[Researcher Kevin] Dunbar came away from his in vivo studies with an unsettling insight: Science is a deeply frustrating pursuit. Although the researchers were mostly using established techniques, more than 50 percent of their data was unexpected. (In some labs, the figure exceeded 75 percent.) “The scientists had these elaborate theories about what was supposed to happen,” Dunbar says. “But the results kept contradicting their theories. It wasn’t uncommon for someone to spend a month on a project and then just discard all their data because the data didn’t make sense.” Perhaps they hoped to see a specific protein but it wasn’t there. Or maybe their DNA sample showed the presence of an aberrant gene. The details always changed, but the story remained the same: The scientists were looking for X, but they found Y.This is a fascinating read, including the now old story of the two Bell Labs scientists, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, who built a radio telescope and kept picking up static, no matter what they did. They were frustrated, but they won the Nobel Prize for discovering the background radiation of the Big Bang— but only after Princeton Physicist Robert Dicke told them they had "scooped" him in their discovery of what he had been looking for.
Science is not a neat little package and that is one of the things that bothers me about the Climategate problem. We are being told it is a neat little package, all tied up with a bow and that all of us common folk should just go away. Move along. Nothing to see here. Listen to your betters.
Frankly, a more open attitude would do much to bring me on board. Openness to Freedom of Information Act requests, be they to the US NASA or to the British CRU. Frankness in talking about the anomalies that I am sure exist in the data. This is science, after all, and new things are being discovered all the time. Openness to the public goes a long ways. Openness is the best disinfectant. The way of stonewalling and bluster does no one any good. Will people in Government, Academia and business never learn that?
Let's start the new year with a new attitude—an attitude of science and government being open and frank with the People. This is the United States, after all, and not the late and unlamented Soviet Union.
Regards — Cliff