UK Inquiry Clears Climate Scientists Against “Climate-Gate” Claims

“Climate-gate” was the recent faux scandal in which global warming denialists hacked into the email of some climate scientists and tried to used the stolen email to prove their anti-scientific beliefs. They made a number of claims about the content of the email which were repeated by the right wing media but which did not hold up when the actual emails were reviews. An inquiry in the UK has cleared the climate scientists of the accusations of wrongdoing stemming from distortions of the stolen email:

An inquiry cleared British climate researchers of wrongdoing on Wednesday after their emails were hacked, leaked and held up by skeptics as evidence they had exaggerated the case for man-made global warming.

Former government adviser Ronald Oxburgh, who chaired the panel, said he had found no evidence of scientific malpractice or attempts to distort the facts to support the mainstream view that manmade CO2 emissions contribute to rising temperatures.

The affair stoked the global debate on climate change and put pressure on scientists and politicians to defend the case for spending trillions of dollars to cut emissions and help cope with rising temperatures.

Thousands of emails sent between scientists were published on the internet just before the United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen last December.

Campaigners who doubt the scientific basis for saying global warming is manmade said the leaked messages showed that the research unit at East Anglia University had taken part in a conspiracy to distort or exaggerate the evidence.

The university, in eastern England, appointed Oxburgh to investigate the Climatic Research Unit’s methods.

“We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice,” Oxburgh’s inquiry concluded. “Rather, we found a small group of dedicated, if slightly disorganized, researchers.

“We found them to be objective and dispassionate and there was no hint of tailoring results to a particular agenda.”

Its strongest criticism was aimed at the unit’s handling of statistics. It recommended that the researchers work more closely with professional statisticians in future.

Deepak Chopra Continues Absurd Attacks On Evolutionary Science

Never let it be said that I am any less tolerant of anti-science views from the left than from the right. I tend to concentrate more on the anti-science attitudes from the right primarily because they have far more impact on legislation than those from the left  I have pointed out many examples of Choprawoo in response to Deepak Chopra’s articles at Huffington Post. This time his battle against evolutionary science is seen in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Chopra often mimics the arguments of the Discovery Institute against evolution while cloaking them with new age verbiage. He uses an example which really says nothing about evolution to argue that evolution has been guided by the intelligence of the universe as opposed to natural selection.

It suggests that evolution itself has never been random but is guided by the principle of intelligence — not “intelligent design,” which is a red herring supplied by religious conservatives. The intelligent universe is a cutting-edge idea, not a throwback to scripture. As a theory, it gives us a much more elegant explanation for many things that are clumsily explained by falling back on randomness to explain every new development in Nature.

While not exactly the “intelligent design” of the religious right, Chopra’s views are equally anti-scientific. As  P.Z. Myers notes, “Chopra doesn’t know what evolution is.”

Those interested in the details can read P.Z.’s full post but the bottom line is that “Chopra invents this bizarre idea that an intelligent universe is pushing clever ideas into monkey brains, and is guiding ‘evolution’. It’s a crazy claim spun out of a fairly straightforward observation of entirely natural behavior by some monkeys.” Furthermore Myers says this about the story written by Chopra:

The colobus story is not an example of evolution at all — it involves no changes in, or transmission of, heritable traits in a population. It is explainable entirely in terms of simple behavioral plasticity, and requires no intervention by an external intelligence, challenges absolutely nothing in evolutionary theory, and doesn’t demonstrate any hidden forces. If he were to try and present such a fable at a scientific meeting, he’d be laughed out of the room.

The only mystery here is why newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle continue to publish his drivel. Is someone under the misapprehension that he is a respected or even credible thinker? He’s a loon.