimwits have used to gain access to evidence, the FBI to good effect, the dimwits to shoot themselves in their feet every time. Nothing to do with science.

    My previous comment stands as is.

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  16. 16. parobinson 8:14 pm 02/24/2012

    @atlane: I concede that McArdle’s article came before the confession, but I have not seen any admission that the evidence may have allowed for other possibilities. Is it justifiable to say that it came from a different source (as opposed to merely a different route)? Maybe, maybe not. None of us will know until the true source is discovered. Furthermore, I don’t see any of the accusers acknowledging that the possibility exists of a single source. Until then, there are too many assumptions flying around… and the pretension to know what was on Gleick’s mind.

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  17. 17. GogogoStopSTOP 8:43 pm 02/24/2012

    Horgan… don’t quit your day job. And I’m presuming you’re not a successful philosopher either.

    Suppose you lie because you have the right intentions, BUT, you are a person constantly deceiving yourself, suppose you always lie to yourself… can I tell a lie now?

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  18. 18. GogogoStopSTOP 8:48 pm 02/24/2012

    Let’s ask Adolph & Josef what there intentions were. Maybe we didn’t understand all of them, maybe we didn’t dig far enough into there true psyche! Dolt!

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  19. 19. Steve S 8:50 pm 02/24/2012

    Wow, SA. Are you intentionally trying to damage what integrity the CAGW crowd has left? I don’t know what to say. Other than please change the name of your once proud publication to ‘The Tattler’. (My first choice, ‘Weekly World News’ was already taken)

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  20. 20. Jim2B 9:28 pm 02/24/2012

    @Candide,

    Your syntax is wrong. Skeptics gained access to emails that had been disseminated illegally. It’s not clear that any skeptic performed any wrong doing. My guess is that it was an inside job appears the email release.

    As for manipulating those emails, I have seen no such thing. Go read the emails for yourself and then judge whether those who wrote them were performing science.

    Frankly the whole blacklisting of people who don’t toe the party line is pretty darned bad (and not science) but the truncation of data that doesn’t fit the political by-line that is anti-science. If the evidence you collect doesn’t support your pet hypothesis, then you bury the data.

    That’s not just dishonest and anti-science; it is also a very bad way to get people to trust you. Because this behavior does always become public knowledge.

    Once again Candide, you epitomize what’s wrong with those convinced of extreme anthropogenic climate climate – any means is justified if it can be used for the end of promoting the pet hypothesis.

    Frankly I’m of the opinion that we really ought to figure out what is happening (and to what degree) BEFORE we commit to starving a billion or more people by making food and energy too expensive for them to afford.

    Pay attention to Egypt over the next 5 years or so. A lot of other people are going to start going hungry.

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  21. 21. Forsythkid 9:30 pm 02/24/2012

    Lying seems the ‘in’ thing to do these days. For instance, I thought this article was very insightful and relevant.

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  22. 22. sheep rustler 9:41 pm 02/24/2012

    Lying in the name of politics backed by science is an official method, created by Funtowicz and Ravetz to address issues so urgent but too complicated to be certain as a short cut means to an end.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-normal_science
    “Philosophers and practitioners of science have identified this particular mode of scientific activity as one that occurs where the stakes are high, uncertainties large and decisions urgent, and where values are embedded in the way science is done and spoken.”

    It has been quoted in specific detail by Mike Hulme of the CRU in an interview:

    “This is the wrong question to ask of science. Self-evidently dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth seeking, although science will gain some insights into the question if it recognises the socially contingent dimensions of a post-normal science. But to proffer such insights, scientists – and politicians – must trade (normal) truth for influence. If scientists want to remain listened to, to bear influence on policy, they must recognise the social limits of their truth seeking and reveal fully the values and beliefs they bring to their scientific activity.”

    This in fact is a rehashing of Goebbel’s original manual of propaganda, modernised to fit the current media and needs of politicians to get the job done not just at home but worldwide, now many policies like Keynesianism and the like are becoming adopted internationally among the majority of the first world. Of course once science and politics merge you lose the science altogether and just left with politics, as the two are pretty well mutually exclusive and the entry of one tends to drive out the other virtually entirely. Once the grey values of politics are taken on by science then science is dead. I think this article pretty much hints at this as well.

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  23. 23. mbrysonb 9:44 pm 02/24/2012

    Hey, Jim-

    Where do your figures on starvation come from? I’ll bet there’s no scientific study you can cite that supports that crap. As for blacklisting, when you have evidence of it (instead of paranoid fanatsizing) I’ll be interested. As for a real cause of starvation, I can’t see a better one on the way than ongoing climate change– already well underway, and a few new record droughts, a bit more heat, and you can sit back and watch the mess your fossil fuel driven, pedal-to-the-metal, drill, baby, drill fantasies have helped create.

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  24. 24. Tiqueo10 10:22 pm 02/24/2012

    Yes, it’s important enough to tell a ‘white-lie’ in order to get the truth out there.
    It will give fodder to those who will yell “you lie!” in order to raise hackles and that’s just sad.
    As long as the lie isn’t about the facts of Global Warming/Climate Change we’re in moral territory.
    Twisting the facts on GW/CC , now that’s immoral!

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  25. 25. sheep rustler 10:22 pm 02/24/2012

    @mbrysonb I trust you are so concerned chasing up figures on scientific climate data you’re not following any of the recent consequences of the numerous associated policies. Here’s a typical example http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/07/science/earth/07cassava.html

    “…But last year, 98 percent of cassava chips exported from Thailand, the world’s largest cassava exporter, went to just one place and almost all for one purpose: to China to make biofuel.”

    This means there is only so much land and crops grown on the suitable land and if you replace one with another then the food crops are reduced, the prices rise through an artificial shortage, and people indeed die of starvation. These are not future generations of unborn grandchildren but people living up till very recently and many living now but not for a lot longer.

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  26. 26. atlane 10:24 pm 02/24/2012

    @parobinson: Gleick claims that he acquired the Heartland documents under a false identity in order to help confirm the authenticity of the Memo that he received from some third-party. However, the Memo contains factual errors that are not consistent with the Heartland documents. Shouldn’t that have brought its authenticity into question from Gleick’s point of view? Is it *possible* that the Memo originated from Heartland? Of course its possible, but Gleick hadn’t done enought to establish that. And McArdle has presented more than a dozen reasons to seriously doubt that it did. Virtually all of the evidence points to the Memo being fake.

    I don’t claim to know what’s going on in Gleick’s mind. I do know that someone who has held numerous esteemed positions in the field of science should have known that by mixing the Memo with the documents that came directly from Heartland, he was deceiving the public as to the Memo’s authenticity. If Gleick didn’t realize that this was a deceptive act, it would mean that he is grossly incompetent, and he should have never held the positions he previously held.

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  27. 27. cassowary 10:26 pm 02/24/2012

    I don’t at all like the approach these thoughts take.

    If it’s okay to lie to out a plot to destroy the world, then isn’t it likewise okay to kill a person who’s teaching something you think puts eternal souls into jeopardy? What of the person who’s wholly convinced that God has spoken to him and told him to blow up a train? Are these morally acceptable? By saying that lying is sometimes acceptable, you destroy all of morality and are left with anarchy.

    Whenever I act, and I want to justify my actions by the consequences instead of the process, I ask myself: What if I’m wrong? If Dr Gleick had considered the possibility that (however sure he might be) human carbon emissions aren’t causing dangerous climate change, and aren’t going to, would he still have acted? I’m not saying he is wrong, but just saying that I can’t imagine a person who’s absolutely right. And given that, I don’t assume I’m absolutely right, so I will ensure that what I’m doing is morally acceptable whatever my goals.

    Ends do not justify means. The action must be wholly moral to be moral: it must be morally intended, morally taken out, and have morally acceptable consequences. This is a hard burden to bear, and we’ll all trip up on it (especially when we can’t easily forsee the consequences). But there’s no reason to pre-suppose it’s possible to live a wholly moral life, only that you’ve always got to try and live and morally.

    And in this very particular case, I think this casts significant doubt on Dr Gleick’s contributions, both as a researcher and—I presume—as a reviewer for journals. How can I trust anything he’s done, if he’s gone to such extraordinary lengths to further his view, and seems to have no limits on his ego and the confidence of his own opinions.

    (As to the question of lying about a girlfriend’s hair, I wouldn’t say it was good if I didn’t think it was good. It doesn’t seem to me to serve any goal. If she’s going to be greatly offended if I don’t say “yes, it’s lovely”, then why did she ask me the question? If she was asking a different question: for instance, do I trust her judgement about her appearance, then she should’ve asked me that question instead. It seems no goal is served by lying to this question, neither communication nor growing in love nor harmony nor anything else I can reasonably think of.)

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  28. 28. jaemery 10:38 pm 02/24/2012

    “That’s a fine principle, in the abstract, but my students and I agreed that in certain situations lying is excusable. ”

    I just HOPE that whomever wrote that quote is just kidding. Otherwise, he/she is just plain stooooopid, and his students probably see that, if they are not also stoooopid.

    And you just cannot fix stoooopid!

    The dumb jackass must not have any frigging clue that it is critical just WHO decides what “certain situations” is important here. Can I/you/he decide that at will?

    The dumb jackass HAS to be a “progressive” moron with very little ability to think!

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  29. 29. jaemery 11:00 pm 02/24/2012

    I used to revere SA, but it has turned into nothing but another tabloid. So sad. There is no “S” in SA, anymore!

    I will bet that subscriptions are WAY down. I know that I will never purchase another copy, until the politicians leading the cause are gone.

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  30. 30. FrederickMichael 11:55 pm 02/24/2012

    There are two things that absolutely crush any defense of Gleick.

    1) He initially failed to distinguish the memo he scanned from the genuine Heartland materials, thus deceiving everyone.

    2) He declined Heartland’s invitation to debate the science of climate change.

    The first (which has been noted by other commenters) is going hurt his chances of staying out of jail. The phishing of Heartlands information can be defended as harmless and without malice, but the deception of including the much more damning “strategy memo” proves malice and intent to do harm. The legal implications are dire.

    The second, in context, shows a lack of scientific seriousness and ethics. He has set back all attempts to convince the public of the treat by years and we may not have the years to spare.

    With friends like him, who needs enemies?

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  31. 31. FrederickMichael 11:57 pm 02/24/2012

    “Threat” not “treat.” D’oh!

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  32. 32. Mark5146546 12:16 am 02/25/2012

    Lying is not the issue here.

    It has become consensus among even conservative climate scientists that man-made industrial activity is warming the globe. This means less of a general uniform warming, but more, rather a dynamization of the system, like a pan of water for noodles will start to churn before it boils; we will have hot and colds spells, storms, draughts and floods, etc.; the albedo feedback loop as the icecaps melt will aggravate these effects in the future. Yet the most worrisome aspect of all is still the clearly Malthusian overtone.

    The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has studied the issue for years before announcing it was real. There is absolutely nothing for a stubborn layman to opinionate about this. At any rate, regardless of the weather, which is always mercurial and relatively more subtle to gauge, the polar meltdown is quite easy to measure, and this data is simple enough for even a person from the Middle Ages to understand.

    It is ridiculous that, in the name of religion, non-fact can be taught at school, such as Creationism. Why not teach Christian Values, or about the lives of the saints like religious people always used to. Religion is the realm of values (what we should do), as important as science, the realm of facts (what is). Has everything become a political issue and whoever shouts the loudest proves himself true? There is just nothing to debate about warming, and certainly only a mad babboon could deny polar meltdown.

