I’m afraid there’s only one reaction possible to this: Steve Connor is a complete dick head. He gets the opportunity to have an email exchange with Freeman Dyson, arguably the greatest living scientist on Earth, and seeks to lecture him on global warming. He seeks to sell his religion to a man who, intellectually, could have him for breakfast. I understand Dyson’s exasperation and dismissiveness. It’s rather like seeing a chicken trying to out-fly and eagle.
A few of Dyson’s comments:
“My impression is that the experts are deluded because they have been studying the details of climate models for 30 years and they come to believe the models are real. After 30 years they lose the ability to think outside the models.
Unfortunately things are different in climate science because the arguments have become heavily politicised. To say that the dogmas are wrong has become politically incorrect. As a result, the media generally exaggerate the degree of consensus and also exaggerate the importance of the questions.
Of course I am not expecting you to agree with me. The most I expect is that you might listen to what I am saying. I am saying that all predictions concerning climate are highly uncertain. On the other hand, the remedies proposed by the experts are enormously costly and damaging, especially to China and other developing countries. On a smaller scale, we have seen great harm done to poor people around the world by the conversion of maize from a food crop to an energy crop. This harm resulted directly from the political alliance between American farmers and global-warming politicians. Unfortunately the global warming hysteria, as I see it, is driven by politics more than by science. If it happens that I am wrong and the climate experts are right, it is still true that the remedies are far worse than the disease that they claim to cure.
I wish that The Independent would live up to its name and present a less one-sided view of the issues.
With all due respect, I say good-bye and express the hope that you will one day join the sceptics. Scepticism is as important for a good journalist as it is for a good scientist.”
Here at the end Dyson has realized he was talking to an idiot, but decided to conclude the interview politely. Go and read the whole thing if you can stomach it.
Oh, and let me just add this from the comments:
Freeman Dyson, B.A. Mathematics, Cambridge University (1945), Research Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge University (1946–1947), Commonwealth Fellow, Cornell University, (1947–1948), Commonwealth Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University (1948–1949), Teaching Fellow, University of Birmingham (1949–1951), Professor of Physics, Cornell University (1951-1953), Fellow, Royal Society (1952), Professor of Physics, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University (1953-1994), Chairman, Federation of American Scientists (1962-1963), Member, National Academy of Sciences (1964), Danny Heineman Prize, American Physical Society (1965), Lorentz Medal (1966), Hughes Medal (1968), Max Planck Medal (1969), Enrico Fermi Award, United States Department of Energy (1993), Professor Emeritus of Physics, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University (1994-Present)
Notable: Unification of Quantum Electrodynamics Theory.