A Scientist Discovers the Climate Scam

Unsettled? What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters”, By Steven E. Koonin, ISBN 978 1 950 665792, 306 pages (2021).

Anyone who has been paying attention for the last 20+ years will find nothing surprising in Prof. Koonin’s rather successful book. (The copy I bought was from its 8th printing). Grant-dependent publish-or-perish academics churn out papers mostly biased towards the politically-favored “consensus”. The academics & government scientists selected to compile the various official reports on “climate change” tip-toe carefully around data that does not fit the pre-approved narrative. The bureaucrats who summarize the scientists’ work present conclusions that are not supported by the technical text. And the scientifically-illiterate media types who relay the bureaucrats’ summaries to the citizen body simplify the message to “PANIC”.

Prof. Koonin does deserve some credit, though. He began as a nuclear scientist at Caltech, and has over 200 peer-reviewed papers. Unsurprisingly for an academic, he is a self-admitted Democrat. From 2004 to 2009 he was Chief Scientist for well-known polluter British Petroleum. From 2009 to 2011, he was Under Secretary for Science in the extreme Obama Administration’s Department of Energy. But now he has gone and done it! He is undoubtedly no longer on the invitation list for any of the best parties in the D.C. Swamp. Writing this book certainly took some courage.

However, one point in his book stopped me dead in my tracks. In 2014, Koonin was asked to lead an effort to update the American Physical Society’s public statement on climate. It was only during this effort that he realized climate science was “far less mature” (as he diplomatically puts it) than he had supposed. Where had he been for the previous two decades?

Just to pull off the shelf a few relevant books of the kind a Department of Energy scientist might have been expected to have read:

1998 – Bjorn Lomborg, “The Skeptical Environmentalist”, where he accepted the hypothesis of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) but explained there is no need for panic.

2000 – P. J. Michaels & R. C. Balling, “The Satanic Gases”, where they demonstrated the great scientific weakness of the AGW hypothesis.

2002 – C. Essex & R. McKitrick, “Taken by Storm”, where they explained the limitations of both the data and the computer models tortured to support the dubious AGW hypothesis.

2004 – Michael Crichton, “State of Fear”. A rather unusual foot-noted scientifically-solid popular novel in which Crichton blew the warm-mongers out of the water.

2007 – S. F. Singer & D. T. Avery, “Unstoppable Global Warming, Every 1,500 Years”, where the authors put the very mild recent warming trend into geological perspective.

From Prof. Koonin’s admission, it seems that a prestigious insider scientist knew less about the climate controversy than any peon who had visited a public library in the last two decades. And yet this is the kind of person who was part of the machinery of government which grinds us peons into the dust. It is an astonishing glimpse into the insularity and outright ignorance of our rulers.

Now his eyes have been opened, what does Prof. Koonin suggest? Back in 2004, Michael Crichton advanced the concept of subjecting any science which is proposed as a basis for official policy to a good old-fashioned public adversarial trial between representatives of the official line and powerful well-funded Devil’s Advocates. Prof. Koonin waters this down to an internal government Red Team/Blue Team exercise – which would be about as meaningless as depending on the Republicans to present any coherent opposition to our Democrat rulers.

Probably unintentionally, what Prof. Koonin’s book demonstrates is that the politicization of science is a symptom of a deeper problem in our governance structures rather than being the problem itself.


I became acutely aware of Koonin the very day that the news broke about “cold fusion”. At the time I was working in a reasonably influential position at Science Applications International Corporation. Among my daily contacts were Manhattan Project veterans – the kind of guys who weren’t in awe of Manhattan Project veterans and so didn’t view Big Science as a quasi-religious cult. I xeroxed the news release and put it in the mailboxes of all the scientists at the facility which, at the time, was doing work on SDI.

Another colleague was a young guy – a recent graduate from CalTech who had studied under Koonin and viewed Feynman with awe. He also apparently viewed Koonin with awe because he said that he’d talked to Koonin and Koonin had told him there was nothing to it. This was enough to convince him. This rush to judgement struck me as peculiar – especially since the experimental protocol followed by Pons and Fleischmann hadn’t yet been published. But that didn’t stop this acolyte of Koonin’s from making sure everyone in the facility knew that Koonin Had Spoken.

Then Koonin managed to incite a mob psychology at an APS meeting about a month after the P&F announcement, stating:

“We are suffering from the incompetence and perhaps delusion of Drs Pons and Fleischmann.”

The APS mob then erupted in a round of applause.

Later, when the DoE’s committee investigating the matter issued their report, this was its preamble:

“Ordinarily, new scientific discoveries are claimed to be consistent and reproducible; as a result, if the experiments are not complicated, the discovery can usually be confirmed or disproved in a few months. The claims of cold fusion, however, are unusual in that even the strongest proponents of cold fusion assert that the experiments, for unknown reasons, are not consistent and reproducible at the present time. However, even a single short but valid cold fusion period would be revolutionary.”

  • Dr. Norman Ramsey, Nobel laureate and professor of physics at Harvard University was the only person on the the 1989 Department of Energy cold fusion review panel to voice a dissenting opinion. Ramsey insisted on the inclusion of this preamble as an alternative to his resignation from the panel.

After Koonin led his APS mob on the warpath, one of the scientists at SAIC, virtually under his breath, expressed to me his regret that the political atmosphere would not permit our facility to investigate cold fusion.

This was followed by claims by “Nature” that there had been no successful replications. However, very shortly after Koonin’s APS Putsch, Oriani submitted just such a replication to “Nature”. “Nature” rejected the submission on the grounds that such replications had been generally difficult and that Oriani did not report nuclear ash – only excess heat – and Oriani did not provide a theory for how there could be excess heat but no nuclear ash!

