“No, you mustn’t say what it means!”

Climate Change: News and Comments

CERN chief forbids “interpretation” of CLOUD results

Although still very busy with other work, I keep looking out for results from the CLOUD experiment at CERN in Geneva, which is testing Henrik Svensmark’s hypothesis that cosmic rays help to make clouds. They are due for publication this summer. All I have just now is a startling remark by Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director General of CERN, in an interview by Welt Online a few days ago.

Here is a tidied-up Google Translate version of the relevant exchange.

Welt Online: The results of the so-called CLOUD experiment, exploring the formation of clouds, are awaited with great excitement. Could these results still be important for understanding global climate change?
Heuer: This is indeed a matter of understanding better the formation of clouds. In nature there are many parameters at work – including temperature, humidity, impurities and also cosmic radiation. In the experiment, CLOUD investigates the influence of cosmic rays on cloud formation, using radiation [meaning particles] coming from the accelerator. And in an experimental chamber one can study, under controlled conditions, how the formation of droplets depends on the radiation and particulate matter. The results will be published shortly. I have asked the colleagues to present the results clearly, but not to interpret them. That would go immediately into the highly political arena of the climate change debate. One has to make clear that cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters.

Four quick inferences:

1) The results must be favourable for Svensmark or there would be no such anxiety about them.

2) CERN has joined a long line of lesser institutions obliged to remain politically correct about the man-made global warming hypothesis. It’s OK to enter “the highly political arena of the climate change debate” provided your results endorse man-made warming, but not if they support Svensmark’s heresy that the Sun alters the climate by influencing the cosmic ray influx and cloud formation.

3) The once illustrious CERN laboratory ceases to be a truly scientific institute when its Director General forbids its physicists and visiting experimenters to draw the obvious scientific conclusions from their results.

4) The resulting publication may be rather boring.

The interview with Welt Online (in German) is here:


For earlier posts on this blog about “waiting for CERN” see:



UPDATE 23 July:  see this Higgs story from the Institute of Physics. http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/46636

Yes, as we always knew, everyone is free to say what particle physics results at CERN seem to mean, even when they’re far from conclusive. If the Director General’s edict about CLOUD results were followed in this case, they’d have to say, “We must make clear that the Higgs boson is only one of many possible particles in the Universe so please don’t take these indications seriously.”

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72 Responses to “No, you mustn’t say what it means!”

  1. matthu says:

    Sir John Beddington recently released a report examining particularly risks posed to the UK over the next 30 years by international climate change
    and invited feedback via a blog here http://blogs.bis.gov.uk/blog/2011/07/13/preparing-for-the-future/

    I searched everywhere in the report for mention of any of global cooling, Aarhus or CERN CLOUD and found none at all.

    So clearly one should infer that these results are comp0letely off the radar and not thought relevant when assessing the risks caused by increasing CO2.

  2. Richard J says:

    On 2 April 1801, Nelson disobeyed orders and won the battle of Copenhagen. For his exploits, he became a British hero, articulating the national will to resist Napoleon.

    200 years later. England expects every man to do his duty.

    Disobey orders.

  3. matthu says:

    So what is Jasper Kirkby advised to say when he is asked to explain the results he has just published?

    A: “Oh well, these are tremendously complex results …”

    Q: “Yes, but do they have any relevance?”

    A: “These are by far the most exciting results to come out of climate science in the past fifty years!”

    Q: “How do they change our understanding of global warming?”

    A: “Well, there are so many other variables …”

    Q: “Svensmark suggests that cosmic rays modulated by solar effects may be a really important factor affecting climate change. Would you agree?”

    A:: “Climate change is much more complex than we ever thought …”

    Q: “So, up until now climate modellers have totally discounted solar variability. Are they right to do so?”

    A: “Ask me another one … ”

    How long can they keep this up for?

  4. Pascvaks says:

    It does sound a little like a woman telling her husband, “Please don’t tell anyone I’m pregnant, Okay?”

    And the husband asks, “You want it to be a surprise, right?”

    And she says, “No, I just don’t want anyone to ever know.”

    And the husband rolls his eyes and says, “Ahhhhhhh.. Okay Honey, whatever you say.”

  5. tallbloke says:

    Maybe Rolf-Dieter Heuer is more conCERNed about the Deutschmark effect than the Svensmark effect at the moment?

    Got to keep that funding rolling in…

  6. Theo Goodwin says:

    What makes Svensmark’s work so very important is that he is the only scientist who offers physical hypotheses that can be used to explain and predict a natural process, cloud formation in this case, that could have a very large effect on climate change. His rather complicated physical hypotheses connect the sun’s behavior to cosmic rays reaching Earth and, in turn, connect the cosmic rays to the natural process of cloud formation. No other climate scientist has anything similar. The CAGW people are locked in their Gaia Models. People such as Michael Mann offer correlations between tree rings and temperature but no physical hypotheses at all.

    Perhaps more important is the fact that Svensmark is a virtuoso practitioner of Scientific Method. His hypotheses explain and predict the phenomena that they organize and the phenomena provide observational evidence to support his hypotheses. His work is perfectly transparent, repeatable, and quite understandable to the layman who is willing to take for granted the thornier parts of cosmic ray theory.

