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PeerGate review scandal at American Physical Society

The American Physical Society alleged that Lord Monckton‘s paper Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered was not peer reviewed when Monckton in fact thoroughly revised his paper in response to APS peer review. Monckton immediately demanded retraction, accountability and an apology.

The Editor of the American Physical Society‘s Forum on Physics and Society launched a debate on global warming, inviting Lord Monckton to submit a paper for the opposition. After news that a major scientific organization was holding a debate on IPCC’s global warming, someone at the APS posted an indirect front page disclamation plus two very bold red disclamations in the Forum’s contents, and into the paper itself:
————————-

Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered

The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review. Its conclusions are in disagreement with the overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community. The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions.

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley . . .”

————————-

Alleging that a Peer of the Realm violated scientific peer review – when in fact Lord Monckton had spent substantial effort responding to the APS’s peer review – is just not done! As circulated by to CCNet, and as noted by Dennis T. Avery at ICECAP,Lord Monckton responded immediately, emphatically demanding redress and an apology as follows:
—————————
19 July 2008

The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
Carie, Rannoch, PH17 2QJ, UK
[email protected]

Arthur Bienenstock, Esq., Ph.D.,
President, American Physical Society,
Wallenberg Hall,
450 Serra Mall, Bldg 160,
Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA 94305.
By email to [email protected]

Dear Dr. Bienenstock,

Physics and Society

The editors of Physics and Society, a newsletter of the American Physical Society, invited me to submit a paper for their July 2008 edition explaining why I considered that the warming that might be expected from anthropogenic enrichment of the atmosphere with carbon dioxide might be significantly less than the IPCC imagines.

I very much appreciated this courteous offer, and submitted a paper. The commissioning editor referred it to his colleague, who subjected it to a thorough and competent scientific review. I was delighted to accede to all of the reviewer’s requests for revision (see the attached reconciliation sheet). Most revisions were intended to clarify for physicists who were not climatologists the method by which the IPCC evaluates climate sensitivity – a method which the IPCC does not itself clearly or fully explain. The paper was duly published, immediately after a paper by other authors setting out the IPCC’s viewpoint. Some days later, however, without my knowledge or consent, the following appeared, in red, above the text of my paper as published on the website of Physics and Society:

“The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review. Its conclusions are in disagreement with the overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community. The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions.”

This seems discourteous. I had been invited to submit the paper; I had submitted it; an eminent Professor of Physics had then scientifically reviewed it in meticulous detail; I had revised it at all points requested, and in the manner requested; the editors had accepted and published the reviewed and revised draft (some 3000 words longer than the original) and I had expended considerable labor, without having been offered or having requested any honorarium.

Please either remove the offending red-flag text at once or let me have the name and qualifications of the member of the Council or advisor to it who considered my paper before the Council ordered the offending text to be posted above my paper; a copy of this rapporteur’s findings and ratio decidendi; the date of the Council meeting at which the findings were presented; a copy of the minutes of the discussion; and a copy of the text of the Council’s decision, together with the names of those
present at the meeting. If the Council has not scientifically evaluated or formally considered my paper, may I ask with what credible scientific justification, and on whose authority, the offending text asserts primo, that the paper had not been scientifically reviewed when it had; secundo, that its conclusions disagree with what is said (on no evidence) to be the “overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community”; and, tertio, that “The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions”? Which of my conclusions does the Council disagree with, and on what scientific grounds (if any)?

Having regard to the circumstances, surely the Council owes me an apology?

Yours truly,
THE VISCOUNT MONCKTON OF BRENCHLEY
———————————–

Monckton’s demand for redress and an apology from the APS is being picked up on the internet.

How will the American Physical Society respond to Lord Monckton’s procedural and scientific gauntlets?

As of noon on Saturday July 20, 2008, the offending paragraph in the table of contents had been removed. However, this offending paragraph was still very much evident in Monckton’s paper Climate Sensitivity Revisited. It was also evident in the Forum’s full PDF of its July, 2008 newsletter Physics and Society Vol 37, No 3, p 6.

