An Open Letter to Dr. Marcia McNutt, new Editor-In-Chief, Science Magazine

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Dear Dr. McNutt:

As a somewhat unwilling subscriber to Science, let me start by welcoming you as the latest editor of Science magazine. You’ve stated “Thirty-five years ago, when I was a graduate student and my very first research paper was published in Science, I do not think I could ever have dreamed that one day I would have the honor of becoming Editor-in-Chief of this most distinguished journal.”

And in addition to your most impressive resume, you do get huge props from me for this part of your Wikipedia biography, which I certainly hope is true, viz:

marcia mcnutt

McNutt is a NAUI-certified scuba diver and she trained in underwater demolition and explosives handling with the U.S. Navy UDT and SEAL Team.

Indeed you do have an unparalleled opportunity, which is to turn what has become just another glossy advocacy magazine back into a distinguished scientific journal.

Unfortunately, during the intervening 35 years of your remarkable scientific career since you were a graduate student, a once-stellar magazine has fallen on hard times. Starting with Donald Kennedy, and continuing under Bruce Alberts, it has become a shabby vehicle for strident climate activism … and that experiment has proven once again that Science can’t be both an activist journal and a scientific journal. Science magazine has thrown its considerable (but rapidly decreasing) weight behind a number of causes. And yes, some of those causes are indeed important.

The problem is that you are convinced the causes are hugely important, and you want to convince us of the same. But once you convince people that your causes are more important to you than your science, that’s it for your authority regarding the science. You either get to have activism, or you get scientific authority. You don’t get both. And the past actions of your magazine have clearly demonstrated that these days your activist causes are much more important to you than the science.

The problems have involved two main issues in the field I’m involved in, climate science. The first issue is that despite repeated requests, past Science Magazine editors have flouted your own guidelines for normal scientific transparency. You continue to publish articles about climate science without requiring that the authors archive their data and code as required by your own rules. It appears that the rules about archiving data and code are enforced for the little people like myself, but when the Editors of Science want to promote a point of view, the rules don’t apply … funny how that works.

The second issue is that in climate science, far too often Science magazine editors have substituted pal review for peer review. As a result, people laugh at the bumf that passes for climate science in your pages. They don’t disagree with your articles. They laugh at your articles. I’m told that in some scientific circles, it’s only the glossy unabsorbent nature of the magazine’s paper that keeps the climate science articles from being used, perhaps more appropriately, for hygienic purposes … seriously, you have published some really risible, really shabby, grade-school level studies in climate science. It’s embarrassing.

With a new Editor-In-Chief, I’ve been hoping that might all be in the past. Unfortunately, after taking over at the helm, you’ve chosen to reveal your … umm … well, let me describe it as your newness to the concept of “scientific journal editor” by following in the foolishly activist footsteps of your immediate predecessors. I’d hoped you might be smarter than they were, and indeed you might still show yourself to be. But to jump into the middle of the climate debate and stake out a position for Science magazine? Why? That’s suicide for the magazine. Science magazine should never have an editorial stance on the science it is discussing and overseeing. Leave that to Mother Jones magazine, or to National Geographic, or Popular Science. Your magazine taking a strong activist position on climate science is just evidence that you have abandoned all pretense of being concerned with climate science itself. When the science is strong it doesn’t need defenders … and if the Editor-In-Chief of Science feels it’s necessary to defend some part of science, that simply proves that the “science” involved must be of the weakest.

And regarding you personally taking a position? Well, that’s interesting. The problem is that you are extremely well educated, strong, strikingly good looking, and a wickedly-smart woman by all accounts … and while those are all good things, that’s a scary combination. One downside of that particular melange is that as a result, it’s very possible that people, particularly men, haven’t told you the unvarnished truth in years. So some of what I have to say may be a surprise to you.

