Nature takes on stolen emails

There’s a great editorial in the most recent edition of the scientific journal Nature Geo Science that takes on the illegal hacking of emails at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit.

The editorial is behind a firewall, so here’s a few of the main points for those who don’t have a subscription:

Amidst the calls for more caution in communication, it must be remembered that e-mails are an essential scientific tool when research groups span continents and schedules are tight. Yes, there is a limit to what should be put in writing. But in messages that are not meant for the public eye, there must be room for an open-minded and opinionated discussion, for example, of the quality of papers published by other authors. And when writing to someone who is familiar with the context, there is generally no need to choose every word quite so carefully.

And this:

“The alternative — making every private e-mail between scientists unambiguous and fit for public consumption — would seriously hinder the progress of science.”


The scientists themselves are being studied and sifted and measured. I guess they didn’t see that coming. It’s a necessary thing. Sure opponents are taking every shot they can, but in the long run the science of studying the scientists will be a good thing.

“The science of studying the scientists” is going on where? There has been no science. It was quote mining – skillfully done and released simultaneously with the data base. So that lazy reporters would quote the quote, not the whole sentence.

Sure, the guys who actually looked could see the distortions. But by the time they did it, the original distortions had already gone around the globe 3 times.

This was simply a hatchet job. As for the scientists “not seeing it coming” they were used to the slanders already.

What, havibng a bunch of creepy stalkers stealing their private correspondence and deliberately distorting it for sleazy political purposes? Not a good thing in a democrativ country that respects people’s right to privacy.

The hacking of the e-mails was a shameful act with the sole purpose to mislead the public on climate change and damage the scientific community.

It is interesting to see the deniers claiming that it was some sort of ‘leak’, implying that there was anything in those e-mails that discredits the science and the scientists.

In addition, deniers are claiming that they do not trust peer-review and reject scientific papers.

The sad thing is that there are similar cases with the tobacco companies that manufactured doubt on the health effects of nicotine (and delaying regulation for more than fifty years). More at Doubt is their product,

Equally sad is when many of the deniers do what they do without realising that they are taken for a ride by those PR companies and think tanks.