    Suppose enough fine people, the vast majority, decide that 2+2=5. Or that the Earth is flat.

    Enough already, with this nonsense!

    Facts are facts, period.

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  33. 33. Owl905 1:07 am 02/25/2012

    People use ‘white lies’ and ‘fibs’ all the time. Glieck came into possession of a damaging document from an anonymous source. He sleuthed to authenticate it – instead, he landed with a false document and a mother-lode of incriminating documents.

    The issue was the use of the documents. It’s pot and kettle time comparing it to the e-mail thefts. Now fasten your seatbelts for a dirty little game of scoops.

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  34. 34. Heteromeles 1:24 am 02/25/2012

    Wow, I’ve never heard “warm-ism” before. Nothing like looking in the mirror and assuming that the other side thinks like you do, is there?

    That goes for the scientists too.

    To me, the people calling me a warm-ist sound like the drug addicts who want us to legalize their habit, not because it makes sense for society, but because it will get us off their backs and ease their consciences, even as the habit kills them.

    And just like addicts, you’re not going to convince the deniers with reason. It’s either cold turkey when the oil runs out, or it’s repeated stints in rehab and learning that our addiction to fossil is more vicious than any drug, because we’ve built our entire society around it, even though it’s killing us and bleeding our economy dry.

    Yes, I can understand why the deniers are frightened and lashing out so viciously. But I don’t want them controlling the narrative of climate change, any more than I want abject addicts controlling the discussion of whether we should legalize crack and meth along with marijuana.

    As for the morality discussion, look at how any addiction warps morals, and then apply that to a whole hooked society. How does one intervene in such an awful mess without feeling slimy afterwards?

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  35. 35. Leslie Fish 4:58 am 02/25/2012

    Purely as a layman, I have some questions about Global Warming that nobody has answered:

    1) If Global Warming is caused by excessive CO2 in the atmosphere, why can’t it be prevented simply by planting more trees, not to mention crops? Any greenhouseman can tell you that plants thrive in a CO2 atmosphere, and in fact rapidly turn it into an oxygen atmosphere. In fact, is there no evidence that plant growth hasn’t been increasing already?

    2) If Global Warming is caused by modern industry, then what caused the previous warming periods long before modern industry was invented?

    3) If Global Warming is caused by human activity, then why — during the same period — have astronomers noticed the temperatures rising on Mars, Titan and Pluto? Never mind glaciers melting in Europe; why have the icecaps been melting on Mars?

    Can anyone answer these for me?

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  36. 36. Luca 5:17 am 02/25/2012

    There is no scientific lie about the heartland case.

    Please let out Kant in this case, Von Clausewitz may be a bit more appropriate.

    My opinion: Well done!!

    Scientific community have to be more smart in unmasking these payd bashers.

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  37. 37. Katabasis 5:24 am 02/25/2012

    That the author even feels able to ask the question shows how far science has fallen.

    Both Kant and Mill would have been horrified. The author should be drawing in Plato instead – one of the few who may have entertained the question – as he originated the notion of the Noble Lie.

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  38. 38. Carlyle 6:05 am 02/25/2012

    The real story in this Fakegate scandal is how the global warming movement is desperate, delusional, and collapsing as global warming fails to live up to alarmist predictions. People with sound science on their side do not need to forge documents to validate their arguments or make the other side look bad. Also, people who are so desperate as to forge documents in an attempt to frame their rivals are clearly not above forging scientific data, studies, and facts to similarly further their cause. It is both striking and telling how global warming activists have failed to condemn the acts of forgery in the Fakegate scandal.
    http://joannenova.com.au/
    I could not have said it better myself.

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  39. 39. LeeMoore 6:19 am 02/25/2012

    As jtmodel says, we’re accustomed to journalists lying in the course of their investigations. Other people we expect to feel justified in lying would be undercover police officers, and spies. Do these fit into Kant’s category of people acting selflessly ? Not really, as journalists, undercover police and spies usually get paid for their labors. Even when they’re unpaid (such as Gleick in this case) they’re not necessarily acting entirely selflessly – they may still gain in kudos, recognition, or in the triumph of a cause they espouse.

    A more realistic explanation of all of these cases is that the journalist, police officer and spy all justify their lying as a necessary means of defeating evil-doers.

    Those who think the Heartland Institute was up to something wicked will probably excuse Gleick for trying to expose them. And vice versa for the University of East Anglia.

    Incidentally, although a couple of posters above mention illegality in connection with the East Anglia emails, and although the English police have been investigating for a couple of years, have they actually come up with any evidence of illegality ?

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  40. 40. parobinson 7:35 am 02/25/2012

    @atlane: I would indeed be wilfully bind if I were to accept your version of events without first questioning it. I might like to play devil’s advocate, but I am no devil’s fool. You state that “Gleick included this memo in the set of real documents to make it appear as if it came from Heartland.” That is a serious accusation, and as such demands justification in proportion. No assumptions, conjectures or speculations. No plausibilities. No amateur courtroom rhetoric. Between Gleick’s confession and the HI’s claim there is a wide gulf of unknowns. You seem to deal in certainties. Until we know more, I am only prepared to deal in possibilities.

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  41. 41. KipHansen 8:00 am 02/25/2012

    Mr. Horgan: You might better have asked your freshmen humanities class ‘When is it justifiable to commit a Federal felony in support of your cause?’ For this is the case in point.

    Peter Gleick apparently carried on an extended series of emails under an assumed false identity of another real person (a member of HI’s Board of Directors) in order to obtain illegally confidential corporate documents which had fiscal value and then assumed another false identity (this time the fictitious ‘Heartland Insider’) to distribute those documents, along with a forged false document purporting to be an internal HI strategy plan. All this in a purposeful attempt to harm HI by damaging its reputation and cutting off or curtailing funding donations by embarrassing donors.

    This is hardly comparable to ‘a little white lie’ to one’s girlfriend.

    Is it ‘… lying in order to reveal a plot that you believe imperils all of humanity?’ Heartland, no matter what one thinks about their anti-regulatory positions, is hardly a ‘plot that …. imperils all of humanity’ — they could not be more upfront about their actions, if you are on their mailing list, you get sick of hearing from them. See the email from Joe Bast posted at Judith Curry’s Climate Etc blog : http://judithcurry.com/2012/02/24/why-target-heartland/ It is at the end of the post.

    So only if one is so wrapped up in some sort of ‘noble cause’ delusion, to the point of some sort of temporary insanity, could one attempt the ‘plot that …. imperils all of humanity’ justification.

    I think you’re right though — the real problem is that way too many participants in the ‘Climate Wars’ really think it is a WAR and not just a difference of opinion about a potential problem and what should follow by way of solutions.

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  42. 42. Skeptic991 12:46 pm 02/25/2012

    @candide

    FOIA (the person, not the law that CRU violated) is legally responsible for the CRU, Mann et al. emails that were released in Climategates 1 & 2. There, a skeptic agrees with you and there is no double standard. I will note that what he or she did may also rise to the level of whistleblower which those on the left revere so highly. However, no one is claiming that any of those released e-mails are forgeries at this point. Will you as a believer also apply a fair standard and admit that the burden of proof is on those claiming that the Heartland strategy memo is real? Think carefully about the full repercussions if you disagree. If anyone can generate a false document or make accusations and the burden of proof is shifted to the accused, well that’s a world I don’t think any of us would wish in which to live. Guillotines for everyone!

    @mbrysonb re: starvation
    According to previous IPCC reports we were supposed to have 35million eco-refugees at this point. Simple question: where are they?

    @Mark5146546

    Facts are indeed facts. Here are a few for you:
    1) There is no tropospheric hot spot unlike what the models predicted.
    2) CO2 emissions and atmospheric content is indeed “worse than we thought” and yet per CRU’s own data there has been no statistically significant warming in a decade. Even worse, global temperatures are running at or below the lowest bound of the model ensembles.
    3) Significant parts of the AR4′s supposed peer-reviewed literature were in fact gray literature from advocacy groups such as WWF and Greenpeace. This includes the farcical claim that the Himalayan glaciers would essentially be gone within the next 25 years.
    4) The Medieval Warm Period, occurring nearly a millennium before significant man-made CO2 emissions and much to the frustration of Mann et al., has been found in numerous proxies across the globe. Vikings using 11th century technology were able to support a significant population with primitive agriculture on Greenland where no such population could exist today.

    Facts are indeed facts.

    @Heteromeles
    You find the expression “warmist” repugnant and go on to use the word “denier.” What a convincing argument you make. You then go on to make an argument essentially along the lines of, “Why don’t those ignorant savages in the denier camp just wake up?” Either you can argue the facts or you can’t. Which do you think you just did?

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  43. 43. suyts 12:58 pm 02/25/2012

    Ahh, the smell of moral relativism. The grand justification of noble cause corruption.

    One of the many reasons why I’m a climate skeptic is because of this very reason. The climate community is bunch of filthy scumbag liars. They have been for years. There is no compelling reason to believe the garbage they put out.

    Hansen’s temp record is a fluid and dynamic reading of historical facts. HadCrut will have another version out shortly which will include areas of the globe which have no thermometers…… just like GISS. The “hide the decline” debacle is well documented, as is the ever tedious fight to get scientists to comply with FOI laws. They continue to be selective in their presentations and obfuscate essential issues to understanding our climate. They ignore their past failures and blithely continue to spew unscientific babble. Warming means more snow/less snow. Droughts/floods cold winters/warm winters.

    Albedo is one of the issues they were so patently and obviously wrong about, yet they continue as if their assumptions were always correct.

    Well, I could and probably should go on, but I really only stopped by to say thanks to John Horgan and his supporters. It is appreciated that he’d show exactly what many of us have been stating for years. This isn’t about science. It is about advocacy of ideology. Keep digging fellows!! I fully support this endeavor!

    “Even if Gleick’s lie was morally right….” that’s beautiful! Now we should have a discussion about the moral justification of all the other lying scumbags in science.

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  44. 44. tomkent 1:00 pm 02/25/2012

    “Should Global-Warming Activists Lie to Defend Their Cause?” The correct answer is that Global-Warming Activists do “lie” to defend their cause. This has been the pattern from the beginning.

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  45. 45. N a g n o s t i c 1:06 pm 02/25/2012

    Since a good part of a typical global warming activist’s energy is devoted to seeking policy changes that effect everyone negatively in the short term, lying or other forms of deceit should be avoided at all costs.

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  46. 46. kennethroger 3:13 pm 02/25/2012

    Facts and conclusions belong in a scientific discussion. Motivation and recommendations do not. Jumping to proposals that “A” should be paid to do something about it, or that “B” should volunteer to do something about it, or that “C” is right to just sit back and enjoy it is leaving the realm of science and is causing the furor.

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  47. 47. tomwinfl 3:18 pm 02/25/2012

    I’m struck by this quote from Gleick:

    “My judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts [by skeptics]…to…prevent this debate…”

    Given that Gleick himself has recently refused an invitation to a debate from the Heartland Institute, and the fact that AGW advocates routinely refuse such opportunities, it’s hard to lay the charge of “preventing the debate” at the feet of the skeptics. The scientific majority has said repeatedly that the debate is over, and refuses to engage with the skeptics. Which leads a layman like me to wonder: what are they afraid of?

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  48. 48. Phil K 3:26 pm 02/25/2012

    It is appalling that Immanuel Kant’s name is invoked in an attempt to justify fraud.

    The writer has the merest of acquaintance with Kant’s “Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals”.

