John Theon

In the last episode, retired NASA Atmospheric Scientist John S. Theon, who claimed to be one of Hansen’s former supervisors, declared himself a skeptic and said Hansen had “embarrassed NASA.” Left leaning blogs cried foul. This week, James Hansen says he doesn’t recall Theon, and John Theon responds that Hansen is losing his memory. From CO2skeptic.

Hansen’s reportedly responded to Theon via email to M.J. Murphy of BigCityLib blog and wrote the following on February 5, 2009:

Hansen wrote: John Theon never had any supervisory authority over me. I remember that he was in the bureaucracy at NASA Headquarters, but I cannot recall having any interactions with him. His claim of association is misleading, to say the least. What he can legitimately say is that he had a reasonably high position in the Headquarters bureaucracy. A job in that bureaucracy is not considered to be a plum, so we should probably be grateful that somebody is willing to do it, and I don’t particularly want to kick the fellow around. You should investigate his scientific contributions to evaluate the degree to which his opinions might be listened to. Of course you are free to quote me. – Jim Hansen – End Hansen Email

Theon fired back at Hansen. “It is absurd that Hansen denies ever meeting me. We have met on numerous occasions. This just demonstrates that Hansen has a poor memory,” Theon wrote on February 5, 2009. [Note: Theon’s complete email response is reprinted below]

“I worked with Hansen from about 1983 to 1994 during which time he was at GISS in NYC and I was at NASA HQ in Washington DC. I retired from NASA in 1995. I had completed 37 and 1/2 years of federal service (civilian Navy, USAF, and including 33 years with NASA.) The money came through me. We were in the Earth Observations Program which later became the Mission to Planet Earth Program. I visited GISS at least once a year to review and evaluate the GISS work. When I visited NYC, to review the research that GISS was funded to do out of the program for which I was responsible, Hansen was most cordial. When I asked him to give a lecture in Japan, he complied,” Theon wrote.

“It was what it was, and no amount of denial will change that,” Theon explained. “I repeat what I wrote to you in January: “I was, in effect, Hansen’s supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results. I did not have the authority to give him his annual performance evaluation,” he added.

Theon also noted the attacks on him by many of the websites devoted to smearing anyone who questions claims of a man-made climate catastrophe.

“Regarding some of the other attacks that have been aimed at me: I am truly appalled at the backbiting, vitriol that is sent by people who have nothing better to do than try to smear other people’s reputations because they do not agree with their own thinking. To them, I recommend that they get a life,” Theon concluded.

  • Nick Stokes

    What Dr Theon needs to do here is to say exactly what his position in NASA was, and how this made him Hansen’s supervisor.

  • Nick Stokes

    What Dr Theon needs to do here is to say exactly what his position in NASA was, and how this made him Hansen’s supervisor.

  • Jan Pompe

    Nick

    I thought it was a rather clear description and Dr Roy Spencer seems to have a clearer recollection.

  • Jan Pompe

    Nick

    I thought it was a rather clear description and Dr Roy Spencer seems to have a clearer recollection.

  • Nick Stokes

    No, Jan, Spencer doesn’t say either. These things ought to be easy to resolve. I’m sure NASA has organisational charts. What was Theon’s position?

  • Nick Stokes

    No, Jan, Spencer doesn’t say either. These things ought to be easy to resolve. I’m sure NASA has organisational charts. What was Theon’s position?

  • Anonymous

    It sounds like Theon was his program manager, much like an NSF program manager might be to a university academic. It should be easy enough to check. PhD academics don’t really have supervisors in the sense people understand it. They have review panels, heads of departments, etc to answer to in different capacities.

  • http://landshape.org/enm admin

    It sounds like Theon was his program manager, much like an NSF program manager might be to a university academic. It should be easy enough to check. PhD academics don’t really have supervisors in the sense people understand it. They have review panels, heads of departments, etc to answer to in different capacities.

  • Jan Pompe

    David

    It sounds like Theon was his program manager,

    That is what I thought too.

  • Jan Pompe

    David

    It sounds like Theon was his program manager,

    That is what I thought too.

  • Alex Harvey

    There’s an interesting response to this from RealClimate’s William M. Connolley. I say ‘interesting’ only for the revealing insight into Connolley’s personality & RealClimate’s under-recognised role as censors of the Wikipedia:

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2009/01/does_anyone_care_about_theon.php

    Those who challenge the consensus, such as Dr. Theon, are ‘septics’. After a while, I realised, this isn’t a typo.