Here are your climate claims from your recent Editorial, based presumably on your  research into the flexural modes of the earth’s crust:

Researchers have turned to the geologic record to obtain ground truth about patterns of change for use in climate models. Information from prior epochs reveals evidence for conditions on Earth that might be analogs to a future world with more CO2. Projections based on such previous evidence are still uncertain, because there is no perfect analog to current events in previous geologic epochs; however, even the most optimistic predictions are dire. For example, environmental changes brought on by climate changes will be too rapid for many species to adapt to, leading to widespread extinctions. Unfortunately, I view these predicted outcomes as overly optimistic.

Now, the uninitiated might not notice the subtle change of tense there, from the subjunctive to the declarative. But those of us who are used to the pea-and-shell game will have seen that you’ve done something curious. You’ve started by saying that “Projections based on such previous evidence are still uncertain”. That is true, and not only true, it’s a huge understatement.

Here is the current state of climate science, the understanding of past climate changes, and the prediction of future climates.

Not one climate scientist on either side of the aisle predicted the current ~ 15-year hiatus in warming. This lack of warming was highlighted as early as 2009 in a widely-circulated article called “What Happened to Global Warming? Scientists Say Just Wait a Bit”. In that article, various scientists were quoted as saying the warming would resume in a few years.

Well, we’ve waited a few years, Dr. McNutt. Their predictions, once again, haven’t come true … and despite that, here you are to lecture us. And where did this most seditious article entitled “What Happened To Global Warming” appear?

Why, it appeared in Science magazine  … you want to be taken seriously in the field of climate science, yet you don’t mention this lack of recent warming at all?

• Not one climate scientist on either side of the aisle can explain the century or two of cooling leading up to the Little Ice Age in the 1600s. Why did the world slowly get colder back then? Oh, some folks claim it’s the sun, maybe so, maybe not … but really, no one knows.

Not one climate scientist on either side of the aisle can explain the three centuries of slow general warming that have followed the Little Ice Age. What changed to gradually warm the planet, after it had been cooling for centuries?

None of these things are explicable as the results of CO2, which supposedly is the secret control knob that regulates the global temperature.

So no one can explain the past climate changes, the CO2 explanation fails miserably at the hindcast, and you tell us that predictions based on the past are “still uncertain”, which is a big understatement and is certainly true.

But despite that uncertainty, despite that lack of knowledge, in the very next sentence you assure us breathlessly that predictions that “ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGES WILL BE TOO RAPID FOR MANY SPECIES TO ADAPT TO, LEADING TO WIDESPREAD EXTINCTIONS” are not alarmist enough for you …

Changes “will be” too rapid? “Will be”? And that’s not alarmist enough for you?

I truly hope you don’t realize what you are saying. I truly hope that you do not understand that that sentence of yours is nothing but strident alarmism that you are presenting under the guise of science.

Because you don’t know what the unknown environmental changes WILL do the species of the planet, that’s incredible hubris. More to the point, you have absolutely no evidence for your claim of “widespread extinctions”. Not one modern species has ever been shown to have gone extinct from climate change. Even Nature magazine has given up on the goofy idea of the “sixth wave of extinctions” that you are trying to sell. There is no evidence for your “extinction by climate change” claim at all.

Let me take a bit of a detour, and discuss the idea of a “natural experiment”. People always say we can’t study climate in a laboratory, and that’s true. We can’t use the lab to see how a big ecosystem full of real-world species might react to changing temperatures, for example. But we have natural experiments. And we’ve just conducted a very interesting experiment. Here’s the record of the experiment.

berkeley earth temperature dataset 1800 2013

According to the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature dataset shown above, the global land is two and a half degrees warmer than it was around 1810. Two and a half degrees of warming in two centuries. That’s well beyond what is supposed to be the huge danger change of two degrees of warming … where are the corpses?

You seem to be concerned about the speed of the changes. Two and a half degrees in two centuries is fast, it’s well over half the speed of the changes you are concerned about. As a result, we should have seen at least some evidence for your claim that warming causes extinctions … perhaps you could name the species that have gone extinct from warming during that natural experiment? I ask, because I’ve looked very hard, and I haven’t found even one.