    Even if his work does not reveal all the secrets of climate change, it will be an important contribution to science. The same cannot be said for other climate scientists. I cannot wait to see his next publication.

  7. gyptis444 says:

    So much for transparency in climate science!
    The tradition continues notwithstanding the IAC Review of IPCC

  8. Phillip Bratby says:

    Is there no scientific institution into which the corrupting influences of the politics of “climate change” have not penetrated?

  9. kim says:

    Rays of cosmic truth
    Penetrate, cloud the issue.
    And the sun shines on.

  10. Dave says:

    As an experimentalist working at CERN I can tell you that it is standard practice to publish results with the minimum of interpretation. The CERN DG has done nothing more than make a restatement of good scientific practice i.e. experimentalists should publish results and not conjecture.

    So many of you complain that the climate scientists draw conclusions on the basis of scant data and yet you do just this with the DG’s comments.

    You really ought not to complain that climate scientists slur the sceptic movement when you’re quick with the slurs yourself.

    • Jonas B1 says:

      And an excellent practice not publishing conjecture. How strange then that this practice needs to be pointed out especially in this instance? Forgive us our suspiciosness.

      And by the way, there is no sceptic movement. We are individuals who are eager that the scientific method should be used also in climate science.

    • Robbie says:

      Tell me something Dave: How do you explain the following if CERN is just publishing results with the minimum of interpretation:

      “Wir werden in spätestens zwei Jahren eine Antwort auf die Shakespeare-Frage für das Higgs-Teilchen „to be or not to be“ haben.”

      For all I know from your comment: “It is standard practice to publish results with the minimum of interpretation.”

      So in essence: No conclusion about the existence of the ‘Higgs’-particle can be given by any of CERN’s publications.
      Conclusions on the existence of the ‘Higgs’-particle should also not be part of CERN’s practice. They should be “just” publishing the results of the experiments. Not their interpretations.

      You are trying to defend the undefendable here.

    • calderup says:

      Steady on, Dave. If you think you’ve found evidence for the existence of e.g. the W particle, you’re allowed to “interpret” the data to say so. If you didn’t, someone else might beat you to the Nobel Prize.

      And if you’ve set up an experiment (CLOUD) to see whether cosmic rays can play a climatically significant role in cloud formation, you’d be allowed to announce the answer plainly if it were No. That would be simply a result, not an interpretation.

      But if (as now seems likely) the answer is Yes, then it won’t do. It becomes by the DG’s say-so a forbidden interpretation.

      No Dave, not a level playing field.


      • Horse says:

        If you want to publish evidence of a new particle, the standard of evidence required is very high. Moreover, the theory is usually blazing a trail so that the design of the experiment provides an appropriate context in which any observations can lead to such a claim being made.

        In contrast, an experiment which “uses a cloud chamber to study the possible link between galactic cosmic rays and cloud formation” neither has the same level of theoretical prediction nor the applicability to the kind of conjecture that some people would like to see in this case.

        In short, people want these scientists to say “it was the cosmic rays that did it” when the answer is going to be the more mundane “they play a role”. But let us not get bogged down in the realities of research when a scandal or even a conspiracy is so much more exciting.

      • mrsean2k says:


        “In short, people want these scientists to say “it was the cosmic rays that did it”

        I don’t see people asking for that – I see people asking why the DG has felt compelled to issue a statement asking other people not to offer an interpretation at all.

        It’s the reasoning behind this act that’s at issue, and this is a completely different matter.

    • cogdissonancedagain says:

      It seems to me Dave, that you might have missed that there appears to be a pretty serious divide in the skills which define warmists and sceptics.

      The warmist cause appears to be overwhelmingly populated by statisticians and “soft” academics; while the sceptic side appears to be the domain of real physical scientists with a real parallel commitment to the rigorous application of scientific process.

      For example: how else is it possible to persist with the fiction the world continues to “warm” (and seas to rise etc etc) due to a tiny increase in an already miniscule level of a trace gas which is as essential as is oxygen for life to exist; when the warmist camp’s data is derived from 19th century technology scattered randomly (and inappropriately) in locations notably marked not just by being clustered in the lower latitudes and lower altitudes, but simultaneously subject to the corruption of the urban heat island affect (among others)?

      Yet the 21st century’s data (which provides an entirely different dataset and outcome) is sourced in real time over 99%+ of the world’s surface and in contiguous tiny chunks of a mere 4 square kilometres?

      Get real; get a life and accept the fact, (a fact being testable); that you and several billion other citizens and tax payers have been systematically and egregiously scammed, ripped off and duped.

      Life really will go on, just as it continued when the earth got busted back to the humble rotater it had always been after a few dozen decades when it was universally honoured as the rotated and centre of everything.

