A distinguished scientist, Willie Soon, finds his reputation “in play”
Guest essay by Walter Donway
Just over a year ago, I wrote an article on the “stomping” of Dr. Wei-Hock Soon, a distinguished astrophysicist who advocates study of the sun and its ever-changing juxtaposition with the Earth’s position, orbit, and axial tilt, as primary in explaining temperature changes on Earth. How interesting, but so what?
Well, publishing peer-reviewed scientific papers on solar irradiance in explaining long-term changes in Earth’s temperature (like the “Maunder Minimum”) directly and powerfully contradicts the established, mainstream (dare I say, “sanctified”?) wisdom of global warming as a result of anthropogenic CO2 –and alarming global warming, or, since global warming inexplicably has halted for some 16 years, all extreme weather events.
Well, I wrote that article at a time when Dr. Soon’s reputation was being systematically destroyed by the so-called “investigative arm” of Greenpeace. What alerted me to this Greenpeace campaign was evidence that stories appearing almost simultaneously in the “New York Times,” “Washington Post,” and “Boston Globe”–portraying Soon as a bought-and-sold tool of fossil-fuel interests–were nearly identical, slightly edited versions of a press release from Greenpeace.
Now, just this week, I happened to reread the Wikipedia entry on Dr. Soon. What a shock! As you know, anyone who registers can contribute to Wikipedia and entries on any subject are endlessly wrangled. I imagine that if Greenpeace can write stories for page one of America’s leading newspapers, it can win the mud-wrestling contest over Wikipedia entries.
Two lead paragraphs of that Wikipedia entry say:
“Soon disputes the current scientific understanding of climate change, and contends that most global warming is caused by solar variation rather than by human activity…. He gained visibility in part due to scientific criticism of the methodology of a paper which he co-wrote. Climate scientists have refuted Soon’s arguments, and the Smithsonian does not support his conclusions, but he is frequently cited by politicians opposed to climate-change legislation.
“Over the past decade, Soon’s research and his salary have been funded largely by fossil-fuel interests…, which provided over $1.2 million in funding over 10 years, including $409,000 from The Southern Company and $230,000 from Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. These funding sources were not disclosed in a number of papers published since 2008, leading the Smithsonian Institution to investigate whether Soon had violated conflict-of-interest policies… Soon says he has “always complied with what I understood to be disclosure practices in my field generally.”
Well, perhaps the writers or editors are not very precise, but the correct word is “rebutted” and not “refuted.” “Rebut” means offered a challenge, a counter-argument; “refute” means proven false.
As for the funding, I thought it might be worth republishing the article I wrote, at the time of this controversy, which pointed out that “clean” sources of government funds for research are not available to investigate hypothesis that potentially would contradict anthropogenic global warming. And those scientists who accept research funding from the private corporations whose existence is threatened by public policies–and, yes, ideologies–based on the increasingly dubious manmade global warming hypothesis–are portrayed by Greenpeace as little better than whores.
In view of this, I thought it worthwhile to republish my May 2015 article, “Another “Climate Denier Stomped,” which directly challenged those allegations that the partisans of anthropogenic global warming have at least for now transmuted into “the historical record” in Wikipedia and elsewhere.
For my article on the trial-and-conviction by public media of a courageous scientist, follow the link. I invite your comments on every side of the issue.