    I would suggest he extend his modest body of reading to include Kant’s Political Writings, which includes the famous maxim:“All actions reflecting the rights of other human beings are wrong if their maxim is not compatible with their being made public.”

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  49. 49. GeneMc 3:44 pm 02/25/2012

    You misunderstand Kant’s Categorical Imperative. He does not mean, as you say, “we judge the rightness or wrongness of an act, such as breaking a promise, by considering what happens if everyone does it.” That would make Kant a consequentialist, which would horrify him and runs contrary to all his work.

    It means, rather, that a moral proposition must be able to be a universal proposition, e.g., a triangle is a three-side plane figure is a universal proposition that is also true. In an example from Kant, a lying promise cannot be a universal proposition anymore than a four-sided triangle could be–it’s a violation of logic. (I feel sorry for your students who are being taught wrong.)

    As to your rationale for climate scare-mongers lying, it speaks volumes to the flimsiness of their case that they must resort to doing so and that they avoid any vigorous examination and criticism of their work. If it’s as obviously true as they (and you) claim, then let the critics hammer away. The truth will stand.

    Your response tells me that in your heart of hearts, you don’t believe the truth of what you preach.

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  50. 50. Carrick 3:53 pm 02/25/2012

    “Even if Gleick’s lie was morally right, it was strategically wrong.”

    You’re mixing terminology here, at least as it is typically used in discussing ethics and morality. Ethics has to do with the set of rules that people live by that defines what we usually call “right” and “wrong”. Moral and immoral has to do with the eventual outcomes, what we call “good” and “evil” (a moral act, one that has a net beneficial outcome is “good”, an immoral act, one that has a net harmful outcome, is “evil”). So the sentence should read:

    “Even if Gleick’s lie was *ethically* right, it was strategically *and therefore morally* wrong.”

    Things like “responsible conduct in research” have to do with ethical behavior. Gleick is not only an activist, he is also a MacArthur Fellowship award winning scientist, and as such, IMO what he did was both morally and ethically wrong.

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  51. 51. amenjohnson 4:15 pm 02/25/2012

    What an absurd and muddled collection of sophomoric views of moral behavior. Trying to dress it up with references and quips from Kant et al only makes it look worse. It’s clear Horgan wants to confuse the issue and make Gleick’s behavior seem “sorta, kinda, almost, and if you look at it this way” truly just fine. The final appeal to, “this is war” is the ultimate and revealing truth that these warmists are not scientists at all but 21st century wannabe scientists who want to see themselves in some desperate and noble crusade and whose validation doesn’t come from test results but from the praise of other dolts.

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  52. 52. Adamantine Dragon 4:20 pm 02/25/2012

    This is a classic example of the “ends justifies the means” which passes on the Left side of the political spectrum for “morality.”

    What really amuses me is that this boils down to the defense of falsehood in the pursuit of “science” which is an oxymoron in itself.

    Not to mention it completely glosses over the very real possibility that not only did Mr. Gleick lie about his credentials to gain access to Heartland’s documents, but that the document which has been the source of the most damning “evidence” has already been proven to be a fake, and the most likely candidate to have created that fake document was Mr. Gleick himself.

    So this becomes not just a defense of falsely representing himself to gain access to “the enemy” it becomes a defense of deliberately falsifying “evidence” in an attempt to discredit that enemy.

    And that appears to be perfectly fine for this writer and this magazine.

    It’s a shame. I once considered Scientific American to at least have some sense of scientific ethics.

    No more.

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  53. 53. PleadingForBasicDignity 5:08 pm 02/25/2012

    Mr. Horgan, basic journalist ethics requires fair reporting of the matter at hand. You have presented one camp only, which is Gleick’s admission that he used bad means to unearth “dirty’ material, and subsequent debates as to whether the ends justify the means. The camp he stole from claim that the dirt came from a forged document that Gleick smuggled in and debate whether Gleick forged it himself. Sir, have you no dignity?

    Please amend your story to indicate the other camp’s viewpoint. Please feel welcome to rebut it, say you disagree with it on faith, or to claim with or without evidence that the other camp is full of morons or vermin. But if you’re not even willing to acknowledge a fundamentally different and logical consistent viewpoint, then I respectfully request SA to revoke your blogging rights on SA.

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  54. 54. PleadingForBasicDignity 5:16 pm 02/25/2012

    Mr. Horgan, even your factual reporting is dicey.You describe Gleick as redistributing documents from Heartland when Gleick himself admits the worst document didn’t come from Heartland.

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  55. 55. Bops 5:54 pm 02/25/2012

    Heartland needs be investigated. Too much funding from questionable people indicates trouble.

    All their funding is from people and companies that are harming people with too many chemicals in foods, dirty energy, and natural gas fracking. Yes, it’s all about lying.

    I talk with people in the market all the time that are having new food allergies and ACID stomach problems, Heartburn, and take acid reflex drugs. Read the food labels, even some salts have aluminum in them, we should never eat foods with aluminum in them on purpose.

    Why? How DO you catch bad people honestly?

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  56. 56. Adamantine Dragon 6:03 pm 02/25/2012

    @Bops. Congratulations on demonstrating exactly how well the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Climate Change priests have indoctrinated you. Now that you are so firmly convinced that you KNOW with absolute certainty that anyone who disagrees with your ideology is EVIL, then you can now gleefully go forth and commit evil in opposition to them.

    It doesn’t really matter any more if you are right or not. You’re committed.

    Welcome to the club.

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  57. 57. atlane 6:18 pm 02/25/2012

    @parobinson: I’m more than willing to hear arguments supporting the authenticity of the Memo, including a refutation of the numerous arguments presented by McArdle. Without that, you’re asking me to simply ignore the overwhelming evidence that points to the Memo being fake.

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  58. 58. hunter 6:21 pm 02/25/2012

    John,
    You are a great gift to skeptics. Your rationalization of Gleick’s actions, and what can be reasonably described as deliberately misleading about what he actually did, only underscores the need for even more skeptical review of the AGW movement. Any movement that can rationalize deliberate fraud and deception and forgery is one that is not trustworthy. You have demonstrated that neither you nor AGW is trustworthy.
    I hope you can find your moral compass soon. It is obviously lost somewhere on your road to ideologue. The first thing you should do, if you do find it, is to deeply and sincerely apologize to your students.

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  59. 59. JoeKlip 6:22 pm 02/25/2012

    I think they have to lie in order to counter the amount of money contributed by Halliburton and the Koch brother. What we need is a government controlled news media to silence all denier viewpoints. All scientific reporting should be approved by government appointed review board. Scientists should be registered in the government database and all of their publications should be graded based on how they closely they follow the government policy. Those who have low grades will be barred from scientific practices.

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  60. 60. jlewelling 6:35 pm 02/25/2012

    “Lying for Science” is like “Killing for God”. It is never acceptable, it is never justified and those who do it are not serving who or what they claim to be serving.

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  61. 61. jlewelling 6:36 pm 02/25/2012

    “All scientific reporting should be approved by government appointed review board. Scientists should be registered in the government database and all of their publications should be graded based on how they closely they follow the government policy. Those who have low grades will be barred from scientific practices.”

    Yeah! Why if that had been in place, they could have stopped that Gallileo fellow right in his tracks!

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  62. 62. northernguy 6:46 pm 02/25/2012

    Too many people are drawing a moral equivalence between _Climate Gate_ (the C.R.U. incident) and _Fakegate_ (the recent Gleick incicent).

    Climate Gate was the unauthorised release of acknowledged valid documents that relate to publicly funded individuals, working for publicly funded institutions that had been designated by the government to provide a central, reliable, authentic analysis of other publicly funded material that could be used in devising appropriate major public policy initiatives that would have life changing implications.

    The individuals involved claimed very publicly to be the best people involved in making their best effort to carry out that objective. They claimed that their position and their funding proved that they were being objective in their activities, engaging in only rigorous scientific studies that were beyond doubt as much as could be humanly possible.

    Instead the emails and documents reveal a pattern of conspiracy to mislead and to suppress true understanding of their efforts and the value that could be placed on them. They did this to enhance their personal income, their funding and their authority as well as to provide a subjective rather than the required objective basis for the evidence presented to the public. They now acknowledge that they engaged in such deceptive conversations and actions because the public otherwise can not fully understand the political implications of their work.

    Fakegate (the Gleick incident) involves deceptively obtaining communications by and between a group of private individuals receiving private funds to assist in making public various mostly private analyses of mostly public documents with the clearly stated objective of finding flaws in the underlying science advanced to support current government policy. The main body of their efforts had been to question material that had been supported and/or authenticated by many of the individuals and organisations involved in Climategate.

    Gleick used the ingenious nature of his deception to substantiate the validity of the material without mentioning that the only really damaging document included was simply an unconnected document submitted by an unidentified party that claimed, in the email to Gleick, was also valid even though it bore no resemblance in tone, structure and content to all the rest of the communications. At least, that is his story about his source for the suspect document and he is sticking to it.

    There is a difference between the situations. I am amazed but not surprised really that commentators at all levels can not see that.

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  63. 63. PAULYV 7:05 pm 02/25/2012

    The CRU emails will compiled for a FOIA request. Illegally they were not released. However, the statute of limitations had run and they could not be prosecuted. FOIA (the person) released them for the enlightenment of Science. Gleich was suffering from Climategate Envy and either created or passed on the forged document. The document had many mistakes in it as revealed by the documents he illegally obtained. Maybe Lucy Rameriez was the source or Gleich is clinically depressed and made errors in his forgery.

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  64. 64. delmaracer 7:45 pm 02/25/2012

    These acts do much more damage to the “SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY” than these little thinkers think – or don’t think about.
    There is already a very long list of fabricated “scientific Reports” which, upon more intensive review, have been determined to be false. In other words, these studies were “outcome based” and that hurts SCIENCE MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE!

    So, simply knock off the lying, the ‘predetermined’ conclusions, and give the Scientific Community time to heal so they will once again become CREDITABLE!

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  65. 65. SCMike 7:58 pm 02/25/2012

    PAULYV makes an important point: From the skeptics’ viewpoint the ClimateGate emails were released by an insider, a whistleblower if you will; their appearance was not a theft, the emails were not stolen by hackers.

    It now seems pretty clear that whoever released the two dumps of emails did so carefully. S/He culled personal information, focused on misbehavior, etc.; it was an act by insider upset at the shenanigans being employed to avoid FOIA: destruction of emails, false claims of confidentiality agreements, etc. There’s also the matter of using whatever means were necessary to prevent publication of papers that did not further “the Cause,” to include blackballing journals and editors.

    Here’s a question for students to ponder: does loyalty to an organization’s mission and values outweigh any responsibility to protect possible wrongdoing by the organization’s members? To put it another way, is it ethical to make known evidence of likely misconduct by individuals in order to protect the good name of the organization to which they belong?

    That FOIA, as the culprit is now known, had administrative access to UEA email stores / server(s) is pretty clear, as is the fact that s/he’s pretty savvy in the way s/he packaged up a third set of emails protected by high-level encryption as a form of insurance.

    I now in fact wonder if the existence of that encrypted store of emails is tempering the remarks of the principals who generated the bulk of the ClimateGate emails.

