More turmoil at the American Physical Society over their statement on the global warming issues

American Physical Society

American Physical Society (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was sent this today by Roger Cohen, a respected fellow of the APS. He writes:

Dear Anthony,

Since you have previously carried items relating to the American Physical Society, I thought you might be interested in the attached.  It concerns my experience with the Society over the past three years.   The “Recollection” document explains the context of the letter of resignation from the Executive Committee of the new APS climate activity, the “Topical Group on the Physics of Climate.”   The bottom line is that we cannot have science if only one view is heard.  That is authority, not science.

On Saturday I sent the attached to some 150 of our supporters.  Thus far more than two dozen have told me that they have resigned or will resign from the APS climate activity.  A few may resign from the APS though I have discouraged that.  
– Roger Cohen

The American Physical Society and the Global Warming Question

A Personal Recollection

It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is a hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn’t get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before in various periods in the history of man.” – Richard Feynman

The accompanying open letter concerns an episode in the ongoing debate over the largest scientific question of our age – anthropogenic global warming. But the debate is really about the conduct of science itself, and the scientific process that has been put together by important thinkers and practitioners over the centuries.

The scientific process relies on the collection of observational evidence and the development, verification, and falsification of predictive theories. It also relies on free inquiry and free exchange of information between scientists, and on the freedom to debate the scientific evidence. Without these freedoms, science can become as corrupt as the worst of human institutions. It can be bureaucratic, engage in the suppression of dissent, attempt to speak with the authority of a single voice, and, perhaps worst of all, become the willing tool of political interests in exchange for the promise of support, just like any other special interest. Trofim Lysenko’s hijacking and corruption of biology in the old Soviet Union and the eugenics experience of the 20th century are warnings of how science can “go rogue.”

With this backdrop, it is understandable that one of the most discouraging developments to emerge from the global warming question has been the co-opting of some American scientific societies, and indeed the National Academy of Sciences, by those intent on broadcasting climate alarm and on suppressing the dissemination of opposing scientific evidence. The American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society have shed their traditional roles as supporters of science inquiry in favor of out and out advocacy. It is also widely known that scientists seeking to publish opposing scientific evidence experience great difficulty getting papers published in journals sponsored by these societies and others.

However the American Physical Society (APS) – the second largest society of physicists in the world, and my “home society” – had stopped short of this level of shrill advocacy and bias. Physicists, perhaps more broadly trained in their relatively mature field and having a somewhat broader perspective than some other science practitioners, might be expected to adopt a more hands off stance when it comes declaring a complex and difficult science question “settled.” And indeed this was the case…until the 2007 Statement on Climate Change was issued.

So the story leading to the letter begins with the development and approval of the APS Statement. There is evidence that the process itself that produced the Statement was at least highly questionable if not downright illegitimate. It is known that a small group of individuals, not satisfied with the degree of alarm contained in the original draft produced by the officially charged committee, acted unilaterally and without authority to raise the level of alarm. A senior APS professional confides in writing that

“This [the original draft] was unfortunately changed ‘on the fly, over lunch’ by several [APS] Council members who were not pleased with the ‘mild tone’ of the drafted statement. Then the modified statement was voted on at the end of the Council meeting (probably as people were leaving to catch planes) [parentheses original].”

The overwritten Statement was far more radical, containing the antiscientific phrase that angered many members and provided a focal point for member opposition: “The science is incontrovertible.” The nature of science is such that nothing is incontrovertible; and indeed its history is replete with examples of how deeply held conviction was overturned by subsequent developments. Science pioneer, inventor, and Royal Society president Sir Humphry Davy put it as follows:

“Nothing is so dangerous to the progress of the human mind than to assume that our views of science are ultimate, that there are no mysteries in nature, that our triumphs are complete and that there are no new worlds to conquer.”

Driven by concern over the Statement, in 2009 I joined a small team of APS members. We collected and submitted a petition signed by nearly 300 physicists calling for the Statement to be moderated. The signatures were gathered one-by-one and included nearly 100 Fellows of major scientific societies, 17 members of national academies, and two Nobel Laureates. A number had published major research on the global warming issue, authored books on the issue, or worked in contiguous areas of meteorology and climate. Nearly all had backgrounds in key science areas that underlie the global warming issue.

The APS response to the petition was the appointment of a committee that took months to review the 157-word Statement. Only one of the members was familiar with the climate science field, and more than one had a vested interest in continued climate alarm. The committee’s final report referred only to IPCC reports and its supporting material, and so we had the predictable outcome: not a single change to the original Statement. Thus, as is the practice of bureaucracies, a position once taken is rigidly adhered to, even when the process that produced it was flawed.

However, some 750 words were added to the Statement to try to explain what the original 157 words really meant. These explanatory words are included as the “Climate Change Commentary” of April 18, 2010 accessible at the link provided above. APS members were permitted to send in comments, but the comments were never made public. A survey was also conducted whose outcome we were told supported the Statement, but numerical results were never provided, and we know that a substantial fraction of the membership did not support it.

Disgusted with these developments, some APS members quietly resigned or let their memberships lapse. The most publicly visible of these resignations were Nobel Laureate Ivar Giaever http://www.ibtimes.com/nobel-laureate-ivar-giaever-quits-physics-group-over-stand-global-warming-313636 and distinguished APS Fellow Hal Lewis http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2010/1019/Climate-change-fraud-letter-a-Martin-Luther-moment-in-science-history .

Preferring to work within the Society to try to effect positive change, our group of petitioners and APS leaders of good will came to an agreement in 2010 to try to focus the discussion back where it belonged – on the science itself. Thus I joined an officially sanctioned committee to organize a new “topical group” within the APS. Bylaws were written and approved whose main characteristic was a declaration of focus on the science, and an avoidance of matters of policy, public opinion, or political views. Here is the key objective statement from the Bylaws:

“The objective of the GPC shall be to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge concerning the physics, measurement, and modeling of climate processes, within the domain of natural science and outside the domains of societal impact and policy, legislation and broader societal issues. The objective includes the integration of scientific knowledge and analysis methods across disciplines to address the dynamical complexities and uncertainties of climate physics.”

It was thus hoped that the disagreement among APS membership would be diverted from attack and defense of the Statement to a discussion and scientific debate of the science itself.

All well and good. But to achieve the objective, one cannot move to exclude scientists and their findings that do not support the contentions of the APS Statement. As the letter relates, that is exactly what has happened. One should not conclude from the letter that all the APS people I worked with were of the same mind and wanted to exclude scientists who do not conform to the doctrine. A few tried hard to make the process scientifically inclusive, but they were far outweighed by the dominant influence which saw no reason to be inclusive.

At the end of the day, science progress does rely on the free exchange of information between scientists who may look at what nature is telling us and interpret these revelations differently. The practical outcome of exposing all the relevant science is the determination of the path to future critical experiments and improved theories. Without the freedom to do this, we have only authority and advocacy.

As I reflect on my experience, I cannot avoid the question of whether we have passed the point of no return, whether the descent of once grand scientific societies into advocating bureaucracies and self-satisfied clubs lobbying for funds can be arrested, reversed, and integrity restored; or is what we have now a permanent feature of modern science – a postmodern distortion of the best values of the scientific tradition that has served humanity well for centuries. If it is permanent, the only alternative is the emergence of new alternative institutions that can recover what science once had. We shall see.

Roger W. Cohen

Fellow, American Physical Society

10-16-12

====================================

Dr. James G. Brasseur

Chairman, Topical Group on the Physics of Climate

American Physical Society

Dear Jim,

It has become clear that I can no longer contribute effectively to the progress of the Topical Group on the Physics of Climate (GPC) as it was originally envisioned. Therefore, I am tendering my resignation from the Topical Group and the Executive Committee.

The GPC Executive Committee has yielded to pressure from within, and from others involved in the development of GPC activities, to exclude discussion of science that does not conform to the doctrine of strong anthropogenic global warming. This disregards the desires of a substantial fraction of the membership to discuss all the relevant science. Furthermore, without having demonstrated that the fledgling GPC can actually achieve the inclusive science-focused objective set forth in the Bylaws, we are moving to explore joint activities with other societies which are completely invested in climate alarm and which will not support GPC’s objective. These developments indicate that the GPC has set a course to become yet another outlet for promoting the doctrine.

As demonstrated in the development of the inaugural GPC speakers program (to be presented in March 2013), we have effectively drawn a boundary around the science so as to substantially exclude peer-reviewed, published work that conflicts with the doctrine of strong anthropogenic global warming, regardless of a speaker’s credentials and distinguished research record. For example, one accomplished physicist, an expert on the key issue of solar variability effects on terrestrial climate, was shunted off to “back up speaker” status due to the intervention of an IPCC lead author with a demonstrable vested interest in the IPCC’s posture on the solar issue. Another proposed speaker’s peer-reviewed, published work on the integrity of the land temperature data was completely discounted because he had endorsed a public expression of religious faith and its connection with science.

