Climategate in Perspective, Featuring Isaac Newton

Sat, 2009-11-21 14:14Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

Climategate in Perspective, Featuring Isaac Newton

Climate conspriricists pounced at the opportunity yesterday to draw grandiose conclusions from the illegal hacking of private emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit. 

They wasted no time declaring global warming a vast science-wing conspiracy, orchestrated by a powerful handful of white-coats who, when not publishing in reputable peer-reviewed science journals, were (gasp) emailing each other to talk shop and vent about climate skeptic “idiots” (how un-PC).

The scandalistas say little about the fact that this breach of security and publishing of private communications is a crime, content to enjoy the opportunity to cherry-pick a few lines from these internal emails to push the skeptic theory of a sinister master plan by mainstream scientists to warn humanity that man has altered the climate in dangerous ways.

The Telegraph’s resident skeptic blogger, James Delingpole, immediately labeled this episode “Climategate,” pondering whether this is “the final nail in the coffin of ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming.’”

If James Delingpole lived in Newton’s day, his blog (er, scroll) might have read something like this

And here are some of the “tasters” Sir Delingpole might have pulled from Isaac Newton’s personal communications [H/T CarbonFixated]:

Conspiring to avoid public scrutiny:

There is nothing which I desire to avoid in matters of philosophy more then contentions, nor any kind of contention more then one in print: & therefore I gladly embrace your proposal of a private correspondence. What’s done before many witnesses is seldom without some further concern then that for truth: but what passes between friends in private usually deserve ye name of consultation rather then contest, & so I hope it will prove between you & me.

Newton to Hooke, 5 February 1676

Insulting dissenting scientists and equating them with holocaust deniers:

[Hooks Considerations] consist in ascribing an hypothesis to me which is not mine; in asserting an hypothesis which as to ye principal parts of it is not against me; in granting the greatest part of my discourse if explicated by that hypothesis; & in denying some things the truth of which would have appeared by an experimental examination.

Newton to Oldenburg, 11 June 1672

Manipulation of evidence:

I wrote to you on Tuesday that the last leafe of the papers you sent me should be altered because it refers to a manuscript in my private custody & not yet upon record.

Newton to Keill, May 15 1674

Knowingly publishing scientific fraud:

You need not give yourself the trouble of examining all the calculations of the Scholium. Such errors as do not depend upon wrong reasoning can be of no great consequence & may be corrected by the reader.

Newton to Cotes June 15 1710

Suppression of evidence:

Mr. Raphson has printed off four or five sheets of his History of Fluxions, but being shew’d Sr. Is. Newton (who, it seems, would rather have them write against him, than have a piece done in that manner in his favour), he got a Stop put to it, for some time at least.

Jones to Cotes, 17 September 1711

Abusing the peer review system:

…only the Germans and French have in a violent manner attack’d the Philosophy of Sr. Is. Newton, and seem resolved to stand by Cartes; Mr. Keil, as a person concerned, has undertaken to answer and defend some things, as Dr. Friend, and Dr. Mead, does (in their way) the rest: I would have sent you ye whole controversy, was not I sure that you know, those only are most capable of objecting against his writings, that least understand them; however, in a little time, you’ll see some of these in ye Philos. Transact.

Jones to Cotes, October 25 1711

Insulting their critics:

The controversy concerning Sr. Isaac’s Philosophy is a piece of news that I had not heard of unless Muys’s late book be meant. I think that Philosophy needs no defence, especially when tis attack’t by Cartesians. One Mr Green a Fellow of Clare Hall in our University seems to have nearly the same design with those German & French objectors whom you mention. His book is now in our press & is almost finished. I am told he will add an appendix in which he undertakes also to square the circle. I need not recommend his performance any further to you.

Cotes to Jones, November 11 1711

Previous Comments

That Newton was only in science for the money anyway…

He had to pay for that hair styling somehow.

The one thing this whole climategate episode has shown is that media is either not on board or is pretty fickle with this whole climate science thing. You guys have a lot of work to do.

I’d like to see a consensus/skeptic media graph. I predict a non hockey stick shape that would be flat and possibly declining towards skepticism.

“I’d like to see a consensus/skeptic media graph. I predict a non hockey stick shape that would be flat ”
unless of course ‘you know who’ was making the graph

My only question is thus.

Over the past 25 years or so, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on global warming (er, climate change) research. De facto, these moneys may be viewed as having been diverted from such things as food and medicine for the globe’s most unfortunate, or perhaps from AIDS or cancer research. Opportunity cost: one could perhaps argue that many thousands, if not millions, died as a result of a diversion of these funds.

And, now, we discover that the science underpinning the funding was fraudulently conducted.

Should this cabal, perhaps along with their PR hacks, stand trial for crimes against humanity?

Blog commenters are the real criminals. They should be locked up without trials. In fact I could cancel my internet connection and send the $30/ mo to feed starving children.

