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Institutional Bias

I have a new pamphlet out.

In 2007, the Energy Group of the Institute of Physics agreed to invite the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Lawson, to speak to them about his new book on global warming. While all the members of the group's committee were enthusiastic about the idea of hearing from someone so prominent, their decision unleashed a bizarre sequence of retaliatory actions, which left the Energy Group in tatters.

Told through the eyes of group chairman, Peter Gill, this new pamphlet reveals how one learned society has attempted to deal with dissenting voices on the global warming question and paints a disturbing picture of intolerance and bias.

Get it here.

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Reader Comments (53)

Downloaded and read - Amazing, but no surprise. Thanks Bish - another good but depressing read.

Nov 27, 2012 at 1:26 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

Great read as always your Grace. The childish antics of these carpetbaggers and ecoloons are infuriating. But it makes it all the more satisfying that the sun is setting on the stupid cult they wasted so much effort on.

Nov 27, 2012 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterFergalR


The return of the pamphlet is a wonderful feature of the new media.

Nov 27, 2012 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

I'll read it when I get the chance. I don't know how you get the time to research and write these wonderful books/pamphlets/articles.

Nov 27, 2012 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Bish I wish you wouldn't depress me with stuff like this. I like stories with happy endings. The real point here is that it only takes a small number of committed activists to defeat democracy and that is what is happening in all walks of life. We live in the age of the pressure group. And most of the population is blissfully ignorant watching 'strictly idiots waltzing' or 'I'm a useless loser get me some publicity' on the telly.

We must not give up the good fight.

Carthago delenda est

Nov 27, 2012 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinhead

Looks like Colin Axon - one of the stars of your pamphlet Bish - is Associate Director of an outfit called 'Institute for Carbon and Energy Reduction in Transport' I wonder what they might do? If anyone wants to put a face to the name, see here

Nov 27, 2012 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinhead

I fully understand the feelings expressed by Dolphinhead and others. What the Bish describes could not have happened in the Institute of Physics that I joined over 40 years ago. This of course begs the question of what changed to allow this to happen but that's another rather long story. Maybe shining a light on what went on in 2007 could yet lead to some different endings than various players anticipated.

Nov 27, 2012 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter F Gill

A great 99p worth if a bit depressing to see the corruption of science yet again. These pygmies are so frightened of hearing anybody who disagrees with them. Great reporting, Bish.

Nov 27, 2012 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Fowle

Dolphinhead @ 3:06

"I wonder what they might do?"

One of Colin Axon's skills appears to be as a grant collector. I quote: "Colin has won 18 grants for public engagement of science and engineering."

Nov 27, 2012 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

As a physicist, reading the pamphlet makes me so depressed that physicists could behave in this way. I used to think that physicists were interested in finding out the truth about how things worked. It would never have occurred to me that this sort of corruption, and that's what it amounts to, could occur in the IoP. It seems to be symptomatic of our society today that all institutions have been taken over and corrupted by these eco-fascists (or whatever other term is best to describe such people who care about their dogmatic beliefs and not the science or the truth).

An excellent, if depressing read. The situation will correct itself one day. I continue to be bouyed up by the hundreds of normal, decent people I come across who refuse to give in to the scams and who are prepared to fight against the corruption.

Nov 27, 2012 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Peter Gill

good of you to pop in. Is there any prospect of this sorry tale being brought to the attention of all the members of the IoP?

Nov 27, 2012 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinhead

The IOP site has a useful search box.

Search "climate change" and it returns 225 items.
Search "life, the universe and everything" and it returns 6 items.
Search "atmosphere carbon dioxide" and it returns zero items.

It would appear that the majority of members are busy with something generally outside physics, only mildly uninterested in discovery and entirely ignorant about the cause of what most occupies them.

Nov 27, 2012 at 5:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

To answer Dolphinhead I would say that there are possibilities of reaching some IoP members with the story but given the present structure of the organisation and the communications allowed I would say that the chances of reaching all members is vanishingly small.

Just a small point for ssat in case (s)he doesn’t know the various IOP sites have been changed at least three times and much of the material present on the previous sites has gone missing (including many posts by yours truly specifically dealing with atmospheric carbon dioxide and its various sources and sinks).