While skeptics’ public statements were considered evidence of bias, there were no qualms about applying a double standard that excused doctrine supporters from such considerations. One invited speaker has ventured into public environmental advocacy for reduced meat-eating, vegetarianism, and limiting natural offspring and airplane travel. Another invitee’s public statement of opinion on a supposed human contribution to a single hurricane (Katrina) was not judged grounds for questioning his objectivity. This double standard was no accident: one member of the committee charged with choosing speakers was quite explicit about skeptics’ participation when he warned against an “argument that winds up giving more effective weight to the ‘skeptics’ over the consensus viewpoint.”

None of the proposed speakers’ expressions of belief bear on their qualifications to speak on their scientific work in climate.  The science must be considered in isolation – as science and only science.  To do otherwise is to act as thought police.  The selective application of these expressions of belief as a basis for excluding one kind of science is wrong and biases GPC activities toward support of the doctrine.

My participation in the GPC development process was the result of a grass roots petition signed by more than 200 APS members, most of whom eventually joined the GPC. I now feel compelled to inform these petitioners of the outcome so that they can make their own assessments. Also, since I have supported the GPC in public and private statements, I will be updating these statements in the future.

As you know the GPC was intended to channel strong APS member disagreement over the Society’s 2007 Statement on Climate Change into a productive scientific enterprise. But there was also a greater opportunity: to demonstrate that it is still possible to convene a forum that would present and discuss, as scientists, the broad body of climate science with all of its complexities, uncertainties, and interpretations. Alas, despite good faith efforts made by some, this opportunity appears to have been lost, and I fear that another may not come along soon.

Sincerely,

Roger W. Cohen

Fellow, APS

10-17-12

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123 thoughts on “More turmoil at the American Physical Society over their statement on the global warming issues

  1. In Science (actual Science, not pseudo-science) hypotheses and theories make predictions, and are subsequently tested against those predictions.

    If the predictions fail, the hypothesis or theory is normally re-examined with a view to revising it to match the real world.

    In Politics, by contrast, failed predictions are met by attempts to revise the observations to fit the hypothesis or theory.

    In view of the circumstances, it appears that the CAGW hypotheses, theories, and assumptions are supported far more by Political Correctness than they are by observational Science.

  2. Is anyone surprised? For myself, the suppression of any open discussion of the actual science of `climate change’ is over powering in my job and profession. The vested interests reign supreme. It is very depressing after almost 30 years in my chosen scientific career. At least the new generation of scientists won’t know any better and will proceed in blissful ignorance.

  3. This is truly upsetting to me, as a physicist. I had seen the revolt against the original policy statement (“the science is incontrovertible”) and expected that surely the voices of reason would prevail, particularly since physicists are (I thought) less dependent on CAGW funding than atmospheric chemists, oceanographers, dendrochronologists, etc. But it was not to be. Feynman, as far as I know, is the only person to resign from the National Academy of Sciences, on the grounds that the organization only exists to select (or blackball) new members. But now there is an order of magnitude more funding at stake, so we see that such organizations also exist mainly to assure future funding for their members. So the “policy statements” are created by Society bureaucrats (e.g., Leshner of AAAS), for government bureaucrats (Chu of DOE), without troublesome input from members.

  4. The phrase “incontrovertible” should never, ever be applied to science. I am sick and tired about hearing how the science of AGW is “settled”. Proper scientists (Feynman, Einstein, Darwin) to give three examples; challenged others to dispute their theories, they did not label opponents of their theories as “deniers”. Any “scientist” who states that a theory is incontrovertible, is a zealot, not a scientist!

  5. Mr. Roger W. Cohen has shared another glimpse into the story we already knew of. His efforts and personal thoughts are to be applauded. In this time of politics affecting everything from the names of grade school sport teams and what is taught to our children by their teachers (Saudi Arabia and most everywhere) to what is acceptable scientific theories it is apparent that idea of free thought would be controlled if only a device could be implanted in our minds.

    They are trying very hard to control what we base our thoughts on. Indirectly they are succeeding. It all feels frighteningly like a dystopian novel.

  6. The climate chapter of Arts of Truth begins with the APS 2007 statement, and excerpts from the Lewis and Giaever. I only wish this had been available to add. BTW, the chapter does a dissection of the temperature record (UHI from here and elsewhere, ‘homogenization’), GCMs (showing where and how they have gone astray, using only their details from peer reviewed literature), and climate catastrophism. The chapter is only one example of how critical thinking unmasks canards throughout political and MSM discourse.

  7. It is a sad day when societies who should be the last bastions of reasoned thought and objective analysis, turn into snake oil salesmen who’s only goal is to push their illicit concoction on a gullible public for their own gain.

    Larry

  8. Yes, but Feynman also said: “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your guess is or how smart you are or what your name is. If it disagrees with experience, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.” Climate science is based on physics, models, and observations. Of course the science isn’t “settled” or “incontrovertible” but it sure is solid.

    And as Stephen J. Gould said, “Facts do not go away while scientists debate rival theories for explaining them. … In science, “fact” can only mean “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.” I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.”

    Or in APS statements.

  9. Whenever someone says that AGW is “incontrovertible” or “settled”, just remind them of the miasma theory in which the science was also “incontrovertible” and “settled” and the scientists who were saying germs were making people sick and not the bad air where shunned. With miasma correlation was not causation. Just like AGW.

  10. D Böehm says:
    October 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Lance Wallace,

    Dr. Hal Lewis also resigned from the APS:

    Feynman resigned from the NAS, not the APS.

    Sad state of affairs but not unexpected, the same has happened with the RS.

    DaveE.

  11. Aside from the excellent though dismaying content, the quality of rhetoric displayed here leaves me feeling like I just had a full day at the brain-spa. My thanks to Drs. Cohen and Watts.

  12. I can only quote Churchill, who said, on the occasion of the Dunkirk rescue of the British Army: Wars are not won by evacuations
    Similarly here, disputes are not solved by yielding the field to those less scupulous about scientific protocol.
    If Roger Cohen feels some of his fellow scientists strayed, he should identify them and their actions and fight, if needed with a minority report, rather than folding his tent. Feynman was similarly outvoted on the Challenger Inquiry, but it was his Appendix that got prevailed, not the carefully groomed main body of the report.

  13. …………one of the most discouraging developments to emerge from the global warming question has been the co-opting of some American scientific societies,………….

    Let’s fix this for ya.

    …………one of the most discouraging developments to emerge from the global warming question has been the generous climate research funding of some American scientific societies,………….

    There, fixed. :)

    It’s all about the money. Follow the money >>>>>>>>

  14. I don’t think the scientific discussion should be limited to “the science”. Scientists go out, gather data, and bring it back. Many of them have been found to bring back fraudulent data. In many more cases scientists have been caught conducting and hiding fraudulent calculations. In searching for scientific truth, the credibility of the scientists is important. Ad Hominem attacks are often reasonable and legitimate in science as well as in the courtroom. Many methods in science, like double blind tests, have the purpose of recognizing data errors caused by human falibility. Fraud is a significant source of data error that a good scientist should employ some kind of scientific method to alleviate and account for in assessing the reliability of conclusions. We can’t just discuss “the science” or the evidence and assume the scientists who bring it are honest.

  15. Note to commenters: the comment at 4:44PM is in fact from Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute – verified.

    Apparently Dr. Gleick hasn’t learned much since engaging in his fakery and theft escapade earlier this year. -

  16. “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong”. Richard Feynman

    Epicycle added by APS: “unless funding or political favor is at stake, in which case the experiment should be concealed or failing that the experiment and its results and data should be adjusted”

  17. The APS has descended to authoritarian totalitarianism reminiscent of Aristotelianism against Galileo. It is sad to see a once great scientific society fall to the depths of succumbing to political correctness. How long will it take before the public and politicians realize that the IPCC projections are running systemically hotter than reality and have neither been verified nor validated?
    This makes me embarrassed to even admit to a physics degree and having once been an APS member. When will APS members realize that they have become a laughing stock for supporting climate models that are wrongly tuned, are missing major physics or
    even have the physics backwards? Will it take having to wait till this authoritarian generation dies off and a new generation rises up who will again uphold the scientific method – per Kuhn in Scientific Revolutions?

  18. Utterly irrelevant unless Cohen controls relevant grant money and uses his control to filter out pseudoscience.

    If no money moves or changes direction, nothing has happened. (It’s like the definition of ‘work’ in basic physics.)

