Monday, July 21, 2008

The Lonely Denier: Meet Gerald E. Marsh

Euro-Denier Maurizio Morabito has a point when he writes:

Interestingly, the FPS [Forum on Physics and Society] and the APS [The American Physical Society] did not make too much of a fuss in the past, when publishing “heretical” climate-related opinions. For an example, see Gerald E. Marsh’s “Climate Stability and Policy” in April 2008.

He's talking about how the APS has come down hard on the editors of one of their own news letters [FPS] after having been embarrassed by Lord Monckton in its pages. Here is the Marsh Paper Mr. Morabito refers to, and its conclusion is:

...that humanity faces a much greater danger from the glaciation associated with the next Ice Age, and that the carbon dioxide increases that we have seen during the past two hundred years are not sufficient to avert such glaciation and its associated disruptions to the biosphere and civilization as we know it. Such conflicting considerations have obvious implications for the formulation of public policy regarding human attempts to manage climate changes.

*Sigh*

Well, I suppose they did not make too much of a fuss previously because previous FPS newsletters did not make much of a splash beyond their usual readers. Marsh, whose website can be found here, seems to have forged few connections within the larger Denialist community. So, for example, earlier non-peer reviewed work of his was referenced by Canadafreepress, a far right Canadian news site, and Atmoz critiques a non-peer reviewed paper of his re the Sun's role in climate change here. But otherwise a wiki search of "Gerald E. Marsh" climate doesn't turn up much. Lord Monckton, on the other hand, knows how to do PR, if not science, and is deeply involved in any number of Skeptics organizations, including the ICSC and SPPI, which have a proven ability to blast their message into the Right Wing Blogosphere and the lower echelons of the MSM.

Now that they have been internationally embarrassed, the APS has responded vigorously.

As for the future of the APS and its newsletter (FPS), unfortunately

If John Mashey is right, all they [the APS] were guilty of was a failure to scrutinise rigorously the activities of volunteers who run a newsletter [the FPS] that happens to have their logo on the masthead. I think the implications are quite worrying: either learned societies will have to start acting like the repressive conspiracies the denialists claim they are, or this sort of thing will keep happening.

...a problem to which I see no easy solution.

8 comments:

Auntie Liberal said...

You're joking, right? You seriously can't see the solution to this problem?

John Mashey said...

re: solution

See the discussion between Jennifer O and I over at Cocktail Party Physics.

"She is associate editor of APS News, the monthly publication of The American Physical Society" and hence actually knows something about APS.

If it would me, I'd turn such newsletters into well-moderated blogs with guest articles, i.e., somewhat akin to RealClimate.

People are far less likely to confuse blogs and journals. It doesn't make sense to turn newsletters into heavily-peer-reviewed journals, with the overhead that entails.

omniclimate said...

Thanks for the link (but no thanks for the "denier"...I am not the one denying anything, about climate). One thing though: why do you refer to Mr Marsh as "King"?

Or perhaps there is a joke there I simply don't get.

bigcitylib said...

Omni,

I have absolutely no idea why I did that, and in the header too. It's been fixed.

Also, I was going to call you a "Euro-Denier" but thought that might be confusing. You're lucky.

omniclimate said...

But you did call me Euro-Denier?

Why do you have to call people "deniers" by the way? I don't think that's what's conveyed by the title of my climate blog.

John Mashey said...

Thanks for the reminder about Marsh.

From his website, he's actually a Fellow of the APS, a nuclear physicist recently retired from Argonne national Lab.

In recent years, he has begun writing about climate, but for OpEd, conservative thinktank newsletter, newspaper, etc.

I can't find anything on climate published in peer-reviewed journals.

Now and then, scientists with a long history in one area, near the end of their careers, start opining about areas outside their own professional experience. Be very, very careful...

========
I backtracked in FPS Newsletters, and Marsh appears often. The interleaved *'d items from his his website.

April 2008: Climate Stability and Policy

*Jan 2008: Climate Stability and Policy: A Synthesis (a longer version of the FPS piece)

* Jan 2008: OP-ED: The Coming of a new Ice Age

* Jan 2008: Goracle Gushings on Faith-Based Science, USA Today (?)

* Jul 2007 Climate Change: The Sun’s Role, arXiv:0706.3621v1 [physics.ao-ph]. [PDF]

April 2006: Bombs, Reprocessing, and Reactor Grade Plutonium

Jan 2006 Nuclear Power and Proliferation

July 2005 Nuclear Power KNow-How is Here and Should be Used (letter)

Jan 2005 "Response to garwin's Paper"

Jul 2004 Purex and Pyro are not the Same

*August 2001, Climate Change Science? National Academy of Sciences Global Warming Report fails to Live up to its Billing, at National Center for Public Policy Research (whose page title says "A Conservative Think Tank").

Some articles thank George Stanford.

I also looked for Larry Gould in FPS, back through 2004, but found no articles from him.

John Mashey said...

Thanks for the reminder about Marsh.

From his website, he's actually a Fellow of the APS, a nuclear physicist recently retired from Argonne national Lab.

In recent years, he has begun writing about climate, but for OpEd, conservative thinktank newsletter, newspaper, etc.

I can't find anything on climate published in peer-reviewed journals.

Now and then, scientists with a long history in one area, near the end of their careers, start opining about areas outside their own professional experience. Be very, very careful...

========
I backtracked in FPS Newsletters, and Marsh appears often, with *'d items from his his website.

April 2008: Climate Stability and Policy

*Jan 2008: Climate Stability and Policy: A Synthesis (a longer version of the FPS piece)

* Jan 2008: OP-ED: The Coming of a new Ice Age

* Jan 2008: Goracle Gushings on Faith-Based Science, USA Today (?)

* Jul 2007 Climate Change: The Sun’s Role, arXiv:0706.3621v1 [physics.ao-ph]. [PDF]

April 2006: Bombs, Reprocessing, and Reactor Grade Plutonium

Jan 2006 Nuclear Power and Proliferation

July 2005 Nuclear Power KNow-How is Here and Should be Used (letter)

Jan 2005 "Response to garwin's Paper"

Jul 2004 Purex and Pyro are not the Same

*August 2001, Climate Change Science? National Academy of Sciences Global Warming Report fails to Live up to its Billing, at National Center for Public Policy Research (whose page title says "A Conservative Think Tank").

I also looked for Larry Gould in FPS, back through 2004, but found no articles from him.

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