Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Here is his letter of resignation to Curtis G. Callan Jr, Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society ...
When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago). Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence - it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists. As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious social/scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky, Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked from both sides. What greater tribute could there be?
How different it is now. 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 pseudo-scientific 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.
So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it. For example:
1. About a year ago a few of us sent an e-mail on the subject to a fraction of the membership. APS ignored the issues, but the then President immediately launched a hostile investigation of where we got the e-mail addresses. In its better days, APS used to encourage discussion of important issues, and indeed the Constitution cites that as its principal purpose. No more. Everything that has been done in the last year has been designed to silence debate.
2. The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative of the talents of APS members as I have long known them. So a few of us petitioned the Council to reconsider it. One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word incontrovertible, which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety. (They did admit that the tone was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word incontrovertible to describe the evidence, a position supported by no one.) In the end, the Council kept the original statement, word for word, but approved a far longer “explanatory” screed, admitting that there were uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket approval to the original. The original Statement, which still stands as the APS position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice to all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is. This is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast fractions of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society as a scientific society is at stake.
3. In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.
4. 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 mind - simply 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 do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it is always risky to discuss other people’s motives. This scheming at APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it. 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. Since I am no philosopher, I’m not going to explore at just which point enlightened self-interest crosses the line into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate releases makes it clear that this is not an academic question.
I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer represents me, but I hope we are still friends.
(Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara; former Chairman and former member of the Defense Science Board and Chair of its Technology panel; Chairman of the DSB study on Nuclear Winter; former member of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; former member of the President’s Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman of the APS study on Nuclear Reactor Safety; Chairman of the Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman of JASON; former member of the USAF Scientific Advisory Board; served in the US Navy in WW II; author of “Technological Risk” (about ... well, technological risk) and “Why Flip a Coin?” (about decision making). Still, what does he know?)
The GOS says: This is not just about global warming. It's about the corruption of science.
Science, the search for knowledge and understanding of the universe we inhabit, used to be mankind's most noble pursuit. But it has been kidnapped and subverted by those who will stop at nothing in their pursuit of power and wealth. And here I'm not just talking about Al Gore. I include environmental alarmists at all levels, in all walks of life, those with much influence and those with little. I include George Monbiot, I include the leaders of the Royal Society.
I include the people who land themselves cushy jobs with local councils as biodiversity controllers and climate change advisers. I include teachers who spread pernicious political propaganda to children too young to resist or defend themselves. I include the man down the pub who wants to look clever and knowledgeable without taking the trouble to actually learn anything. I include the proponents of recycling who want to make householders do their jobs for them.
I include television producers and presenters (mostly on BBC) who like to give their shows an edge by including gloom-laden prophecy – I watched “Countryfile” last night, in fact, and distinctly heard one presenter use the expression “dangerous carbon”. We're all made of carbon, you arsehole, carbon dioxide is all around us, we breathe it out all day every day, plants need it to create oxygen, without carbon the world and all the living creatures would not only cease to exist, but would never have started to exist in the first place. In what sense is it dangerous, exactly, you ridiculous muppet?
All of these people, important or obscure, seek to increase their control over the lives of the people around them. Some wish to do it by making others respect and admire them, some by making people fear them or their message, some by making people trust them to sort out the alleged crisis, some by achieving financial and political power or professional eminence. And to do so they choose to use their own perverted pseudo-science because they realise that (a) while they know little or nothing about real science themselves, neither do most of the people they're trying to control; (b) like almost all scientific data, the information available to us can be subject to careful selection that will “prove” almost anything you like; (c) the average man in the street regards scientists with an almost superstitious awe, precisely because he doesn't understand what they're talking about and they do. Well, I should qualify that statement: he used to regard them with awe, but I suspect some of them may have blown it. They've revealed themselves as gullible, venal, self-regarding, hostile to opposition, self-seeking and greedy. Just like the rest of us, in fact. And the man in the street now knows it. That's likely to change things a bit in future.
All this is nothing new, of course. History is littered with bullies who sold the people lies and illusions ... the Cardinal in his finery who demands that his flock bow before some mouldy old statue and obey his every whim (especially those whims concerning their pre-adolescent sons and pretty daughters) ... the fire-and-brimstone non-conformist minister who threatens his parishioners with ostracism in this life and everlasting damnation in the next if they won't believe in the particular cruel and joyless creed his daddy beat into him with sodomy and a leather belt ... the long-haired cult leader foretelling the imminent end of civilisation from which there is no escape except to hole up in the wilderness with a lot of guns and compulsory promiscuity. Now we have Al Gore and Rajendra Pachauri who smile and smile and show us graphs they've made up and photo-shopped pictures of polar bears and promise us salvation if we make them rich and all-powerful by buying in to this “carbon trading” thing they've invented.
Good grief, we've just survived one world-wide crisis caused by greedy bankers trading in non-existent financial commodities, and now they seriously expect us to swallow yet another fairy tale. Just how thick do they think we are?
Don't answer that.
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