  19. “For example, one accomplished physicist, an expert on the key issue of solar variability effects on terrestrial climate, was shunted off to “back up speaker” status due to the intervention of an IPCC lead author with a demonstrable vested interest in the IPCC’s posture on the solar issue.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    To Roger Cohen:
    While I applaud the stance you have taken (and applaud again for going public with it), I’d like to suggest that your protest would carry more weight if names were named. As long as these ch*rlatans can operate in relative anonymity, they can only be emboldened knowing that their power is such that critics fear to name them.

    Knowing for example, that Wolfgang Wagner resigned from the journal Remote Sensing is one thing. Understanding that he did so because he feared the wrath of Kevin Trenberth for allowing Roy Spencer’s paper to be published, despite Wagner himself saying right in his resignation that it was properly peer reviewed and had no apparent flaws is another. Knowing WHO has the kind of power to keep an accomplished physicist from speaking is just as important to the debate as knowing that it was done.

    I blog under my own name despite it costing me business to do so. Kudos to you for going public. But it is time to name names. I can make a pretty good guess at both names, but were I to be wrong, I’d be smearing one or both. I suspect however that the signatories of this letter know full well what the names are, and I suspect also that the latter is a repeat offender and that we already know about other sins from that same individual. If I am correct on that matter, it adds considerably more weight to discussions that that person’s malfeasance when it comes to maintaining the integrity of science in general and the CAGW debate in particular.

  20. “incontrovertible”????

    16 years of temperature standstill in the face of rising co2.
    Recent record Antarctic sea ice extent.
    Arctic new record minimum caused by storm not hot air.
    Northwest passage traversed in 1905.

    Now I see why I should simply accept that the speculations and model Nintendo future games of the climate ‘scientists’ is indeed “incontrovertible” and settled.

  21. Anthony Watts says:
    October 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Note to commenters: the comment at 4:44PM is in fact from Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute – verified……

    If it was Peter Gleick I do hope he’s surfing outside of his official working hours or in his break.

  22. WOW! Thank god there are people of integrity in this world, like Roger Cohen, willing to stand up for what they believe and for what is right. It gives me some hope that someday all the world will know the truth of how climate science has been co-opted and corrupted by CAGW ideologues. And, how that corruption has permeated through once highly respected institutions, scientific bodies, research facilities, universities, government agencies (NASA, etc.), corporations, and a compliant media.

    What every scientist and every scientific institution has to realize is that no matter how remote their field of study is from climate science, they will be negatively impacted by the corruption that is CAGW. CAGW is a multi-billion dollar, worldwide enterprise and, as such, it will not be easy to bring it down. But, very slowly, bit-by-bit, it is being exposed for what it really is. And, as it crumbles, as it surely will, it will bring down every scientist with it.

    When the world finally learns what skeptics and scientists like Roger already know about the lies and corruption that is CAGW, people’s belief in science — all science — will crumble. It will be generations before people will believe anything scientists say. It is high time every scientist realizes this and come together to challenge CAGW dogma and restore the integrity of the scientific process before it is too late.

  23. A salute to Roger Cohen, Fellow of the APS for his public stand for the integrity of the scientific method. The subversion of the scientific method in the climate debate appears intractable. Bought and paid for by political journeymen, entrenched by obsequious bureaucracy, endorsed by a rubber stamping media with the intellectual wattage to match, the argumentum ad populum (appeal of the majority belief), argumentum ad authoritatum (appeal of authority) grinds on, slowly creating a 21st Century totalitarianism.

    And the argument has shifted. Typical of the global “official line” Governmental policy in New Zealand highlights an absolute and explicit acceptance that “human activity is causing climate change.” From the position of ‘anthropogenic global warming’ and demonised CO2, the imposed view has shifted to a widely encompassing generic one, where any and all human activities may be freely associated with any and all climate observations. Welcome to ‘New Age’. sarc.

  24. I may be mistaken here but here is an example of what was thought to be settled science: Animal cloning was said to be impossible.

    Today, I am convinced that cold fusion is impossible. In 100 years time people may read my comment and laugh.

    At around the turn of the last century some observers predicted a massive horse manure problem for future generations in London. :)

  25. Of the various scientific societies, I find that individual’s statements from APS stand head and shoulders above those from members of other societies. Perhaps it’s thanks to members like Roger Cohen who comment here, perhaps it’s Hal Lewis’ heartfelt letter of resignation. Or perhaps APS members have deep respect of the privilege of standing on the shoulders of giants and let it reflect in their writing.

  26. Jimbo says:
    October 22, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Today, I am convinced that cold fusion is impossible. In 100 years time people may read my comment and laugh.

    I hope we’ll be able to laugh at your comment in far less time than that. :-)

  27. Luckily, if CAGW is wrong, and it is, then the empirical data will, in the end, prove that it is wrong. The Supreme Court of Physics is the hard, measured data. There has been a pause in the warming in the 21st century, so there is some hope. Which particular piece of evidence will be the one that brings back integrity to science, I do not know. But I am certain that in the not too far distant future, it will be shown that CAGW is wrong from the observed data. Hopefully it come sooner rather than later.

  28. The statistical evidence is on the table that there is not a consensus here.

    ‘..200..’ out of 50,000 is around .4% of the APS membership. I have not seen recent figures but I imagine that this reflects the general proportion of peer-reviewed articles and a similar proportion of national academies.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean that the tiny proportion is wrong. It does mean that 99.6% of the membership does not agree with them. If there were a speakers’ program that reflected this balance there would have had to be 200 speakers so that, for the sake of statistical balance, you could fit in one supporter of the theory of natural causation of all climate phenomena on the program.

    96.6%, rounded up would be 100%.

    The APS signal is strong. The noise is noisy.

    I can see why this might be upsetting for the vanishingly tiny minority who know they are right and that everyone else is wrong.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Physical_Society

  29. Really? ..from Gleick? Some people really have no scruples. I would still be hiding in shame from my wife, children relatives, etc. And mostly, from my late mother whom I still think about when faced with a moral issue. Peter, shame!

  30. Peter Gleick,
    What are the ‘facts’ as you say?

    I know the world has been in a warming trend since the end of the Little Ice Age in the 1800s.

    I know that the Medieval Warm Period was as warm or warmer than the recent warming.

    I know that the climate modelss projections compared to current temp observations are diverging.

  31. Tip:
    Anthony,
    I don’t know whether it’s Peter Glieck as it could be someone using his account??? Be careful.

  32. Coming from the fraud that confessed to criminal activity…

    Peter Gleick says:
    October 22, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Yes, but Feynman also said: “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your guess is or how smart you are or what your name is. If it disagrees with experience, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.” Climate science is based on physics, models, and observations.

    That works both ways, Dr. Gleick. There’s a major problem of a) a lack of knowledge of the actual physics involved (sorry, the “high school physics” meme simply is not apt), b) models that lack any ability to make legitimate predictions, and countless observations that are contrary to theory. I won’t even touch on the falsifiability of a hypothesis in which every scenario supports the desired outcome. Indeed, experience says the hypothesis must be revisited and revised.

    Of course the science isn’t “settled” or “incontrovertible” but it sure is solid.

    Only to those that think lying to get dirt on “the other side” is a legitimate course of action in scientific activities.

    And as Stephen J. Gould said, “Facts do not go away while scientists debate rival theories for explaining them. … In science, “fact” can only mean “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.” I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.”

    Given that you do not know how to properly cite quotes by others, I’ll not dig into details other than to note, again, this works both ways. The facts are that the physics are poorly understood, models do not accurately model, and many observations contradict the proposed “one size fits all” hypothesis – the facts certainly do not support your position. That you must lie to further your cause does, however, support my conclusion that you are desperate.

    Mark J. Takatz, PhD

  33. Having been in a somewhat analogous situation to Dr (Sorry, not sure of his correct title) Cohen, I acknowledge his moral courage and honour his decision to resign.

  34. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the tiny proportion is wrong. It does mean that 99.6% of the membership does not agree with them.

    Are you just a part-timie idiot or do you do this professionally? There were not 50,000 members of the APS supporting the statement. Indeed, as noted in the article if you had chosen to read it, the statement was actually crafted by a few in a position of power “on the fly,” without actually bringing it to a vote of the original committee that was assigned to handle the task.

    Like any other society, few actually pay attention to the pronouncements of the body as a whole, even fewer pay attention to wranglings among the leadership (as a nearly 20-year member of the IEEE, have yet to cast a single vote – I simply do not care). That there were 200, actually, is rather impressive. It is quite aggravating that those few activists in charge are so right and everyone else so wrong that they feel it is acceptable to simply ignore their opinions.

    Mark

  35. @ Peter Gleick

    While I and many here might disagree with your opinions, I respect your right to voice them and defend them (despite past events).

    Which is a lot more than can be said for others as referred to in this blog post and at other bogs like RC.

    And yes, the facts are the facts; like global temperatures have not risen in 16 years. Which is nearly as long as the period (1979-1999) in which global warming hysteria emerged from.

