In Case You Were Wondering
Posted by Jeff Condon on November 11, 2011
It is all about money. Every action in the world is about motivations and where money is involved, the gold is usually king. Sure you are motivated to play with your children, that’s not money but when you get up to go to work and it’s still dark out, you may love your job but it’s typically about money. Feed the kids, keep the lights on – capitalism is rampant even in the most communist countries.
Well Penn state, which famously ignored its own employee’s role in climategate, has been caught pretending another situation didn’t exist. This time the situation was so horrific on an individual level that the comparison to previous indiscretions is nearly impossible but the amount of Penn State money involved was so much greater that it can legitimately be made. Recently Penn State President Graham Spanier was forcibly retired from office. This is not proof or even evidence that the president was directly involved or even had any knowledge of the insane sexual behavior by PSU employees which appear to have been deliberately ignored by senior management, but firing was the right thing to do. PSU has an illness in the form of a culture in management which ignores even hideous error in favor of business-as-usual cash flow. Morality at PSU has taken a back seat to gold.
Steve McIntyre wrote a post on it recently which has this quote on Climategate:
Clive Crook of the Atlantic Monthly mercilessly criticized Penn State for their fatuous findings that success in bringing revenue to the university and accolades from peers necessarily meant that misconduct was precluded:
The Penn State inquiry exonerating Michael Mann — the paleoclimatologist who came up with “the hockey stick” — would be difficult to parody. Three of four allegations are dismissed out of hand at the outset: the inquiry announces that, for “lack of credible evidence”, it will not even investigate them. …
You think I exaggerate?
This level of success in proposing research, and obtaining funding to conduct it, clearly places Dr. Mann among the most respected scientists in his field. Such success would not have been possible had he not met or exceeded the highest standards of his profession for proposing research…
Had Dr. Mann’s conduct of his research been outside the range of accepted practices, it would have been impossible for him to receive so many awards and recognitions, which typically involve intense scrutiny from scientists who may or may not agree with his scientific conclusions…
Clearly, Dr. Mann’s reporting of his research has been successful and judged to be outstanding by his peers. This would have been impossible had his activities in reporting his work been outside of accepted practices in his field.
In short, the case for the prosecution is never heard. Mann is asked if the allegations (well, one of them) are true, and says no.
When the Penn state climategate reviews came out, the typical media’s uncritical acceptance of nonsense words out of Penn State was stunning. It revealed to all who were paying attention just how deeply invested the university and media are in insuring that the global warming message and money flow not be reduced by even the most blatantly false actions. The result was that Penn State has been successful in maintaining its public scientific reputation (and cash flow) in the same pre-climategate mode and the enviro-team has continued down their paths undaunted and likely re-invigorated that they are untouchable. The only thing I can do is write about it here on my blog and make a personal guarantee to Penn State University that when my sons go to college (which they will), not one dollar will intentionally come from our family to this corrupt, and truly disgusting institution. Don’t think for a moment that these messages are not being unintentionally communicated to Penn State students as thousands were idiotically rioting in the streets over the football coach’s firing.
It was all about the gold in both cases. Hopefully they are capable of shame because no group deserves more of that today than PSU. They can change as all institutions can but the first step is admission and from what I can see, they have a big hill to climb to even recognize that. They can relax and be thankful that I am not boss as a few token firings are not impressive. A top down investigation and re-training of all professors and management regarding the written code of ethics is absolutely required along with a TRUE focus on maintaining that culture. Done right, that would reverse things over years of time. Unfortunately, some serious pruning is likely required to get the job done right because this culture has apparently been bred over decades. If your organization doesn’t have the moral center to cut out the worst offenders, what value do you have as an organization.
Anyway, that’s the memo for today. I’ll be gone for the next week on my annual climategate hunting trip looking for invisible deers in a woods so deep that without a compass, you might not return. If someone would like a guest post to run during that time, send something to my email on the left. After Saturday, I’m gone to a quieter place where crazy and immoral people are not allowed.