      Another scary thought for you to perhaps consider is the Roman Church of the early Renaissance survived too, much as the Ice Agers of the 1960′s and 70′s have (albeit disguised as warmists) in their current iteration

      • erschroedinger says:

        Actually the skeptic side is a tiny minority, most of whom are not scientists, not working with climate science, or who have never published any work on climate science. The “warmists” as you call them are over 95% of climate scientists, along with every national science academy in the world. Advice: stop seeing all of science as a giant conspiracy and actually learn some science.

      • mrsean2k says:

        To @erschroedinger (sorry reply button not visible)

        I’ll leave your other handwaving and subjective remarks for the time being.

        But, 95%? Let’s have a citation for that and then we can discuss whether any weight should be attached to that assertion.

      • cogdissonancedagain says:

        Please excuse the placement of this response to your request that I learn some science Herr Erschoedinger, but there doesn’t seem to be a reply button beneath your response/request which I’m hoping/assuming wasn’t rhetorical.

        Anyway, real science, even at this late stage sounds not just pretty good to me but quite refreshing as well, so for your particular pleasure and enjoyment, please find attached a link which confirms the “greenhouse” effect is as much an illusion now as when Dr Wood systematically debunked it way back in 1909: ~


        Tiresome it may be, but entropy (just like physics generally) won’t be denied, particularly when there’s no container to contain the heat, which sort of renders/finishes off the whole ridiculous AGW scam as ridiculous too

    • paulmwho says:

      Then perhaps you can explain this Dave:


      Where was the CERN DG’s outcry when this scientific results by press release was “leaked”. When billions of taxpayer’s money is at stake to finance a theoretical fantasy he was nowhere to be found.
      At least Svensmark’s hypothesis deals with THE REAL WORLD.

      • A physicist says:

        Is this an “outcry”? Seems more like an off-hand comment to me. Those of us working on the ATLAS experiment were reminded in no uncertain terms after that rumour got started that “breaching the confidentiality of internal ATLAS work is a serious violation of the our policy.”

    • Theo Goodwin says:

      Well, OK, I can agree with you. But let us warn Professor Heuer that an American audience will infer that he prohibited speech when he says that he warned his fellows about interpretations. We enjoy a robust freedom of speech that is unknown in any other country and we insist on it.

    • kingkp says:

      Davie boy may have a point – but not in the way he thinks. I’ve always thought the strange thing about climatastrology is the fact that one set of people collect the data, analyse and manipulate the data, theorise(using the word losely of course) such that it fits in with their new age mantra of global warming meaning colder european winters, but wait that might change next year…in physics there is (or was when I did physics as an undergraduate) a clear distinction between the theorists and applied physicists, the one formulated the theory, the other falisifed it by experiment. Now would that be a fine model to take on board in Climatastrology. Who knows we might learn something about what really drives climate change

    • Pete Ridley says:

      Hi Dave, what you say fits in with what another CERN scientist has just said in an E-mail ” .. CERN is a particle physics lab and not a center for climate studies. Of course, any individual is free to voice his/her opinion on the results…but in his/her own name! .. “.

      I’m inclined to go along with that and Svensmark would seem to be the appropriate scientist to analyse those results.
      Best regards, Pete Ridley

  11. mrsean2k says:

    Dave, I understand your position (and my response was much like yours), but are there other examples “in the wild” where the CERN DG has felt obliged to caution against interpretation *ahead* of the release of results in this way?

    It doesn’t have to be related to experiments with a bearing on this particular controversy.

    I genuinely don’t know if this is the case or not; I’d expect you might have a more informed view of it.

  12. Dave says:

    A different Dave here, but I agree with the one above: interpretation can be left to others. If you present your results clearly and the connotations are obvious, then you don’t need to make them explicit, and if they’re not, then showing what logically devolves from your experimental work is a further step which should be separate.

    • mrsean2k says:

      A fair position. But the question is, has this admonition / reminder been applied in other cases?

      If so, it’s obvious we’re complaining because of a sort of virtual cocktail party effect – it just seems significant because we’re interested.

      If not, that raises a different set of questions.

      • Dave says:

        Try and avoid pre-judging – simply take each case on its merits. In this case, it’s easily explainable, and we have a statement from the other Dave that this is normal practice for CERN, as it should be.

        Surely one of the things we object to in clisci is people who do ‘research’ with a predetermined objective in terms of the conclusion they want to draw? Good research is not done on this basis.

      • mrsean2k says:

        @This Dave

        Once again, I don’t quibble that it’s policy (or not) to interpret results.

        I take issue with the assumption that it’s standard practice to publicly remind everyone not to interpret.

        If the nature and timing of the reminder / admonition is unprecedented that in itself tells us something, not the content.

        This isn’t conspiracy theory territory.

        It should be a simple matter to point to other reminders of this kind if they exist.

  13. Luboš Motl says:

    Nigel, this is incredible. A good find.

  14. Rob Potter says:

    On the one hand, wouldn’t it have been good if NASA had imposed this stricture on Jim Hansen (and a few others) over the past 15 years?

    And on the other, the issue is not the request to not interpret, but the specific reason why not that is the ‘smoking gun’ here. It is not the “what” here that is at issue, but the “why” – that a Director should state this so explicitly makes me think that he is covering his rear-end.

