In my daily Sigma Xi e-mail “Science in the News,” I received the following link titled “Science Not Faked, But Not Pretty” about the hacked IPCC e-mails.
Could it be that the scientists were too accepting of advice that they should pay attention to the way they frame their arguments for the general public?
LONDON (Associated Press) — E-mails stolen from climate scientists show they stonewalled skeptics and discussed hiding data–but the messages don’t support claims that the science of global warming was faked, according to an exhaustive review by The Associated Press.
The 1,073 e-mails examined by the AP show that scientists harbored private doubts, however slight and fleeting, even as they told the world they were certain about climate change. However, the exchanges don’t undercut the vast body of evidence showing the world is warming because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
The scientists were keenly aware of how their work would be viewed and used, and, just like politicians, went to great pains to shape their message. Sometimes, they sounded more like schoolyard taunts than scientific tenets.
As a science writer, I’m all for clear communication and understanding the needs of your audience. But I’m equally concerned about being respectful of your readers’ intelligence. Don’t frame your argument to make a political point when your job is to present the science in terms your readers can understand.