You continue with your litany of unsubstantiated worries:

Even species that might tolerate the new environment could nevertheless decline as the ecosystems on which they depend collapse. The oceans will become more stratified and less productive.

The oceans WILL become more stratified? They WILL become less productive? And you say species “could” decline, but the ecosystem collapse is presented without qualifiers? My dear lady, you just told us that all of these “projections” are very uncertain. Let me suggest that you lose the “will become” and the “will happen”. You don’t know if warmer oceans will be more or less productive, and that kind of puffery just makes people point and laugh. I implore you, stop with the pronouncements from on high. You just got appointed, it’s true, but only to the editorship of Science, not to a more celestial and all-seeing post.

In addition, perhaps you could point to an example of a thermally-caused “ecosystem collapse” from the two and a half degrees C warming of the last two centuries? You know … evidence?

You go on …

If such ecosystem problems come to pass, the changes will affect humans in profound ways. The loss in ocean productivity will be detrimental for the 20% of the population that depends on the seas for nutrition. Crops will fail more regularly, especially on land at lower latitudes where food is in shortest supply.

The first part is good, you preface your statements with “IF the ecosystem problems come to pass”. The rest of it, however, is just more unsupported, uncited, unverified, and untrue fears. You have no evidence that a couple of degrees of warming will make the crops “fail more regularly”. Again, we’ve just run a natural experiment. We’ve just seen what happened when the land temperatures went up two and a half degrees from 1810 to the present. So please tell us, Dr. McNutt …

Where is the evidence of any loss in ocean productivity from that two and a half degrees C of warming? I say that you don’t have even a scrap of evidence that warming per se causes a decline in oceanic productivity. I certainly have never seen any.

Where is the evidence of any tropical crop loss from the last two centuries of warming?

Where is the evidence of any cities submerged by sea level rise?

Where is the evidence of the claimed spread of diseases?

Where are the climate refugees? You are aware, I hope, that the UN Environmental Programme climate specialists, part of the “97% consensus”, confidently predicted 50 million climate refugees by 2010 … perhaps you could point those refugees out for those of us who can’t find them?

Or perhaps you’re not aware of the dozens of such failed predictions by members of the fabled “97% consensus”. There’s no problem if you’re not aware of those unsuccessful “scientific” forecasts, I mean after all you’re a geologist, not a climate scientist … but if you lack that kind of basic knowledge of the climate field, then why are you attempting to lecture us on the subject?

Sadly, it seems that like many other good honest folk, you are simply parroting claims of danger that you have swallowed without ever thinking critically about them. Reconsider the natural experiment. We’ve had two and a half degrees of warming, and from everything I can find, it wasn’t harmful to the planetary denizens. There were no climate refugees. The coral atolls didn’t go underwater, we still have them. According to the IPCC, there’s been no increase in extreme weather events. No cities had to be evacuated because of sea level rise.

Two and a half degrees C, and not only were there no catastrophes from that warming, quite the opposite. Overall, it was beneficial to plants, animals, and humans alike. Expanded growing seasons and milder winters provided larger and more stable crops. Longer ice-free periods on the northern harbors and rivers allowed increased commerce. Milder winters killed fewer people … what’s not to like?

Now, you claim to be a scientist, Dr.  McNutt. And I’m happy to be proven wrong when I say that your climate fears are not based in reality. To prove me wrong, you need to provide evidence. Not claims. Not solemn warnings of future disasters unencumbered by any historical parallel. You need to provide evidence.

So if you’d be so kind as to point out the past catastrophes that came from the last two and a half degrees C of rapid warming, your alarmism about the possibility of another two and a half degrees might at least contain a hint of realism, even if it’s only a Hollywood “based on a true story” kind of realism.

If you can’t find any thermal catastrophes from that 2.5 degrees of warming, on the other hand, an honest scientist would change her views accordingly … your call.

