OK, the voting is over. The vote (at closing) was CA 20,242; BA 18,993, but scrutinizing is still taking place. Thanks to everyone who supported Climate Audit. Both blogs obtained an incredible number of votes today and can walk away with both satisfaction and amazement. The volume in the Science blog today seems to have been far larger than any other race. Since mid-morning eastern, both Bad Astronomy and Climate Audit have amassed votes at almost exactly the same frenetic pace.
Prior to this vote, I (and doubtless many CA readers) had been unaware of the Bad Astronomy blog (and other interesting nominees who have undeservedly not attracted the attention that deserved) and I’m sure that this same holds in reverse. I hope that readers of each blog will take the opportunity of this introduction to visit the other site; I’ve added a link to Bad Astronomy in my very short blogroll.
Like many issues, the voting seems to have divided on left-right lines. While I realize that much of my support has come from right-wing sources, I don’t think that the analysis that’s done here is anything that should either comfort right-wing people or offend left-wing people. Sometimes the argument is made that, if Mann’s Hockey Stick were wrong, it means that the climate situation would be actually worse than people think. I ask “left-wing” readers to ponder this for moment: if the errors in Mann’s (and similar studies) result in a disguising of a problem, shouldn’t people concerned about AGW impact be on the cutting edge of attempts to analyze the Hockey Stick and see if there any defects in the analysis? Shouldn’t they be demanding that all the data used in these studies -even Lonnie Thompson’s – be available so that each one of them can be properly analysed?
Back when views on Iraq were more evenly divided, I sometimes compared what I do to being a CIA analyst arguing that sometimes an aluminum tube is just an aluminum tube and not evidence of WMD. That wouldn’t mean that proponents of the war couldn’t argue the matter using different arguments or that the war was or wasn’t justified, or that the subsequent occupation of Iraq was or wasn’t botched. All it means is that policy-makers shouldn’t be basing their decisions on questionable information about aluminum tubes. This was a line of argument that used to rub right-wing people who liked part of my message the wrong way, but I hope that it says something about me.
I’ve said on many occasions that, if I had a big policy job, I would be guided by the views expressed by large institutions. Unlike some “skeptics”, I don’t argue that decisions should be deferred pending perfect certainty. I have business experience and know that people make decisions all the time with uncertainty – you have to. At the same time, if you’re going to make effective decisions, you need to have the best possible information. And I vehemently disagree that scientists can use the “big picture” as a justification for being careless with their details. People should try their hardest to get the details right as well as the big picture.
So for any new readers, who have arrived because of this contest, welcome. To Bad Astronomy, it’s been an interesting way to meet. To Phil Plait, let’s have a beer some time.