    Nowadays I seem to rely on wikipedia for my news stories. Not necessarily for the truth, but that something has occurred. So this little thread at global warming http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Global_warming piqued my interest (note, BTW, how the poor dear septics don’t even bother trying to edit the page any more, having been crushed so often by the Mailed Fist): “I’m a sceptic now,” says ex-NASA climate boss says The Register. Working in an office full of software engineers (not to mention the odd visiting hardware bod) I see lots of people reading El Reg (very briefly of course, in their very short lunch breaks, did I say lunch break, I meant… actually we have a very nice free canteen), but hadn’t realised it had become a septic rag.

    Dr. Theon, the septic; The Register, a septic rag. Top left corner of the page, “I am a dragon. I emerge from my Egg.” So this is the guy in charge of our free encyclopaedia, as far as climate science is concerned. Oh dear, the author of the article on ‘global warming.’ Try to correct any of it, and he’ll smash you with his ‘Mailed Fist.’

    I had another read of it. I loved this bit:

    A minor issue in climate modeling is the perceived mismatch between actual conditions and those projected by the models. A 2007 study by David Douglass and colleagues compared the composite output of 22 leading global climate models with actual climate data and found that the models did not accurately project observed changes to the temperature profile in the tropical troposphere. The authors note that their conclusions contrast strongly with those of recent publications based on essentially the same data.[82] A 2008 paper published by a 17-member team led by Ben Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory noted serious mathematical errors and incorrect assumptions in the Douglass study, and found instead that deviations between the models and observations were statistically insignificant.[83]

    I never knew that Santer et al. 2008 represented the combined efforts of a ’17-member team’. Looks like this ‘minor issue’ had them calling in for the reinforcements. He’s going to need his Mailed Fist when McIntyre & McKitrick’s article is published, I’d say.

  • Alex Harvey

    There’s an interesting response to this from RealClimate’s William M. Connolley. I say ‘interesting’ only for the revealing insight into Connolley’s personality & RealClimate’s under-recognised role as censors of the Wikipedia:

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2009/01/does_anyone_care_about_theon.php

    Those who challenge the consensus, such as Dr. Theon, are ‘septics’. After a while, I realised, this isn’t a typo.

    Nowadays I seem to rely on wikipedia for my news stories. Not necessarily for the truth, but that something has occurred. So this little thread at global warming http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Global_warming piqued my interest (note, BTW, how the poor dear septics don’t even bother trying to edit the page any more, having been crushed so often by the Mailed Fist): “I’m a sceptic now,” says ex-NASA climate boss says The Register. Working in an office full of software engineers (not to mention the odd visiting hardware bod) I see lots of people reading El Reg (very briefly of course, in their very short lunch breaks, did I say lunch break, I meant… actually we have a very nice free canteen), but hadn’t realised it had become a septic rag.

    Dr. Theon, the septic; The Register, a septic rag. Top left corner of the page, “I am a dragon. I emerge from my Egg.” So this is the guy in charge of our free encyclopaedia, as far as climate science is concerned. Oh dear, the author of the article on ‘global warming.’ Try to correct any of it, and he’ll smash you with his ‘Mailed Fist.’

    I had another read of it. I loved this bit:

    A minor issue in climate modeling is the perceived mismatch between actual conditions and those projected by the models. A 2007 study by David Douglass and colleagues compared the composite output of 22 leading global climate models with actual climate data and found that the models did not accurately project observed changes to the temperature profile in the tropical troposphere. The authors note that their conclusions contrast strongly with those of recent publications based on essentially the same data.[82] A 2008 paper published by a 17-member team led by Ben Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory noted serious mathematical errors and incorrect assumptions in the Douglass study, and found instead that deviations between the models and observations were statistically insignificant.[83]

    I never knew that Santer et al. 2008 represented the combined efforts of a ’17-member team’. Looks like this ‘minor issue’ had them calling in for the reinforcements. He’s going to need his Mailed Fist when McIntyre & McKitrick’s article is published, I’d say.

  • Jan Pompe

    “So this is the guy in charge of our free encyclopaedia, as far as climate science is concerned.”

