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If you own any shares in companies that produce reflecting telescopes, use differential and integral calculus, or rely on the laws of motion, I should start dumping them NOW. The conspiracy behind the calculus myth has been suddenly, brutally and quite deliciously exposed after volumes of Newton’s private correspondence were compiled and published.

When you read some of these letters, you realise just why Newton and his collaborators might have preferred to keep them confidential. This scandal could well be the biggest in Renaissance science. These alleged letters – supposedly exchanged by some of the most prominent scientists behind really hard math lessons – suggest:

  • conspiracy
  • collusion in covering up the truth
  • manipulation of data
  • private admissions of flaws in their public claims
  • and much more!

But perhaps the most damaging revelations are those concerning the way these math nerd scientists may variously have manipulated or suppressed evidence to support their cause.

Here are a few tasters. They suggest dubious practices such as:

Conspiring to avoid public scrutiny:

There is nothing which I desire to avoid in matters of philosophy more then contentions, nor any kind of contention more then one in print: & therefore I gladly embrace your proposal of a private correspondence. What’s done before many witnesses is seldom without some further concern then that for truth: but what passes between friends in private usually deserve ye name of consultation rather then contest, & so I hope it will prove between you & me.

Newton to Hooke, 5 February 1676

Insulting dissenting scientists and equating them with holocaust deniers:

[Hooks Considerations] consist in ascribing an hypothesis to me which is not mine; in asserting an hypothesis which as to ye principal parts of it is not against me; in granting the greatest part of my discourse if explicated by that hypothesis; & in denying some things the truth of which would have appeared by an experimental examination.

Newton to Oldenburg, 11 June 1672

Manipulation of evidence:

I wrote to you on Tuesday that the last leafe of the papers you sent me should be altered because it refers to a manuscript in my private custody & not yet upon record.

Newton to Keill, May 15 1674

Knowingly publishing scientific fraud:

You need not give yourself the trouble of examining all the calculations of the Scholium. Such errors as do not depend upon wrong reasoning can be of no great consequence & may be corrected by the reader.

Newton to Cotes June 15 1710

Suppression of evidence:

Mr. Raphson has printed off four or five sheets of his History of Fluxions, but being shew’d Sr. Is. Newton (who, it seems, would rather have them write against him, than have a piece done in that manner in his favour), he got a Stop put to it, for some time at least.

Jones to Cotes, 17 September 1711

Abusing the peer review system:

…only the Germans and French have in a violent manner attack’d the Philosophy of Sr. Is. Newton, and seem resolved to stand by Cartes; Mr. Keil, as a person concerned, has undertaken to answer and defend some things, as Dr. Friend, and Dr. Mead, does (in their way) the rest: I would have sent you ye whole controversy, was not I sure that you know, those only are most capable of objecting against his writings, that least understand them; however, in a little time, you’ll see some of these in ye Philos. Transact.

Jones to Cotes, October 25 1711

Insulting their critics:

The controversy concerning Sr. Isaac’s Philosophy is a piece of news that I had not heard of unless Muys’s late book be meant. I think that Philosophy needs no defence, especially when tis attack’t by Cartesians. One Mr Green a Fellow of Clare Hall in our University seems to have nearly the same design with those German & French objectors whom you mention. His book is now in our press & is almost finished. I am told he will add an appendix in which he undertakes also to square the circle. I need not recommend his performance any further to you.

Cotes to Jones, November 11 1711

Gravity does not extend so far from Earth that it can be the force holding the moon to its orbit; school students are increasingly reluctant to practice differential equations, that will only lead to the practice of more oppressive forms of higher math; the tide is turning against over-regulation, like Newton’s “laws” of motion and Universal Gravitation. The so called ‘Cartesian’, ‘skeptical’ view is now also the majority view.

Unfortunately we’ve a long way to go before the public mood (and scientific truth) is reflected by our policy makers. There are too many vested interests in classical mechanics, with far too much to lose either in terms of reputation or money, for this to end without a bitter fight.

But if the Newton / Royal Society mail scandal is true, it is a blow to the Renaissance lobby’s credibility which is never likely to recover.

Resources:

Real Climate on the CRU hack

Greenfyre’s overview of Climategate

129 Responses to “Newtongate: the final nail in the coffin of Renaissance and Enlightenment ‘thinking’”

  1. Fred says:

    So does this mean you still believe in the whole global warming thingy ?

    How last year, how old school, how quaint.

    Do you ever wonder how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

  2. RockyRoad says:

    Certainly this is just a spoof. Why, there’s no mention at all about some odorless, colorless gas impacting the degree with which earth’s gravity reaches out and captures the moon, perhaps drawing it nearer and nearer until the two collide. Of course, you might say that instead of a colorless, odorless gas there is this notion of gravity itself being colorless and odorless. However, it is far easier to demonstrate simply by watching ripe apples drop from a tree than to conjur up the same rationale for today’s temperatures.

