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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GlynnMhor

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.

Philip Finck

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.

Lance Wallace

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.

D Böehm

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!

Tim Walker

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.

All the best to Roger Cohen. I share his evident sadness at the failure of the committee to live up to its billing.

Rud Istvan

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.

Larry Ledwick (hotrod)

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

beesaman

They could always rename themselves the Academy of Political Stories…

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.

Justthinkin

D Böehm says:
October 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm
Lance Wallace,
Dr. Hal Lewis also resigned from the APS:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/16/hal-lewis-my-resignation-from-the-american-physical-society
errrrrr….there is a difference between the NAS and the APS. Or am I mistaken?

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.

David A. Evans

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.

Don

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.

etudiant

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.

Jimbo

…………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 >>>>>>>>

D Böehm

Justthinkin,
Yes, my misteak. Thanks for pointing it out.

Mindbuilder

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.

Ian W

“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”

David L. Hagen

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?

polistra

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.)

davidmhoffer

“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.

Jimbo

“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.

David L. Hagen

The APS has degenerated into the Aristotelian Physics Society.

Jimbo

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.

WillieB

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.

beesaman

Facts confirmed by who? The inner circle? The chosen cabal? The team?

Manfred

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.

Jimbo

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. 🙂

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.

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. 🙂

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.

Howskepticalment

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

Philip Finck

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!

Jimbo

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.

Jimbo

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

Mark T

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

Howskepticalment

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.

Mark T

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

sierra117

@ 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.

“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.

Baa Humbug

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.

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.

John West

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?

Howskepticalment

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?

bobbyv

i think feynman would consider it ‘climate art’

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.

“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…