It is fire scientists for talking to the media:

Leading Government scientist Jim Salinger, an international pioneer in climate change research, has been sacked for what he says is talking out of turn to news organisations.

Looks like the denialists in ACT are running the show.

More discussion at Hot Topic.

Comments

  1. #1 DavidK
    April 25, 2009

    Why are we surprised? It’s a fact of life that politicians want to ‘censor’ science when it is not in the interest of their political agenda. Science has nothing to do with it.

    Reminds me of the current Canadian and the past GWB administration’s ‘scientific thought police’.

    Maybe Jim should just write a book ala Plimer and go on a public speaking tour ala Carter, Bellamy, Evans et al.

  2. #2 bluegrue
    April 25, 2009

    Reaction from WUWT:

    Now if NASA could just get the stones to do this for Jim Hansen for promoting civil disobedience. – Anthony

  3. #3 dhogaza
    April 25, 2009

    Well, Anthony, take it up with Henry David Thoreau.

  4. #4 JM
    April 25, 2009

    There really is no hope for the human race. Seriously.

    And on that theme be sure to check out the review of Lovelock’s latest and last book in Nature. It induced me to add it to my very long reading list.

    JM

  5. #5 MarkG
    April 25, 2009

    Well, in all fairness we are talking about New Zealand here. They may not be representative of the entire Human Race. NZ is engaging in a long running experiment to see exactly the extent to which they can wreck science research. A young scientist in NZ, in any field, should be planning on leaving if they want to have a career in science.

  6. #6 Gareth
    April 25, 2009

    Now the top post at Hot Topic. For Mark at #5: read the Edmeades link at the bottom for a highly critical review of science organisation in NZ.

    I’ve experienced one aspect at first hand: one of NZ’s leading scientists telling my daughter to give up any idea of a science career. She’s now reading law :(

  7. #7 Richard McGuire
    April 25, 2009

    A conservative right wing government gets elected in NZ, and bingo, there is this backsliding in policy regarding greenhouse emissions. What exactly goes on inside the head space of the political right ? What makes these people tick ? Why is it only climate science that draws such a hostile reaction from these people ? In many cases short term self interest plays a part. But in the medium to long term, a user friendly planet is in everybody’s self interest, including the political right. There should definately, be more effort put into studying and researching this bizarre aspect of human behaviour.

  8. #8 Ezzthetic
    April 25, 2009

    It’s unfortunate, but somewhat predictable.

    According to this article, Salinger hasn’t published anything since 1965. In today’s “publish or perish” academic climate, that’s pretty much the kiss of death.

    Also, I hear he has a dislike of phonies. He really does. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help either.

  9. #9 DavidK
    April 25, 2009

    Ezzthetic, you linked to the wrong guy. Try:

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

  10. #10 MarkG
    April 26, 2009

    The predictable and unsavoury glee in some quarters over this really exposes the total lack of principles in the denialist camp.

    Since it’s they who assert that some nebulous group of scientists are being silenced by the global conspiracy of global-warmists the only logical response of for them to support full freedom of scientists to speak to whom they want about whatever they see fit to talk about without political intervention.

    In this matter it’s all too clear that freedom of scientists is only good in their eyes when such scientists have the “right” opinions. Cowards and hypocrites the lot of them.

  11. #11 Ezzthetic
    April 26, 2009

    Ezzthetic, you linked to the wrong guy

    Gosh darn it, is my face red …

  12. #12 Freezer
    April 26, 2009

    I love this. The world is getting cooler and the warmers are starting to die off like the dinosaurs. At least the NZ govt is not going to bankrupt the country like the Kenyan is. Green jobs cost real jobs, in a recession this is economic suicide.
    Trying to discuss with you lot is like talking with cristians except you bible is An In-conivent Truth. Al says it is true, so it must be true.
    Gareth R in NZ is just another deluded lefty fool, and since Labour are out of control every second post is a political statement. Talk about Cranks, seems like he is one himself.

  13. #13 Paul
    April 26, 2009

    >I love this. The world is getting cooler and the warmers are starting to die off like the dinosaurs.

    In your dreams!
    You suck.

