MIT response and appeal to the AGU

19 March 2012. Dear Mr. Altman, As acknowledged on 13 March 2012, I received you messages of 9 and 13 March 2012 regarding the “Complaint of Academic Misconduct and/or Dishonesty against Professor Richard S Lindzen” and your request for an internal investigation. Your messages have been brought to the attention of the Vice-President for Research who has oversight for the misconduct process at MIT. I have also discussed them with several distinguished colleagues in the Program of Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate (PAOC), which is one of the academic groups of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS). After reviewing the material that you sent and in view of the formal apology by Dr. Lindzen for the incorrect use of a graph in his presentations (see we have come to the conclusion that a formal investigation into academic misconduct by Dr. Lindzen is not warranted. MIT is a diverse place, which values academic freedom, and which offers a terrific intellectual environment for scholars that are free to have and express their own opinions. The latter applies to Dr. Lindzen just as it does to his colleagues at PAOC/EAPS who have different views on the subject of climate change. But like any other learned institution, MIT does not endorse or condone fraud, including manipulation of data. This is, however, not the case here: Dr. Lindzen has publicly acknowledged that the interpretation of the graph he used was incorrect (on 9 March 2012, on Sincerely, Rob van der Hilst Head, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences ——————————- 20 March 2012. Dear Professor van der Hilst, With all due respect, I am extremely disappointed to receive this response from you; and am therefore copying this email to the Executive Director of the American Geophysical Union; and to the editors of all the ‘broadsheet’ newspapers in the UK. Whilst I appreciate that I gave you a great deal of information to consider (all of which has now been published on my blog), I cannot see how you can justify using Professor Lindzen’s somewhat perfunctory apology for the misuse of NASA-GISS data on one particular slide in his presentation as an excuse to ignore all the other ways in which he appears to have repeatedly taken the opportunity of communicating with non-scientific audiences… — to ridicule just about everyone else within the scientific community; — to indulge in what seems to be a great deal of hypocritical obfuscation of relevant information; and — to misdirect those that are either unwilling or unable to objectively consider the reality, reliability and reasonableness of the consensus view that anthropogenic climate disruption is a problem that will get more expensive to resolve the longer we delay doing so. Furthermore, your dismissal of my complaint leaves me with a great number of unanswered questions regarding the content of Professor Lindzen’s presentation; not least that relating to… — why he has re-inserted a graph (screenshot attached) purporting to demonstrate that CO2 rise does not correlate with temperature rise over the short-term – rather than apologising for using such a meaningless and misleading image (because “if you stretched the temperature axis enough it would appear to correlate quite well”) in his presentation. If you are unable or unwilling to uphold the need for scientists to be objective (rather than apparently indulge long-standing ideologically-motivated prejudice against accepting the seriousness of environmental problems such as the health risks of smoking and the dangers of burning fossil fuels), I must say that I hope the American Geophysical Union will not be so ambivalent. In fact, given all of the above – and the fact that I did not originally complain about Professor Lindzen’s misuse of NASA-GISS data – can you please explain to me how his apology for so-doing is in any way relevant to the issues raised in any of my previous emails to either of you? Yours very sincerely, [etc.]


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.

8 Responses to MIT response and appeal to the AGU

  1. A whitewash? a cover-up? or a docile attempt at reneging on their duties? It is a shame to find out that the world of academia I once used to love has now descended into the darkness of the abyss of neglect of responsibility for the truth of science, little wonder therefore that I left science to these fools more than 10 years ago. Give me the world of engineering anytime, at least they work in a world where ethics and self-respect for an institution count a lot more than the actions of a foolish old man who never knows when to stop accusing others of the very deeds he is guilty of. 😦


    • Rick Altman says:

      Thanks Donald. I think my last post on Lindzengate will be tomorrow. I have done what I could, my conscience is now clear.


      • Yes, short of a bullet there is not much more that can be done, best to leave it alone now knowing that all that could be legally done was done and as you say …. your conscience is now clear … well done, you fought against the giants of science and you let them know that no matter how big they think they are there is always some little guy out there willing to kick them up the backside for their transgressions. If there is one thing the world of science needs to know is that we who roam the internet can come together at any time in order to safeguard the needs of the citizen’s of our world and that science is not immune to the ever watchful netizens (net citizens) … bla, bla, bla ..etc,etc. May I suggest that next you take a look at the issue of the water cycle and the effect humanity has on the contamination of this resource? or would you rather investigate the testosterone cycle in Madagascar’s lemurian fauna? I also hear there’s a need to investigate the atmosphere as a matter of overall density instead of its individual gasses …. cows farting and all that. 🙂 Pick a new subject, get to it! … BLOG!!!


      • Rick Altman says:

        I may just email the AGU a transcript of tomorrow’s post (but I think I will have to stop pestering the Editors of newspapers)… I think testosterone levels in Madagascar’s lemurian fauna will have to wait but, the probability that WW3 will begin in Jerusalem because of disputes over water supply – now that might be more urgent…


      • Darn it, I nearly forgot, your battle was not a lonely one, others were watching you and have taken up the fight on your behalf. Perhaps you have opened the eyes of those who might very well be able to do something about it … I did send a few links from your site to places here and there … “powerful friends has I” Now you can give yourself a pat in the back knowing you really did do some good. 🙂 You will find a link to their web site on the article, you might wish to join them in their quest, up to you.


      • Rick Altman says:

        Right then, I have now played my final hand (i.e. a 2nd email to the AGU’s Executive Director). Thanks for this link to a very well-written piece by Andrew Gunther and James McCarthy of the Union of Concerned Scientists – I have referred to some UCS statements in the past and, although I seem to recall that James Hansen is a little suspicious of them, I think they do a good job… Although I am extremely grateful for any publicity you have given my email campaign, apart from getting others to encourage the AGU to give me an answer, I do not think there is much that can now be done…


  2. Pingback: On the subject of Professional Ethics « Anthropocene Reality

  3. Pingback: Lindzengate – one year on | Anthropocene Reality

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