Dark-Moneyed Denialists Are Running 'Fixing Science' Symposium of Doubt


The “Fixing Science” symposium, which is hosted by the National Association of Scholars and kicks off today in Oakland, California, includes credible speakers who want to improve some areas of science hurt by the use of poor statistical methods or making irreproducible claims.

Unfortunately, they are outnumbered by people who have often cast doubt on mainstream climate, environmental, and health sciences. For starters, who thinks that long-time fossil fuel–funded Patrick Michaels, a senior fellow with the climate science–denying Competitive Enterprise Institute, will “fix science”?  UPDATE 02/10/20: NAS Brochure at Symposium.

I was first tipped off to the swarm of climate science deniers at this meeting by Lenny Teytelman on Twitter, who said he found seven climate deniers (an undercount), and by Oxford professor Dorothy Bishop in her January 12 blog post, “Should I stay or should I go?…” about this meeting and whether scientists should engage with those with dissenting views in a situation like this. 

Both provided useful insight and information, which I’ve consolidated with other research here. 

Professor Bishop summarized well:

“But, I reiterate, the main point is not whether NatAsSchlols is left- or right-wing. It’s the weird structuring of the meeting, which juxtaposes a set of experts in the ‘reproducibility crisis’ with a set of individuals who promote scientific views that are far from mainstream … You know your arguments would not survive scrutiny by experts familiar with evidence in the area, so you don’t invite those (and to be fair, it’s unlikely that they’d come anyway, as there are diminishing returns in engaging with those whose minds are fixed). But what you can do is to cast doubt on all scientific evidence by inviting along those who are questioning the solidity and credibility of current scientific practices. That’s what is happening here.” [emphasis added]

Many speakers at this meeting have been affiliated with groups known for anti-science efforts, either ideologically or financially, funded mostly by dark money. When their funding sources are accessible, they include the usual companies (fossil fuels, tobacco, and chemical) and private conservative foundations, which lines up with 2013 research by sociologist Robert Brulle, summarized in my post “Study Details Dark Money Flowing to Climate Science Denial.”

A few other speakers have often worked in “product defense,” an area covered well by David Michaels in Triumph of Doubt (2020) (review). I’m compiling here a list of the speakers and organizations who are more often denying science than trying to fix it. People should be very wary of those listed in red, and I’ve included links to more information for those who want to do their own research.

The Fixing Science symposium sponsors are the National Association of Scholars (NAS, which should not be confused with the reputable U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which also goes by NAS) and The Independent Institute (TII). The former is led by Peter Wood and the latter by David Theroux, both vocal (but non-technical) climate science deniers.

Anti-science Groups

I’ve scoured IRS Form 990 data (line 8) for the four organizations affiliated with the most symposium speakers, a search that yielded total grants received each year from 2003-2017, shown in Table A. But such 501(c)(3) “public charities” need not report the sources of those grants. Using the website, I’ve compiled the information in the spreadsheet, “Grants To Think Tanks, whose two sheets each contain a Table 1 that lists all 1,528 grants, and a Table 2 that summarizes them.

The first sheet sorts by Recipient-Donor-Year, the second by Donor-Recipient-Year. Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) like Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund do report grants they make, but their legal structure makes it impossible to know the original sources of the funding. Perhaps that was not dark enough for some donors. The huge Fidelity Charitable DAF started making grants to the same four organizations in 2015. It is impossible to know who got the idea first, but by 2016, Charles Koch was routing millions of dollars through that DAF.

In Table A, the Miss % is the fraction of total grant money given directly by corporations or others, so not reported on 990PF forms, and therefore, invisible to the public. Adding DAF% and Miss % yields Dark %, which shows the extent of dark money. The Heartland Institute‘s DAF% is high, as it receives roughly a third of its money (32%) via Donors Trust/Capital Fund. 

In the tables below, CD indicates promotion of Climate Denial and TD shows persistent Tobacco Defense, with lower case implying a lesser degree. Appearing in red shows clear, well-documented anti-science behavior, generally to create doubt about science that conflicts with business interests.

DeSmog readers are likely familiar with many of the better known groups, or can click on the profiles, so this section will focus on lesser known groups.