    >At least the NZ govt is not going to bankrupt the country like the Kenyan is. Green jobs cost real jobs, in a recession this is economic suicide.

    The Kenyan is the man.

    >Trying to discuss with you lot is like talking with cristians except you bible is An In-conivent Truth.

    An In-conivent Truth is your bible, you deluded cranks like it so much, you can’t stop saying the name.

  14. #14 Paul
    April 26, 2009

    But seriously, what is going on ‘down under’??

  15. #15 bi -- IJI
    April 26, 2009

    MarkG:

    > The predictable and unsavoury glee in some quarters over this really exposes the total lack of principles in the denialist camp.

    The excuse reason given by the WUWT goons for their glee is that Salinger was not doing science, but doing ‘advocacy’, whatever that means.

    In their world, telling a TV weatherman about an impending flood is ‘advocacy’, while talking about “Osamabamarama” and “Third World kleptocrats” is ‘science’.

  16. #16 Freezer
    April 26, 2009

    wots goin on dowm under is Rudd is selling Australia while Key is saving NZ. Huge deficits are not the answer to the depression and either is green jobs. NZ will come out of the recession well and not have dumb green taxes take us down like Gareth R etc wants. At the end of the day he is a economic numpty, an idealist in the real world. That is why he is cranky at the present govt in NZ.

    I suppose the Catlin crew will be passed as science i the coming months as well?

  17. #17 Richard McGuire
    April 26, 2009

    So it comes down to “dumb green taxes verses the atmosphere” hey Freezer, who ever you are ? If it’s a question of survival, I’m on the side of the atmosphere.

  18. #18 Paul
    April 26, 2009

    Re. Freezer.
    There are no answers to the depression, it will cost me a lot of money no matter what government takes over, this is because a lot of people thought they could get something for nothing and live off non-existent money.

    You bought into that idea, not me. No matter how the issues are tackled, the problems were caused by a system that lacked respect for the environment, science and the future.

    If there are a lot of job losses now, that was because those jobs were never sustainable. They were always going to be lost and the companies that created those jobs on new that.

    A few months or years ago you were happy to let the ‘system’ carry on, creating more and more false wealth. Meanwhile people like me gave out warnings and moved away from the unsustainable finance system.
    Now that the system you happily went along with collapses, you blame environmentalists for making the problem you caused worse!

    Meanwhile the ethical finance sector is doing fine because it didn’t take part in the madness you were happy to let continue.

  19. #19 SLC
    April 26, 2009

    Re Freezer

    Mr. Freezer shows himself to be a multiple crank as not only is he a global warming denier but also a birfer. Not surprising considering that deniers often like to ride multiple hobby horses.

  20. #20 bi -- IJI
    April 26, 2009

    More unrelated talking points from the denialist Freezer.

    The usual.

  21. #21 nanny_govt_sucks
    April 26, 2009

    From
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/science/2361900/Niwa-sacks-Jim-Salinger

    “The high-profile scientist, whose work contributed to a Nobel prize, is reported to have been sacked for ignoring a new Niwa policy against speaking publicly without prior approval.”

    So he violated a nanny-government policy and he was sacked by the nanny-government.

    Lesson here: Don’t work for a nanny-government.

  22. #22 bi -- IJI
    April 26, 2009

    nanny_govt_sucks, is your brain about to explode from the cognitive dissonance of having to support free speech and cheer for Salinger’s firing at the same time?

  23. #23 Paul
    April 26, 2009

    >So he violated a nanny-government policy and he was sacked by the nanny-government.

    So Rudds government isn’t a nanny state because they haven’t sacked Plimer?

    I find the logic fascinating.

    It’s interesting to know just how far ‘cherry picking’ can go.

    To my knowledge it is more common that censorship of high profile people is normally conducted by communist and fascist states. So has NZ set up any camps yet?

  24. #24 nanny_govt_sucks
    April 26, 2009

    bi-IJI,

    Yes, I support free speech, but hand in hand with that comes taking responsibility for what one says. I say it is OK to yell fire in a crowded theater (after all, there may actually be a fire), but if someone is injured in the crush that follows, the yeller should be held liable. Similarly, if one’s employer has a rule saying when it’s OK to talk to the media, you can go ahead and violate that rule (free speech), but you must take responsibility for the repercussions that may follow (getting sacked).

