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Open Letter to Authors of NAS Sec 63’s List Serve Thread March 9, 2010

Posted by visceralrebellion in Science Hoax of the Century.
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The list serv contents were made public here. The DC Times’ account is at this page.

My response to the authors of the emails is below.

Your entries to the list serve were entertaining reading, but somewhat disturbing. You’ve yet to figure out why, according to Paul Falkowski, you “are facing an increasingly ill informed, hostile public. . ..” So in a spirit of generosity allow me to explain why ordinary people neither believe nor trust you.

The term “climate change” is a rhetorical attempt to create panic out of the ordinary. Educated people understand that climate changes. There’s nothing scary or panic-inducing about climate change. Yet the switch from “global warming,” the term used throughout the 90s and early 2000s was indicative to us that your supposedly “settled” science was anything but.

First, you must divest yourselves of the fallacy that ordinary people aren’t smart enough to follow the conversations regarding “climate change.” We’ve had science courses and labs in high school and college. Some of us took lots of science, others just enough to get by, but we ALL were taught that science uses factual, reproducible data to support or disprove hypotheses. Many of us received zeros on our first lab reports due to incomplete data representation or skipping methodology explanations, with stern notes on the fundamental importance of communicating data and providing detail sufficient to allow others to precisely replicate our work.

So imagine our surprise when the professional scientists, who we expect to be held to higher standards than we were in our Chemistry 202 lab, are revealed to not only fail to perform research by the most basic university standards, but then attempt to use their incomplete methods and/or data to manipulate us politically.

That you and your fellow scientists have political inclinations is only natural. That you advance your political goals and agendas with “science” is simply intolerable. If you desire totalitarianism just come out and say it. But STOP attempting to justify and implement totalitarianism with shoddy science.

The UEA emails—which I think were leaked, not stolen, based upon the large time span and depth of knowledge required to compile such a file—revealed that the leaders of the AGW movement have no real data to either support or refute their hypotheses.

For example, the most interesting factor in the “hide the decline” email is that the tree ring “proxies” fail miserably from 1960 onward to display any relationship to temperature, hence the removal of the proxies from the graphs and datasets for post-1960. The only reasonable, logical and SCIENTIFIC questions are:

Why do tree rings diverge from instrumental data post-1960?

Has anyone demonstrated a confirmed, repeatable correlation between tree rings and temperature?

Could it be that tree rings have no relationship whatsoever to temperature at any given time?

Given that no one has confirmed that tree rings have a predictable relationship to temperature, why are tree rings used as proxies at all?

Has anyone on this list serve thread bothered to ask those questions, privately or publically? I’ve yet to see any public debate on the topic. If not, WHY NOT???? This is basic science.

Special attention is warranted for Paul Falkowski’s rant below:

One is the integrity of science, writ large. That is threatened by unbridled, well funded lobbyists for (in this case) the coal, oil and gas industries – that seek to make sure that all science about climate change is “uncertain” – and more recently “biased” in the reports from the IPCC. I personally find such threats to the scientific process we all adhere to more than unsettling. If the public looses faith in scientists, we can see the inevitable consequences. H1N1 vaccines were taken a plot to kill our children. Regardless of the evidence, cell phones cause brain cancer. The political dialogue is course – but scientists are being treated like political pawns – and it is not acceptable.

Mr. Falkowski, have you considered that scientists—ALL of them—have contributed to this phenomenon? How many times have we, the public, watched scientists make pronouncements of mortal danger where there are none or vice versa? How many times have other scientists failed to refute those claims? See Paul Ehrlich for multiple examples of wild predictions proved wrong. If you’re looking for someone to blame for this, you need look no farther than your mirror.

Furthermore, when you cloak your political objectives in scientific language you must expect to be used as “political pawns.”

One result is that fewer and fewer Americans want their children to be scientists. And, at least at my university, fewer and fewer American children are enrolling in science programs at the graduate level.

My daughter is a senior in high school, a very bright girl enamored with science. She intends to major in biochemistry but is already well aware that she’s going to “stick out” because she is also a faithful Roman Catholic. Neither she nor I see any conflict between our religion and science but established scientists insist on creating a conflict. Whether she can tolerate the nonsense from the uncompromising atheists plaguing every science department remains to be seen. When the nonsense grows to a cacophony she reminds herself that the best scientists were also theists to one degree or another. Even Einstein considered his science a glimpse into the mind of God (rough translation.)

In my opinion, the public has lost faith in science because scientists do not speak out to the public and scientists are increasingly viewed as “cooking the books” by the public – i.e., not being honest brokers. The “climategate” issue is one of the most recent aspects of this issue. This has to be stopped – Scientific integrity is something we all worry about – but the issue at hand is not integrity of the IPCC- it is making sure that the public is aware of OUR concerns for all of our futures.

And here is where you fail to understand what you and your associates MUST do to restore confidence in your fields. Unless and/or until you place integrity at the forefront of all scientific endeavor, confidence in your statements and proposed solutions will continue to plummet, eventually joining astrologers and lawyers in the ranking of least trustworthy professions.

Without integrity science is little more than a waste of resources.

George Woodwell wrote, “We are dealing with an opposition that is not going to yield to facts or appeals from people who hold themselves in high regard and think their assertions and data are obvious truths.”

Mr Woodwell, you may hold yourself and your cohorts in “high regard” but we are more interested in observable, repeatable facts than we are your gargantuan self-esteem. We have listened to warnings of impending doom for most of our lives. In the 1980s, the impending doomsday scenarios were the “death of the oceans,” global starvation and mass death due to AIDS. Today we look back on those predictions with a chuckle. AIDS is bad but more people die of malaria. The oceans are just fine, and while episodic starvation occurs it’s always due to political forces, not scientific forces.

In the 1990s, the temperature was going to rise so high, so fast that one could be forgiven for purchasing shorefront property in the Arctic and building a resort in anticipation of the hordes that would be seeking 24-hour sunbathing in more temperate climes. Today we’re looking for better gloves for sale in the southeastern US.

And then there are the health fads that come and go. Oatmeal will cure cholesterol so people run out and choke it down for breakfast thinking they’re extending their lives. Months later, oatmeal makes no difference and the folks who forced themselves to eat it dump the remainder in the trash and wonder why they ever believed the claim.

One of your participants, Paul Ehrlich, has a long and amusing record of making doomsday claims and being proven wrong over and over again. Yet we are supposed to believe a word that comes out of his mouth regarding global warming? Please don’t misunderstand, I support Ehrlich’s right to make outlandish claims in any camera available—the comedy factor alone is worth the air time. That said, you can’t seriously expect us to submit to dramatic reductions in our standard of living and wholesale revocation of our Constitutional rights based on anything that pops out of Ehrlich’s overactive imagination. And your voluntary association with and support for Ehrlich immediately makes you suspect. Have you not paid attention over the years?

Paul Falkowski wrote, “I want the NAS to be a transformational agent in America.”

What he and others fail to comprehend is that we, the “unwashed masses” so disparaged in your emails, aren’t interested in “transforming” America. We like America the way she is and we’re utterly unconvinced that your prescriptions are better than the ills you claim to treat.

But knock yourselves out, fellas. Take out your ads, throw your diminishing weight around. Fortunately we still have the first amendment and you have those rights. Just remember that WE have the same rights and WE make the final decision regarding whether and how we’ll agree to your positions.

But please, introspection would serve you well, and restore dignity and confidence in science–something I really want to see.

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Comments»

1. Jeffrey Lynn Hopkins - March 15, 2010

Well said.


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