Table A – Think Tank Affiliations of Fixing Science Attendees

Organization Name
# of affiliated attendees (of 22)==>

#   2003-17 $1,000s DAF % Miss % Dark % C D T D DeSmog Profile SourceWatch Profile Wikipedia Profile
NAS National Association of Scholars 5 $14,004 3% 48% 51% C T   NAS NAS
TII The Independent Institute 3 $38,524 2% 68% 69% C T TII TII TII
HI Heartland Institute 7 $72,349 32% 53% 85% C T HI HI HI
ACSH American Council on Science & Health 2 $24,651 2% 80% 82% C T ACSH ACSH ACSH
GMUCSPC George Mason University (Econ, Law);        Center for the Study of Public Choice 3 Hard to extract       C T GMU GMUCSPC GMU
CEI Competitive Enterprise Institute 1         C T CEI CEI CEI
TASSC The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition 1         C T TASSC TASSC TASSC
CO2CO CO2 Coalition 1         C   CO2CO CO2CO CO2CO
GWPF Global Warming Policy Foundation (UK) 1         C   GWPF GWPF GWPF
  # distinct people, given overlap above 11 +others                
Other markers include APS2009 (1), Happer2016(3), IDL (Industry Documents Library on tobacco), explained below

NAS has long been funded by the same conservative foundations highlighted in Brulle’s 2013 study, including the Charles Koch Foundation, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and especially Sarah Scaife Foundation, whose biggest investments were in tobacco and oil (CCC p. 47-48).

NAS was examined in detail in “Bottling Nonsense” Mashey (2011), and the financials are now updated in the spreadsheet NASfinancials. It is not really a membership organization in the same sense as the better-known American Association of University Professors (2017 Form 990). Unlike NASAAUP elects leaders and receives most of its income from dues for services.

Table B – AAUP vs NAS from 2017 Form 990s
Group 8. Contributions & Grants 9. Program Service Revenue 10. Investment $ 11. Other 12. Total Dues Dues % of Total
AAUP $146,804 $2,914,182 $9,831 $41,510 $3,112,327 $2,615,328 84%
NAS $1,197,090 $0 $44,478 $13,064 $1,254,632 $133,895 11%

The NAS 2018 Annual Report p. 21 is instructive, showing 2,591 (2,778) members at close of 2017 (2018, average $52/member, of whom 65% (71%) carried over into 2018 (2019). Their chart implies no more than 40% of the members (“full-time” and ambiguously “lifetime”) are active academics. Half are retired.  To the extent visible, the membership does not seem science-oriented.**

NAS seems to employ the same business model as other small conservative think tanks, although more targeted at conservative academics. It is funded by grants from Koch and allies to attack “the left” and raise doubts about climate change, sustainability, diversity, and even tobacco. Among many articles, NAS published George Leef’s “The Push for Tobacco-Free Campuses” (2009). 

“Most schools now compel students and personnel who desire to smoke to do so in designated outside areas, but that isn’t enough for a group that wants a complete tobacco ban. Inside Higher Ed has the story. This ought to worry the “diversity” advocates. Smokers are a minority group with some distinct cultural traits. If colleges drive smokers away, as the proposed campus-wide bans would tend to do, won’t that deprive other students of the opportunity to learn about them and benefit from the perspective they’d bring to class discussions involving personal freedom and trade-offs? Or do those concerns only apply to certain groups and not others?”

This is a public health issue, but NAS seems to see everything through an ideology lens. Or maybe this is something for its biggest funder, whose foundation has invested heavily in tobacco. It recalls the “smokers’ rights” front groups funded by tobacco companies that sprang up during the 1990s.

NAS continually publishes strident, ill-informed articles on climate change, often laced with personal attacks, as DeSmog described in a 2011 article, ”NAS President Peter Wood: wrong, dishonest or hopelessly compromised?

My 2011 report, “Bottling Nonsense“ (p.11-17), excerpted many NAS articles on climate. Distinguished MIT climate scientist Kerry Emanuel tried valiantly to educate NAS, but to no avail, which is excerpted on p.16.

On p.17, you can find an excerpt from NASAshley Thorne, Director of Communcations, who wrote, “The Father of Global Warming Skepticism: An Interview with S. Fred Singer.”

S. Fred Singer is a man you should know about. He is a genius in the literal sense and a key figure in one of the biggest policy debates of our day. A pioneer in rocket science, weather satellites, and air traffic control; an expert in oil economics and the Earth’s atmosphere; and the author of numerous scholarly books, Dr. Singer is a distinguished and respected scientist … In addition, he is the founder and president of the Science & Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), an organization that, among other things, seeks to promote scientific integrity in research on global warming. The National Association of Scholars, as we have stated before, takes no position on global warming.“ [emphasis added]

That was a demonstrable falsehood, shown by numerous examples.

I wrote on p. 29: “People are entitled to express their opinions, but not all opinions are equally credible. People sometimes have nonobvious strong backgrounds in topics, but for either Wood or Thorne it is hard to find any trace of significant training or expertise in physics, math, statistics, chemistry, biology, geosciences, computing or climate science itself. Frequent errors on basic facts argue against such.”