Heck, you’re so new to the field that you don’t even have your alarmist talking points straight. Al Gore gives classes in this stuff so his minions will all be singing from the same hymnbook, you might borrow a copy. Because according to the alarmists, the effect of the CO2 warming will be greatest in the extra-tropics and the polar regions. In those areas it’s supposed to affect mostly nighttime temperatures, and particularly in the winter.

So your claim that crops will fail “at lower latitudes where food is in shortest supply” is in direct disagreement with the alarmist predictions of danger at the Poles.

Not only that, but your uncited claim of tropical losses is also in direct disagreement with the historical data, which shows that the tropics has warmed the least of all of the latitudinal zones. The tropical warming since 1900 is lost in the noise, your claim of tropical crop loss is a sad joke. You should at least switch latitudes and join up with your co-religionists and Al Gore’s minions in trying to scare people about a warming Arctic … at least that was happening, although unfortunately for alarmists like yourself, Alaska cooled substantially over the first decade of the 21st century, so now the evidence is mixed.

And in any case, where are my minions? I want the government to use their Solyndra funds to provide me with minions, like the ones Al Gore trains using petrodollars he pocketed from the oil companies for his TV station. How come Al has minions and I don’t? I guess the moral is, first get the oil million$, then you’ll get the minions. I’m obviously a slow learner regarding the first part of that … and how come Al gets the petrobucks and nobody says a word, but skeptics get tarred as being on the oil companies payroll but don’t get a dime? … however, I digress. You go on to say:

This unfavorable environmental state could last for many thousands of years as geologic processes slowly respond to the imbalances created by the release of the fossil carbon reservoir. The time scale for biodiversity to be restored, with all the benefits that it brings, will be even longer.

Tertullian says that the Roman Emperors had a slave whose job was to whisper in the Emperor’s ear “Respice post teHominem te memento!” In that respect, Dr. McNutt, let me be the slave who reminds you that you are merely the latest future ex-Editor-In-Chief of Science, a once-great magazine.

And while that post still swings a certain (although sadly diminished) amount of weight, it does not confer upon you ex oficio the ability to see “many thousands of years” into the future. You are attempting to channel Cassandra, and you are failing at it spectacularly. I cannot say this strongly enough. Activism is not your friend. The stronger the Editor-In-Chief of Science is as an activist, the less authority the Editor-In-Chief has as a scientist, and the less authority Science has as a scientific journal. What part of “conflict of interest” do you and Bruce Alberts and Donald Kennedy not understand? You cannot be both the peer-reviewer, the gate-keeper who arbitrates which science is worth publishing, and at the same time be a strong scientific alarmist pushing a particular belief as well.

So please, don’t bother us with any more of your unsupported fears about what a bit of warming might do. You’re actually in good shape yet. Yes, you struck out badly in the first inning, but there’s lots of the game left before you’re an ex-, and that just means don’t repeat your mistakes when you come up to bat again.

What you need to be concerned with is what your magazine does, not what the climate does. Lecturing people when your own house is in such bad order does not make you look wise, it makes you look hypocritical. You need to attend to the very poor quality of the studies you are publishing before you start lecturing people about climate science. How about giving us an editorial about how your predecessors didn’t enforce the “archive your data and code” policy, and whether you plan to continue the now time-honored tradition of ignoring the policy? That’s something you can speak about with authority.

After that, perhaps you might give us an editorial about how you are renouncing the anti-scientific practice of using co-authors to review each others’ work? That would be interesting. Or how about an editorial review of the ethical implications of Peter Gleick’s actions, and what their general acceptance by mainstream climate scientists reveal about the nature and extent of Noble Cause Corruption? That would be more than welcome.

But please … no more schoolmarmish lectures, and no more channeling the Ehrlichs and Holdrens. We’ve had enough failed serial doom-casters to last us for decades. You do not want to add your name to that list of unsuccessful catastrophe-mongers.

I say all of this to you for several reasons. First, I can’t stand to see someone driving the bus off the cliff without warning them. You’re doing both your reputation and that of Science magazine great damage through your alarmism, and in my world I am obliged to say something.

