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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

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

  1. Does this mean the alleged climate scandal is similar to the suppression of Leibniz’s calculus notation that set English mathematics back decades?
    Don’t get me started on the suppression of achromatic lenses or the wave theory of light…

  2. thats_pretty_weak says:

    dude, this is nothing, nothing like the emails – you don’t get it

    check out this:
    http://www.devilskitchen.me.uk/2009/11/data-horribilis-harryreadmetxt-file.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A%20TheDevilsKitchen%20%28The%20Devil%27s%20Kitchen%29

    and compare to Newton’s work

    you’ve got to be kidding….

  3. thats_pretty_weak says:

    readers: some of these aren’t even Newton, what a sham

  4. dwall says:

    Whispers,

    You are right – this is not about me or making my comments look ridiculous.

    The discussion should be about science. Totally maxed out planet wide science free from political influence. But the AGW leftists have taken over the foundations and Universities, for now, and attempt to limit the discussion.

    And the solutions to what ever science finds is NOT Crap and Tax. There are other options more suitable for modifying behavior.

    Any chance this site receives support from a soros connected political action group?

  5. What a relief! That gravity thing was just getting worse with every passing decade. Hopefully Fox news will debunk Newtonian physics soon enough for me to regain my sprightly youthful step.

  6. wayne omaha says:

    Evolution
    Global Warming
    Dark energy
    String theory
    Environmentalism
    Herbal medicine

    There is simply no branch of science that has not been completely overtaken by HOAXES AND SCAMMERS intent on DESTROYING the good hard work of people like myself by imposing UN TAXES on free people and IMPRISONING DISSENTERS.

  7. […] BONUS: Newtongate: the final nail in the coffin of Renaissance and Enlightenment ‘thinking’ […]

  8. Mike B) says:

    I’ll be there WAS something to that international commonist plot concerning flurodation of the water supply.

  9. […] my favorite reaction is this one from the Carbon Fixated blog (quoted in the HuffPo piece above), which declares that “Newtongate” has driven […]

  10. Dark Helmet says:

    If this is the best the AGW believers can do, give it up.

  11. […] I saw on this issue was a “proof” that calculus is “wrong” based on an analysis of the letters of Newton – it’s […]

  12. Godo Stoyke says:

    Thanks, this is hilarious!

  13. Godo Stoyke says:

    See these clarifications of the supposed wrong-doing of scientists in the cru-hack:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/the-cru-hack/

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/the-cru-hack-context/

    For the near-criminal way in which paid climate deniers are providing false information to the public, read the recent canadian book “Climate Cover-up” ( http://www.amazon.ca/Climate-Cover-up-James-Hoggan/dp/1553654854/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1259097154&sr=1-1

  14. […] Newtongate: the final nail in the coffin of Renaissance and Enlightenment ‘thinking’ […]

  15. […] Newtongate: the final nail in the coffin of Renaissance and Enlightenment ‘thinking’ […]

  16. […] Sir Issac Newton had some opinions about privacy and truth. […]

  17. […] Update: I should have added a link to an even better humorous response! […]

  18. […] Sir Issac Newton had some opinions about privacy and truth. […]

  19. kevin king says:

    Mentioning Newton w.r.t this sorry saga is outrageous. Newton was a scientist. Mann, Jones et al simply aren’t. The author of this blog needs to read “Cult Cargo Science” by Richard Feynman. Then he may appreciate what science is all about.. just a little taster from the above mentioned speech, which sums up the “unscientific” methodolgy pursued by Mann, Rahmstorf et al..

    “It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty—a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid—not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked—to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.”

    Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them.”

  20. […] a good laugh: read this….brilliant. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)The Day Global Warming Stood […]

  21. […] the time. Never mind the fact that stealing emails is illegal and desperate. Carbonfixated has the dirt on the damning correspondence between Newton and Leibniz! If you own any shares in companies that produce reflecting telescopes, use differential and […]

  22. […] hilarious post here about how reading the nasty private correspondence of Isaac Newton calls into question the […]

  23. […] A small number of scientists studying climate change were apparently fudging some data, some e-mail exchanges behind-the-scenes occurred where other scientists tried to rectify the situation, an asshat hacked a mail server and stole several megs of data, and retards across the planet rally to declare global warming a hoax as a result. Never mind that, as I just stated, the e-mail exchanges actually show scientists behind closed doors trying to undo the damage, ergo acting ethically, even though “nobody was looking”. Imagine what would have happened to scientific progress if Newton’s “immoral” private communications were exposed and Newtonian mechanics …. […]

  24. […] 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 […]

  25. Liz McLellan says:

    I love the high dudgeon the denialists bring to the comments… fulmination, boiling over outrage at the use of Newton’s correspondence – which must take significant time away from the lab bench they persevere in front of…oh wait they’re just right wing blog commenters whose interest in science is negligible – generated out rage from emailed GOP talking points – and revolves around one topic a fixation on denying anthropocentric catastrophic climate disruption and in some cases the verifiability of Biblical prophesy.