Did Thorne know much science? NAS President Peter Wood from 2005-2007 served as provost of a small Christian school, The King’s College (see Table D at end), which teaches little or no real science, as seen in its course catalogs. Thorne left a few years ago, but NAS currently employs three more King’s graduates: Policy Director Rachelle Peterson (2013 (Desmog, also a Heartland Policy Advisor)), Chief Development Officer Christopher Kendall, and Communications Coordinator Chance Layton, all graduating with a degree in “Politics, philosophy and economics.” 

The only science course in the current catalog was first offered around 2012:

Scientific Reasoning This course is an historically informed introduction to modern physics, astronomy, cosmology, chemistry, and biology, with the goal of attaining a broad conceptual understanding of contemporary science, its empirical basis, and its harmonious relationship with the Christian worldview. Given the intellectual authority of science in modern Western civilization, it is impossible to engage the surrounding culture effectively with the claims of Christ without having a broad-based scientific literacy, a deep understanding of the deleterious effects that naturalistic presuppositions have had on both science and culture, the philosophical and scientific basis on which assumptions may be challenged, and a well-defined understanding that relates the biblical worldview to the world of science. The course will involve lecture, discussion, and laboratory components.  … COURSE CODE: SCI 212”

TII and Fred Singer have been affiliated for decades. TII published his 1990s book Hot Talk, Cold Science, still publishes numerous climate-denial blog posts, and an occasional video, which I share in later examples.

SourceWatch’s profile has good coverage of TII‘s work on behalf of Big Tobacco:

“in (about) 1992 the Institute under Robert Higgs took over the administration of the tobacco industry’s Cash for Comments Economists Network from Robert TollisonJames Savarese, and the Center for the Study of Public Choice.”

Heartland Institute and American Council on Science & Health are well-covered in the profiles above.

Most of George Mason University seems to be a typical university, but the GMU law school and especially the economics department are funded and strongly influenced by Charles Koch and allies. Tracking funding through GMU is challenging, as gifts are often labeled “General support.” However, the Sarah Scaife Foundation regularly donates (2015, 2017), explicitly to the Law and Economics Center and the Center for the Study of Public Choice (CSPC) within the economics department. The law school gave us David Schnare, Ken Cuccinelli, his helper (in pursuing climate scientist Michael Mann, unsuccessfully) Wesley Russell, and his ex-law partner Milton Johns.

“See No Evil, Speak Little Truth, Break Rules, Blame Others” (2012) p. 54-57, covered GMU funding known at the time, and p. 58-61 described many members’ involvements with climate denial and/or tobacco defense. The current head of CSPC is Donald Boudreaux (DeSmog), who has spoken for Heartland, and has been affiliated with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, TII, etc. His name will reappear, as will that of Robert Tollison (Sourcewatch), who created and ran the Cash for Comments Economists Network from GMU‘s Center for the Study of Public Choice.

None of this should be taken to imply that all of those working in these departments are anti-science, but there is a long history of defending companies that “privatize profits and socialize the damages” and writing articles and reports to cast doubt on science, which is unsurprising given the funding sources. Others need to be very cautious in accepting claims about science from these parts of GMU.

Given space constraints and lower frequency, Table C’s Other column just uses one letter codes for the following organizations:

CEI, TASSC, CO2 Coalition (CO2CO)  and GWPF should be well-known to DeSmog readers, but links are provided.

APS2009 was a silly petition by Will Happer (a key player in climate science denial: DeSmog, SourceWatch, WIkipedia), Fred Singer (DeSmog), and others to weaken the American Physical Society’s statement on climate. Happer and Singer were angry about my exposure of it in 2009. James Enstrom signed it, although he was a particle physicist-turned-epidemiologist.

Happer2016 was my name for a letter from Happer to Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) to hassle and obstuct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a letter signed by a long list of people, including Peter Wood, Stanley Young, and James EnstromNOAA does great data quality work.

IDL Is  the University of California-San Francisco Industry Documents Library, which started with the tobacco industry, but has growing collections of chemical, drug, food, and fossil fuel documents. It is a great source for historical research.

The Program and its Speakers

This lists Speakers and moderators (all also Speakers), in order by first appearance, but listed only once. LT and DB mark those discussed by Lenny Teytelman (LT) on Twitter and Dorothy Bishop (DBin “Should I stay or should I go?…”

Stanford postdoc Noah Haber attended most of the first day, esxcept dinner and posted an informative 60-tweet thread.