  25. #25 jonno
    April 27, 2009

    nanny_govt_sucks

    “but if someone is injured in the crush that follows, the yeller should be held liable”

    So numbnuts… if it turns out that you’re wrong about AGW (which you are) and the scientific evidence is correct (it is), then you should be held liable for delaying any action that would bring about solutions?

    Maybe a kick in the balls would be in order? I would be the first in line.

  26. #26 nanny_govt_sucks
    April 27, 2009

    if it turns out that you’re wrong about AGW (which you are) and the scientific evidence is correct (it is), then you should be held liable for delaying any action that would bring about solutions?

    Happily.

    But of course you’ve made some wild assumptions about me. I’m all for “solutions” as long as you do them peacefully and voluntarily (i.e.: Not using the force of government to get others to go along with you). I’m not delaying anyone from acting in this way.

  27. #27 CounterNags
    April 27, 2009

    Look you peanut nags, locking up kiddie molesters in gaol is “using the force of government to get others to go along with you”. Licencing car drivers and posting speed limits outside schools is another example of the applied force of government that would be comprehensible at least to the average schoolchild I’d have thought. But you – you’re quite untroubled by the total irrelevance of your ideology to any real world application aren’t you? Carry on nagging away with the nonsense, pal.

  28. #28 Paul
    April 27, 2009

    >Similarly, if one’s employer has a rule saying when it’s OK to talk to the media, you can go ahead and violate that rule (free speech), but you must take responsibility for the repercussions that may follow (getting sacked).

    My understanding is that the government changed the rules for political purposes. Also you don’t sack your best scientists over trivial matters, like discussing the weather on a radio channel, without first having a discussion about the issue.

    Also you say the scientist should take responsibility.
    That assumes there is a lack of equality in the arrangement between employer and employee. eg. the employer is dictating the terms.

    With a nobel prize winning scientist, i suggest the terms are negotiable and flexible, unless of course that scientist wasn’t wanted and the employer deliberately made things difficult.

  29. #29 Paul
    April 27, 2009

    >But you – you’re quite untroubled by the total irrelevance of your ideology to any real world application aren’t you?

    What ideology would that be?

  30. #30 John Mashey
    April 27, 2009

    Good investigative reporting still matters, and in a Web era, lots of people can do it. Presumably, some of this will come out in the employment action, but it’s just an instance of a general case:

    1) The “government” sacks someone.

    2) A “newspaper” runs an unattributed editorial, or an OpEd by someone outside the newspaper.

    3) The Global Climate Coalition omits relevant info from its scientific advisors.

    4) The “White House” edits climate reports.

    But, in all cases, those anonymous entities are actually real people, with names. *Somebody* makes decisions.

    Suggestion: when these things happen, a worthy service to perform is to identify the *people* in the chain of decision and execution.

    For example, in case 4), the editor was Phil Cooney.

    “Cooney, the former oil industry lobbyist, became chief-of-staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Piltz says Cooney edited climate reports in his own hand. In one report, a line that said earth is undergoing rapid change becomes “may be undergoing change.” “Uncertainty” becomes “significant remaining uncertainty.” One line that says energy production contributes to warming was just crossed out.”

    Note that Cooney resigned shortly after this came out.

    For example, it would be quite interesting when debunking each new assault on science in The Australian, to find out the editor(s) responsible for doing that, and include such info in the posting, or if readers want to help, and can find this info (not always easy), add it.

    Arguments that “the government” or “the paper” did something don’t really have much effect. Accurate lists of the *people* involved are useful for future reference, like deciding whether one should ever listen to their opinions in future policy discussions. Also, maybe their neighbors might like to discuss this with them.

  31. #31 bi -- IJI
    April 27, 2009

    nanny_govt_sucks:

    > Similarly, if one’s employer has a rule saying when it’s OK to talk to the media, you can go ahead and violate that rule (free speech), but you must take responsibility for the repercussions that may follow (getting sacked).

