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Cherry-pick

Cherry-pick, that is, ignore bits of the data that don't suit your case

At the heart of all scientific endeavour is the reliability and completeness of data. In presenting and documenting the evidence for an hypothesis, scientists collect and publish all their data. It is essential that such observations not only be shown, but that the methods used to obtain them are also explained so that anybody so inclined can attempt to replicate the results. Leaving out a few results that don't support the hypothesis is a scientific crime.

A recent U3A Canberra course offered by Judy Ryan called "Evidence based climate science" directed interested people to a web site managed by the inaptly named Galileo Movement (but more on that later). There the Bureau of Meteorology's (BOM) temperature summary for Australia for December 1931 is copied to show the maximum temperature of the Alice Springs region for that month was around 33°C.  The BOM record for that month at Alice Springs Airport yields an average maximum of 32.2°C, so consistent with the regional map.

The Galileo Movement argues that the BOM's conclusion must be false because there is no weather station that covers 1931, so therefore there can be no data to support the BOM result. They list all the current stations in the area and show none were open in the 1930s. Quite correct.

Sounds convincing until you take the trouble to find out what BOM actually does to establish the Australian temperature records. While none of those now operating were running in 1931, others were. For example at  Alice Springs the current station is at the airport. Back in 1931 it was at the Post Office, and indeed this station is shown as recording throughout December 1931. BOM does have data for central Australia in 1931, the Galileo Group doesn't bother to let you know that. Furthermore it turns out that the allegedly "sound science" that the Galileo website uses in its attempts to debunk the BOM's records are two old newspaper articles, one from April, the other from July 1932 about hundreds of birds dying from heat exhaustion - so neither relate to December 1931, the date of BOM's map.

In other words, the Galileo argument is based on a falsehood.

And what about the Galileo Movement? They picked the name in order to style themselves as modern-day Galileos, fighting against a sea of ignorant scientists stuck in a world of their own imagination, while they, the new-Galileos, have the truth. Trouble is it wasn't like that. Yes, the Church was stuck in the mud of superstition, but the philosophers of the era, and of centuries before, knew perfectly well that the earth circled the sun. In the face of the Church’s overwhelming power many were discreet and when expedient they were silent. Galileo did find new and compelling theory and evidence and for that he is rightly famous. He also challenged the economic and political ‘powers that be’ as they were in 17th century Europe.

But in the 21st century, the practicing scientists are overwhelmingly with Galileo in presenting facts. It is the climate science deniers who align with power rather than truth. The relevant economic and political power nowadays is not of the Church but of vested interests, notably of the rich and powerful carbon-intensive industries and their business and political allies. These are the ones concocting modern superstitions and amplifying the risk of climate catastrophe 

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