Saturday, October 18, 2008


A note from Joel Shore to the Forum on Physics and Society

Frankly, I think that we, in the Forum, have basically been “used” in what is not really a scientific debate but rather a propaganda war. I would ask you, in the strongest possible way, to prevent future misrepresentations of Monckton’s paper and its appearance in our newsletter.

Thank you for your time.

Joel D. Shore

Editor’s response: The newsletter of the Forum on Physics & Society is not, and never has been, peer-reviewed.

Tim Lambert has Moncton's bleat

and the Editors of the Forum rejoin the Reality Based Community explain themselves, much as those who bought mortgage derivtives

Our editorial comments in the July 2008 issue include the following statement: “There is a 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.” In fact, we have not polled any scientific community(e.g., the climate research community, the physics community, or the general science community) as to the extent of its consensus regarding human-activity-caused global warming, and we apologize for making such a remark for which we do not have supporting data. We now do know that, in addition to the American Physical Society, the following scientific organizations have issued statements and/or reports in support of the IPCC’s main conclusion concerning the role of anthropogenic CO2 emissions in global warming: The National Academy of Sciences, the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

They would have done better to read Logical Science which has a fairly complete list of learned societies world wide who point out that we are in trouble with climate change. These guys are babes in the woods.


Anonymous said...

Personally the moment I saw the statement I smelled a louse.

The claim “There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree ..." and they could not find a single physicist among their 40,000 members to write the skeptic paper? Not one? Not even one scientist of any discipline?

This begged a much more intriguing question which I asked on various forums at the time, ... whats a really big number that is less than one?

Clearly a question for the theoretical mathematicians, but I would like to propose we call this subclass of imaginary numbers "Moncktons".

Anonymous said...

These guys are babes in the woods."

No they are not -- at least not the ones who were responsible for printing Monckton's "paper".

They understood all too well what they were doing.

Anyone with an internet connection and a brain could have discovered all they needed to know about Monckton before they printed his nonsense.

I hate to say it, but that "apology" is a bunch of crap.

These people think that if they simply issue an apology everything will be hunky dory.

No one took any real responsibility for the whole debacle, as far as i can see.

Certainly no one got fired at APS as should have happened.

Arthur said...

Spencer Weart's article there is the only item in the issue that actually addresses the science - and it isn't in any way a direct response to Monckton. I'm a little disappointed (specifically that they didn't publish my piece!) but I'm guessing there was a decision not to induce a long-running debate with back-and-forth from Monckton. So a reasonable decision in the context of the newsletter and the forum.

However, even apart from the issue of my own response article, it leaves me somewhat unsatisfied - it seems like there *ought* to be a place to discuss the details of claims like those Monckton makes, perhaps outside of the formal peer review system, or perhaps through some new variant on it. What Jochen Ebel did to Gerlich and Tscheuschner's article here:

for instance - wouldn't it be nice to take "papers" like this and subject them to sufficiently exhaustive analysis to demonstrate their level of bunk to all the world? Or perhaps I'm dreaming...

Anonymous said...

Anon has a good point; a simple internet search for "Monckton" would have told the editors much, and one wonders if they were so incurious about this alleged 'dark horse' that they did not do it, or whether they did but chose to proceed regardless.

While not a place for discussion per se, the realclimate wiki is working to assemble and organize the demonstrations of bunk.

EliRabett said...


The best vehicle for what you seek might be the Real Climate Wiki. OTOH, praise the IPCC and pass the ammunition.

Arthur said...

Hey, good point about the real climate wiki, I hadn't checked that out recently. Lots of good stuff there, but there could certainly be more... anybody on this list contributed to that yet?

John Mashey said...

These days, a non-peer-reviewed newsletter, with a 3-month turnaround cycle ...
is an anachronism, and they really need to rethink its role & structure in a Web/Blog era.

If anybody else thinks so, let them know.

EliRabett said...

yes and no. the forum on physics has always been the home of the pretentious physicists, which given how pretentious physicists are in general says something

-ee rabett

John Mashey said...

Hmmm, either Eli agrees with me or he doesn't or maybe some of each :-)

I observe that pretentious papers (and really wrong ones) are somewhat "protected" by a 3-month letter-to-editor lag, and the narrow bandwidth accord to letters.

If one really wants to have unrefereed "papers", one might publish them as blog topics, and lightly moderate replies, so that dumb things were quickly and exposed to appropriate challenge in the same venue, and all this looked bloggish, rather than looking more like serious publication.

These guys were babes in the woods, totally unused to this sort of thing. I still say people should consider APS Fellow Dr Gerald Marsh's role in all this. For his publications on climate, see my lists at:
RC #1
RC #2.