    To Dave (from CERN) – could you let us know if specific instructions like this mention other reasons?

    • Luboš Motl says:

      It may have been good in this particular case, or ideologically, but otherwise it’s just fundamentally wrong to prevent scientists from trying to find the broader implications of their work.

      Climate alarmism and the distortion of science didn’t arise because of the lack of constraints. It was born out of the constraints themselves that allowed some very bad science – such as the science represented by James Hansen – to employ additional people, get additional money, and grow out of proportion, increasingly eliminating anyone who is inconvenient.

      If this Hansen-like tumor within the scientific community had never grown, you would still see that scientists are what they have been for centuries – largely impartial seekers for the truth. It’s been known to be a good idea to allow them to think about any observation or any idea and its links with any other idea at least for 500 years.

      The real problem in the current climate science isn’t that this was made possible – it was made possible centuries ago when the Church got a bit more moderate; the real problem in the current climate science is that the free expression of legitimate research has become de facto impossible. If it were possible and if the climate science were thriving and lively communicating, James Hansen would be universally known to be what he is, namely a fringe pseudoscientific crank.


  15. Jeremy says:

    The quote in the article sounds rather benign. If I were a leader in his position, I also would encourage those under me to refrain from trying to interpret the results in a broader context. In fact, the act of applying results to a presumed problem that it likely has only a minor relationship with is why CAGW became the nonsense that it has become. Encouraging your scientists to stick to results/methods and not broader interpretations of meaning is exactly what all pillars of the scientific community SHOULD be doing. Climate science is a highly politicized science at the moment, asking the people under you to keep their mouths shut about the politicized science is only being prudent, not sneaky or underhanded.

    In short, you are likely alienating the scientists working on CLOUD and CERN with the accusations here. You’re accusing them of something they simply are not doing.

    • Luboš Motl says:

      It’s just rubbish, Jeremy. Science must always study whatever interconnections between the phenomena, insights, and theories may exist, interpret experiments in all conceivable ways, critically look at all these interpretations, back and forth, and so on. It must always try to get as far as possible, to find the most far-reaching yet valid and possible implications that follow from the newest insights. That’s what scientific progress is all about.

      It’s complete nonsense to say that climate alarmism was born because this (proper scientific activity) was happening. It was born exactly because it wasn’t happening. It was born because papers about 99% of the hundreds of genuine mechanisms that are relevant for the climate weren’t allowed to be interpreted as being relevant for the big picture in the discipline – and only 1% of the “politically correct” mechanisms – determined outside the community of genuine technical researchers – became “kosher”. Papers proving that some other hypotheses are wrong (like CO2 greenhouse effect with strong feedbacks) etc. were being hidden in the drawers and trash bins. So increasingly the people who are interested in the politics were becoming the key drivers of the discipline of climatology and they were deciding about the big things, funding, whom to hire, and whom to fire, while the people doing real technical research (who would normally collect most of the citations in a health scientific environment) were being pushed into small rooms, losing any power, and they were silenced. This bad policy is just being exported into the traditionally most distinguished discipline of all natural sciences.

      The right approach should have been for the people with the greatest actual achievements in the science to decide about the big questions of the science as well. The researchers who do technical work like that should have been in charge. In that way, the climate science could have never been overwhelmed by intruders who were named and ordered to do predetermined things by politicians and ideologues – because the politicians and ideologues were suddenly deciding about the big questions while the technical workers became just irrelevant janitors.

      It was this dull atmosphere where climate experts doing real research – like Lindzen, Svensmark, or whoever – were ordered not talk about the big questions of the field which were suddenly reserved for the politicians and politicians in the skirts of scientists (like Hansen).

      Those 10 million euros were logically paid for the experiment because the experiment *may* be relevant for something that has some broader impact on the human knowledge, not because it is not relevant. I don’t say that cosmoclimatology is the holy grail of the atmospheric sciences – I tend to believe it surely plays some role but I am not sure about the size of this role myself. But this ignorance is exactly why there should exist impartial research about these things. It’s totally obvious that if science were working properly, people in the cosmoclimatological research would be trying to establish the most possible far-reaching interpretations of the phenomena they study, and these constructions would only be being falsified by the actual counter-evidence, not by taboos.

      The money was paid for CLOUD because the global climate change began to be viewed as an important thing in the society, not because it wasn’t important. There is no other justification than the importance of the climate change in the society that would justify why a particle physics lab pays 10 million dollars to study a question in atmospheric sciences.

      • Jeremy says:


        It is not my favorite thing at all to disagree with you, particularly when you make such good points. However I think you are conflating true scientific work with the media-political-science-by-press-release that we have today.

        I was not speaking to scientists, nor telling them to keep their creativity shut off or their imagination closed, in supporting what this boss has directed those under him to do. I was speaking to how the reality we have investigated is communicated to the rest of the world. Right now we have “peer-reviewed” “results” by “experts” and “scientists” in the media on a daily basis, 99% of which is completely vacuous at best or abject garbage at worst. Nearly all of it is contradictory.