    So is the rule on talking to media an example of “nanny government” (bad!) or an example of “responsibility” (good!)? Or perhaps it’s just a sign that your brain’s about to explode from cognitive dissonance?

  32. #32 jonno
    April 27, 2009

    “Happily.”

    Well sucks… it turns out that you are wrong. Guess it’s time for you to get kicked in the nuts.

    I am putting on my steal cap boots, where can I meet you?

  33. #33 luminous beauty
    April 27, 2009

    What ideology would that be?

    Posted by: Paul | April 27, 2009 5:22 AM

    That would be the peculiar type of Anarchist who believes the only valid expedient of government is having the cops protect his stuff from being pilfered by his slaves.

  34. #34 Paul
    April 28, 2009

    >That would be the peculiar type of Anarchist who believes the only valid expedient of government is having the cops protect his stuff from being pilfered by his slaves.

    Still haven’t a clue what you’re on about.
    We all have a stake, there isn’t a ‘them’ and ‘us’. Any ideology has to fit in with a sustainable long term existence.
    That means all political ideologies have to change out of necessity to survive, otherwise they have no future.
    Capitalism will change, socialism will change etc.

  35. #35 CounterNags
    April 28, 2009

    Luminous’ depiction of nags’ ideology cum philosophy cum long term persona in Deltoid comments made perfect sense to me Paul so I don’t have a clue which bit of it you didn’t understand. Can you be a little more explicit please?

  36. #36 Paul
    April 28, 2009

    >Luminous’ depiction of nags’ ideology cum philosophy cum long term persona in Deltoid comments made perfect sense to me Paul so I don’t have a clue which bit of it you didn’t understand. Can you be a little more explicit please?

    You need to specify what ideology you see (not forgetting that if you participate then you have to include yourself in that ideology).

    What are you attaching to me for example?
    Or anyone else.

  37. #37 CounterNags
    April 28, 2009

    I thought two of us had been quite explicit Paul, so still no clue what you’re on about – sorry mate! Also we were talking about somebody else, who is talking about your ideology?

  38. #38 bi -- IJI
    April 28, 2009

    > You need to specify what ideology you see

    Paul: What’s nanny_govt_sucks’s ideology exactly? Can’t you describe it in 1 or 2 words?

    bi: I think I’ll call it Bullshit Libertarianism.

    I think what will happen next is this:

    Paul: But you’re not supposed to reduce someone’s philosophy to 1 or 2 words!

    bi: Idiot.

  39. #39 luminous beauty
    April 28, 2009

    What are you attaching to me for example?

    Posted by: Paul | April 28, 2009 6:31 AM

    Being obtuse. WTF are you on about?

  40. #40 luminous beauty
    April 28, 2009

    Paul,

    Judging intuitively from your vaguely worded posts, you apparently believe the ideological component of any particular political position is pragmatic, utilitarian and amenable to change based on common sense observation and practical reasoning.

    If correct, this snapshot assessment would suggest you are something of a classical liberal.

  41. #41 nanny_govt_sucks
    April 28, 2009

    Well, the thread has strayed a bit, so Tim you can delete this if you see fit. But since there are questions, here’s the short version of my ideology:

    “Live and let live”.

    And the longer:

    The philosophy of liberty
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z1buym2xUM

  42. #42 nanny_govt_sucks
    April 28, 2009

    So is the rule on talking to media an example of “nanny government” (bad!) or an example of “responsibility” (good!)?

    This doesn’t seem to be a serious question, but I’ll entertain it for the moment. The rule is simply an employer’s rule. The fact that it is onerous and controlling should come as no surprise as it comes from busy-body government bureaucrats. Governments that act in this way are nannny-governments as they think they know best what you can do or say or put into your bodies or whom you can associate with, trade with, love with, or how much money you should have, etc… But that doesn’t change the relationship between employer and employee. Yes, the employer sets the terms of employment (!) and the employee is at risk of termination when found in violation of them, regardless of whether the employer is the state or a private org. The only question left is whether this guy new the terms of his employment or did not. If he did then it is his responsibility to keep to the terms if he really wants to remain employed. It’s surprising to me that there are some on this board that don’t seem to understand this.

