Piltdown Man was discovered in Britain in 1912. Prior to his discovery, paleoanthropologists frantically searched for the missing link between Man and Ape. Scientists fought vociferously over whether man’s big brain preceded his upright stance or followed it. The greatest minds in paleoanthropology held out that the enlarged brain resulted in our expanded ability to solve problems.
When Piltdown Man came to light with his large braincase, simian jaw, and near human dentition, he fit the theoretical picture. Fifty years later, he was revealed as the greatest hoax in the history of science.
Until now. Climatologists have dug their feet in on both sides of the global warming debate (read here about global warming, the science behind my conclusion and a summary of Earth temperatures). An equal number believe man is responsible for the planet’s warming as reject the notion. Because of the parallel affection for green issues (we should take care of our planet; we shouldn’t be so wasteful of our resources), the momentum seemed to be on the side of man-caused global warming.
Until Climategate. Until thousands of emails were released revealing the dirty underside of scientific research–respected scientists with the ear of others in their field tilted the data until it supported their side of the argument. Shame on them.
Scientists are among the most trusted groups in society. With the disdain most Americans have for politicians, lawyers–in some case, their own native country–science provided a safe harbor that wouldn’t be bent by political or emotional winds.
Now that comfort has gone the way of Santa Claus and the tooth fairy–only for the naive and innocent. I’ll miss you.