Facts Building Lies

Let’s start this discussion with the story of a baseball player.  This is a baseball player who played many decades ago.  Lots of people liked him, and he was quite popular, but he wasn’t very good.  Let me tell you a few things about this player:

  • He led the league in strikeouts 5 times in his career, and is in the top 100 all-time in strikeouts.
  • He used to be a good athlete with lots of speed, but over time, he let himself get slow and out of shape.
  • He committed one of the greatest baserunning blunders in World Series history, trying to steal a base in the bottom of the 9th of Game 7 in 1926, getting thrown out to end the game and costing his team a chance at victory.
  • He had a strong temper which would occasionally get in his way.  He once got thrown out of a game for arguing with the umpire after walking the first batter of a game.  The pitcher who relieved him, coincidentally, pitched a perfect game in his place.
  • He drank a lot and was known as a womanizer.
  • He batted a paltry .181 in his final season.

Sounds like a fairly average player, doesn’t he?  Maybe even a slightly below average one.  Using these facts, I have just “proven” that Babe Ruth wasn’t all that great.

Everything I just noted above is 100% factual, but that isn’t really the point.  The point is the problem of the facts that I am leaving out, not because I don’t think they are important, but because they disagree with my hypothesis.  It’s hard for me to argue that Ruth wasn’t a great player if I accept the fact that he hit 714 career home runs, or that he hit 60 in a season when the record for a season before he started playing was 12.  I can ignore any of the other large lot of statistics that prove why many consider him to be the greatest player ever if no one is going to call me on it.

Unfortunately for me and my “hypothesis”, the data is readily available for anyone to see, so I would be discredited pretty quickly.  But let’s say I’m a scientist studying global warming, and I’m doing exactly the same thing:  taking any little piece of evidence that agrees with my theory and trumping it up no matter how minor it is, and ignoring extremely obvious and major things that don’t agree with my beliefs.  It is harder for people to disprove my hypothesis if the data isn’t readily available, or if people are too lazy to find it themselves.  (As an aside, the above is a perfect summation of how Michael Moore constructs his “documentaries”.)

Another problem with my Babe Ruth hypothesis is that there isn’t any incentive for people to believe it, unless they are rabid Yankee-haters.  The global warming science certainly gives politicians leverage for implementing their agendas, however (just like Michael Moore’s movies make him money and advance his agenda), which is another reason facts get suppressed.

The point here is that one can take a subset of the relevant facts and construct any conclusion they want with them, and that is what the leaked CRU e-mails prove has been happening with the global warming myth.  While some of the data may be factual, the overall conclusion is a lie because not all of the data is being included.  Some of the data can be used to show that temperatures have risen from time to time (which is obviously going to happen), but it’s the data being omitted which clearly disproves the theory that we need to see and incorporate to get the full picture.  It is this data that you are not allowed to ignore if you want to consider yourself a legitimate scientist.