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  66. 66. jjcampbell 9:02 pm 02/25/2012

    My interest fell on your three good reasons to lie.
    Number 1 – I once told my girlfriend I didn’t like her new haircut – we’ve been married now for 32 years, not because we like to snipe at each other, but because we trust each others judgement
    Number 2 – I once was fired because a vindictive boss didn’t like what I said. I was rehired 2 days later. To me my choices were simple – live in a berating environment, or stand up for what I believed was true.
    Number 3 – Sorry, I have never been part of a “global plot”, nor have I seen one lurking in the background that is related to this issue. Maybe I’m blind to it, but I prefer to believe that a good skeptic understands that “some” people lie for the cause, and some other people dispute those lies. Even in a war, not all of us stoop to lying.

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  67. 67. PAULYV 9:16 pm 02/25/2012

    The Scientific Method is based on skepticism. Every theory is tested to see whether it is true. When it fails in the case of AGWA, new theories and models need to be tried. Consensus is the opposite of Science. Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.

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  68. 68. pemullen 9:29 pm 02/25/2012

    So the Heartland Institute funds global warming skeptics so they can publish their dissenting opinions. As if this should be a surprise? Does not a fawning mainstream media provide one way support for the man made global warming movement, Al Gore and his ilk? We need some healthy skepticism to combat the groupthink that the mainstream media so dutifully propagates. Now where can I go make a donation to the Heartland Institute? I’m sick and tired of the cap & trade nonsense, curly light bulbs and electric cars (powered by coal fired power plants) being forced down my throat and having to pay for them with my tax dollars.

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  69. 69. SCMike 9:41 pm 02/25/2012

    Jjcampbell – Didn’t work for me either, married 33 years.

    Folks seem to think that working in the private sector is stifling. If you can’t be honest with your bosses and peers, why bother working there? If the business is small, the boss needs your honest, considered appraisal, especially on the big stuff, otherwise he’s screwed and you and all the others are too. If the business is large, there’s the matter of working for the owners’ — the stockholders’ — best interests. Getting fired at a big outfit is not easy, especially if all you did was to tell the truth as you saw it.

    I like the idea of being a petulant misanthrope, especially knowing that the big money is going to the warmthists. My real motivation, however, is charcoal — I know they want to take my Weber and stop the fine-filtering of my whisky and beer.

    They’ll have to pry the Kingsford from my cold, dead, dirty fingers…

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  70. 70. charwiz 11:01 pm 02/25/2012

    What a moron! I thought science was about fact finding and data collecting by the scientific method that last time i checked did not involve lying.
    Last time I checked there were many many many different forces that effect the climate. Rotation of the earth,tilting of the earth, continental drift, the changes of the electro megnatic poles of the earth, sun spots,cloud activity, volcanic activity, cows farting and dont forget the carbon cycle. For some reason you people are stuck on just one part, carbon cycle. Cows farting Methane produces 3 times more deadly green house gasses then co2 from exhaust pipes.
    You people are no different then the CREATIONIST! Who blindly follow a religion ..not science. You should name it AL GORIANSIM. And may Gaia be with you.
    can someone please explain to me why the above mentioned causes do not effect our weather. Email me.
    charwiz2005@yahoo.com

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  71. 71. OnePumpChump 11:03 pm 02/25/2012

    I think I can excuse lying to professional liars.

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  72. 72. OnePumpChump 11:27 pm 02/25/2012

    Charwiz, read past the headline.

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  73. 73. itsspideyman 11:28 pm 02/25/2012

    So its okay to lie? But let me ask; are you lying in this article, or is this the truth? Is everything you said about Global Warming a lie?

    Who are you? Are you a real person, or are you living a lie?

    Are you lying to everyone in the Global Warming movement? Do you have some other reason to push Global Warming? Are you really using this to pursue your own personal goals? Are you profiting from pushing your readers fears?

    Don’t worry about responding, because from now on, I won’t believe a word you say.

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  74. 74. hinckleybuzzard2 2:12 am 02/26/2012

    This is not difficult, people. A graduate student agrees with a bunch of 17 year olds that it is OK to lie. Big Woop. Trouble is, this is not some video game in their parents’ basement, this is a decision that may affect billions of dollars of hard earned taxpayer dollars (of which the idiot children involved have zero knowledge, naturally.)

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  75. 75. unashamedskeptic 5:20 am 02/26/2012

    One sentence says it all- “Peter Gleick, a global-warming researcher and environmental activist.” Science is meant to be objective so how are these two in anyway compatible? Scientists are meant to be objective not champions of a cause. The mans a living lie!

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  76. 76. akw01 5:31 am 02/26/2012

    I am immensely grateful that either of my children had you as a professor. Your argument is preposterous, and it’s dishonest on top of that. Gleick didn’t tell a little lie. What he did was promote a fraudulent document in order to smear and discredit an opposing voice, and then he committed an illegal act by assuming the identity of a board member of Heartland in order to obtain authentic documents that were private and proprietary in order to give his fraudulent document an air of credibility.

    You now have no more credibility than the ethically and morally challenged Mr. Gleick.

    P.S. How’s that lying to your boss and wife/girlfriend working out for you?

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  77. 77. m 6:32 am 02/26/2012

    SO many stupid people, its a wonder the world doesnt grind to halt.

    One of the issues Heartland wishes is to bog down a discussion in he said she said. I mean if I have to read comments from more stupid Americans im just going to have to reply to every comment they make and say how stupid they are on a scale from 1 to 10.

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  78. 78. m 6:35 am 02/26/2012

    Either the author is a denialist or a journalist paid by the page. Its not funny and another commenter recently eluded to the fact French authors used to be paid by the pag, it now seems blogg authors are paid by the page too, or by the amount of comments stating the author is a complete idiot.

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  79. 79. Joanna_Boehnert 6:50 am 02/26/2012

    It is not Gleick but the wider scientific community that is strategically wrong this week. The failure to mobolize to fight Heartland is a grave error. It is not enough to quietly release reports on the dangers associated with climate change. Clearly this is not an working to help humanity deal with this problem. The scientific community must develop great resolve to take on those who deliberately spread misinformation to confuse the debate. This focus on the investigative work by Gleick is entirely counter productive.

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  80. 80. David Mayhew 7:28 am 02/26/2012

    Dear Mr. Hogan,
    If you have no moral compass that tells you that deception isnt justified in this case (and pretty much most others), who knows where you will end up in the name of ideology?
    I wouldnt have a problem explaining this to students.

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  81. 81. PAULYV 8:45 am 02/26/2012

    Peter Gleick, America’s dunbest criminal? LINK

    http://climateaudit.org/2012/02/25/gleick-and-americas-dumbest-criminal/

    What a loser.

    Link to this
  82. 82. robertd999 9:46 am 02/26/2012

    I noticed there was no indication that the most “damning” document Gleick submitted was fake, obviously so, and that likely he was the one who had written it. Is it morally right for a journalist to ignore central facts that destroys the whole premise of his article?

    If this debate has become a war, it’s because those in power have never allowed a debate, calling everybody who disagrees with them heretics, including preeminent scientists with hard evidence. Skepticism is central to the scientific method and should be treated as such.

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  83. 83. tolo4zero 10:23 am 02/26/2012

    “Should Global-Warming Activists Lie to Defend Their Cause?”

    YES

    It is accepted practise as evidenced by Al Gore and Stephenn Schneider

    AGW will be catastrophic to the planet and if the science isn’t strong enough to get that message across lying is
    acceptable.

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  84. 84. tolo4zero 10:26 am 02/26/2012

    “I’ll give the last word to one of my students. The Gleick incident, he said, shows that the “debate” over global warming is not really a debate any more. It’s a war, and when people are waging war, they always lie for their cause.”

    There is no debate, “The science is settled”
    Haven’t you been keeping up?

    Link to this
  85. 85. tolo4zero 10:29 am 02/26/2012

    Heartland is correct about the school system promoting alarmist views.
    The United States National Academy of Sciences is attempting to teach disinformation about climate change in the schools
    This is verifiable with the very first sentence in the Introduction page of their Climate Change Education: Goals, Audiences, and Strategies: A Workshop Summary (2011)

    “INTRODUCTION
    The global scientific and policy community now unequivocally
    accepts that human activities cause global climate change (Intergovernmental
    Panel on Climate Change, 2007; National Research Council, 2010a).”

    This is what the IPCC says
    “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal”
    “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”

    They do not say that “human activities cause global climate change” is unequivocal”

    And there is still debate about the effects of this “very likely” theory.

    This is what The National Research Council says:
    “The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes is also a reflection of natural variability.”

    Again they do not say that “human activities cause global climate change” is unequivocal

    APS was very clear about their position in a letter to the WSJ that their statement did not say
    “Human contribution to climate change is incontrovertible”

    “The APS statement is unequivocal. It notes that “global warming is occurring.” And the commentary states that “while there are factors driving the natural variability of climate (e.g., volcanoes, solar variability, oceanic oscillations), no known natural mechanisms have been proposed that explain all of the observed warming in the past century.” The statement does not declare, as the authors of the op-ed suggest, that the human contribution to climate change is incontrovertible”

    A major science academy misleading the school system.

    Link to this
  86. 86. Andrew - Des Moines 11:00 am 02/26/2012

    This is a monumental article for Scientific American, and one through which many of their previous opinion pieces make more sense. I stopped subscribing to the dead tree version around the time the editor was writing monthly screeds against creationists or something. He wasn’t necessarily wrong, but the pure hate that oozed off the page was unsettling and weird coming from this magazine. Scientific American is the most prominent gateway between science and the public in this nation. Its mission should be to present the science as is and without bias so the public may decide related policy. Instead, Scientific American believes itself as an agent of influence on policy with fraud and dishonesty worthy tools in that endeavor. Like the editor from years ago, all these efforts only serve to sew distrust in the public. It is the very reason so many of us remain unconvinced of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.

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  87. 87. cbrtxus 11:16 am 02/26/2012

    Can anyone tell me what Peter Gleick’s criminal activity actually uncovered that was worth the price that he has paid and will pay. He has demonstrated that he is willing to lie to further “the cause.” Will anyone on either side of this issue ever be able to assume that he is not lying for “the cause” again when he comments or publishes in the future? Or that those who think that what he did was a justified aren’t just as willing to lie and defraud for the same “cause?”

    It seems to me that the “2012 Climate Strategy” document was the only “smoking gun” and it turned out to be forged–most likely by Gleick himself. How do we know that it is fake? Gleick was silly enough to use alarmist terminology that someone from HI would never have used.

    Was there anything shocking in the donor list? Do we have a right to see the donor list of a private organization not receiving public monies? The only surprise for me was how little money they were spending when compared to the spending of the groups arrayed against them. And how effective they have been with such limited resources.

    They identified Watts and Wojick as having been commissioned to work on projects that HI had already publicly announced and that those guys are well qualified to do. That will generate hate mail I’m sure. But the outing will likely increase traffic to WUWT and Wojick’s Yahoo group–ClimateChangeDebate.

    I sincerely want to understand. What do CAGW espousers think that Gleick actually accomplished?

    Now, speaking as someone skeptical of the CAGW claims, I hope that you guys keep fighting the fight. Don’t change a thing. Keep waging your war. It’s working fine. But if ever you want to actually discuss the science, you know where to find us.

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  88. 88. jlewelling 11:48 am 02/26/2012

    “One of the issues Heartland wishes is to bog down a discussion in he said she said. I mean if I have to read comments from more stupid Americans im just going to have to reply to every comment they make and say how stupid they are on a scale from 1 to 10.”

    Yeah? Well at least those stupid Americans know how to use punctuation and construct sentences using proper English grammar…

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  89. 89. jdgalt 11:53 am 02/26/2012

    I find it quite amusing that (1) the greens would think they needed to lie just to discover that well-known skeptics are working together (it’s not as though skepticism were some kind of criminal activity that needs to be kept a closely held secret); and even more amusing that (2) they would have more of a moral concern with lying for that purpose than they do with lying about the science itself, as several top “warmists” have freely admitted to doing (see http://www.green-agenda.com for names, dates, and quotes).