  26. Jsmith says:

    So let me get this straight – Certain tree rings used to be good predictors of temperature, but they stopped being good predictors after the temperature warmed to a point where the rings’ growth was more strongly affected by other factors (like rain). Those particular tree rings no longer accurately grew in accordance with temperature, but thermometers still accurately track temperature. So the denialists are screaming fraud because they found some emails that say scientists decided to use data from THERMOMETERS to measure TEMPERATURE, instead of using the size of tree rings from some trees whose rings were being affected by factors other than temperature? They can’t be serious. Do they realize how stupid they sound?

    [CAM: No. No, I don’t believe they do.]

  27. […] also the Guardian’s initial coverage, and Carbon Fixated’s post on Newtongate for a brilliant historical parallel and parody of James Delingpole’s hysteria in the […]

  28. Daren says:

    JSmith:

    The problem I have with this is if the tree-rings are rubbish thermometers after 1960, how the hell can you be confident that they were good thermometers in 1600? or 1000? We don’t have a long historical instrumental record and the dendro papers to which I assume you’re referring (Briffa et al) should never have been published without detailing the exclusion criteria for the rest of the trees in the data set. In the CRU e-mails, there are notes about Kaufmann who, to his credit, was not pleased when he found that the data sets he’d used from the Briffa paper was based on such a scanty collection of data points.

    Of course, there are other sources for temperature readings, and they all show a warming trend. But bear in mind that the debate is not “is there warming”, the debate is “is the warming caused by man” and graphs such as Manns which made the MWP (or MCA, whichever you want to call it) go away do not help at all. It discredits climate science as a whole to the general public and that is not what I want, and presumably not what you want. Understanding climate is important, especially if, as is *suspected* (not proven), man made carbon emissions are causing a rapid upward spike in global temperatures.

    Alarmism and cliquishness and sneering do not help anyone in this debate. The climate science community appears to have circled the wagons and won’t let anyone in. It’s a cross disciplinary field, with elements of geology, biology(and/or botany), computer science, statistical analysis, physics and chemistry (off the top of my head). The reaction if a chemist disagrees with a chemical pronouncement, or a statistician disagrees with a statistical analysis is nuts. The stock response (of “you’re not a climate scientist”) is counterproductive.

    There are problems in this field. There are also problems in many other fields. The focus should be on identifying and fixing them, rather than shouting down dissent.

  29. jre says:

    The focus should be on identifying and fixing [problems], rather than shouting down dissent.

    May I (as respectfully as possible) observe that this seems to combine belaboring the obvious with begging the question? I mean, of course climatologists (like other scientists) want to identify and fix problems in their field; that’s how progress is made. And I just don’t see anyone “shouting down dissent.” The shouting, at the moment, is coming from the dissenters.

    Far from being hushed up, the divergence problem has been Topic A at dendro conferences for years, and the published research from CRU on this subject has been a model of clarity and openness. That’s why it is so exasperating to see someone smugly assert that “Newton was a scientist. Mann, Jones et al simply aren’t.” That’s ideological baloney, pure and simple. By all available evidence (and I include the emails), Mann, Jones et al. are honest, competent scientists doing very good work.

    The present slime campaign is disgusting and doing the public a grave disservice — and, by God, someone ought to get up on his hind legs and say so.

  30. […] Carbon Fixated » Blog Archive » Newtongate: the final nail in the coffin of Renaissance and Enligh… (tags: humor climate-change science history Newton physics) […]

  31. […] Carbon Fixated, dedicated to photosynthesis and climate change, dismissed the plot with humour. He imagined what would happen if letters from Newton to other scientists had been made public: If you own any […]

  32. […] Carbon Fixated, dedicated to photosynthesis and climate change, dismissed the plot with humour. He imagined what would happen if letters from Newton to other scientists had been made public: If you own any […]

  33. David says:

    This an insult to Sir Issac Newton. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  34. […] This post was Twitted by InvasiveNotes […]

  35. Annette Ochs says:

    Hello, i studied some time about Goethes “Crussade” against Newton.
    Goethe blamed Newtons methods for drawing conclusions on a very smal experimental basis, like a “raping” of the phenomens by pressig theories in them with the only focus on usabilitiy and profit.
    Goethe spent very much time on the science of colors and perception and his outcomes can be poofed with experiments, Newtons instead only with calculations – a control experiment with a prisma shows them wrong.
    Goethe used extremely hard words against Newton and he became even very personal… because he was very afraid of the upcomming tendency to ignore the phenomens. – Newton was for Goethe the main representant of the new arrogance towards life and therfore the enemy – he saw structural analogies in the efforts to unite germanys many little principalities – by reverting on old myth to evoke feelings of superiority, longing and a national feeling who was not there till then.
    Goethe was very pessimistic about the future, if nothing stops these destructive tendencys – politically and in concern of nature, technik and resources…
    His time degraded him as a poet, now we see he was right – for himself, writing was just for sleeples nights and there have been better ones. For him, his most important lifework was the fight against Newton and his color-sicience.

