Nice succinct summaryDecember 1, 2009
If you are finding all the discussion regarding the “climategate” confusing, let me direct you to an excellent summary prepared on Sunday by Philip Stott. See the following link.
Stott often has some of the best commentary regarding climate science in addition to very readable discussions on many other subjects.
I especially note this statement:
“By tradition, science has been thought to regulate itself by virtue of its rationality and objectivity. Today, however, some philosophers argue that society itself is the ultimate arbiter – that public opinion will decide which science to accept and which – such as stem cell research in Bush-era America, or GM foods in the UK – to reject“.
As a scientist I’m appalled. The idea that anything with a basis in actual scientific fact to be superseded by public opinion flies in the face of all reasonable thought. I am too much of a realist to be naive regarding how much public opinion effects much of today’s political discourse, but to let whim and fancy decide what science we consider acceptable rejects rationality. For example, just because a majority of the general public might believe in ghosts does not change the fact that no scientific evidence of ghosts has ever been demonstrated. No weight of public opinion can change the facts.