Chemical and Engineering News on JPANDS

Via John Quiggin, Rudy Baum, the editor-in-chief of Chemical & Engineering News has JPANDS number.

JAPS [usually abbreviated as JPANDS for obvious reasons] is a curious entity. It is not indexed by Chemical Abstracts Service, Pubmed, or ISI's Web of Science. It has published articles that question the link between HIV and AIDS and that link abortion to increased incidence of breast cancer and thimerosal-containing vaccines to autism. It is, in fact, the purveyor of utter nonsense. As far as I could ascertain, the Robinson paper is JAPS's only foray into climate-change research.

OISM is a curious little entity, too. On its website, it says it was founded in 1980 by Robinson, his wife Laurelee, Martin D. Kamen, and, later, R. Bruce Merrifield. Kamen and Merrifield, although dead, are both listed as OISM faculty members. Robinson has real scientific credentials; he has a Ph.D. in chemistry from California Institute of Technology and he was an associate of Linus Pauling's until the two had a falling out over vitamin C. In addition to its scientific work on proteins, OISM is also involved in developing home-schooling techniques and "emergency preparedness."

Robinson is closely linked with the "Petition Project," an effort begun in 1998 to collect the signatures of scientists who doubt the reality of human-induced climate change. Robinson's JAPS paper, "Environmental Effects of Increased Carbon Dioxide" is a long, tendentious rehash of just about every already-rebutted argument made against human-induced climate change.

Why does any of this matter? Why not just ignore AAPS, JAPS, and OISM and the noise emanating from them? For the same reason science can't ignore creationism and intelligent design: The goal of the antiscience movement is to endlessly cast doubt on legitimate science.

My earlier post on JPANDS is here.

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I was about to object that Tim was mistaken, there is never any chemical or engineering news on JPANDS. I had to read it again.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 12 Jun 2008 #permalink

Nice of Quiggin to only mention that Robinson and Pauling had a "falling out," which leaves the door open for Robinson to potentially be a quack. He might maybe have mentioned that Pauling tried to blackmail Robinson into hiding data that showed that vitamin C was useless for combating cancer, IIRC. Robinson refused, and thus the falling out. Makes one wonder how many other "respected" scientists are out there fudging numbers.

Nice of Quiggin to only mention that Robinson and Pauling had a "falling out," which leaves the door open for Robinson to potentially be a quack.

Whatever you think of Pauling, Robinson is clearly a very high- octane goofball. Even if you get past the survivalism, the Milloyesque climate denialism and the wacky home-school curriculum, the guy is a signer of the "Scientific Dissent to Darwinism" and an admirer of Tom Bethell. Sorry. Get the hook.

As to the celebrated "falling out", whether or not Pauling tried to blackmail Robinson, destroyed the mice, etc. seems to depend on which side of a viciously partisan debate you believe. There was a lawsuit, which Pauling settled. It would be interesting to see if there was evidence one way or the other on the alleged blackmail and mouse murders. Of course, the fact that there was a settlement makes it hard to find out. Anyone know of a disinterested source?

Lambert I'm not so certain if you want to reference a guy like Rudy Baum to buttress any points against the anti science crowd. Just take a look at Baum's Sourcewatch page.

Vanity Fair recently ran a piece that Rudy Baum was behind getting a journalist fired for reporting on this science for hire outfit called the Weinberg Group. Congress is now investigating them.

And Rudy Baum has been part of the movement by the American Chemical Society to undermine Open Access here in the United States. This included the hiring of the PR firm Dezenhall Resources which created a front group called the Prism Coalition to defeat the government's regulation to make government paid for science open to the public.

Basically, Rudy Baum is a low life.

I'm glad you thought it was a nice article, Ben, but I can't claim the credit. As indicated by the opening word "via" (Latin for "by way of") in Tim's post, I just linked to the article, which is by Rudy Baum, editor of C&E News. As you say, it does seem to "leave open" the possibility that Robinson is a quack, which looks like a fairly charitable reading of the evidence at #8 and elsewhere.

By John Quiggin (not verified) on 12 Jun 2008 #permalink

re: #10 JQ
Of Robinson's OISM 8 "faculty", 3 are Robinson & his two sons, 3 live far away, and 2 are deceased, and none have any obvious expertise in climate science. But George Gilder thinks Art is legendary. For those who want more detail, I've posted more at John Quiggin's thread.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 12 Jun 2008 #permalink

I would disagree with this part:

"the "Petition Project," an effort begun in 1998 to collect the signatures of scientists who doubt the reality of human-induced climate change."

I would have said a better way to phrase it would be ... to collect the signatures of people which could be appended to a document that doubts the reality of human-induced climate change.

I sincerely doubt many of the signatories were scientists involved in climate change or in fact scientists at all. I have argued this point before and the typical response is that it doesn't take much knowledge to see how false global warming is. Against such logic the Gods themselves contend in vain.


By John Cross (not verified) on 13 Jun 2008 #permalink

@ #10: That the position of Rudy Baum and ACS on open-access is more in line with conservative/free market/republican views than with liberal/communist/tree hugger views only makes his opinions on JPANDS, MIlloy, and the right-wing war on science all the more relevant and compelling. In other words, clearly Baum is no flaming liberal, and the ACS is no Union of Concerned Scientists, yet even he is so outraged by JPANDS, OISM, and climate change denialism that he's criticizing them openly in C&E News.

By Yilloslime (not verified) on 13 Jun 2008 #permalink

Yilloslime, well said.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 15 Jun 2008 #permalink

Yilloslime, I see your point. But should we set become so desperate for confirmation that we reach out to people who have their own anti science problems?

@ 17: Perhaps not, except I don't see anyone reaching out to ACS here. I think the point of all this is just to make note of a situation where people with very different politics can both agree on something. As I was saying above, the fact that people from both the left and the right agree that JPANDS, Milloy, OISM et al are all off the deep end--that fact we all agree on this--makes it a lot harder for these guys to argue that there's a left-wing conspiracy against them.

By Yilloslime (not verified) on 16 Jun 2008 #permalink