        True scientists as you speak of have chosen a path of pursuing creative problem solving to the riddles that no one has an answer to. They have chosen that path and so long as they stick to it, there is no issue. However that simple message has been perverted into a stinky pile of worthless human fear by an political industry and a media that seek nothing but new fears to ride for their next election.

        In such an environment, Yes, I think true scientists should shun all public interpretation of results. Let the rest of humanity draw their own conclusions from those results and learn something in the process. However, *DO NOT*, in any false pretense of knowledge presume to be the final word on human understanding as so many rent-seeking “experts” today do.

        Let me say that I do not disagree with what you have said, but I think you are focusing on what science should be on the inside. I’m talking more about the unfortunate scenario we have now where scientific understanding has been usurped by the political industry.

      • Luboš Motl says:

        Dear Jeremy,

        thanks for your thoughtful reply. Still, I think that you have described the causes upside down. The debate ceased to be scientific exactly because the decisions have been left to the (mostly unscientific) public – and the politicians who represent them.

        Whether you find it a flattering picture or not, the public determines the opinions mostly by copying someone else’s opinions, so when the creators are just citizens in the public, the spreading of opinions and conclusions is all about controlling other people, propaganda, intimidation, groupthink, fads, and that’s why it becomes all about politics. The politicians are nothing else than representatives of the public. You might think that they’re worse or qualitatively different but they’re not. They key point is that neither politicians nor other laymen use proper scientific techniques to determine the scientific answers and this defect is *especially* bad it if is applied to the most important, e.g. big-picture scientific questions.

        The only way how the climate science may stop being political and how it may return to be a science is that those who do detailed technical research will actually regain their influence on the “overall” question and “summary” of what has been found (there are not too many left). Most of the answers to the genuine climate questions – or any scientific questions – can’t be predicted by a citizen in the public in advance. That’s how it differs from the current climate “science” where everyone (or 98% of everyone haha, as they calculated) can predict the “right” answer – it’s always the most catastrophic one. ;-) But science doesn’t allow any such simple algorithms – or Al Gore Rhythms. If it did, it wouldn’t allow any special expertise and it wouldn’t be science.

        This “oversimplification” only happened exactly because the decision making about the final and most important conclusions was left to non-scientists. Those non-scientists then adjusted the composition in the scientific community and ordered the scientists to fill in the details in any way so that the scientific picture fits into the big picture template predetermined by the non-scientists – mostly ideologues and politicians.

        The CLOUD experiment is or should be one of dozens or hundreds of similarly expensive experiments that say something about the climate science and the climate science is composed out of them. There are lots of details about how the cosmic rays work if they work – and there are also one-number summaries what percentage of what changes it is responsible for. All these things have to be freely discussed. They’re not discussed because Svensmark’s theory and 99% of other relevant effects have become taboos. It’s a complex discipline so there’s no immediate relationship among different pairs of insights. That’s how it differs from the current would-be climate “science” as well – the current would-be science has a “unifying theme”, the doom. But the actual climate doesn’t have any unifying theme. It is a “boring” technical discipline with lots of seemingly unrelated or really unrelated insights that a layman – or a bad scientists such as a vast majority of the alarmists – has no chance to master.

        Even if you left it to the public and the public were found to be mostly skeptical – and it probably is in the U.S. and elsewhere (surely here in the Czech Republic!), it still doesn’t make the scientific picture work. You just need experts for that. Real experts who do impartial work and who are allowed to investigate any possible consequences of their work and the work by anyone else.


      • Jeremy says:

        I think I see what you are saying. You are (correctly) afraid that what this man has done is tell those working on the experiment not to discuss interpretations of the results with anyone. I read his restriction as something different. I read it as him telling those in his charge not to go blabbing to the press about how these results might overturn dogma.

        There is a fantastic show we have in the U.S. It’s made by two Canadians. It’s called South Park. All of the episodes are online. I recommend going and finding the episode where the main characters discover that Earth is just one big reality show for aliens to watch, and tell all the worlds top scientists. The reaction from that announcement is priceless. Suddenly all the worlds top scientists go crazy in their seats, jumping all around saying, “We’re on TV!!!” The point I am making is that scientists have a window that others do not. That window is firsthand knowledge of our investigations into the universe around us. These experimenters often toil in total obscurity, working long nights to try and make experiments work, having no social lives. When any one of them sees a chance at fame, they naturally feel like recognition is finally there and they should speak about what they know. This is not a slight on them, scientists are human just like anyone else. I’ve been there myself (Masters Physics), so I know what it’s like to work your butt off just to make something that 40 people in the world might ever read.

        In these conditions, then try to throw in essentially poverty without government funding. Imagine those same scientists/grad students working long nights with no grant money to pay them. It takes on a different kind of surreality when you do this for free. Of course Government funding does exist so that these people can be rewarded for their creativity. This is generally accepted as a good thing. I’m somewhat mixed on it. On the one hand, true creativity is sometimes rewarded. On the other, true creativity has a carrot hung in front of it, making you wonder if it’s really creative or just a deal made. In the case of climate science, some less-than-honest scientists went forward with their interpretations of results to politicians who were funding them. This interpretation was that there was something to fear that required massive government intervention (TAXES). This was perfect for the politician, and perfect for the rent-seeking, fame-seeking publicly funded scientist. It created this perfect storm.

