NASA Abdalati’s Response To 50 Esteemed Professionals Is Managerial Negligence – An Embarrassment

NASA chief scientist Waleed Abdalati has issued a response to the letter of protest from 50 former esteemed scientists, engineers and astronauts. Unfortunately, his response only adds to NASA’s embarrassment.

Normally when a professional organisation gets a high level complaint from such a number of esteemed members, the first step is confirm and to look into it seriously. Something like: “Thanks - we’ve received your complaint; we’ll look into it and get back to you”.

Apparently the chief of NASA no longer bothers taking the precaution of following up and investigating high-gravity issues from within. He just dismisses them off the bat. Not only is this inappropriate, but it is also reckless managerial behavior.

Abdalati has failed to exercise due diligence in the face of a serious matter.

Here’s NASA’s “us-against-them” response:

NASA sponsors research into many areas of cutting-edge scientific inquiry, including the relationship between carbon dioxide and climate. As an agency, NASA does not draw conclusions and issue ‘claims’ about research findings. We support open scientific inquiry and discussion.

“Our Earth science programs provide many unique space-based observations and research capabilities to the scientific community to inform investigations into climate change, and many NASA scientists are actively involved in these investigations, bringing their expertise to bear on the interpretation of this information.

We encourage our scientists to subject these results and interpretations to scrutiny by the scientific community through the peer-review process. After these studies have met the appropriate standards of scientific peer-review, we strongly encourage scientists to communicate these results to the public.

If the authors of this letter disagree with specific scientific conclusions made public by NASA scientists, we encourage them to join the debate in the scientific literature or public forums rather than restrict any discourse.”

Sheesh – no wonder the Challenger blew up! Have they not learned anything?

Instead of sweeping serious issues under the carpet, how about contacting those with the grievance and looking into it to see if there is something behind it? Did you even bother to call them?

Did NASA tell Morton Thiokol engineers to take the peer-review route in 1986?! Who are they kidding?

NASA’s knee-jerk dismissal of the letter of complaint is dubious, and reveals an organisation that is no longer functioning correctly. Its off-hand decision to dismiss the letter is amateur, unprofessional and stunningly negligent. Here, unwillingness to investigate is cover-up.

Abdalati’s handling of this matter is a scandal, and is on par with a CEO ignoring a letter from 50 women managers bringing up sexual harassment issues.

Moreover, open scientific discourse begins by looking into claims of serious deficiencies, and not ignoring or suppressing them.

 

 

24 responses to “NASA Abdalati’s Response To 50 Esteemed Professionals Is Managerial Negligence – An Embarrassment”

  1. Brian G Valentine

    I wonder who authorized him to say this.

    This is the “polite” version of the stock response to “global warming deniers”:

    - Put your complaints in peer-reviewed literature, and we’ll study them.

    [The "impolite" responses are much uglier, and follow on if "deniers" persist.]

    I work for the Federal Government and the tone of this man’s rhetoric is all too familiar and nauseating. Federal technical agencies used to be skeptical and methodical. This has completely fallen apart with the “global warming” scam

  2. slimething

    Eisenhower warned of this….

  3. mbabbitt

    Climate Science is now run by the type of scientists and administrators that gave the go ahead for the Challenger launch. Disasters waiting to happen at all levels.

  4. Bernd Felsche

    NASA invokes “Rule #4: Control the flow and release of information while feigning openness.”

    I reblogged WUWT’s initial posting on my blog:
    http://contrary2belief.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/396/

    Adding comments:

    NASA’s decline was punctuated by the Challenger disaster. Richard Feynman was part of the investigative team brought in from outside of NASA and his comments were relegated to an appendix for political reasons. http://www.fotuva.org/feynman/challenger-appendix.html

    Feyman’s closing sentence:
    “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”

    It was clear even then that NASA management was dominated by fantasists, wishful thinkers, incompetent mediocrats and political sycophants.

  5. Denis Ables

    “NASA does not draw conclusions and issue claims….:”

    That’s a relief. And here I was believing Hansen……… (NOT)

  6. aninomom

    “If the authors of this letter disagree with specific scientific conclusions made public by NASA scientists, we encourage them to join the debate in the scientific literature or public forums rather than restrict any discourse”

    hahaha. Stop “restricting discourse” you losers.

