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07 November 2010 @ 01:41 pm
Dr Hal letters  
Hal Lewis: My Resignation From The American Physical Society
http://thegwpf.org/ipcc-news/1670-hal-lewis-my-resignation-from-the-american-physical-society.html
From: Hal Lewis, University of California, Santa Barbara
To: Curtis G. Callan, Jr., Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society
6 October 2010
Dear Curt:
When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago). Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence---it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists. As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious social/scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky, Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked from both sides. What greater tribute could there be?
How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d'être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.
It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford's book organizes the facts very well.) I don't believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.
So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it. For example:

1. About a year ago a few of us sent an e-mail on the subject to a fraction of the membership. APS ignored the issues, but the then President immediately launched a hostile investigation of where we got the e-mail addresses. In its better days, APS used to encourage discussion of important issues, and indeed the Constitution cites that as its principal purpose. No more. Everything that has been done in the last year has been designed to silence debate
2. The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative of the talents of APS members as I have long known them. So a few of us petitioned the Council to reconsider it. One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word incontrovertible, which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety. (They did admit that the tone was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word incontrovertible to describe the evidence, a position supported by no one.) In the end, the Council kept the original statement, word for word, but approved a far longer "explanatory" screed, admitting that there were uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket approval to the original. The original Statement, which still stands as the APS position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice to all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is. This is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast fractions of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society as a scientific society is at stake.
3. In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.
4. So a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation. I might note that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail what we had in mind---simply to bring the subject into the open.
5. To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on the members' interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment. You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex you would have gotten more expressions of interest.) There was of course no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the Council.
6. As of now you have formed still another secret and stacked committee to organize your own TG, simply ignoring our lawful petition.

APS management has gamed the problem from the beginning, to suppress serious conversation about the merits of the climate change claims. Do you wonder that I have lost confidence in the organization?
I do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it is always risky to discuss other people's motives. This scheming at APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it. Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don't think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club. Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble burst. When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise. As the old saying goes, you don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. Since I am no philosopher, I'm not going to explore at just which point enlightened self-interest crosses the line into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate releases makes it clear that this is not an academic question.
I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer represents me, but I hope we are still friends.

Hal

Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, former Chairman; Former member Defense Science Board, chmn of Technology panel; Chairman DSB study on Nuclear Winter; Former member Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Former member, President's Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman APS study on Nuclear Reactor Safety Chairman Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman of JASON; Former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board; Served in US Navy in WW II; books: Technological Risk (about, surprise, technological risk) and Why Flip a Coin (about decision making)
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October 12, 2010
APS Comments on Harold Lewis’ Resignation of his Society Membership
http://www.aps.org/about/pressreleases/haroldlewis.cfm
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a recent letter to the American Physical Society (APS) President Curtis A. Callan, chair of the Princeton University Physics Department, Harold Lewis, emeritus physics professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, announced that he was resigning his APS membership.
In response to numerous accusations in the letter, APS issues the following statement:
There is no truth to Dr. Lewis’ assertion that APS policy statements are driven by financial gain. To the contrary, as a membership organization of more than 48,000 physicists, APS adheres to rigorous ethical standards in developing its statements. The Society is open to review of its statements if members petition the APS Council – the Society’s democratically elected governing body – to do so.
Dr. Lewis’ specific charge that APS as an organization is benefitting financially from climate change funding is equally false. Neither the operating officers nor the elected leaders of the Society have a monetary stake in such funding. Moreover, relatively few APS members conduct climate change research, and therefore the vast majority of the Society’s members derive no personal benefit from such research support.
On the matter of global climate change, APS notes that virtually all reputable scientists agree with the following observations:

    * Carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere due to human activity;
    * Carbon dioxide is an excellent infrared absorber, and therefore, its increasing presence in the atmosphere contributes to global warming; and
    * The dwell time of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is hundreds of years.

On these matters, APS judges the science to be quite clear. However, APS continues to recognize that climate models are far from adequate, and the extent of global warming and climatic disruptions produced by sustained increases in atmospheric carbon loading remain uncertain. In light of the significant settled aspects of the science, APS totally rejects Dr. Lewis’ claim that global warming is a “scam” and a “pseudoscientific fraud.”
Additionally, APS notes that it has taken extraordinary steps to solicit opinions from its membership on climate change. After receiving significant commentary from APS members, the Society’s Panel on Public Affairs finalized an addendum to the APS climate change statement reaffirming the significance of the issue. The APS Council overwhelmingly endorsed the reaffirmation.
Lastly, in response to widespread interest expressed by its members, the APS is in the process of organizing a Topical Group to feature forefront research and to encourage exchange of information on the physics of climate.