Nov 27, 2012 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter F Gill

Has Your Grace informed the Institute of Physics about the publication, I wonder? After all, it should be of interest to them. Perhaps you should contact IOP Publishing and ask them if they would consider publishing a printed version. If they are cunning they might think that if they agreed to publish your pamphlet that would disprove your allegations of bias!

Nov 27, 2012 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

This is shocking. These people know no shame. They will do anthing to achieve their agenda, not giving a hoot if they ruin a noble institution in the process. Very depressing that such scum should prevail.

Nov 27, 2012 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneToTheSlammer

As a long term member of IoP I have been increasingly appalled by the lack of objectivity shown by the Magazine (Physics world). I wrote to complain about the lack of serious review of the work of Henrik Svensmark and Jasper Kirkby. When an article did appear there was some carping comments not supported by the science and whatever you think , there has been no comment about the science as expressed by the "Slayers group" especially the paper by Jo Postma "Absence of Measureable Greenhouse Effect "

which deserves at least a rigorous review. I echo the comments by Philip Bratby above. I have just read the pamphlet and I am discussed at what I read. It makes depressing reading but many thanks to Andrew for bring it to the notice of members like me. All IoP members should download the Pamphlet.

Nov 27, 2012 at 8:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Lea

It would be good if IoP members could forward a link to this page to any of their physics contacts.

Nov 27, 2012 at 8:05 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Peter Gill

This is what happened. The IOP woke to find Goldman Sachs tanks on their lawn.

Carbon trading could be worth twice that of oil in next decade

The carbon market could become double the size of the vast oil market, according to the new breed of City players who trade greenhouse gas emissions through the EU's emissions trading scheme.

The ETS market may see $3tn (£1.8tn) worth of transactions a year in the next decade or two, according to Andrew Ager, head of emissions trading at Bache Commodities in London, with it even being used as a hedge against falling equities or rising inflation. "It is still a relatively new industry with annual trades of around €300bn every year. But this could grow to around $3tn compared to the $1.5tn market there is for oil," says Ager, who used to be a foreign currencies trader.

The speed of that growth will depend on whether the Copenhagen summit gives a go-ahead for a low-carbon economy, but Ager says whatever happens schemes such as the ETS will expand around the globe.

Nov 27, 2012 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff


You could send copies of your pamphlet to sociologists and philosophers who are interested in science. There is a Science Studies Unit at the University of Edinburgh. Its director is Professor David Bloor.

David Bloor

According to Wikipedia David Bloor is one of hte founders of the strong programme in the philosophy of science.

"In the 1970s he and Barry Barnes were the major figures of the strong programme, which put forward queries against philosophical a priorism in the understanding of scientific knowledge. This is an approach, popular in the philosophy of science, that simply precluded inquiries about science by treating successful scientific knowledge as simply true or rational without empirically investigating how such knowledge has come to be accepted as true or rational. Bloor's book Knowledge and Social Imagery (Routledge, 1976) is one of the key texts of the strong programme."

In addition to the people in Edinburgh there are also some in Cardiff who would be worth contacting. Cardiff University has a Centre for the Study of Knowledge Expertise and Science.

According to one of the web pages about KES (Knowledge Expertise and Science) in Cardiff, one of the fields of interest is Climate Change.

About KES

"The main focus of the Centre's work is the developing the new Studies in Expertise and Experience (SEE) through case studies of pure and applied sciences as well as projects investigating public understanding of, and participation in, science. Current and recent research projects have examined on topics including experimental and theoretical physics; genetics and biomedicine; economic theory and forecasting; automation and intelligent machines; technology transfer; deliberative methods; GM crops and products; health policies for AIDS and MMR; climate change."

Unfortunately the climate change field seems to be left up to a doctoral student.

Research Activities

People who are just starting their academic careers might understandably be cautious about challenging "consensus" views and that is quite understandable to anyone who has read your exposure of the activities of the Institute of Physics.