  7. Bruce of Newcastle

    Dr Abdalati has an interesting CV, which could indeed be relevant to his swift response.

    1. cogdissonancedagain

      Touche

  8. Doug Proctor

    NASA – Hansen, Schmidt, others – have so many dogs in this fight that they have to slap down the letter. The fact that they do it is all about internal control and particularly executive control: if the workers figure they have a right to an opinion on how the agency is being run, then all hell will break loose. Watch the sparks fly at the annual and 5-year budget discussions!

    The story isn’t finished. There will be a lot of current staffers who feel vindicated with this letter. However you slice the argument, doubt exists. NASA’s problem is that they have publicly, vis-a-vis Hansen, bought into the IPCC settled-and-certain narrative. Otherwise the response would be a shrug and a what-are-you-talking about? moment.

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  10. Pat

    This political animal and scientific lightweight made his bones measuring the impact of global warming on the Greenland icecap. His degree is in geology. His disertation on using 2 different waves lenghs to measure ice extent. That could have been subbed out to a lab in West Covina for a thousand bucks.
    He is a Warmist. A lightweight. Meet the new scientist in America: as useless as teats on a bull.

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  12. Jonas N

    I’d like to point out what several seem to have missed:

    This is not anywhere an official NASA press release or statement. The source is spaceref.com a ‘mediaorganisation’ by group of ‘reporters’ who also run the critical NASAwatch.com -site. Further, their claimed source is NASA HQ (linking to site NASA.gov) but no related statement or information can be found there. Nothing at all.

    But we are led to believe (through the headline) that this is an official NASA statement, which peculiarly enough neither starts nor ends or looks like one. All we are shown are snippets of quotes(?). These could be from a phone-interview, and be taken from memory, edited, cut, doctored etc, we don’t know. And We don’t know to what questions or claims they were responses to.

    Abdalati seems to be an AGW-leaning type (on leave from Univ. Colorado, Boulder, there: Director of the Earth Science and Observation Center at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences) and may very well have expressed his opinions like that.

    But I suggest that, before there is an official NASA statement, this should not be viewed as one. Rather as a typically slanted ‘journalistic’ effort …

    1. DirkH

      You’re saying elite news organisations like The Guardian are making it up.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/apr/12/attacks-climate-science-nasa-staff?newsfeed=true

      Took me a minute with google news.

  13. Jonas N

    You may want to note that the Guardian-piece is by one Dana Nuccitelli, of known Skeptical Science infamity, and that the source given there is the same, namely the spaceref.org piece. Further, Nuccitelli’s Graun-piece is essentially a copy-paste job from Skeptical Science.

    What I was saying is that spaceref is the only source, and a dubious one at that … AFIK NASA has not offered any official reply.

    1. DirkH

      Hmm… but the Grauniad is the official flagship of leftist truth seekers in the UK… you say they didn’t double-check their info, as is the standard in trusted leftist journalism? My, my…

  14. Jonas N

    Dirk H, I very much doubt you will see this in any paper version. Rather, they’ve chosen to let som activist hack publish his blog-outlet under the Graun-flag, and called it ‘Guardian Environment Network – News and Comment from the World’s Best Envrionment Sites’.

    I am very certain that nobody checked it, let alone double-checked. Possibly som editor aproved it though, after a glance. But I don’t expect much more from activist media outlets. However, giving space to a (nowadays) smearing-site (SkSc) is a disgrace, I agree.

    I am a bit more surprised that the SpaceRef.com piece is making the rounds as i does and is accepted/referred to as an ‘official statement’ even ‘reply’. I had never heard of SpaceRef before. If NASA stands behind this description, they should make the same statement officially and on their site. If not, they should be bother by how it happened and how it is framed …

  15. Jimbo

    This year NASA is to get $1.2 Billion which is meant for “Combatting Climate Change” so the response is to be expected. In fact money is the reason for a lot of Warmists’ reponses.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/FY12-climate-fs.pdf

    1. DirkH

      Very enlightening!
      That explains Hansen’s protection. They couldn’t use him for scientific work so they assigned him to keep the scare alife.

    2. Ed Caryl

      Now there is money down a rat hole!
      There’s the cause of Global Warming! The Printing Office turns trees into money, then the rest of Government burns it!
      /sarc off