Definately Not NSHers

May 27th, 2006

Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr.

Joel Achenbach has a long and interesting article on climate skeptics in the Sunday Washington Post, you can read it here.

4 Responses to “Definately Not NSHers”

  1. Alpiner Says:

    It’s such a mean-spirited article I can’t help but wonder if he also works for Greenpeace. Lumping Gray and CEI together is as dismissive a tactic as those he writes about. If anything, I’m more inclined to listen to the contrarians now. For those of you who have met and dealt with Bill Gray, even if you disagree, was that a fair portrait?

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  3. Webster Says:

    I rarely, if ever, make comments on a “blog” and believe that science is advanced best by peer reviewed publication and civil and argued repudiation. I bend my rule to answer “Apliner”. By the way, I abhor the use of monikers. If you have something to say, be brave enough to say it under your own name. But that is an aside.

    I am sorry “Alpiner” but it is the Professor Gray that many of us have come to know of late that is represented in the Washington Post article. During my early years as a scientist with great hopes of working in the tropics I respected Bill Gray for his perr-reviwed contributions and placed him on the same tier as Joanne Simpson and Herb Rielh. These were my heroes who were prepared to theorize but who based their theories on solid observational evidence. That is why, much later, I have insisted where possible that my students spend time in the field. As Bill Gray has advocated, it is therapeutic and allows the possibility of truth to infect separates rank theory. But what I hear Gray talk about in recent years with respect to the present argument of global warming has nothing to do observations and it has little to do with science. It is about “belief” as in I do not and cannot believe in global warming. It is religion and fundamentalism at its worst. The quotes attributed to Gray in the article are muted versions of elements of the diatribe that I have listened to at a number of meetings, the last being the AMS conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology. You can see and hear Gray’s presentation at the AMS website ( I suggest that you compare the attributions of Gray’s statements in the article with what he said at the conference.

    Frankly, I find all of this very sad. On the one hand, here is a person who I admired for many years and a person that one could engage in an argument with an exciting to and fro. What I find now is a scientist who has called the world a fool (except for himself) and who has attributed base motivations for those who disagree with him. Many of us have been accused of “being in it for the money” and even worse. I could ignore the insults if they were based on a better base than “I am right”, “I know more than anyone else”, and etc. Where is the peer reviewed article that repudiates what many of us have been saying. Put Gray’s statements into a political context and I wonder what you would think about the motivation.

    So its simple for me. I think of the Bill Gray I read about, who I met while I was a young scientist and who I admired for listening to me ideas and “allowing” me to argue with him. That is the memory that I have and that is the memory I will keep. The admirable man I find now has been replaced by someone who has placed unsubstantiated rhetoric well ahead science, argument and discourse. Rhetoric has replaced reason. There is no talking to this new Bill Gray. He is not interested in the science any longer. I find that astonishingly sad. The old Bill Gray is missed!

    Peter Webster

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  5. Andrew Dessler Says:

    I thought the article was brilliantly spot-on. His description of Gray was exactly what I’ve personally observed. And the discussion of Gray and Lindzen was so realistic that if I closed my eyes, I could actually hear them speak their lines. Eerie and somewhat unpleasant.


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  7. Roger Pielke, Jr. Says:

    Peter Webster- Sorry that this comment did not appear in a timely fashion. We are working on the comment issues. I hope our readers will take note of your comments. Thanks!