The APS’s PeerGate scandal may well prove to provide much greater publicity and serious examination of Monckton’s thesis than if the disclaimations had never been posted. It also exposes the superficiality of statements by executives of the American Physical Society and other scientific organizations supporting the IPCC’s global warming. Those statements were typically not submitted to the rank and file for scientific peer review, nor were they typically voted on by the rank and file. Whatever will come out of this PeerGate Scandal?
{PS DLH corrected Applied Physics Society to American Physical Society}}

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23 Responses to PeerGate review scandal at American Physical Society

  1. The parallels between this and the response to scientific challenges to Darwinism are so obvious. The “scientific” establishment is just as prone to a herd mentality as any other group.

  2. Truly, like the Darwinists, the APS is a “herd of independent thinkers.”

    I have a physicist professor brother who is a member of the APS, and (privately) admits as much.

  3. Lord Monckton is a hereditary peer and thus a member of the Upper House by succession (though his father’s automatic right to sit and vote was terminated by the House of Lords Act 1999).
    While he has not been elected by fellow hereditary peers to the right to speak or vote in the Chamber, he remains a member of the Upper House by succession in good standing and is entitled to use its facilities. Accordingly I would expect Lord Monckton to abide by the “Code of Conduct” of the House of Lords, ParliamentUK.
    Among these is:

    4. Members of the House: . . .
    (b) should act always on their personal honour;

    The American Physical Society has a policy statement on:
    Ethics & Values
    02.2 APS GUIDELINES FOR PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT (Adopted by Council on November 10, 2002)

    “ The Constitution of the American Physical Society states that the objective of the Society shall be the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of physics. It is the purpose of this statement to advance that objective by presenting ethical guidelines for Society members.

    Each physicist is a citizen of the community of science. Each shares responsibility for the welfare of this community. Science is best advanced when there is mutual trust, based upon honest behavior, throughout the community. Acts of deception, or any other acts that deliberately compromise the advancement of science, are unacceptable. Honesty must be regarded as the cornerstone of ethics in science. Professional integrity in the formulation, conduct, and reporting of physics activities reflects not only on the reputations of individual physicists and their organizations, but also on the image and credibility of the physics profession as perceived by scientific colleagues, government and the public. It is important that the tradition of ethical behavior be carefully maintained and transmitted with enthusiasm to future generations.. . .”
    Peer Review
    “Peer review provides advice concerning research proposals, the publication of research results and career advancement of colleagues. It is an essential component of the scientific process.
    Peer review can serve its intended function only if the members of the scientific community are prepared to provide thorough, fair and objective evaluations based on requisite expertise. Although peer review can be difficult and time-consuming, scientists have an obligation to participate in the process.Privileged information or ideas that are obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for competitive gain.
    Reviewers should disclose conflicts of interest resulting from direct competitive, collaborative, or other relationships with any of the authors, and avoid cases in which such conflicts preclude an objective evaluation.
    Conflict of Interest
    . . . When objectivity and effectiveness cannot be maintained, the activity should be avoided or discontinued. . . .It should be recognized that honest error is an integral part of the scientific enterprise. It is not unethical to be wrong, provided that errors are promptly acknowledged and corrected when they are detected. . . .

    Will the executive of the APS live up to their stated policy on ethics? Will they rise to the higher standard that they “should act always on their personal honour”?

  4. WattsUpWithThat has picked this up at:

    American Physical Society and Monckton at odds over paper

  5. Following is an email sent 20 Jul 2008 21:46, by Prof. Arthur Bienenstock, President of the American Physical Society, responding to the issues raised by Lord Monckton’s letter to him.

    Response to some comments regarding the American Physical Society and Lord Monckton’s article

    Thank you for your message concerning the American Physical Society’s treatment of the article by Lord Monckton in the Newsletter of the Forum on Physics and Society. I am writing to discuss issues raised by some of you.

    Some of those writing to me have claimed that the American Physical Society is censoring Lord Monckton’s article in the Newsletter of the APS’ Forum on Physics and Society. That is far from the case. The article has been presented and retained in the form agreed upon by him and the Newsletter’s editor. You will find it readily available on the APS’ website in that form.

    Indeed, there was absolutely no censoring. The APS did not even do a scientific evaluation or peer review of the article. Lord Moncton’s presentation of the interaction between him and the editor indicates clearly that the editor’s review was aimed at ensuring the clarity and readability of the article by the intended audience. As Lord Monckton points out in his covering letter to me, “Most revisions were intended to clarify for physicists who were not climatologists the method by which the IPCC evaluates climate sensitivity – a method which the IPCC does not itself clearly or fully explain.”