  43. #43 Paul
    April 28, 2009

    >I thought two of us had been quite explicit Paul, so still no clue what you’re on about – sorry mate! Also we were talking about somebody else, who is talking about your ideology?

    Your original comment did not refer to anyone in particular. I assumed it was address to the blog and commenters.

  44. #44 bi -- IJI
    April 28, 2009

    nanny_govt_sucks:

    > Governments that act in this way are nannny-governments as they think they know best what you can do or say or put into your bodies or whom you can associate with, trade with, love with, or how much money you should have, etc… But that doesn’t change the relationship between employer and employee.

    OK, so Nanny Government™ is the Great Satan™ and the Enemy of Freedom™, unless it takes on the role of an employer, then it’s the Holy Writ™ and the Epitome of Freedom™.

    > here’s the short version of my ideology:

    > “Live and let live”.

    Or, even shorter: “Bullshit Libertarianism”.

    There’s a reason why it’s called “Bullshit Libertarianism”: it’s a type of “libertarianism” which happens to be bullshit.

  45. #45 Paul
    April 28, 2009

    >Judging intuitively from your vaguely worded posts, you apparently believe the ideological component of any particular political position is pragmatic, utilitarian and amenable to change based on common sense observation and practical reasoning.
    If correct, this snapshot assessment would suggest you are something of a classical liberal.

    By your definition, throughout history, humanity has in the long term been classical liberal. But that’s your definition.

  46. #46 luminous beauty
    April 28, 2009

    By your definition, throughout history, humanity has in the long term been classical liberal. But that’s your definition.

    Wow!

    Is that a yes?

  47. #47 luminous beauty
    April 28, 2009

    Paul,

    Your original comment did not refer to anyone in particular. I assumed it was address to the blog and commenters.

    It was addressed to nanny_govt_sucks, affectionately referred to as ‘nags’.

  48. #48 Paul
    April 28, 2009

    >nanny_gov_sucks: “Live and let live”.

    OK. We live on a planet with just enough water for you and me.

    So if i drink all your water, you won’t mind?

    Well probably you would. Lets assume you do mind, that suggests there is some cooperation/negotiation and the water is shared (maybe not equally).
    But the important thing is that in order to avoid death, we created a community with some rules and our individual desires were compromised.

    So as Bi said, your ideology is bull.

  49. #49 Paul
    April 28, 2009

    luminous beauty: My mistake! Actually it’s only your last post that makes it obvious. I didn’t associate ‘nags’ with ‘nanny guv sucks’

  50. #50 sod
    April 28, 2009

    The philosophy of liberty http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z1buym2xUM

    that video surely is one of the most stupid things that i have seen in a pretty long time.

  51. #51 nanny_govt_sucks
    April 29, 2009

    But the important thing is that in order to avoid death, we created a community with some rules and our individual desires were compromised.

    None of that is incompatible with libertarianism. Where I choose peaceful, voluntary cooperation, others choose to use force to achieve that compromise. That’s where I have a problem. And I don’t see a difference between one person using force to take the water, or one person calling on a government to use force to take the water. It’s the same thing.

  52. #52 Gaz
    April 29, 2009

    Nags, you say:

    “Where I choose peaceful, voluntary cooperation,
    others choose to use force to achieve that
    compromise. That’s where I have a problem.”

    OK, so what if I decide to dump toxic waste in your back yard and I decide not to compromise? Or I’m already compromising by not throwing it in your window. What’s the libertarian view on that? Any role for government there?

    Now I can see how libertarians can get hung up on this sort of thing.

    The only way you can avoid a role for government in resolving this situation (aside from a descent into violent anarchy, a la modern day Somalia) is to come to the conclusion that there’s actually nothing wrong with toxic waste, or indeed that it’s beneficial.

    That way the problem goes away because there is no need to for government involvement.

    In other words, the libertarian philosophy can have practical application only in a world where selected facts do not apply.

    This explains why libertarians are so keen on the idea that greenhouse gases are either not affecting the climate or that the effect is a beneficial one.

    Axiomatically, for a libertarian, if a problem can only be solved by government intervention, then it cannot exist.