Table C – Fixing Science Attendees (Speakers/moderators) Feb 7-8, 2020
Time Role Name Affiliation(s) in Program (unsaid) TII NAS HI ACSH GMU, CSPC Oth er C D T D LT DB
15:00 S,S 01. David Theroux Founder and President, Independent Institute TII   HI     I C T LT DB
15:00 S,S 02. Peter Wood President, National Association of Scholars   NAS  HI     H C T LT DB
15:30 S,m

03. Nathan Schactman

Of Counsel to Ulmer & Berne LLP, and Lecturer in Law at the Columbia Law School

Likely “product liability” defense lawyer for corporations. Unclear if still at Columbia.

16:30 m,S 04. Lee Jussim Chair, Psychology Department, Rutgers University                    
16:30 S 05. David Levy Prof, Economics Department, George Mason U          GMU CSPC   C      
17:30 S,m 06. Richard Vedder Distinguished Emeritus Prof of Economics, Ohio University TII NAS HI   cspc G C T   DB
17:30 m,S 07. Elliott Bloom none given, but retired SLAC particle physicist TII           C   LT DB
17:30 S 08. Deborah Mayo Professor emerita, Department of Philosophy, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University                    
17:30 S,m 09. Anastasios Tsonis Emeritus Distinguished Prof, Dept of Mathematical Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences Group, U Wisconsin Milwaukee; Adjunct Research Scientist, Hydrologic Research Center, San Diego, CA     HI     G C   LT DB
19:00 S 10. Barry Smith SUNY Distinguished Prof of Philosophy and Julian Park Chair, Philosophy Department, U at Buffalo   NAS                
09:00 S 11. Daniele Fanelli Fellow in Quantitative Methodology, Department of Methodology, London School of Economics and Political Science                    
10:00 S 12. Tim Edgell Principal, Environmental Services, Stantec, Inc.                    
10:00 S 13. Patrick Michaels Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute      HI ACSH GMU T,CO  C T LT DB
11:15 m,S 14. David Randall Director of Research, NAS   NAS HI       C   LT DB
11:15 S 15. Stanley Young Chief Executive Officer, CGStat, LLC (but NAS also)   NAS HI     H C   LT  
11:15 S 16. James Enstrom Retired UCLA Research Professor and President, Scientific Integrity Institute (basically, his website)     HI ACSH   A, H, T C T    
12:45 S 17. Louis Anthony Cox University of Colorado and Cox Associates  (“product defense”) Product defense gmu I   T   DB
13:45 S 18. Mark Regnerus 
Professor, Sociology Department, U Texas, Austin Statistics & viewpoints controversial, role unclear in fixing science.      DB
13:45 S 19. Michael Shermer Founding Publisher, Skeptic                    
15:15 S 20. Yuri Lazebnik CSO, Scite, Inc.                    
15:15 S 21. David Trafimow Prof, Psychology Department, New Mexico State U                    
17:00 S 22. Ronald Wasserstein Executive Director, American Statistical Assoc                    

11 worrisome of 22, a few ambiguous, some credible.

Brian Earp & Diego Reinero were on original program. The only woman, Mayo, was added much later. 3 5 6 2 4 6 10 5 7 9

The following covers those who are clearly problematic when it comes to anti-science efforts, or who might have been but for which evidence was not strong.

01. David Theroux founded and runs TII, which has promoted anti-climate science efforts for decades and ran Big Tobacco’s Cash for Economists Network starting in 1996. Nicotine addiction really only works for most people during adolescent brain development (roughly 10-24) and youth are especially deterred by higher prices, so this was an effort to help Big Tobacco addict adolescents and kill them slowly. An Industry Documents Library search for “David Theroux” returns 13 hits, such as this letter, from Philip Morris to Theroux in 1994: 

“On behalf of Philip Morris USA, I am pleased to enclose a check in the amount of $5,000 to officially maintain our company as a patron sponsor of the Institute ($1,000) for 1995 and to support the Institute’s research activities ($4,000)….”

William F. Shughart II wrote a 1995 book against “sin taxes” like those on cigarettes:

“Hence, when David Theroux of the Independent Institute contacted me to ask whether I might be interested in putting together a volume that would explore the purposes and effects of tax policy in regulating consumption choices, I eagerly accepted. Let me here acknowledge the Independent Institute’s financial sponsorship and David Theroux’ encouragement along the way.”

02. Peter Wood got a PhD in anthropology, but seems to have published little if any peer-reviewed research. He has written several books via Encounter Books, which has published three books for Roy Spencer (DeSmog). Do they publish science?  He has also been affiliated with Heartland Institute since 2017.***

For a sample of his style, read his two Chronicle of Higher Education articles cited in our reply, “Bottling Nonsense, Misusing a Civil Platform.” He was apparently upset by a 2011 profile of me in Science as defending climate scientists, so he wrote personal attacks against me and his more frequent target, Michael Mann. Wood persists in this style, as in his October 2019 blog post, ”Polar Bear Researcher is Unbearable According to the University of Victoria: Controversial Scientist Deserves Academic Freedom”:

“Among Crockford’s enemies numbers Penn State ‘climatologist’ Michael Mann, who has a troubled history with facts but a celebrity status among warmists. Mann characterized Crockford’s website as a ‘denier blog.’ … Crockford’s dismissal is a striking example of how the academy attempts to police scientific opinions on climate change. Scientists — including very well-known figures such as Crockford, William Happer, and Judith Curry — are subject to a constant barrage of ad hominem attack.”