    Any institution which allows THAT to go on is not to be trusted as a source of science fact.

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  90. 90. dsanto 11:59 am 02/26/2012

    A magazine and website titled Scientific American runs an article explaining why lying is an appropriate tactic in disagreements over scientific debates. Fantastic!

    The world stood on its head.

    Doug Santo
    Pasadena, CA

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  91. 91. Dredd 2:59 pm 02/26/2012

    Isn’t the larger question “is it worse to lie millions of people into ecocide, than it is to lie them out of it?”

    Wouldn’t the answer be: “the one that looks more like a mass-suicide-murder is worse!”?

    http://blogdredd.blogspot.com/2012/02/momcoms-mass-suicide-murder-pact-3.html

    Link to this
  92. 92. jbroman 3:29 pm 02/26/2012

    When a judge give instructions to a jury he often points out that if a witness is known to lie, then it is reasonable to suppose that anything that he says may be a lie and that all of his testimony must be rejected as possibly false. Peter Gleick, having admitted that he is a liar, must be disregarded in any future debate. His testimony is now admittedly unreliable.

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  93. 93. mbrysonb 4:23 pm 02/26/2012

    The fantasies about evil ‘warmist’ scientists being bandied about here show exactly why Gleick felt he had to try to get some confirmation of the document he’d received, even if it meant lying. Somehow Exxon-Mobil (with the biggest profits in history) is (in some eyes) still pure as driven snow, and free to fund a think-tank that also argued against links between cancer and tobacco without raising any suspicion at all on the part of the denialist crowd. But scientists- well, they’re obviously plotting to augment their research grants (odd, since it seems they could do much better by parroting the Heartland line and travelling the world like ‘science advisor’ and serial misrepresenter Lord Monckton). There’s madness in the air here– or just deliberate propaganda.

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  94. 94. Mgmax 4:57 pm 02/26/2012

    I assume Scientific American has already asked John Horgan to resign his column.

    I mean, what alternative is there? The alternative would be to say that the “Scientific” in the magazine’s title is merely for show— that deception is preferable to the scientific method, that evidence-based science comes second to bending the evidence to suit the politics. It’s really very simple— either you’re on the side of one of those, however the politics come out, or you’re on the side of the other, whatever’s needed to make the science support the politics. There’s no gray area here, no slippery slope. You’re honest in science, or the slightest bit of dishonesty is as good as a life of lies.

    No true science ever needs the help of lies, fraud, deception. The point of the scientific method is that the right answer always wins out on the end. Throughout history, resorting to such has always been the sign of pseudoscience, and it never lasts for long.

    So there are no excuses to be made here. There’s no wiggle room. Peter Gleick is not a scientist; he’s a liar and a hoaxster. John Horgan is not a scientist any more; he’s a polemicist.

    Now then: what is Scientific American?

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  95. 95. PAULYV 5:36 pm 02/26/2012

    mbrysonb, It is fair to say the documents Gleick stole proved the memo was a fraud. The author uses Gleich CGWA jargon.

    Link to this
  96. 96. Rob83 5:58 pm 02/26/2012

    No they shouldn’t lie to defend their cause because doing that just gives climate deniers more ammo for attacks.

    Doing this the honest way is the best way and given the fact that we have the science and data on our side it shouldn’t be too hard to defend our position.

    All we have to do is show people why the deniers are wrong and how we know they are wrong. When baseless conspiracy theories collide with facts and reason, it cannot survive.

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  97. 97. egbegb 6:06 pm 02/26/2012

    “Gleick’s lie was clearly moral, because he was defending a cause that he passionately views as righteous” – using that logic, Adolf Hitler’s lies were moral. You have to dig a lot deeper to understand morality.

    Mr. Gleick has discredited his current work, his past work and all that he will ever do or be. No one can rationally trust him. Not only that, but there are suspicions that one of the HI documents is a forgery. Would you, Mr. Gleick, know anything about that? Should we believe your answer?

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  98. 98. Jim2B 8:07 pm 02/26/2012

    “When ‘Heartlandgate’ first broke, I saw no parallels with Climategate. Now, with the involvement of Gleick, there most certainly are parallels. There is the common theme of climate scientists compromising personal and professional ethics, integrity, and responsibility, all in the interests of a ’cause’.”
    – Dr. Judith Curry

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  99. 99. reasonable2 8:23 pm 02/26/2012

    Heartland is working on Wisconsin politics, and they are preparing an education package to serve to our students.

    The CFIRE project of Heartland is also unrelated to the activities in the climate denial campaign.

    Heartland can sue, but what “HARM has Heartland suffered”, the judge will ask…

    Their ideological campaign?

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  100. 100. mbrysonb 9:13 pm 02/26/2012

    I’ll wait for an analysis from John Mashey– the guy who had already documented Heartland’s connections and lobbying work (far beyond what they’re allowed to do as a tax-deductible charity) based on public sources. The claim that the initial document was a fraud has been made by the Heartland people and echoed widely since then– but Desmogblog reports its languag and contents fully consistent with the documents actually obtained from Heartland. Of course the deniers here are trying to make this all about Gleick’s actions– but Heartland has a lot to answer for, even if we confine our attention to the public record.

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  101. 101. Carlyle 11:17 pm 02/26/2012

    Just as with the East Anglia emails, the AGW supporters are trying to defend the indefensible. Why? When will they produce a Peer Review to back up their stand?

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  102. 102. MBaylor 11:36 pm 02/26/2012

    What a sad shadow of its former self SA has become. I have boxes of old issues tucked away in the closets that confirm this publication used to be about real science, not the quasi-political, rhetorically challenged tripe this column represents.

    I’ll give the last word to one of my students. The Gleick incident, he said, shows that the “debate” over global warming is not really a debate any more. It’s a war, and when people are waging war, they always lie for their cause.

    Thank you, Mr. Horgan, for openly confirming that this issue is not, nor has it ever been, about debating honest to goodness science.

    Now that you’ve accurately identified the current difficulties as a war, it’s time to define the antagonists.

    On your side we have Gleick, who uses forgery, identity theft and farud in a vain attempt to salve his oozing ego following a nasty exchange at Forbes.com. We also have Michael Mann, who insists that bristlecone pines were thermometers accurate to within a hundredth of a degree from time immemorial until sixty years ago, at which time the trees gave up the thermal ghost. Yet anyone who dares say that the trees were never thermometers to begin with is immediately declared a heretic and treated accordingly. We also have Phil Jones of read-me.txt fame, whose code is so ridiculous it requires multiple fudge factors drawn from thin air to produce anything minimally comprehensible. Mr Jones will certainly call down the wrath of UAE on any who dare think that such code has never and will never produce anything but proof of the GIGO principle.

    All of the aforementioned warriors, combined with many others, demand that the average Westerner eagerly hand over his sovereignty and money to UN bureaucrats, for they alone possess the knowledge to convert disparent currencies into a mysterious anti-carbonite that will save the planet from imminent catastrophe.

    On the other side of the war are people like me, raised among men who talked about science around the dinner table, whose fossil-hunting forays were spiced with talk of the various stages of the planet’s evolution. Men who turned over the imprinted fern discovered at the feet of the Rockies and explained in vivid detail the lush, tropical plants that once covered the windswept rock we stood upon. Change, I learned, was the only constant. Nothing stays the same, not even the very moutain upon which I stood. The same men showed me the reach of the massive glaciers of the ice ages, explained the Great Lakes’ debt to those mountains of ice. Men who lived and breathed science and inculcated in me the foundation of science itself–inquiry, evidence, and an acceptance that even Einstein himself could be wrong. The very likelihood of a scientific pronouncement being wrong has been repeatedly proven over my four decades. From Ehrlich’s dire threats of starvation, to excess coffee and stress causing ulcers, from Ted Danson’s declaration that the world’s oceans would be dead by 2010 to Al Gore’s claim that the entire northern polar ice cap will completely disappear in 2014 (not looking likely)–all my life I’ve been accosted by claims of impending doom if I don’t submit to the US Government or the UN, hand over my property and my expectations for my lifestyle as penance for the fact that I exhale, I use electricity, and I drive.

    It’s very safe to say that I am among tens of millions of other people on “this” side of the war for our freedom, our sovereignty and our money.

    How many troops are on the “other” side? It’s hard to know for certain since bureaucrats are well-trained in evasion and even the frightened kids grow up at some point and realize the polar bears are still killing baby seals. So to be generous let’s say there are a million on the “other” side, using every psychological, sociological and criminal tactic to defeat my side.

    Who will be victorious? It remains to be seen but given the absurdity of Gleick’s event I do sense victory in the future. Of course I knew that was coming when my high-school-age daughter’s best friend, upon losing her homework, laughingly declared that “global warming ate my paper!” When the cause becomes the standard butt of high-schoolers, the gig is up.

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  103. 103. mbrysonb 12:37 am 02/27/2012

    More nonsense about the old emails– dragged out of context and made legend among the denialati. What do you have to say about all the investigations, which found no evidence of any deception or wrong-doing (even reading with what context was available made the claimed content of the emails an absurdist bit of reinterpretation)? More of the scientists’ conspiracy? Go join the John Birch Society and be done with it.

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  104. 104. sault 1:15 am 02/27/2012

    Re MBaylor:

    Thanks for the loaded words and myopic point of view that adds nothing to this discussion. Sure, only Men can teach you about science, right? You have this dreamy-eyed and overly romantic view of scientists who never really existed. If you say you come from a family of scientists, why are you so ignorant? How come you have to fill your arguments with vitriol instead of facts?

    What don’t you understand, that CO2 traps heat or that our emissions have increased its concentration by %40 since the Industrial Revolution? Do you even know how much additional heat flux this extra %40 traps? Do you even know how many Hiroshima bombs of energy PER DAY that heat flux adds up to? Do you have any idea what the Earth’s climate sensitivity is?

    If you were raised by scientists, how come they taught you to ignore the expert opinions of EVERY major professional scientific and technical organization ON THE PLANET. Look, you can fool all of the people some of the time, but after 20 years of discussing climate change, the world is in agreement that we need to cut our emissions. Conversely, with your nutty conspiracy theories about the UN and your silly notions of “sovereignty”, it looks like the fossil fuel companies can fool you ALL of the time!

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  105. 105. Carlyle 1:31 am 02/27/2012

    Re: 103. mbrysonb. The investigations into the emails were conducted by the fellow travellers of those who wrote the emails. Thats peer review for you. Do you have any shame for siding with liars & cheats?
    sault sides with you on the emails by the way. That must be a comfort for you.

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  106. 106. sault 1:35 am 02/27/2012

    Re: Carlyle

    The rational scientific community HAS produced a “peer-review to back up their stand”. It was called the IPCC and it looked at THOUSANDS of peer-reviewed papers to distill the scientific consensus opinion. This review process included representatives from Saudi Arabia, China and other countries whose economies depend on using the atmosphere as a dumping ground for their carbon emissions. Each country in the review had to buy off on what the IPCC included in its reports. As such, the IPCC’s projections are conservative and have been understating sea level rise, ice melt and a whole host of other factors.

    What do the deniers have? A propaganda campaign from the Heartland Institute that follows the Creationist playbook almost to the letter! Teach the controversy, they say! There’s no link between climate change and second hand smoke….um, I mean carbon dioxide!