    No just the climate related stuff as I understand it.

    “I am a dragon. I emerge from my Egg.”

    I always thought that stoats had more in common with weasels than with lizards.

  • Jan Pompe

    “So this is the guy in charge of our free encyclopaedia, as far as climate science is concerned.”

    No just the climate related stuff as I understand it.

    “I am a dragon. I emerge from my Egg.”

    I always thought that stoats had more in common with weasels than with lizards.

  • Alex Harvey

    Sorry, this is now off-topic, but there ought to be a thread about this somewhere.

    I just happened to note the following comment in the Wikipedia for John R. Christy:

    Nominated for a neutrality check

    Several editors on this article are making clear Bias edits, limiting or re-wording the information.

    included are edits by:

    1. KimDabelsteinPetersen
    2. Stephan Schulz
    3. William M. Connolley

    An Admin (William M. Connolley) who is part of the bias issues is removing the neutrality tag.–Zeeboid 14:14, 25 May 2007 (UTC) .

    A part of the Wikipedia philosophy is that anyone may tag an article as biased and request that a neutral observer arbitrate. Not sure where you’d find one, but the fact that Connolley is an ‘Admin’ and is removing the bias tags against his own edits suggests a serious lack of ethics.

    I am by profession a system administrator — Connolley, if he has any professional ethics, needs to choose — does he want to be a Wikipedia ‘admin’ or does he want to be a Wikipedia editor?

  • Alex Harvey

    Sorry, this is now off-topic, but there ought to be a thread about this somewhere.

    I just happened to note the following comment in the Wikipedia for John R. Christy:

    Nominated for a neutrality check

    Several editors on this article are making clear Bias edits, limiting or re-wording the information.

    included are edits by:

    1. KimDabelsteinPetersen
    2. Stephan Schulz
    3. William M. Connolley

    An Admin (William M. Connolley) who is part of the bias issues is removing the neutrality tag.–Zeeboid 14:14, 25 May 2007 (UTC) .

    A part of the Wikipedia philosophy is that anyone may tag an article as biased and request that a neutral observer arbitrate. Not sure where you’d find one, but the fact that Connolley is an ‘Admin’ and is removing the bias tags against his own edits suggests a serious lack of ethics.

    I am by profession a system administrator — Connolley, if he has any professional ethics, needs to choose — does he want to be a Wikipedia ‘admin’ or does he want to be a Wikipedia editor?

  • Jan Pompe

    does he want to be a Wikipedia ‘admin’ or does he want to be a Wikipedia editor

    It foes seem to be conflict of interest

  • Jan Pompe

    does he want to be a Wikipedia ‘admin’ or does he want to be a Wikipedia editor

    It foes seem to be conflict of interest

  • jae

    Folks like Connolley have absolutely destroyed the promise of the Wicki concept, IMHO. Mentaly place yourself yourself in a teaching position. A student cites Wicki. Do you think the reference means anything?

  • jae

    Folks like Connolley have absolutely destroyed the promise of the Wicki concept, IMHO. Mentaly place yourself yourself in a teaching position. A student cites Wicki. Do you think the reference means anything?

  • Alex Harvey

    jae, this is how the Real Climateers could be forced to respond to a number of topics from which they presently choose just to avert their gaze: create Wikipedia pages. A Wikipedia article for the Miskolczi theory, a Wikipedia article for the MEP hypothesis, and so on. William M. Connolley would then be forced to either let the pages stand, and lose control of his Wikipedia, or RealClimate would then have to think up a response that they could replace our edits with. The topic could then be debated in the discussion pages, and they’d be unable to censor any of it. I seriously doubt that Connolley can use his Mailed Fist / admin account to remove pages from the Wikipedia altogether! :)

  • Alex Harvey

    jae, this is how the Real Climateers could be forced to respond to a number of topics from which they presently choose just to avert their gaze: create Wikipedia pages. A Wikipedia article for the Miskolczi theory, a Wikipedia article for the MEP hypothesis, and so on. William M. Connolley would then be forced to either let the pages stand, and lose control of his Wikipedia, or RealClimate would then have to think up a response that they could replace our edits with. The topic could then be debated in the discussion pages, and they’d be unable to censor any of it. I seriously doubt that Connolley can use his Mailed Fist / admin account to remove pages from the Wikipedia altogether! :)

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