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David F. Hales
President, College of the Atlantic

David F. Hales

David F. Hales is the president of the College of the Atlantic in Maine, which in 2007 became the first U.S. higher education institution to achieve carbon neutrality. ALL POSTS

An admission that the science is sound

Q: Given the furor surrounding the pirated e-mails coming out of the University of East Anglia, what's the real takeaway lesson? Does it say more about the way renowned climate scientists work, or how climate skeptics have operated in shaping the public debate over global warming?

The fulminations of climate skeptics in the wake of the release of electronic documents stolen from the University of east Anglia demonstrates more clearly than ever that the skeptics don't understand either climate science or the scientific method.

As reputable scientific findings continue to underscore the magnitude of the challenge we face, and the role of human activities in causing this crisis, the desperation of the "skeptics" grows, and the latest furor is little more than one of the last gasps of those who, paid or otherwise, want to deny reality.

A few of the e-mails released -- if they are accurate and not manufactured -- should embarrass the authors of those e-mails. But they have nothing to do with the soundness of the basic science.

Taken as a whole, the stolen material strengthens the scientific basis for concern, and emphasizes the need for urgent and decisive action - far more than the pallid measures being considered by the United States Congress.

By David F. Hales  |  November 25, 2009; 12:43 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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"The fulminations of climate skeptics in the wake of the release of electronic documents stolen from the University of east Anglia demonstrates more clearly than ever that the skeptics don't understand either climate science or the scientific method."

But the skeptics do understand coverups and coercive behavior. If you are so confident in your scientific methods, and if you are so confident that the skeptics are wrong, then let them have their say in the scientific community, and then they can be proven wrong. By not allowing them to even publish their findings, and to skew the results of your own findings, you show that you have no understanding yourself of the scientific methods that my own son gets taught in high school. If you cannot follow methods taught in our own high schools, how can you seriously be considered as the president of the College of the Atlantic?

On an unrelated topic, how the the college become "the first U.S. higher education institution to achieve carbon neutrality?" Please don't tell your audience that you achieved that via carbon credits, because we all know that does not decrease carbon emissions, so do not use that as a reason for achieving carbon neutrality.

Posted by: c0lnag0 | December 5, 2009 7:56 PM
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Sir, the pro-global warming "scientists" acted in a most unscientific manner. Squelching FOIA requests is not only criminal, it runs counter to the ethic of science - that results and methods should be shared as freely as possible.

If this were the only revelation, you might have a point. Here are several reasons to doubt the doomsayers.

1) There hasn't been any global warming in over a decade.
2) The "hockey stick graph" was based on only a singly proxy (tree rings) and cannot account for historically recorded events such as the medieval warm period (ever wonder how greenland got its name?)and the little ice age (the Thames froze over many years up through the 19th century.
3) The climate models that predict these doomsday scenarios cannot accurately predict the temperature even 10 years out (using historical data). If the models can't tell us what the mean surface temperature is today, why would you expect that they could predict the future?

The solution to a bad model is to produce a better one. It is unscientific to base extravagant claims on unsound models.

The supposed "consensus" has become an excuse to be ignorant. Rather than learning something and then stating facts in support of their theory, AGW supporters in the general population just say "it is settled science". Science is a process and abhors statements from authority. When and if it becomes clear that CO2 is considerably warming the atmosphere, it won't be necessary to silence skeptics as the authors of these emails attempted to do. Shame on Mann and Jones et al.

Posted by: groberts0429 | November 29, 2009 5:37 PM
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Well funded, very sound science based on the efforts of thousands of real scientists of the last 2000 years or so still cannot accurately tell me if it's going to rain tomorrow. How or why would anyone continue to believe in the myth of global warming. Emails or not, there's no science behind it anymore. None of the models pan out and the data does not support the conclusion. If that is inconsistant with the scientific method please explain to me what it is.

Posted by: jgmiller500 | November 28, 2009 12:12 PM
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Dude...not one supporting comment. You're a joke, but I'm not laughing. I want my money back. you should be pissed at what some of your fellow scientist/propagandist have done to science, but you're not. Sad day to say the least.

