The science you won’t hear

Apparently a few global warming denialists skeptics have released some more DAMNING! emails from climate scientists. It appears that they’re actually from the same crop of hacked emails that were released awhile ago, but is anyone going to care? I make it a point to avoid FOX “News”, but I have no doubt that that station along with the other Republican propaganda machines out there will have no problem taking more things out of context whilst simultaneously presenting this stuff as brand new. Of course, what they won’t mention is this:

Climate-change skeptics have pointed to the emails as evidence that researchers were manipulating data to make global warming look more serious than it is. Multiple investigations by UEA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the British House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, several independent panels and [climate scientist Michael] Mann’s home institution, Pennsylvania State University, found no evidence that these claims were true. The House of Commons did criticize the scientists and UEA for not releasing raw data and for handling freedom-of-information requests poorly. A 2011 parliamentary report concluded that it was time to “move on” from Climategate.

I have a conservative friend who made a big deal out of all this when it was new. (You won’t believe it, but there are conservatives out there who don’t understand a lick of science. Crazy, I know.) Then an early study came out exonerating the scientists of all the nasty claims being made by the anti-science right (sorry to be redundant). He dismissed that study, saying “this if far from over”. I followed up with him as more and more investigations concluded, asking which parts were still alive and kicking. Unfortunately, my follow-ups were all online, so he used the tactic common to many people who are wrong on the Internet – he ran away like a coward. It was really quite symbolic of much of the far right on this issue. And every other scientific issue once they get shown the facts.

And speaking of those who aren’t interested in science, remember the excitement the faster than light neutrino stirred up? No, no, not the genuine scientific excitement. I mean the excitement in the creationist/Christian community. “Why”, they ignorantly said, “this just shows that science doesn’t know what it’s doing!” Yes, yes, we all realize the religious don’t like the fact that science embodies the antithesis of faith. They’re more than happy to abuse the inherent nature of science in order to attack science. If it isn’t dogmatic and sure (based upon nothing more than faith, i.e., an overt lack of evidence), then it just can’t be good, right? That’s probably why this study isn’t likely to show up on too many Christian message boards:

An international team of scientists in Italy studying the same neutrino particles colleagues say appear to have travelled faster than light rejected the startling finding this weekend, saying their tests had shown it must be wrong…

They argue, on the basis of recently published studies by two top U.S. physicists, that the neutrinos pumped down from CERN, near Geneva, should have lost most of their energy if they had travelled at even a tiny fraction faster than light.

But in fact, the ICARUS scientists say, the neutrino beam as tested in their equipment registered an energy spectrum fully corresponding with what it should be for particles traveling at the speed of light and no more.

This doesn’t mark the end of the research on this specific subject, but it does act as a superficial blow to those non-science people who got so excited over all this. I say “superficial” because whether neutrinos can or cannot travel faster than light does no harm to science; the deeper reality is that none of this – absolutely none of it – will favor the religious mindset. But so long as so many people wallow in a fundamental misunderstanding of how science works – it rests upon bodies of evidence, damn it – these new results are unlikely to be promoted by anyone outside the scientific community.