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« Chemistry World | Main | HSI hits big time »

Hal Lewis sightings

A few MSM outlets have picked up the Hal Lewis resignation story.

(Updated to make clear which sites are blog only)

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Reader Comments (39)

Currently 2212 comments on JD's Telegraph blog. I cannot recall such a large response.

Oct 12, 2010 at 9:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete Hayes

The title taken from Hal's letter says it all, 'Global warming is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life'.


Oct 12, 2010 at 9:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterJosh

Not MSM, but Cori Bernardi, who is a senator in South Australia, has something on his blog.

"...the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists... It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist."

The fact that I am not a physicist should be enough to determine that the words above are not mine. Although they clearly express my view that Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) alarmism is an industry that has built layer upon layer of falsehoods on a kernel of truth.

That kernel of truth is the fact that the climate is indeed changing, just like it has since the dawn of time. The geological (and other) evidence demonstrates conclusively that the current rate of climate change is entirely within historical norms.

Despite the trifling matter that the so-called evidence supporting catastrophic AGW has been repeatedly discredited, the warming alarmists continue their theological claim to moral and scientific superiority in the hope it will silence their critics.

Oct 12, 2010 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered Commenterandyscrase

No comment from Guardian journalists to this big 'climate change' story. It will appear when they've either got the dirt on Lewis, or some other 'prominent' APS member produces a counter attack. Then as ususal, a 'counter attack' will become the big story, though the original was to be ignored.

Oct 12, 2010 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

Have you got the links mixed up Bish? The Daily Express leads to the S.F.C.

Oct 12, 2010 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete Hayes

I will not link to Jo Abess, but here is her take...

Aaserud: “You were born in New York City on the 1st of October, 1923.”
Lewis: “That is correct.”

Which would put him currently in his late eighties. Is he perhaps unwell ? Has he seen this document that he is supposed to have written ? Does he even know this letter of resignation has been written, in his name, but quite probably not in his normal style ?

Grapsing. At. Straws.

One of the saddest things about losing my parents was losing their knowledge and wisdom and take on society as it it now. They had been through so much in the 20th century, yet in Jo's world such a knowledge base is worth nothing.

Oct 12, 2010 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

wot, no guardian ? as if..

Oct 12, 2010 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

As yet I've heard nothing about it on the BBC. They seem too tied up with the US/China CO2 emissions stand off

Oct 12, 2010 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Great news from the good old US of A, where "carbon activists" are really doing their bit for 10:10 day:-

Oct 12, 2010 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

I do think we are witnessing a sea change in scientific thinking. The growing uncertainties and controversies over CAGW is leading scientists like Hal Lewis to call "foul" on blinkered CAGW advocacy and for scientists like Judith Curry to step back from the alarmism and engage with sceptics. It will take time for MSM to catch up with that changed thinking, because, simply, we need a new breed of environmental commentators who will ditch the party line and actually do some investigative journalism.

Meanwhile CAGW gets another kicking.

It would appear that CO2 was only a bit player, at best, in the supposed man-made warming of the past 60 years or so.

Oct 12, 2010 at 10:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Interesting to see that the arch-priest of warming, the Moonboot, has a long piece (which totally exoses his Marxist roots, if that wasn't clear before) bemoaning the passing of Socialism in the UK in today's Guardian.

Oct 12, 2010 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

my daughter, a science teacher in Bristol, has just sent me the following email they received; words fail me as to the ignorance and arrogance of Colin Lawson:

From: Physics Teaching News and Comments [mailto:PTNC@NETWORKS.IOP.ORG] On Behalf Of Colin Lawson
Sent: 12 October 2010 09:48
Subject: Re: [PTNC] Climategate - interesting letter of resignation - class discussion material ?

Sorry Jonathan I am inclined to disagree with you. This is simply a letter containing unsubstantiated claims and many factual errors from a retired physicist named Hal Lewis who doesn’t seem to know anything about climate science and who has resigned from the American Physical Society. A non-news story. The article you link to is written by a notoriously unreliable source (James Delingpole) with no scientific background, who in turn refers to another unreliable source who makes some ridiculous and unjustified assertions. This could possibly stimulate a discussion in class but the Climate Change Debate is so mired in disinformation, political ideologies and commercial interests that any debate in school should be handled with the greatest care and from a position of knowledge and understanding on behalf of the teacher.

