Let’s look at ‘real’ scientist


Here it is Father’s Day 2013 and the U-B letters page is once again partially consumed by one of our Valley’s most prolific letter writers.

We’ve read his letters time and again advancing the theme that “climate change is a hoax.” Sunday’s letter is possibly his most focused yet, as half of the letter is devoted to one scientist who he refers to as a “real” scientist — Richard S. Lindzen Ph.D.

I decided to look on Wikipedia and review its broad-based, open coverage of this “real” scientist.

There is a lot to read, and it’s crystal clear Richard S. Lindzen Ph.D is less than “one of the most distinguished climate scientists in the world” as suggested by our local anti-climate change devotee/writer.

Three Wikipedia references (taken directly as printed) about Richard S. Lindzen, Ph.D, stand out:

1) Lindzen has been characterized as a contrarian, in relation to climate change and other issues. Lindzen’s graduate students describe him as “fiercely intelligent, with a deep contrarian streak.”

2) The April 30, 2012, New York Times article included the comments of several other experts. Christopher S. Bretherton, an atmospheric researcher at the University of Washington, said Lindzen is “feeding upon an audience that wants to hear a certain message, and wants to hear it put forth by people with enough scientific reputation that it can be sustained for a while, even if it’s wrong science. I don’t think it’s intellectually honest at all.”

Kerry A. Emanuel, another MIT scientist, said of Lindzen’s views “Even if there were no political implications, it just seems deeply unprofessional and irresponsible to look at this and say, ‘We’re sure it’s not a problem.’ It’s a special kind of risk, because it’s a risk to the collective civilization.”

3) An April 30, 2012, New York Times article by Justin Gillis said that “at gatherings of climate change skeptics ... Dr. Lindzen has been treated as a star”, but that in the view of “the scientific majority ... he has gone beyond any reasonable reading of the evidence to provide a dangerous alibi for inaction.”

I am writing this response because I worry about those readers who want to believe everything they read without doing their own “due diligence” regarding fact checking.

While curiously obsessed people work overtime debating life and death issues as if it’s a game of right vs wrong, the rest of us are struggling to survive the stark realities that surround us all 24/7/365.

Richard McFarland

Walla Walla


VinoTinto 10 months ago

Oh no you DITN'T! Here comes the Tea Party turrets.


PearlY 10 months ago

OK, I read the entire Wikipedia article on Dr. Lindzen. Apparently, you believe he is not a "real" scientist, despite his long and distinguished scientific career, his more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, his membership in the NAS, his participation in two of the IPCC panels on climate change, and his numerous honors and awards, all because . . . .he disagrees with you and the scientists you choose to agree with.

See, you and those like you are exactly why I am a climate change skeptic. It's not enough for you to say that his is the minority scientific view, or to criticize his specific scientific conclusions. No, you have to deny his entire life's work and everything he's ever accomplished. The religious zeal and viciousness with which climate change apologists attack any heretics seem to me to make it less about the science and more about their emotions. And emotions make for bad science and even worse public policy.

I commend to you, and others who may want to understand how these things work, a book called Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. Written in the mid-1800s, it still manages to help explain such human social curiosities as our recent housing bubble, the dot.com bubble of the late 1990s, and Mr. McFarland's style of AlGorism.


paco1234 10 months ago

Seen stratospheric photos of glaciers progressively shrinking is darn compelling to any one who is willing to believe the photos are real. The science behind this phenomena is interesting... but if a bird looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, the GD bird is a ------duck! There is going to be plenty of melted water for this happy duck to swim in. Something else, Dr. Lindzen is a quack, quack!


namvet60 10 months ago

It's funny how one quack recognizes another!


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