The Most Influential Tree in the World

06 March 2011

Just before the height of last year's "Climategate" scandal, the British newspaper The Telegraph ran an article entitled "Climategate reveals 'the most influential tree in the world'".  Writer Christopher Booker made good points but got the wrong tree.

Booker wrote:

Coming to light in recent days has been one of the most extraordinary scientific detective stories of our time, bizarrely centred on a single tree in Siberia dubbed "the most influential tree in the world". On this astonishing tale, it is no exaggeration to say, could hang in considerable part the future shape of our civilisation. Right at the heart of the sound and fury of "Climategate" – the emails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in East Anglia – is one story of scientific chicanery, overlooked by the media, whose implications dwarf all the rest.

... This was startling enough, as McIntyre demonstrated in an explosive series of posts on his Climate Audit blog, because it showed that the CRU studies were based on cherry-picking hundreds of Siberian samples only to leave those that showed the picture that was wanted. Other studies based on similar data had clearly shown the Medieval Warm Period as hotter than today. Indeed only the evidence from one tree, YADO61, seemed to show a "hockey stick" pattern, and it was this, in light of the extraordinary reverence given to the CRU's studies, which led McIntyre to dub it "the most influential tree in the world".

I would like to make two observations:

1) Although important, the one Siberian tree (YADO61) should not be the ultimate target of Mr. Booker's research.  Indeed, if he were to dig deeper he would truly find the most influential tree in the world: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  The lies and deception that surround the events of Climategate began with that tree, not the one in Siberia.  It is the sin nature that is found in each of us that results in situations like Climategate and that nature stems from Adam's sin with the tree in the Garden of Eden.

Even if we ignore or correct the data errors associated with YADO61, the error of Adam associated with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil still remain.  There is only correction for that earlier situation:

For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one [Adam], much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.  (Romans 5:17)

Christ alone can resolve that error... that sin.

2) The tree of the knowledge of good and evil at the center of the Garden was also near the tree of Life.  After Adam's sin we find this:

Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"-- therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.  (Genesis 3:22-24)

G-d expressed concern that Adam "might stretch out his hand".  The Hebrew word for "hand" is yad.  The Siberia tree at the center of the Climategate controversy is labeled YADO61.

Coincidence?  Perhaps.

Or perhaps we are simply seeing in the Climategate tree an echo of the earlier tree.  The tree that truly was the most influential tree in all the world.

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