    That is, the review was an editorial review for a newsletter, and not the substantive scientific peer review required for publication in our journals. No attempt was made to analyze the scientific substance of the article and no censoring was performed. As indicated above and in Lord Monckton’s letter to me, the article appears in the form agreed upon by Lord Monckton.

    Some people and news services misinterpreted the Newsletter publication of one editor’s comments and Lord Monckton’s article as a retreat by the American Physical Society from its official position on the contribution of human activities to global warming. Consequently, the APS felt it necessary to ensure that its official position was known both to those who logged on to the APS website and those who had followed a link to Lord Monckton’s article on our website and were unaware of the context in which it appears. That is the origin of the comment that appears at the top of the article on the website. I am sure that you would not want the Society’s position to be misunderstood in this important matter.

    I hope that this clarifies matters for you. Let me thank you again for your interest in the American Physical Society’s activities.

    Arthur Bienenstock, President
    American Physical Society

    Bienenstock describes the peer review issue as “editorial review for a newsletter” rather than “substantive scientific peer review”. The degree of review can be seen from the comments of reviewer Professor Alvin Saperstein on the page Monckton attached to his letter.
    (One blog technically critical of Monckton’s paper is The APS and global warming – what were they thinking? at DUAE Quartunciae)

    Prof. Bienenstock does not appear to have addressed Monckton’s second and third requests:

    . . .Please either remove the offending red-flag text at once or let me have the name and qualifications of the member of the Council or advisor to it who considered my paper before the Council ordered the offending text to be posted above my paper; a copy of this rapporteur’s findings and ratio decidendi; the date of the Council meeting at which the findings were presented; a copy of the minutes of the discussion; and a copy of the text of the Council’s decision, together with the names of those present at the meeting. If the Council has not scientifically evaluated or formally considered my paper, may I ask with what credible scientific justification, and on whose authority, the offending text asserts primo, that the paper had not been scientifically reviewed when it had; secundo, that its conclusions disagree with what is said (on no evidence) to be the “overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community”; and, tertio, that “The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions”? Which of my conclusions does the Council disagree with, and on what scientific grounds (if any)?
    Having regard to the circumstances, surely the Council owes me an apology?
    Yours truly,
    THE VISCOUNT MONCKTON OF BRENCHLEY

  6. Following is Lord Monckton’s 21st July 2008 email responding to Dr. Bienenstock’ 20th July 2008 reply:
    ——————————————————————————–
    Arthur Bienenstock, Esq., Ph.D.,
    President, American Physical Society,
    Wallenberg Hall, 450 Serra Mall, Bldg 160,
    Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA 94305.
    21 July, 2008 By email to [email protected]

    Dear Dr. Bienenstock,
    Physics and Society
    I have had your notice of refusal to remove your regrettable disclaimer from my paper Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered. Since you have not had the courtesy to remove and apologize for the unacceptable red-flag text that, on your orders, in effect invites readers of Physics and Society to disregard the paper that one of your editors had invited me to submit, and which I had submitted in good faith, and which I had revised in good faith after it had been meticulously reviewed by a Professor of Physics who was more than competent to review it, I must now require you to answer the questions that I had asked in my previous letter, videlicet –

    1. Please provide the name and qualifications of the member of the Council or advisor to it (if any) who considered my paper (if anyone considered it) before the Council ordered the offending text to be posted above my paper;

    2. Please provide a copy of this rapporteur’s findings (if any) and ratio decidendi (if any);

    3. Please provide the date of the Council meeting (if there was one) at which the report (if any) was presented;

    4. Please provide a copy of the minutes (if any) of the discussion (if there was one);

    5. Please provide a copy of the text (if any) of the Council’s decision (if there was one);

    6. Please provide a list of the names of those present (if any) at that Council meeting (if there was one);

    7. If, as your silence on these points implies, the Council has not scientifically evaluated or formally considered my paper, please explain with what credible scientific justification, and on whose authority, the offending text asserts
    primo, that the paper had not been scientifically reviewed, when it had (let us have no more semantic quibbles about the meaning of “scientific review”);
    secundo, that its conclusions disagree with what is said (on no evidence) to be the “overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community”; and,
    tertio, that “The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions”? Which of my conclusions does the Council disagree with, and on what scientific grounds (if any)? And, if the Council has not in fact met to consider my paper as your red-flag text above my paper implies, how dare you state (on no evidence) that the Council disagrees with my conclusions?