        You say that this storm could have been avoided if the whole of our scientific creativity had been allowed to express itself. I agree. However, the cause of this nonsense is scientists convincing politicians and media that they are unquestionable experts and they say the world is ending and man is the cause. They are rent-seekers and ultimately charlatans who abused their (wrongly) society-given authority to tell everyone to change their lives.

        I say scientists need to stop saying anything is certain. They need to stop providing grand interpretations of the consequences of the results of their small line of expertise. All that humanity knows is cast into doubt at some point, as all that we thought we knew in the past was wrong in some way.

      • Luboš Motl says:

        Dear Jeremy, I know South Park pretty well.

        What you’re saying – let me call it the accusations – just don’t apply to people like Kirkby who are as conservative and fame-not-seeking scientists as you can get.

        If someone gets crazy when he first realizes that he loves to be on TV, it’s bad. But the right “solution” to this “trap” isn’t to prevent scientists from sharing their results. Quite on the contrary, the right solutions is to saturate the “TV market” with scientists who actually have to compete and who have the ability to shoot down a colleague who started to say indefensible things.

        So your solution is upside down.

        You also want to ban Kirkby et al. from saying that this research is important because it can qualitatively change the climate science. That’s very bad. He has an unquestionable right to say such things and he actually has a pretty detailed quantitative, empirical evidence that this is the case. In essence, my understanding is that you agree that scientists should be gagged when it comes to the important questions and conclusions related to their disciplines. I beg to differ.

        Any ban on expression is always “imperfect” because there is someone who doesn’t have to satisfy the restrictions. In the past, these people were called eugenicists, today they’re called climate alarmists, but the logic is still the same. Their scientifically unjustifiable hegemony always ultimately boils down to rules that “gagged” everyone else which is why a fringe group, lacking any “foes”, could expand and get out of control.

        All the best, LM

  16. Alicia Newton says:

    That man needs to be fired immediately from CERN. Send them a letter. Let them know how you feel. Enough of blogging your angs’ts

  17. “That would go immediately into the highly political arena of the climate change debate.”

    That sounds more like a heads-up to me than a warning not to do something.

    Perhaps Heuer is trying to remain true to science whilst “playing the game” of his paymasters, One cannot know for sure. “Die Gedanken sind frei.”

    • Luboš Motl says:

      Dear Bernd, good to see you here – upside down and virtually haha.

      It’s very strange that we don’t agree about such things. I am totally on Nigel’s side. Those findings and any genuine scientific findings *should* influence the highly political arena of the climate change debate because it’s being said that the climate change debate builds on science. I can’t imagine how you could possibly morally justify that the climate change debate, if it is scientific, were hiding the results of a 10-million-dollar experiment performed in the largest scientific facility in the world as irrelevant ones. Whatever they are, they’re relevant for anyone who actually looks at the climate in the scientific way.

      (They could also be redundant, in comparison with Svensmark’s own experiments, but that’s another story.)

      The reason why the climate science is in this mess is that a vast majority of the actually relevant phenomena – which contain lots of technical results that make sense – is being hidden into the drawers, silenced, and presented as irrelevant details that are not allowed to influence the big picture. When all real science is silenced in this way, it’s not shocking that politics supported by virtually no real science – the idea that CO2 has a big impact on the overall warming of the whole Earth and maybe all catastrophes and so on and so on – fills the vacuum and becomes the dominant meme of the whole discipline. The discipline ceased to be scientific exactly because 99% of the “technical details” – actual scientific results – have been downgraded to details that have no right to influence anything.

      “Perhaps Heuer is trying to remain true to science whilst “playing the game” of his paymasters.”

      You say it like “It’s OK” and maybe even “It’s great”. But it is totally unacceptable for a particle physicist – and Heuer is a particle physicist – to “play the game of his paymasters” (I suppose some politicians or someone with money and/or power). This just violates the basic rules of the scientific integrity in the most striking way and if this were really confirmed, and we’re not far from it, I would surely insist that he would have to be removed from his chair because he is corrupt.

      • Hello Luboš.

        Good to see you in bits. ;-)

        While I agree with the sentiment of Nigel Calder’s (and your) position; that scientists should never choose or to be put in a position of self-censorship, nor to call for it from their colleagues, I choose to take the optimistic outlook based on my interpretation of the comments made.

        “Ich habe die Kollegen gebeten, die Ergebnisse klar dazustellen aber nicht zu interpretieren. Damit würde man sich sofort in die hochpolitische Arena der Klimawandeldiskussion begeben.”

        Heuer declares/warns that any interpretation will immediately place them into the high-political discussions of climate change.

        Pragmatically, you know that when scientists become involved in politics that their scientific output goes through the floor. Especially if they let themselves get dragged into trying to explain the science and its value to nincompoops who tend to aggregate disproportionately in political, media and bureaucratic circles. Scientists, by and large, do not have the people skills to deal with it. They certainly can’t afford rock-star media managers.

