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Nobel physicist resigns, all right … from a physics society that was morphing into a political pressure group

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Barry Arrington commented on the Nobel scientist (Ivar Giaever, physics, 1973), who will not renew his membership in American Physical Society (APS) because of the claim that “the evidence is incontrovertible.” Barry quotes his riposte, and says,

Dr. Giaever truly is what the other scientists in the society only claim to be – skeptical – and he took exception when the society carved its global warming politics into stone by announcing that the evidence is “incontrovertible.”

Dr. Giaever has undoubtedly noticed that physics has been whacked upside the head since the Large Hadron Collider has failed to confirm confident claims about the theoretical particle, the Higgs boson.

Which is good news, because that shows that physics works. If physicists had decided to proclaim the boson as “incontrovertible” – well, then, even the Large Hadron Collider couldn’t provide evidence against it.

A bit of background:

The official position of the American Physical Society (APS) supports the theory that man’s actions have inexorably led to the warming of the planet, through increased emissions of carbon dioxide.

Inexorably? Along with “incontrovertible,” that’s a way scientists usually don’t talk.

From Edward Sisson:

You may have seen the story of the Nobel prize winner, Ivar Giaver, who just left the American Physical Society (devoted to physics, 46,000 members) over the statement adopted by its council (basically its board of directors) in 2007 that the evidence for global warming is “incontrovertible” and its refusal in April, 2010, to remove that word despite printing a supplementary statement to the 2007 statement. Here is the link to the 2007 statement and the 2010 update. Here is the link to Giaver’s statement:

Sisson found this in its own statement of its history:

The American Physical Society was founded on May 20, 1899 … “to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics … , and in one way or another the APS has been at that task ever since.

In more recent years, the activities of the Society have broadened considerably. Stimulated by the increase in Federal funding in the period after the second World War, and even more by the increased public involvement of scientists in the nineteen sixties, APS is active in public and governmental affairs, and in the international physics community. In addition, the Society conducts extensive programs in education, public outreach, and media relations.

He observes,

The APS thus states in its own words on its own website that due to (a) “the increase in Federal funding” after 1945 and (b) “increased public involvement of scientists in the nineteen sixties,” it became a political advocacy and government lobbying organization, and a media relations enterprise. The organization made this change due to the desire to get ever-increasing federal funding for physicists and institutions of physicists, and to pursue the political and social goals of the 1960s.

No scientific reason is cited for the change in the nature of the institution.

None was possible.

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One Reply to “Nobel physicist resigns, all right … from a physics society that was morphing into a political pressure group

  1. 1
    GilDodgen says:

    The so-called “social science” academic “disciplines” (which exhibit neither scientific integrity nor discipline) — like sociology and psychology — have been hopelessly corrupted by unsubstantiated speculation for decades. This unsubstantiated speculation has been sold as legitimate science to the unaware simply by attaching the word “science” to the speculation.

    Unfortunately, this nefarious phenomenon has now infected even what once were the hard sciences, like physics and biochemistry.

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