There’s plenty of controversy swirling around the fellowship termination of Caleb S. Rossiter, adjunct professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics and School of International Service, American University. Read the background here at Climate Depot.
The stated mission of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is to put “ideas into action for peace, justice, and the environment“. These are noble aims, but can be achieved only by finding good solutions, solutions that can be reached only through open, honest discussion.
I was interested in getting reaction from other leading scientists, journalists and academics on the matter, and so I sent e-mails asking them to comment. Much to my satisfaction, most of them replied. Their comments on the Rossiter fellowship termination follow.
Willie Soon (USA)
Professor of Astrophysics
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
“For any objective reader and citizen of the world, this sort of bullying ought to inform everyone that science and its practice are now no longer free and willing. In fact, we are constantly being terrorized and threatened by the research funding gravy trains and large resources needed for science to progress and prosper. This is a scientific dark age we are living in because no more scientists of Professor Rossiter’s caliber are speaking out and telling the whole truth on any matters scientific. The idea of atmospheric CO2 being the one sure control knob for climate and future disasters is profoundly wrong – not only on scientific grounds but also on the moral and ethical grounds that Professor Rossiter’s op-ed in WSJ has exemplified. Thank God that the United Nations and various scientific institutions will not be able to silence us because we will never let them do that.”
Lennart Bengtsson (Sweden)
Professor of Meteorology, climate scientist
“As I myself have experienced recently, the ceiling of tolerance in climate change has become depressingly low, I might say almost non-existent. This is most worrisome for the health of science. I find Prof. Rossiter’s comments highly reasonable and it is obvious that without a healthy economical development of Africa along the lines we have seen in China, there is neither much hope for the people of Africa nor is there much hope that humankind will ultimately solve its environmental problems. The directors of the Institute for Policy Studies should ask themselves how life in Europe and United States would have been today without access to inexpensive energy in the form of coal during the last 250 years. I find the treatment of Prof. Rossiter in all respect both unintelligent and disgraceful.”
Fritz Vahrenholt (Germany)
Professor of Chemistry, co-author of The Neglected Sun
“The right to free expression and the freedom of science are the very foundation of democratic societies. When it comes to the ideology of climate alarmism, this obviously does not count for institutions like the IPS. This is regrettable. Caleb Rossiter is right: International climate policy has so far produced more damage than good for the people of the world.”
Judith Curry (USA)
Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
“Wikipedia describes IPS as a left-wing think tank. It is not clear whether Rossiter had a paid position there or not? It isn’t surprising to me that a think tank with a clear agenda would want to get rid of someone who ran counter to that agenda. If Rossiter lost a government funded position because of his views, well that would be a different story.”
S. Fred Singer (USA)
Professor of Atmospheric Physics
“I know Prof. Rossiter. Several years ago he invited me to deliver a talk on climate science to his students at American University. I got the impression that he had an open mind on the issue — and simply wanted to know the evidence, both pro and con, about human influence on climate change. I enjoyed meeting him. I had been meaning to contact him to bring him up to date. I also know the IPS; like many left-wing groups, it has a rigid position on issues and enforces orthodoxy. So I am not surprised — even though climate has nothing to do with war in Viet Nam.”
Lubos Motl (Czech Republic)
Professor of Physics
“As in so many cases, I am troubled to hear such news about scholars who are fired for their opinions. But in this case, I am not surprised or impressed because it’s some left-wing think tank – really an intellectually flavored organization of activists of a sort – so of course that they don’t tolerate someone who disagrees with some basic orthodoxy of a similar ideological color. This think tank is, hopefully, not pretending to be any open general public organization enjoying a monopoly over something that should be open to all people with some abilities and contributions above a certain threshold. It’s been cherry-picked, much like a political party, to contain people of certain opinions. I am not too troubled or shocked by that.”
Klaus-Eckart Puls (Germany)
Veteran meterologist, European Institute for Climate and Energy
“His fellowship was terminated because he had a diverging view. They said it themselves. That’s dogmatism, and not science or solution finding. This leads us to question if the IPS is a serious organization at all.”
Dr. Sebastian Lüning (Germany)
Specialist for Geology of Africa
Co-author of The Neglected Sun
“The ‘Institute for Policy Studies’ should change its name to ‘Church for Policy Studies’ if the directors restrict freedom of opinions to its scientists. Prof. Rossiter addresses a very valid point in his commentary that deserves detailed discussion. Africa suffers from a great number of current problems among which climate change is only near the end of the list.”
Tim Ball (Canada)
Professor of Geology
“I have no sympathy for Caleb Rossiter. He is not a victim. He got thrown into a small club of people who have been demonized for daring to question, for daring to practice skeptical science, for daring to speak out by default. The sad part is we wouldn’t be hearing about him now if it wasn’t for the termination of his fellowship.