I am still shocked at the number of physicists I meet who base their understanding of the climate change debate on what they read in the Daily Mail / Daily Telegraph / or internet blogs of dubious provenance. I am even more shocked when I invariably find, these physicists have never bothered to read anything by the wide range of scientists from the many different disciplines involved in climate research.

There is a growing anti science lobby exemplified by the “Tea Party” movement in the US along with the current Republican Party supported by Fox News. If we as scientists do not resist this movement by practising what we teach in class, setting an example and applying critical thinking, always searching for reliable and valid evidence we will have only our selves to blame when ideology and commercial interest overwhelm rational discussion.

Colin Lawson

Oct 12, 2010 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterCaroline K

Caroline K

I am shocked at the blatant politicisation of science in a directive to teachers, what position does Colin Lawson hold?

Oct 12, 2010 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

@caroline.... very interesting...

I am still shocked at the number of physicists I meet who base their understanding of the climate change debate on what they read in the Daily Mail / Daily Telegraph / or internet blogs of dubious provenance. I am even more shocked when I invariably find, these physicists have never bothered to read anything by the wide range of scientists from the many different disciplines involved in climate research.

Basically all is he saying is that if your are not a peer-reviewed Climate "Scientist" then your opinion is worthless.

Is the media a mirror of society or is it leading society? He clearly thinks the latter. And it is he who actually mixing the politics with the science, not "ignorant" physicists.

Oct 12, 2010 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Seems ya gotta be in Wikipedia ta get a spot in da MSM. Life's a real beach.
Cryin' shame the old EB* of yesteryear ain't a free search engine.

* Encyclopedia Britanica

Oct 12, 2010 at 10:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterPascvaks

@Caroline K

I'm shocked by the email, not just by the content but by the fact it apparently has the authority of the IOP. It is blatant advocacy and clearly political in its tone. I will assume the IOP is unaware of it.

This seems to give a picture of Colin Lawson:

Oct 12, 2010 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Drake

Lord Beaverbrook:

I don't know what position he holds, I sent you it when I received it, just this morning, so don't know further details till I see my daughter.
I just thought it needed a wider audience!

Oct 12, 2010 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterCaroline K

Press Release

LONDON, 12 October - The Global Warming Policy Foundation is delighted and honoured to announce that Professor Harold (Hal) Lewis, one of America's most distinguished physicists, has agreed to join the GWPF's Academic Advisory Council.

Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a former member of the Defense Science Board and former chairman of its Technology panel. He was co-founder and former Chairman of JASON and a former member of the USAF Scientific Advisory Board. On 6 October 2010, he resigned from the American Physical Society, 67 years after he had joined the APS, in protest over the politicalisation of climate research and the stifling of scientific debate.

The GWPF Academic Advisory Council is composed of researchers, scientists, economists and science authors who provide the GWPF with timely scientific, economic and policy advice. It evaluates new studies and reports, explores future research projects and makes recommendations on issues related to climate research and policy.

Oct 12, 2010 at 11:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Drake


Thank you for that, Wiki and Yahoo searches come up empty so I presume it's not a senior position. The email is certainly an eye opener though!

Oct 12, 2010 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Delingpole’s story is not, I think in the press edition, but it was the most read article in yesterday’s on-line Telegraph.
There is none of Delingpole’s usual abrasive humour, but Telegraph readers apparently found the resignation letter of a scientist they have never heard of more interesting than Cameron’s economic policy, Obama’s foreign policy, or the rescue of the trapped Chilean miners. Yet this story has received no mention by science or environment correspondents in the mainstream British media.
What can be going on in the minds of editors when they see this story on the agency wires and decide to spike it? “Top scientist accuses colleagues of Fraud” - “’Climate Pseudoscience’ says professor” - no, nothing newsworthy there.
So what is considered newsworthy on the science pages of the “heavies”?
'Turn off lights to lose weight'
Badly behaved dogs suffer from 'separation related disorders'
Dogs are either optimists or pessimists, claim scientists
Government's £6m climate change ads cleared.
This goes beyond craven Pravda-like self-censorship. The newspapers are telling us clearly that they refuse to cover a story which their readers want to read about, and which is, by all the normal criteria of journalism, big news. They are lying by omission. They are contemptible, and must be told so as clearly as possible.

Oct 12, 2010 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Compare the Catastrophists position now with that just eighteen months ago.

