Freeman Dyson has been and is an eminent physicist who has never received a PhD even though his name appears in the main text of 1,410 scientific articles. In fact, he considers the PhD system to be deeply flawed. In December 2005, he offered a very interesting
in which he promotes three opinions that he calls "heresies".
- Global warming theories are unreliable, exaggerated, and based on models with many flaws (Dyson describes them in detail), and the researchers in this field create a lot of hype to steal money from more legitimate human activities
- Biotechnology will become as domesticated as computer games and children and housewives will create their new animal and plant species at home. Most people don't realize that this will happen much like John von Neumann didn't appreciate computer games as a major source of the 21st century entertainment
- The United States have less than 100 years left as a global superpower because in most cases, the superpowers become overextended and eventually collapse - and Dyson who is British American sees signs that the United States may slowly be approaching this point
At the celebration, Freeman Dyson also informed the new PhDs that their education will probably turn out to be overspecialized and they may be declared redundant; indeed, Dyson is just like the Fairy Blackstick from his fairy-tale. Much like in the fairy-tale, such a redundancy may also be an opportunity because the students can always join the heretics. Dyson himself is a proud heretic but, unfortunately, an "old heretic" - one of those who don't "cut much ice". The world needs young heretics, he says. And in November 2006 he will release a book about scientists as rebels. You should buy it:
Are there any young heretics in this world?
Well, I, for one, don't think that the statement that the global warming industry is essentially a fraud is a heresy. And I am not a heretic but a mainsteam person; there just happens to be too many stupid people around who oppose my opinions. It is they, not me, who should be burned at stake. ;-) William Connolley who is unwilling to recognize that he is less qualified than Dyson and your humble correspondent to judge the reliability of the climate models is one of them.
This world is a scientific world that belongs to people like me and the climate charlatans are just guests. Also, I share Dyson's predictions about the growth of family biotechnology and general estimates about the lifetime of superpowers - although I would probably think that 100 years is too long a time period to price the predictions in and we don't know exactly when the changes will occur.
William Dembski's creationist readers also liked Dyson's speech. Incidentally, The Uncommon Descent is the place where climate scientists such as William Connolley learn new things. Too bad that the sympathy is not mutual and both Dyson (who has spent a lot of time by research of the origins of life) and I consider creationism to be complete crap. Your humble correspondent also thinks that plants with parabolic mirrors don't live near Saturn, as Dyson proposed during a talk after which I took the picture linked at the top, but that would be another story. :-) Dyson, whose Motl number is 4, has also constructed an interesting and apparently unprovable mathematical assertion here.
If William Connolley and others really believe that Freeman Dyson, one of the most versatile physicists of the 20th century and beyond, must be less qualified than they are, they should think twice. Dyson who has been important in the development of nuclear technology and who has proven the equivalence of different approaches to quantum field theory is no beginner in climate science. For example, he's been thinking about the wet Sahara in the past for 47 years; his conclusion is that the increasing levels of CO2 could make Sahara wet again which would be an improvement.
- It's an absolutely atrocious piece of science but who wants to be accused of being in favor of nuclear war?
Of course, he was right on this one: a nuclear blast has no lasting consequences such as a multi-decade absence of life. Is he right about the global warming? I hope that Prof. Dyson has strong enough nerves today when he opens the outrageously idiotic main article of the Time magazine, also reprinted as the main story of CNN.COM on Sunday.
In 1999, Dyson said the following about the climate change:
- The public has been led to believe that problem of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has a single cause and a single consequence, that, put simply, fossil fuel burning leads directly to global warming. But in fact, there are multiple causes and multiple consequences, and these need to be understood and measured. It is my belief that too much Federal money has been spent on modeling and not enough on measurement of the causes of climate change.
In 1979, Freeman Dyson showed that if there were a problem of global warming, it could be easily solved - for hundreds of millions of dollars per year (1,000 times less than Kyoto that moreover solves nothing) by introducing fine particles into the upper atmosphere. In 1997, this approach was also elaborated upon by Edward Teller, the father of the Hydrogen bomb (and the main initiator of the Star Wars), who was also a climate skeptic and who died in 2003.
One month ago, Freeman Dyson has co-authored the very same letter to the editors of Science as Steve McIntyre did, asking Science to assure that the data used to create the "hockey team" climate reconstructions are archived, as required by the magazine's policies.