    This is why people call you a denier. The world’s ENTIRE scientific community is in agreement that human CO2 emissions are messing up the climate. The only REAL disagreement is on how much our emissions will change the climate in the future. This uncertainty isn’t an excuse for inaction, like the fossil fuel companies would have you believe to continue their record profits. The science tells us that the warming we can expect from a “business as usual” emissions scenario produces a range of effects from deeply troubling to utterly catastrophic. If you want scientists to be able to predict what the daily high temperature will be in Denver on 24 July 2045 before you’ll agree to action, you’ll NEVER budge! However, we know enough about rapid climate change in the past to start acting NOW to prevent it! Besides, fossil fuels are running out and they’re absolutely dirty, polluting the environment and our bodies.

    There’s absolutely ZERO reasons to postpone the transition to a clean, sustainable economy…well, unless you’re a multinational oil company or a coal company…Looking at Heartland’s funding, it looks like these companies can spend a fraction of a percent of their billion$ in profit to keep the gravy train running for a few more years. With a return on investment like this (and the 50 to 1 yearly return on investment for campaign contributions to protect their federal subsidies), it’s no wonder why these companies choose to ignore inconvenient scientific facts.

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  107. 107. sault 1:42 am 02/27/2012

    Re: Carlyle 105

    WRONG! Former Shell Chairman conducted one of the NINE reviews that found Zero wrongdoing:

    http://thinkprogress.org/green/2011/11/23/375268/the-real-climategate-scandals-are-piling-up/

    “First, the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee exonerated the scientist at the centre of the tempest, Professor Phil Jones, finding he has “no case to answer” and that his reputation “remains intact.”

    Then Lord Oxburgh (former chairman of Shell-UK) and his panel likewise exonerated the researchers, finding their “work has been carried out with integrity, and that allegations of deliberate misrepresentation” are “not valid.”

    Another enquiry, chaired by Sir Muir Russell, found the scientists’ “rigour and honesty” to be beyond doubt.
    Two enquiries by his university also cleared Professor Michael Mann – who presented the first of now innumerable “hockey stick” graphs – of all allegations.

    Ultimately the (conservative) UK Government concluded “the information contained in the illegally-disclosed emails does not provide any evidence to discredit anthropogenic climate change.”

    Not one, not two, but by now nine vindications.”

    Now how can these be “fellow travelers” of climate scientists? Could it be that you never even bother to look into the facts and just accept what the angry man on the TV / blog / talk radio tells you?

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  108. 108. Carlyle 1:46 am 02/27/2012

    For those who give credibility to sault, have a look at this. Poor man is delusional. Check out the whole string.
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=maines-biggest-lobster-returned-to#comments
    6. sauItin reply to Carlyle07:49 AM 2/24/12
    All now-extinct animals were first bagged in ever-increasing numbers by greedy, Conservative Republican-types until the day the very last one died, miserably alone.

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  109. 109. Carlyle 1:54 am 02/27/2012

    By the way, Shell has been spending millions if not billions to try & buy cred. They produce solar panels. Despite their business, this man is a fellow traveller.

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  110. 110. ttheobald 3:24 am 02/27/2012

    In response to the article, yes, it’s a war. Between a nihilistic bunch of self-important morons backed by a nihilistic bunch of self-important and manipulative people who have a stake in things getting worse, and the rest of us.

    And I wish I didn’t have to keep reminding people of this: it only takes one side to wage a war.

    However, it takes two to fight it. Yes, Gleick obtained his information in a behind-the-scenes manner, but you know what? It’s still true. Fuck the deniers, they’ve been lying the entire time, so quit your whiney hand-wringing and shoulder up. I didn’t hear a single denier bleating like this when the email leak from England took place, and that had literally nothing of consequence in it. The resulting quote mining and other exploitative bullshit that came after caused a hell of a lot of damage.

    It isn’t the denier crowd we’re trying to win over here, they are just the lunatic fringe who’d vote for Bush no matter what the circumstances. It’s the rest of the world we’re after, and we have the honest facts on our side. How we got them should come as no surprise – do you think a lying bunch of paid operatives are just going to hand over the info to some jerk walking in off the street? This information *has* to come out somehow.

    So quit being such a ninny about it, and focus on the FACTS, not the delivery mechanism.

    T

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  111. 111. sault 3:56 am 02/27/2012

    Re Carlyle 108:

    Somebody hacked my account. Does that diatribe even look REMOTELY like ANYTHING I would write? Where’s all the CAPITALIZED words to add EMPHASIS? The fact that the climate deniers on this site have to resort to disgusting tactics to make me look bad is very telling. Look at that post. If that’s not a snapshot of how you deniers believe the realists around here think, then it’s an AWFULLY good parody! Sounds like something James Davis would write, though.

    And Re your comment on 109:

    Are you SERIOUS? Are your predetermined beliefs IMPERVIOUS to any facts? Come on! A Shell Oil CHAIRMAN is a “fellow traveler” with climate scientists because…um…they’re going for green “cred”? Do you know how silly that sounds? It should be abundantly clear why people call you deniers!

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  112. 112. Michael Cunningham 4:12 am 02/27/2012

    Should global-warming activists lie to defend their cause? Absolutely not. There are no shades of grey here – either you are committed to honesty and integrity, or you are not. You say that “my students and I agreed that in certain situations lying is excusable,” but do not give any convincing scenarios in which there might be grounds to lie.

    You note that “Kant said that when judging the morality of an act, we must weigh the intentions of the actor. Was he acting selfishly, to benefit himself, or selflessly, to help others?” The volition of the actor is of course crucial; but it must also be accompanied by knowledge, wisdom and insight. That is, the actor should have strong grounds for believing that his action will benefit others. However, we are talking here about policy responses to possible dangers from any anthropogenic global warming. Even if you accept that such warming is occurring, the policy response is not something within the realm of climate scientists. If actions proposed have severe economic consequences worldwide, if it may be that the best way to deal with any warming is to maintain economic and technological growth and therefore increase our capacity to deal with and adapt to any warming, then this is a matter for broad debate from politicians, voters and experts in many fields other than climate science. A climate scientist can not be judge and jury: the fact that Gleick may have been “defending a cause that he passionately views as righteous” does not make his deceit, lying and data theft a moral action.

    You say that “Gleick himself sounded contrite.” Many believe that he sounded self-serving, and continued to deny concocting the critical strategy document which appears to many to be his own work. And inserting a reference to himself into the document showed he was acting with delusions of grandeur rather than selflessly. Perhaps he saw himself as a hero, the action was to feed his ego rather than serve humanity to the best of his ability. The only solid point he made was that “a rational public debate is desperately needed” – yet he is trying to undermine one side of the debate, a side which has far fewer resources than the pro-warming side. Gleick said that “My judgement was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts — often anonymous, well-funded, and coordinated — to attack climate science and scientists and prevent this debate, and by the lack of transparency of the organizations involved.” Almost all the resources, all of the attempts to conceal data and prevent debate – remember the spurious mantra that “the science is settled?” – are on the CAGW side.

    In my view, the highest goal for each individual is spiritual development. Such development depends on seeking truth at the deepest level, understanding the nature of reality so as to be able to act in a way which is best for oneself and for others. This requires an absolute commitment to truth and honesty. Anything else is harmful.

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  113. 113. Carlyle 4:13 am 02/27/2012

    Hacked your account? To make you look bad? Both posts or only one? Why would anyone do that? How could anyone make you look more irrational?

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  114. 114. Carlyle 5:45 am 02/27/2012

    Re: 112. Michael Cunningham.
    Wonderfully put Michael.

    There is another side of this debate that has equally been distorted in my opinion. Regardless of whether or not the climate is changing outside natural variation & regardless whether the changes are deleterious or in my opinion just as likely beneficial, I do feel we need to cut pollution & what I regard as criminal waste of coal, oil & gas for electricity production. I do not subscribe to any scheme that will hinder the aspirations of people in the developing world to gain a first world standard of living. The schemes to substitute alternative energy for base load power supply in my opinion only exacerbates the problems as witness the bio fuel disaster, & hinders the development of the only feasible technology. The lack of transparency with the actual performance of these schemes compared to their projected performance is a mirror image of what occurs in the climate debate.
    I am of the firm belief that mankind is fully capable of responsibly handling the problems that undeniably accompany the expanded use of nuclear power. Even if I am wrong, this does not give anyone the right to shut down a full, honest & rational debate. Invariably raising this topic brings a storm of emotive & misleading protest but rarely considered debate. The strange thing is nuclear power is most vehemently opposed by those who profess the strongest concern about AGW.

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  115. 115. Chris G 11:23 am 02/27/2012

    Despite what some are saying, it is a grey area.

    If you believe that the activities of a group are detrimental to the well-being of humanity at large, are you justified in lying to them in order to try to reduce the effectiveness of their activities?

    Heartland Institute does not do any research worthy of the name; all they do is cast doubt upon the existing research. If the existing research is correct, then their activities are delaying action required to prevent a serious degradation of the capacity of the earth to support the human population.

    Let’s ask a parallel question, “Were the English counter-intelligence agents wrong to lie to the Germans in WWII?”

    Why or why not?

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  116. 116. Chris G 11:29 am 02/27/2012

    Oops, my Irish friend would remind me that I should say British where I said English above. Not the same, at all.

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  117. 117. Chris G 1:09 pm 02/27/2012

    This morning’s perusal through the internet yields tidbits such as:

    The Heartland Institute has, in decades past, told us that smoking is not dangerous, pesticides are not bad for you, and now seems, that climate change is not a problem either.

    Joe Bast plugs HI’s book “Climate Change Reconsidered” in the form of a rebuttal of a NYT article on the HI documents, (on the HI web site). At least, he tells us nothing new, but he does provide a link to where you can purchase this book.

    One of the primary references of the book is a scientist named Robert Carter, which is the same Robert Carter who has co-authored a paper that basically says that the there is no long term trend, it’s all ENSO; nevermind that we filtered the long-term (non-ENSO) effects from the data prior to coming to that conclusion.

    Amazing what you can find on the internet if you actually look.

    Link to this
  118. 118. Carlyle 3:22 pm 02/27/2012

    Re 115. Chris G
    Very poorly put Chris.

    In Starlinist Russia, the state forced scientists to abandon their research into things like plant biology, forcing them to pronounce in efect that nature would bend to the will of the state. The concequences of this belief were famine with mass starvation. That is a much better parallel for you.
    Suppressing debate & lying is a very bad idea. If the views of a proponent are false, it will be proven & the proof will strengthen the oposing side. To claim otherwise is much the same as a dictator saying, “If I can not persuade you with my arguments, I will persuade you with my guns”.

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  119. 119. Rational Debate 9:42 pm 02/27/2012

    re: 104. sault 1:15 am 02/27/2012

    Thanks for one of the biggest ironic laughs I’ve had in a very long time! You castigate another for using ‘loaded words’ only to blow past that person as if on the supersonic Concord, going right to “Hiroshima bombs.” You label the person ignorant, only to play the “it’s simple physics” card. Our climate system is anything but simple physics, but more on that in a minute. You ream him/her for vitriol in the very next sentence after calling the person “so ignorant” and plow right on with loads of your own vitriol. You then try the authority card, with the incorrect claim “expert opinions of EVERY major professional scientific and technical organization ON THE PLANET.[sic]”

    Apparently MBaylor’s admirable mentors (who remind me much of my own) taught MBaylor quite rightly that these sorts of organizations are still run by humans, and their position statements are typically promulgated by a small committee and not subject to debate or vote by the membership. Where were you during that lesson? Quite clearly you’ve never been a member in those sorts of organizations. Might wanna check your bit about how it’s “EVERY…ON THE PLANET” too, because you’re wrong there also.

