Charles Murray on why losing the basic data is the core of the Climategate scandal. After discussing how data analysis should be done, he writes:
. . . That brings me to Climategate. The thousands of temperature measurements used to prove long-term warming cannot be treated as-is (“60 degrees Fahrenheit at 6:30 AM, 15 May, 1895, Cotswold station”). That “60” has to be treated in the context of time, date, location, local effects on the background temperature—and on and on—when it is analyzed.
The people who made those adjustments are, we now know, desperately invested in proving the truth of man-made global warming. And they lost the data. That’s more damning than anything else in the emails. If you’re doing important work that you know will be controversial, you don’t lose the data. You document everything you did to the data. You make the data available to others. If you don’t do all of those things, people are right to ignore anything you have published about them. And that’s what we should do with everything these men have published about man-made global warming.
Update: From a reader:
Remember Michael Bellesiles? Arming America? Bancroft Award winner. Supposedly “lost” his data to a flooded basement or some such. What do we think of his “scholarship” now? What credence is given to his data? And how unwillingly were his supporters dragged to that condemnation? Where are his defenders?
Murray is right.