        While we can never know Heuer’s true motivations, I think that it’s unfair to attribute the worst motivation.

        The comments certainly got a great deal of media coverage. Much more than the interim results. Which no doubt left more of the wider population asking why scientists seem to have ignored (or dismissed out of ignorance) clouds as a factor in climate.

      • Luboš Motl says:

        Dear Bernd,

        because the political questions related to the climate science are – or should be – based on science, it follows that the scientists who actually do some research have or should have impact on the politics.

        It’s up to everyone to choose whether he wants to make an interview or do anything else than is not a part of the scientific research. But it is unacceptable for someone else to gag them from deducing the consequences.

        Of course that the interest in broader issues that some people view as controversial takes energy from other things, like some often boring research of details that no one cares about (sometimes for good reasons, sometimes without any good reasons). But it’s also often more important.

        Someone in the society will ultimately *always* fill the vacuum and determine the “big picture” – and move everyone else to the periphery. And it’s just important that this place should be occupied by people who actually did research directly relevant for those issues, with weights roughly proportional to the scientific merit of the research.

        It’s just completely wrong and kind of unethical for someone (and maybe even you, according to your wording) to downgrade people like Kirkby to machines whose only task is to keep their scientific output high. Science is not about scientific output producing things that no one cares about. Science is primarily about things that do matter – for our knowledge of the world and for the practical applications of science as well. Kirkby has been doing serious research of these things with a serious background at a serious place for a decade and he surely has the right – and should be encouraged – to express his opinions about the broader questions at the level of all the climate science in which he became an expert. Other people who are much less experts are not being blocked, in fact, they’re being encouraged.

        All the best

  18. Gene Dempsey says:

    It sounds like Wilson’s cloud chamber to me!

  19. [...] =========================================================== Calder writes on his blog: [...]

  20. Gene Dempsey says:

    Wilson’s cloud chamber appears in standard Modern Physics Text books of the 1950′s

    • Luboš Motl says:

      It is, of course, the very same mechanism. The basic mechanism is surely much more important a part of the standard physicist’s cannon than e.g. the greenhouse effect. There’s still a long path from this basic cloud chamber to the question how much it matters for the climate on the whole Earth but there’s indisputably a scientifically established core of this idea.

  21. Rockyspoon says:

    As a scientist who speaks out without representing anybody but myself, I find CERN’s position on this completely indefensible. Period. Do these people pay for their experiments out of their own pockets, and since they do not, whose money paid for it? The taxpayer, of which I am one. And so they are not only making stupid pronouncements, but they are essentially stealing the money that supports them in getting the results and making such pronouncements. The subject at hand isn’t proprietary and it isn’t intellectually protected–but it is a very hot topic that needs full disclosure so we can quit spending $billions to curtail $trillions in wealth. That’s the real reason for this prohibition on truth–those that want to control us don’t like free ideas and free decisions based on those ideas.

    • Sara says:

      As a scientist you should know that ‘interpretation’ is a nebulous beast involving many caveats. Look at the recent leak wrt the Higgs boson, which turned out to be merely a less than rigorous experimental method and a biased statistical evaluation. It’s much better to publish your initial results without skewing the interpretation too much, so that others can take your raw data and draw their own conclusions. Surely those who are genuinely interested in these results from a non-politicised point of view have the resources and knowledge to do this?

    • erschroedinger says:

      More of the “scientists are all in a giant socialist conspiracy to steal our money and control our lives” total nuttiness. What rock do you people crawl out from?

  22. [...] Calder appears to have picked it up first, and concludes that: 1) The results must be favourable for Svensmark or there would be no such [...]

  23. Gary says:

    If the role of CGRs in cloud formation can be responsible for even 20% of the past climate change, that would mean all 21+ global climate computer models need their coefficients revised visa-vi the amount of change attributable to CO2.

    But don’t hold you breath. The climate model coeficients have not been revised since the debunking of the Hockey Stick graph which is the basis of current coefficients (or at least their validation, sic). If they had been, the projections for 2100 would have been revised downward over the last 10 years and that has not happened.

  24. [...] Höhenstrahlung nur um einen von sehr vielen Parametern handelt.Lubos Motl spreekt er schande van. Nigel Calder is ontdaan. En ik ben ook met stomheid geslagen. Hoe kun je dit zeggen? Hét cruciale onderzoek dat [...]

  25. Hey stupids! China is burning coal like crazy to generate enough electicity for manufacturing all the goods that the west consumes, ejecting Co2 and sulphur in astronomical quantities.

    Yet, nobody has the moral right to ask the chicoms to stop or throttle back, unless the “free world” sets an example first, an example of voluntarily and significantly reducing carbon-burning activity.

    You may argue infinitely long about causes of the Global Climate Change, but it is a matter of fact that Miss Venus shines brigth in the sky. As long as planet has a surface temperature of 490 deg C and a surface air pressure of 88 Atm, enough to pour lead, the outcome of a same fate for Planet Earth remains a clear and present danger.