    What are you saying about that now? What are you going to say next year and the year after should it continue? Ask yourself, how many years of little or no rise in global temperatures would it take for you to question your beliefs? And would the answer to the last question be the same had you been asked in 1997?

    Slamming the door in the face of skeptics will only work for so long. The torturing of statistics will only work for so long. Finding another explanation for an observation that runs counter to the modelling will only work for so long.

    Sooner or later, the chickens come home to roost.

    Kudos to Anthony for allowing your comments to come through.

  36. “The science is incontrovertible.” From the Physics Society. This is surely the epitome of this whole disaster. A perfect icon of the corruption of science. The history of this episode will be written under this heading. Let’s hope it is not the epitaph of modern state-instituted science — which had its birth in Restoration England precisely 350 years ago.

  37. Gleick you are shameless. It sickens me to reply to you but I need to.

    Majority of forcings as listed by the IPCC are listed as having low to very low understanding. If this is your idea of ‘solid’ science then heaven help future societies.

  38. Ric Werme says:
    October 22, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Today, I am convinced that cold fusion is impossible. In 100 years time people may read my comment and laugh.

    I hope we’ll be able to laugh at your comment in far less time than that. :-)

    I hope Anthony will give you a year-end thread to fill us in on the latest developments.

  39. Peter Gleick
    Glad to see you here at WUWT, it is a good first step. Anyway, perhaps you can elaborate on how you came to believe in the demonstrably mythical construct of the well-funded and organized denial machine. What erroneous evidence convinced you of its existence?

  40. Mark T

    Are you just a part-timie idiot or do you do this professionally?

    Comments: Uses sarcasm and emotion instead of logic. Indulges in ad hominem attack to try to bolster position. Summary: the response already lacks credibility.

    There were not 50,000 members of the APS supporting the statement. Indeed, as noted in the article if you had chosen to read it, the statement was actually crafted by a few in a position of power “on the fly,” without actually bringing it to a vote of the original committee that was assigned to handle the task.

    So, once properly informed, we can look forward to the remaining 49,800 APS hold-outs resigning in protest? Or will the remaining 49,800 continue to take careful note of the science and stick with the signal and not the noise?

    That there were 200, actually, is rather impressive.

    Excellent, once properly informed, can we look forward to the 49,800 APS hold-outs resigning in protest?

    It is quite aggravating that those few activists in charge…

    Is the APS a dictatorship of activists? Or is the leadership elected by the 50,000 – 200 = 49,800 members?

  41. Peter Gleick (or someone using his verified pacinst account) says: October 22, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    [...] Climate science is based on physics, models, and observations. Of course the science isn’t “settled” or “incontrovertible” but it sure is solid.

    Hmmm … how strange.

    During Gleick’s relatively brief hours in self-inflicted disgrace, Kevin Knobloch, President of the so-called “Union of Concerned Scientists”, whose “30 years of experience in public policy and advocacy” no doubt make him as “qualified” as Gleick in his pronouncements from the mount, had articulated a new, improved mantra. Knobloch, a Pacinst ally, who <a href="http://hro001.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/from-the-ashes-of-gleickgate-a-new-mantra-is-born/"proved himself to be a Gleick apologist par excellence, had declared:

    The science about climate change is clear, but the debate about how to respond to it is broken

    Note: Not “solid”, not “incontrovertible”, but merely “clear”.

    All of which makes one wonder … if Gleick and his like-minded allies are/were so convinced that “of course the science isn’t … incontrovertible” why weren’t they vigorously protesting the IPCC’s misleading statements and those of the APS?

    Curious minds would like to know.

    Because, it seems to me that, the silence of these “climate hypochondriac” [h/t Eduardo Zorita] lambs on the misleading and contentious declarations of the IPCC, the APS (and other such noble organizations) has heretofore been positively deafening.

  42. “Peter Gleick says:”

    A Gleickism huh?

    more emails from unkown entities?

    Perhaps you meant this Feynman quote?

    “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”
    Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/richardpf160383.html#kD42zS6XHKzIZKYA.99

    Many of Doctor Richard Feynman’s quotes, like those of other incredibly talented people are beautiful statements by themselves.

    It is often easy to spot the smudged quotes as they’re paraphrases and as such are useless without full context in which they are stated. In searching for the source, one learns that someone hears the word in question as experience (usually a later memory) and records it incorrectly when the word Feynman actually used is experiment.

    Know any “experiments” that have ‘proven’ CAGW global warming? Or if you prefer your ‘experience’ word, any definitive experience? That can be independently replicated by one and all?

    Perhaps you’d like some of these other Feynman quotes?

    “Looking back at the worst times, it always seems that they were times in which there were people who believed with absolute faith and absolute dogmatism in something. And they were so serious in this matter that they insisted that the rest of the world agree with them. And then they would do things that were directly inconsistent with their own beliefs in order to maintain that what they said was true.”

    “If you thought that science was certain – well, that is just an error on your part.”

    “Looking back at the worst times, it always seems that they were times in which there were people who believed with absolute faith and absolute dogmatism in something. And they were so serious in this matter that they insisted that the rest of the world agree with them. And then they would do things that were directly inconsistent with their own beliefs in order to maintain that what they said was true.”

    See any you liked? Certainly there were some that made your ears burn…

  43. Howskepticalment…

    Do you know what an ad hominem is? I insulted you, nothing more. Look it up. It is difficult to legitimately argue another’s credibility when you cannot even get such a basic point right.

    Also, do you have evidence the other 49,800 actually support the APS position? If not, the entire rest of your post is without support. As I noted, few, if any, of the 49,800 pay attention. And, to be sure, if there had even been 200 in favor that stood up to rebut those opposed, we would have heard it screamed from the rooftops. Nothing but crickets…

    Mark

  44. I was surprised to see Peter Glieck’s post here but his the post was rather innocuous and non confrontational. I suggest that we treat him cordially as long as he treats us with respect. I would hope that the Heartland affair and the fallout from a certain book review have taught him a little humility in his treatment of those with ideas differing from his own.

  45. Peter Gleick says:

    October 22, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Of course the science isn’t “settled” or “incontrovertible” but it sure is solid.
    ===============================================================
    Solid? At least we can agree that it is unsettled. As far as I can see the only basis besides models for the human warming hypothesis is a 30 year correlation in trends. My personal timescale is hundreds of millions of years.

    Physics? Physics is never simple. Just because CO2 in a jar will warm when irradiated with IR does not mean CO2 a complex atmosphere will behave the same way.

    But let’s keep talking…

  46. Is the APS a dictatorship of activists? Or is the leadership elected by the 50,000 – 200 = 49,800 members?

    You don’t belong to any professional socieities, do you? You also don’t pay attention. Just a hint: the leadership was not elected by 49,800 members. Not that it matters, as membership in any society would not take long to clue you in to the simple fact that YES, activists do tend towards leadership positions. As I noted (apparently you can’t read) most don’t care what happens -indeed, the 49,800 were not polled, the position statement was generated by a committee. Did you miss that part, too?

    Those that rise to the topof any organiztion tend to be… wait for it… the most active in the organization. Hence the name “activists.” Get it? Pretty simple, the name contains the definition. Those that are the most active tend to be drawn from the subset of those that want to make a change. In a society like the IEEE, you get “activists” that want to enhance battery technology or push for better solar panels, goals that would be in place even if pollution smelled like roses and made people re-grow lost limbs. In a societies like the APS, NAS, AAAS, you get activists that push for the only real focus of any public society, currently GW policy.

    Oh, and for the record, Cohen’s argument has nothing to do with who is right or who is wrong, it is that their position statement explicitly states that the science is incontrovertible. Cohen’s argument is that such a concept does not exist in science. Any scientist that thinks this is a legitimate scientific position is wrong, period.

    Mark

  47. hro001 says: October 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm
    Sorry, let me fix that first link:

    Knobloch, a Pacinst ally, who proved himself to be a Gleick apologist par excellence,

    Hilary Ostrov (who really, really wishes that WordPress would give commenters option to preview before posting)

  48. The only incontrovertible piece of evidence about this whole ordeal is that the fix is certainly in. If longstanding bastions of scientific principle such as APS can succumb to the AGW dogma and good folks can so easily dismiss a career that had been rooted in defending the philosophy of science, then there’s little hope for science as we once knew it. This whole thing reeks of modern day wise guys and made men, and scared shopkeepers “not seeing nuttin” and having to pay their weekly premiums for their shop’s “protection”.

  49. Robert Austin: why? He is a fraud. He is representative of the worst elements of science. He is is exactly who Eisenhower warned us about. He should be treated like a pariah by every climate scientist, as well as onlookers, as a deterrent to those that think his behavior was/is acceptable.