    8. Please provide the requested apology without any further mendacity, prevarication, evasion, excuse, or delay.

    Finally, was the Council’s own policy statement on “global warming” peer-reviewed? Or is it a mere regurgitation of some of the opinions of the UN’s climate panel? If the latter, why was the mere repetition thought necessary?

    Yours truly,
    THE VISCOUNT MONCKTON OF BRENCHLEY

  7. Extracts of cc emails responding to Prof. Bienenstock’s reply above:
    ———————————

    Dear Arthur;
    You did not answer my questions. Also, I did not say that the APS actions were censorship although one could infer that had the APS done a “scientific evaluation” that the paper would not have been published. I would call this “censorship without everybody knowing it”.

    Since the APS is now doing “scientific evaluations”, the red flag statement is unwieldy and much too long. May I suggest that papers that the APS disproves of carry the following warning label

    (Red DO NOT symbol stating) APS Not

    This raises a number of questions.

    1. Should the abstracting services be required to affix this label to the papers?
    2. It is possible that some investigators might feel that their papers would be enhanced by such a designation. To which of the 39 units of the APS should manuscripts be submitted to obtain this designation?

    I can think of many more.

    Sincerely;
    David Douglass
    Fellow of the APS

    ————————————

    My good friends,

    I am not a physicist, I’m a CPA, but this has been educational for me. Until this morning I had not been aware that physicists manage consensus in a manner similar to the accounting and legal professions, i.e. ‘stare decisis’.

    Thanks. I’m much better informed now.

    Bob Tormey, CPA

    {stare decisis (From Latin, to stand by decided matters)
    : a doctrine or policy of following rules or principles laid down in previous judicial decisions unless they contravene the ordinary principles of justice. Merriam-Webster}
    ——————————-

    Dear Dr. Bienenstock:
    On Jul 21, 2008, at 12:43 AM, Artie Bienenstock wrote: “No attempt was made to analyze the scientific substance of the article …”
    …and yet, “The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions”.

    So you confirm that the APS has a foregone conclusion. What a sham.

    It is a sad day when a scientific society publishes papers it admits it has not analyzed for scientific substance, “Since the correctness or fallacy of that conclusion has immense implications for public policy and for the future of the biosphere…” (from your own Editor’s comments )

    Sincerely,
    Malcolm G. Ross

    ————————–

  8. Another email reply to Bienenstock:
    ————————

    Dear Dr. Bienenstock:

    I must reiterate my previous question: Are we therefore to assume that Hafemeister and Schwartz’ unprefaced article has been subjected to peer review, its conclusions are in agreement with the opinion of the community and that the Council does agree with them? If so, why is there no bright green prefratory statement saying as much in front of their article? And if their article has not been subjected to peer review, in the same way that Monckton’s has not, why is that not also noted in bright red lettering? And are all and only “Con” articles to carry your Scarlet Letters?

    Sir, you can cite your supposed “consensus” until you run out of ink; I am looking for facts. Measurements. Physics. And those seem strangely absent on the side of your “consensus”, a group which has expressed the desire to radically remake the planetary economy, based on the output of highly parameterized computer models and very fuzzy physical assumptions. It was the “opinion of the community” at the end of the Ninteenth Century that Physics was almost “done”. You owe your existence at SLAC to those few who ignored that Consensus. But now you cite an ever more obviously political consensus in a rather clumsy attempt to stop scientific inquiry. As such, you have moved into the realm of proclaiming a religious dogma.

    You are no longer advancing the cause of Science, nor the reputation of the APS, Dr. Bienenstock. Perhaps your talents could be properly used by a marketing firm or a presidential campaign.

    Yours,

    Michael S. Talcott

  9. On “Scientific Peer Review”
    Per numerous web comments regarding Monckton’s paper, it would help to recognize the numerous gradations in “scientific peer review”.

    1) Newsletters
    The Forum for Physics and Society is apparently an APS quarterly Newsletter which has at least editorial feedback from the co-editor. e.g.
    http://scienceandpublicpolicy......er_pys.pdf“> comments by Editor Prof. Alvin Saperstein. Here the Editor has general knowledge of the field but may not be expert in that specialty.
    By the way, the editors appear to have been generous to the “minority” position in accepting Lord Monckton’s 8000 word article when the normal criteria is: “Contributed articles (up to 2500 words, technicalities are encouraged) . . .are welcome”.

