Lindzen dismisses Hansen’s defamationsRichard Treadgold | May 15, 2011
Tobacco/cancer comment mere malicious slur
Answers his critic as a true gentleman
See UPDATE below
I was disturbed about the comments I posted last night from a member of ‘Slick’ Hansen’s audience in Massey the previous evening. In an astonishing, unprovoked outburst, Hansen suddenly turned on the absent Dr Dick Lindzen, besmirching his character with outright lies. After trying to verify Hansen’s claim that Dr Lindzen doesn’t believe smoking causes cancer, I sent Lindzen the following email.
Dick’s reply is most thoughtfully written and I commend it for your consideration. As an outstanding example of fine thinking under personal pressure it’s a pleasure to publish it. Jim Hansen should be ashamed of himself for repeating misleading slurs and outright lies. I’m certainly ashamed of him.
Here’s my email to Dick:
Dear Dr Lindzen,
Please forgive this rude question, but I wish to defend your reputation.
Dr Jim Hansen is visiting here in New Zealand and was reported last night to have referred at a public meeting to your good self, but in a disparaging way. He said, among other comments, that you had never accepted that [smoking] tobacco causes cancer, so obviously your judgement cannot be trusted. You can see my post about this on the Climate Conversation Group site at
Thing is, I tried for two hours this morning to verify the tobacco comment, but had to give up. I remember reading a refutation from you of this and perhaps other allegations but cannot remember where.
Would you mind, please, commenting on this or sending a reference I can use in your defence? I consider it important to defend our leading sceptical scientists in public forums, because arguments for reason must not fail.
Climate Conversation Group
Dr Lindzen replies
For the record:
1. I have always noted, having read the literature on the matter, that there was a reasonable case for the role of cigarette smoking in lung cancer, but that the case was not so strong that one should rule that any questions were out of order. I think that the precedent of establishing a complex statistical finding as dogma is a bad one. Among other things, it has led to the much, much weaker case against second hand smoke also being treated as dogma. Similarly, in the case of alleged dangerous anthropogenic warming, the status of dogma is being sought without any verifiable evidence.
2. I have never stated anything in Wall Street Journal Op Eds that I did not support in my discussions with colleagues.
3. In his book, Hansen goes so far as to claim that I testified on behalf of the tobacco industry. This claim is absurd.
I might add that I looked into the possibility of legal redress after Hansen published his book, and learned that I had neither the money nor the time to pursue such a remedy. Incidentally, it should be noted that promoting alarm has proven to be very lucrative. Jim has collected millions and recognition hardly commensurate with his scientific achievements. In that connection, I would be curious as to how much Jim received for his appearances in New Zealand. I suspect that it would be much more than anyone presenting a more rational assessment would receive.
Publish far and wide
Dick says this is “for the record,” so his comments can be published by anyone, anywhere. Please help with distributing them to those you know who are interested.
There are two strands to this controversy, both of them important. On the one hand we have an innocent scientist expressing an honest opinion whose motives are being impugned without cause — or rather, not without cause, but in the service of malice. On the other hand we have an activist scientist acting within and outside the law to denigrate, besmirch or otherwise silence his opposition, simply because that opposition is capable of demolishing the platform of his activism.
These tactics reveal the qualities of Hansen the activist scientist and it paints a nasty picture. Reasonable people will prefer the company of those who don’t besmirch their opponents but instead attend to what they say.
Has anyone discovered the fee Hansen receives for his visit here?
I posted a remark on Jim Hansen’s visit Facebook page as follows:
Jim made unprovoked and defamatory remarks at Massey about Dick Lindzen. Dick has replied to these in very polite terms, and the public now deserves to hear from Jim Hansen either an explanation for his surprising fabrications or an apology. Jim’s reported remarks are disgraceful by any standards and place the probity of his climate activism under a cloud. A full description is at the Climate Conversation site.
That was posted about 2:30 pm; at 3:30 pm there’s no response except the comment here from Nandor. Hmm, Tanczos?
It’s passed 5:30 pm, over three hours it’s been, and nobody has replied or complained about my criticism of Hansen. His Facebook visit page isn’t very popular.