Second, there’s an old adage that says “It is better to light one little cylinder of fossil-fuel-derived wax with a wick in it, than to curse the darkness,” or something like that. I’m not the man to sit idly by when something I care about is imperiled.

Next, I say it because as an amateur scientist, I’m a huge fan of the process we call science, and I hate to see the journals flouting scientific transparency and blatantly shilling for one side or the other in a scientific debate.

And curiously, I say it because I truly wish you well. You do have an amazing opportunity, one I’d love to have. You have the chance to turn Science back into a serious, reputable scientific journal.

Plus scuba divers get my support, and women divers who’ve done underwater explosives training with the SEALS get my unalloyed, albeit somewhat jealous, awe and respect.

The main issue is, I’d like to see Science magazine become what it once was—a science magazine without an axe to grind, and without an agenda other than to be the best scientific journal on the planet.

Because as soon as you start grinding that axe and pursuing that agenda, you’ve become an axe-woman on a mission, not a scientist … and although the world needs good axe-women on missions, and I’m sure you’re a very good one when the situation arises, both Science the journal and science itself suffers when the Editor-In-Chief of Science magazine takes up axe-grinding. It destroys your credibility as a major arbiter of what science should be published.

My very best regards to you, and my best wishes for your tenure as Editor-In-Chief, and for the magazine in your hands,

w.

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Doug Arthur

Editing needed.

Lol…careful Willis, you may come home find some C4 with a remote timer strapped under your favourite chair…

Eliza

Why Bother?The magazine is Trash anyway?

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

Edit here please (area bolded):

(…) When the science is strong it doesn’t need defenders … and if the Editor-In-Chief of Science feels it’s necessary to defend some part of science, that simply proves that the “science” involved must be of the weakest. You don’t go out
And regarding you personally taking a position? (…)

[Thanks, fixed. -w.]

In the battle to win public opinion, and the opinion of scientists that aren’t motivated by leftist politics, one of the things that we want to do is fight the misinformation by the mainstream science press. I’m not really talking about periodicals like Science, but publications that don’t censor comments from skeptics (like Scientific American does!).
One publication that comes to mind is phys.org. Sign up!
Those that are inclined to get in tussles and battle it out with warmist commenters should join. Your comments in battling the bs at physorg would be critically helpful. Most of the articles at physorg I think are actually good, but there’s just a lot of warmist propaganda articles that has to be countered. We really can be a difference at physorg, a very popular science sight.

jbird

Yes. I agree with Doug Arthur. These are important ideas. Please re-read and edit for greater clarity before you send this. Science magazine has become a joke. If the magazine cleans up its act, I will re-subscribe.

I’d say that this should have left a heck of a mark, but I’ll bet it all went right over her pretty little head. Good riddance to bad science.

Otter

She likely will File 13 that one before getting past the third paragraph.

Mike Jowsey

Overall Willis, this is an excellent bitter-sweet fruit salad. I hope she reads it and has the guts to respond with humility.
Quite a few typos, which I will leave to the more pedantic readers. One glaring typo is this unfinished sentence at the end of about the sixth paragraph:
…, that simply proves that the “science” involved must be of the weakest. You don’t go out

Bill Illis

What we all want to say.
And good point about where are all the bodies from what has already happened.

a jones

Sir, You are I fear wasting your breath on the sweet morning air. The magazine is dying because it has abandoned science in favour of political advocacy: it stands by it and will perish by it.
Not that I do not applaud your attempt to speak truth to power, worthy indeed but likely futile.
People who have opted from the hard road into a soft self supporting claque are too comfortable in their corrupt but oh so egotistical delusion that they are important to see that their world is slowly falling apart.
It was always so.
And the incoming tide will wash them all away and cleanse all leaving a people to wonder what it was all about.
A lost generation indeed: of self congratulatory narcissists which did nothing and achieved nothing.
It is our misfortune that we live in such times.
Kindest Regards .