  36. […] Carbon Fixated, dedicado à fotossíntese e às mudanças climáticas, negou a trama com humor. Ele imaginou [en] o que aconteceria se cartas de Newton a outros cientistas tivessem sido publicadas: If you own […]

  37. […] it isn’t) does not do anything to change the reality of AGW. Just like how there is no NewtonGate. The evidence we have for global warming comes from numerous sources (including, but not limited to […]

  38. Dong says:

    Wow… CAM, you are really naive. I work for a big company that has over 400 statistical data for various reasons. I am not a researcher or scientist, but I have used the data for several agenda assigned. I always post favorable stats for what purpose of funding. In the same way, i believe every research needs funding, (heck we buy the research data that we see favorable to our clients) and money makes the world turn.
    Science should be unbiased and seeks the truth. But, to many its a blindly followed religion. To me, its what keeps me employed.

  39. B.BarNavi says:

    Dwall, before you begin ranting about Soros, check the irony meter first. The denialists have loads industry money and front groups on their side.

    “Free of political influence” indeed.

    [CAM: Dwall thinks I could be getting money from Soros for writing this blog? I should be lucky to get any money from anybody for writing this blog…]

  40. […] ??????? ????? ??????? ???? ???????? ???? ???????. ???? ???? ???? ?? ???? ?? ?? ??? ????????? ?????? ??? […]

  41. […] history, yielding similarly “scandalous” results. Who could have known, for instance, that Sir Isaac Newton was involved in conspiring to avoid public scrutiny, manipulating evidence, knowingly publishing […]

  42. […] on how scientists talk and what they talk about, this essay is absolutely brilliant, an absolute MUST READ: Manipulation of evidence:I wrote to you on Tuesday that the last leafe of the papers you sent me […]

  43. […] on how scientists talk and what they talk about, this essay is absolutely brilliant, an absolute MUST READ: Manipulation of evidence: I wrote to you on Tuesday that the last leafe of the papers you sent […]

  44. […] history, yielding similarly “scandalous” results. Who could have known, for instance, that Sir Isaac Newton was involved in conspiring to avoid public scrutiny, manipulating evidence, knowingly publishing […]

  45. […] Gravity has apparently been shown to be a hoax based on Newton’s private correspondence being released. Possibly related posts: […]

  46. Roger says:

    Most people have been innoculated by the outbreak of truth and are now getting over their carbon fixation. I hope you soon get over yours and rejoin reality. We’ve been lied to for years – accept it!

  47. Mogumbo Gono says:

    Langmuir’s Laws of Bad Science:

    Symptoms of Pathological Science
    [Re: The falsified CO2=Catastrophic AGW Hypothesis]

    1. The maximum effect that is observed is produced by a causative agent of barely detectable intensity, eg: the tiny trace gas CO2 and the magnitude of the effect [runaway global warming/climate catastrophe] is substantially independent of the intensity of the cause. [CO2 = 0.038% of the atmosphere]
    2. The effect is of a magnitude that remains close to the limit of detectability; or, many measurements are necessary because of the very low statistical significance of the results.
    [In fact, the planet has cooled for most of the past decade, even as CO2 has steadily risen.]
    3. Claims of great accuracy.
    [Preposterously claiming to know the planet’s temperature a thousand years ago to within 0.1°C, based on treemometers.]
    4. Fantastic theories contrary to experience.
    [“Climate catastrophe is coming!” – even though CO2 concentrations have been up to twenty times higher in the past – for millions of years at a time – even as the planet descended into Ice Ages.]
    5. Criticisms are met by ad hoc excuses thought up on the spur of the moment.
    [ heh ]
    6. Ratio of supporters to critics rises up to somewhere near 50% and then falls gradually to oblivion. [source]
    [We are currently at #6 due to the release of the leaked CRU emails.]
    .

    In A.D. 2009
    Socialism has beginning.
    What happen?
    Somebody set us up the 0bama!
    Main screen turn on.
    It’s you!!!
    All your email are belong to us
    You have no chance to survive make your time.
    </blockquote

  48. DCC says:

    What a bunch of Newtonian silliness! As if referencing unpublished work were actually allowed by the IPCC! It isn’t, and that’s just one of the rules that they found themselves violating.)

    I second a previous suggestion – read Feynman’s CalTech address from 1974. http://www.cs.ucla.edu/~slu/on_research/fayman_science.html

    It is the responsibility of every scientist to report the results of every experiment that appears to disprove his thesis – and explain why it does or does not do so. Furthermore, it is a responsibility to seek out those results that counter his thesis.

    Anything short of that is not science.