Who You Calling a Fraud?

Hal Lewis might have to ask himself this question.

I’m making my second unsolicited suggestion of the day:

That Anthony Watts elevate this Dot Earth post, containing from Lewis elaboration on his recent resignation from the American Physical Society, above the post Watts has been fronting all week. I have no doubt that WUWT readers would find it of much interest.

24 Responses to “Who You Calling a Fraud?”

  1. Matt says:

    I’m not sure I understand (granted I’m pretty dim). Why is it a zinger that he’s changed his mind?

  2. Anthony Watts says:

    Andy sent me an email before you made this post, done.

  3. NewYorkJ says:

    I suspect the canned answer will be that the once misguided scientist now sees the light…he’s no longer working for the government so he can speak freely…he’s become wise over time…blah blah blah.  So I don’t think Andy’s really giving in-depth criticism here.

    What’s ironic is that someone crying about “suppressing the debate”, implying lack of an open mind, is calling every scientist who doesn’t agree with him a fraud, which seems rather close-minded.  And of course, scant few skeptics are willing to challenge him on such extreme rhetoric, which I find revealing.  Then there’s the notion that 1 out of 50,000 APS members with no climate science cred calls GW a hoax and he’s treated as a god, elevated by like-minded nuts and interviewed by journalists.  And Lewis claims climate scientists are in it for the fame…

  4. The squeaky wheel gets the grease…or (as I suspect will be the case for Dr. Lewis now if it’s not already), the fees for speaking engagements at conservative meetings.

  5. Keith Kloor says:

    Matt (1), I guess that means he’s not a fraud anymore, by the standards he laid out in that email exchange with Andy Revkin.

  6. Anthony Watts says:

    Oh and Keith, I’m making my first unsolicited suggestion of the day:
    That Keith Kloor elevate This WUWT post to the top of his collide-a-scape heap.
    I have no doubt that CAS readers would find it of much interest.

  7. Stu says:

    As a WUWT reader Keith, yes, of course it is of interest, although the interesting part is in why Dr Lewis has changed his mind, not that he actually did. Heck, Anthony only has to look to himself to see that people are capable of changing their minds on specific arguments relating to climate change, and I’m sure many WUWT readers can testify to similar experiences as well.
    To point, there is nothing controversial about this at all. Why would Anthony need to hide or ignore something like this. This just strikes me as funny.
    (for the record, I thought Hal Lewis’ story was overhyped on WUWT, but that’s my personal feeling. This may be the beginnings of something, or it may not be. There’s no telling at this point just how much of Prof Lewis’ sentiments are being echoed amongst other members within the APS)
    PS, I also think Anthony’s ‘update’ 3 is a little snarky in tone. You bloggers just love getting on each others backs, don’t you?

  8. grypo says:

    Anthony Watts:
    I have no doubt that CAS readers would find it of much interest.
    And the internet explodes over what some graduate student says, why exactly?

  9. Keith Kloor says:

    Anthony, I think you’re unclear as to why I made my suggestion. It’s because you hyped the Lewis resignation by keeping it as your top story all week.

    I don’t hype news in that fashion to call attention to something that I think is significant. So you won’t see me doing that with my blog.

  10. NewYorkJ says:

    Anthony Watts might want to correct his headline first.

    Keith Yost, an MIT grad student, also backs McCain. He writes: “Vote on the strength of a candidate’s policies, not the strength of their marketing. Vote rationality in 2008.”


    He’s still listed as a grad student, not a professor.


    Then again, Hal Lewis is Martin Luther.

  11. grypo says:

    I guess the one interesting thing about that MIT article is that the writer admits to understanding the reality of devastating global temperature change (up to 7C by 2100) and still says … do nothing.

  12. Barry Woods says:

    I’m noy sure what Keith is getting at?
    Am I misunderstanding Keith.. It seems to be having a dig at Watts Up..

    The interview with Lewis seems pretty good to me,

    Ie no-one knows, it is fraudulent t osay that anyone does, it could be zero degrees or 1-2 degrees… etc.

    Nothing a sceptical scientist might not say.

    Or, does Keith think we are all replican hard core the earth does not change deniars?

  13. Jack Hughes says:

    Interesting to read what Lewis writes and I would be more interested to see what has made him change his mind.
    Revkin and his chum spoil it with the psychobabble. Anyone can play this game: why do some people desperately want to believe that  there is a problem with the climate ? It’s like they really want there to be a problem to give meaning to their lives.
    They really want a disaster.
    Richard Black at the BBC spelled out this thinking a few months ago: “I agree that a short term disaster would be effective in persuading people.”

