A philosopher on Climategate

Source: Bishop Hill

I’ve always been rather unimpressed with philosophy and philosophers – I keep feeling that there is much less there than meets the eye. I don’t think this article in the New York Times is going to change my opinion much. In it, philosopher Gary Gutting looks at the AGW `consensus’ and Climategate and frankly doesn’t make much of a case. Here he is on Climategate:

Some non-expert opponents of global warming have made much of a number of e-mails written and circulated among a handful of climate scientists that they see as evidence of bias toward global warming. But unless this group is willing to argue from this small (and questionable) sample to the general unreliability of climate science as a discipline, they have no alternative but to accept the consensus view of climate scientists that these e-mails do not undermine the core result of global warming.

The “consensus view” about the emails that Prof Gutting cites is an article about the Russell review, which was not exactly chock-full of climate scientists and was not exactly full of people who could be described as honest brokers either. Prof Gutting also seems to have missed the point about the emails – if they really show that the peer reviewed literature was largely closed to sceptics, then yes climate science as a discipline is unreliable.