Susan Crockford (DeSmog)  has been an (untenured) Adjunct Professor at University of Victoria, has never studied polar bears in the field, or published any peer-reviewed papers on them, but she has strong opinions, a website, speaks at Heartland Institute conferences and has been on their payroll. 

DeSmog readers may be familiar with Curry (DeSmog) and Happer, but for more, this thread includes personal experience with him, including being attacked as a “destrucive force” in the same 2011Science article that upset Wood.

Wood attended a 2011 climate denial conference and was on a panel with Steve Milloy (DeSmog) and Christopher Monckton (DeSmog), whose talk (which displayed a swastika) he praised for “wry delivery,” described in Mashey (2011), p.12,18.

03. Nathan Schactman is a lawyer who has published much on evidence. Product liability lawsuits can range from bogus to strongly merited and either may have good or bad lawyers. He may or may not be a “product defense lawyer” (akin to Louis Anthony Cox) defending companies against legitimate complaints. 

David Michaels in Triumph of Doubt (2020) (review) devotes a whole chapter, p.117-140 to “Deadly Dust (silica).” Hence, it is somewhat worrying to see this in Schactman’s blog:

“Contesting An Erroneous Diagnosis of Silicosis,” for Harris Martin Seminars, in New Orleans, Louisiana (March 26, 2004) “Should an ILO 1/0 Be Compensated in Silica Litigation,” for Harris Martin Seminars, in New York, New York (January 29, 2003)
“State-of-the-Art Defense in Silica Litigation,” Chair and presenter at Mealey’s Silica Litigation Conference, in Atlanta, Georgia (October 13 and 14, 2003)
“Silicosis Litigation,” to Merrill-Lynch Institutional Investors, in Philadelphia, PA (October 7, 2003)
“Stop Silicosis Litigation – Now,” at Industrial Minerals Association – North America’s Semiannual Meeting, in Washington, D.C. (September 25, 2003)”

Also concerning are articles like The Trials and Tribulations of Two Historians: Adjudicating Responsibility for Pollution and Personal Harm (2009), by Columbia’s David Rosner and CUNY‘s Gerald Markowitz, who wrote Deadly Dust (1991):

“For most of the 1990s the attempts to undermine our work were done in depositions, generally private meetings where we could defend our reputations by presenting the documents we had uncovered. While the depositions were trying, in fact we had the materials available and often provided thousands of pages to defence attorneys. But that began to change shortly after the turn of the new century. The first shot across the bow occurred at a meeting of lawyers sponsored by LexisNexis in Washington at which Nathan Schachtman, an attorney with McCarter & English in Philadelphia, gave a lengthy address attacking us and our book. In Mealey’s Litigation Report: Silica, published in 2003, he castigated us for writing a “jeremiad” that “resonates to the passions and prejudices of the last century”. He took us to task for our “prejudice” that “silicosis results from the valuation of profits over people and for not pointing out that in Communist countries silicosis rates were much higher. “They fairly consistently excuse or justify the actions of labor … They excoriate the motives and actions of industry …”. Later on the same page, Schachtman argued that our “thesis ignores the practical … problem of motivating or mandating workers to take appropriate measures to protect themselves”.17 Schachtman saw no problem with accusing us of sloppy scholarship, arguing that we are little more than propagandists, all in the first page of his piece. … (much more).” [emphasis added]

This seems akin to Wood‘s style of attack.

05. David Levy is a part of the GMU CSPC (his page). He coauthored a 1989 paper with Gary M. Anderson and Robert Tollison, admid their involvement with the Cash for Comments Economists Network effort for Big Tobacco.

He was on the committee for this PhD defense led by Donald Boudreaux (DeSmog), a firm climate science denier.