    Mark

  50. Howslepticalment;
    Excellent, once properly informed, can we look forward to the 49,800 APS hold-outs resigning in protest?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Can we look forward to a clear statement that the entire membership votes on? What the 200 signatories are complaining about is that the statements made by the APS were in fact made WITHOUT seeking broad support from the membership. Are you of the opinion that 49,800 APS members are “single issue” voters for whom the only consideration of continued membership is the APS official position? That would be rather naive wouldn’t it?

    The real question is will the executive of the APS allow for an open and honest debate on the matter followed by a voting process to establish what the memebership actually believes?

    If yes, have at it.

    If no… what are they afraid of? The future of humanity is supposedly at stake. What harm could come from an open and honest debate followed by a democratic process to arrive at a proper representation of the society’s membership’s opinions? What does the APS executive have to fear from such a process of they are indeed committed to science?

  51. Reblogged this on The GOLDEN RULE and commented:
    A meaningful condemnation of the abuse of science in connection with “global warming”. Summed up effectively by this extracted final paragraph:
    “As I reflect on my experience, I cannot avoid the question of whether we have passed the point of no return, whether the descent of once grand scientific societies into advocating bureaucracies and self-satisfied clubs lobbying for funds can be arrested, reversed, and integrity restored; or is what we have now a permanent feature of modern science – a postmodern distortion of the best values of the scientific tradition that has served humanity well for centuries. If it is permanent, the only alternative is the emergence of new alternative institutions that can recover what science once had. We shall see.”

  52. Peter Gleick;
    Of course the science isn’t “settled” or “incontrovertible” but it sure is solid.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Then by your own assertion, the APS statement should be revised.

  53. Dear Dr. Cohen

    The “other” part of president Eisenhower’s farewell speech, often overlooked by those who use it as a bludgeon against our defense industry addressed exactly this issue that you now face. Here it is as he stated it 52 years ago:

    Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

    In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

    Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

    The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

    The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

    It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system – ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

  54. Howskepticalment…

    Do you know what an ad hominem is? I insulted you, nothing more. Look it up. It is difficult to legitimately argue another’s credibility when you cannot even get such a basic point right.

    Insulting a person because of a position they hold is an ad hominem attack. It is a logical fallacy.

    Also, do you have evidence the other 49,800 actually support the APS position? If not, the entire rest of your post is without support. As I noted, few, if any, of the 49,800 pay attention. And, to be sure, if there had even been 200 in favor that stood up to rebut those opposed, we would have heard it screamed from the rooftops. Nothing but crickets…

    Do you have any evidence that the 49,800 support Dr Cohen? There is evidence that 200 do so, but that is all.

    I have been a member of various organisations and, as you rightly point out, in every case a small number of active people gravitate to the top. There are two reasons for this. Most organisations have only a small number of positions at the top. The second reason is that it is usually only a small number of people who want to involve themselves in running organisations.

    In my experience, and without fail, these small groups of active people do not stay at the top in democratic organisations if they continue to espouse views that the majority of the members do not support. They get voted out.

    With a head start of 200 (.4% of the vote so far), and with only another 24,801 (49.6%) members to persuade in order to get a simple majority, Mr Cohen and his supporters should be able to take over the APS in short order. Unless.of course, rightly or wrongly, the APS membership actually mostly supports AGW theory?

    You appear to be arguing that the APS is run by a self-appointed and self-perpetuating oligarchy, but that is not clear to me.

    BTW, you once again appear to be using emotive language and irrelevant claims: ‘…we would have heard it screamed from the rooftops…’. I have heard some real screams from time to time and I would doubt that this claim has scientific foundation. As for ‘crickets’, no self-respecting scientist would use such a term in a rational and dispassionate discussion because they would know that it detracts from their credibility.

  55. Davidmhoffer: I wonder why they even need any position. All such positions do is further the notion that consensus serves some greater than insignificant role in science. It does not.

    Mark

  56. davidmhoffer says:
    October 22, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Howslepticalment;
    Excellent, once properly informed, can we look forward to the 49,800 APS hold-outs resigning in protest?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Can we look forward to a clear statement that the entire membership votes on? What the 200 signatories are complaining about is that the statements made by the APS were in fact made WITHOUT seeking broad support from the membership. Are you of the opinion that 49,800 APS members are “single issue” voters for whom the only consideration of continued membership is the APS official position? That would be rather naive wouldn’t it?

    That is a valid point about ‘single issue’ voters. However, I would turn your proposition around a bit and put it this way: if the leadership of the APS does not reflect the substantial majority view of its members on AGW, then the leadership would not last. They would be voted out.

    Bad process makes for bad policy. IMHO, in this case, there has been bad process. There should be a clear statement and the membership should have a period for discussion/debate and then should have a vote on it. In fact, I would support the idea of voting for multiple statements with the three or four main scientific positions on climate forcings, along with broad probability statements.

    The real question is will the executive of the APS allow for an open and honest debate on the matter followed by a voting process to establish what the memebership actually believes?

    I support your intention here and trust that Dr Cohen’s morally courageous gesture has this as a consequence.

    As for what would happen with the 48,800, I would be prepared to make a prediction right here and right now: Most of them would support AGW theory.

    Let’s hope the APS puts this one to the test.

  57. Dr. Gleick:

    ‘Climate science is based on physics, models, and observations. Of course the science isn’t “settled” or “incontrovertible” but it sure is solid.’

    I think it’s great that you paid a visit to add your voice to the rest who believe APS is incorrect in saying that climate science is incontrovertible. Kudos also for adding that physics and climate models are categorically separate things (obviously all of physics is models, but most models aren’t physics, and glad to see that acknowledged). I’d really like to end on that positive note, as I think overall it was a very positive comment, but I do see one slightly disheartening thing, which is that you imply it’s something other than a necessary evil to base a branch of science, at least partly, on something that’s neither physics nor observations. Great that you at least recognize that climate models are neither, but too bad you feel that climate science being based partly upon them helps in some way to recommend its solidity.

    Also, I don’t think climate science and gravity science are on a similar footing yet. I think there’s a reason gravity science is quite old — it’s easy to test. Everyone kind of does it every day, and really none of the experiments go counter to the model. But I assume people haven’t gotten around to trying to model the entire climate until recently because it seems like it would be so difficult to do it boggles my mind. And I’d think it would also be quite difficult (if not maybe even impossible) to test any model you might come up with in a truly rigorous, repeatable way, the way gravity models have previously been tested, and continue to be tested every time someone just gets out of bed, right? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think a truly controlled, repeatable experiment has been done on the global climate outside, just on the global climate “inside” (ie, in a computer), true? In the context of the Feynman quote you cited, I think experiments performed on a computer model would probably fall closer to the “beautiful theory” bin than the “experiment” bin. And even if an “outside”, truly empirical, on-the-actual-thing-you’re-trying-to-measure type experiment eventually turns out to be possible, it’s not something we ordinaries will be able to replicate and experience first hand for ourselves the way we can verify gravity, or even things like electromagnetism and chemical reactions, etc, in our own homes. You’ll need access to your own climate in order to check it yourself.

    I have a lot of respect for people who undertake the task of studying the climate. I think, in a way, there’s probably a basic epistemological reason to say that climate science may be the most difficult science of them all. After all, the climate’s really the sum and effect of all the noise and random influences that all the other scientists go to great pains to isolate their experiments from in order to get precise, consistent results — the kind of results useful, predictive “laws” are ultimately made from. If other scientists couldn’t remove “climate” type effects from experiments, their results would probably also be imprecise and often completely wrong the way climate models are currently. My best wishes to you as you continue to try to crack this nut. It looks like a tough one.

  58. ps to my previous post

    To take into the fears often expressed in WUWT strings about the political interferance from government departments, university hierarchies, research foundations, academies, small in-groups, editorial control-freaks, fossil fuel companies, extremist right-wing think tanks and the like, there should be a secret vote of APS members on the broad human forcings/natural forcings dichotomy, administered by a reputable external organisation.

    My prediction? Somewhere less than 10% would support the natural forcings only option, somewhere more than 80% would support human forcings+natural forcings; remaining percentage: too unsure to say, or other views.

    Not that that means the 80%+ would be right; it would, however, mean that the APS leadership faithfully reflects the view of the large majority of APS members.

    Put it to the electoral test, I say.

  59. [coming in late here, but personal attacks on another commenter are forbidden. I know this policy gets violated all the time, but this was too egregious to let by, but when I'm around it is enforced. ~ ctm]

  60. Other than revealing how he skated on fraud charges, how could I possibly have any interest what Peter Gleick has to say?

    I find the appearance odd, unless it was a clumsy attempt to solicit a barrage of quotable aggression – on a moderated blog – for hopes of some sort of absolution by way of false analogy.

  61. Ned
    Does it follow from your position that climate-wise, all we can do in terms of action or inaction based on science, is to cross our fingers?