Fred from Canuckistan

Science Magazine.
Alfred E. Neumann, Editor.

tz2026

The problem is that you are extremely well educated, strong, strikingly good looking, and a wicked smart woman by all accounts … and while those are all good things, that’s a scary combination.
As I’ve been saying, it’s witches. We had the Medieval warm period, then we started burning witches, and it was cool.

I noticed a typo:

“You don’t get both. And the past actions of your magazine have clearly demonstrated that these days your activist causes are [more] important to you than the science.”

[Thanks, fixed. My motto is, “Perfect is good enough …” -w.]

BBould

Great read, thanks!

Editing needed.

Wow, I just finished it.
A little on the condescending and sneering side. Surely this could have been put better.
That said, the bit about authors not archiving their code and data in violation of the stated rules of the magasine was damning.

Steve Keohane

Thanks Willis. If they stop the climate nonsense, I would probably resubscribe. Doesn’t Feynman have a book ‘The Joy of Finding Things Out’? That describes science, following a path of discovery, not being preached to.
You need “more” in here, 4th paragraph.
And the past actions of your magazine have clearly demonstrated that these days your activist causes are ^ important to you than the science.

jorgekafkazar

After following the unending progression of pal-reviewed pseudoscience climate papers over the past five years, I have not the tiniest shred of respect left for “Science” Magazine, nor for anyone associated with it.

Quite a few typos, which I will leave to the more pedantic readers. One glaring typo is this unfinished sentence at the end of about the sixth paragraph:
…, that simply proves that the “science” involved must be of the weakest. You don’t go out

One wonders if this was written from too much haste and emotion and too little patience and probity.

Nicely done, although as others have said, some editing is needed. Wouldn’t it be great if Science returned to what it once was.

pesadia

In a word, Erudite
I hope the effort proves to be worthwhile.
Your thought provoking well constructed yet gentle observations deserve a response.

RoyFOMR

Another great post from Willis but I was saddened to see this in it.
“Are you suicidal or something?”
How long before the Team claim it as yet another ‘Death Threat’?

Another great post from Willis but I was saddened to see this in it.
“Are you suicidal or something?”

Yes, that was terrible. Ill-advised, for sure — condescending doesn’t begin to cover it.

John S.

I’d suggest that Science change the name of their magazine, but the title Mad has already been taken.

In a somewhat related news item, the remains of Newsweek Magazine were just sold again, to a digital only upstart. As recently as 2007, Newsweek had several hundred employees and was turning a profit of around $30 million per year. Currently, once the split with the “Daily Beast” is finished, reports indicate that there may be 6 dedicated employees left, affiliated with that name.
Science mag ought to think about whether they really want to be on this same glide path.

Willis:
Actually, I did edit the version I sent to some friends. Took about 15 minutes, and it reads like the Gettysburgh address! (I dare say, I got rid of almost all the “emotional” stuff…simple outtakes and re-adjustments of some lines.)
I’ve written before about Dr. George Miley (http://fti.neep.wisc.edu/iecworkshop/PDF/TECHNICAL_TALKS/miley.pdf) and his experience with “Science” in 2000. He’d just graduated a student (Dr. Brian Dejurick) in Nuclear Engineering, based on his (Dejurick’s) work on the U of IL IEC device. It was rejected by the SINGLE “Science” reviewer, based on a 1972 paper by some fellows at “Oak Ridge” who had PROVEN by theory that Farnsworth’s “Fusor’s” results were all “instrument noise, and not REAL NEUTRONS…as Farnsworth (the originator of the IEC, as the Farnsworth Fusor) contended. Problem is, Miley is somewhat of a better researcher than Farnsworth, and he and his grad students BACKED the instruments (BF6 detectors) with “activiation analysis” of Cd and Hf, etc. 10,000,000 5meV neutrons per second when turned on. Kind of hard to ignore!
SO I’m going on 13 years (aside from the SILLY, STUPID, IDIOTIC radiation dose/response articles published in the ’80’s in “Science”, which were used by the anti-nuclear power groups to bolster specious claims about the hazards of nuclear power…) knowing that “Science” is really “adjenda science” and much of the time, as you say, most useful as BUMF…rather than for reading.