    Now, back to the simple physics bit. Let me just copy a post I’ve made elsewhere (with minor edits) rather than rewriting:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Having faith in physics means understanding that the physics involved in our climate system go way beyond “CO2 is a greenhouse gas.”

    It means accepting the logarithmic curve of the CO2 absorption spectrum, and the overlap with other greenhouse gasses. Accepting that CO2 is not well mixed in the atmosphere. Accepting that the absorption spectrum becomes saturated, thus radically reducing the effect with increasing amounts of CO2. That “Current global change models are hampered by insufficient understanding of certain fundamental physical processes…” per NASA (http://terra.nasa.gov/FactSheets/Clouds/ ). Accepting that the basic radiative physics are only a part of the climate system, and that one must also account for the effects of things such as cloud albedo effects, solar fluctuations, orbital mechanics, plant/biota carbon cycles, plant/biota produced aerosols, cosmic ray interactions, soot (naturally occurring and man made), the rest of the carbon cycle, decadal & multi-decadal & longer time scale natural climate cycles, etc., etc., etc.

    Any time someone tries to pawn it off on “it’s simple physics,” you know they are either very, shall we say, naive about the climate system, or they are being disingenuous and are using a logical fallacy as a distraction.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    So overall, rather than the fossil fuel companies (which, by the way, fund pro-AGW agencies far more heavily than skeptics) fooling MBaylor at all, I’d say it seems that you are the one being fooled either by pro-AGW concerns or yourself.

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  120. 120. rockboy 10:49 pm 02/27/2012

    To think that professional well educated scientists cannot let science ( the truth) take it’s course. Throughout history those that stooped to lying and cheating became the problem and not the solution. It appears even the best scientist cannot hold to his own theology.

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  121. 121. SCMike 12:37 am 02/28/2012

    Since it appears that there’s no agreement whatsoever among the three sides, it’s probably past the time to drag the battered equine carcass off for a decent burial.

    I wonder if we can agree about the idiocy of the whole matter? Methinks Steven has hit the nail on the head:

    Gleick decided to commit several felonies in order to find out who Heartland’s donors were, rather than show up for the debate he was invited to at Heartland’s benefit dinner.

    Had he shown up for the debate, he could have just read the donor’s name tags – rather than lying, forging documents and claiming that he just wanted to debate.

    The global warming movement is led by the world’s stupidest people.

    Nice summary, no?

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  122. 122. Carlyle 6:50 am 02/28/2012

    Well I think sometimes we are the stupid ones. I think I am much smarter & infinitely more honest than Al Gore yet I understand he is tipped to become the first AGW billionaire. The head of the IPCC who blames humans for tsunamis is doing very well too thank you.

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  123. 123. glenn191 5:52 pm 02/29/2012

    My entire life I’ve associated these two words — “scientific” and “American” — with honesty and ethics.

    But here is an venerable publication with a name taken from those two words — Scientific American — where the question of global warming is settled but the question of whether lying is wrong is not.

    Ugh.

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  124. 124. Jimbo77 12:01 am 03/1/2012

    As was noted above, fellow travelers “exonerated” the Climategate hucksters:

    “The first UEA-sponsored investigation called the “Scientific Assessment Panel Inquiry” was headed by Lord Ronald Oxburgh, an ardent global warming believer with strong green energy business ties. He served as chairman of U.K. Shell (a major biofuel player), chairman of the wind company Falk Renewables, and a board member of Climate Change Capital, a major investor in carbon credits. In a 2005 interview with the Guardian, Oxburgh advocated that all possible government incentives be used to promote alternatives to carbon-based energy, stating that “what we don’t want to see is in two years’ time the government becoming bored with climate change after we’ve invested a lot of our shareholders’ money.”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2011/07/05/michael-mann-and-the-climategate-whitewash-part-ii/

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  125. 125. Jimbo77 12:13 am 03/1/2012

    Another CRU-sponsored inquiry called the “Climate Change Emails Review” headed by Sir Robert Muir-Russell hurriedly looked at more than 1,000 selected communications within a period of two and one-half weeks. Two evidence-collecting interviews were conducted with CRU staff, which the majority, including the chairman, didn’t attend. No CRU critics were interviewed.

    Muir-Russell emphasized the independent selection of his five panelists, stating: “None have any links to the Climate Research Unit, or the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” and “They were selected on the basis that they had no prejudicial interest in climate change and climate science and for the contribution they can make to the issues the Review is looking at.”

    Yet one of the panelists, Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Boulton from the University of Edinburgh, had previously signed a petition in the wake of the ClimateGate scandal expressing confidence that global warming was caused by humans. He was also a former University of East Anglia employee, having worked in its School of Environmental Sciences for 18 years … therefore also a previous colleague of Phil Jones and other important ClimateGate figures.

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  126. 126. savvov 10:12 am 03/1/2012

    Should Globe Warming activists lie to defend their cause? – the alternative that participants of this discussion have tried to solve this problem here is offered. The dynamic model of the globe (www.mammoths.narod.ru) in the past divides time into stages: I when the Earth was some kind of range where the civilization of System of planets during many millions years improved Эко the conveyor in planetary scale, and homo sapiens on this planet served functioning this conveyor. Conditions of dwelling on this planet have sharply changed – when the Earth (~ 800 thousand years) has appeared in Solar system – during III stage have proceeded (10 cycles) the natural phenomenon, then about (10 thousand years) – IV stage began and proceeds; Thus, the question on global warming is necessary for considering in the general context of events on a planet from the moment of occurrence of the Earth in an orbit of the Sun. Nearly (200 years ago) practical way it has been proved axial rotation of a planet, the Dynamic model of the globe allows demonstration of changes on a planet as a whole and on continents in particular, but from the moment of occurrence Windows 95 scientific community of a planet has tabooed a theme of DM – this model elementary explains many events in the past accordingly stages. Thus, the real picture of events in the past – practically is necessary for nobody, participants of this discussion practically make can nothing, for example Andrew Des Moines 86 writes “ SA is the most prominent gate way between science and public in the nation. Its mission should be to present the science as is and without bias so the public may decide related policy ” – as you can see citizens US can criticize even such solid edition in the scientific world as SA, but writing can rebuke only, that the science about the past of a planet in edition SA lags behind time near years on 50.
    It is interesting, that in the practical plan participants of this discussion can offer. On a site there is an address where it is possible to specify details on the given theme of DM

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  127. 127. il Popi 11:16 am 03/1/2012

    I wonder if this author has ever tried to answer the classical question: Does the end ever justify the means used?

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  128. 128. BuckSkinMan 11:37 am 03/1/2012

    Dr Gleick’s deception (adding false documents) is at the core of moral failure. Had he left well enough alone, he could have helped the case which says that it’s the denier / debunker methods and morality which is wrong.

    Having said that, the problem for legitimate Science of all kinds is the ignorance of the public. Both sides are trying to convince the public of their arguments simply to influence voting (directly or indirectly – at the polls or in Congress). The demographic of ignorance is determined by the number of those who (1) lack brain power, (2) lack interest or, (3) lack education / information. The LEGITIMATE SIDE of the argument can only overcome that demographic by being flawlessly honest about the scientific facts.

    The questions to ask are: Did Kepler falsify his data on astronomy, did Franklin falsify his data on electricity? Did Pasteur falsify his data on microbiology? All great scientific advancements were accepted by the public in large part due to the TRUST placed in the men who brought those advancements. Those advancements were accepted (though not immediately) because: they were understandable to the majority, they were of great interest and the information was rapidly spread through the information technology of their time.

    As is evidenced by comments here, ideology has spoiled that perfect dynamic of scientific discovery and public acceptance. The moment “greenies” got into the picture, the public perception was prejudiced. The “greenies” are the worst thing that’s ever happened to Environmental Science. THEY ALONE made legitimate Science suspect by their support and true believer mentality. Dr Gleick behaved like a greenie ideologue, so NATURALLY that deepens public mistrust. Legitimate scientists and teachers have been damaged. Dr Gleick must be condemned and banished by legitimate scientists and teachers.

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  129. 129. Masett 11:41 am 03/1/2012

    When is lying justified?
    There is a saying, “It’s not what you do that makes things right or wrong, it’s the reason why you do it”.
    The reason may be to win an unfair advantage at the cost of others.
    Or to protect oneself or a loved one.
    Or perhaps the reason is for a greater cause.
    This may not give a final answer but it gives the greater perspective that can introduce more insight or wisdom.

    What, for example, are the reasons people wish to dismiss climate change caused by humans?

    One reason, I think, is personal greed, attracting people with interests in making more money in a world that dismisses climate change.

    Another reason is fear of change or challenge, people want to remain comfortable and continue their expensive polluting lifestyle.

    Another reason is so-called religios, where people are afraid their dogmatic views will be challenged. I write so-called because I want to separate the fine things that can be present in religion from the dogma and fanatics and narrow views that do not permit challenge (and loss of power), be it fanatic Islamists or fanatic Christians.

    Actually I find it hard to see any valid reason that is not based in personal greed or gain.

    Link to this
  130. 130. Biocab 11:44 am 03/1/2012

    When talking about science and the preservation of the good stand of science, lying is never justified.

    Link to this
  131. 131. Gord Davison 12:39 pm 03/1/2012

    Scientific fact should only be used to prove that global warming is not happening. I have seen so many warming deniers using lies and linking to questionable data that it is a proven fact that almost all global warming deniers are liars. But I don’t believe that scientists who are trying to gather information to help save our planet should stoop so low as to use the same tactics as the deniers do.

    Link to this
  132. 132. Rational Debate 4:28 pm 03/1/2012

    re: 129. BuckSkinMan 11:37 am 03/1/2012

    While I pretty much agree with what you are saying, I have to take minor exception to your statement: “Both sides are trying to convince the public of their arguments simply to influence voting

    Actually, there are a significant number of us ‘skeptics’ who are simply trying to protect and defend the integrity of the scientific method itself. Far too many of the ‘top climate scientists’ have utterly perverted and twisted the very meaning of science and the scientific method.

    Climategate emails provided the ultimate proof, although it was clear from much of what passes as ‘science’ to these people when from their ‘research’ it’s clear that they haven’t followed the scientific method to begin with. Far too many have devolved into advocacy, ‘True Belief,’ and ‘post-normal science’ (which is about as far from anything remotely scientific as you can get).

    Corruption of the scientific method infuriates me – and ‘climate scientists’ have been and are corrupting the scientific method in many different ways; hypotheses that cannot be falsified (see Karl Popper on this issue, the father of modern science), null hypothesis not met or superseded (e.g., natural variability), assumptions accepted as fact subsequently used in the ‘research,’ research results or conclusions that are speculation not remotely supported by the data, methods too vague and data withheld such that replication by other researchers is impossible, failure to specify level of data uncertainty thus allowing ‘conclusions’ which would be ruled out if the uncertainty were properly included, correlation is not causation, false logic such as “we can’t think of anything else that could be the cause, therefore it must be CO2,” subversion of the peer review process, support and conduct of ‘post-normal science’ (equals blatant advocacy and doesn’t remotely resemble ‘science’ of any sort. Talk about an Orwellian phrase!), etc., etc.

    Frankly, what’s been passing as ‘science’ in ‘climate science’ has been pretty disgusting disgusting. Don’t get me wrong – there are some excellent scientists doing good science that’s associated in some way or another with the climate. But taken as a whole, ‘climate science’ is a corruption of the scientific method.

