Let’s keep this short and sweet. Charles Darwin isn’t a street urchin in a Charles Dickens novel. The former Charles was rich. He was independently wealthy, and therefore was able to be free of the power constraints of academia. Modern science carries a burden of hypocrisy few overcome. Noam Chomsky, James Hansen (he should be a cultural hero) and a few others are noteworthy, but they’re a tiny minority.
Science education imparts two rules: 1) integrity of work; seek truth through careful, accurate observations, and 2) hypocrisy of the science of science; do not speak truthfully about the institutions of science.
Science is not for nice people. Modern academic science is an institution rife with vicious abuse of power, power battles, fights over money, fights over prestige, dishonesty, faked data, and above all a pretense of integrity. Nice people either get out of science or are otherwise marginalized.
Modern scientific institutions reflect patriarchy and tyranny.
The fuss over ClimateGate is mostly over the continuing false image of science as a nice place. The reality of science doesn’t live up to the hype. We should be surprised that so few examples of pettiness and idiocy has thus far surfaced. Believe me, it’s there. You’re just not privy to it.
Again, corporate media does a whitewash on science as a modern cultural institution. It’s still mostly a bunch of guys competing with each other to be ranked as Alpha Males. The search for truth and reality is empty rhetoric. As with the Catholic Church, religion is an excuse for a small group of men to convene, primarily for the purpose of having a safe haven to sexually abuse children, so modern science is a safe haven for a small group of men to fight over prestige while hiding behind the thin veneer of the "search for truth." Scientists do like truth, as long as the light isn’t pointed in their direction.
Science is just another horrendous male-dominated institution where nice people rarely survive. Those who value personal integrity get out, or are driven out.
So, CimateGate? What’s all the fuss? If we knew the truth about climate research, we’d know about faked data and vicious power battles. Scientists do not like the idea of the "science of science." Look closely at quarks or DNA but don’t look too closely at the institutional functions and the individual behavior. Scientists are obedient to power and prefer tyranny over democracy.
Anyway. I’ve been there and done that. Much good science is done under horrendous subcultural conditions, of which few people outside of science have any clue. Corporate media tells us about the financial woes of Dubai but not about the use of slaves to build Dubai. Likewise, the corporate media promulgate silly illusions about science, as if it were some fairytale land. The media doesn’t tell us about the use of graduate students as slaves to the faculty or about many other abuses.
ClimateGate is nothing, really. Some normal guy wants to be King of Klimate, the data be damned. Nothing hew under the sun.
Scientists, as a group, have no more integrity than Wall Street bankers. No one expects bankers to be honest. When push comes to shove, bankers stole from the public treasury. Many people are angry but few are surprised. Scientists have better PR.
You see, I’m a Marxist–
The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made. ~Groucho Marx