Nov 27, 2012 at 9:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

eSmiff -

and pricing carbon dioxide is now backed by almost all of Big Oil. Newsday appears to be the only MSM outlet reporting this:

16 Nov: Newsday: Carbon tax: Exxon backs Obama plan to impose climate change fees
Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) is part of a growing coalition backing a carbon tax as an alternative to costly regulation, giving newfound prominence to an idea once anathema in Washington...
It is gaining interest as lawmakers and President Barack Obama pledge to simplify the corporate tax code and raise revenue to narrow the deficit. The devastation from superstorm Sandy following the wildfires and drought of this summer have also increased concern about global warming...
“It does fit with the Republican idea of cleaning up the tax code, and to have a clean instrument for addressing this problem,” John Reilly, co-director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, said in an interview. Given this year’s weather disasters, “it’s hard to stand up and say global warming is a hoax,” he said...
The Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, which says it advocates libertarian and conservative values, held a full-day discussion Nov. 13 to examine how best to implement a carbon tax, which its economists say could enable a cut in corporate taxes and head off regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency. The same day, an opponent of the idea, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, filed a lawsuit against the Treasury Department, seeking private e-mails it said would show the administration is secretly pushing for a carbon tax.
“They want new sources of revenues, and this is an enormous one,” Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Washington- based CEI, said in an interview. “This thing is gaining steam. If successful, it would be disastrous.”...
The carbon tax also has had support among economists who have worked for Republican administrations, including Kevin Hassett, who is also at AEI, and Gregory Mankiw, an economist at Harvard University...
Exxon is the biggest U.S. natural-gas producer. A carbon tax could boost demand for natural gas in U.S. power plants, as gas emits half the carbon dioxide as coal when burned to make electricity...
Carbon Conference
Exxon, the world’s largest energy company by market value, gave AEI $295,000 last year. Exxon played no part in Mathur’s research or the meeting, she said...

Nov 27, 2012 at 9:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

A lot of things 'could' happen. But making money by swapping credits is not a true market. Its a forced ecconomy only, and it will only work if legislated to do so.

So far carbon trading has been a failed market. Yet it 'could' pick up. Though I'm not going to say that would be a good thing.

Nov 27, 2012 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh

Re: Reilly (MIT) on "given this year's weather disasters"

On hurricanes there is no trend! In fact, the past 5 years including Sandy are a relative lull but absorbed in a century-long flat trend line:

Of course facts don't slow Alarmist hype artists intent upon exploiting the fact that Sandy made such an impact in the US mid-Atlantic region (where I live and was without power for 3 days)***

***nothing compared to people who were seriously harmed in more lasting ways, but I mention my location merely to say it is possible to be surrounded by downed trees and flooding while still considering a wider range of evidence than activists having emotional and propagandistic reactions to the events

Nov 27, 2012 at 9:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

Quite shocking. Excellently written - well done again, Andrew

Nov 27, 2012 at 10:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterNic Lewis


fwiw, this moment illustrates one reason I choose to remain anonymous on the web -- there is a lot of nutty stuff around that I do not care to associate my real name with, even in discussion, even to repudiate.

A very sensible reason. But universalise it - by everyone taking the same view - and I'm not convinced the results will be pretty. That isn't a dig at you or anyone else making the decision you have. It's plea for intelligent debate on this matter. Not necessarily on Bishop Hill.

Nov 28, 2012 at 12:32 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Albert Pierrepoint. Somewhat macabre choice of moniker: given or selected?

Nov 28, 2012 at 7:31 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

will the CLIMATE have the last word on CAGW?

28 Nov: Daily Mail:
Now SNOW is set to fall as Britain faces coldest winter for 100 yearsTemperatures to plummet to minus 3C this week and could fall as low as 20C in December
Fears that snow blizzards could close roads and shut down rail networks as winter takes hold

Nov 28, 2012 at 7:39 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

1884, 1984 ... Bourbaki, Orwell ... allusions all.

I've finished the pamphlet Bish. Magnificent in more than the writing - in the caring for Peter Gill and his story. There's no proof by induction that every other major scientific society has been taken over by the same kind of cheats to become a mouthpiece of a greedy, grubby climate consensus - commanding silence of its ever-predictable figures of hate like Lord Lawson. But there are surely echoes. Thanks to both of you for the inside story. Even one unit of the IoP with an open mind had to be closed down, in every sense. Invaluable.

Nov 28, 2012 at 8:50 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

And also, the IOP deprived themselves of hearing an entertaining speaker...