Where was he when Rachel Carson condemned at least 90 million Africans to death because she falsely accused DDT of causing cancer and her husbands death? Where was he when I and Paul Driessen (EcoImperialism) were writing about thousands of Africans dying because of high food prices caused by US farmers growing corn with government subsidies to drive American cars?
Now we read about his concerns as if he is the first to discover what has been going on for years. The situation in Africa and around the world is a result of the leftist policies he supported and no doubt taught his students. Face the reality that you not only wasted your life, but did so in a way like Rachel Carson.
It is far too late to come with a mea culpa or even a mea maxima culpa. It is likely he would still be pushing his leftist agenda if the fellowship wasn’t terminated. Is he going to expose what is wrong with the message of the Institute for Policy Studies from now on?”
Nicola Scafetta (Italy)
Professor of Physics, Duke University
“In science issues are solved by applying the scientific method. Those who believe that a proposed theory is wrong, present their arguments and a discussion follows. The scientific method is structured in such a way that science can fix itself of the wrong theories. Therefore, the promoters of the anthropogenic global warming theory have nothing to worry if they are interested in science and are on ‘Nature’s side’, as they claim to be. They just need to practice their patience and the scientific method to rebut the critiques.
On the contrary, the campaign to silence dissent to the anthropogenic global warming theory has nothing to do with science. It is just a political plot finalized to intimidate scientists with the goal to prevent them from doing their job. The only positive aspects of this sad situation is that politics cannot substitute the scientific method nor stop it. At most politics can slow down the scientific progress with some damage to society, but it cannot really stop it.
Since 2009 I have published more than 20 papers further developing the study on natural climatic variability and its possible physical causes. The latest update is here
Today, many papers are being published on related topics and an increasing number of them are reaching my same 2009 conclusion that at least half of the observed warming since 1950 is naturally caused by climatic oscillations (e.g. by a 60 year plus other oscillations). To me it seems evident that the anthropogenic global warming theory as proposed by the IPCC does not have a future.
Understanding how climate truly works will be beneficial for everybody. So, I cannot but hope that scientists will have the full freedom to investigate climate change without the inappropriate political interference and that they get the deserved recognition for their truly scientific work and accomplishments.”
Hans Labohm (Holland)
“This is the umpteenth example of a scientist being excommunicated by his colleagues because he refuses to ignore facts and is not willing to toe the party line. Throughout the years I have witnessed many similar cases in my own country, The Netherlands, and have been familiar with many other cases abroad. It is part of a hideous tendency of Lysenkoism in the field of climate science. It is inconsistent with the spirit of truth-seeking which should be the main driving force behind science. Every scientist, whether he or she is a climatologist or not, whether he or she is pro AGW or not, should speak up loudly against these kind of practices and should condemn them unequivocally.”
Dirk Maxeiner (Germany)
Veteran science journalist/publicist
“The handling of Caleb S. Rossiter is an expression of a peculiar new worship of stars that stops at nothing. […] Attention is being shifted from the concrete problems of today’s living people and over to future generations. Many people in Africa are suffering from horrendous conditions, dirty water, and polluted air. These are among the leading causes of death for children. They could be helped today. But the public is more concerned about the Africans as possible climate victims 100 years in the future. The simplest rules for sustainable action seems to have been forgotten. It is called: Whoever wants to survive tomorrow must first survive today.”
21 responses to “Caleb S. Rossiter Fallout: Academics Worldwide Condemn “Dark Age” Intellect Of Institute For Policy Studies”
I tend to agree with Dr Tim Ball.
Why feel sorry for this SOB?
I tend to disagree on that. I think Fred Singer says it best.
Why use such language as calling someone SOB? I think Judith Curry has a sensible reaction, it is great that this situation gets attention, but there is a difference between being ousted from a university or public office, and getting kicked out of a left-wing think tank.
It is very surprising if Mr. Rossiter did not think of this outcome.
“Oh yeah,” said Lindzen. “I don’t think there’s any question that the brightest minds went into physics, math, chemistry…”
Their stated mission is putting “ideas into action for peace, justice, and the environment“, and not promoting a left-wing philosophy. The move by the IPS exposes they’re not serious and that their true mission is something entirely different from what they claim.
Henning, Pierre is the host of this blog. I abide by his rules when I post on his blog. It is his living room and he sets the rules. I have discovered that he doesn’t like plain Anglo-Saxon sailor speak. I abide by his rules.
You, can take a hike, start your own blog and lay down your rules there.
In the meantime do not give yourself airs and graces, so depart in a sexual manner!
Singer mentions the war in Vietnam and that may surprise some, but the IPS was organized by 3 folks that became active because their views were not moving things the way they wanted within the government. Once one realizes this anti-war/activist core of IPS then
Lumo’s (Luboš Motl) statement is most appropriate. Tim Ball makes good points, also.
