Jim Hopkins on current issues
Jim Hopkins is a Herald columnist

Jim Hopkins: Dodgy science gets us all off the hook

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Most people know the adage, "Where there's muck, there's money", either because they read it in one of Professor Ihimaera's novels or because they saw it later, daubed on the walls of a 19th century colliery.

In any setting, it's a shrewd observation and credit belongs to its author(s). But whilst it's true that "Where there's muck, there's money", the merest pause will confirm the opposite also applies; "Where there's money, there's muck".

We've seen two examples of monetary muckiness recently. In one case, already touched upon, an author embellished his text with words that weren't his own - a hanging offence for students writing a thesis but not, apparently, so grim for those who teach them.

The other concerns a gaggle of Newton's heirs, scientific geezers beavering away, recording data, analysing statistics and reporting only what is provable and true.

Except these crooks haven't. They've cooked the books. They've lied.

They've falsified the facts to induce needless panic and alarum in the bosoms of the groundlings. Along the way, they've blackened the reputations of others who challenged their conclusions, whilst earning for themselves great renown and large amounts of dosh.

There's supposed to be an absolute rule in science: if the facts don't fit the theory, the theory must be wrong. But these beneficiaries of massive research grants have adopted a more creative approach. In their world, the First Law of Prestige and Avarice applies; when the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts.

There's nothing new about scientific frauds. The Piltdown Man was a con. For years, English education policy was influenced by the results of a study of identical twins, adopted and reared in different homes. Until someone discovered the study's author had made almost all of it up. (Give that man a job at Auckland University!)

More recently, there's been fudging of facts about cold fusion, another lucrative area of research. So this new lot of lab rats aren't mutant freaks. Science has always had its cheats. It's never been an exception to the rule, "Where there's money, there's muck".

But these egregious boffins have done more than remind us that the purest of research is prone to the corruptions of ambition and income. What they've done is wilfully attempt to influence public opinion - and political outcomes - around the world.

For these data-bodgers weren't investigating the mating habits of the Lesser Crested Gobsnot. No, they were climate scientists. Or, more precisely, pseudo-scientists, twisting the truth to produce results which they and their employers desired.

What's been revealed, although without enthusiasm by our credulous media, is that an influential cabal of researchers in England and America colluded to mislead us yobbos, perhaps so we'd more readily accept draconian measures like flatulent ETSs and the flying of kaumatua to Copenhagen.

A single email, one of many leaked by hackers and reprinted in the Guardian last weekend, proves the point: "I've just completed Mike's Nature [the science journal] trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline."

"Mike's trick?" "Adding in?" "Hide the decline?" Such words warrant only the opprobrium of their author's peers. But no whistles were blown on this gravy train. Instead, these co-conspirators acted as warm-mongers, shouting "Fire" in the scientific theatre although they knew there was no blaze.

This is wonderful news, folks. Truly, it is!! As Madoff was to money, these cons are to climate. They've given sackcloth and ashes such a bad name no one will want to wear it.

Because we now know all this hand- wringing, finger-pointing, cringing, wimpish, guilt-inducing "We're to blame and it's killing the planet" palaver, embraced as a new religion by countless control-freaks, wowsers and old, bewildered hippies is based on totally dodgy data.

It's bollocks!! The "facts" are a crock!! Whoopee!!! Send those pseuds a huge bunch of flowers and a note saying, "Thanks for letting us off the hook."

Because we are. You may not believe it yet - and certainly most journalists won't. "Where there's muck, there's money," definitely applies in their industry. It feeds on the apocalyptic.

And global warming was the KFC of disasters, a cataclysm so yummy no scribe could resist it.

Especially since the usual suspects; big business, Uncle Sam, globalisation, flash motor cars, fast food - all things most journalists instinctively dislike and wish to demonise - were allegedly the root of the evil.

So it will take the scribes some time to overcome their addiction. "It won't happen overnight," as Witi would have it, "but it will happen". And when it does, look out, for the wrath of the writers will be swift and savage. No one suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous reporting more intensely than a fallen angel.

Here's a toast to the hackers who exposed this scam. And another to the "scientists" who perpetrated it. Their dodgy "science" has proved one thing - global warming ain't our fault. They made it up. Now, would somebody tell Nick Smith?

- NZ Herald

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