This is my latest response to Gore v. Science, at Echoes in Eternity. I have placed this on my blog because I have taken so long to respond that it is buried under many new posts by now. I know my response times are often not fast enough to compete in the blogosphere, but I hope I make up for my slowness with quality.
Close. I would say that the pro-AGW scientists AT THE FRONT LINES of this battle are guilty of what you said above (some incompetence, definitely fraud, or at least capitulation). MOST of the scientific community that still knows what it means to be a TRUE scientist (skepticism, etc.) at least are willing to admit that the evidence is not clear either way. It’s merely a few loud obnoxious sell-outs, combined with power-hungry politicians, who are saying that debate is over.
While I concede that many scientists have their loud and obnoxious moments, that does not make them wrong any more that you would say Rush Limbaugh’s do. Your accusations of fraud and selling out are much more serious, and I suspect they are more serious than you realize.
Outright fraud is among the worst (if not the worst) act a scientist can commit. Consider the case of Hwang Woo-Suk. He was a well-respected scientist and a national hero until his fraud was exposed. Now, he scientific reputation has been reduced to that of a bad example, and he is facing possible prison time. Science cannot function without honest and free exchange of information. A scientist can work for the Nazis, kill his own son, or be otherwise extremely unpleasant, and his or her reputation will still be better than that of a true fraud.
The seriousness of the crime and its consequences mean that scientific fraud is rare and that your accusation is equivalent to accusing your pastor of selling his soul to the Devil. To say that a large group of scientists has engaged in global fraud for decades is a grave accusation that requires equally powerful evidence.
What the data (and the subsequent disagreement among scientists) show is that we really don’t know what caused the warming trend up until 2001 (since which we have not continued to warm, which has BLOWN the models out of the proverbial water). But since those models have been PROVEN to be so unreliable, we have to hazard a guess that the other hypotheses might indeed be more accurate (sun rays, natural cycling, etc.).
As to the purpose of claiming that AGW is real, in the scientific community the reasoning is mostly different (yet related) than the political motives. As Dr. Gray and others have pointed out, it’s a lot easier to get federal grants if you tell the politicians what they want to hear. Politically, yes, what you summarized above is pretty accurate; politicians like Gore want to consolidate power. Meanwhile, other politicians like McCain want to show that they are concerned over AGW, so they capitulate on the issue.
Contrary to your accusations, some scientists are so determined to collect accurate and comprehensive data on Earth’s past and present climate that the have risked their lives in pursuit of that data. I find it unlikely that Prof. Lonnie Thompson would risk falling to his death off of a glacier to perpetuate a fraud when he could sit in his office collecting $10,000 per paper for proclaiming what you claim is the truth.
If scientists are selling out, to whom are the selling at and what price? All of the contributors to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report were volunteers! They did not make any extra money for their contributions. In general, this accusation does not make sense because scientists usually do not enter research for the money. I realize that I could make much more money with an MBA than I will with a Ph.D. in physics. This seems a rather low price for selling out, especially given how much various think tanks and the petroleum industry are willing to pay for a prominent scientist who refutes global warming. You should be well aware of the disposable income available to petroleum companies because I doubt you have ever worked on an oil stadium named after the IPCC.