‘Political scientists’ with questionable ethics that is.
Barry Cooper is at it once again. His opinion piece entitled Climategate 2.0 clouds global warming threat in the November 30, 2011 Calgary Herald builds on the groundless, and I would add mindless, accusations made in Scientists grow cool to global warming theory, in the June 29, 2011 Herald.
As a political ‘scientist’, Dr. Cooper evidently considers himself qualified to comment on the scientific validity of climate science research declaring anthropogenic global warming moribund while slanderously labeling climate scientists as a strange little cult, adding that because of so called Climategate (the hacking of scientists email on a server at the University of East Anglia in Britain), We now know that climate scientists, particularly if they work for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, like to cook their data. Well, at least we know where Dr. Cooper stands on the ethical issue of media hacking of private emails and telephone messages currently sinking the Murdoch empire.
Dr Cooper goes on to lecture the scientific community by pompously declaring: This is good news for science. Well, I am sure science will rest easy knowing Dr. Cooper is preaching the good news from his pulpit. Of course, Dr. Cooper knows that investigations completely exonerated the scientists involved in his so-called Climategate. Knowing this, why would Dr. Cooper repeat the lie that scientists like to cook their data? Well, because first off, he can. The journalistic standards of The Calgary Herald are so abysmally low it’s not as if anyone is actually going to check facts. So ironically, in making these allegations, it’s Dr Cooper who is cooking his data, or in this case, just making stuff up as he goes, and is guilty of the crime he accuses others of having committed.
Perhaps Dr. Cooper is simply jealous of the scientists involved in Climategate. After all, the scientists were fully exonerated after an intense and very public investigation. But exoneration is something Barry Cooper never received from the University of Calgary (UofC) investigations into his activities to fund the Friends of Science, an anti-global warming advocacy group, as revealed by the Globe and Mail. From the Globe story:
There was plenty of money for the anti-Kyoto cause in the oil patch, but the Friends dared not take money directly from energy companies. The optics, Mr. Jacobs (a founding member of Friends of Science) admits, would have been terrible.
This conundrum, he says, was solved by University of Calgary political scientist Barry Cooper, a well-known associate of Stephen Harper.
As his is privilege as a faculty member, Prof. Cooper set up a fund at the university dubbed the Science Education Fund. Donors were encouraged to give to the fund through the Calgary Foundation, which administers charitable giving in the Calgary area, and has a policy of guarding donors’ identities. The Science Education Fund in turn provides money for the Friends of Science, as well as Tim Ball’s travel expenses, according to Mr. Jacobs.
The brilliance of the plan is that by going through the foundation and the university fund, donors get anonymity as well as charitable status for their donations. In the last two years, the Science Education Fund has received more than $200,000 in charitable donations through the Calgary Foundation. Yet its marketing director Kerry Longpré said in June that she had never heard of the Friends of Science. The foundation, she said, deals only with the university, which is left to administer donations as it sees fit.
In this way, Dr. Cooper, with the help of the Calgary Foundation and the University of Calgary itself, were essentially laundering oil company money, siphoning it off to a political lobbying group. Well, not completely. It turns out some of the money went to members of Dr. Cooper’s family. The University of Calgary investigated (and unlike East Anglia, behind closed doors). The UofC turned over various aspects of the case to Revenue Canada, produced a report into its findings, and ordered Dr. Cooper to stop these activities. While not finding Dr. Cooper guilty of any misdeeds, the UoC report didn’t exonerate him either. Nor did it reconcile how it’s possible not to find someone guilty of inappropriate activity while at the same time, ordering these activities terminated for their impropriety. (Click here for a copy of the UofC news release)
The issue for ASkepticRTN isn’t Dr. Cooper’s ethics. Let’s face it, our ethical expectations of politicians or political wannabes hiding under the label of political scientist are not all that high anyway. We would, however, expect a good deal more of the media, specifically the Calgary Herald. Publishing these kind of opinion pieces knowing full well the extent of the author’s hostility and bias, yet deliberately keeping both hidden from readers, is fundamentally dishonest and a betrayal of journalistic ethics (there are some, right?).
Given the Calgary Herald’s anti-science agenda, perhaps it’s not a huge surprise after all. The remaining ethical question for the Calgary Herald may be, how low can you go?
After thought (Dec.09, 2011)
It has occurred to me that perhaps the reason the Calgary Herald has deliberately kept Barry Cooper’s antics hidden from their readers may be due to a lack of a catchy name. Given Dr. Coopers fondness for ending supposed scandals with ‘gate‘, I propose Coopergate.