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Learned societies and Stalinism

Marcia McNutt, the editor of Science magazine and the author of a recent, moderately bonkers editorial about climate change (discussed by Judith Curry here) has been nominated to be the next head of the US National Academy of Science.

OK, so "learned society led by politically active environmentalist" is not news, but what about this.

Under Academy's bylaws, other candidates could be nominated by NAS members, but that has never happened. McNutt’s name will be presented to the full membership for formal ratification on December 15, the Council said.

Yes, that's right. The NAS uses the electoral system pioneered by Stalin and popularised by the Kim family and the Royal Society: one member, one vote, one candidate.

When will they learn?

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Reader Comments (25)

This is the way a few trade union leaders choose the leader of the Labour party. They then blame the stupid public for not sharing their political beliefs.

Of course the Tory party have men in grey suits (mainly ex Eton) the Liberals have women and men without a clue, and the greens have whole communities with nice compost heaps lovingly fed with uneaten vegetable food waste that went past its expensive supermarket sell-by date.

Jul 6, 2015 at 10:03 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Fear not, my friends. Change will happen. One funeral at a time.

Jul 6, 2015 at 10:21 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

"developed nations need to reduce their per-capita fossil fuel emissions even further"

Further, when they haven't reduced at all. She's making it up as she goes along.

Jul 6, 2015 at 10:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock

When will they learn?

Not before 30 Nov - 11 Dec 2015.

Jul 6, 2015 at 11:38 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

The electoral systam that so deeply shocks the Bish was instaurated by the Republican founder of the NAS, chap name of Abraham Lincoln.

Jul 6, 2015 at 11:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

If Marcia McNutt is the best person that the Council of the National Academy of Science can find to do the job, then presumably none of the members know very much about anything, including Science.

After her ratification, there will be the normal party games, including NAS musical chairs, where the candidates for sub-committees sit in a circle and all move to the left simultaneously. Pin the tail on a donkey had to be abandoned, when it was realised the Council Room was too rich a target rich environment.

Jul 6, 2015 at 11:52 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

It's good to see they nominated an objective, unbiased leader:

"The time for debate has ended. Action is urgently needed."


Jul 7, 2015 at 12:10 AM | Unregistered Commentermikec

Jul 6, 2015 at 10:03 PM | golf charlie

Jul 6, 2015 at 11:52 PM | golf Charlie

I am in awe of your incisive wit! What was the secret of your misspent youth?

Jul 7, 2015 at 12:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Billy Liar, in my misspent youth I did some voluntary work for the World Wildlife Fund, which turned out to be a bit of a con trick, and was not the wild life I was seeking. The world continues to pay for environmental con tricks, and I continue to pay for the consequences of the wild life.

If I had been Isaac Newton, sat under a tree when an apple fell on my head, I would have concluded that late summer is a stupid time to sit beneath an apple tree, and moved on. Thankfully for the world, I do not post under the name india november.

Jul 7, 2015 at 1:05 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

vvussell, I don't expect Marx would be overly impressed with the way Stalinism turned out either. Presumably the founders of respected American Universities can not be held responsible for all the rubbish they have discharged since.

Jul 7, 2015 at 1:42 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

“Marcia McNutt, the editor of Science magazine and the author of a recent, moderately bonkers editorial about climate change …”.
Apologies for pedantry My Lord, I thought ‘bonkers’ was an absolute adjective like ‘pregnant’ ‘empty’ or ‘dead’.

Jul 7, 2015 at 1:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

Given that Asian forests are being destroyed for biofuel production, USA forests are being clear felled to be burnt in the UK, thus 'reducing' CO2 emissions by increasing them, and British and German forests are being chopped down to waste heat inefficiently in houses, I think that she could be described as "not as bonkers as all that" or "only average bonkers", compared with the "stark raving bonkers" of those putting forward the above ideas.

Jul 7, 2015 at 1:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

Where would UKIP be without Comrade Golf to protect its left flank from the running dogs of Postfarangism?

Jul 7, 2015 at 2:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

2015 Is the time we are governed by Liberal Elitism, they have decided that the public are too stupid to govern themselves, so they must govern on our behalf. People like the BBC/Guardian Eco-warriors have decided they KNOW BEST so no point in confusing the public with opposing views on climate.
- Now it is true that the general public are pretty stupid ..TV company Endemol announced it has become "the world's largest independent production company" thru it's expertise in creativity, but when they list their programmes you realise it's more like CRAPTIVITY what is popular is just dire. However democracy is about giving the public a say however stupid they are cos if they don't have confidence in the system of society then it risks completely falling apart.