    2) Conference Papers
    Speaking from experience with another professional society, professional society conference papers, peer review from at least three reviewers within the specialty field are typically required.

    3) Journals
    Then a small portion of refined and presented papers are judged of sufficient quality and originality to be submitted for the organizations Transactions or Journals.

    4) Critical examination
    The next level is critical evaluation by the likes of Steven McIntyre of Climate Audit. e.g., McIntyre & McKitrick’s 2003 evaluation of
    Mann et al. 1998. i.e., by those who have the time and passion to analyze the equations, verify the results and logic etc.

    5) National review
    From there one “graduates” to a full court national level review such as the Wedgman Report which systematically critiques the report in detail by the experts in the field.

    Each of these can be said to have had some level of “scientific peer review”. Yet there is often an order of magnitude difference in effort between each of these levels.

  10. APS Amendment
    As of Monday July 21, 2008 at 1:20 pm, theAmerican Physical Society has amended is red letter disclamation on Christopher Monckton’s article Climate Sensitivity Revisited

    FROM:

    The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review. Its conclusions are in disagreement with the overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community. The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions.

    TO:

    The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review, since that is not normal procedure for American Physical Society newsletters. The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007: “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.

    The editors have backed down on Lord Monckton’s 2nd and 3rd requests regarding the Council’s decision by passively restating the Council’s policy.

    Retaining the comment “The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review,” still appears unfortunate considering the degrees of peer review noted above.

    (PS The combined July 2008 newsletter has not yet been modified. Nor have any comments been added to the “pro” climate change paper:
    A Tutorial on the Basic Physics of Climate Change
    )

  11. Further cc email comments:
    ——————

    Dear Dr. Bienenstock,

    Let’s see if I have this right.

    (1) Prior to publication in “Physics and Society Letters”, “an editorial review” is performed but a “scientific evaluation or peer review” is not.

    (2) Prior to publication in “our [APS] journals”, “a substantive scientific peer review” is required.

    (3) Prior to publication in “Physics and Society Letters”, at least for Lord Monckton’s paper (a) “No attempt was made to analyze the scientific substance of the article,” (b) but because you are “sure that [we] would not want the Society’s position to be misunderstood in this important matter,” the paper’s conclusions were given sufficient scrutiny to determine their degree of agreement/disagreement with the official APS position on “the contribution of human activities to global warming”.

    (4) If a paper agrees with the APS’s position on the contribution of human activities to global warming, no prefatory comment so indicating is required for publication in “Physics and Society Letters”; but if a paper disagrees with the APS’s position on the contribution of human activities to global warming, a prefatory comment so indicating is required for publication in “Physics and Society Letters”.

    (5) “Some people and news services misinterpreted the Newsletter publication of one editor’s and Lord Monckton’s article as a retreat by the American Physical Society from its official position on the contribution of human activities to global warming.” (my emphasis)

    I may be alone, but I infer from the above that in an area of broad public interest, the APS is at least equally concerned (and maybe more concerned) with its public image than with the interchange of scientific thought. Specifically, the APS will take pains to avoid offending global warming alarmists lest they take action detrimental to the APS. Isn’t such behavior more appropriate for politics than for science?

    Sincerely,

    Reed Coray

    ————–

    In my opinion, it appears that the APS treated Viscount Monckton rather shabbily, in a way that has rebounded against the credibility and honor of the Society. At the very least, it is never a good idea for an organization to sponsor a debate and then take sides against one of the debaters.

    If it was a mistake for the Editor of one particular unit of APS to sponsor this debate, that is a matter between the APS and that Editor. Publicly ridiculing Mockton is a tawdry way to rectify things.

    But personally, I was pleased that the Forum initiated this debate or discussion or whatever it is. I don’t see how anyone could consider the science of global warming to be a “settled” matter; anyone outsider, like myself, who follows it all can see that it is in rapid flux. The last thing the world needs, the last thing science needs, the last, last thing physics or the APS needs is to be acting in the role of stamping out heresy. It just exposes science to ridicule. Especially a science like physics which is not exactly at the center of the controversy, and has no need to be so defensive or to take one side or the other.

    Michael Kellman

  12. The APS decides to play fair
    The American Physical Society has decided to play fair and post the identical disclaimer to BOTH Hafemeister & Schwartz’s Pro article and Monckton’s Con article in its current global warming debate, namely:

    The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review, since that is not normal procedure for American Physical Society newsletters. The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007: “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.”