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  133. 133. Rational Debate 4:35 pm 03/1/2012

    re post by: 130. Masett 11:41 am 03/1/2012

    …Actually I find it hard to see any valid reason that is not based in personal greed or gain.

    Ah yes, yet another blind AGW True Believer out to impugn the motives and demonize anyone who doesn’t happen to agree with his/her personal viewpoint. No, it couldn’t possibly be that the ‘opposition’ actually has motives and reasons as good as ‘mine,’ they must all be greedy nasty disgusting people who could give a rip about anything other than their personal immediate gain – how could it be otherwise if they’ve come to a conclusion from the facts that happens to be different than my own?

    Sheesh. Grow up.

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  134. 134. Rational Debate 4:45 pm 03/1/2012

    re post by: 132. Gord Davison 12:39 pm 03/1/2012

    It’s quite clear from your statement that you have zero understanding of the scientific method – or basic logic. One cannot prove a negative. The debate isn’t over whether ‘global warming’ is or is not occurring, it is over how much man’s actions are contributing to global warming, and what the significance is, if any, of that contribution.

    Anthropogenic (man-caused) global warming (AGW) is the new hypothesis, and as such, is required to show that it fits the observed data as well or better than the null hypothesis – e.g., natural variability. Thus far AGW hasn’t managed to do so, and is therefore falsified as a hypothesis. This was the entire point of the debunked Mann 98/99 ‘hockey stick’ — it was an attempt to erase the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age, because those (along with other paleoclimatology) both show that today’s present warming is nothing unusual.

    Your clear abject lack of understanding of the scientific method pretty much invalidates your opinions of ‘deniers.’

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  135. 135. Rational Debate 5:35 pm 03/1/2012

    re post by: 130. Masett 11:41 am 03/1/2012

    <blockquoteWhen is lying justified? There is a saying, “It’s not what you do that makes things right or wrong, it’s the reason why you do it”.</blockquote

    Moral relativism – ICK.

    By this logic, an irrationally paranoid person has the right to shoot you dead as you happen to walk along a public sidewalk in their direction because they believe you are a threat to their life.

    And an AGW believer who hasn’t the knowledge to judge the science associated with the AGW debate is similarly ‘correct’ and moral if they lie, cheat, steal, destroy, injure, or kill, all in the name of promoting AGW policies or discouraging any discussion of scientific facts which run counter to pro-AGW memes.

    Sure, it doesn’t matter what anyone does, so long as in their own minds, not matter how mistaken they are, they think they are somehow doing good. What a lovely society and life we’d have if we all followed moral relativism and that’s what our laws were based on. /massive sarc

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  136. 136. Steve Skeete 7:23 pm 03/1/2012

    It seems to me that the writer of this article is waxing philosophical about lying in order to avoid the obvious: one should not tell lies in the name of science, but simply let the facts speak for themselves.

    What Peter Gleich did was unquestionably wrong, inexcusable, and unbecoming of science. No amount of philosophizing will change that. Doctoring the facts or cooking the books, is called “spin”, and only serves to increase the tribe of sceptics.

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  137. 137. Gord Davison 9:03 pm 03/1/2012

    re: Rational Debate Posting 134 2012/03/01

    Quite the contrary Rational Debate. It is most of the deniers that have the zero understanding of scientific method. I have followed the evidence since the mid 1980s and there is no doubt that the temperature is rising. Also the understanding that carbon dioxide and methane are greenhouse gasses, both produced by human activity and the fact that we have incredibly reduced our planets main method of scrubbing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide out of the air by cutting down much of the forest.

    The deniers that I have seen use everything from religion to fake data posted on web sites to ‘support’ their version of it. They are deathly afraid of change and want to keep on living the way we do and don’t care if the future of the planet is at stake while doing it because they will have grown old and be dead by the time the results of thermal runaway have devastated the planet.

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  138. 138. MarkAA 10:10 pm 03/1/2012

    Sorry – once you ‘accept’ lying in ‘some’ circumstances, you’ve taken a long walk down your own path to ruin.

    Yes, many people don’t ‘want’ the truth, because they can’t handle it.

    Yes, there might be adverse consequences to telling the truth.

    Yes, there are moments in extremis when ‘some’ would excuse lying.

    But … once lying, where does it stop? Why should anyone trust anything else you say? You have basically cut your own throat, and have handed the knife over to your enemy to finish the job.

    Your enemy is simply free to use the same excuse – I feel strongly about my position, so I can lie to further it. Basically, it says I’m not really sure that my ‘truth’ is ‘true’ – I don’t trust that it will stand on its own.

    Buck up – and tell the truth, regardless – it will set you free.

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  139. 139. finnnils 1:34 pm 03/2/2012

    I’m not a climate sceptic as such, But visited the Lakshadweep Islands in November 2010, then later came to the Maldives in November 2011 and in January 2012.
    Neither in the Lakshadweep nor in the Maldives has anyone, residents or scientists, seen any hint of a sea-rise. However the governments of the islands have taken international politicians, journalists and (non-hard-science) sientists for tours pretending that normal atoll erosion effects, effects of material transport due to construction activities and tsunami effects were proof of such a sea-rise.
    The Maldives have been prominent at the COP15, COP16 and COP17, telling their story and getting large amounts of aid in return. Much such aid has been spent on the destruction of living coral reefs as “land-reclamation” projects.
    Is this a “decent” lie?

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  140. 140. WizeHowl 8:30 am 03/3/2012

    John Horgan has written some rubbish before but this time he gone too far, I will not be reading any more of his blogs in the future. I have also read some crap from both sides of the AGW argument from subscribers.

    This blog is not about the AGW but MORALS and unfortunately Horgan and a number of subscribers on here seem to be lacking in them. Anyone who thinks that lying is acceptable especially in science should not be in their job, especially in a teaching position, I feel sorry for his students who obviously do not get to make up their own minds by been taught by an unbiased professor who should be giving his students the facts from both sides not lies and fallacies from either side.

    It is not his position to teach them his bias’ it is his duty to present only the facts so that students can freely and democratically; which I thought you American’s still were; could make up their own minds which side of the argument they wish to believe.

    Leave the lies out of the classrooms, it is good to discuss the issue, but to have him compare the actions of Daniel Ellsberg with what Gleick did and call him a hero for his cause does not teach his students morality and ethics, it diminishes their own rights as citizens.

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  141. 141. Rational Debate 7:41 pm 03/3/2012

    Hello CENSORSHIP. I took the time and effort to write a lengthy post replying to Gord and making a number of different points, and while it was online for awhile, now suddenly it’s gone as if it never existed. So much for allowing reasonable open debate about the subject, “Scientific American” and Mr. Horgan. Shame on you.

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  142. 142. Jpaulb 12:12 am 03/4/2012

    Only the girlfriend pretends that an opinion about hair is somehow a fact that can be lied about. But there are similar errors in critical thinking that make a mockery of the study (and/or debate) of global warming, one of them being that the scientist is the boyfriend who is either telling the truth or is lying. That is not even a fair assessment of the boyfiend!

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  143. 143. Jpaulb 12:14 am 03/4/2012

    *boyfriend*
    (Was that a Freudian slip?)

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  144. 144. Ian St. John 1:31 am 03/4/2012

    This was more ‘investigative journalism’ which is perfectly valid. Mr. Gleick is both a scientist AND a journalist, so he has some guilt from his scientist side for what his journalist side prompted him to do.

    There is no lie in AGW theory. And without the deception the truth would not have been revealed. The means do not justify the end, but sometimes the means are the only way TO the end. As in this case.

    It is morally wrong and does damage the case to have used such methods. He should have passed in on to an investigative journalist uninvolved in the issue (he is not impartial which weakens the case and diverts attention from the facts revealed). But the focus should be on the facts, not the means of revealing them. As with the emails stolen from CRU. THe hue and cry about the methods used to obtain those were almost absent. The emails were spun and distorted out of context but he focus was on the emails, NOT the methods.

    I am troubled by cyber attacks, deception and so on but it is a fact of life. Which is why countries, companies, and organizations spend money on security. They should have validated the identity of the requesting party before sending out sensitive information. Something of the ‘buyer beware’ of the right wing which tend to justify everything on the ‘law of the jungle’. Also known as ‘no law, no justice, just power’

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  145. 145. savvov 10:00 am 03/6/2012

    There are problems global, problems local, and also problems such as Global warming. That fact, that Solar system totals by huge quantity of asteroids of the various form (except for planets) and weights – which and now fly by the Earth, obliges inhabitants of a planet to create on the Moon base, from which it will be possible to start towards to asteroids to correct a trajectory and the Tungus variant has not repeated. * That fact, that during III stage the environment of a planet (Ms) repeatedly turned in an equatorial plane in limits (25 o), and for given time Ms hung up in a non-stationary position and consequently in the future there will be an avalanche turn of an environment of a planet in a stationary position – in general is ignored by scientific community which is engaged in the past of a planet, the call to the natural phenomenon which repeatedly thus is thrown repeated in near past.* Dynamic model of the globe takes into account a question of global change of thickness and weights of an environment of a planet in the Southern polar circle, and consequently also scale of fatal consequences on each continent with the beginning of turn Ms in a stationary position. Thus DM has allowed to prove changes which occured in the past and will take place in the future, and also to prove the groundless and invented problems which could not take place on this planet at all. For given time the scientific community (which is engaged in the past of a planet) continues to juggle with millions years, and ordinary participants try to discuss separate events as, for example Global warming – which could not and cannot take place in general

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  146. 146. 2008RealityCheck 6:53 pm 03/8/2012

    The Carbon Trap, the first ecopolitical thriller to depict mankind’s attempts to trap CO2 going awry and threatening all life on Earth, is my way of adding to the global warming discussion. The Crichton-style book incorporates fact and projections to show what could happen. http://www.rainforestpress.com.

    Even if global warming proponents are right about CO2, their actions threaten the environment with unintended consequences. It’s unfortunate the environmentalists neglect that part of their crusade. These are among the topics I address. Governments are feverishly working on genetically modifying life that absorbs more CO2, and which if released may plunge CO2 levels to catastrophic levels; governments are mandating a corrosive solvent in our fuel supply that destroys much of the open cycle engines and legacy cars; biofuels are causing a dramatic increase in global warming gases N2O and CH4, which are many times worse than CO2. And there’s much more.

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  147. 147. JayneK 5:56 pm 03/1/2014

    Lying to support a cause is still lying. I fail to see how an individual can justify lying for a cause for the simple fact that when the truth surfaces any lies told will hurt the cause and the individual that told the lie. “Contemporary philosopher Charles Fried contends that lying (asserting as true what we believe to be false) always is wrong because it demonstrates disrespect for persons as being capable of rational judgments and of free and intentional choice.”(Johannesen, Valde, Whedbee. 2008) If someone is caught lying repeatedly they will lose all creditability and when they tell the truth later no one will believe them. The author doesn’t take into consideration the fact that Peter Gleick included fake documents with the real ones. This in its self, discredits Gleick because he attempted to pass fake documents by including them with the real ones. While it was unethical to include personal documents that wasn’t related to the issue, I think he hurt his cause by lying and including fake documents.
    J Kelley
    Drury University
    Under Graduate
    Reference:
    Johannesen,R.L., Valde,K.S., Whedbee,K.E., Ethics in Human Communication, (6th ed.)Long Grove, IL, Waveland Press, Inc.

    Link to this

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