Hansen’s Dissin’ Freeman Dyson…..
Posted by Jeff Id on March 31, 2009
Dr. Freeman Dyson has created quite a stir. Enough so that even Hansen had to back off from his rhetoric.
Tomorrow’s NY Times Magazine article (The Civil Heretic) on Freeman Dyson includes an unfortunate quote from me that may appear to be disparaging and ad hominem (something about bigger fish to fry). It was a quick response to a reporter* who had been doggedly pursuing me for an interview that I did not want to give. I accept responsibility for the sloppy wording and I will apologize to Freeman, who deserves much respect.
There is nothing wrong with having contrarian views, even from those who have little relevant expertise – indeed, good science continually questions assumptions and conclusions. But the government needs to get its advice from the most authoritative sources, not from magazine articles. In the United States the most authoritative source of information would be the National Academy of Sciences.
You might guess (correctly) that I was referring to the fact that contrarians are not the real problem – it is the vested interests who take advantage of the existence of contrarians.
Wow, nothing wrong with contrarian views!! What about imprisonment, we don’t forget that easily doc. Here
I’m going to end up quoting this whole article. I thought he was Obama’s new buddy but he sounds really serious about no more coal and gas. Never mind the billions of lives which would be destroyed as long as they’re not slightly warmer, it’s ok.
The fact that the current administration in the United States has not asked for such advice, when combined with continued emanations about “cap and trade,” should be a source of great concern. What I learned in visiting other countries is that most governments do not want to hear from their equivalent scientific bodies, probably because they fear the advice will be “stop building coal plants now!” These governments are all guilty of greenwash, pretending that they are dealing with the climate problem via “goals” and “caps”, while they continue to build coal plants and even investigate unconventional fossil fuels and coal-to-liquids.
Even Hansen admits cap and trade is nonsense, he probably doesn’t know that Obama partially founded the Chicago CO2 exchange. Of course he then expounds on a totally wacko vision of wealth redistribution which sounds like it came from a presidential candidate. Good move for a politician, but it reads like rubbish for an indpendant thinker.
If this Wikipedia information is an accurate description of his position, then the only thing that I would like to say about him is that he should be careful not to offer public opinions about global warming unless he is willing to first take a serious look at the science. His philosophy of science is spot-on, the open-mindedness, consistent with that of Feynman and the other greats, but if he is going to wander into something with major consequences for humanity and other life on the planet, then he should first do his homework — which he obviously has not done on global warming. My concern is that the public may assume that he has — and, because of his other accomplishments, give his opinion more weight than it deserves.
Here’s the quote in the NYT which made so much stir that Lord Hansen had to make a statement.
The quote in the New York Times:
“Reached by telephone, Hansen sounds annoyed as he says, ‘There are bigger fish to fry than Freeman Dyson,’ who ‘doesn’t know what he’s talking about.’ In an e-mail message, he adds that his own concern about global warming is not based only on models, and that while he respects the ‘open-mindedness’ of Dyson, ‘if he is going to wander into something with major consequences for humanity and other life on the planet, then he should first do his homework — which he obviously has not done on global warming.’
You know the level of science between global warming papers like the hockey stick and top end physics is an order of magnitude different in difficulty. The fun in these papers is figuring out what they are actually saying. Steig 09 is written in what I would describe as intentionally obfuscating language – not that it’s immoral, it’s written like scientists who want to sound smart. I’d like to know what’s the point of that anyway, the math should speak for itself.
Here we have Hansen, the dolt criticizing Dyson the obvious genius for not doing his homework. Good stuff!
What’s better, check out the title on the always top notch New York Times.
Why don’t these people know why their paper is going bankrupt? Good riddance I say.