Posted by: kgrubb2 | November 28, 2009 2:58 AM
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Hales opening polemic that the e-mail revelations, "more clearly than ever that the skeptics don't understand either climate science or the scientific method" proves that he misses the point. He assumes that the average lay person has the background, inclination, or expertise to see something that is allegedly self-apparent. This is often the attitude of intellectual arrogance. Yes, Dr. Hales, climate science is too esoteric for most of us; that is why TRUST is all the more important. Something the e-mail revelations and your patronizing comments undermine. Here is what us ignorant people do know: we know that politics and ideology trumps honest science. We know that so-called scientists are asking us to make draconian changes to our society based on computer models. We know that people like you have worked tirelessly at squashing legitimate scientific dissent. You, sir, have fallen from your pedestal. We unscientific commoners have the audacity to no longer accept your word as if proclaimed from Mount Sinai. Ours is the great suspicion that you know far less that you think you do, and if you were really honest, you would admit it.

Posted by: vanhook99 | November 27, 2009 11:21 PM
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Dr. Hales's statements indicate that he too is an ideologically driven scientist, along the lines of the renowned email authors. These people have abandoned scientific objectivity in favor of their cause. The real problem is that they have tremendous scientific power. Not only do they control what goes into the IPCC reports and the peer reviewed journals, they control the billions of dollars of climate research funding. Given this power it is no surprise that published results often support their ideological views. It is a self fulfilling prophesy, a rigged game.

Posted by: DavidWojickPhD | November 26, 2009 6:36 AM
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You, sir, have obviously not read the emails. Nor have you examined the code and data contained in that "data dump". I would strongly suggest that you do so.

I have wandered through the junkyard that CRU claims to be "scientifically sound" - and anyone who would trust the data/results from that abomination is obviously biased beyond reason.

Posted by: Ginny11 | November 25, 2009 4:40 PM
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thanks for your two cents buddy, whoever you are.

unfortunately, this defense you give is a load of horsesh!t.

im tired of giving tax payer money so "scientists" can use worthless models to predict the tempature 50 years from now and, convienently, come back with numbers which only fuels the money they will be given to engage in this pseudo science.

you dont have an ivy league education to make basic public policies decisions, you cant just be sucker.

Posted by: dummypants | November 25, 2009 4:20 PM
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Science is all about falsification. When the evidence falsifies your theories, you need better theories. It is completely unethical to wage a jihad against scientists who provide evidence against your pet theories. The domestic scientists in this scandal should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Posted by: mbc7 | November 25, 2009 4:07 PM
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"How does the "scientific method" deal with decade-long cooling when CO2 levels are increasing?"

You are simply stating a false premise there. Anyone honest who has the slightest concept of measurement science (i.e., statistics or signal processing) looks at a smoothed trace of the data. The temperature has been going up all throughout the last decade. It only goes "down" if you cherry pick citing 1998 (which was a noisy positive spike) to last year (which was a noisy spike down). See either


You people who keep pretending the last decade has "cooled" are either deliberately cherry-picking or sincerely but errantly repeating something some talk radio/Fox hack has told you, without actually looking at the data.

97% of actively working climate scientists have concluded that the earth is warming, and that we are primarily driving it.

Posted by: B2O2 | November 25, 2009 4:06 PM
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Mr Hales says that based on the released email and documents, climate skeptics don't understand either climate science or the scientific method.
Apparently in Mr Hales worldview, the purpose of science and its method is to prevent other researchers with opposing views to publish articles, deliberate falsifying data to fulfil a preconceived idea or to hide or delete data to avoid others to confirm the findings.
Mr Hales is correct, I think most of us do not understand that type of “science” or scientific method, and for the all of us I hope we never will.

Posted by: wahlberg | November 25, 2009 3:19 PM
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David F. Hales, did you take the time to read some of the EMails?

Posted by: mike83631 | November 25, 2009 3:16 PM
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I should know better, but I'm surprised that I find myself embarrassed that WaPo published this tripe from an unabashed fraud and deceiver... an abandoner of scientific principles who turned his back on science for a cause he wished the facts would support. His explanation rings as hollow as a bank robber caught in the act attempting to wriggle out of the jam by claiming that he's acting as a concerned citizen simply to test the security of his grandmother's life savings.
The liars at East Anglia were busted. Plain and simple.

Posted by: dbsinOakRidge | November 25, 2009 2:51 PM
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Professor Hales, You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. Nice, try, but did you actually read any of those emails? How does the "scientific method" deal with decade-long cooling when CO2 levels are increasing? What finacial interests do you have in the carbon credit racket?

Posted by: ccwatson-CraigSmith | November 25, 2009 2:29 PM
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