    PS. These corrections have not yet been propagated to the entire July 2008 Forum on Physics and Society Newsletter pdf.

  13. The APS has posted the following disclaimer on its Forum for Physics and Society July 2008 Newsletter

    The Forum on Physics and Society is a place for discussion and disagreement on scientific and policy matters. Our newsletter publishes a combination of non- peer- reviewed technical articles, policy analyses, and opinion. All articles and editorials published in the newsletter solely represent the views of their authors and the Editors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Forum Executive Committee.

    The FPS Executive Committee strongly endorses the position of the APS Council that “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.” The statement in the July 2008 edition of our newsletter, Physics and Society that, “There is considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution” does not represent the views of the Executive Committee of the Forum on Physics and Society.

    (h/t to Michael S. Talcott)

  14. PS. These corrections have now been propagated to the entire July 2008 Forum on Physics and Society Newsletter pdf.

    (H/t to Leon Brozyna.)

  15. Lord Monckton responds via email to Michael Kellman’s email above:

    Well spoken! Time for the entire disclaimer to be deleted: the APS can always issue a press release if it wants, but leaving the disclaimer, even in its less mendacious but still not fully honest form, merely spreads the stain on the reputation of the APS, though it is certainly helping to give as many scientists as possible the chance to learn about my paper and to comment on it. – M of B

    The APS’s Forum on Physics and Society Newsletter already has an extraordinary disclaimer on its July 2008 newsletter cover (See DLH #13 above). It would make eminent sense to remove the extremely unusual dislamations from the top of each of the articles submitted in this greenhouse debate.

    Now will politics or common sense win in this debate over the “science”?

  16. 16

    It was a major coup for Mr. Monckton to get his monograph printed by the APS. His upset that they chose to print their stated policy on global climate change seems a tad ungrateful on his part. They could have shut him out altogether, but didn’t.

  17. soplo caseosa, do you mean that they could have avoided a pro-con debate in the first place or that if they did go ahead Mr. Monckton should have not debated in earnest, but instead offered a token debate while ultimately toeing the party line?

    Or are you simply pointing out that if you don’t agree with the AGW hysteria then you shouldn’t expect to get published?

  18. Following are cc of two further emails.
    ———————————————
    Mon 21 July 2008 12:24 pm
    Dear Dr. Bienenstock:

    A wise man once said, “When you find yourself at the bottom of a hole, stop digging.” I note that the front page of the Forum on Physics and Society
    http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200807/ now carries the disclaimer:

    The Forum on Physics and Society is a place for discussion and disagreement on scientific and policy matters. Our newsletter publishes a combination of non- peer- reviewed technical articles, policy analyses, and opinion. All articles and editorials published in the newsletter solely represent the views of their authors and the Editors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Forum Executive Committee.

    The FPS Executive Committee strongly endorses the position of the APS Council that “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.” The statement in the July 2008 edition of our newsletter, Physics and Society that, “There is considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution” does not represent the views of the Executive Committee of the Forum on Physics and Society.

    So other than the remarkable appearance of such a disclaimer in your newsletter for the first time, its detailed statment of the rather obvious fact that the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Forum Executive Committee, and its restatement of an advocacy position that a clearinghouse scientific body should at no time have made, we find that in the view of the Executive Committee a “considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion…” simply does not exist! To whom do you then attribute these views and the hundreds of papers that have appeared in many different major academic refereed journals? Leprechauns?

    But please, keep digging, sir. The artifacts you are exhuming are extremely instructive.

    Michael S. Talcott
    Boston, MA
    ————————————-
    21 July 2008 7:46 pm EST. from Lord Monckton:

    These letters are all very splendid, and I’m most grateful to everyone for them. But I think it is fair to say that the President of the APS will now be aware that a significant proportion of his membership consider that the disclaimer attached to my paper without my knowledge or consent (albeit that it has been amended under pressure) should not have appeared at all and should now be altogether removed. Many of his membership have written to him, and many more – some of them of the highest eminence – have written to me. Those courageous correspondents rightly disagree with the Council’s statement on “global warming”, which of course no true scientific body would ever have made; and they have very kindly taken the rare step of setting aside their scientific day jobs to try to put right the unfortunate injustice that the President perpetrated and, at first, attempted to perpetuate. Now, I think it would be fair to leave him in peace to reflect on his personal position, and to let the Council and, in due course, the new President think about polling the membership on the “global warming” issue, and removing the Council’s revealingly unscientific statement on the subject in the meantime, as well as the offending disclaimer atop my paper in Physics and Society. I am most grateful for the outstanding, gallant, and generous support of you all. And now, I expect, you – like me – will be returning to the science in which all of us have so strong an intellectual interest. Thank you all, and God bless you. You have been friends indeed – M of B

