Climate Change 'Fraud' Letter: A Martin Luther Moment in Science History

By Watts, Anthony | The Christian Science Monitor, October 19, 2010 | Go to article overview

Climate Change 'Fraud' Letter: A Martin Luther Moment in Science History


Watts, Anthony, The Christian Science Monitor


Esteemed physicist Harold Lewis is calling global warming the 'most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen.' His resignation letter could mark the unraveling of one of the great scientific mistakes in history and the beginning of a needed reformation of the scientific community.

Five centuries ago, a German priest challenged the reigning theological "consensus" about the clerical sale of indulgences, unraveling one of the great religious scams in history and inspiring the Protestant Reformation.

This month, a senior American physicist challenged the reigning scientific "consensus" about global warming. His action may prove to be the unraveling one of the great scientific mistakes in history and the beginning of a greatly needed reformation of the scientific community.

Revulsion over fraud

Just as Martin Luther paid the price for his dissent, Dr. Harold Lewis is experiencing a sharp backlash in the wake of his Oct. 6 resignation letter from the prestigious American Physical Society (APS). After 67 years as a member, Dr. Lewis - emeritus professor of physics and former department chairman at the University of California, Santa Barbara - parted ways because of his "revulsion" over the climate change "fraud" perpetrated by what he felt was science distorted by money.

Other esteemed scientists have in recent years put forward compelling critiques of the technical and scientific case for anthropogenic climate change. Dr. Lewis's resignation letter is not such a critique. Rather, it is a condemnation of the way ideology, politics, and money have suppressed dissenting viewpoint and distorted the very nature of scientific inquiry. Like the so-called Climategate controversy, in which hacked emails from a group of climate scientists revealed political and personal factors influencing scientific work, Lewis' letter lays bare the less-than- noble motivations that seem to be driving discussion of climate- change research today.

The APS position: 'incontrovertible'

To understand Lewis's letter, you first have to understand the APS position on climate change. The APS, like several other major scientific organizations, supports the theory of man-caused global warming. Its official statement from 2007 read, in part: "The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth's physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.... The APS also urges governments, universities, national laboratories and its membership to support policies and actions that will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases."

This statement troubled Lewis deeply. These key excerpts from Lewis's resignation letter explain why:

"[T]he money flood has become the raison d'etre 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.... I don't believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion.

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. …

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