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The Discovery Institute Gets Personal

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyNovember 30, 2009 10:28 PM


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Michael Egnor is likening me to a prostitute for defending good science in the face of the Swifthack controversy. He says my approach to journalism is equivalent to turning "tricks." Or to quote:

3) “Trick”: a work-related act performed by a prostitute.

A spot-on description of Mooney’s science journalism.

Egnor doesn't appear to understand that when a scientist uses the word "trick" in a non-public email, as Phil Jones did in the now exposed CRU correspondence, it isn't necessarily meant as either prostitution or deception. There are far more innocent possibilities--"trick" can be a cool new method or technique, for instance. That makes the particular email being referred to much less than a smoking gun. Michael Mann has more

on that. So does Phil Plait


These files are not evidence of fraud. I am a scientist myself, and I’m familiar with the lingo. When we say we used a "trick" to plot data (as one of the hacked emails says), that doesn’t mean we’re doing something to fool people. It means we used a method that may not be obvious, or a step that does something specific. Plotting data logarithmically instead of linearly is a "trick", and it’s a valid and useful method of displaying data (your senses of sight and hearing are logarithmic, for example, so it’s even a natural way to do things).

And even if the particular email in question was a smoking gun, as I have explained

, such proof of wrongdoing on the part of one scientist--or a small group--would not change the science of climate change, or the policy outlook, or what we have to do in Copenhagen. Meanwhile, I continue to marvel at how the anti-evolutionist Discovery Institute seems to be following exactly the same anti-science line on global warming.

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