  19. 19

    Eric, the answer is neither. I am taking no position one way or the other in the dust up between the APS and Mr. Monckton. Let me explain it this way:

    It is taken as a given that the views of global warming skeptics are suppressed. Here is a case where a GW skeptic was not suppressed, but was given the column inches to lay out his case. Rather than accepting the groundbreaking role he is playing, Mr. Monckton is basically throwing a hissy fit because the APS didn’t stamp his article with their imprimatur. Who is he to dictate how they chose to run their publications? If he wishes to dictate editorial decisions, he would be well served to run his own journal.

  20. soplo
    Please review the history above.
    Was not Lord Monckton entirely within his right to point out strongly unscientific and unfair disclamation singling out one side and not the other side when both sides were invited to post articles in an open debate?

    There appears to have been major exaggerations about the case in blogs and a reaction against those by the APS.

    By the way, he has posted nine of his other papers at the Science and Public Policy Institute

  21. 21

    Was not Lord Monckton entirely within his right to point out strongly unscientific and unfair disclamation singling out one side and not the other side when both sides were invited to post articles in an open debate?

    To the extent that the stated position of APS is consonant with one side and not the other, what else would you expect? Frankly, Mr. Monckton has (IMO) squandered any gains he made by trying to appear like he was published and expelled by the same organization.

  22. In The shaming of American Physics” Professor Emeritus John Brignell writes:

    In over forty years of experience of editorial boards, refereeing and adjudicating for learned societies around the world, I never witnessed such gross discourtesy to an invited contributor. That such a statement can be offered without an iota of reasoning or evidence is a sorry indication of what the politicisation of science has brought about. It is the substitution of the Papal Bull for reasoned consideration.

    American physicists warned not to debate global warming, Andrew Orlowski, The Register Cross posted at WattsUpWithThat

    “Bureaucrats at the American Physical Society (APS) have issued a curious warning to their members about an article in one of their own publications. Don’t read this, they say – we don’t agree with it. But what is it about the piece that is so terrible, that like Medusa, it could make men go blind?

    He summarizes developments with extracts of some of Monckton’s surprising conclusions.

    One is how small the field of “experts” really is. The UN’s IPCC is tasked with producing a summary of the “scientific consensus” and claims to process the contributions of some 2,500 scientists. But as Monckton writes:

    “It is of no little significance that the IPCC’s value for the coefficient in the CO2 forcing equation depends on only one paper in the literature; that its values for the feedbacks that it believes account for two-thirds of humankind’s effect on global temperatures are likewise taken from only one paper; and that its implicit value of the crucial parameter ? depends upon only two papers, one of which had been written by a lead author of the chapter in question, and neither of which provides any theoretical or empirical justification for a value as high as that which the IPCC adopted.” [our emphasis]

  23. soplo caseosa (19),

    You made a telling misstatement. You said,

    Rather than accepting the groundbreaking role he is playing, Mr. Monckton is basically throwing a hissy fit because the APS didn’t stamp his article with their imprimatur.

    Viscount Monckton (I believe that this is the correct title) did not object because the APS didn’t stamp his article with their imprimatur. He objected because they, or someone, put in red letters that it was essentially trash. An appropriate disclaimer for both articles stating that both articles have been edited but that neither has been peer-reviewed in the usual sense, followed by a statement that such and such is the official position of the APS but that we believe in open dialogue and that these papers are offered in this spirit would have been appropriate. Instead some unknown person chose to imply that one paper had not been peer-reviewed, and by implication the other one was, and that the Viscount’s paper was against both the official position of the APS and “the overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community”, clearly implying that it was junk science.

    The problem was not that an imprimatur was not stamped. The problem was that the paper was essentially stamped WRONG!!! That was not called for, and was probably counterproductive, as it should be. Behavior like this leans me away from the official APS position. And comments like yours lean me further away.

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