Many of the others seem not to recognize – see Curry’s comment – that IPS is a daft leftist group. This is not a question for free speech anymore than, say, WUWT not wanting to discuss “chem-trail” conspiracy.
As many noted Rossiter was ousted from a left-wing groups. That a group decides to oust a person for his ideas is in general not an issue.
However, the point here is that IPS was very happy of Rossiter until he changed mind based on scientific evidences. While reason would have suggested that it had to be IPS to change its politics based on the new scientific evidences.
This demonstrates that politics, or at least part of it, has a very low opinion of scientists and of their work. They love to hire and invite scientists only to sell their claims as “scientific” and fool people by taking advantage of the “scientist image.” But as soon as a scientist changes mind on a specific topic, he is ousted by the group because not useful any more for their propaganda.
So, I do not agree with the negative comments expressed above. The case is very important because it demonstrates that a certain politics does not tolerate any scientists to question their dogma, not even those scientists that they have “respected” and “venerated” for 20 years and so.
People and honest politicians (both in the left and in the right) need to be made aware of this situation. Large part of the population is being fooled on this topic of climate change, and likely on many other issues where specific claims are presented as “scientific” while they are only ideologies disguised as science.
Agreed, but within certain limits.
What we see here is what happens when science gets taken over by politically motivated organizations; the science ends and the politicking begins and the two can not exist side by side and that is what Obama is proving. He picked an almost total idiot, John Holdren to be his science czar and it is interesting to see how Holdren changed his views regarding basically everything. To change is fine; but, one needs to change in a positive manner and not like Holden has done.
“White House science czar John Holdren has predicted 1 billion people will die in “carbon-dioxide induced famines” in a coming new ice age by 2020.
As WND previously reported, Holdren predicted in a 1971 textbook co-authored with Malthusian population alarmist Paul Ehrlich that global over-population was heading the Earth to a new ice age unless the government mandated urgent measures to control population, including the possibility of involuntary birth control measures such as forced sterilization.
Holdren’s prediction that 1 billion people would die from a global cooling “eco-disaster” was announced in Ehrlich’s 1986 book “The Machinery of Nature.”’
The Ehlrichs and Holdren also gave voice to cooling alarmist Reid Bryson, who said this in his essay in their edited book of essays published in 1971, Global Ecology:
“I believe that increasing global air pollution, through its effect on the reflectivity of the earth, is currently dominant and is responsible for the temperature decline of the past decade or so.”
During the 1970s, there was also concern about anthropogenic global warming at some future date. The Ehrlichs and and Holdren covered this base in Ecoscience (p. 686):
“There can be scant consolation in the idea that a man-made warming trend might cancel out a natural cooling trend. Since the different factors producing the two trends do so by influencing different parts of Earth’s complicated climatic machinery, it is most unlikely that the associated effects on circulation patterns would cancel each other.”
Sadly the outcry has not arisen from those who peddle the junk science. Mosher ? Zeke How’syerfather? Gavin ? Where are you?
Here is an analogy and a question:
A Catholic 20-year parish priest reads extensively and, with his new knowledge, agrees with those that say God is a myth.
The leader of his flock stands before them on Sunday morning and explains the Church is based on myths. He further explains that the deeds of the church have harmed Earth and, in the future, the Catholic Church should redirect its teachings and efforts in the manner he says.
What should the Church do?
John, make it even simpler.
A doctor gets a position in an abortion clinic. One breezy Monday morning he gets to work and decides abortions are against his grain and concious and refuse to carry out his duties.
Or a Muslim guy applies for a job to stack shelves at Aldi/Walmart/Tescos. One windy Wednesday he decides it is against his believe to stack wine bottles.
What should management do?
“What should the Church do?”
Give him this link.
We could ignore my specific argument for spirituality; and describe the recommended reaction of the church, or any organisation confronted with “heretics” with the recommendation: They should argue their position.
Any organization seeking relevance should consider all facts bearing on their position. They don’t improve their position to influence decisions if they consistently discard conflicting information. Often the best members of an organization are its heretics. If conflicting issues are thrown out, they don’t have discussions, they indulge affirmations. All sit around agreeing with one another, and feeling very good about themselves. This, of course, makes them zealous defenders of their dogmas, and they revel in their Pyrrhic victories.
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One can only conclude that the USA, which has always been considered democratic as well as the land of freedom of expression, debate and ideas, is being led by an anti-American president who does not believe in such freedoms. He also does not believe in the scientific method, and prefers climate propaganda to the real world observational data on climate.
If Obama is acting irresponsibly with regard to his stances taken on dangerous man-made global warming and against skeptic scientists, then how can he be acting in the best interests of America and science?