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APS responds! – Deconstructing the APS response to Dr. Hal Lewis resignation
Posted on October 13, 2010 by Anthony Watts

Below is the press release (on the web here) from the American Physical Society, responding to the resignation letter of APS fellow Dr. Hal Lewis made public last Friday, October 8th. APS Members Dr. Roger Cohen, Dr. Will Happer, and of course Dr. Hal Lewis have responded in kind, and have asked me to carry their response on WUWT. I’ve gladly obliged, and their inline comments are indented in blue italics in the document below. – Anthony

October 12, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tawanda W. Johnson
Press Secretary
APS Physics

APS Comments on Harold Lewis’ Resignation of his Society Membership

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a recent letter to American Physical Society (APS) President Curtis A. Callan, chair of the Princeton University Physics Department, Harold Lewis, emeritus physics professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, announced that he was resigning his APS membership.
In response to numerous accusations in the letter, APS issues the following statement:
There is no truth to Dr. Lewis’ assertion that APS policy statements are driven by financial gain. To the contrary, as a membership organization of more than 48,000 physicists,  APS adheres to rigorous ethical standards in developing its statements.
We know that the existing 2007 APS Statement on Climate Change was developed literally over lunch by a few people, after the duly constituted Committee had signed off on a more moderate Statement.

The Society is open to review of its statements if members petition the APS Council – the Society’s democratically elected governing body – to do so.
We have yet to receive a response to our Petition:
http://www.openletter-globalwarming.info/Site/Signatures__APS_Council_Study.html
…delivered last spring and signed by 260+ members and former members,  including nearly 100 Fellows, 17 members of national academies and 2 Nobels. Driven largely by the ClimateGate revelations, the Petition asks that the Society conduct an independent study and assessment.
As for democratic membership participation in matters of science, consider the reaction to a grass roots outpouring of APS member opinion on the 2007 APS Statement
http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200912/apscouncilors.cfm .  “[APS Councilor] was uncomfortable with the idea of a membership-wide referendum on statements. He said that he was concerned that having a membership wide vote on controversial issues could lead to the adoption of scientifically unsound statements.”   Evidently physicists should be excluded from inputting on a question of physics; only “physics monks” are entitled to do so ex cathedra .

Dr. Lewis’ specific charge that APS as an organization is benefitting financially from climate change funding is equally false.  Neither the operating officers nor the elected leaders of the Society have a monetary stake in such funding.
The chair of the Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) that re-endorsed the 2007 APS Statement on Climate Change sits on the science advisory board of a large international bank http://annualreport.deutsche-bank.com/2009/ar/supplementaryinformation/advisoryboards.html The bank has a $60+ billion Green portfolio, which it wishes to assure investors is safe…not to mention their income from carbon trading.  Other members of this board include current IPCC chief Pachauri and Lord Oxburgh, of Climategate exoneration fame.  The viability of these banks activities depends on continued concern over CO2 emissions .  Then there is the member of the Kleppner Committee (that reviewed the APS 2007 Statement prior to POPA) who served on that committee while  under consideration for the position of Chief Scientist at BP.  The position had been vacated when Steve Koonin left to take a post in the administration at DOE. Soon after the Kleppner Committee report in late 2009, this committee member took the BP job. BP had previously funded the new Energy Laboratory at Berkeley, which was headed by current Energy Secretary Steve Chu.

Moreover, relatively few APS members conduct climate change research, and therefore the vast majority of the Society’s members derive no personal benefit from such research support.
This does not mention the firm expectation by federal government agencies such as the NAS and the Presidential Science Advisor’s office that the APS will continue to support the huge funding machine that diverts billions of taxpayer dollars into research that must support the alarmist credo. APS has been silent on the documented practice by some climate scientists aimed at preventing opposing research from being published.

On the matter of global climate change, APS notes that virtually all reputable scientists agree with the following observations:

    * Carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere due to human activity;
    * Carbon dioxide is an excellent infrared absorber, and therefore, its increasing presence in the atmosphere contributes to global warming; and

    This passes over the fact that carbon dioxide absorption lines are nearly saturated.

    * The dwell time of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is hundreds of years.