Nov 28, 2012 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Fowle

In James Camerons classic film Aliens.The Evil Aliens were hiding in a giant Fussion Powered Atmosphere Processor

Colin Axon wants to build one.Just plant a few more trees instead

Nov 28, 2012 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

shock, horror! very relevant super duper news on INSTITUTIONAL BIAS:
28 Nov: Daily Funny Mail: A rebellion is brewing within the Bishop Hill State following the apparent relaxation of rules against trolling, thread-bombing and generally unscrupulous behaviour.
The rebellion is so serious some have likened it to Arab Spring. "I am sick and tired of the regime that allows the political mates get away with murder", a citizen of Bishop Hill said on the condition of anonymity for safety reasons. "They call themselves Libertarians but in fact they are right-wingers first, Libertarians second. If you're a left-libertarian you'd never get away with that much trolling in Bishop Hill. This must change and the time to act is now. Either right-wing trolls are treated same as left-wing trolls or we have a revolution in our hands."
It is understood that the latest conflict began after a right-winger and a proponent of unregulated free-markets who calls himself 'pat' began bombing the threads with irrelevant clippings from various right-wing newspapers.
Trolling and thread-bombing are not unusual phenomena in Bishop Hill. What is so unusual in this instance is the apparent impunity with which 'pat' has been hijacking threads and has been able to get away with it for so long.
"I don't have to explain myself to you", 'pat' said in response to queries. "This is a free market of ideas. If you don't like what I post, then don't read it. No one forces you to read it. Obviously there are enough buyers for my ware otherwise I wouldn't be running this business. Now go away! I am too busy to talk to ignorant media who have their own barrow to push".
Others disagree.
"This is a shameful example of an unregulated market gone bad if not mad", said another Bishop Hill resident who also asked to remain anonymous. "There already are many precedents where the authorities had to intervene to save the unregulated market from destroying itself and our community. A certain ZBD comes to mind. And for the record, even Hitler had his own supporters right to the very last moments of his life and even today."
The authorities were unable to comment last night as this report went to the press.

Nov 28, 2012 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

"If you're a left-libertarian you'd never get away with that much trolling"

What does a left-libertarian believe in? No, seriously, I want to know. But it's probably ot, so never mind. However it has always seemed to me that your posts get removed here for being annoying or being off-top, nothing else.

Nov 28, 2012 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

OT: SHx, a good LOL, thanks. Fwiw, I agree but I simply don't pay attention to most of the stuff that 'pat' puts up here (I'm sure some may object to my verbiage and OTs but I try to keep it in check, not always with success). In general, I appreciate helpful links but no lengthy quotations unless the latter are important and right ON topic. I am chatty and interested in a wide range of matters, so I find going OT less objectionable than many do, but it does quickly clutter and distract a thread.

Nov 28, 2012 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

Typical story I'm afraid, the zealots have infested the national associations everywhere.Good read though Bish.

Nov 28, 2012 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

From today's register:

Nov 28, 2012 at 5:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Also essential reading on institutional biases and how scientific societies have been subverted by the monomania of climate Alarmism:

Richard Lindzen, "Climate Science: Is It Currently Designed to Answer Questions?"

Originally 2008 and revised in Sept. 2012

Nov 28, 2012 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

Skiphil: Lindzen was first with so much of this stuff. I read avidly the 2008 version and am grateful for being alerted to the September revision. But we've never I think had a blow-by-blow account of how one independent and open-minded unit within a scientific society was effectively tranquillized, from within and from above, for the 'common good'. That adds depth to the point Lindzen already makes very well.

Nov 28, 2012 at 5:37 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

can someone enlighten me on the purpose of the Institute of Physics? What does it exist for? Who funds it? I always thought that possession of degrees in physics was all that was needed to be a physicist? Does anyone have a public practice as a Physicist?

Unless care is taken, these bodies can get infiltrated and taken over by activists, without the largely supine subscription payers taking notice - it can even happen to political parties, eg the Militant tendency within the Labour Party.

Nov 28, 2012 at 6:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

I am glad to learn that I am not the only one who ignores anything posted by "pat". I generally do not make it beyond the third line...then the torrent of unformatted, undistilled, irrelenant to the post in question "stuff" makes me shift to the next post. But still, it is a real name, so i guess Richard Drake enjoys these posts.

