I only found out today that 72-year-old arch-climate-zealot James Hansen stepped down from his job as director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies back in April.
About time. I’ve long thought that Hansen had become a major embarrassment for NASA, as he described coal trains as “death trains”, and got himself repeatedly arrested. It didn’t quite fit with NASA’s cool, professional, understated image.
I only found out when I was reading an interview of astronaut Walt Cunningham, who seems to share my view:
Many of NASA’s retirees have grown increasingly concerned that GISS, a NASA organization located in a midtown Manhattan office building, was allowing its science to be politicized, compromising their credibility. Our concern, beyond damage to the NASA’s exemplary reputation, was damage to their current or former scientists and employees, and even compromising the reputation of science itself.
We developed a letter to NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and obtained signatures from seven Apollo astronauts, several former Headquarters managers and Center directors, and 40 former management-level technical specialists. We asked that he restrain NASA from including unproven claims in public releases and on websites. Statements by NASA that man-made carbon dioxide was having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. It is clear that the science is NOT settled.
The unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is inconsistent with NASA’s history of conducting an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements. They should be emphasizing to the media that human-caused global warming is a hypothesis, not a scientific fact…
Thankfully, James Hansen has since resigned. He was an embarrassment and disgrace to the agency.
He sees it as a religious war, in which NASA should be on the other side.
NASA should be at the forefront in the collection of scientific evidence and debunking the current hysteria over human-caused [anthropogenic] global warming [AGW]. Unfortunately, it is becoming just another agency caught up in the politics of global warming, or worse, politicized science. Advocacy and support for the White House agenda is replacing objective evaluation of data, while scientific data are being ignored in favor of emotions and politics.
The conflict over AGW has deteriorated into a religious war — a war between true believers in a human-caused global warming problem and nonbelievers; between those who accept AGW on faith, and those who consider themselves more sensible and better informed. “True believers” are beyond being interested in evidence; it is impossible to reason a person out of positions they have not been reasoned into.
Much of this may be due to today’s lowered educational standards in scientific literacy, skepticism and critical thinking. Many people today are unable to distinguish between science and non-science, leaving them vulnerable to the emotional appeal of human caused global warming. Unfortunately, most students today are fed a lot more hype about self-esteem and global warming than real information about history and science. Let’s finally recognize that “self-esteem” is no substitute for common sense, and “indoctrination” is no substitute for education.
I only hope NASA takes his advice.
In a related article from a couple of years back, Fred Singer, an atmospheric scientist and space physicist, thinks that bad climate science grew from bad antismoking science. Although he doesn’t like tobacco smoke, he dismisses claims that SHS is harmful, and declares that the science behind it as “not only wrong, but worthless”:
So what does this all mean? Wielding of the “tobacco weapon” regarding global warming or other scientific issues bespeaks the desperation of those who don’t have any valid scientific arguments and wish to avoid public debate.
The other issue is the conduct of science and the integrity of the science process. The corruption of science in a worthy cause is still corruption, and it has led to its further corruption in an unworthy cause — the ideologically driven claim of anthropogenic global warming.
Anyway, within weeks of leaving NASA, James Hansen described the Canadian government’s attitude to climate change as “neanderthal”.
Anyway, here’s Lana.