We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Bumbles of East Anglia

The propensity for libertarians to disbelieve ‘official’, ‘public’ or state-financed work could be viewed on a par with the finger-pointing of anti-capitalists who sniff interest in every corporate donation. Yet, it is not. Those who deride the corporations tend to see no wrong in public action, since the collective is always morally beneficial. The world-weary fighter for freedom is far more sceptical of any agenda promoted by any particular lobby or interest.

Let us not forget that the catechism of climate change is funded from public and private sources. Any lobby faced with the thwarting of its ideology at the expected moment of greatest triumph reveals its limitations. The reversion to denial, verbal assault and language reminiscent of communism:

He [Ed Miliband] said the former chancellor Nigel Lawson and former shadow home secretary David Davis were irresponsible and were acting as “saboteurs”.

Is the answer to throw them into camps? Trends in the groupthink of its political supporters, wedded to the authoritarian apparatus of New Labour, have proven very worrying. The policy has come to be perceived as a sacred duty, the questioning of which becomes a trespass.

The stupidity that characterises their thought extends to their science. I am charmed at the thought that bumbling scientists, taking a ‘string and sealing wax’ approach, proved unable to even set up a programme for data analysis. No audit trail or commercial standards were reproduced within the university, and that oft-quoted British charm of ‘muddling through’ did not work. The CRU thought that something would turn up. It did: the blogosphere.

The only way to salvage any understanding from this mess is the obvious point: outsource the data analysis to a private sector company whose lifeblood depends upon a proven record for reliable data analysis. Not some internal investigation without the wit to understand conflict of interest.

14 comments to Bumbles of East Anglia

  • Brian, follower of Deornoth

    As someone put it in the current scandal of Baroness Scotland and the cleaner (no link, sorry)…

    “Who would you sooner believe: a minister of the Crown, or an illegal immigrant? Yes, me too.”

  • Andrew

    Huh? Scientists’ “lifeblood depends upon a proven record for reliable data analysis” already, and, despite claims to the contrary, this is much more significant than any purported groupthink. The reason the CRU scientists lambasted the deniers’ work is because they consistently performed bad data analysis, not because they disagreed with their results.

  • Laird

    Andrew, too many “theys” in that sentence. Which group is it you believe “performed bad data analysis”, the CRU scientists or the deniers?

  • steve


    Huh, somebodies bareing their teeth.

    Where is this headed? Just what is the Rubicon in the minds of the Alarmists?

  • newrouter

    ClimateGate Research Unit Sought Funds From Shell Oil
    Photo of Noel Sheppard.
    By Noel Sheppard (Bio | Archive)
    December 5, 2009 – 14:15 ET

    The Climatic Research Unit at the heart of the ClimateGate scandal sought funds from Shell Oil in the year 2000.

    Other e-mail messages obtained from the University of East Anglia’s computers also showed officials at the school’s CRU solicited support from ExxonMobil and BP Amoco, although the nature of this support was not identified.

    As climate alarmists and their media minions love to claim that global warming skeptics are all paid shills of Big Oil, it makes one wonder how the press will report these startling revelations discovered by Anthony Watts Friday:


  • “Climate Alarmists” is too polite. I prefer “Climate Jim Joneses”.

  • Rather than just outsource the processing, free the data(Link). Make every single bit of information, including all adjustments, movements and sources, available for any and all to peruse.

    Give professional modelers, climate scientises and software engineers the opportunity to work together and share expertise. Allow the free market in ideas to work its magic.

  • Cats – absolutely. Freeing the data will mean better science because more checks, replication, and qualified perspectives. It will also mean better public confidence in the science that survives said process.

    In areas where the answers carry really high stakes, this is doubly and triply important.

    The downside will be far more work for scientifically literate writers, in order to cope with the huge ramping up of argument-from-authority and argument-from-crank-turning which will result on all sides. Science journalism is pretty diabolical at present: J – S – F*theta-prime = T and tends to zero, where T is the truth content of an article, J the amount of thought employed by the journalist in processing the press release, S the money at stake, F the fashionableness of the issue, and theta-prime a measure of how sciencey it is possible to sound without saying a damn’ thing.

    Well-deserved congratulations to everybody who has striven to get the data out into the light. The next job will be the popular calamarification of all the special-interest squids who will immediately commence spewing clouds of obscuring ink for three miles all around it. I include here those journalists who don’t give a damn which side comes out on top, but do care that the controversy should run along such channels as will pay their wages on a strict no-brainer basis.

    That fight may yet prove the harder of the two.

  • I can haz smiteburger, apparently – appropriately enough, in my response to Cats. Whilst I await the liberation of my data, a point of clarification for Philip. Why don’t you see interest in every corporate donation? Is it even compatible with the management’s fiduciary responsibility to donate to anything without the intent of serving the corporate interest? Surely not!

    Interest, of course, being distinct from mischief. So too for the public sector. I have worked with many publicly-funded scientists, and few Ed Millibands among ’em. The danger I’m concerned with – because I see so much of it – is the lazy assumption that public funding implies a general public, rather than a private government, interest.

    It’s just as distinct from mischief per se, though.

  • Laird


    What a marvellous word!

  • Laird

    A bit tangential to this specific thread, perhaps, but over at The American Thinker Marc Sheppard has posted an excellent explanation of “hiding the decline” and the infamous “Hockey Stick” fraud. Fascinating reading.

  • Andrew


    Andrew, too many “theys” in that sentence. Which group is it you believe “performed bad data analysis”, the CRU scientists or the deniers?

    Wow, you are absolutely correct — my apologies! Corrected version follows, but no one here will like it.

    Huh? Scientists’ “lifeblood depends upon a proven record for reliable data analysis” already, and, despite claims to the contrary, this is much more significant than any purported groupthink. The reason the CRU scientists lambasted the deniers’ work is because the deniers consistently performed bad data analysis, not because the CRU scientists disagreed with the deniers’ results.

  • Well, Andrew, it’s not like we get to see much of the warmists’ data analysis, and what we have seen isn’t very impressive. Drawing straight lines through temperature histories, for a start.

  • Laird

    Much better, Andrew; thanks. And you’re correct: I don’t much like it, because you have it totally backward. If the deniers’ data analysis were flawed it would have been a simple matter to refute the errors. Rather, the CRU scientists chose to villify their enemies, impugn their motives, conceal (and, we now know, falsify) the data, and refuse to disclose the code for the climate models (which, we also now know, were both childishly simplistic and non-predictive). It was, in fact, the CRU scientists’ data analysis which was bad, and whose motives were impure.

    Stoning is probably a bit extreme, but bringing back the stocks in the public square does seem an appropriate penalty here.