  62. Hold on a second. Dr. Gleick suddenly shows up and essentially says that he disagrees with the odious use of “incontravertable” in the APS statement.

    I wonder if he’s impersonating himself? Devious. :) (intended in good humour, Dr. Gleick. welcome back)

  63. The inFamous Peter Gleick quoted S.J.Gould-“Facts dont go away while scientists debate rival theories”. Would the [doubly infamous-I did not realise he was the same Peter Gleick who did the trash review of Donna la Framboise's "Delinquent Teenager"-without reading it] – would that Mr Gleick like to post a comment on the “fact” that the UK Met office has just released a statement that there has been “No” Global warming in the 16years since 1997? Just to jog your memory , 1998 was the big hot one. And all the predictions from the serial doomists were that it was going to get a lot hotter unless we did something, now. CO2 continues to rise in a continuous curve, that appears to have no corellation to the ups and downs of recessions, global and otherwise. A question for Anthony-according to the ice cores, co2 follows temperature by about 800years, as the oceans take that long to commence warming and outgassing co2. So if the medieval warm period commenced in about 900 AD and finished about 1200 to 1300 AD, shoudnt we expect a rise in co2 to continue for approx300 or 400 years,even if every fossil fuel power station on the planet were to suddenly cease and desist?

  64. Howskepticalment;
    My prediction? Somewhere less than 10% would support the natural forcings only option, somewhere more than 80% would support human forcings+natural forcings; remaining percentage: too unsure to say, or other views.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    You’ve gamed the question. If the only options were those, I can suggest that very nearly 100% would agree that there is a human component to forcings, and possibly 100%. As Peter Gleick argued earlier, the existance of gravity is hardly in dispute. That doesn’t mean we understand exactly how it works and why. Similarly, that human activity results in climate forcings is hardly in dispute. The magnitude of the forcing, the magnitude and sign of feedbacks and how these relate to surface temperatures, most certainly are.

    The IPCC’s own literature admits that the Level of Scientific Understanding of no less that 9 of 14 elements of radiative forcing is either “low” or “very low” (AR4 WG1 2.9.1). Only a single one is rated as “high”. In other words, even the IPCC’s own scientific literature doesn’t support the certainty expressed by the APS statement. If it were issues such as these that the APS membership was asked to express an opinion on, I think it unlikely that any but a tiny minority would support the statements as they currently stand. Even Peter Gleick upthread agreed (inadvertantly I think, but said it he did!) that the APS statement is much too strong.

    By all means, support an open discussion followed by a fair voting process. But that means putting questions to the membership that reflect the issues in dispute. If all you want to ask is if there is a human component to forcing, then you may as well ask if gravity exists as well just to see if there is a level of dissent you didn’t know about on that issue as well. I’m guessing not.

  65. Quick, everybody check your pockets, Peter Gleick has been here. Anybody missing any documents from their computer?

  66. Howskepticalment;
    That is a valid point about ‘single issue’ voters. However, I would turn your proposition around a bit and put it this way: if the leadership of the APS does not reflect the substantial majority view of its members on AGW, then the leadership would not last. They would be voted out.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Well, if my point about “single issue” voters is valid, then you’ve falsified your own proposition.

  67. Sigh… how can you not know what an ad hominem is when you have access to the internet?

    fallacyfiles.org/adhomine.htm

    Educate yourself.

    davidmhoffer: this is a perfect example of why position statements are at best, anti-science. The average person does not have even a rudimentary understanding of the tools of science, e. g., basic logic (Howskepticalment as evidence), or math, let alone an understanding of the role of “professional” societies and how they actually function. The Hoi Palloi see these positions and assume, naturally, that everyone in said society must agree and that the positions must be true. It is the worst perversion of science.

    It does not matter how many vote, until they can provide a testable hypothesis, it is junk.

    Better, CTM? ;)

    Mark

    Reply: Yup, thanks. ~ ctm

  68. It would appear that in post-normal maritime activity, the competent sailors abandon the sinking ship while the rats take it over.

  69. It is some comfort to know that the takeover of the APS by AGW advocates was not quite as easy or seamless as it looked to observers on the outside.

    It was good to read the words of Sir Humphry Davy, an early electrical pioneer (electrolysis), at this time. He said, “My greatest discovery was Michael Faraday.”

    May all who had scientific and personal integrity lose here, a better where to find.

  70. Sean says:
    October 22, 2012 at 10:27 pm
    Quick, everybody check your pockets, Peter Gleick has been here. Anybody missing any documents from their computer?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    After checking for missing documents, better check for new ones….

  71. “They would be voted out.”

    Only if enough members vote. As I noted, your experience with professional societies is obviously limited. Most members are like me, members only for the resume bullet and the magazines. I do get access to a rather vast library of technical literature, which I use rather often, but that’s it. Heck, the resume bullet doesn’t really even help anymore. Maybe if I applied for senior status… maybe other professions are more excited about the ability to join their super-secret clubs, like the UCS. Anthony, has it helped Kenji?

    Mark

  72. davidmhoffer says:
    October 22, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    By all means, support an open discussion followed by a fair voting process. But that means putting questions to the membership that reflect the issues in dispute. If all you want to ask is if there is a human component to forcing, then you may as well ask if gravity exists as well just to see if there is a level of dissent you didn’t know about on that issue as well. I’m guessing not.

    I would be happy to start with your proposition that around 100% would support the proposition that there is human element in the forcings and take it from there in terms of fine-tuning the propositions.

    I also agree that the competing propositions should be framed not from one perspective but in terms of competing perspectives.

  73. davidmhoffer says:
    October 22, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Howskepticalment;
    That is a valid point about ‘single issue’ voters. However, I would turn your proposition around a bit and put it this way: if the leadership of the APS does not reflect the substantial majority view of its members on AGW, then the leadership would not last. They would be voted out.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Well, if my point about “single issue” voters is valid, then you’ve falsified your own proposition.

    To explicate, it is a valid consideration but not necessarily an over-riding consideration.

    It is difficult to conceive of a situation where 99% of APS members would in the very, very broad, support AGW theory and also continue to support a leadership group which does not support AGW theory. Or vice versa.

  74. Mark T says:
    October 22, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    “They would be voted out.”

    Only if enough members vote.

    I don’t know the APS constitution. I assume that regardless of how many members vote, there would still be a requirement for something like a simple majority of the votes cast.

  75. Howskepticalment;
    To explicate, it is a valid consideration but not necessarily an over-riding consideration.
    It is difficult to conceive of a situation where 99% of APS members would in the very, very broad, support AGW theory and also continue to support a leadership group which does not support AGW theory. Or vice versa.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    You have now twice in succession accepted the point made about “single issue” voters and in the very next sentence proposed a position that is falsified by the point you just accepted!

  76. Howskepticalment says:
    October 22, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Insulting a person because of a position they hold is an ad hominem attack.

    Nope. It’s using the insult as though it counted as a rebuttal of the opponent’s argument, and/or using the insult as a way of diverting the argument off topic. Here’s the full and correct link , BTW: http://www.fallacyfiles.org/adhomine.html

  77. Here’s an example of a true ad hom, from a thread posted a few days ago:
    ==================

    joeldshore says:
    October 21, 2012 at 6:01 am

    “The whole premise of this article requires that we agree with the judgement of the author [Dr. Beisner] on a scientific issue.”

    Not with his judgment, but with his reasoning and conclusions. We’re not being told to accept those because of who his is. The article could have been posted by Mr. Anonymous.

    “If that scientific judgement has been shown to be totally wrong on another scientific issue [Intelligent Design], why on Earth would we give any stock to his scientific judgement on this issue?”

    Attempted equivocation (the deceptive or “switcheroo” use of a word, “judgment,” in two senses: first as a conclusion he’s reached, and second as his degree of sanity / rationality / common sense) & Ad hom.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/10/20/science-publisher-calls-for-better-communications-but-not-of-science/

  78. “Peter Gleick says:”
    that name alone makes me feel quite ill as it now represents the plethora of lies, misinformation, dishonesty and outright malfeasance that you have undertaken As with others, it sickens me that you have the bald faced cheek to even show your face after demonstrating that you are not worthy of the company of the honourable people on this forum, whose shoes you are not fit to shine.

    Yet, after admitting to outright dishonesty, lying and stealing information, you appear to believe that your opinion actually matters or may even consider that you have any credence at all. Which you do not. Next thing we will be told is that you have something to do with ethics and one wonders how that is even possible. You may be the favoured hypocrite where you mostly hang out. But on this forum, you have absolutely no credibility whatsoever and it sickens me, like a few others before me, to even respond..

  79. Ahh, someone has mentioned gravity. I like this comparison because of something I read possibly at JoNova a while ago which goes something like this: (short form, my paraphrase)
    Gravity can be measure to at least 15 significant digits. Climate scientists don’t even know what the value of the first digit for climate sensitivity is . They aren’t even sure of the sign (negative or positive).

