Monday, October 11, 2010

Faking science and professors with integrity

From The US physics professor who was Chairman DSB study on Nuclear
Winter

Newton: "Fie on you, Hansen, Mann, Jones et al! You are not worthy of
the name scientists! May the pox consume your shrivelled peterkins!"

Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of
California, Santa Barbara. Here is his letter of resignation to Curtis
G. Callan Jr, Princeton University, President of the American Physical
Society.

Anthony Watts describes it thus:

This is an important moment in science history. I would describe it as
a letter on the scale of Martin Luther, nailing his 95 theses to the
Wittenburg church door. It is worthy of repeating this letter in
entirety on every blog that discusses science.

It’s so utterly damning that I’m going to run it in full without
further comment. (H/T GWPF, Richard Brearley).

Dear Curt:
When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years
ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the
money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a
half-century ago). Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was
then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence—it was World War
II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few
physicists. As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the
first APS study of a contentious social/scientific issue, The Reactor
Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside there
was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were
therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest
appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further enabled by
the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky,
Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond
reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the
end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted
the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that
the report would be attacked from both sides. What greater tribute
could there be?

How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the
money flood has become the raison d’ĂȘtre of much physics research, the
vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold
numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear
my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned
into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my
resignation from the Society.

It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally)
trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many
scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the
greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my
long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this
is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which
lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t
believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff
without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of
the word scientist.

So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this
challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along
with it. For example:

1. About a year ago a few of us sent an e-mail on the subject to a
fraction of the membership. APS ignored the issues, but the then
President immediately launched a hostile investigation of where we got
the e-mail addresses. In its better days, APS used to encourage
discussion of important issues, and indeed the Constitution cites that
as its principal purpose. No more. Everything that has been done in
the last year has been designed to silence debate

2. The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was
apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is
certainly not representative of the talents of APS members as I have
long known them. So a few of us petitioned the Council to reconsider
it. One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement
was the poison word incontrovertible, which describes few items in
physics, certainly not this one. In response APS appointed a secret
committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet
endorsed the Statement in its entirety. (They did admit that the tone
was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word incontrovertible
to describe the evidence, a position supported by no one.) In the end,
the Council kept the original statement, word for word, but approved a
far longer “explanatory” screed, admitting that there were
uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket approval to the
original. The original Statement, which still stands as the APS
position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice to
all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It
is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is.
This is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast
fractions of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society
as a scientific society is at stake.

3. In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the
machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It
was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to
describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all.
This is not science; other forces are at work.

4. So a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after
all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the
necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a
Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the
scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be
beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation. I might note
that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us
the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the
requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail
what we had in mind—simply to bring the subject into the open.<

5. To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept
our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to
run a poll on the members’ interest in a TG on Climate and the
Environment. You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to
form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition,
and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex you
would have gotten more expressions of interest.) There was of course
no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment
part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you
cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in
whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid
your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the
Council.

6. As of now you have formed still another secret and stacked
committee to organize your own TG, simply ignoring our lawful
petition.

APS management has gamed the problem from the beginning, to suppress
serious conversation about the merits of the climate change claims. Do
you wonder that I have lost confidence in the organization?

I do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it
is always risky to discuss other people’s motives. This scheming at
APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it.
Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they
used to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the
money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There
are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame
and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a
member of the club. Your own Physics Department (of which you are
chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble
burst. When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the
University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot
have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise. As the
old saying goes, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way
the wind is blowing. Since I am no philosopher, I’m not going to
explore at just which point enlightened self-interest crosses the line
into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate releases
makes it clear that this is not an academic question.

I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer
represents me, but I hope we are still friends.
Hal

Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of
California, Santa Barbara, former Chairman; Former member Defense
Science Board, chmn of Technology panel; Chairman DSB study on Nuclear
Winter; Former member Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Former
member, President’s Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman APS
study on Nuclear Reactor Safety
Chairman Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman
of JASON; Former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board; Served in US
Navy in WW II; books: Technological Risk (about, surprise,
technological risk) and Why Flip a Coin (about decision making)

8 comments:

Psycho Milt said...

This is wonderful stuff, although it will presumably prompt visits by Greenies talking about science progressing "one retirement at a time." Well, yes - if you want to define scientific progress as consisting of scientists directing their efforts into political activism rather than testing hypotheses, you are going to have to wait for all the guys who know the meaning of the term "scientific method" to die first.

Mr. Xyz said...

MSM will try to keep this quiet just like last week's global warming scandal.

If you aren't familiar with the 10:10 dust up, see the videos below.

While watching the first one, ask yourself if it's sincere or if it's a spoof.

Keep watching until you're sure, and then watch more.
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=7C79DEF1EE25E880

Note: the resignations of Chris Landsea and Roger A Pielke SR. both hint at conspiracy.

Landsea resigned because of an unethical press conference that was likely used by Al Gore as a green light to build his movie around Hurricane Katrina.

Pielke resigned because while lead author for a major climate report, scientists worked behind his back to undermine him. These incidents are well known and not hard to research.

Anonymous said...

This letter illustrates why ALL scientists should be taking the climate "scientists" seriously. They are undermining and degrading Science as a whole.

That is why scientists in other fields need to be speaking up, denouncing the climate scientists.

I for one, refuse to to accept the findings of the IPCC and its minions, until they start abiding by accepted scientific practices.

David White (PhD)

Judge Judy said...

Ha! That resignation of a single physicist doesn't refute the evidence for global warming. You folks are deluded and getting desperate aren't you? Come up with some scientific refutation of global warming and not publish a resignation letter and made it out as some sort of debunking of global warming.

Psycho Milt said...

That resignation of a single physicist doesn't refute the evidence for global warming.

It's not about refuting the evidence for global warming (or not). Maybe you should read the letter again.

sagenz said...

David 12:34 - Precisely.

"Judge" holden. Nobody I know or read is arguing the science is wrong. On the other hand I know plenty of people calling bullshit on IPCC spin.
which one are you?

Anonymous said...

Scientists are beginning to wake up to the fact that AGW rorters have turned science into the very thing they have railed against for the last 500 years, namely a cultist religeon, and in the process have sold their inquiring souls
Mort

Anonymous said...

The refutation of what evidence Judge? that's all the skeptics are asking...your comments show as much intellectual rigor as an IPCC report.