“Uncertainty and Bias in Global Warming Ronald J. Baty
Major Professor: Donald J Boudreaux, PhD, Department of Economics
Committee Members: David Levy, Lloyd Cohen November 28, 2012

Why did the scientific debate about Anthropogenic Global Warming or Climate Change devolve into a political and quasi-religious issue over the past two decades?  The primary mechanism behind this process was the interplay of uncertainty and publication bias, and its effect on the government’s and non-governmental organizations’ research funding practices. That is, it produced a misallocation of monies for research, in addition to, impeding the policy-making process. This study examines the Essential Science Indicator’s Top 10 most often cited journals and Library of Congress books on global warming. The study concludes that the insufficient number of articles raising questions about anthropogenic causes of climate change in science journals is evidence of bias. In addition, it finds that non-academic publishers predominately publish the books by academic skeptics. At the same time books by either academic or non-academics supporting climate change are more likely published by an academic publisher resulting in greater professional stature, which fuels the process over and over. The final sections of the study discuss the methods by which publication bias, uncertainty and research funding produced the current contentious level of debate about and current quasi-religious status of Anthropogenic Global Warming. The contentious debate and contested results from climate research allows for the misallocation of funding and hampers the policy making process.” [emphasis added]

I’ve skimmed the accepted dissertation, whose sources are often as poor as those in the Wegman Report. Baty relies on George C. Marshall Institute, Ronald Bailey, CEIFreeman Dyson, Chris Horner‘s “Red Hot Lies,” Donna LaFramboise, Richard Lindzen, Bjorn Lomborg, Stephen McIntyre & Ross McKitrick (2003), four books by Patrick Michaels, Fred Singer (twice), Lawrence Solomon, and Anthony Watts, for example, while denigrating many mainstream scientists. 

06. Richard K. Vedder is an emeritus economist, a Senior Fellow at TII, a Member of the Board of directors at NAS (2012-current, 2017 as example), a Policy Advisor at Heartland, and was an active member of Robert Tollision’s GMU CSPC-based Cash for Comments Economists Network. An Industry Documents Library search gets 393 hits, too many to examine in detail here. He makes numerous complaints about universities, ignoring the fact he got paid to help Big Tobacco addict adolescents (done by keeping taxes low). 

“The Politicization of Higher Education: College Presidents and Global Warming” (2011)

07. Elliott Bloom was a researcher at SLAC, has a webpage at TII that promotes his video done with Willie SoonGlobal Warming: Fact or Fiction?, which once again proclaims “It’s the Sun” with a big event that promoted them as well as Fred Singer’s 20-year-old Hot Talk, Cold Science.

09. Anastasios Tsonis is an emeritus professor of atmospheric sciences, with many publications, but is a member of the academic advisory council for the UK‘s main climate denial group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (DeSmog),  and writes articles or is quoted:
Ocean Cycles, Not Humans, May Be Behind Most Observed Climate Change (2017)
Anastasios Tsonis: The Overblown And Misleading Issue Of Global Warming (2019)
Business Insider (2013)
Global Temperature Standstill May Last 30 Years, Climate Scientist Predicts (2013)

“One problem with that conclusion, according to some climate scientists, is that the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has limited the hiatus to 10-15 years. Anastasios Tsonis, distinguished professor at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, believes the pause will last much longer than that. He points to repeated periods of warming and cooling in the 20th century.

Each one of those regimes lasts about 30 years … I would assume something like another 15 years of leveling off or cooling,” he told Fox News.”

Many climate scientists thought the “hiatus” was noise, 2014-2019 were the six hottest years on record, and Tsonis was wrong, which can happen, but most scientists do not go to denialist groups to write for them.

He has also written for Heartland InsituteDO YOU BELIEVE IN GLOBAL WARMING?

10. Barry Smith was a Member of the Board of Directors for NAS from at least 2011-2017, but not 2018. He is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, but perhaps was not really very involved with NAS, so is not shaded red.

13. Patrick Michaels started doing paid climate denial work for coal companies about 30 years ago (DeSmog) and is one of the most visible people, now at the Competitive Enterprise Institute after years at the Cato Institute. He was involved with TASSC, which was originally funded by Philip Morris. He often complains about “Pal review” of papers, but in fact “Skeptics Prefer Pal Review Over Peer Review: Chris de Freitas, Pat Michaels And Their Pals, 1997-2003.” He published the most papers via a complicit editor.

14. David Randall is a HI Policy Advisor and  NAS Research Director, but seems to have little background in science:

“David earned a Ph.D. in history from Rutgers University, an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Columbia University, a master’s degree in library science from the Palmer School at Long Island University, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College. Prior to working at NAS he was the sole librarian at the John McEnroe Library at New York Studio School.”

He wrote “The Irreproducibility Crisis of Modern Science,” launched with great fanfare (and a laudatory afterword by Will Happer), well-dissected by Michael Schulson in “A Remedy for Broken Science, Or an Attempt to Undercut It? ”

DAVID RANDALL and Christopher Welser are unlikely authorities on the reproducibility crisis in science. Randall, a historian and librarian, is the director of research at the National Association of Scholars, a small higher education advocacy group. Welser teaches Latin at a Christian college in Minnesota. Neither has published anything on replication or reproducibility.”