Well, it depends on what you mean by “dwell time.”  If it is the conventional half life of an impulse loading of carbon dioxide, the statement is wrong – by a lot..  The IPCC’s Bern carbon cycle model http://www.climate.unibe.ch/~joos/model_description/model_description.html gets a 16 year half life.  If it is the time for the last molecule to get picked up by a sink, the statement is meaningless.  At the very least, the statement is sloppy and hardly befitting a world class scientific society.

On these matters, APS judges the science to be quite clear.  However, APS continues to recognize that climate models are far from adequate, and the extent of global warming and climatic disruptions produced by sustained increases in atmospheric carbon loading remain uncertain.
This is much better than the 2007 APS Statement itself.  However, the phrase “climate disruptions” is noteworthy because it is the new buzzword recently introduced by Science Advisor John Holdren http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100054012/global-warming-is-dead-long-live-er-global-climate-disruption/ , evidently enabling advocates to assign any unusual weather event to human causes.  It is curious that that the APS press release happens to echo this new phrase.

In light of the significant settled aspects of the science, APS totally rejects Dr. Lewis’ claim that global warming is a “scam” and a “pseudoscientific fraud.”
What we have here is a bait and switch.  No one is saying that the greenhouse effect itself is a scam. This passage seeks to transfer the ‘scam’ charge from its real target to the trivial.  The fraud/scam is to be found in the continual drumbeat that the science is settled; that the effects will be catastrophic; that it requires draconian economic sacrifices to avoid; and that mandates and subsidies for rent-seeking corporations are justified.

Additionally, APS notes that it has taken extraordinary steps to solicit opinions from its membership on climate change.  After receiving significant commentary from APS members, the Society’s Panel on Public Affairs finalized an addendum to the APS climate change statement reaffirming the significance of the issue.  The APS Council overwhelmingly endorsed the reaffirmation.
Never mind that the Panel on Public Affairs is chaired by an individual whose research funding stream (from BP) depends on continued global warming alarm.  And you have to keep your eye on the pea.  The dispute was not over the “significance” of the issue; it was over the alarmist nature of the statement. The addendum used more than five times the number of words to try to explain what the original statement meant.   Not a good sign that they got it right the first time.

Lastly, in response to widespread interest expressed by its members, the APS is in the process of organizing a Topical Group to feature forefront research and to encourage exchange of information on the physics of climate.
Never mind that the Topical Group was proposed in a petition organized by a group of five members that included Dr. Lewis.   Also, the Council has not yet approved a TG; therefore it is not in the process of being “organized.”  It is being considered.   No formal charter or bylaws have been set down. What we have here is the first attempt to co-opt the TG for PR purposes. This before it has even been approved by the APS Council.

Read the APS Climate Change Statement and Commentary:  http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/07_1.cfm.
APS should be very reluctant to draw public attention to this Statement, with its infamous phrase, “The evidence is incontrovertible,” despite the fact that nothing in science is ever incontrovertible.

About APS: The American Physical Society (www.aps.org) is the leading physics organization, representing 48,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and internationally. APS has offices in College Park, MD (Headquarters), Ridge, NY, and Washington, DC.
Tawanda W. Johnson
Press Secretary
APS Physics
529 14th  St. NW, Suite 1050
Washington, DC 20045-2065
Phone: 202-662-8702
Fax: 202-662-8711
tjohnsonataps.org
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October 15, 2010, 11:48 am
A Physicist’s Climate Complaints

Almost 20 years ago, Harold Lewis, a respected physicist who had advised the government and the Pentagon on matters ranging from  nuclear winter to missile defense, included his assessment of climate change from the buildup of human-generated greenhouse gases in a book on technological risk:

All models agree that the net effect will be a general and global warming of the earth; they only disagree about how much. None suggest that it will be a minor effect, to be ignored while we go about our business. [ Read more.]

A couple of pages later, he laid out the implications of warming and the need for “global cooperation and sacrifice now, to avert something far in the future.” He noted that this was unlikely, given human nature, but said, “one can only hope.” Here’s the relevant section:

What a difference a couple of decades can make. One week ago Lewis was vaulted to celebrity status by conservative and contrarian Web sites and commentators when he disseminated his letter of resignation from the 48,000-member American Physical Society over its support for what he called “the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave.”

