Thursday, May 26, 2011

Steve Peters Commentary - #2934 - Judge Orders UVA to Hand Over Michael Mann's Emails - Bearing Drift (2) Freedom of Information Laws are Used to Harass Scientists, Says Nobel Laureate, Guardian UK

Could the long-running fight over former UVA professor Michael Mann’s emails be edging toward resolution? Perhaps. Yesterday, a Prince William County judge ordered the University to comply with a FOIA request from Del. Bob Marshall and the American Tradition Institute. According to ATI’s press release, getting to this point required patience, willpower and a bit of humor: Under FOIA the University was required to produce the documents within five days of its receipt of payment for “accessing, duplicating, supplying or searching” for the documents. Alternatively they could have entered into an agreement with ATI on when they would supply the documents, or they could have gone to court to ask for more time. They did none of the above. Instead they promised to provide some of the documents “shortly” on April 6; then specifically on May 6, 2011; and always stated they would get to the others later on. They did none of this either, so ATI went to court to compel production and compliance with the law.  Read more......

Freedom of Information Laws are used to Harass Scientists Says Nobel Laureate, Guardian UK - Freedom of information laws are being misused to harass scientists and should be re-examined by the government, according to the president of the Royal Society.  Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse told the Guardian that some climate scientists were being targeted by organised campaigns of requests for data and other research materials, aimed at intimidating them and slowing down research. He said the behaviour was turning freedom of information laws into a way to intimidate some scientists.  Read more....... SP: What is Science? "Science is the pursuit of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence." When a scientist is using other peoples money to pursue that understanding, then the taxpayers are entitled to review the data, along with others to "fact check" the work/conclusions. Scientists that are going to submit work to the world need to grow a thick skin in preparation for the critical "feedback" on their work. If one does not want their work reviewed by other, then one should use their own money, and keep the results to themselves. When others suspect a scientist has left the scientific method behind and ventured into the political arena, they are free to questions the motives behind the research. Virginia's Attorney General is trying to get UVA to "Mann up" the data for review. It is interesting that Mann and UVA want to "Have one's cake and eat it too." The results have been very public, and may have a profound effect on everyone's life, but somehow they do not want to make public all the date and information that helped them reach their, so called scientific conclusions. Once ALL the data is reviewed, we can determine if the research was actually science or politics.

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