Schulson’s article is well worth reading for more on NAS, including Kerry Emanuel’s comments after a run-in with Wood:

“He left the organization soon afterward.
“It sort of revealed them not to be what they claimed to be — people who stood for scientific truth and scientific integrity. It was just another organization that used that as a front,” Emanuel said. “They’re basically a political organization posing as an organization dedicated to free inquiry,” he added.”

15. S. Stanley Young is a statistician and CEO of his own consulting business CGState. He has a web page at Heartland, he where wrote an article with many people profiled at DeSmog: Tim HuelskampJoseph BastJay LehrS. Stanley YoungH. Sterling BurnettFrederick D. PalmerBette GrandeSteven Milloy, “PRESS RELEASE: HEARTLAND INSTITUTE APPLAUDS END OFSECRET SCIENCEAT EPA”.

He is also “Director of the Shifting Sands Project” at NAS.

16. James Enstrom (Sourcewatch, Wikipedia) is now a retired professor of epidemiology, with a long  history of downplaying secondhand smoke and damage from PM2.5 particulate matter, in addition to denying the science of climate change. He received funding from Philip Morris, has a webpage at Heartland, has spoken at several Heartland climate conferences (ICCC-10, 12), and is a Trustee of ACSH. He signed the APS2009 and HAPPER2016 letters.

17. Louis Anthony Cox is a well-published statistician/risk expert, but with a long history of corporate “product defense.” Unlike some of the others, he displays technical competence, but employed in the service of doubt.

David Michaels in Triumph of Doubt (2020) (review) discusses Cox with whom he often had direct interactions, p.133-134 (silica), 224-225, and 270. For example, on p. 224-225 he writes:

“The Trump Administration’s choice to chair the Clean air Scientific Advisory committee was Louis Anttony (Tony) Cox, a long-time industry consultant who clings to uncommon opinions, like lowering ozone and the belief that PM2.5 exposures would not improve public health. Cox was well-known at the Labor Department for his testiomony on behalf of the National Mining Association, predictably claiming that the government’s risk assesment on respirable coal dust was flawed.”

Jie Jenny Zou and Chris Young wrote, “Wave of climate lawsuits threatens the future of Big Oil” in 2017:

“But the all-expenses-paid event hosted by George Mason University’s Law & Economics Center in Arlington, Virginia, served another purpose: It was the first of several seminars designed to promote ‘skepticism’ of scientific evidence among likely candidates for the 140-plus federal judgeships President Trump will fill over the next four years.

The lone science instructor was Louis Anthony Cox Jr., a risk analyst with deep industry ties whose recent appointment as chair of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee drew condemnation in public-health circles. Since 1988, Cox has consulted for the American Petroleum Institute, a lobby group that spent millions to dispute the cancer-causing properties of benzene, an ingredient in gasoline, and is now working to discredit the science on smog-causing ozone. He’s also testified on behalf of the chemical industry and done research for tobacco giant Philip Morris.

For a $4,000 honorarium, Cox delivered two closed-door lectures at George Mason: “a primer on the scientific method,” followed by a session aimed at “understanding what science can and cannot do.” Included in his presentation were slides urging judges to be wary of EPA science on fine particles — a pollutant he has been researching for API. “

See also “EPA swaps top science advisers with industry allies” (2017), for more information on Cox.

Harvard School of Public Health published: “EPA may limit review of evidence on air pollution and health risks”:

“The paper, published on March 21, 2019, noted that the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) has recently recommended that the EPA limit the types of epidemiological studies used to assess the health risks of air pollution … CASAC is currently headed by Louis Anthony Cox Jr., a Denver-based risk assessment consultant who has worked for the oil, chemical, and healthcare industries. Cox said in December that his panel wasn’t convinced by the EPA’s 1,800-page assessment of small particle air pollution, which cited more than 2,800 research papers on the subject and was authored by more than 50 of the world’s leading experts on air pollution — and reviewed by dozens more, according to a March 21, 2019 Los Angeles Times article. That assessment concluded that even low levels of exposure to particulate matter can lead to illness and death. Cox accused the authors of that assessment of being subjective in their conclusions and using bad science, according to the Times.” [emphasis added]

An Industry Documents Library search finds 57 documents, including interactions with Shell Oil and expert-witnessing for Philip Morris.

18. Mark Regnerus’s work and criticisms of his methods are not ones I’ve studied, although it is not clear what expertise he really brings to improving science. Dorothy Bishop wrote:

Mark Regnerus, Professor, Sociology Department, University of Texas at Austin has a Wikipedia page which notes the controversy around his research on the adverse impact of a child having a parent who has been involved in a same-sex relationship. The research is funded by the Witherspoon Institute, a conservative think tank. Regnerus also contributed to an amicus brief in opposition to same-sex marriage. A sympathetic account of the controversy was published by the NatAsSchols .”