    It doesn’t matter what causes GCC. Yet, the only known action we can do now to stop or slow it is to reduce the carbon-burning economy which we run. Mankind must become humble in its material desires, because nuclear energy is not safe and without reducing carbon burn there is nothing we can do to protect Earth from GCC. Maybe it’s little help, but it has a proven remedial effect, whatever small.

    Maybe we will have fusion energy in 50 years and then the consumer economy mania can ramp up again, but the bellowed arrogance of the anglo-saxon style capitalism must cease in the interim. It is not manifest destiny to devour the whole planet in 3 generations or less!

    • mrsean2k says:

      Tamas, the causes of any warming *are* significant.

      If the causes are anthropogenic to any significant degree we can measure, and the effects are net-negative, it’s worth scaling back and devoting time and money to changing behaviour.

      If anthropogenic causes are only a bit-player, and the climate is changing in response to natural cycles, we will have to adapt instead.

      The danger is that we cannot spend our effort twice; if we throw colossal effort at reduction and find it makes no difference and we must adapt, what then?

      This is one reason why it’s important to understand the causes and be frank about the uncertainties involved.

  26. Dili says:

    There is no way to know if there is increase in temperatures. Today.
    Even less 100 years ago.

  27. [...] The quantity of cosmic rays has an influence on climate, but this isn’t factored into the IPCC…. [...]

  28. joltinjoe says:

    If something to be said is restrained it is always because there is something to hide. If not; let them talk. Money and pride are the chief reasons to restrain someone from speaking. In this case CERN has folks on both sides of the AGW debate. To speak out with the truth will harm someone’s money source and harm someone’s pride for being on the wrong side of the results. While trying to prevent disunity within CERN may be a management goal, the better choice is to let everyone speak. Now you know!

  29. Actually, to understand the debate about global warming and things like this “Don’t interpret the results because it’ll be against our desired policies!” all one has to do is look back over the past 30 years or so of antismoking research as it concerns the effects of secondhand smoke. The main difference is that the Antismokers have been far more successful in thier control of the science.

    E.G. Instead of simply saying “Don’t Interpret” the results when the results turn out “bad,” they’ll simply blatantly MISinterpret those results. In 1998 the World Health Organization released the results of the largest international case-control study on ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke) exposure and the development of lung cancer. It was forecast to be the definitive study that would prove a link and justify smoking bans.

    The only problem is that in virtually every category examined the WHO study completely failed to find a link that would pass even the basic statistical significance association.

    With one exception.

    The subset of the study that examined exposure in children *DID* come up with the one highly significant result found in their research. Children of smokers got later-life lung cancers 22% **LESS** often than matched children of nonsmokers. This was the **ONLY** significant result found.

    So how did they deal with this embarrassment? Simple: In the study abstract, although the simple numbers were right there to read, the authors declared they showed “no association.” This wasn’t simply a NON-interpretation … It was a complete and total MIS-interpretation.

    See the bottom of http://www.nycclash.com/Philly.html#ETSTable for a reproduction of the actual abstract and reference to the journal citation where it can be found if you wish to check. This sort of distortion of science in the name of advancing a political or idealistic goal is nothing new in the global warming sphere: It’s been going on for decades in the “War On Smokers” and largely accepted and ignored. The pathway has been well-laid and tended — GW is just the spread of the same policy.

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”

  30. [...] posible, como Nigel Calder ha observado , que los resultados del CERN son simplemente demasiado “aburridos” de interpretar (a [...]

  31. Henk Kraa says:

    On the latest posting on his website, Piers Corbyn states in a video that he saw cloud formation on a unusual high altitude of 10 – 15 km which was solar activity related. In public, Svensmark and Corbyn seem to have different opinions toward the reason the climate is what it is, but can it be that both their theorys match to a certain extent?

  32. [...] ส่วนคำสัมภาษณ์ขอนำมาจากเวป http://calderup.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/%E2%80%9Cno-you-mustnt-say-what-it-means%E2%80%9D/  ซึ่งแปลเป็นภาษาอังกฤษมาแล้วนะครับ [...]

  33. Jonathon says:

    It’s impressive that you are getting thoughts from this article as well as from our argument made here.

  34. Is there no scientific institution into which the corrupting influences of the politics of “climate change” have not penetrated?

  35. Riyo says:

    Keep going..

  36. […] În calitate de fizician, Nigel Calder scrie: „Ilustrul laborator CERN încetează să mai fie cu adevărat un institut științific atunci când Directorul său General interzice fizicienilor săi, precum și cercetătorilor străini de la CERN, să tragă concluziile științifice evidente din rezultatele lor”. În ciuda faptului că alarmiștii încălzirii globale au susținut că nu există nici o legătură între imensa și violenta minge de foc din spațiu, care este de peste 100 de ori mai mare decât Pământul, conduce anotimpurile, produce erele de gheață și schimbările climatice, informațiile oferite de studiile lui Henrik Svensmark arată o corelație istorică clară între pătrunderea razelor cosmice și temperatură, după cum se poate observa în graficul de mai jos. […]

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