Gary Hladik

Typos aside, pretty good essay. Two possible outcomes:
1) The unfortunately named Dr. McNutt won’t change her policies. Science will continue as an unscientific bastion of activism. (Most likely result)
2) Dr. McNutt will see the light and try to guide Science back to its roots, at which point she will promptly be fired. Science will continue as an unscientific bastion of activism.
Willis’s effort to educate is not in vain, however. At least I learned a new word: bumf.

Dr K.A. Rodgers

Far too too heavy with focus creep. Get rid of all irrelavancies – such as Al Gore and all patronizing mentions of the Editor’s gender. While you are at it get rid of at least 50% of the words.
I recall the A5 memo pads once used in the Australain Museum carried a footnote to the effect, “If you have to use a second page your memo is too long.” I would suggest if readers are required to scroll down more than twice the letter is too damn long.

Sad but I suppose inevitable that Science should perpetuate its alarmist prejudices. ‘Prejudice’ meaning to decide without bothering to makeany examination of the evidence.

techgm

Scathing. Deserved.
(Dr. McNutt’s text also had grammatical errors.)

Stephen Pruett

Excellent letter. The only constructive criticism I can provide is that your claim that Science has published bad climate science recently would be more credible with a few references and brief description of what makes them so bad.

SEALs not Seals.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Navy_SEALs
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinniped
It matters.
[Fixed, and you’re right, it does matter. Thanks. -w.]

Dr. Deanster

You need to de-personalize this.[and edit it as others have suggested]
If you think that this woman is going to read a letter that trashes her personally, and focuses on what you perceive to be her “Motives”, you are sadly mistaken. Some of your points are relevant. Your main point of encouraging her to abide by established policy on data and methods, and to bring the reputation of Science Magazine back to the forefront of her responsibility is worthy of her read. Further, you need to frame it such that reestablishing the reputation of Science would also have benefit for her as well.
Frankly, .. and I’m not trying to be mean, but, you have a lot of good points, but the letter reads like something from an amature editorial piece itself. Just think of it this way .. you no more like to read editorials that you disagree with than she will enjoy reading yours.

Brian H

Edit:

it’s considerable (but rapidly decreasing) — its

You don’t go out [missing paragraph]

Excellent challenge. Unfortunately, it won’t be taken up. You can be sure she was ‘vetted’ for unshakable loyalty to the Cause before being appointed.

M. Schneider

Writing that letter was a jolly waste of time — I hope you realize that.
McNutt is a revolving-door political appointee. She’s knows exactly where her bread is buttered, and isn’t about to jeopardize that to listen to the likes of you.

DR

Most excellent letter Willis. Brutally honest like it should be.

DR

Dr. Deanster says:
August 4, 2013 at 5:00 pm
You need to de-personalize this.[and edit it as others have suggested]

I disagree. The aggressor sets the rules, and the Alinskyites have been winning by forcing their enemies to be the “nice guys” while they mercilessly attack anyone that disagrees with the “Consensus”.
The time for playing nice is over.

David Larsen

I knew a Mrcia McNutt over at BLM. Same one?

Tom Trevor

If people spent less time pointing out grammatical and spelling errors, they might find this letter interesting, or they might not, but at least their opinion would be based on the content of the letter and not on superficial style aspects of the letter.

“Now, the uninitiated might not notice the subtle change of tense there, from the subjunctive to the declarative.”
Subjunctive is a mood, not a tense. It is used for ideas that are not necessarily factual (either hypothetical or downright counter-factual, such as “If I were you, I’d do …”)
Its counterparts are “indicative mood”, which is used to express ideas that are (strongly believed to be) factual; “imperative mood”, which urges action (“Take the trash out.”), or otherwise indicates a desired state; and “interrogative mood”, which seeks information rather than providing it.
“Declarative” in English is roughly synonymous with “indicative”, but other languages have additional declarative moods besides indicative. Therefore, grammarians use “indicative mood” for consistency and clarity, while a logician might speak of a “declarative statement”.
While imperative mood by definition has only future tense (as it is logically impossible to urge someone to have already taken or be in the process of taking a particular course of action), the other moods, including both subjunctive and indicative can generally apply to all moods.
~Grammar Nazi

