My complaint to MIT – part 2

This is a transcript of my second email to Lindzen’s boss, which finally elicited confirmation that my emails had been received, read, and forwarded to “the appropriate people at MIT” (on 13 March 2012). —————— Dear Professor Van der Hilst, I would appreciate it if you could at very least acknowledge receipt of this email; and that which I sent to you at 1600hrs GMT last Friday (9 March 2012). Also, please be advised that both Suzanne Goldenberg (in the USA) and Robin McKie (in the UK) are already in possession of the attached PDF [i.e. of 9 March email] with strict instructions not to discuss it with you or any of their colleagues prior to the deadline I have set for you to confirm to me that you intend to investigate this matter. I should also wish to take this opportunity to make you aware of the following regarding the ongoing discussion of Professor Lindzen’s presentation in London on the Real Climate website: 1. An “Engineer” from Illinois named John Kosowski (who [incidentally] posted over 100 comments on my blog up to 800 words in length last month but never really took on board anything I said to him) appears to be acting like some kind of intermediary for Professor Lindzen and may or may not have been instrumental in extracting from him an apology for the misuse of NASA-GISS data. 2. In my opinion, it does not matter how many apologies Professor Lindzen makes, if they are all going to end with an accusation that mainstream climate science is subject to “confirmation bias” (which appears to be an attempt by him to blame others for something that was clearly a mistake by Professor Lindzen… [snip – see footnote] or whoever it was that prepared the slide in question). 3. Having sat through the presentation myself, I felt the most egregious misrepresentation of relevant data was a graph of the Keeling Curve (i.e. rising atmospheric CO2 content) overlaid upon fairly static temperature data for the last decade or so – see the screenshot from the video… which I understand has now been re-inserted into the PDF and PPT versions of the presentation available on the Internet. 4. Apologies for misrepresentation of fact and/or mistakes have not – to my knowledge – appeared in the media where Professor Lindzen’s presentation has previously been ludicrously hailed as some kind of defining proof that global warming is “a false alarm”. With regard to point 3, above, given that “…if you stretched the temperature axis enough it would appear to correlate quite well…”, this suggests that Professor does not understand or does not care that the graph itself “neither proves not disproves anything”. However, what it does do – indeed what his entire presentation and those like it that he has given before have done – is to distort the perception of climate science in the minds of those who witness such presentations. Therefore irrespective of intent, it seems clear to me that Professor Lindzen may have repeatedly perverted the public understanding of climate science and perpetuated policy paralysis. Furthermore, according to Lord Monckton, Professor Lindzen went off to brief a Cabinet Minister after the presentation I witnessed and, if this is true, and if Professor Lindzen repeated any of the material in his presentation, then he would also appear to be in danger of attempting to pervert the proper understanding of climate science within the UK Government. This is a matter I have asked my MP to investigate. This is of course exactly what Dr James Hansen has accused him of doing in the USA since at least 2001 (at meetings of the National Energy Policy Development Group). I do not see how such behaviour can be condoned by either MIT or the AGU (though clearly the latter is an entirely separate matter for them to resolve as they see fit). However, taken as a whole, the comments appearing in the Real Climate discussion appear to be assuming that Academic Tenure is never revoked unless criminal activity and/or the police are involved. This concerns me greatly as it would appear to suggest that the outcome of any enquiry is pre-determined. However, for the avoidance of any doubt, I am not demanding that Professor Lindzen have his contract with MIT terminated (or anything like that), but I would like to see an end to his repetitive claims that just about everyone else working in the field of climate science – to say nothing of all the other bodies that recognise the reality of ongoing anthropogenic climate disruption – is involved in some kind of nefarious conspiracy to foist environmental “alarmism” upon a credulous world. Moreover, I believe what is needed is a very public and unconditional apology for what he has now repeatedly done on many occasions for over a decade. Given all of the above, I am bound to say that for Professor Lindzen to make such claims as he has, in my opinion, suggests that he is being either wilfully blind or deeply disingenuous; I do not see that there are any other alternatives. I therefore look forward to receiving immediate confirmation from you that you have received and read both of my emails and, as previously requested, that you confirm that you will investigate these complaints by the deadline stated. Yours very sincerely, [etc.] ———————- Although I have since heard nothing further from anyone at MIT, I have been contacted by Lord Monckton, as a consequence of which (on 17 March) I offered MIT the following clarification: Dear Professor Van der Hilst, Please forgive my having to bother you once more regarding this matter. However, I have been asked by Lord Monckton to clarify that I have no evidence that he was in any way involved in the production of an erroneous slide (i.e. a misrepresentation of NASA-GISS data) as part of Professor Lindzen’s talk. Although I am unclear as to how Lord Monckton came to be aware of my email or this possibly-contentious remark, I am more than content to hereby request that you please forward this clarification to those whom you referred to as “the appropriate people at MIT”, with my apologies. My somewhat careless remark was no more than an allusion to the fact that the NOAA has indicated that both Professor Lindzen and Lord Monckton have used the same information in separate presentations in the past; something altogether different and quite possibly irrelevant. ———————— I have now (as of Monday) received a reply from MIT (not quite what I had hoped for), which I will post on my blog tomorrow; along with my response to it – which I have copied to the Executive Director of the American Geophysical Union and a variety of newspaper editors and journalists…


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 Climate Science, Cognitive Dissonance, Confirmation Bias, Environment, Lindzengate, Politics, Richard Lindzen. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to My complaint to MIT – part 2

  1. Mmmm! Who funds MIT? What are their rules of funding? Are their members allowed to involve themselves in political agendas and if not …. do Prof. Lindzen’s activities break MIT’s rules of funding/donorship? Does MIT have any contractual obligations that implicitly prohibits its members from engaging in any political agendas either on their own or through some think-tank they might belong to? Is it possible to contact any of the MIT funders/donors and explain the situation directly to them? 😦 Not that I’m trying to make trouble, it’s just that … well ….you know …. questions, questions 😦 🙂


    • Rick Altman says:

      Some very pertinent questions… However, the line of people waiting for answers now stretches out the door, round the corner, and down the street about three city blocks… 😦


      • Well, if that is the case then stuff the scientific approach, it looks to me like the only way around this problem is “A citizen’s arrest for crimes against humanity”, it is also impossible to stop, once done it must be taken to trial, only a judge can determine right from wrong then. 😦 Not that I’m trying to stir trouble or nothing … but .. 🙂


      • Rick Altman says:

        You first. Paul is already concerned that I may be refused a Visa to travel to the US because of my complaint to the Executive Director of the AGU; and my penchant for sending emails to newspaper editors…


      • I wouldn’t know what a “Visa” is for, being a South American I am fairly used to jumping “fences” in order to get into America . I even have my own fence hole near “El Paso” 🙂


      • Rick Altman says:

        Sing along with Chris in the chorus:


  2. “Never pay the American ferryman” is my motto 🙂


  3. Something for you to look at: I found it by googling “earth clock” … ( found all sorts of useful info)


  4. Pingback: Lies, damned lies and Lindzengate « Anthropocene Reality

  5. Pingback: Is it now time to admit defeat? « Anthropocene Reality

  6. Pingback: On the trail of Christopher Monckton « Anthropocene Reality

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