    So next time the gravity comparison is used by a non-skeptic, use the better, more relevant comparison to climate science as shown above.

  80. davidmhoffer says:
    October 22, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Howskepticalment;
    To explicate, it is a valid consideration but not necessarily an over-riding consideration.
    It is difficult to conceive of a situation where 99% of APS members would in the very, very broad, support AGW theory and also continue to support a leadership group which does not support AGW theory. Or vice versa.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    You have now twice in succession accepted the point made about “single issue” voters and in the very next sentence proposed a position that is falsified by the point you just accepted!

    Accepting the point but not as an over-riding consideration is hardly accepting the point in a qualified way.

  81. Roger Knights

    On the ad hominem issue, I accept that I have misinterpreted Mark T’s various personal attacks as ad hominem attacks when I should, perhaps, have interpreted them simply as abusive and impolite.

  82. Howskepticalment:

    I write to answer the question you ask at October 22, 2012 at 10:11 pm; viz

    Does it follow from your position that climate-wise, all we can do in terms of action or inaction based on science, is to cross our fingers?

    No, crossing out fingers would also not work; it would only have the same effect on climate as reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

    Richard

  83. As an aside from a regular but otherwise silent WUWT reader…

    Quoted from the above article:
    “The scientific process relies on the collection of observational evidence and the development, verification, and falsification of predictive theories.”

    I like to summarize the scientific process in a pithy mnemonic I thought up one quiet day in the office:

    The four IFs and Ys – quantify, qualify, clarify, falsify.

    Just thought you guys might appreciate that…

  84. The APS like many other scientific societies has succumbed to the mass hypnosis of ‘back radiation’, needed to purport that the Earth emits IR as if it were an isolated black body in a vacuum, a claim no properly educated professional scientist or engineer accepts as valid.

    Yet many academics do believe it. it comes from a failure in experimental physics originating in meteorology, now back-filling mainstream science. Recent graduates fail to question how an instrument measures a scientific parameter because unlike me for example, they have never made one from components and basic physical principles.

    ‘Back radiation’ doesn’t exist except as the artefact of pyrometry, of which pyrgeometers used in their 1000s in climate science are a subset. The most basis axiom in radiation physics is Poynting’s Theorem [1884]; net radiative energy flux is the vector sum of all the Poynting Vectors arriving at a point in space.

    A pyrometer measures temperature by having a shield such that it only intercepts radiation from a specific viewing angle. In the case of the atmosphere at lower temperature than the adjacent Earth’s surface, all that notional energy flux is annihilated at the Earth’s surface.

    You prove this by a simple thought experiment. place two pyrgeometers back to back in zero atmospheric temperature gradient: the net signal is zero. Take one away and the signal jumps to a measure of temperature convolved with emissivity, yet there is zero net energy flux.

    The result of this failure plus an equally bad failure at TOA is to claim ~5 times higher IR absorption than reality, a perpetual motion machine. it’s offset by imaginary cloud albedo in the hind-casting process. The positive feedback, exaggerated ocean evaporation in ‘sunlit zones’, doesn’t exist. No such climate model can predict climate.

    To overcome this monumental mistake in mainstream science attitudes and associated hatred, accusing unbelievers of heresy, ‘deniers’, I propose a solution similar to the ‘Peace and Reconciliation’ process in post Apartheid South Africa.

    Starting with APS executives, senior people must stand up in public and admit they were wrong and apologise for misleading others. This reconciliation will ricochet through science. The teaching of fake physics in climate and meteorology will come under intense scrutiny. Once you correct the physics, true CO2-AGW is vanishingly small [it self-absorbs by ~200 ppmV] and this potentially devastating religious cult whose aim is to destroy Western economies will die.

  85. As a follow-up to the above, this is the official APS description of the heat transfer in the IPCC climate models: http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200807/hafemeister.cfm

    Perhaps to maintain their professionalism, the authors point out that the claim of unit emissivity for the Earth’s surface and the lower atmosphere requires an increase of energy input by ~80 W/m^2 [they assume the Earth's surface is at an average 14 °C, the error is 94.5 W/m^2 for 16 °C as in the 2009 Trenberth et al Energy Budget] and they show using Eq 14 how to calculate the emissivity of the lower atmosphere that would give an energy balance: it’s 0.76.

    However, there is an infinite number of solutions to this problem all involving changes in the Earth’s and the lower Atmosphere emissivity. You can’t have a perpetual motion machine but you can’t fix this model because it’s fundamentally wrong

    To fix it you junk ‘back radiation’ also DOWN TOA emissivity = zero. Then the convection and radiation at the Earth’s surface are coupled and at equilibrium must equal SW energy input. This has been 30 years of wasted effort put together by people who hadn’t a clue about the real physics. In total there are 6 mistakes, 3 so trivial as to make a professional cringe with embarrassment, 3 more subtle. The work needs to be re-started under new leadership.

  86. Dr Gleick. Thank you for your reply to my points, I have no problem with CO2 as a greenhouse gas, what I do have a problem with is that the concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere is insufficient to cause temperature changes that will cause global warming. a change from 0.038% to 0.039% is, in my view negligible. Common sense tells me that very little of CO2’s greenhouse effect is going to occur, because an extra 10 molecules are present in the other 999,610 molecules of the other atmospheric gases. I firmly believe that this concentration is insufficient to melt the polar caps and cause the other disasters that we are told we will be subjected to.

  87. Girls will be boys and boys will be girls
    It’s a mixed up muddled up shook up world except for Lola [Kinks]

    Interesting

    Post-modern science: Post-modern Church:

    Appeal to authority Reject authority
    Trust experience [Gleick] Trust experience

  88. I think it was naive of anyone to expect different outcomes.

    The once “respected institutions” must retain the narrative – how else would SS and the Roms and Gleicks maintain their holier-than-thou superiority without being able to point at said institutions’ political correctness in the face of growing evidence that their guesswork was always just dressed up as hypothesis.

    Just as TPTB must throw our money away, preferably into their “friends'” bank accounts, or we would all become enriched. Then there would be zero excuse for not lifting the less fortunate (at home and abroad) out of their misery and cleaning up after ourselves. Feeling good that we can “only” live in one house, eat one steak, drink one brandy and drive one car at any one time would become the norm and nothing pisses off the rich more than poor people being happy.

    P.S.

    Peter Gleick says:
    October 22, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    “… Climate science is based on models …”

    Fixed That For Ya.

  89. Peter Gleick 4:44 pm ‘Climate science is based on physics, models, and observations. Of course the science isn’t “settled” or “incontrovertible” but it sure is solid.’

    Sorry, but it is in no way solid. 16 years with no temperature increase shows the climate models are wrong. The Arctic ‘ice melt’, in reality a massive storm dispersing it to warmer waters, has changed to the fastest freezing rate in recorded history and last March was the greatest ever Arctic ice extent.

    One issue; observation of lower 14 micron CO2 IR at TOA, supposed to prove absorption of CO2 IR from the Earth’s surface by GHGs in the lower atmosphere, is nothing of the kind. MODTRAN shows that by ~10% RH at ambient, water vapour side-bands masks the effect of change of CO2 on overall emissivity. There can be no CO2-AGW except in the most arid of deserts,

    In reality, the dip of CO2 IR at TOA is from self-absorption of thermally-emitted IR from the dry upper atmosphere. The real GHE involves very little IR absorption in the atmosphere.

  90. Jimbo:

    The horse manure is piling up in (anti-)scientific academies & associations instead of in the streets of London.

    The corruption of these institutions reflects the corrosive effect of political correctness on college campuses. Just as students now go into journalism in order to advance ideological agendas, so it appears do science & computer modeling students.

    The CO2 hypothesis has been repeatedly falsified without having any effect on the “consensus” or the faked data or models rigged to support it. It will take decades of cold & the retiring or dying off of the current generation of charlatans to rid humanity of this anti-scientific succubus.

  91. AlecM, or we could start requiring financial disclosure and conflict of interest statements to be submitted with papers. I am convinced there exists greater correlation between the distribution of green stock options and agw then CO2.

  92. I don’t get it. You all are leaving an organization where you are the dissenters? Who now will be the voice of moderation? If your protest, you’ve let more foxes into the hen house. Now you will have an organization far more pro Alarmist than ever before.

  93. Peter Gleick says:
    October 22, 2012 at 4:44 pm
    “Climate science is based on physics, models, and observations. Of course the science isn’t “settled” or “incontrovertible” but it sure is solid.”

    You have nothing to back that up. The GCM’s have not demonstrated predictive skill.

  94. skepticalment:

    “Ned
    Does it follow from your position that climate-wise, all we can do in terms of action or inaction based on science, is to cross our fingers?”

