Destroying data: the ultimate scientific treason

There is precious little that will bring a historian’s blood to a boil faster than the deliberate destruction of an irreplaceable artifact. I recall talking to a number of people when the Taliban set charges to the giant buddha statues at Bamiyan and blew them up. Literally no one I spoke to looked kindly on that action but the people whose eyes shot out fire and sparks over the matter were all people either involved in historical studies professionally or who, like myself, are students of history in general.

Watch the reaction of librarians or bibliophiles when someone sets up a book burning. Same deal.

In the field of science, there’s a similar maxim: never destroy data. Ever. True science is independently verifiable. In fact, it is only under the condition of such verification that any scientific principle is ever really confirmed and can, therefore, be used as evidence in further research.

I’ve already mentioned the scandal coming out of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia regarding the clear patterns of ethical misconduct there. A few days ago something new developed that should bring that matter home to everyone. According to the Times of London, the scientists at the heart of this whole matter have admitted to deliberately destroying the original data that they used to create their models and form their theories.

SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.

Grasp the significance of this, if you can. For a century and a half, data was collected by hand and laboriously committed to paper. (For the first 100 of those years, at the very least.) The collections of observations taken over literally lifetimes were brought together, “adjusted” through methods these “scientists” conveniently cannot provide, and then the original data was thrown into the garbage. It is impossible, now, to go back and re-examine that data. Decades of observations are lost to humanity, now, because someone at this “research” facility decided no one else needed to be looking over their collective shoulders.

Treason. There is no other word that captures this action. These scientists are traitors to their profession, traitors to the collective humanity they so nobly claim to be concerned for. The science, in spite of the AGW movement’s continued protests, is far from settled and now, regardless of which side of that debate you find yourself (if you have a side at all), the CRU has rendered it impossible to ever do so. What are we to do, now? Wait another 150 years to collect the data again? What could a more thorough and less political investigation of that data have shown us? What critical piece of information that will make the difference between making the right call or a disastrous mistake now be denied us for the rest of time?

Will we be able to make the right call, now?

Unfortunately no one can say any more. They can’t say because of this handful of so-called scientists who decided what the truth was – absent compelling science, I might add –  and moved with deliberation to make sure their decision wasn’t questioned. The entire lot of them should be drummed out of the profession en masse and every single bit of their “science” in the field of climatology should be considered suspect, at best. Nothing they say can be held by reasonable people as credible and any organization that employs them for work in this field should be held in the same contempt. The CRU needs to open up its data files in their entirety for independent review if it ever hopes to regain a semblance of the authority they’ve squandered.

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