Friday, January 31, 2014

Richard Lindzen's Paradox for the Ages

This could be a paradox posed by Bertrand Russell: If a climate scientist says that no climate scientists are among the brightest people, can it possibly be true, since the speaker himself clearly cannot be among the brightest minds?

Richard Lindzen reportedly said in England:
"I've asked very frequently at universities: 'Of the brightest people you know, how many people were studying climate [...or meteorology or oceanography...]?' And the answer is usually 'No one.'"
And – warming to his theme:
"You look at the credentials of some of these people [on the IPCC] and you realise that the world doesn't have that many experts, that many 'leading climate scientists'".
Was Lindzen suggesting, asked Tim Yeo at this point, that scientists in the field of climate were academically inferior.
"Oh yeah," said Lindzen. "I don't think there's any question that the brightest minds went into physics, math, chemistry…"
First of all, what kind of jerk says such a thing about his colleagues?

Second of all, what kind of reporters believe it? Answer: hacks like James Delingpole and Mark Steyn -- writers who don't understand any science, and so have nothing to go by than what an ideologically favored scientist tells them to think.


William Connolley said...

Lindzeon doesn't think he is one of them. He thinks of himself more as a mathematician. Which is his background, I think. "From Harvard, he received an A.B. in Physics in 1960, followed by an S.M. in Applied Mathematics in 1961 and then a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics in 1964".

There is some faint justice in this. All the good work for which he is famous was the early days, and was heavily mathematical. Its only the more recent stuff which has been thoroughly climate, and is a bit crap.

tonylearns said...


If that is the case he should be able to prove his superiority over them. especially if they are almost all wrong about there being any danger from Climate change.
why has he not shown where the science is wrong?
is there any support for his iris hypothesis?
what of his research indicates that climate sensitivity is below 2°C?

Nigel Chesterman said...

When I was at school the sharper pupils all did physics and chemistry. The less sharp tools in the shed were relegated to study geography.
Linzen's comments have a ring of truth.