How simple the world must have seemed from Pachauri's Ivory Tower. How bright the prospects.

The Warmist agenda had every institution warmly by the throat. They could declaim 'The Science is Settled' with little fear of contradiction, save by gallant pioneers like M&M. And they were dismissed as cranks who were not 'peer-reviewed climate scientists'.

The enticing prospect of Copenhagen was shortly to cement the AGW mantra into international binding legislation. Their mountain top was in sight....just a few more months and total victory would be theirs. Funding for the IPCC into the foreseeable for the warmist boys by the bucket load, and all dissent quashed.

They must have felt like Hitler in June 1940 - only Britain to invade and all of Europe would be his. Or Gordon Brown after he had single-handedly saved the world's economic system. Just a small matter of a General Election before the clunking fist's writ ruled unchallenged over all of the UK. With Europe and the World Bank to come. Oh what joy it must have been to be alive on that glad day.

And now. The tower is under concerted siege. Bits drop off every day.the question is now 'how many months can it last', not 'will it last forever'. And the leaders of the warmist cult have lost their confidence.

Gore has disappeared under the heat. (thank god he never got to have that big red button..a weaker and vainer man it is difficult to imagine)

Mann - the once Mighty Mann - is reduced to writing self-serving whiny articles about what an unfair thing it is to try to scrutinise his work. No doubt he will thcream and thcream and thcream until he's thick

Pacahuri's position depends not upon his virtues (which are few) but on his nationality - if the Indian government drop him he is toast.

'No Pressure' heaped ordure on the founders of the unloved and unnoticed 10:10 campaign.

Copenhagen was a disaster..even the snow gods joined in to show their contempt..and now Cancun looks set to be Copenhagen Mark 2 - but without the good and 'successful' bits.

Amazongate showed up the IPCCs tenuous grasp of the concept of truthful reporting.

The good Bishop published HSI - which will be a pivotal book once the history of the Climate Wars comes to be written.

Then there was Climategate...the secret weapon...showed for any with an eye to see just how weak the science behind the cult is..and just how corrupted what little science there is has become.

And the bad news just keeps on coming. New Zealand, that far flung bastion of climate catastrophism has only shown any warming at all in the last century because the official figures were 'adjusted'. Without the adjustments, there is no warming at all. Is NZ alone..or will it be shown that the rest of the world has the same problem?

And the worry must always be there that there are still more revelations to come. More heavy missiles to be fired at the structure and foundations of their belief.

The idea that AGW is a busted flush is slowly gaining ground even in its own Heartlands. It is no longer newsworthy for the BBC to give a little bit of airtime to a sceptic.It i salmost routine CiF at the grauiniada has only a few cultists left commenting. The rest is from realists who are increasingly scathing in their dismissal. Real Climate has been very quiet of late....Judith Curry has poked her head over the parapet to see if we are really the good guys...not the slavering knuckle headed bogeymen she has been warned about. Graham Stringer MP is making small but significant progress in Parliament.

And all this in just 500 days or so. Sometimes we need to take stock of how much has been achieved. To paraphrase the Great Mann himself...would I advise a young scientist to try to make a career in climate alarmism? It doesn't look like a good long term bet to me.

To finish , and just because it brings on damp underpants and hysterical laughter from me..the great moment when Al Gore learns of the Climategate disaster. Fight the Good Fight - and enjoy this too!!

Oct 12, 2010 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

'Jonathan Drake notes :

Press Release

LONDON, 12 October - The Global Warming Policy Foundation is delighted and honoured to announce that Professor Harold (Hal) Lewis, one of America's most distinguished physicists, has agreed to join the GWPF's Academic Advisory Council.'

Slightly unfortunate timing: it opens up the possibility that his role with GWPF might have led to his resignation letter - which will doubtless be latched onto by the warmies. (Remember General Dannatt's attacks on NuLabor and his subsequent tie-up with ScamCam?)

Oct 12, 2010 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

Alexander K
I didn’t read the Moonbat’s piece as a requiem for socialism, but as a call for its resurrection. He’s read some psychology by the WWF (purveyors of peer-reviewed Portuguese opinion pieces to the IPCC) which shows that - wait for it - some people are kind and want to help others, while others are pushy and look after number one. He finishes solemnly:
“We should argue for the policies we want not on the grounds of expediency but on the grounds that they are empathetic and kind; and against others on the grounds that they are selfish and cruel”.
He could have found the same message in the Sermon on the Mount or the Jo Abbess book of Etiquette for Young Ladies, but it woudn’t have carried as much weight as a document (“the most interesting report I have read this year”) from the Panda-pullers of the WWF.

