It has been fascinating over the last few days watching the CCDs (Climate Change Deniers) make an another attempt to scale the bastion of scientific thinking and language. In this case someone hacked a copy of decade of e-mails at the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at a insecure University of East Anglia webmail server. There is 63MB of these private e-mails circulating.
What startling things did they find out? That scientists are as human as the rest of us. Even the CCDs must have enough humanity not to get too surprised by that. That climate scientists talk in a different dialect to the norm. Hardly surprising – all professions do. That they talk a lot between themselves about what they’re working on – most professions do.
If you want to wander through a turgid set of comments, have a look at the post at RealClimate (at 700 odd comments when I read it) and a further post here. But I prefer reading some common sense at Greenfyre’s post – “Climate change Deniers hoax themselves again.”
For all the Sturm und Drang and Denier promises of ‘final coffin nails’, there doesn’t actually seem to be anything to the story. Sure, some impolitic and not nice things got said, and it’s embarrassing for some, but that seems to be about it.
We have all been waiting for the boot, or a shoe, or even a slipper to drop, and so far not even a sock there’s nothing there. Nada, zilch, gar nichts, mei you. That’s it, there’s no story, go home get a life.
Greenfyre then runs through a pile of the various allegations ‘supported’ by these private e-mails looking for substance rather than innuendo and mis-interpretation. Results: the usual techie language deliberately misinterpreted by amateurs, and a few humanly understandable gloats when some of their CCD harassers have misfortunes.
Language is unique to each discipline and uses the base language to express issues specific to each discipline. In 1985 I did an MBA because I couldn’t understand the bloody accountants. I have to go through the same language learning curve whenever I move into a different programming group, or deal with a different customer base.
To give you an idea of how far English may go from the normal understanding, try this as a real world example (lifted from my logs). Yesterday at work, I spawned a branch off the trunk and started a hack of the code to test using a D3DImage on WPF. This was to see if I could get directX (using SlimDX) to run under partial trust in a managed application, allowing me to sneak a 3D app out on the web without requiring total trust. It was preferable than waiting for XNA on .Net 4 which would limit me to the capabilities of a XBox 360.
This did not mean that I was trying to write a bloody virus, destroy peoples computers, or do anything malevolent. It meant that I was trying to get a bloody application to run on a browser without getting Vista or a browser getting its knickers in a knot and declaring a security emergency.
A CCD ‘analysis’ by conspiracy fetish amateurs without training in the field would probably have me drawn and quartered as advocating a conspiracy against the world. They’d have Bush declaring jihad against me and suggesting that Grey Lynn, Auckland is a hotbed of cyber WMD’s (weapons of mass destruction).
Of course that is assuming that they managed to understand what I was talking about at all. While I’m writing this, I can hear a group in the next room speaking a similarly incomprehensible dialect of English while putting a film together. I have virtually no idea what they’re talking about. The words are English, the meaning escapes me.
On the basis that the CCDs seem to think that the CRU e-mails are a smoking gun, you’d have to conclude that they find anyone with technical skills dangerous. Of course that would fit with their usual lines of conspiratorial thought.
It has been noticeable that it is only the illiterate nutters (in the scientific sense) like our locals Wishart and Whale (just the ones I had a look at) who are getting into vast theories about these e-mails. I’m sure that we will shortly have DPF expressing ‘concern’, and no doubt Key will feel as ‘relaxed’ as always because he is putting a totally ineffective ETS in place. The self-professed ‘experts’ like lord whathisname who have zero actual abilities or training in the subject will go blathering in public to the amusement of the trained.
I suspect that the various CCD actual scientists will be somewhat more circumspect. This is the type of dialogue that goes on all of the time in private e-mails in every profession. Even those co-opted by the polluters won’t want bother.
When the nutters can’t understand what people are talking about through they have this horrible feeling that people are hiding something from them. In reality they just don’t have sufficient mental horsepower or stamina to learn the language or understand the concepts that they talking about. Mindless hysteria based on faith rather than intellect is so much easier.
Back to Greenfyre again…
So what are we being asked to believe?
1) Jones was so fiendishly clever that he went through all of the archives and meticulously removed everything that was definitely incriminating, while leaving all kinds of suggestive tidbits that would imply there was unethical, even illegal behaviour.
2) The 63 MB archive is just a teaser. The Deniers are holding back the real evidence for later. They have some damning stuff, but they don’t want to release it yet. Despite the fact that tens of thousands of people have downloaded it by now, they’re all holding the good stuff back.
3) There really is nothing here. Oh sure some nasty things got said, there’s evidence of being a little paranoid about releasing data, and it’s definitely embarrassing for some, but that seems to be about it. Actual incriminating anything? Nothing. And even though they have nothing except bluster, the Deniers went ahead with all kinds of histrionic accusations and slander.
Anyway, how is this for a new theory (that I just made up). I think that CCDs must have worms. Their constant squirming to avoid looking at science (rather than what they’d prefer to believe) is due to an attention deficit due to itching from those worms.
This would explain a lot about their behavior. We should dose them and stake them out until they purge themselves. I volunteer to administer the dose to Nick Smith. Perhaps then they’d be able to concentrate for long enough to grasp the science.
As a theory it makes more sense than most of the hysterical CCDs do when talking about climate science.