It should be bizarre, but is in fact grimly typical, how the whole phony “climate-gate-scandal” has played out so far. Hundreds of emails between climate scientists were hacked — stolen — from servers at East Anglia University. The stolen materials were then misrepresented, distorted, and lied about, and the scientists involved abused, insulted, and accused of everything from deliberate fraud to acting as the willing dupes of the shadowy liberal-fascist “global warming industry.”

The bizarre part is that the only people being asked to Seriously Question Their Motives and Practices, or who are facing scrutiny for what they did, are the climate scientists who just got robbed, even though there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that they have actually done anything clearly unethical. (The worst bit is the suggestion as to deleting emails, something that everyone concedes is pretty bad and nobody is defending, though there’s no proof anything was ever deleted.) More important, nothing in all this nonsense even approaches a challenge to the science that shows the reality of global climate change, at least to a reasonable person.

But what about the “skeptics,” the “critics,’ the “deniers”? Because, after all, if there’s no proof the scientists lied in these emails, there is no shortage whatsoever of high-minded “skeptics” willing to let fly preposterous whoppers about these emails. See and viz. and ibid, etc. and so forth (and the links up there in the first paragraph). These people are shocked, shocked at how the “skeptics” are not Taken Seriously, and then they spout the most preposterous misleading tripe. Can we ponder their motives?

Take for instance NewsBustard’s Noel Sheppard, whose Qualifications to Pontificate on Science are that he is a credulous loon (yes, I’m linking myself, but that one was pretty damn funny). Here is Sheppard solemnly declaring that “Climate Gate” means Al Gore should lose his Academy Reward, something that obviously makes no sense whatsoever, so he has to throw in some hooey about how Gore lied about polar bears.

“A new scientific study shows that for the first time they’re finding polar bears that have actually drowned swimming long distances – up to sixty miles – to find the ice,” Gore says in the movie.

John Berlau, author of a new book on the environmental movement entitled “Eco-Freaks,” claims the polar bear scene alone should disqualify Gore’s film from consideration for best documentary, because it departs from reality.

Berlau noted that while the movie’s companion book says the bears were drowning in “significant numbers,” the study Gore is most likely referring to only found four polar bear carcasses in the sea off Alaska.

That episode took place after a severe storm, he noted, but Gore makes no reference to a storm during the film’s animated polar bear sequence.

Of course, this is all my bum:

The new study, carried out in part of the Beaufort Sea, shows that between 1986 and 2005 just 4% of the bears spotted off the north coast of Alaska were swimming in open waters. Not a single drowning had been documented in the area.

However, last September, when the ice cap had retreated a record 160 miles north of Alaska, 51 bears were spotted, of which 20% were seen in the open sea, swimming as far as 60 miles off shore.

The researchers returned to the vicinity a few days later after a fierce storm and found four dead bears floating in the water. “We estimate that of the order of 40 bears may have been swimming and that many of those probably drowned as a result of rough seas caused by high winds,” said the report.

Keep this delightful bit of horseshit (bearshit?) in mind as you observe the comically prissy Sheppard squeal & pearl-clutch when a scientist calls a dishonest denialist hack an “asshole” on Live Teevee, mewling thusly: “Isn’t it fascinating to see how quickly folks that complain about character assassination jump to using it themselves when they’re losing a debate?”

It’s not “character assassination” to call someone acting like an asshole an asshole — like if I were to call Sheppard an asshole, for instance, that would be fair comment.

Besides that, it’s hard to see what the wingnuts are complaining about –  to the BBC, this little exchange was just an Honest Presentation of the Two Sides of the Controversy, the sort of Valuable Public Service we here in the States can count on NPR performing for us.

Meh. Anyhow the lesson here is clearly that scientists need to be much nicer in how they respond to thugs. Right before they drown, our grandkids will thank us for being ever so sensible in this crucial regard.