    Hi. I don’t really think anything particular follows from my position. We can act or not act, but either way, I (and I think we) don’t really know for sure what the outcome of the action will be. So we’d just be acting prior to knowledge, which the universe and my position totally allow. Bears in the woods do all kinds of actions and inactions all the time, and as far as I know it’s never “action based on science” as you say, or with the specific purpose of just being RIGHT about something, and I think probably many of them have fairly happy lives.

    By the way, I used quotes a second ago, not to try to be sarcastic or anything like that, but just because I’m honestly not sure I know what you mean by action based on science. I think probably you mean action based on knowledge, but not sure. To me, you perform science to obtain knowledge, so action based on science would often be action prior to knowledge, in other words doing an experiment. So, ironically, if we were serious about acting based on science, I think the obvious correct course of action would be to pump as much CO2 into the air as possible. There’s a possibility no or little warming would occur, in which case the runaway feedback hypothesis would be falsified, and we’d gain some knowledge. On the other hand, if we act preemptively to cut CO2 we’ll never know if warming stopped because we cut CO2 or whether it would have stopped anyway, and no knowledge would be gained. I’m not saying adding CO2 would be the guaranteed “best” action to ensure our future happiness as a species, just that it would be the most scientific action. Luckily or not, we sort of seem to be in the middle of that experiment right now, and I think maybe soon we might start to learn something.

  95. I looked up the definition of the word SOLID- http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/solid

    as it is prominent in Dr. Gleick’s comment unthread-

    Peter Gleick 4:44 pm ‘Climate science is based on physics, models, and observations. Of course the science isn’t “settled” or “incontrovertible” but it sure is solid.’

    I do not normally associate the word solid with “isn’t settled or incontrovertible”. The word amorphous comes to mind for me- which is way I take it in many members of the association are in such disagreement with the associations official position.

  96. The upside of all this is that when it comes time to cut off funding of the zealots (and that time is coming) the membership list of the committee that remains will be a good starting point since all of the true scientists will have resigned.

  97. I am kind of pleased that Anthony let Gleicks comment through – but I am disgusted that the man has the audacity to comment without first proferring his apologies.
    At the very least, I’d expect a first WUWT comment from him to start with ‘sorry folks, but I was a very bad scientist…etc, etc’
    But then to try and lecture a point – which clearly demonstrates that the science is NOT settled – is beyond belief.
    And those commenters welcoming possible discussion with this individual are grasping at straws – as his post clearly shows, he is still a damned fanatic and simply refuses to accept that TRUE science does not support his assertions (and certainly not to the degree of fanaticism he shows)!

  98. Unfortunately Jerry Pournelle’s Iron Law explains it:
    …in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representatives who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.

  99. If the leadership of an organization insists on taking a public position that some members find egregious or wrong-headed, those members have three options: (1) convince the leadership to change or retract its position; (2) replace the leaders with those who will change or retract the position; (3) leave and start a new organization (assuming there is a need or desire for such an organization at all).

    In this case, it sounds like option 1 has failed; that leaves 2 and 3. If Dr. Cohen and a few like-minded colleagues are leaving, then they are left with option 3. They might call it ‘The New American Physical Society'; or maybe ‘The Rational American Physical Society’.

    /Mr Lynn

  100. One of the biggest issues concerning the ‘consensus’ is that its protagonists have continually exaggerated the GHE and the proportion due to CO2. As well as the false 33 K present net GHE claim, which should be ~9 K with the rest from lapse rate, a 2007 paper by RealClimate contributor Pierrehumbert claimed that CO2 provides about 30% of the equatorial GHE, more elsewhere.

    The argument is that CO2 IR side-bands absorb much more IR than one would expect. However, water vapour side-bands overlap the CO2 side-bands and it is of much higher concentration. My interpretation is that these people pushed the limits of objective science so far that they have created a trap from which they cannot escape should another explanation of the GHE arise.

    There is another explanation: the key issue is just what is the remaining proportion from GHGs.

  101. Peter Gleick says:
    “Of course the science isn’t “settled” or “incontrovertible” but it sure is solid.”
    =====================================================

    Dear Dr. Gleik, talking about “solid science”, you probably know that some curious people experience enormous difficulties trying to get to the heart of Michael Mann’s solid science.

    Could you help, please? You know, by means of, let’s say, a clever approach? It would be very nice of you. I know you can do it. Many thanks in advance.

  102. Jean Parisot,

    My take at how a quantum phyisicist would describe “consensus” (I am not a quantum physicist. Intended only as humor :))

    You can know how strong the consensus is or what the consensus is about, but not both at the same time.

  103. AlecM says (October 23, 2012 at 9:44 am):

    “The argument is that CO2 IR side-bands absorb much more IR than one would expect. However, water vapour side-bands overlap the CO2 side-bands and it is of much higher concentration.”

    This is true at the surface, where the net change in radiative flux after doubling CO2 is calculated to be less than 1 W/m2. Unfortunately, only 10% of the photons escaping to space are emitted directly from the earth’s surface and these escape through the so-called atmospheric window where neither WV or CO2 absorb. 90% of the photons escaping to space are emitted from the cold, dry upper troposphere, where there are comparable amounts of water vapor and carbon dioxide. (http://scienceofdoom.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/water-vapor-soden-2006-1.png) At the top of the troposphere, the net outward flux is calculated to be reduced by 3.7 W/m2 by a doubling of CO2, even after accounting for overlap. (The scientists doing these calculations are not idiots.) However, most of the energy absorbed by the surface is transmitted to the upper troposphere by convention of latent and simple heat. The IPCC’s climate models can’t properly model convection (and the clouds and precipitation it produces) without approximations and parameters. The current uncertainty in some of these parameters introduces at least than 6-fold uncertainty in projected warming (but the IPCC projections don’t include this parameter uncertainty).

  104. Ned
    Thank you for your reply. I particularly enjoyed/appreciated your discussion of the difference between science and knowledge.

  105. Frank 3.52 pm: ‘At the top of the troposphere, the net outward flux is calculated to be reduced by 3.7 W/m2 by a doubling of CO2, even after accounting for overlap’

    Thank you for your reply. One other incorrect bit of physics appears to be the assumption of direct IR thermalisation. Not only is this quantum excluded [the energy is in the form of mechanical resonance so you can't transfer it in dribs and drabs, it has to be done in one move to another GHG molecule, a much lower probability, longer time interval] but it is kinetically easer for an existing thermally-activated molecule to fire a photon randomly out of that local element thus restoring Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium.

    This pseudo-scattering process continues until the energy is absorbed at an heterogeneous interface [surface, clouds, bare aerosols], or heads off to space. Thus above the cloud level, IR tends preferentially to head to space meaning the DOWN emissivity falls to zero as height increases.

    The key issue here is exactly what the dip in CO2 band IR represents. This is emitted by the dry upper atmosphere and is self-absorbed. That self-absorbtion process does not involve direct thermalisation. Instead, those photons are directed outside the detector viewing angle.

    In essence, my view of the atmosphere is that instead of gas molecules being heated, the assembly resonates with the only heating at clouds etc. IR band energy is converted to grey body IR, and the atmospheric window part heads either to space or to the ground.

  106. Addendum to the above; having thought about it more, the idea that pseudo-scattering will push IR out of the view angle of the detector must be wrong because as much comes in and goes out!

    There must be a more fundamental explanation. The most likely is that CO2 IR thermally emitted in the upper atmosphere and heading into the more humid lower atmosphere is absorbed by water vapour side-bands.and the energy is then transformed to a higher temperature emission.

    Thus only the centre of the CO2 band represents the temperature from which it is initially emitted. The rest is transformed by secondary effects.

  107. Roger Cohen claims to have been a “lead author” on IPCC reports. As far as I can tell, he has never written anything for the IPCC. What did he write for the IPCC and when was he a “lead author”? Or is this just a lie? I know he worked for the evil Exxon so misinformation like this is to be expected, but I’d like to give him a chance to explain himself…

  108. Robert Austin says:

    I would hope that the Heartland affair and the fallout from a certain book review have taught him a little humility in his treatment of those with ideas differing from his own.

    He wouldn’t show his face here, if it had.

    As Feynman said: “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your guess is or how smart you are or what your name is. If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”

    Such wisdom guides evaluation of the statement “Peter Gleick is an honest man”. A natural experiment of that hypothesis was conducted in February. Sorry. Experiment disagrees. That’s all there is to it.

    Channeling Gould: I suppose that Gleick might start telling the truth today, but the possibility does not merit equal time. I might first suspect that apples will rise, to be plucked from the clouds by aerobatic pigs.

  109. I made a comment addressed to Dr Gleick regarding the very low concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and the disproportionate effect he claims it has on climate. The lack of a reply makes me feel that he is not comfortable with the question!

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