  14. Shub says:

    I get the feeling you are slowing getting sucked into all this blog politics.
    Why slowly? Just jump in and wallow. 🙂

  15. kdk33 says:


    The real zinger is at the end where Ropeik claims people are unable to recognize scientific fact #1, climate change; because of scientific fact #2, their brains are hardwired to not accept scientific fact #1.  This is, in fact, science fiction.

  16. Keith Kloor says:

    This commenter at Dot Earth nicely articulates the hypocrisy of Hal Lewis:

    Several commenters have defended Dr. Lewis by saying it is intellectually legitimate to change one’s mind faced with new evidence. So it is, and he would not be a hypocrite were he claiming that scientists concerned about global warming are simply *wrong*. But he’s making a much stronger accusation, that all scientists concerned enough about global warming to advocate policy change are committing fraud. So by his own logic, he himself once schemed and plotted to defraud others.

    If he can’t even concede it’s possible to be wrong without being morally suspect, I don’t think much of his scientific ethics.

  17. Peter Wilson says:

    As I understood it, Lewis’ claim was that AGW is a fraud. This is a common sentiment among scientists who take a dim view of the practices and claims of climate scientists, as represented by the IPCC. I cannot see where he claims that all individual climate scientists are committing fraud, rather that the overall enterprise is fraudulent. This clearly does not preclude individual scientists being merely wrong.
    Indeed the one thing in favour of the Team that arose from the climategate emails was that these people really are true believers in their cause, in whose eyes minor transgressions against academic integrity and balance are morally justified by the enormity of their “cause”. There is no evidence that the climategate scientists do not believe their own story. Whereas by definition, someone engaged in a fraud knows he is telling lies.
    There is, however, damning evidence of a great deal of anti scientific behaviour, which contrary to the expectations of “normal” science, has not resulted in the denunciation and discipline of those involved, but rather in the excusing and justification of inexcusable practices. It is the acquiescence of parts of the scientific establishment (notably the APS, NAS and RS) in promoting that the behaviour of Jones, Mann, Briffa et al as standard scientific practice, that has been the final straw for many scientists of integrity, Lewis  included.
    The term fraudulent, in my interpretation, arises from the overall effect of this collusion in distorting and exaggerating the evidence in favour of, and actively suppressing the evidence against, AGW. What results is a fraud upon the governments and citizens of the world, of which the learned institutions involved should be utterly ashamed.

  18. Peter Wilson says:

    If he can’t even concede it’s possible to be wrong without being morally suspect, I don’t think much of his scientific ethics.
    I wonder if you could point me to where, in his letter, Hal Lewis makes this rather improbable claim. I think I see s straw man being set up here. Perhaps it would be better to address the points Professor Lewis makes, than use an argument he didn’t make as an excuse to ignore him.

  19. Keith Kloor says:

    The Dot Earth commenter is referring to what Lewis says in his email exchange with Revkin and how that squares with what Lewis himself believed in years ago, before he changed his mind.

    Personally, I think the most interesting aspect of this story is whatever caused him to changed his mind. I’m still waiting to hear what caused it.

  20. Tom Gray says:

    In my reading of Lewis, the fraud part is not the belief in global warming but in statements about global warming that go far beyond what the science can prove. So the fraud occurs when scientists dress up statements about their own political preferences as scientific statements

  21. Tom Gray says:

    Roepik says this and Revkin agrees with him
    Our brains are hard wired to do it this way. It seems Dr. Lewis is demonstrating the very phenomenon he laments, letting his affect and worldviews interfere with taking all the reliable evidence into account in order to make a truly informed and fair judgment
    If this is translated into simple English, it states that Lewis has looked at the evidence and come to a different conclusion than Roepik, and Revkin (and I assume Kloor). Because of this Lewis must be a slave to his preconceptions and prejudices. Since Roepik and Revkin are correct and Lewis disagrees with them then Lewis must be incorrect.
    The AGW establishment wonders why they have a difficult time understanding why they cannot convince the public to take action. They believe that people who disagree with them is a slave to their preconceptions and prejudices. Perhaps they should apply Roepik’s analysis to their own behavior.

  22. David44 says:

    Both your post and Revkin’s are largely irrelevant diversions from the central issue of Lewis’ letter of resignation which is his accusation that the APS leadership violated the organization’s constitution.

  23. Eli Rabett says:

    As we say, Hal is full of himself

  24. Huge Difference says:

    You’re not upset with him because he’s changed his mind.
    You’re not upset with him because he doesn’t believe in anthropogenic global warming

    You’re only upset with him because the old denier has the gall to impugn the ethics and morals of the pro-AGW crowd.
    Your claim does not ring true.

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