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and we'll have no back-talk from the likes of you ...

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Dec 11, 2009

Britain's national weather service -- The Met Office -- is scrambling in damage-control mode in the wake of the Cooked Climatology Capers. The Times of London reports:

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The Met Office has embarked on an urgent exercise to bolster the reputation of climate-change science after the furore over stolen e-mails.

More than 1,700 scientists have agreed to sign a statement defending the “professional integrity” of global warming research. They were responding to a round-robin request from the Met Office, which has spent four days collecting signatures. The initiative is a sign of how worried it is that e-mails stolen from the University of East Anglia are fuelling scepticism about man-made global warming at a critical moment in talks on carbon emissions.

James Taranto, in a column titled "I Pledge Allegiance to Global Warming," has an apposite comment here:

The concept of scientists … signing a petition is ludicrous. The idea is that they are lending their authority to whatever cause the petition represents -- but in fact they are undermining that authority, which is based on the presumption that they think for themselves.

Spot on. Science derives its prestige from its reliability, and that reliability derives from its indifference to outcome and its success at canceling out the bias of the investigator by making the investigator universally interchangeable, so that any and all observers will observe the same thing. There's a historical irony in scientists' trading on the authority of their doctorates the way corrupt clergymen traded on the authority of their roman collars, trying to bluff the layfolk into ignoring the missing virtue which gave the authority its prestige in the first place.
 

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