So here we have the preamble of the DoE’s report being fulfilled by Oriani and “Nature” blocking it from publication.

I have nothing but utter contempt for Koonin.


For the good reasons you expressed so cogently! This does raise another of those puzzles – given Koonin’s history, why has he published a book which, however gently, slashes the throat of the whole “green” movement? Has Koonin gone rogue? Or is he playing a part dictated to him by a Ruling Class which is belatedly realizing its own stupidity?

The people in your tale that really concern me are the “APS mob” who were so quick to applaud Koonin’s rejection of a puzzling experimental result. They are supposed to be physicists, after all! And what about your young colleague from CalTech who apparently relied on the authority figure of Koonin? Don’t they teach students at CalTech to rely on physical evidence rather than on potentially-flawed human authorities?


In Freeman Dyson’s lecture on heretical thoughts about science he says:

“The world always needs heretics to challenge the prevailing orthodoxy. We are lucky that we can be heretics today without being burned at the stake.”

To which I say, “Oh YEAH?”

Note that both Norman Ramsey and Freeman Dyson were Nobel Laureates who stood alone against the slime mold that has enveloped civilization with its orthodoxies.

This, in my opinion, is a direct consequence of the centralization of wealth and power during the coming of age of Boomers – hence removing any semblance of reproductive security from the middle class. Scientists are generally middle class, but Boomer scientists increasingly felt their grip on reproductive viability slipping away along with their economic security to at least be able to support a mother at home caring for her children.

This is what gave rise to so many cults that attracted Boomers into pseudo-families that promised a haven from the vicious destruction of their economic security.

From an evolutionary viewpoint, having your bloodline terminated by “Cancel Culture” without also doing you the mercy of killing you may be worse than being burned at the stake.

So people learned to buckle under to the central authorities whether in the public or private sectors.

If you want heretics, you need a “middle class” that is at least secure enough in its reproductive viability to view their life outside their families as something that can be sacrificed on the alter of intellectual integrity.


What you guys are calling “heretics” seem more to be merely “dissenters”. Heretics usually have the crazy sense that NOTHING can stop them. In that sense they are more that mob.

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It is probably true that Dyson and Ramsey should be considered dissenters rather than heretics but only because they didn’t have vital interests on the line in expressing their dissent. This is true not only because they were both Nobel Laureates – and so could weather the storms of controversy better than those of us with lesser social status, but also because they were aged and had little to lose. (Even James Watson, who was forced to sell his Nobel medal to avoid destitution, walked away with millions from that sale.)

But when wealth and power become so centralized that it becomes impractical for people to vote with their feet, the vast majority of dissenters tend to feel cornered into either silence or extremist activism. If, on top of that, the orthodoxy enforces its views in terms of “morality”, theocratic terminology applies.

Much climate change rheotric is moralistic in nature, so it fits quite well.

Now, there does appear to be a substantial terminological gap here since Koonin’s ridicule of Fleischmann and Pons did not explicitly turn to moralizing in the terms “incompetence” and “delusion” (heaped with a good dose of ridicule as evinced by the fable ending his talk and by the APS’s reaction). Perhaps a better term for such authoritarians would be “therapocracy” in that the opponents of orthodoxy are viewed not so much as “sinners” as in need of “therapy” for their “delusions”, or at least to “remedy” their “incompetence” – presumably by being required to enter a reeducation camp under the direction of their betters, such as Koonin.


Minor quibble—Freeman Dyson never won a Nobel Prize. It is widely believed that he should have shared the 1965 Physics prize for quantum electrodynamics, but the Nobel prize cannot be shared by more than three people, and Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga were chosen.


Dyson also didn’t have a doctorate. His career was amazing, based solely on the force of his intellect.


Based on the last few years—I don’t put much stock in a Doctorate holder.

(A wise man is not afraid of discourse).


Kind of my thoughts too.


Joe Rogan interviewed Koonin about his book in February 2022 (link)

I listened to the show when it came out. Watching the video gives you the benefit of the visual aids Kooning brought along - you can watch a free15 minute preview along with an entertaining comment stream


Koonin going out of alignment with the aligning moral warfare of what John Robb calls “The Swarm” is reminiscent of Trump’s emergence as what I called at the time of his “Mexican Rapist Speech”, The Likud Candidate. As the West disintigrates under the corrosive effects of the resource curse known as “The World Reserve Currency” there are bound to be factions emerging out of the de facto aristocracy that realize they’ve got to kick or they’re going to end up under the guillotine. Meanwhile, they have to deal with their junkie compatriots who are still in denial and have their gaping maws open for the open sewer main out of the Federal Reserve.

I’ve offered them a way out with Ockham’s Guillotine but they are surrounded by reality distortion fields arising from their court toadies and sycophants* imported with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 by the tens of millions – from cultures that smelled this sewage from across the globe. I doubt guys like Koonin can “come to Jesus” in time to save themselves.

I have to give special mention to Jonathan Haidt here, as having possibly contributed to the suffering of billions by occupying the critical Ivy League position he does as a “realist” social scientist who has thrown up a roadblock to reforming the social sciences:

This is exactly the kind of thing that junkie aristocrats who are trying to become more realistic need to hear to stay in denial.

*I have direct evidence for this having happened in the case my appeal to Ray Ozzie for support of the Hutter Prize when he had just taken over from Bill Gates and could have changed the course of history had it not been for his court advisors.