Lindzen’s litany of laissez-faire libertarianism

Professor Richard Lindzen has been a prisoner of libertarian ideology for a very long time. He left his scientific objectivity behind a very long time ago; and has been telling anyone who would listen (and unfortunately a great number have listened) that global warming is “a false alarm” for at least 20 years: Lindzen, R.S. (1992), ‘Global Warming: The Origin and Nature of the Alleged Scientific Consensus’, CATO Institute [online]. Just over a year ago, Fred Moolten put together a very well researched summary of Lindzen-think, which is well worth reviewing in the light of more recent events: Richard Lindzen vs the aerosol forcing . Finally, and most recently, I am extremely grateful to Lionel A Smith for sharing with me the benefit of his many years of research into the hypocrisy, obfuscation and misdirection that have characterised everything Lindzen has ever said about global warming… Lindzen undermines the IPCC at every chance when, as a scientist still thinking like a scientist, he should know that his words are false. Here’s further evidence (as if you need it) that Lindzen can be slippery is clear to many: If Richard Lindzen shows up at your door, slam it Is Richard S. Lindzen deliberately lying, or just deluded? Lindzen Illusions for those wondering why Tobacco keeps cropping up in discussions of Lindzen ———– What more evidence do MIT or the AGU need in order to decide that – in addition to personally and mentally abdicating responsibility of anthropogenic climate disruption – Lindzen has long since departed from the convention of upholding truth and objectivity in following the evidence to reach a scientifically-defensible conclusion? On the contrary, Lindzen has clearly spent most of his working life fighting on the side of those – whether it be tobacco companies or fossil fuel producers – who wish to prioritise short-term business profits over long-term environmental sustainability; and the habitability of planet Earth. I therefore think that people like Lindzen and Singer should be put on trial for crimes against biodiversity (i.e. not just humanity). ———– For those of you who think I over-state my case and/or am too much of an “alrarmist”, maybe the more moderate language of the Geoloical Society’s November 2010 statement on climate change will cut more ice… What are the grounds for concern? The last century has seen a rapidly growing global population and much more intensive use of resources, leading to greatly increased emissions of gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, from the burning of fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal), and from agriculture, cement production and deforestation. Evidence from the geological record is consistent with the physics that shows that adding large amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere warms the world and may lead to: higher sea levels and flooding of low-lying coasts; greatly changed patterns of rainfall; increased acidity of the oceans; and decreased oxygen levels in seawater. There is now widespread concern that the Earth’s climate will warm further, not only because of the lingering effects of the added carbon already in the system, but also because of further additions as human population continues to grow. Life on Earth has survived large climate changes in the past, but extinctions and major redistribution of species have been associated with many of them. When the human population was small and nomadic, a rise in sea level of a few metres would have had very little effect on Homo sapiens. With the current and growing global population, much of which is concentrated in coastal cities, such a rise in sea level would have a drastic effect on our complex society, especially if the climate were to change as suddenly as it has at times in the past. Equally, it seems likely that as warming continues some areas may experience less precipitation leading to drought. With both rising seas and increasing drought, pressure for human migration could result on a large scale.


About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
This entry was posted in Anthropocene, Betrayal of Science and Reason, Cognitive Dissonance, Confirmation Bias, Economics, Environment, Intergenerational Injustice, Junk Science, Lindzengate, Merchants of Doubt, Politics, Pseudo science, Richard Lindzen and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Lindzen’s litany of laissez-faire libertarianism

  1. Lionel A says:

    I would like to point out that I have not personally concentrated on Lindzen alone, in both senses in which that statement could be taken. That is that I have used the hard work of many others in forming my conclusions, work which I have indeed been studying for some time. Also, by proceeding as I have done I here could provide similar aggregates of commentary about other prominent ‘one time scientists’ who are no longer engaged in real scientific study but in advocacy. To my mind, by now concentrating on advocacy created around selectively picking hypothesis, glossing over inconvenient facts, or even inverting conclusions in the research of others. In this respect their ‘opinions’, for that is what it now amounts to, is worth little more than the opinion of, say, a Rush Limbaugh, an Ann Coulter or a James Delingpole. Perhaps it would be helpful to provide a sense of what science is all about to do this I will reproduce here two quotes from E O Wilson ‘The Diversity of Life’ in this case from the New Edition Penguin 2001. The first by Wilson himself is found on page 5 also explains how models are arrived at:

    The best of science doesn’t consist of mathematical models and experiments, as text books make it seem. Those come later. It springs from a more primitive mode of thought, wherein the hunter’s mind weaves ideas from old facts and fresh metaphors and the scrambled crazy images of things recently seen. To move forward is to concoct new patterns of thought, which in turn dictate the design of the models and experiments. Easy to say, difficult to achieve.