  3. But that is just the difference, isn’t it, between “companies that produce reflecting telescopes, use differential and integral calculus, or rely on the laws of motion” and the proponents of AGW. One deals with real physics and practical real-world applications. The other deals in computer models, questionable assumptions, and alleged effects that won’t be seen for years, if not decades or centuries hence.

    I.e., one is experimental science. The other is not.

    (The other thing to should watch out for — whenever one pushes a pseudoscience, they often try to claim that it has some extraordinary station; they particularly like to compare it to gravity, even though the comparison/analogy does not fit at all.)

  4. Mojo says:

    Brilliant leftwingnuttery. Bravo! It deserves a Nobel Prize! It also explains the nose ring craze –how better to lead the sheeple than to convince them that what was once relegated to cattle is cool.

    Watch the video below where ‘green’ activists show their smarts:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yi3erdgVVTw

    Another funny one is Gore’s new scary book with four hurricanes –two spinning backwards — on the cover, and the water level rising high enough to cover Cuba’s highest peak at 6,563 feet. I guess that can happen when the core of the earth is millions of degrees, and the new god supplies a lot more water than there really is –but you could co borrow some of the swell Creationist ‘science’ to explain the water. Look under Noah. All peer reviewed and ready to go….

  5. Jack Lacton says:

    The author is too obtuse to observe that Newton’s laws were tested and verified to be true for hundreds of years whereas the IPCC’s projections have been tested and shown to be false, which is exactly what one would expect given the egregious, statistically invalid backfitting that goes on in their models.

  6. Dan says:

    A fantastic demonstration of why climategate is so important.

    As Jack Lacton identifies. The big difference between Newton and CRU is that Newton’s laws are scientific (i.e, have been tested and verified objectively), while the AGW argument is untested (or, more to the point, untestable) and is therefore unscientific.

    The CRU emails would be irrelevant, as Newtons letter are, if CRU were actually able to objectively predict future weather – which, as the MET office demonstrated these last two years, they are not.

    Without science behind them, CRU are left to defend their views with an appeal to society’s goodwill and trust – which given the emails, should be running out fast.

    An excellent post that has helped me clarify my thinking on this topic. Thanks.

    Dan

  7. pat says:

    Of course the skeptics play the part of Newton in this spoof.

  8. Reed Coray says:

    Pop quiz on the above article. [Note returning to the text of the article is considered cheating--or at least data adjusting.]

    Align the names in column A with the names in Column B

    A (historical) B (current)
    Newton Mann
    Hooke Jones
    Oldenburg Trenberth
    Jones Santer
    Cotes Wigley
    Jack the Ripper Hansen
    Leibniz Gore

    Freebie: Jack the Ripper …and… Santer.

  9. Erasmussimo says:

    I am astounded that the deniers attempt to differentiate Newton’s laws from climate change science by arguing that “well, what Newton did was real science” whereas what the IPCC does is some kind of pseudoscience. Have any deniers actually read Principia Mathematica (Newton’s work on physics)? I have slogged through the entire thing and it is not at all as clear and simple as your high-school physics would have you believe. It is a huge mass of theorems, corollaries, and extensive calculations. He got some of those calculations wrong! (No big surprise — some of them are very lengthy and he didn’t have a calculator.) The theorems are extremely dense and I gave up trying to follow the logic on many of them — and I hold a master’s degree in physics! If you think that you could follow them, try it yourself. It’s really tough.

    The physics you read nowadays enjoys the benefit of centuries of cleaning up, simplification, and different teaching strategies. Sure, it seems clean and simple, but it was nowhere near so clean and simple back then. There were complications and mistakes. I have read both IPCC AR4 and Principia, and I can state flatly that IPCC AR4 is clearer, better argued, and better supported than Principia.

  10. historian says:

    Am I the only one laughing? Hats off to the brave drudge of a scholar who unearthed those perfect quotes.

  11. [...] admin Carbon Fixated has an amusing spoof of the “ClimateGate” scandal – Newtongate: the final nail in the coffin of Renaissance and Enlightenment ‘thinking’. If you own any shares in companies that produce reflecting telescopes, use differential and [...]

  12. [...] But perhaps the most damaging revelations are those concerning the way these math nerd scientists may variously have manipulated or suppressed evidence to support their cause. via carbonfixated.com [...]

  13. [...] Fixated has an amusing spoof of the “ClimateGate” scandal – Newtongate: the final nail in the coffin of Renaissance and Enlightenment ‘thinking’. If you own any shares in companies that produce reflecting telescopes, use differential and [...]

  14. [...] Newtongate: The Final Nail in the Coffin of Renaissance and Enlightenment Thinking, Carbon Fixated (A detailed examination of Isaac Newton’s private correspondences show that calculus is a lie perpetrated by deceitful “scientists.” [...]

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  16. [...] provides perspective on climategatePosted on November 22, 2009 by Dan MoutalThe blog Carbon fixated provided some excellent must-read perspective on the recent ‘climategate’ email [...]

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