Dr. Martin Hertzberg: When a scientist becomes a fear-mongering propagandist
March 13, 2010
Re. “When a scientist becomes an activist,” Opinion, Auden Schendler, March 10:
The “climategate” e-mail scandal revealed an appalling lack of scientific integrity, possible criminal conduct in violating Freedom of Information Acts in both the US and the UK, and the fraudulent treatment of data, on the part of some scientists involved in pushing the Gore-IPCC-Hansen theory that human emission of CO2 has been causing global warming/climate change. The e-mails also reveal a conspiracy to suppress opposing viewpoints, and even the gloating over the death of a distinguished Australian climatologist who disagreed with them. Ever since then, a host of environmental activists, pretending to be scientists, have come to their defense. The latest is the recent article by Auden Schendler hailing Jim Hansen as a “once in a millennium . .comet of a person … like Jonas Salk … a great man.”
There is a simple way to tell the difference between a scientist and a propagandist. If a scientist has a theory, he searches diligently for data that might actually contradict his theory so that he can modify or refine it. If a propagandist has a theory, he carefully selects only the data that might agree with his theory and dutifully ignores the data that disagrees with it. In the case of James Hansen, he doesn’t even bother with the data: all he has to support his theory are half-baked computer models that are totally out of touch with reality, and have already been proven to be wrong. By any reasonable definition, Hansen’s scenarios and those he helped Gore and the IPCC to concoct, are the work of fear-mongering propagandists.
The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence shows clearly that the theory that human emissions of so-called “greenhouse gases” such as CO2 is causing global warming, is completely false. That evidence will be presented at my “Cafe Scientifique” talk on April 27, at which time I will also show the documentary “Not Evil, Just Wrong.”
It is tragic that what should have been a respectful exchange of viewpoints between scientists with legitimate disagreements in the interpretation of data and in the prediction of future weather, should have degenerated into a mean-spirited partisan political diatribe. By referring to those who disagree with his theory as “deniers” (putting us in the category of “Holocaust deniers” which I particularly resent having lost many relatives in the Holocaust), by calling for us to be tried as criminals because of our disagreement, and by impugning our integrity, it is James Hansen who bears the major responsibility for the degeneration of the scientific dialogue on the issue.