Last week, a small local newspaper–the Santa Fe New Mexican–published an opinion piece by me, a worker-bee scientist at a weapons lab whose notability (until now) has been limited to the narrow fields of impact physics, national security implications of climate change, and Alabama Pi.
I had the temerity to question the scientific integrity of individuals associated with the Heartland Institute, the right-wing Chicago think tank that engages in smear campaigns against climate scientists and publishes fabricated temperature data and doctored graphs intended to create confusion. Among those I criticized was Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, who is Governor Martinez’s choice to lead New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.
I revealed that Schmitt had made an incorrect statement about the Arctic sea ice in a white paper he wrote for NASA in 2009, in which he claimed that “Artic (sic) sea ice has returned to 1989 levels of coverage.” This was as false in 2009 as it is now. I acknowledged that perhaps this was just a mistake, but that scientific integrity would require Schmitt to admit his mistake and correct it. He never did.
The response from the Heartland Institute was very revealing. They turned their full gaze and fury on me–a minor scientist in the big scheme of things–because I threatened their power by speaking the truth, and because I had the facts on my side. This immediately reminded me of Sauron’s response to the small hobbits, Frodo and Sam, when he discovered that they had penetrated the gates of Mordor.
Within hours of my essay going online, the Heartland Institute’s policy adviser, Norman L. Rogers, posted the first comment, in which he accused me of being “poorly informed”
Shortly after that, the Heartland Institute’s Washington lawyer, James M. Taylor, launched a full-on personal attack by saying “Mark Boslough, a non-Ph.D. physicist with no formal training in climate science, published a hateful and vitriolic editorial in the January 24 Santa Fe New Mexican smearing climate science professors and researchers at some of the world’s most prestigious science institutions by accusing them of dishonesty simply because they disagree with Boslough’s own pet theories regarding global warming.” (I got my Ph.D. from Caltech in 1983, I do have formal training in climate science, and I didn’t mention any climate science professors or prestigious science institutions in my essay, so Taylor’s smear simply reinforced my claims that people associated with the Heartland Institute make stuff up.)
Donna Bethell, director of SEPP (founded by Fred Singer, and closely affiliated with the Heartland Institute) was next. She gave me a lecture on how science works.
After that, a gullible astronaut named Walter Cunningham who accepted without question the lawyer’s claim that I don’t have a Ph.D and am not a real scientist. He said:
Is this the best that UNM can do in hiring adjunct professors? A physicist should have, at least, a familiarity with the scientific process. When accepted scientific thinking is challenged, as the believers in human caused global warming did starting some 20 years ago, their new hypothesis must be supported by empirical evidence, must successfully survive scientific challenge and must accurately explain observed phenomena before it can be accepted, even tentatively, as a theory. Any real scientist knows, or can find out, that the AGW hypothesis has not met any of these requirements.
Please, Mr. Boslough, don’t pretend to be a scientist. The Heartland Institute is one of the few organizations willing to speak truth in the face of $20 billion in government funding for research to support the unproven hypothesis of human caused global warming.
Astronaut (Apollo 7)
Author of “Global Warming: Fact vs. Faith,” published by The Heartland Institute
Then, Fred Singer himself, who said:
It is always sad to see a scientist stoop to using personal attacks and smears instead of reasoned scientific arguments. Mark Boslough should stop name -calling and read the science literature.
He would find that Michael Mann (whom he calls a ‘respected climate expert’) is simply wrong in claiming the 20th century as the warmest in 1000 years . For evidence to the contrary see the NIPCC summary report  “Nature – Not Human Activity – Rules the Climate” http://www.sepp.org/publicatio…
S. Fred Singer, PhD
Prof emeritus, University of Virginia
Former director of US Weather Satellite Servic
And finally, the President of the Heartland Institute, Joseph L. Bast, published his very own opinion piece in the Santa Fe New Mexican this morning, entitled “Writer owes Schmitt, readers apology”. Astonishingly for someone who claims to be a libertarian, he concludes that I should “… be banned from future debates on this topic.” He reveals his belief that freedom is something for big wealthy corporations, but not for individuals.
What does it tell me that Norman L. Rogers, James M. Taylor, Donna Bethell, Walter Cunningham, Fred Singer, and Joseph L. Bast turned their full gaze and fury upon little me? It tells me that truth is powerful. It is more powerful that the ring borne by little Frodo into Mordor. It isn’t me that the Heartland Institute fears, it’s what I bear. It’s the truth they fear most.