UCLA Scientist Battles Environmental Establishment, Loses Job

 

James Enstrom, an occasional gadfly to the environmentalist establishment, recently won a small victory in court.  

Several months ago, Enstrom published an article showing that diesel particulates do not have the mortality effects claimed by many previous studies. In fact, his article showed that the best evidence is actually consistent with a nil effect. This angered many in the environmental establishment, and it led, I believe, to Enstrom losing his job as a research scientist at UCLA. With the help of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, he has filed a lawsuit against UCLA. UCLA tried to get the case dismissed, but on March 18, the judge sided with Enstrom.

ReasonTV  (see above) has produced an excellent video describing Enstrom’s case. Besides Enstrom’s work on diesel particulates and his ouster from UCLA, the video documents his whistle blowing activities.  This includes his revelation that Hien Tran, the lead author of a report by the California Air Resources Board, had lied about receiving a Ph.D. from UC-Davis.

After UCLA failed to renew Enstrom’s contract, the university offered a  shifting series of  reasons for ousting him.

However, the real reason, I believe, is simply that Enstrom angered the academic left too many times. Before his work on diesel particulates, he had published a study showing that the effects of second-hand cigarette smoke are not nearly as harmful as many people claim. Another of Enstrom’s whistle blowing activities caused some of his UCLA colleagues to lose their jobs as members of the scientific advisory board to the California Air Resources Board. Specifically, Enstrom noted that some of its members were violating a California law that limited the number of years that they could serve on the board. And, perhaps what has angered the academic left most of all, Enstrom has received grant money from a tobacco company.

In addition to all these things, Enstrom did the scientific equivalent of an end zone dance. After he published his findings on diesel particulates, many left-wing environmental scientists criticized or dismissed his findings. Meanwhile, they treated the findings of Tran’s report as gospel. At a presentation at a scientific conference, Enstrom flashed a power-point slide illustrating Tran’s diploma (which in truth came not from UC-Davis but Thornhill University, an online diploma mill), then he flashed a slide of his own diploma–a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University.

A UCLA friend, who works in the hard sciences and who, unlike me, is neither a friend of Enstrom nor a political conservative (his or her Political Quotient is very near 50), said that he or she was not surprised to see Enstrom lose his job.”If he had done only one or two of those things (to anger the environmental left), he probably could have survived. But he did like six. I can totally see how that could get him fired.”

One of the persons most instrumental in getting Enstrom ousted from UCLA is John Froines, a senior member of Enstrom’s department who helped lobby for a meeting at which faculty members voted to oust Enstrom. Now a tenured professor at UCLA, Froines is perhaps most famous for being the bomb expert of the Chicago Seven, the group charged with inciting a riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Remember his name. If Enstrom’s case actually goes to trial–that is, if he and UCLA don’t settle–I predict that some of Froines’s actions in this case will be especially newsworthy.

There are 10 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @CorneliusJuliusSebastian

    This is a terrific win for reason.  Thanks for posting!

    • #1
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    @NathanielWright

    How one of the Chicago Seven ever received a tenure track position at a leading university boggles the mind.

    • #2
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    @Jude

    Modern day indulgences. Oh, that is good. I’m using it. And I think your thesis is spot on.

    The Green movement is not conservationist; it is more akin to intentionally removing yourself from the top of the food chain. It may make you feel at one with nature, but you’re more likely to be eaten by nature. The kind of backward steps I see promoted in the Green movement hinder quality (and length) of life. There is a lot that can be achieved by good conservationism in which Big Brother has no statist domain over the people of our nation. 

    midnightgolfer: My hypothesis: “green” “consensus” shortens life, and political correctness kills.

    Neither make quality of life any better, except for the elites that sell the modern day ‘indulgences’ (and even then, they are so hooked on control, power and money, they still sell out, like Al Gore to Oil-Jazeera.)

    Your bon mot would have an even stronger impact if we could get bishops to stop selling indulgences today, but I digress. OK, indulgences are not for sale anymore, but a nice contribution (nudge nudge,wink wink) seems to be a big help in getting one.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Conspicuous by their absence in this affair as described is the faculty union.

    To faculty unions, academic freedom is an absolutely inviolable affair.  They drone on about how universities cannot interfere with researcher’s work or dissemination no matter what, no matter what, no matter what!  No exceptions!

    And they marshall impressive financial resources to fight dismissal of professors on almost any basis.  In Canada, a person even threatened to lose their job for analogous reasons would see millions of dollars go into a legal fund for them, backed by lawyers retained by CAUT, the national association as well as their local and donations from unions at other universities.  It is quite an impressive machine.

    No matter what … unless, of course, what the researcher says runs afoul of the union’s ideology or the interests of one of their allies.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Inactive
    @midnightgolfer

    My hypothesis: “green” “consensus” shortens life, and political correctness kills.

    Neither make quality of life any better, except for the elites that sell the modern day ‘indulgences’ (and even then, they are so hooked on control, power and money, they still sell out, like Al Gore to Oil-Jazeera.)

    ‘Air quality’ ‘regulations’ make everything you need to live cost more, too. Even cell phone coverage in Southern California, is worse and more expensive because of all the red tape and pointless rules.  And with all the fines and fees, the bureaucracy still runs in the red, or worse.

    • #5
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    @BrianWatt

    The testimony of William Frapolly, a undercover police witness in the Chicago 7 trial, relates his conversations and interaction with John Froines during 1968 Democrat Convention riots in Chicago. 

    “THE WITNESS: Yes, there was.  John Froines said, “The marshals acted as better street fighters than they did controlling the crowd.  Last night showed that we can fight in the street.” Froines said people should break into small groups and that these groups should be violent and that people should tonight leave the park and run into Old Town, disable cars and smash windows.  Everyone in the group agreed with this, and they called these groups affinity groups.”

     – more –

    • #6
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    @BrianWatt

     THE WITNESS: Well, John Froines was talking about how he had purchased butyric acid and that he used the butyric acid in hotels and restaurants the night before.  He said it really cleared out some of the restaurants.  He said butyric acid smells like vomit. 

        …..

    MR. FORAN: Now, do you recall anything else being said at that time?

    THE WITNESS: Yes.  John Froines said he had four cans of gasoline and that he didn’t know exactly how he was going to use them.  He said he would either use the gasoline tonight or use the butyric acid.

    • #7
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    @BrianWatt

    UCLA should be so proud to have someone of Froines’ reputation on their faculty. 

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Member
    @

    At a presentation at a scientific conference, Enstrom flashed a power-point slide illustrating Tran’s diploma (which in truth came not from UC-Davis but Thornhill University, an online diploma mill), then he flashed a slide of his own diploma–a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University.

    I love this part. He’s a brave scientist to fight the group thinkersI think a lot of people are getting in the fighting mood.

    • #9
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    @DuaneOyen

    Why not make a cause celebre of Froines.  Like Dawkins, he gives science a bad name.

    • #10
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