WASHINGTON — The setting was not unusual for a scholarly conference: a bland ballroom in a Houston hotel. But Willie Soon’s presentation was anything but ordinary. As PowerPoint slides flashed on a screen, his remarks crescendoed into a full-throated denunciation.
“Those people are so out of their minds!’’ exclaimed Soon, a solar researcher at the prestigious Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, in Cambridge. He assailed former vice president Al Gore, among others, for his views on climate change, calling predictions of catastrophic ocean tides “crazy’’ and scornfully concluding: “And they call this science.’’