Lewis’s letter contained a long list of complaints, ranging from the group’s lack of a response to his efforts to convene a committee to assess evidence for a human link to climate change to its defense of choosing the word “incontrovertible” to describe the evidence for global warming in its statement on climate science and policies in 2007. (The society added a substantial sentence-by-sentence deconstruction of its statement earlier this year, but stuck with the original language.) He concluded that, in his view, global warming was “the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.”

Below you can read parts of an e-mail exchange I had this week with Lewis, aiming to clarify how he came to this conclusion. I only stumbled on the excerpts from his 1992 book Thursday night, after our initial discussions. I’ve sent him a follow-on query about how his conclusions then relate to his views now and will provide an update when he responds.

For its part, the American Physical Society  issued a statement on Tuesday denying any financial interest in forming its stance on global warming science and policy and defending its statements on the issue. It also defended the preponderant scientific view of basic climate conclusions, saying:

In light of the significant settled aspects of the science, APS totally rejects Dr. Lewis’ claim that global warming is a “scam” and a “pseudoscientific fraud.”

Here are relevant excerpts from my exchange with Lewis (with some e-mail shorthand adjusted). Revkin:

I’d greatly appreciate a few minutes of your time to try to get some clarification of where you see the fraud ending and the legitimate science beginning. Too often, the vague concept of human-driven global warming is dealt with as a single entity when in fact it’s a host of questions:

- How much can humans warm the planet?
- How much HAVE humans warmed the planet (so far; the attribution question)?
- How much warming is too much?
- What’s the best way to limit climate-related risks as human numbers and appetites crest in the next few decades?

Each question has its own issues and evidence, to my mind….

Lewis:

OK, as a first step, fraud is a contagious disease. Bernie Madoff committed fraud, pure and simple, but the people who profited from it covered the spectrum. Undoubtedly some were completely unaware, and there was every gradation…. The important thing for me is the suppression of open debate, which is the conventional way to identify fraud.

Your specific questions.

No one knows how much humans can (your word) warm the planet — the science is complicated. It might be a degree or two (Celsius) per century, but anyone who says he knows is committing fraud.

How much HAVE (your capitalization) people warmed the planet, again no one knows. Within what is actually known (not computer modeled) it could be zero. I believe I was chairing JASON in the early 1970s when Gordon MacDonald ran our first computer modeling on the subject, and the results were not all that different from what people get now using the same methods. But there were no data then on attribution, and there are no data now. It’s not a coffee klatch subject.

How much warming is too much?

There is no universal metric for such matters. I used to think that Phoenix was unbearably hot, but Indians lived there. I’ve spent lots of time in New Mexico (Los Alamos), where 7,000 feet makes high temperatures a pleasure. Humans adapt. The fact that we can adapt intelligently is what distinguishes us from others of our fellow animals. Of course most conceivable adaptations require energy (compare Phoenix), so the stupidest thing we can do is deprive ourselves of real energy to protect against conjectured warming.

What’s the best way to limit climate-related risks as human numbers crest…

First use real science to identify and quantify the threats, then I’ll propose responses. First things first. I remember the motto that made the rounds at the first Sputnik in the late 1950s: When in trouble or in doubt, run in circles; scream and shout. Not a good answer to any human problem.

Revkin:

- One point to ponder in your response to the greenhouse sensitivity question is that your conclusion about fraud would apply to anyone who says he knows the warming would be a minor inconvenience, along with anyone stating firmly that a meltdown is nigh, right?

Would you agree on that? In other words, anyone concluding with high confidence that humans cannot substantially heat the planet — given the enduring questions — is not being honest, right?

Lewis:

[A]nyone who claims to be able to predict the climate well enough to guide public policy is committing a fraud. HOWEVER there are harmless frauds and harmful ones, and i have far less animus toward perpetrators of the former. That’s as a citizen; as a physicist, no fraud is acceptable. So even though cold fusion hurt no one, it was a sin. The consequences matter.

Again, I’ll update this post when Lewis offers an explanation of why his views on global warming research and risk have so starkly changed. In the meantime, I asked another student of technological risk,  David Ropeik, to have a look at Lewis’s letter. Here’s his analysis:

I just read Dr. Lewis’ angry letter of resignation from the APS. It puts him at an extreme on the spectrum of debate over climate change in both tone and substance. So I guess the old reporter instincts in me would be cautious about anything he’d have to say, as would be the case with any extreme advocate on any side of any issue.

Much more to the point, however, it is not surprising that, as a physicist, he not only laments that people are too worried about some technological risks, but he is frustrated and condescending toward what he describes as people’s irrationality regarding these issues.

