25 October 2010

So How are Things Going for You Lately?

Judy Curry responds to her critics in the climate science community in a post at her blog.  Here is an excerpt:
Let me preface my statement by saying that at this point,  I am pretty much immune to criticisms from my peers regarding my behavior and public outreach on this topic (I respond to any and all criticisms of my arguments that are specifically addressed to me.)   If you think that I am a big part of the cause of the problems you are facing, I suggest that you think about this more carefully.   I am doing my best to return some sanity to this situation and restore science to a higher position than the dogma of consensus.  You may not like it, and my actions may turn out to be ineffective, futile, or counterproductive in the short or long run, by whatever standards this whole episode ends up getting judged.  But this is my carefully considered choice on what it means to be a scientist and to behave with personal and professional integrity.

Let me ask you this.  So how are things going for you lately?  A year ago, the climate establishment was on top of the world, masters of the universe.   Now we have a situation where there have been major challenges to the reputations of a number of a number of scientists, the IPCC, professional societies, and other institutions of science.  The spillover has been a loss of public trust in climate science and some have argued, even more broadly in science.  The IPCC and the UNFCCC are regarded by many as impediments to sane and politically viable energy policies.  The enviro advocacy groups are abandoning the climate change issue for more promising narratives.  In the U.S., the prospect of the Republicans winning the House of Representatives raises the specter of hearings on the integrity of climate science and reductions in federal funding for climate research.

What happened?  Did the skeptics and the oil companies and the libertarian think tanks win?  No, you lost.  All in the name of supporting policies that I don’t think many of you fully understand.  What I want is for the climate science community to shift gears and get back to doing science, and return to an environment where debate over the science is the spice of academic life.  And because of the high relevance of our field, we need to figure out how to provide the best possible scientific information and assessment of uncertainties.  This means abandoning this religious adherence to consensus dogma.


  1. In ancient Egypt they would strike her glyph from the monuments and temples.
    In the Catholic church, she would be, if lucky, under house arrest for life- after being 'persuaded' to recant.

  2. Yes, the climate science community, exonerated by the British government over climategate are the OJ Simpsons of the 21st century.

    My position has always been that (many) climate scientists have been carried away by silly and extreme religious and political beliefs, not science. The failed circus was sponsored, as James Hansen said by the oil companies, banks and the corporate media.

    The fact that the whole science community hasn't leaped to Curry's defence is a true indictment of its members.

    Freeman Dyson is a scientist.

    “My first heresy says that all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models. Of course, they say, I have no degree in meteorology and I am therefore not qualified to speak. But I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do.

    The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in. The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing their own models.”

    Freedom is the freedom to say two plus two equal four. If that is given, all else follows"

    George Orwell, 1984

  3. I think Dr. Curry realized a little too late that she was placing her own credibility on the line when she adopted the IPCC line for public consumption. When experts tell the public to defer to their authority, the public is entitled to assume that they know what they are talking about. When she trusted the IPCC without checking, she linked her credibility to it. And hers got shredded along with the credibility of everyone else who did the same.

    Good for her for trying to repair the damage.

  4. Scientific American Magazine is shameless. I have exchanged emails with one of their editors about the incredible ignorance of physics and incompetence in science practice that is found in all the anthropogenic climate change claims and still they print Mann's manufactured temperature plot. I resigned from the AAAS because of their contribution to the corruption of independent peer review.

    I am a physicist in industry with academic ties and a CU alum. I am aghast at the research community for tolerating this fraud. Science doesn't work very well without independent peer review and climate science doesn't have any of that today. The rank and file of the profession should be up in arms.

    I am very proud of Roger and of my alma mater for striving to teach correct science in the face of a corruption machine of historic proportions.

    R.F. Yanda, Ph.D.

  5. Judy did a nice job articulating her position. Hopefully it will influence some of the "independents". It will likely further infuriate the Joe Romms and Gavin Schmidts of the world.

  6. "religious adherence to consensus dogma"

    I do my best to avoid speculating on people's motives and am willing to take her on her word as to her motivations. But repeated use of the phrase above makes it hard for her to fill the role she claims to want to. Almost no members of that consensus or whatever you want to call it participate in her blog. She may think she is creating a middle ground, but she really lost in that effort early on.

