32000 Scientists

“This is tantamount to admitting that we have to do something about global warming. You don’t believe global warming is real, you’ve said so. It’s just sunspot activity.” “In the opinion of about 32000 of the world’s leading scientists, yes.” 32,000 of the world’s leading scientists? Is that really true? Well, no….

“Today, together, you and I are going to learn, the rest of the story.” To get to the bottom of this crock, we’ll have to go back in history, and meet someone who rea lly was, at one time, a leading scientist. Dr. Frederick Seitz, a distinguished physicist, was president of the National Academy of Science from 1962, to 1969. In the 1970s, Dr Seitz was president of Rockefeller University. At some point when he moved out of the lab, and into the world of big time fund raising, a change occurred. In the late 70s, Dr Seitz began a long stint as a consultant to the tobacco industry.

The venerable journal Science covered the controversy, and asked Dr Robinson about the curious design of the mailer

In this capacity, Dr Seitz directed as much as 45 million dollars of Tobacco funded research. Interestingly, not one study directed by Dr Seitz came up with any hint that cigarettes were harmful to health. When asked about the moral implication of taking money and shilling for big tobacco, Seitz stated, any money was good, As long as it’s green. I’m not quite clear about this moralistic issue.” But towards the end of the 80s, big tobacco and Dr Seitz had a falling out. In this letter released during the tobacco lawsuits of the 1990s, a tobacco executive recommends against further reliance on Dr Seitz, who, he says, has become “….quite elderly and not sufficiently rational to offer advice.” Dr Seitz, however, did not see things that way. Over the years he had been working to prove the safety of cigarettes, he had become politically active in right wing causes, and served on several fossil fuel funded think tanks, including the George Marshall institute. From this platform Dr Seitz had begun to argue that environmental toxins were not nearly so harmful as people had been lead to believe, that pollution was no threat to atmospheric ozone, and that the science behind global warming was flawed.

In 1996, seven years after he had been declared mentally incompetent by those that worked most closely with him, Dr Seitz authored a letter to the Wall Street Journal, in which he stated that the process behind the international consensus on Climate Change, was fraudulent, and dishonest – although he had not been involved in that process, and had no background in climate science. He complained about a corruption of the peer review process, a charge that is highly ironic in light of subsequent developments. Mentally deficient or not, the letter made a bit of a splash in media …. it was soundly debunked by working climate scientists in the field. But it brought Dr Seitz to the attention of yet another group that was about to make a statement on global climate. The Oregon Institute for Science and Medicine, located in Cave Junction Oregon, is a small non profit organization founded by Dr Arthur Robinson, a chemist. The group markets a unique set of products such as books on Nuclear War Survival skills, along with plans for home made radiation detectors.

The site informs us that nuclear war would be survivable, not nearly so much to be feared as crazy scientists have told us. And who knows, with the right products from Dr. Robinson, it might be fun. In addition, Dr Robinson is the author of a home schooling course, designed to protect children from the Public School’s socialist values. The program’s materials include, among other things, the Encyclopedia Britannica from 1911. Dr Robinson had also grown concerned about yet another example of creeping socialism, the science of global warming. In 1998, he was ready to do something about it. That year, all across the country, thousands of scientists received a package with a cover letter signed by Dr. Seitz. The letter made reference to Dr Seitz background in the National Academy, and implied that the Academy had serious questions about the science behind global warming.

The letter came with a document made to look like a peer reviewed scientific study, laid out in a style similar to the publications of the National Academy. It was a marketing strategy familiar one to those, like Dr Seitz, who had worked closely with the tobacco industry. “The record shows, that many of the country’s most respected doctors openly challenge anti cigarette claims. There is another side to the cigarette controversy. It’s all here, in this white paper. Send for it.” Groups like the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Academy itself, were besieged by calls from hundreds of scientists, concerned that a fraud was being perpetrated. The venerable journal Science covered the controversy, and asked Dr Robinson about the curious design of the mailer.

There is no lawsuit, and there are no 30,000 scientists, but that’s not the point

“I used the Proceedings as a model,” he said, “but only to put the information in a format that scientists like to read, not to fool people into thinking it is from a journal.” The National Academy was not convinced. In an unprecedented rebuke to a former president, the Academy released a statement on the affair. “The National Academy is concerned about confusion caused by a petition.” and a “….manuscript in a format that is nearly identical to that of scientific articles published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.” “…the manuscript was not published in the Proceedings of the National Academy, or in any other peer-reviewed journal.” “The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy.” It’s unknown how many scientists believed the scam was a legitimate survey, but by 2000, the project had collected 17,000 signatures.

The internet being what it is, however, pranksters had already begun to out-fraud Dr Robinson’s fraud. A number of names appearing on the petition seemed to lack scientific credentials, names such as Hawkeye Pierce, Ginger Spice, and Micheal J. Fox. Dr Robinson acknowledged to the Seattle times that little attempt was made to verify credentials of those who responded. “When we’re getting thousands of signatures”, he said, “there’s no way of filtering out a fake,..” After another bogus petition was mailed out in 2007, the signature count is now up to 32,000. Of the signatories, little is known. According to the website, only 39, about 0.1 of a percent, claim to be climatologists. A large number claim to be veterinarians, dentists and MDs. The biggest single category are those with ‘A Bachelor of Science, or equivalent” If you believe that a bachelor of science, “or equivalent” is an expert in any field, try calling one next time you come down with, say, lung cancer.

Meanwhile, the good news is, anyone who can sign a petition, can now be a leading scientist. These could be leading scientists. With Dr Robinson’s help, this could be a leading scientist. And the scam rolls on in the anti science echo chamber. “My next guest wants to sue Al Gore for Fraud. He hopes a legal challenge will settle the global warming debate, once and for all, he’s John Coleman, and he founded the Weather Channel.” “We have 30,000 scientists, 9000 Phds, who have signed up to debunk Global Warming. And, uh, they still won’t listen to us. Do you realize that Fox is the only cable network that will put us on the air, the whole deal is, that somehow, we have to be heard, so we figure maybe a court of law.

..” Of course, there is no lawsuit, and there are no 30,000 scientists, but that’s not the point. The point is not to be accurate or speak truth – the point is to confuse, to fog the issue. “It’s global government, there are 30,000 scientists trying to sue this guy! John Coleman, the founder of the Weather channel, is suing this bum! You’re all in line for this bum….” To stand in front of a camera, make nonsensical assertions, and wave your arms, while the fossil fuel industry continues to make billions of dollars,and feeds a global disaster.