Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation

Breaking the 'Hockey Stick'

Leonard Gilroy
February 14, 2005, 9:10am

The Wall Street Journal ran a piece yesterday (on the front page, no less) on the 'hockey stick' controversy in climate science (see here and here for background) : So what most scientists would consider a basic part of peer-review and good science -- releasing all of the details of their methods for others to replicate -- Mann would consider to be caving into mean climate skeptic bullies. I find it sad that protecting his scientific and political turf appears to be more important to Mann than the pursuit of science. If Mann is confident in his methods, then he should release them to the scientific community and let the chips fall where they may. Here's another bit: Filters and political correctness are anathema to sound science and the public policy that flows from it. If this were some arcane topic that had little practical impact in the world, then this debate would be easy to ignore. But the stakes with Kyoto are so high -- on the order of hundreds of billions of dollars annually and impacting the lives of millions of people -- that the global populace is entitled to one whopper of a debate on the science behind it. For a prominent scientist to stonewall legitimate inquiry into his work is like a boxer hiding in his corner of the ring and complaining to the ref that his opponent is actually trying to hit him. That's just the nature of the game. Good science should resemble the intellectual equivalent of a street fight; mano-a-mano until the last man is left standing. We don't need a return to the medieval days when science was subservient to social, political or religious agendas.

Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform

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