Update 02/08/20: HI attendee count 7 typo, fixed to 6 and missing link to David Randall as HI Policy Advisor added.

* People were unfamiliar with The King’s College and asked for more. I looked for its Form 990s at and, found 2016 the latest available.  Most 501(c)(3) nonprofits filed  2017 reports by late 2018 as required. Perhaps this has been filed, but not yet processed at those websites. Warning: in various reports, it is sometimes “KIngs” and sometimes “KIng’s” so care needed with searches. However I did find, among many other grants:

Table D A few selected Grants to The KIng’s College
All grants in $1,000s 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
King’s Total Grants from Form 990s, EIN 131810448 $11,079 $9,194 $8,898 $13,131 $10,646 $11,349 N/A
A few incoming grants via, $1,000s              
Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation
(i.,e., Betsy DeVos‘ father & mother-in-law
  $4,000     $5,014 $5,760 $8,400
Mercer Family Foundation       $300 $300 $300  
Charles Koch Foundation         $19 $32 $370
Fideltiy Charitable (huge DAF)         $504 $101 $217
Donors Capital Fund (DAF) $30            

UPDATE 02/09/20: Add link to Desmog profile for Rachelle Peterson, link to Noah Huber’s commentary, and to annotated copy of NAS brochure provided at Fixing Science Symposium.

UPDATE 02/24/20: Fix missing underscores. Also, I hear Peter Wood mentioned this blog post at the end of the symposium and suggested people come and comment, which I would welcome!

UPDATE 02/29/20: Bottling Nonsense, 08/20/11, pp.23-34 covered the odd involvment in a Bush program-Teaching Americian History (to high school teachers), which for years provided most of NAS revenue, about $11M in total.  I did not then know much about this program, but luckily NJ high shcool teacher Bob Fenster recently blogged about it, in Paid to Sit Through 30 Days of Right-Wing Dogma.:

“I guess I should start with the opening night reception in some well appointed lounge on the Princeton Campus. The catered food was exquisite and wine flowed plentifully. There even was a harp player, who as it turned out, was the program director’s daughter… …

As for the staff, the director  managed to employ his wife, his other daughter, and his daughter’s friend. The family that earns together stays together!

 It wasn’t long into the first session that we started doing the math. We each got $2K, plus the card. They were paying all of these speakers to come from out of state (travel, hotel, stipends). Many of us were getting housed on campus with meal plans. They were paying for charter buses to take us various places, museum entrance fees, and so forth. 

** UPDATE 03/04/20:  About 70-80 people (10-15 women)  attended “Fixing Science”, including speakers and NAS/TII staff. Lacking a list, I cannot know most attendees’ academic backgrounds, but one may calibrate NAS membership by examining the NAS State Affiliates list of officers. Most states show NAS HQ‘s Glenn Ricketts (Interim), but 21 states list 22 officers, 20 Male (3 Emeritus) and 2 Female, whose disciplines are shown below. Although the attendees may differ, NAS generally does not seem a science-oriented organization. Some Political Scientists use statistics heavily, others do not.

UPDATE 10/28/20***: Added Peter Wood’s connection to Heartland Institute, upped count to 7.

Table E – Officers of NAS State Affiliates (~think tanks in Italics)
State M/F EM Disicipline Organization Notes
AL M   Law Faulkner U Heartland Institute Policy Advisor
AK M   Political Science U of Alaska – Anchorage  
AZ M   School of information;
doing PhD  philosophy
U of Arizona  
CA M   Astronomy&Physics dept UCLA  
CA M E History Cal State U Chico  
CT M   History Central CT State U  
DE M E Education U of Delaware  
DC M   Law & Human Rights Institute of World Politics  
FL M   Political Science Florida Atlantic U Heritage Foundation Fellow
ID M   History College of Western Idaho  
IL M   Education North Park U  
IN M   Business – Mgmt & information Sci U of Southern Indiana  
KS F   History Kansas State U  
KY M   Business U of Louisville  
MN M   History, Political Science BA Intellectual Takeout Affiliated with State Policy Network
NY M   History Bronx Community College-CUNY  
OH M E Law Case Western Reserve U  
OK M   Law Oklahoma City U Heritage Foundation Fellow
OR M   Political Science Portland State U  
SC F   Political Science Independent Scholar(?) Adjunct professor at various schools
TX M   Philosophy U of Texas – Austin  
UT M   Linguistics & English language Brigham Young U  

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