Er, I’ve been meaning to ask. Brendan, maybe you can enlighten me. What is “EnergyBoom”? And what is “E-Boom Finance”?

Is this your site’s financial support? A consortium of renewable energy companies and investors?

Do you receive any “renewable energy” options or warrants as part of your compensation?

Capitalism at work!

dont just peg brendan. its the whole desmog crew. clearly they must not get paid for working there or they would be the biggest hypocrits of all. i mean come on….this site (desmog) is based on denialists funding to show how their science and opinions are tainted b/c of conflicts of interest. so surely they can’t be getting a stipend for working at an alternative energy supported site, could they?

Had these missives seen the light of day during Newton’s times, then surely Lord Inhofe would have been vindicated in his tirades against Gravity!

If Inhofe would have done that Dennis he would have been way ahead of his time. The theory of gravity was ultimately suplaced by Einsteins theory of relativity.

Inhofe is starting to gain a lot of credibility in my eyes. Especially after the e-mail leaks it looks like he is the only principled politician left, irregardless of wether you support his position on global warming or not.

you write: “Inhofe is starting to gain a lot of credibility in my eyes.”

That and the Earth is only 6,000 years old, too. I guess it’s too much to ask that you read the peer-reviewed scientific literature that backs up your conclusions here. Oh wait – there isn’t any.

there seems to be an issue with the peer review process.

Yes. The issue with the peer review process is that the deniers support it only when the results support their pre-conceived opinions.

Turning over the stone at CRU has exposed lots of nasties to the light.
The origins of UnrealClimate being just one.

“From: Gavin Schmidt

In order to be a little bit more pro-active, a group of us (see below)
have recently got together to build a new ‘climate blog’ website: which will be launched over the next few days at:

The idea is that we working climate scientists should have a place where
we can mount a rapid response to supposedly ‘bombshell’ papers that are
doing the rounds and give more context to climate related stories or

The blog format allows us to update postings frequently and clearly as
new studies come along as well as maintaining a library of useful
information (tutorials, FAQs, a glossary etc.) and past discussions. The
site will be moderated to maintain a high signal-to-noise ratio.”

Roughly translated we will get out and “spread the word” to the assorted ecoMENTALists and “true-believers” and make damned sure that there is no dissent!

Sound like a recipe for propaganda to me.

Q: “Where do you get your stuff from- SurrealClimate?”

A: IPCC. Go prove it wrong (including the reference literature).

Henry Oldenburg, the Secretary of the Royal Society of London and the originator of scientific journals and peer review, complained often of the coffeehouse wits who mocked the scientists and their experiments: weighing the air, transfusing blood from a sheep into a man, etc. But the wits had a sense of humour and were not as destructive and dishonest as the blogging denialists.

too much generalization - blogging “denialists” are not robots. Some possibly even have a sense of humor, but that may not be noticed by the alarmist robots.

You’re not as funny as you think you are.

It certainly seemed apparent, much of the time, that he’s kdding himself.

More from under the CRU stone

Phil Jones (Director CRU) to the usual suspects (Mann, Bradley and Hughes- of “Hockey Stick fame)

“I’m getting hassled by a couple of people to release the CRU station temperature data. Don’t any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act!”

What’s Jones trying to hide?
Surely if the data was robust he would be giving it to all and sundry?

Nope. Keep stum and hope to God those annoying skeptics will go away.

Not this time!

No citation, no context.

The context is that all the e-mails are like this. Each one intertwined to the next, in which the context is this we’ve been severely duped! If you read a block of the e-mails it paints an ever more disturbing picture. Vj you seem like a reasonably intelligent guy, don’t get caught holding the climate bag on this one. Their are real enironmental problems that require your attention.

Welcome back, Phlogiston. When you ask “What’s Jones trying to hide?” I just respond back with what are you trying to hide?

A week ago you gave up trying to justify your assertion that a neuroscientist is qualified to perform non-peer reviewed climate research ( and that it must be right because, well, just because you agree with what he puts up on a web page.

As I have said before, I would like very much to believe that climate change is not being caused by human activities, but the science just does not back that up. There have been thousands of peer-reviewed papers and thousands of scientists engaged in the research behind that. They have meet countless times and reached the same conclusions. But that’s not good enough for you. YOu so much want to believe in your pre-conceived scientific conclusions that, with absolutely no context at all, you have to suggest here that someone must be hiding something. You’re willing to suggest ulterior motives to Phil Jones, but, never, never to those scientists whom you want to agree with, but who cannot get their results published. Is this how you tell your students the scientific process works?

Christy Clark at LNG Canada announcement

The B.C. government’s claim that LNG exports offer the “greatest single step British Columbia can take to fight climate change” is inaccurate in the absence of stronger global climate policies according to a new report released today by the Pembina Institute and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.

Natural gas does have a role to play in a world that avoids two degrees Celsius in global warming, but only if strong emissions reduction policies are put...

read more