patrick

Yep. As others have mentioned, editing is needed. It started strong and respectful but unfortunately spiraled into a diatribe. I stopped reading about 2/3rds in and skipped to the end. Right idea Willis but not executed to your normal high standard. Recommend for rewrite. WUWT peer review is gangsta!

Willis, Willis, Willis, your letter is too long and complicated for activists. I don’t think she will get past paragraph 3.
/sarc of f

Rud Istvan

Climate Change is not the only subject where Science has failed science. See ScienceExpress lead article 17 August 2006. Anyone with a high school education should know that correlation does not prove causation, but lack thereof does disprove causation. And there are two ways to disprove correlation. One is ‘shorgun’ r^2 close to zero. The other is r^2 close to one, slope 0 or 1. The latter got published as proof of an anomaly. It is only proof of the sad depths to which Science has sunk, and delayed a major advance in energy storage by half a decade.
Only good news is, Science incompetence allowed issuance of two basic patents covering the advance they did not see.

Eugene WR Gallun

So many telling points made. But I have the strong suspicion this woman will take the easy path — the downward path. That, in the short term, is what benefits her.
Also I am very suspicious of civilians who claim to have received training from the military. She needs to provide specifics about such an unusual claim. Stuff like that just doesn’t pass the smell test. And where there is one lie (wait, let us be kind and call it a gross exaggeration) there are almost always many more. Let her give us all the details about this demolitions training she, a civilian, says she received from such highly trained and actually very introverted groups. The Navy air arm does have its Blue Angels that it sends around to air shows but I doubt that the Seal have something so purposed. Maybe the Navy made a movie or two about underwater demolition and she watched them? That seems about right.
The left looks for people without shame — and I strongly suspect that she fitted their bill perfectly.
Eugene WR Gallun

Gcapologist

Probably a little long to get the attention it deserves. The EPA could easily wave their wand and gloss over the important implications.
My big question is this: What does it mean to post an open letter? Have you attempted to get it directly to Dr McNutt by email or USPS?
In the old days, a gentle person would at least send a short handwritten note acknowledging receipt.

BarryW

Bravo! Too bad it’s a wasted effort. Either a.)she is an ideologue and ignores it, or b) she agrees with you and gets railroaded out of a job. Lose, lose, but that was a great speech.

Steve in Seattle

bumf
n. Chiefly British Slang
1. Printed matter, such as pamphlets, forms, or memorandums, especially of an official nature and deemed of little interest or importance.
2. Toilet paper.
well, that aside, once again I remind all that you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. the left of liberals pushing this carbon free new frontier will take their agenda to their graves. if you really care about current climate science and solar physics, stop playing “nice” with these AGW types.

Dr. Deanster

DR says:
Deanster: You need to de-personalize this.[and edit it as others have suggested]
DR: I disagree. The aggressor sets the rules, and the Alinskyites have been winning by forcing their enemies to be the “nice guys” while they mercilessly attack anyone that disagrees with the “Consensus”.
The time for playing nice is over.
———————————————————————————————
Depends on what your purpose is.
If you just want to insult the woman, so be it, insult her. But if you want her to take your letter seriously, the sophmoric editorial style of it needs to be revised. I like a lot of the content, but it reads like it is written by an ideologue … and will be dismissed.
PS .. How Do you guys make words Italic and bold, etc.
[Go to the “test” thread, and write a few words there. Use the angle brackets for formatting in html as usual. Mod]

John Andrews

Bumf and all that … unnecessary. Otherwise an interesting read. I hope she reads it.

Frank Kotler

Possibly futile, but since we need to exhale anyway, might as well try to blow our breath where it “might” not be wasted. Thanks Willis!