While some claim global warming to be a fact, I can’t help notice that there are some very notable scientists with a profoundly heterodox points of view. And now Harold Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara—who can’t be defined in an way as “anti science” (that great, all purpose, debate stifling epithet)—has made international news and blog headlines by quitting the American Physical Society in protest over what he considers the organization’s corrupt embrace of the (in his view) bogus science of global warming.
It’s a hard letter. First, he claims the science of global warming is baloney. From the letter:
The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.
It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.
Then, he claims that proper redress procedures are being circumvented within the professional organization, in other words, a stacked deck:
So a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation. I might note that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail what we had in mindsimply to bring the subject into the open.
5. To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on the members’ interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment. You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex you would have gotten more expressions of interest.) There was of course no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the Council.
6. As of now you have formed still another secret and stacked committee to organize your own TG, simply ignoring our lawful petition. APS management has gamed the problem from the beginning, to suppress serious conversation about the merits of the climate change claims. Do you wonder that I have lost confidence in the organization?
I have no way of knowing whether it is true, but my inclination is to believe it. I have seen too much crass politicization of science in this issue, and in particular, the stem cell debates, not to. There is too much money at stake, too much clique suppression of dissent. Too much easy castigation of those with different views. Too much wanting to be in the “in crowd,” to not worry that something is badly amiss. That’s Lewis’s opinion too:
Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club. Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble burst. When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise. As the old saying goes, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.
Finally, Lewis says:
I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer represents me, but I hope we are still friends.
Yea, good luck with that. We are in nasty times in which political disagreements break friendships.
In any event, Lewis’s letter is just one more bit of evidence that the global warming hysterics can no longer effectively stifle dissent. The lid is off the pressure cooker and the soup is boiling over.