What strikes me as irrational is that an intelligent person like Dr. Lewis, who has devoted his professional life to science, would either pay no heed to, or dismiss, the mountains of scientific evidence, from neuroscience and psychology and economics and sociology, that demonstrates beyond any serious question that the way we perceive risk is affective… Our fears are a combination of the facts and how those facts feel.

Our brains are hard wired to do it this way. It seems Dr. Lewis is demonstrating the very phenomenon he laments, letting his affect and worldviews interfere with taking all the reliable evidence into account in order to make a truly informed and fair judgment.

I share Ropeik’s view.

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Cohen comments on the Revkin Dot Earth op/ed

Dr. Roger Cohen, APS member, sends this via email commenting on this Dot Earth article.

Where do I start?

Well, maybe the most offensive part of this column is the use of psychobabble to distract and divert attention from the real issue, which is the science, and whether it has been corrupted. Of course Revkin will \”share Ropeik’s view.\” Would there be any doubt? This mumbo jumbo is a symptom of the burgeoning industry of treating global warming deniers as mentally ill, a stark reminder of how easy it was for the Soviet Union to throw dissenters into mental hospitals.

 

Am I exaggerating? Hardly. Take a look at this piece on a conference held in 2009 at the University of West England http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/6320/ . It was aimed at trying to understand just what affliction plagues those people who simply don’t see or can’t find the \”mountains of evidence\” for serious anthropogenic global warming. Evidently it has spawned a new field — \”ecopsychology.\” Lord help us.

As for the science, Lewis and many others who have bothered to actually look into it cannot find the purported strong case for serious anthropogenic global warming. Indeed the balance of evidence points to a small anthropogenic component, far smaller than IPCC summary conclusions. It will of course take time for this to be widely understood and broadly accepted, but it will. There will be a Kuhnian paradigm shift at some point. Meanwhile the tainted IPCC process and other shenanigans have caused public erosion in the trust it had invested in science and scientists. None of us know how this distrust, which is part of the larger decline of confidence in our key institutions, will resolve.

As for the APS and Dr. Lewis’s beef with it, readers may wish to review the information available at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/13/aps-responds-deconstructing-the-aps-response-to-dr-hal-lewis-resignation/ It sheds a bit more light on what is really going on.

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Another letter from Hal Lewis to the American Physical Society
Date: Saturday, November 06, 2010 2:32 PM
To: Curt_Callen
Cc: Kate Kirby
Subject: followup

Dear Curt:

When on October 6 I sent you my letter of resignation from APS , I of course expected the Empire to strike back in one way or another. It pleased me however, when I read your response, to find a very minimum of ad hominem attacks, confined mostly to apparently irresistible eruptions of “Lewis is a liar.” (“His statements are all false” is the equivalent.) So I thank you for that courtesy.

 

What took me by surprise was the pusillanimous, almost puerile, tone of the comment, which reads more like an ad for a used-car lot than as a declaration of a great scientific society. All our products have passed a complete inspection by our factory-trained mechanics. We’re making no money on this, take it and be thankful. Etc. Not a single major issue confronted in any substantive way. Yet everyone knows about the sloppy handling of the 2007 statement; everyone knows about the financial investments of many of the major players; there is plenty of dirt in the public domain, yet you continue to pretend it is all in a different universe.

Curt, you cannot have written such a shabby document.

Roger Cohen has written an incisive deconstruction of your response, and I can add little, so let me turn to the repair options. For the record, though my resignation from APS gives me no standing, my objective here is to help slow the APS rush toward the cliff. This is what I think must be done at the proximate meeting of the Council.

1.The 2007 statement should be simply withdrawn. No excuses, no caveats, no unnecessary embarrassment, no statement of principles, no references to future research, simply withdrawn. It was a mistake. This is the sine qua non for restoring the honor of APS.

2. The Council should promulgate a transparent confict-of-interest policy, comparable to those used by the government. Those offended by this might even serve under reasonable constraints. Others should not serve. Many know how to do this. It is insane to have people with millions of dollars at stake determining APS policy on such matters.

3.The APS management has become a conglomerate force in itself. This is largely through neglect, because the Council is drawn too specifically through its major fields, and in all too many cases the policies are drawn by very few members, often with an axe to grind. It is too easy to push them through the Council, the members of which are in the dark. There is a wise observation (not due to Archimedes) that if any organization is left alone, the lightweights will rise to the top.

Cheers,

Hal