Oct 12, 2010 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

The Express link

I think its on the inside of the front page in today's print edition.

Oct 12, 2010 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Re: the email above, it's just from an email discussion list...

"PTNC is Physics Teaching News and Comment, a discussion list open to all with a professional interest in the teaching and learning of physics."

since he's published his correspondence disagreeing with the IOP and then says he will "allow my IoP membership to lapse so that I can spend the money fighting the case for reason and truth."

I think we can safely say it does not have the "authority of the IOP"

Judging from the title and description to his blog, I am presuming we are dealing with a teenager. You know how teenagers say one thing and mean something completely different> "bad" meaning "good etc.

In this case, "Reason & Reality - a stand against dogma and irrationality" seems to relate to someone using dogma and irrationality to counter reason and reality.

Oct 12, 2010 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterPete

As an FGS (though already for many more years than Bob Ward "Date joined 01/01/2011"), I am avidly awaiting the Geological Society's publication of its Climate Change Position Statement on 1st November.

There has never been a poll of members, though we were invited to submit our views to the drafting committee (as did I). However, my suggestion that we were entitled to see a draft before its publication 'in our name' was not taken up.

I'm wondering whether it will be as embarassing as the Royal Society's first propaganda statement on the subject, or more like its revised and more balanced version. The use of the 'polar bear stranded on melting ice image' is not encouraging. I suspect that Geoscientist editor Ted Nield (who helped orchestrate Ward's soapbox statement against long-serving FGS Joe Brannan "oil industry geologist") has some involvement. His opinions are very much in line with those of Colin Lawson, mentioned above.

Oct 12, 2010 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

In the event that the GeolSoc Climate Change policy statement is not sufficiently 'pro-AGW scare', the faithful could dismiss it with the following statistics.

Bob Ward (FGS since 2011) refers to Joe Brannan (FGS since 1993) as "an oil industry geologist", clearly intending to suggest he may not be objective on the subject of climate change.

As it happens, of 9500 Fellows, 1136 record their interests as 'Oil & Gas' and/or 'Coal' (12%).
Just 209 list interest as 'Climate Change' (2.2%)
(Just 39 list interests as 'Oil & Gas' and 'Climate Change')
- all this is publicly available info in the Fellows Area.

Oct 12, 2010 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood


The GSA (Aus) did exactly that about 12 months ago, although without the prior courtesy of inviting submissions to a drafting committee. This caused me to resign after about 30 years continuous membership. The GSA "Executive Committee" (I cannot repeat that phrase without the parentheses, try as I may), subsequent to Members' complaints about railroading, opined that it was within their jurisdiction to decide matters in this way

These same people also attempted a "merger" with the AIG (Aus Institute of Geoscientists) in order to run a campaign to remove the anti-AGW editor from the AIG Newsletter - so far, unsuccessful, as was the merger attempt

I could hope the British GS is better behaved, but actually I don't

Oct 12, 2010 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

Caroline K posted this:

Sorry Jonathan I am inclined to disagree with you. This is simply a letter containing unsubstantiated claims etc etc.

Personally, I am still waiting for Michael Mann to SUBSTANTIATE his claims.

Or have I missed something?

Peter Walsh

Oct 12, 2010 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterRETEPHSLAW

oakwood: "No comment from Guardian journalists to this big 'climate change' story."

I'd be interested to read Fred Pearce's take on this; although I've noticed that some of his most recent pieces (e.g. re Pachauri) have not been in the Guardian but elsewhere.

Oct 12, 2010 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Reading this, I am once again reminded of Abraham Lincoln's observation.

“You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”

Surely that is proven in "climate science" and even in this blog.

I am still shocked at the number of physicists I meet who base their understanding of the climate change debate on what they read in the Daily Mail / Daily Telegraph / or internet blogs of dubious provenance. I am even more shocked when I invariably find, these physicists have never bothered to read anything by the wide range of scientists from the many different disciplines involved in climate research.

An amazing statement, given the Climate is driven by physical forces. Gimme a break.