    Wilson was aware that perhaps this needed qualifying somewhat and so in the same book he quoted the words of Berzelius (a chemist) 1818 p.p. 8-9, my emphasis and see source Note below:

    All our theory is but a means of consistently conceptualizing the inward processes of phenomena, and it is presumable and adequate when ALL scientifically known facts can be deduced from it. This mode of conceptualization can equally be false and, unfortunately, presumably is so frequently. Even though, at a certain period in the development of science, it may match the purpose just as well as a true theory. Experience is augmented, facts appear which do not agree with it, and one is forced to go in search of a new mode of conceptualization within which these facts can also be accommodated; and in this manner, no doubt, modes of conceptualization will be altered from age to age, as experience is broadened, and the complete truth may perhaps never be attained.

    It is left as an exercise for the reader to judge how Lindzen’s recent papers fit in with the above including the problematic Lindzen & Choi co-operative productions. Help can be found at RealClimate and SkepticalScience Note From Jöns Jacob Berzelius, 1818, ‘Manual of Chemistry vol.3’, as quoted by Carl Gustaf Bernhard, “Berzelius, Creator of the Chemical Language,” reprinted from the Saab-Scania Griffin 1989/1990 by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.


  2. jzk says:

    Hey Rick, How goes the mission to end Lindzen’s career? That is a pretty serious charge, “crimes against biodiversity” not just “crimes against humanity” because we all know how much more important biodiversity is than humanity. It was flattering to see that you included me in the complaint to MIT for getting the info from Lindzen in about an hour. Of course, anyone could have including Gavin. Let me ask you a serious question, which of course you won’t answer. Let’s say that MIT fired Lindzen, revoked his tenure and he was really put on trial for “crimes against biodiversity” and sentenced to 10 years hard labor all based on the presentation that you attended. Would you be pleased? Is that the kind of society that you would like where opposing views are silenced in such a manner? You must long for older times of 500 years ago when they tried witches for causing severe weather events and just executed them? Could you imagine the outrage in the academic community if any of what you seek would actually happen? It would probably set back the AGW mission even more than it already has been. Do you see that?


    • Rick Altman says:

      I should have thought by now, Johh, that even someone with as thick a skin as you could have got the message that I think you are a waste of my time.


      • jzk says:

        Come on Rick, that is not very nice. For someone so concerned about wasted time, you don’t have any trouble wasting your time going after Lindzen in ways that have no chance of success. And, like I said, had you been successful it would have hurt your own cause because it would have generated academic outrage. Same with Heartland. Getting Heartland shut down won’t help your case. Only presenting facts and reason will. I am still uncertain as to whether AGW is a problem, but I still doubt it. One of the main reasons is that no one can make a case for it. Even Michael Mann admits that the whole case is built on the following logic: 1. Recent warming is unusual (according to his own findings). 2. The models can show that man made CO2 is responsible for the warming. 3. We can think of no other explanation for the warming. I think that is why SkS spends much more time “debunking” myths than they do making a case. And, I think that is why the believers spend much more time talking of the “consensus” than they do the actual case for their theory.


      • Rick Altman says:

        Rather than posting your lame remarks here, please take the time to update yourself on where the Lindzengate story actually went. This blog is not about the science; it is all about logic and reason. All those things, in point of fact, that get in the way of people using their mental faculties effectively. Things like ideology, prejudice, conspiracy theory, and wishful thinking. SkS has scientific facts by the bucket-load. They use them to debunk myths. They can’t do one without the other. For you to put the word consensus inside quotation marks is an admission that you are a conspiracy theorist. End of story.


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