    Btw the new Scientific American has an article all about her efforts. So maybe some are still trying to work with her. We will see.

  7. -7-Dean

    I am just returning from U Mich where I gave a talk yesterday. I was told by several of my hosts that there were concerns from climate scientists (on and off campus, apparently) about allowing me to speak there. They didn't name names. In the post-"climategate" era it is remarkable that these guys continue to try to stage-manage debates from behind-the-scenes.

    I doubt that Judy Curry is working to prevent people from speaking. I also doubt that those seeking to prevent people they disagree with from speaking are going to be much interested in bridge-building.

    Meanwhile, I gave my talk (to the credit of the Ford School who did not apparently think much of the pressure), and no one appeared to have been captured by the spirit of the devil and the world has not ended ;-)

  8. Sorry - I didn't realize that your excerpt from Curry's blog was from a post about the Sci Am article. I subscribe to it, and it is in my stack - the current issue not having been read yet.

    Curry wonders why she is perceived to have "power". It is because there few people with her level of credential who say the things she does the way she does. There may be a few others, but Lindzen is old news, and I don't know why they chose her instead of the very few other credible choices.

  9. Roger - I don't really disagree on this. The recent episode on NPR re Juan Williams shows this. The desire by some to control debate is very counterproductive imo. For example, I'm one of the few people who disagrees with you on much on the AGW side who still posts on your blog.

    I never suggested that Curry is intending to keep others away, but the dynamics of this non-debate are what they are, and calling somebody a religious dogmatist as she just did is not particularly inviting. You asked Gavin Schmidt to work with you on something, right after you called him a liar in a post that focused on that label. He declined. Surprised?

    I posted on her blog and responded to a guy. Then I found out that he thinks that there is absolutely no evidence of AGW at all. The result being that I hadn't been back until just today and no longer review her blog much. It's just a waste of time if that's what I'm dealing with.

    So one of the features of this non-debate isn't just whatever disagreement that exists, but that those who disagree seem to be unable to even find a venue that they can debate in. You and Curry want to do it in blogs that are dominated by dogmatists who don't even accept the basics that you and Curry do, and you expect them to wade through that. They want you and Curry to do the debate in traditional journals. You and she do that to some degree, but your efforts in your blogs fall on deaf ears in their community for the most part.

    I don't know what the answer to all of this is, and I'm not saying it's ALL your and Curry's fault. But it certainly isn't all the IPCC/RC crowd's fault either. We live in a partisan world and that partisanship undermines rational debate in many areas, not just the explicitly political.

  10. Few are those who think with their own minds and feel with their own hearts -Albert Einstein

  11. re # 8
    Someone may have said - "RP Jr shouldn't be invited to speak, because his views are wrong-headed and without merit" (in the SPEAKER's opinion).

    Or they might have said "RP Jr shouldn't be invited to speak as his penetrating insights will lead people to stray from "religious adherence to consensus dogma". Plus I'll lose my mega-grants and all those IPCC funded retreats to south pacific islands"

    JMHO that what was said may have been closer to the first than to the second.

  12. Dean,

    It was Scientific American that raised the specter of religion and dogma when they called her a heretic. You really ought to read before you criticize.

    And Roger's anecdote about attempted censorship at Michigan dovetails with his account of previous efforts to censor him by climate scientists. You may not like the description of them as religious adherents to dogma, but you sure can't defend what they do as science. This stuff is the despicable. Any decent scientist would immediately demand an end to this kind of "obscenity", but decency left climate science a long time ago.

  13. re #12

    JMHO that your first example is the way that academics who like to think of themselves as high-minded individuals would express your second example.

    Are those someones in sole possession of the truth to know that "RP Jr"'s views are so wrong headed and without merit that he shouldn't be allowed to speak?

    One would think that if his ideas were that wrong headed and without merit it would be self evident and best solution would be to let him go forward and publicly embarrass himself.

    As Forrest Gump would say, ideology based censorship is as ideology based censorship does. Wordsmith however you like.