Unrepentant APS softens but doesn't remove offensive Monckton disclaimer
A controversial disclaimer the American Physical Society added days after publication to a scientific paper they had solicited from Christopher Monckton was toned down sometime yesterday in response to the considerable outrage it had sparked.
"The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review. Its conclusions are in disagreement with the overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community. The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article's conclusions."
"If, as your silence on these points implies, the Council has not scientifically evaluated or formally considered my paper, please explain with what credible scientific justification, and on whose authority, the offending text asserts --
primo, that the paper had not been scientifically reviewed, when it had (let us have no more semantic quibbles about the meaning of ‘scientific review');
secundo, that its conclusions disagree with what is said (on no evidence) to be the ‘overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community'; and,
tertio, that ‘The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article's conclusions'? Which of my conclusions does the Council disagree with, and on what scientific grounds (if any)? And, if the Council has not in fact met to consider my paper as your red-flag text above my paper implies, how dare you state (on no evidence) that the Council disagrees with my conclusions?"
"The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review, since that is not normal procedure for American Physical Society newsletters. The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007: ‘Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate.'"
"Thanks to angry letters and emails from hundreds of physicists, many of them eminent professors and PhDs, the president of the APS has been compelled to withdraw two of the three mendacious statements that had been included in his disclaimer printed above the text of my recent paper in Physics and Society on climate sensitivity. He has not had the courtesy to apologize to me. However, the very public row which his conduct engendered has ensured global exposure for my conclusion that the IPCC's method of evaluating climate sensitivity is not fit for its purpose, that no policy-relevant conclusions can be drawn from its work, and that there is no climate crisis."
Artie Bienenstock [email@example.com]20 July 2008Thank you for your message concerning the American Physical Society's treatment of the article by Lord Monckton in the Newsletter of the Forum on Physics and Society. I am writing to discuss issues raised by some of you.Some of those writing to me have claimed that the American PhysicalSociety is censoring Lord Monckton's article in the Newsletter of the APS' Forum on Physics and Society. That is far from the case. The article has been presented and retained in the form agreed upon by him and the Newsletter's editor. You will find it readily available on the APS' website in that form.Indeed, there was absolutely no censoring. The APS did not even do a scientific evaluation or peer review of the article. Lord Moncton's presentation of the interaction between him and the editor indicates clearly that the editor's review was aimed at ensuring the clarity and readability of the article by the intended audience. As Lord Monckton points out in his covering letter to me, "Most revisions were intended to clarify for physicists who were not climatologists the method by which the IPCC evaluates climate sensitivity - a method which the IPCC does not itself clearly or fully explain."That is, the review was an editorial review for a newsletter, and not the substantive scientific peer review required for publication in our journals. No attempt was made to analyze the scientific substance of the article and no censoring was performed. As indicated above and in Lord Monckton's letter to me, the article appears in the form agreed upon by Lord Monckton.Some people and news services misinterpreted the Newsletter publication of one editor's comments and Lord Monckton's article as a retreat by the American Physical Society from its official position on the contribution of human activities to global warming. Consequently, the APS felt it necessary to ensure that its official position was known both to those who logged on to the APS website and those who had followed a link to Lord Monckton's article on our website and were unaware of the context in which it appears. That is the origin of the comment that appears at the top of the article on the website. I am sure that you would not want the Society's position to be misunderstood in this important matter.I hope that this clarifies matters for you. Let me thank you again for your interest in the American Physical Society's activities.Arthur Bienenstock, PresidentAmerican Physical SocietyArthur BienenstockSpecial Assistant to the President for Federal Research PolicyDirector, Wallenberg Research LinkStanford UniversityBuilding 160, Room 223Stanford, CA 94305650-723-8845
The Viscount Monckton of BrenchleyCarie, Rannoch, PH17 2QJmonckton@mail.comArthur Bienenstock, Esq., Ph.D.,President, American Physical Society,Wallenberg Hall, 450 Serra Mall, Bldg 160, Stanford University, PaloAlto, CA 94305.By email to firstname.lastname@example.org July 2008Dear Dr. Bienenstock,Physics and SocietyI have had your notice of refusal to remove your regrettable disclaimer from my paper Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered. Since you have not had the courtesy to remove and apologize for the unacceptable red-flag text that, on your orders, in effect invites readers of Physics and Society to disregard the paper that one of your editors had invited me to submit, and which I had submitted in good faith, and which I had revised in good faith after it had been meticulously reviewed by a Professor of Physics who was more than competent to review it, I must now require you to answer the questions that I had asked in my previous letter, videlicet -1. Please provide the name and qualifications of the member of theCouncil or advisor to it (if any) who considered my paper (if anyone considered it) before the Council ordered the offending text to be posted above my paper;2. Please provide a copy of this rapporteur's findings (if any) and ratio decidendi (if any);3. Please provide the date of the Council meeting (if there was one) at which the report (if any) was presented;4. Please provide a copy of the minutes (if any) of the discussion (if there was one);5. Please provide a copy of the text (if any) of the Council's decision (if there was one);6. Please provide a list of the names of those present (if any) at that Council meeting (if there was one);7. If, as your silence on these points implies, the Council has not scientifically evaluated or formally considered my paper, please explain with what credible scientific justification, and on whose authority, the offending text asserts -primo, that the paper had not been scientifically reviewed, when it had (let us have no more semantic quibbles about the meaning of "scientific review");secundo, that its conclusions disagree with what is said (on no evidence) to be the "overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community"; and,tertio, that "The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article's conclusions"? Which of my conclusions does the Council disagree with, and on what scientific grounds (if any)? And, if the Council has not in fact met to consider my paper as your red-flag text above my paper implies, how dare you state (on no evidence) that the Council disagrees with my conclusions?8. Please provide the requested apology without any further mendacity, prevarication, evasion, excuse, or delay.Finally, was the Council's own policy statement on "global warming" peer-reviewed? Or is it a mere regurgitation of some of the opinions of the UN's climate panel? If the latter, why was the mere repetition thought necessary?Yours truly,THE VISCOUNT MONCKTON OF BRENCHLEY