- Guess how many of the 2,550 members of NAScome from the real world ? ..... 78
"Only 78 of the current 2,550 members are associated with industrial research laboratories. In the ranking of institutions by number of members in the Academy, the top thirty are all academic institutions." 2012 report pdf
- I wonder if the lack of industry people is explained by then being in the co-academies : Engineering (NAE), Institute of Medicine (IOM), National Research Council (NRC) ? .. or are people in both ?

Jul 7, 2015 at 5:46 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

- So politicky that "Richard Feynman had already become so exasperated that he resigned his membership, saying that he saw no point in belonging to an organization that spent most of its time deciding who to let in."
They then decided they didn't like Carl Sagan and wouldn't let him in.

- Remember they have other form: Richard S. Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at MIT, was one of eleven members of the National Academy Sciences panel on climate change. He roundly disagreed with its findings , but the Greenblob "continued to report on the NAS panel as if there were a consensus and that that consensus was in support of the Kyoto Treaty."
- But then in 200 PAST National Academy of Sciences president Frederick Seitz wrote a cover letter endorsing the Oregon Petition urging the United States government to reject the global warming Kyoto Protocol of 1997.

Jul 7, 2015 at 5:48 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


I have just been looking at the NAS and its panel reports in the 1960s under Frederick Seitz. Then the scares were over DDT and also SST (supersonic transport which was supposedly going to change the climate). The NAS reports were sobering and moderate and succeeded in moderating the excitement generated by a few scientists scaring the horses with excited, speculative pseudoscience. Seitz was one who tried to keep these scaremongers at bay, but the onslaught continued and continued, one scare after another until....reading McNutt today...this will be Seitz's successor? feels like some April fools king-for-a-day prank.

Jul 7, 2015 at 7:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterBernieL

An unanswered question in all this is what other areas of science has Marcia McNutt decided to be dead, settled, and no longer worth investigating or debating?

If she would be so kind, it would certainly save grateful authors the time spent writing up submissions to her journal.

Jul 7, 2015 at 9:46 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

They keep on asserting while observations suggest their fabled theory is collapsing faster than the euro. As AGW fails some more, rather than raise a questioning eyebrow they double down their prognostications of doom. It begs a question: just who are the wilfully blind advocates here, and who are the true scientists?

Jul 7, 2015 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

The situation with China is what's interesting, which has at once created a development bank and signed a 'two' country statement on climate with India, and, signed an agreement with the USA that it will sell and knows will be sold as a 'breakthrough' at COP21. This throws a bit of a spanner into the BRICS block and creates discord.

Back home, it may be possible to buy acceptance from the Republican side of things if their respective constituents can be promised enough pork-barrels. The EPA has become, or is in the process of becoming a giant target. But the lure of mandated RE markets in developing countries may be hard to fight, or indeed resist.

McNutt hits both points with her referring to coal development in India as 'unfortunate' in contrast to China (which is now a good boy!) and all the talk about 'leapfrogging' using 'low-CO2 infrastructure'. In short, out of the blue, she makes very specific points that are in synch with US government policy.

This editorial was specifically written for this purpose.

Jul 7, 2015 at 12:01 PM | Registered Commentershub

The BBC and the Met Office when the two biggest cheerleaders for Global Warming are getting burned by the Internet.

Who needs Micheal Fish when you can read the Weather forecast for free on Twitter.
Who needs the BBC when there,s Netflix and now Netflix has got Clarkson.

PS and Euro Sport has got the Olympics.

Jul 7, 2015 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

The Science mag announcement linked in this post allows comments. But nobody has commented there. Why not?
Well, there's now one comment there.

Jul 7, 2015 at 3:07 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

The electoral systam that so deeply shocks the Bish was instaurated by the Republican founder of the NAS, chap name of Abraham Lincoln.

Is that supposed to make it right Russell? I think not, after all everybody makes mistakes.

Jul 7, 2015 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

I think McNutt using her editorial position to make activist statements about the climate preceding her nomination for the NAS presidency is abuse of position and a conflict of interest.

Jul 7, 2015 at 10:22 PM | Registered Commentershub

Is there a special word for organisation hijacking ? when a cause totally takes over an organisation to such an extent that people with other viewpoints feel too intimidated to speak up.
We seem to see that with a lot of charities..e.g. animal rights charities get taken over by the extremists.
- And that is what we see with a lot of organisation re Climate Change, the fundamentalists endup in charge and intimidate all other viewpoints away.

- I see when it's a deliberate organised tactic to infiltrate an organisation from the inside it's called Entryism

Jul 8, 2015 at 5:17 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Unbelievable. But now, NAS is on a par with the RS and AGU. What will history make of this?

Jul 13, 2015 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered Commenterincredulous

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