Nov 28, 2012 at 6:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

diogenes: 'pat' is not a real name any more than yours. And I skip his/her posts as fast as anyone.

Here's a tip for you. If you have a beef with someone, which is your unalienable right, it's not only fairer to ascribe reasonable intelligence to them, until proved otherwise, it's more likely to persuade them you have a point. You didn't get off the drawing board here.

Nov 28, 2012 at 6:49 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

BOL reels in the self-styled Drake.

Now back to topic.

Nov 28, 2012 at 7:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Many thanks Bish,
It reads like a play set in Florence at the time of the Borgias.
What a sad state of affairs!

Nov 28, 2012 at 10:44 PM | Registered CommenterPatagon

all over bar the talking:

29 Nov: Bloomberg: Alex Morales/Kim Chipman: China, EU Comments Show Reduced Scope of UN Climate Talks
China teamed with the European Union and envoys from the bloc of 48 Least Developed Countries to dial back expectations for United Nations climate talks, indicating that there probably aren’t any new promises for aid or cuts in greenhouse gases on the horizon...
“In order to eradicate poverty and try to improve living standards, we need to develop,” Su Wei, China’s lead negotiator at the talks, said in an interview in Doha with a group of journalists. “So of course the emissions will need to grow for a period of time. The direction of policy is very clear. It’s directed at peaking of emissions as early as possible.”...
“The real risk is that finance in the next two weeks could crash this COP,” said (Al) Gore, who is observing the meeting...
The European Commission’s lead negotiator said meetings had been scheduled for after 6 p.m., showing that “people are getting serious and starting to roll up their sleeves.” ...

Nov 29, 2012 at 1:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

And this outfit is a CHARITY?

Nov 29, 2012 at 4:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

@Nov 28, 2012 at 7:39 AM | pat

Pat - you are ignoring the fact that now, when it get's really cold, it's because it's getting really hot. Don't forget that. Apparently intelligent people even believe that.

Nov 29, 2012 at 4:20 AM | Registered Commenterjeremyp99

Your Grace, this pamhlet was extremely well written. Like the HSI, it was a real page turner.

Nov 29, 2012 at 6:24 AM | Registered CommenterVieras

Just been watching Levison,s statement

Going to have a new PCC with a Government Appointed Chairman and Commitee.This thing with have teeth backed by law.BBC are talking about Ofcom regulating.

So will it apply to Scientific Publications?

Nov 29, 2012 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

I bought the Kindle version and after some difficulty (the causes of which remain unidentified at this writing) got it installed, but I've not yet had time to read much.

I am interested in off-line conversations with anybody else that had difficulty.*

I am anxiously awaiting an opportunity to continue reading--is he going to turn out to be a "plant"? It has been a while since I have read a whodunit that worth what this one starts out to be.

*My email address looks a lot like my name sans white space and I get my mail from the network of Cox.

Nov 29, 2012 at 8:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterLarry Sheldon

A good read, Bish. It would be instructive to see how many institutions are afflicted by bias and it is not just the scientific ones. My own, the RICS, has been repeating the mantra for a number of years now, as has ICE, but I am certain they do so because they are hitching themselves to the green-jobs-for-the-boys bandwagon, probably in much the same way as the green-grants-for-the-boys in science and academe.

Nov 30, 2012 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy

I still don't know why I had difficulty getting the thing into Kindle-land--when I'm through being sick I'll see if I can figure out where I went into the weeds.

But far more importantly, that is the most disturbing thing I have read since Rands "Anthem", or Huxley's "A Brave New World" (with flashbacks of Lucas's "THX 1138"). And not nearly as funny as the Sokal Hoax.

I will now have to learn a great deal more about those organizations and what their span of control is.

I am not a conspiracy theorist, but it sure seems like there is a corntrolling organization with the power to dispatch people to take over a "bothersome cell"/

Dec 1, 2012 at 1:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterLarry Sheldon

Posted (the notice, not the pamphlet) to Facebook without permission:
"I care not a whit in this instance what your political and religious proclivities are particularly with respect to global warming (yes, I know that is hard for you to accept from me, but honest: Kings X).

If you have ever believed the words "free and open exchange of information" refer to a Good Thing, you need to read the pamphlet mentioned here:"

Dec 1, 2012 at 4:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterLarry Sheldon

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