Now, I agree with Krugman that whatever the guy wrote is his business and the tactics that Republicans are using are reprehensible. If Krugman were simply to stop there and defend academic freedom, I'd be his biggest cheerleader.
However, Krugman being Krugman, he cannot stop at that point, and given the viciousness of his attacks on people who disagree with him, I would say that Paul Krugman is little more than someone who believes in "free speech for me, but not for thee." Instead, he then goes to the "Climategate" emails that were made public a couple of years ago and claims that there was nothing in them that smacked of fraud or even bad science.
Not surprisingly, a real scientist has a different take. Professor Emeritus of physics Hal Lewis of the University of California at Santa Barbara recently resigned from the American Physical Society after 67 years of membership and a distinguished career. He is not a right-winger, nor someone who believes science should be politicized. But it also is clear he does not see the "Climategate" emails in the same way Krugman sees them, writing in his resignation letter:
It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.He goes on:
So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it. For example:I would urge you to read the letter in full, as it tells what happens when governments that want certain results throw money at scientists. Now, I am sure Paul Krugman would not mind this one bit, and I doubt he would give someone like Professor Lewis the back of his hand (or worse).
1. About a year ago a few of us sent an e-mail on the subject to a fraction of the membership. APS ignored the issues, but the then President immediately launched a hostile investigation of where we got the e-mail addresses. In its better days, APS used to encourage discussion of important issues, and indeed the Constitution cites that as its principal purpose. No more. Everything that has been done in the last year has been designed to silence debate
2. The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative of the talents of APS members as I have long known them. So a few of us petitioned the Council to reconsider it. One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word incontrovertible, which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety. (They did admit that the tone was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word incontrovertible to describe the evidence, a position supported by no one.) In the end, the Council kept the original statement, word for word, but approved a far longer “explanatory” screed, admitting that there were uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket approval to the original. The original Statement, which still stands as the APS position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice to all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is. This is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast fractions of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society as a scientific society is at stake.
3. In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work. (Emphasis mine)
However, since Krugman is talking about academic freedom, what about the case of Pat Michaels, the former State of Virginia climatologist and professor at the University of Virginia. A. Barton Hinkle writes:
They (conservatives) recall how Virginia’s former state climatologist, Pat Michaels, essentially was hounded out of his job at the University of Virginia because—although he agrees with the mainstream view that human activity is warming the planet—he is insufficiently alarmist about it. Gov. Tim Kaine’s administration publicly disowned Michaels. Environmentalists tried to have his funding cut. And the champions of academic freedom now so vocally defending Mann were, back then, conspicuously silent.Since I never read any defense of Michaels' academic freedom from Krugman or his ilk, I think it is safe to say that Krugman most likely approved of what happened to him. After all, Michaels, in Krugman's parlance, is a "denier," and thus loses any academic credibility or right even to be teaching in a university.
No doubt, this is just another example of the double standard Paul Krugman employs when gracing us with his opinions. If Krugman or people with whom he agrees say something, then it must be supported in the name of free speech and academic freedom. However, disagree with the Master and his opinions on a variety of things, then release the hounds!