The most interesting thing to me about the ClimateGate scandal is the most obvious one – that most people don’t know anything about the science behind the discussion and yet “both” sides are arguing as though there is a great deal more at stake than just a theory.
Which of course there is.
Which leads to the second interesting thing: the credibility, not of science, but of the “scientific community” is at risk.
Are scientists independent thinkers? Or are they bought and paid for?
Obviously there is, as alway, a mixture.
That is an important statement, however. Up to now, all it seemed one had to do to convince the New York Times and the Economist was have lots of data behind your argument and to be consistent with the “scientific consensus.”
That scientific consensus should always have been up for and seeking challenge. But when truth is replaced by profit or application as the final end, things change. Profit and application are always “interested.”
Truth alone allows us to be disinterested. The historical scientific claim to be the means to determine publicly accepted truth is itself now under a long overdue analysis.
Who are we laymen to trust?
If the distrust of many is genuine, you can expect an awful lot of noise over the next months and maybe years.
The driving question of the next decade may well be, “What happened to science?” After all, we have wagered our future on it.