Philip Foster to Paul Nurse

Sir Paul Nurse
The Royal Society
6-9 Carlton House Terrace
London SW1Y 5AG

29th January 2011

 Dear Sir Paul,

I understand that the Royal Society has changed its motto from ‘Nullius in Verba’ to ‘Respect the facts’. This is unfortunate.

In your factoid-riddled Horizon programme for BBC2 you allowed a NASA computer scientist to tell the audience, without a challenge, that temperatures have risen .7 deg. during the last 50 years. This was supposed to be a problem. Yet of course 50 years ago temperatures were at their lowest since 1922 (GISS figures) and therefore such a rise is not at all surprising, especially considering that temperatures have levelled off over the last fourteen years (Dr Phil Jones in a BBC interview 2010). By choosing a convenient starting point it can seem alarming, but it is not. You should, as a scientist, have challenged his assertions – ‘nullius in verba’. But if you merely ‘respect the facts’, you are at liberty, it seems, to ignore them.

The suggestion that a rise over 30-40 years will continue is like suggesting the following:

Since June 22nd last year a small but discernable daily reduction in daylight has been taking place such that by December 22nd daylight hours had nearly halved. If this trend continues (even though there has been a small increase in the last month), in about seven or eight months‘ time there will be no more daylight. We desperately need government funding to research and cure this dangerous trend.

Unfortunately that describes rather well current AGW thinking. In investigating all dubious activities the best thing to do is to follow the money‘. And, behold, billions of dollars, pounds and euros are being spent on “research” into AGW and in subsidies for idiotic “renewable” energy sources.* It has given NASA – already a rather corrupted bureaucracy – a new lease of life. As we know, in the UK, corruption of science has grown apace along with the foolish policies of mostly very gullible politicians. It is the poorest who now suffer the most – carbon taxed and bullied into expensive energy consumption (59p per litre of petrol is a carbon tax – the fuel escalator introduced by conservative chancellor Clarke as a designated green tax).

I am tempted to suggest you should stick to genetics. Climate is clearly outside your comfort zone.

 Yours sincerely,

Rev Philip Foster MA
1 Barnfield, Common Lane,
Hemingford Abbots,
Cambridgeshire PE28 9AX
01480 399098

* particularly idiotic as peak oil/gas is now hundreds of years away and peak coal not even on the horizon. Burning fossil fuels is wholly beneficial to the biosphere.

5 responses to “Philip Foster to Paul Nurse

  1. Who on Earth thought up the slogan ‘respect the facts’?

    Such an insipid, weak and bland phrase. They might as well have gone with ‘believe the consensus’, or ‘authority before reason’.

    Dumbing down AND kowtowing to groupthink. Well, i suppose they still have a very fine building left, even if nothing else.

  2. “Nullius in Verba” means “we take nobody’s word for it”. Much better.

  3. Rev. Foster certainly has no knowledge about climate science and his reasoning abilities are lacking, in fact, embarrassing. What is particularly striking his his refusal to take his own advice while arrogantly trying to lecture a respected scientist on that of which Rev. Foster is entirely ignorant.

    To cherry pick a comment and use it to misrepresent an entire body of science is a well-worn fallacy that serves as an admission that Rev. Foster is rather ignorant of the subject matter.

    Of course, he can choose to educate himself about the science of climate change. The resources are enormous; a good start is here:, where Rev. Foster is most welcome to challenge or refute any of it.

    Amazingly, Rev. Foster chooses not to take his own advice and “follow the money.” Does he actually have no knowledge of the funding of climate science denialism which he has fallen for?

    Rev. Foster would do better study ethics and the immorality of the denialism he supports. Ignorance is no excuse, Rev. Foster, and the display of your arrogance of ignorance to Nurse, in writing no less, only serves to display your self-delusions.

    A good place to learn about denialism is here:

    Good luck.

  4. Excellent letter by Rev Foster to the RS.

    My impression is that Delingpole has probably forgotten more about the AGW nonsense than Nurse is ever likely to learn.

    First, let’s get away from the subject of presentation skills. Delingpole is a writer infrequently seen on TV, and seen here in a distinctly hostile environment, taking into account the massive BBC bias re the global warming fraud. Even with practise and coaching he may not be the type who could come across persuasively on the box, I know I couldn’t ever myself with all the help in the world. I’m not too surprised he looked nervous but this isn’t his job.

    What about substance; who got the science right? This is crucial; at one point this conversation took place between Nurse and the NASA man:

    “Bob Bindschadler: We know how much fossil fuel we take out of the ground. We know how much we sell. We know how much we burn. And that is a huge amount of carbon dioxide. It’s about seven gigatons per year right now.

    Paul Nurse: And is that enough to explain…?

    Bob Bindschadler: Natural causes only can produce – yes, there are volcanoes popping off and things like that, and coming out of the ocean, only about one gigaton per year. So there’s just no question that human activity is producing a massively large proportion of the carbon dioxide.

    Paul Nurse: So seven times more.

    Bob Bindschadler: That’s right.”

    This was the two of them informing an audience of millions, the majority of whom would be ignorant of the numbers, that mankind is producing CO2 at such a rate that it dwarfs natural sources seven times over, a staggering figure and one guaranteed to frighten viewers into thinking the AGW warning of imminent catastrophe is justified.

    So what’s the truth? In reality Nurse’s statement was wickedly misleading. If we go to Skeptical Science which is on the side of the AGW fraud rather than the sceptics for the relevant (estimated) figures, we see that the natural environment puts out 771 gigatonnes of CO2 p.a. against makind’s output of 29 gigatonnes p.a. (some of which is absorbed environmentally anyway). So natural CO2 emissions are in fact about 27 times greater than mankind’s!

    Doing the sums, that means Nurse and Bindschadler were out by more than a factor of one hundred. In fact Nurse actually misled the public by a factor of close on two hundred times (7 x 27 = 189) for the human output of CO2 in relation to nature.

    That doesn’t strike me as being the work of a man knows anything about AGW. Or if Nurse didn’t know what he was talking to begin with, he clearly didn’t bother to do any homework before presenting the programme and attempting to blow the sceptics away. This statistic is one of the most simple and basic facts that anyone talking about this subject has to know. I don’t claim to be a scientist but even I’ve been aware for years that man-made CO2 is less than 4% of natural emissions.

    So IMHO either Nurse hasn’t a clue about the simplest basic facts about carbon dioxide, or he was knowingly party to a seriously fraudulent misrepresentation of the facts before millions of viewers, most of whom would presumably assume the president of the RS would know what he was talking about.

  5. I see that an idiot who spends untold hours conniving with others in the carpet bombing of Delingpole’s libertarian Telegraph blog is posting here. If anyone doubts the veracity of that statement, then I suggest they look at Delingpole’s forums and note the quantity and frequency of the disruptive posts by bje which, in concert with certain other well established trolls are intended to disinform, disrupt and distract from the content of the blog on a regular basis.

    Why is an individual with such a proven antipathy to libertarians posting here?