Harold Lewis : Flipping Out

Professor Emeritus Harold Warren Lewis of University of California Santa Barbara’s Institute of Theoretical Physics has apparently decided to resign from the American Physical Society, because it appears he thinks the Science of Global Warming is a “scam” :-

http://climateprogress.org/2010/10/11/hal-lewis-resigns-from-the-american-physical-society/

By the way, this gentleman is not the same as the other theoretical physicist, also called Harold W. Lewis, of Duke University, who died in the year 2000, just before you ask :-

http://www.phy.duke.edu/history/DistinguishedFaculty/HaroldLewis/

I have three questions :-

1. Why now ?

Why has Professor Lewis decided to break with the American Physical Society at this moment precisely ? Or was the timing of this “resignation” carefully chosen ?

It seems likely that Professor Lewis was not altogether happy about the Science of Global Warming for some years. After all, he participated in the “TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES: YOU ARE BEING DECEIVED ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING” Open Letter to the Congress of the United States of America of 1st July 2009 :-

http://www.examiner.com/weather-in-baltimore/read-scientists-open-letter-to-congress-you-are-being-decieved-about-global-warming

(Note : co-signed by Professor S. Fred Singer).

Professor Lewis been a member of the American Physical Society for a number of decades. So why resign now ? And what for ? What possible reason can have arisen recently, or may be about to happen, that could have forced his hand ?

2. Why does Harold Lewis’ resignation letter read like it was written by somebody else ?

Hal Lewis’ normal style of speech can be read in a transcript of an interview with the American Institute of Physics on 6th July, 1986 :-

http://libserv.aip.org:81/ipac20/ipac.jsp?uri=full=3100001~!4742!0&profile=newcustom-icos

http://www.aip.org/history/ohilist/4742.html

The style of the resignation letter just recently published with Harold Lewis’ name on it is very informal. Yet, for something seemingly written by Professor Lewis in a conversational style, it is chock-full of sarcastic, sardonic remarks, the kind of device that really isn’t found in the 1986 interview, where Hal remarks on his position as the chair of a top secret advisory group :-

“The important thing in running JASON is to have the respect of the members, because if they don’t respect you, you can really get into trouble.”

Throughout his career, which spanned the academic, commercial and political worlds, he would have needed to use extra-diplomatic language, something that this recent letter of resignation doesn’t demonstrate.

Simple textual analysis suggests he didn’t write this letter of resignation.

3. What is his health like ?

What is Professor Lewis’ current state of health ?

As it says in the AIP interview :-

Aaserud: “You were born in New York City on the 1st of October, 1923.”
Lewis: “That is correct.”

Which would put him currently in his late eighties. Is he perhaps unwell ? Has he seen this document that he is supposed to have written ? Does he even know this letter of resignation has been written, in his name, but quite probably not in his normal style ?

This looks surprisingly like political ghostwriting, of the kind that allegedly tripped up Roger Revelle :-

http://www.desmogblog.com/the-deniers-the-world-renowned-scientist-who-got-al-gore-started

See the comments by Justin Lancaster here :-

http://www.desmogblog.com/the-inconvenient-truth-about-robert-c-balling

Who is Justin Lancaster ? Somebody who tried to stand up for the views of Roger Revelle :-

http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/04/if-richard-lindzen-shows-up-at-your.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Revelle

“…Justin Lancaster, Revelle’s graduate student, alleged that Revelle was “hoodwinked” by Singer into adding his name to the article and “he was intensely embarrassed that his name was associated” with it and charged that Singer’s actions were “unethical”. Under threat of lawsuit by Singer, Lancaster recanted his statement, but years later has reiterated his charges and withdrawn his retraction…”

In conclusion, the letter of resignation from Harold Lewis may show us the ideological DNA of Fred Singer. Or it may not. It might be a callous hoax by someone much younger and with far less finesse.

Something that James Delingpole would possibly find it hard to detect, despite his enormous skill with the English language :-

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100058265/us-physics-professor-global-warming-is-the-greatest-and-most-successful-pseudoscientific-fraud-i-have-seen-in-my-long-life/