Every day, while earnest investment banking hopefuls toiled away at their Capital Markets midterms, I’d see my scientist housemaster driving up in his Bentley, swaggering to the lab carrying his gold-plated microscopes, crystal Petri dishes, and diamond-encrusted mass spectrometers. Some days, he’d fuel his Bunsen burners with dollar bills – just because he could. Honestly, did anyone really think research science was about the pursuit of truth, and not of power and profits? If scientists were really interested in knowledge, they would have become oil executives.
Sadly, if you’re to accept the “Climategate proves global warming is a hoax” hype, that’s exactly what you must believe: that a vast majority of the world’s climate scientists are secretly conspiring to falsify their findings in a nefarious plot to gain control over the world’s resources. It sounds absurd to reasonable people, but then you see blog comments like this:
1:57 am December 1, 2009
Understand there are people who cant fathom that Global Warming Climate Change was a political monster that had nothing to do with science.. Leftists, Communists, eliteists snakes that prey on our children in their quest to take over the world.. One would think the stewarts of the planet would be happy we are not all doomed? Far from it my friends they couldn’t care less.. POWER and killing Capitalism is their game..
And that's pretty much par for the course in the skeptic camp - not just for random blog commentors, but also for mainstream conservative voices. John Hindraker spares no hyperbole over at PowerLine (h/t Blogometer):
There's no question that it's a fraud, but whether the "scientists" who have been promoting the global warming hoax have committed felonies is not yet clear. They have taken countless millions of dollars in government money and used it to produce fraudulent results, which may very well violate criminal statues both here and in the U.K. And the "scientists'" destruction of data that was subject to valid Freedom of Information Act requests may have been criminal under British law; that's a subject on which I am not an expert.
I'd love to see the hoaxers behind bars, but it isn't likely to happen, if only because the government officials who would have to bring charges are their allies. Criminal liability aside, the fact is that these "scientists" nearly pulled off the greatest fraud in world history. Compared to them, hoaxers like Enron and Bernie Madoff were pikers. The global warming alarmists sought to impose trillions of dollars in losses on the world economy, while living high off the hog on taxpayer money. If Bernie Madoff gets life, what would be the appropriate sentence for Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Keith Briffa, and the others?
The accusation of fraud in pursuit of financial gain is especially absurd given that if scientists were really so fast and loose with the truth, they probably wouldn't be scientists at all, since a fraudulent modeler could make so much more money building financial models for investment banks. Studies consistently show that 50-75% of mergers and acquisitions - investment banks' bread and butter - destroy value for the merged company.
How do investment banks continue to get away with selling a product that makes half of their customers worse off? Because they hire armies of analysts to massage model numbers until they show that a merger will produce gains for their clients. They don't call it a "pitch book" for nothing. Firms that make bucks by cooking the books would seem like a natural home for money-grubbing climate modelers with a flair for treachery. And yet Michael Mann and Phil Jones remain in the dusty halls of academia modeling the interaction of heat, air, and water, foregoing the vast fortunes a dishonest modeler could make on Wall Street.
Not only does the idea that climate scientists are promulgating fear to enrich themselves fail to pass the test of basic arithmetic - it defies elementary economics and business thinking. Any economist knows that competition drives down profits. Marketers refer to the importance of having a differentiated product or message. The points are the same: to acquire money, fame, or any of the things people normally seek, you have to say something different. Consensus just isn't profitable.
If the WSJ is publishing this kind of anti-economic rubbish, I'm certainly not going to trust their reporting on business or stocks. If scientists were really in it for the money, the Journal's editors might have had an easier time finding one to interview for their story - it'd be just a 30 minute subway ride down to 85 Broad Street.
Hackers, health care, and hot air: do we need to protect "climochondriacs" from too much information on the web?