AGU forgives the transgressions of a favourite son

For someone in the middle on the issue of climate scam, i.e. someone who just doesn’t know and therefore doesn’t post much on it, one side seems to be particularly dishonest in the matter. From the hockey stick to the falsified climate data exposed on Watts-Up, I find it difficult to accept anything these people now say.

There was a post two days ago at my place on bending the rules, though not specifically on this issue:

There’s always pressure to forgive either our own kind, a pretty girl or a dashing man, when we might not do the same for someone not “one of us” or someone plug ugly or plain.

If the end is good – the bringing down of a tyrant or cad, with the added impetus of the heroine finding true love – then we might just let something untoward slip by, be swept under the carpet and we can rationalize it to ourselves later.

One could quote Ian Anderson on the issue of integrity:

Playing at the hard case, you follow the example of the comic-paper idol who lets you bend the rules.

Well here’s a perfect example. It’s about the 2012 AGU convention and Peter Gleick amongst others. Here’s a refresher at Time about Gleick’s transgressions. Interesting that they quote the transgressor of scientific integrity himself:

Late last year, Peter Gleick — the president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security; and a respected expert on water-and-climate issues — co-authored a paper on the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) task force on scientific ethics and integrity.

Gleick and his co-author Randy Townsend of the AGU wrote that advancing scientific work to create a sustainable future would only be possible if scientists had the trust of the public and policymakers. And that trust, they added, “is earned by maintaining the highest standards of scientific integrity in all that we do.”

Strong words, and true ones too, but Gleick himself has failed to live up to them.

And that’s the issue. To trot out that old quote by IA Richards on scientists:

We believe a scientist because he can substantiate his remarks, not because he is eloquent and forcible in his enunciation. In fact, we distrust him when he seems to be influencing us by his manner. [IA Richards: Science and Poetry, 1926]

And by his dishonesty as well. And so to the post of the day:

Gleick’s welcome back to AGU prominence – without serving even the equivalent of a game’s suspension – was pretty startling, given his admitted identity fraud and distribution (and probable fabrication) of a forged document.

Last year, then AGU President Mike McPhadren, a colleague of Eric Steig’s at the University of Washington, had stated on behalf of AGU that Gleick had “compromised AGU’s credibility as a scientific society” and that his “transgression cannot be condoned”. McPhadren stated that AGU‘s “guiding core value” was “excellence and integrity in everything we do” – values that would seem to be inconsistent with identity fraud and distribution and/or fabrication of forged documents, even by the relaxed standards of academic institutions.

Although McPhadren had stated that Gleick’s “transgression” would not be “condoned”, AGU’s warm welcome to Gleick shows that McPhadren’s words meant nothing, because AGU has in fact condoned Gleick’s actions.

Take a look at the definition of “condone” in respect to an offence or transgression, where its etymology, curiously, derives from adultery cases. says:

1. to overlook or forgive (an offence)
2. (Law) Law (esp of a spouse) to pardon or overlook (an offence, usually adultery)

Another dictionary amplifies the second definition as follows:

2) to forgive the marital infidelity of one’s spouse and resume marital sexual relations on the condition that the sin is not repeated

It’s hard to contemplate a more vivid example of an institution pardoning or overlooking an offence and resuming relations. In other words, McPhadren’s words meant nothing. By its actions, AGU has “condoned” Gleick’s identity fraud and distribution and (almost certain) fabrication of a forged document.

And Chuckles brings Cryosat2:

6 comments for “AGU forgives the transgressions of a favourite son

  1. Greg Tingey
    January 7, 2013 at 9:01 am

    I repeat what I said elsewhere:

    WHat is a scam is the “response” of guvmints to GW – to make it a money-making exercise, rather than actually doing anything about the rea problem.

    It is a real problem, & there are ways of dealing with it, but that is NOT what guvmints are doing.

    Do not conflate them.

  2. DaveK
    January 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm


    So apparently fraudulent behaviour is not a scam then? You are right the political side is a totally destructive scam, but there are also questions being asked of the scientists behaviour.

  3. Greg Tingey
    January 7, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Yes, perfectly correct – science is the whole business of asking questions & trying to find answers.
    The fact that those answers are not what you want to hear is another problem entirely.

    The fraudulent behaviour is that perpetrated by the politicos.
    NOT that there’s anything new in that, unfortunately …..

  4. Andrew Duffin
    January 8, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    “The fraudulent behaviour is that perpetrated by the politicos”

    So, the hockey stick, the bristle-cone pine business, the denial of the MWP, the pressure exerted against journal editors who wouldn’t toe the line, the vilification of honest opponents, the corruption of peer-review, the passing-off of activists as “the best scientific experts”, and so on and on and on…none of that, to you, constituted fraudulent behaviour?

    Well it’s a point of view.

    • Greg Tingey
      January 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm

      Only because, like a devout RC, you want ot believe it’s not true.

      Unfortunately, it is.
      Grow up

      • David A. Evans
        January 9, 2013 at 11:41 am

        Your religion is showing again Greg.


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