Substantial progress at Monbiot's in understanding what has been going on at CRU.
(Congratulations to Steve for helping him get it and to Joe for serving as intermediary.)
And thanks to George Monbiot for elucidating his side of the story. Perhaps we can stop eating each other now and go on to developing a healthier relationship between science and the press. Monbiot is one of the best we've got; it's been very disappointing to see him go off the rails on this one.
Nobody says science is perfect. Jones is a fine scientist in terms of production, but a perfectly ordinary one in terms of contextual insight, motivation, and behavior. Had he been more of a Schneider or a Hansen, more of a participant in the larger context, he might have been better able to explain and defend himself. As a part of a flawed system, he shares its flaws, but as an individual, (much like Michael Mann) he is utterly blameless.
I hope Monbiot moves his attentions away from CRU and this Climategate nonsense. If he wants to think and write about the absurd and contradictory pressures on scientists, though, that is a useful topic.
Update: Steve points out in an email that Monbiot is very attached to the FoI process (that's clear enough in the linked article) and thus may be reluctant to acknowledge how it has been abused in this case. This may account for Monbiot's confusion about the whole situation.
I guess one question is whether science counts as government for the purposes of sunlight laws. Nevertheless, I agree that we should move toward openness and reproducibility in science to the extent practical.
The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.
- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)