Oct 12, 2010 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Right, following Caroline's post I decided to do a bit of research into Hal Lewis as I had never heard of him either so emailed a friend of mine who happens to be a fellow of the society which Mr Lewis has just resigned from and who is living in US.
1) He had already heard. It is being discussed among physicists in the US.
2) This is what he said about Mr Lewis "Lewis is an old guy, well respected who could afford to make this grand gesture. The vast majority of active researchers cannot."
3) Oh, and my friend is most def not "tea-party" In fact he quite frequently crashes my Berry with his ranting about tea-party members :o)

Oct 12, 2010 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterH


I've been waiting for this also (I used to be an FGS for many years in the pre-digital era, but lapsed my sub when my shelves could carry no more). My feeling is that most of the membership would prefer to remain apart from 'position statements'. In this type of context they risk being the opinions of groupthink by a small cabal, and even at the best of times are inherently divisive in such an overtly controversial topic. These statements really only speak for those that authored them. Everyone else's opinions will deviate one way or the other, and there is no certainty that the statement coincides with the modal majority opinion.

Oct 12, 2010 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Don Pablo de la Sierra, you're right.

By saying "I am still shocked at the number of physicists I meet who base their understanding of the climate change debate on what they read in the Daily Mail / Daily Telegraph / or internet blogs of dubious provenance." He might just as well say: "I'm shocked at how many physicists base their understanding of the Big Bang on what they read in the DM / DT or blogs". Obviously nonsense, but currently now a common propaganda tactic of the desperate AGW-faithful. He's just denegrating his own profession.

On both sides of the debate there are those who get their understanding from junk sources. But on both sides there are also the Thinkers who do the research and read the science. The biggest shock (and threat) to the AGW-faithful is from the thinking sceptics: McIntyre, McKittrick, Montford, etc.

Oct 12, 2010 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

Pharos, I agree with you. I was happy for a long time that GeolSoc did not present a 'postion on CC' in contrast to so many scientific societies around the world. As Earth Scientists, we can logically argue it is not for us to make such a statement. What would we think of climate scientists coming up with a 'position' on the geological history of the Earth, the origins of fossils, history of the solar system, origin of earthquakes, etc?

I see it as a populist tactic to get onto a sexy and popular bandwaggon. And to show that Earth Scientists 'care'.

A further point, is that if GeolSoc is to conclude AGW is a major threat to life on Earth, to avoid hypocracy, we would have to start supporting a halt to fossile fuel exploitation - which as the statistics I presented above show, is an industry representing 12% of members.

Oct 12, 2010 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

Perhaps a bit surprisingly, the major Czech centre-left-wing daily Pravo has been the first to release the story (see their on-line edition , Czech only). This combines nicely with a strong public backlash against anticipated energy price hikes due to solar installations.

Oct 12, 2010 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterJV

In the wider mainstream media, the Hal Lewis story is minor news in the same vein as the chap a couple of years ago who claimed to have been James Hansen's "superior".

The letter reads like an internal spat between Lewis and the APS officials, and in these cases the facts are not always clear, especially when cited by an aggrieved party.

If Lewis were a central figure in climate science and had made an about-turn on previous support for AGW, that would be news. But a retired physicist with no clear track record in climate science doesn't count as newsworthy.

The reason for this gatekeeping is obvious once you realise that every man and his dog has an opinion about global warming. They can't all feature as spokespeople for media purposes, however eminent they may be in other fields.

Lewis hasn't helped his case by his accusations of fraud, scam and corruption, much less the hints at conspiracy. I predict this issue will go the same way as the Hansen "superior's" story. Now, what was that guy's name?

Oct 12, 2010 at 6:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrendan H

Fox News has covered the Hal Lewis story at least once in the last couple of days. I know because I had the audio feed from my Sky Box playing in the kitchen as I was preparing food. It seemed like an entirely sensible thing for them to cover and I'm afraid it didn't occur to me to note down the details of when, or on what show. And I can't now find the information via their website.

Oct 12, 2010 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterJane Coles

The Australian mentions Hal Lewis' resignation in an editorial critisisng it's rival The Age.

The unnecessary heat in the debate has prompted the resignation of eminent US physicist Harold Lewis, 87, from the American Physical Society, the US's leading academic body of physicists. After 67 years' membership, the emeritus professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is dismayed that the APS, unlike the Royal Society and the French Academy of Sciences, has refused to engage in proper scientific debate about climate change and has ignored sceptics."

Oct 13, 2010 at 11:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterChuck

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