  53. #53 Paul
    April 29, 2009

    >None of that is incompatible with libertarianism. Where I choose peaceful, voluntary cooperation, others choose to use force to achieve that compromise.
    That’s where I have a problem. And I don’t see a difference between one person using force to take the water, or one person calling on a government to use force to take the water. It’s the same thing.

    Erm you miss the point.
    If the two people on the planet cooperated to decide how the water would be used, they created a government between them.

    If you add more people then at some point you will get some people forced to accept the rules despite disagreeing with them. We have a limited space and as the population grows then liberties will be lost.

  54. #54 nanny_govt_sucks
    April 29, 2009

    I’ve take the libertarian stuff to the current open thread.

  55. #55 Barton Paul Levenson
    April 29, 2009

    Nanny writes:

    The only question left is whether this guy new the terms of his employment or did not. If he did then it is his responsibility to keep to the terms if he really wants to remain employed. It’s surprising to me that there are some on this board that don’t seem to understand this.

    You never raise the question of whether the employee had the moral right to set such a rule in the first place. Is an employer allowed to set any rule he can get an employee to agree to? E.g., the employer has the right to sleep with the employee’s preteen daughter as a condition of employment?

  56. #56 nanny_govt_sucks
    April 30, 2009

    You never raise the question of whether the employe[r] had the moral right to set such a rule in the first place.

    I assume (correctly) that in this case the employer (the government) is immoral.

    Is an employer allowed to set any rule he can get an employee to agree to? E.g., the employer has the right to sleep with the employee’s preteen daughter as a condition of employment?

    I’m sure such immoral rules exist, regardless of whatever laws may be passed. The employee always has the option to quit and look for work elsewhere.

  57. #57 bi -- IJI
    April 30, 2009

    And yet I thought the ‘skeptics’ had been screaming about government ‘censorship’ as if it’s the Spawn of Stalin Himself! Now nanny_govt_sucks suddenly tells us that it’s just an ‘employer’s rule’ and it’s perfectly fine after all!

    Or does it only apply when the guy being fired agrees with AGW? After all, anyone who agrees with AGW, for whatever reason, is guilty of the High Crime of Advocacy. Unlike Christopher “Osamabamarama! DDT! Green Yellow Red!” Monckton, who was merely doing Pure Unadulterated Science.

  58. #58 Barton Paul Levenson
    April 30, 2009

    nanny writes:

    I’m sure such immoral rules exist, regardless of whatever laws may be passed. The employee always has the option to quit and look for work elsewhere.

    That’s the blindness of Libertarianism right there. The employer can set whatever rules he wants; the employee can just look for another job if he doesn’t like it. The whole burden of decent behavior is on the employee; if he stays, it’s his fault. The rule set by the employer might be “immoral,” but there’s no question of anybody doing anything about it.

  59. #59 nanny_govt_sucks
    May 2, 2009

    That’s the blindness of Libertarianism right there. The employer can set whatever rules he wants; the employee can just look for another job if he doesn’t like it.

    I think it is blindness to assume that passing a law is going to change human nature. Our free society will weed out these immoral employers as their pool of qualified people to hire will necessarily be smaller than the moral ones, and consumers will choose to patronize the moral over the immoral. Of course that all gets screwed to hell when the employer is the state, who doesn’t have to compete in our free society.

  60. #60 bi -- IJI
    May 2, 2009

    > Of course that all gets screwed to hell when the employer is the state, who doesn’t have to compete in our free society.

    But that’s precisely what you’re OK with, isn’t it?

  61. #61 nanny_govt_sucks
    May 3, 2009

    But that’s precisely what you’re OK with, isn’t it?

    I don’t agree with the nanny-government rule about getting approval before scientists talking to the media, but employers get to make rules. That’s what employers do. And nanny-government employers are (surprise, surprise) going to make particularly onerous rules. The solution is not to hamstring all employers, but to tell the nanny-government where they can shove their rules and go look for another job. When enough people do this in a free society, the rules will change for the better. With governments, instead of changing the rules, they’ll just hire lesser and lesser qualified candidates until you eventually have the dregs of society running the state.

Current ye@r *