Denialist Chum: Curry Style

Here’s an interesting example of denialist chumming by Curry for your delectation: (h/t to Willard for giving me the scent)

I am putting this out there for discussion. Why do scientists see the need to jump right out there and make statements like this without even looking at the basics of the regional climatology? Trenberth and Somerville are activists on the topic of AGW

I am open to other/better interpretations of this situation, but I am personally not seeing any. The better question is why does NOAA find attribution services to be important, and why was there a consensus at the Workshop on its importance? Exactly how is someone supposed to make use of this information? [my emphasis]

Gobsmacked here. Absolutely gobsmacked.

First, this is pure denialist chumming, and the evidence is in the comments. Curry throws out some bait and here come the sharks — or guppies depending on your take on this. 🙂

Here’s some bait, just to get the scent in the water:

Summary: Not sure what the motive is for the attribution of extreme events, other than to build political will for climate change policies.

Here’s another bit of chum:

why does NOAA find attribution services to be important and why was there a consensus at the Workshop on its importance?

LOL! She answers the question then asks it.

The very first poster gives Curry the answer that deniers have been working hard to create in the minds of the gullible:

etudiantJanuary 15, 2011 at 10:08 amReply

Clearly science is becoming more market oriented.
NOAA sees a need for a hook to highlight its Climate Service. Extreme weather events are tailor made for this purpose. Funding is made available and “science” follows.
Rather sad, imo.

Rather sad, indeed…

Another bite:

Bull. The motivation is entirely political. The only reason for attribution is to assign blame and support the case for political action. If they were concerned about “saving lives, property, disease, etc.” the effort would be going into prediction and mitigation.

And another one — its getting crowded, as the hungry crowd circles the bait:

“…nothing to do with political agendas?”

…One of the express purposes of the whole exercise is to impact “decision making” and “decision makers.” How precisely can that not be political when those decisions themselves are at their core political?

Alarmism has become an important part of politics, perhaps more than ever before, because in an age of mass, instant communication, alarmism often works.

Even Curry jumps in and takes a bite of her own bait:

How does attribution help save lives and property? We will still have floods and droughts, whether or not we stop burning fossil fuels. We have a big adaptation deficit with regards to floods, droughts, and hurricanes, relative to the events of the last two decades. If climate scientists were pushing strategies to adapt to extreme events through better land use policies, infrastructure, and better forecasts, then I would be more impressed. Instead, these attribution statements get tied up with statements about reducing CO2 (e.g. Trenberth’s statement, Santer’s statement, Somerville’s statement, etc.) Thinking that floods and droughts and hurricanes will go away if we stop burning CO2 is beyond a joke. Looking back at the 1890′s, we saw a horrendous rash of extreme weather events that had nothing to do with global warming. [my emphasis]

Now Curry has finally revealed herself. No one said that extreme events would “go away”  if we stop burning fossil fuels, but if these extreme events increase because of global warming, then we face even more of these events and have to plan for that. We may be adapted to prevailing levels of extreme events, but not to increased numbers of them and not to increased severity.

She appears to reveal her lukewarmer agenda by supporting adaptation and forecasts and and use policies, but not to CO2 mitigation…

I don’t understand how a scientist can make the statement that understanding attribution is unimportant!

Like I say, gobsmacked!

There’s so much blood in the water, it’s a bit hazy but there are so many ripe examples of this whole agenda of bashing the science and the scientists.

Here’s an example:

Of course there is –
Advocating for better land use policies is common sense that should be obvious to everybody. It does not imply an agenda.

Advocating for CO2 reduction is, by definition, an agenda. Scientists who are seen as pushing an agenda, are rightfully seen as biased, and their science is then possible or even “probably” biased.

Obviously, Jim has little skill in logic, for it seems abundantly clear to me that advocating anything implies and agenda! The agenda, at the minimum, is to effect change whether it is a change in land use or a change in CO2 emissions. Where does this sh*& come from?

Thank the GODS for people like Michael, although his wisdom is lost on the Curry-guppies.

If we can in any way accurately attribute, then we may be able to identify a ‘fatter tail’ on the probability of extreme weather events, and we might know something very important about the magnitude and the frequency of such events. Very helpful for those responsible for infrastructure planning and disaster response.

Yet, the idiocy reigns supreme and this poster is the fulfillment of Curry’s actions on her blog:

Dr. Curry: Excellent post! Thanks for tackling this subject, which I find odd as well.

“Not sure what the motive is for the attribution of extreme events, other than to build political will for climate change policies.”

It sure comes across as grasping at straws to further the cause. For me it is yet another reason not to trust climate scientists. It wouldn’t surprise me if other people have a similar reaction. I’d be interested in seeing some polling.[my emphasis]

Yep. Curry has succeeded in furthering this meme that climate scientists are not to be trusted. She indicated as much in her opening remarks and her faithful have parroted and regurgitated it up almost as if on command.


Michael is my new hero. I post this exchange between him and Richard Drake:

I wasn’t kicking AGW. I’m not the first to notice that until recently AGW was meant to produce drought in Australia and now, according to experts like Trenberth, who I assume you agree with, it has gone and produced floods.

But the precise procedure as far as release of water from Wivenhoe dam – that I completely agree was beyond my ken. You say that the State Governor has no say at all in this. That strikes me as unlikely, given the possible impacts either way. You give no source for your assertion. But I’m a very open-minded person, as you will discover when such evidence is put to me.

As for the quip about Bishop Hill, mistakes have been known to have been made there – and also corrected. I recommend the place.

  • Wrong. Confirmation bias strikes again. You must be ground zero for CB Richard.

    The AGW predictions for Oz are quite clear, and I’ve seen some poor long-suffering person here at Climate Etc post them several times on several different threads (most recently just yesterday I think) for the edification of the denizens – to little effect.

    The summary – more frequent drought, especially in the south and reduced rainfall in the SW during winter, and…..wait for it….increased incidence of high rainfall events.
    And what has Brisbane just had – a very long drought followed by the biggest flooding, probably since 1893 (possibly longer).

    Just to forestall any confusion – there is no conflict between increased drought and more extreme rainfall events. This is addressed in more detail too, but I can’t rememeber precisely. I think it might be that reduced mean totals may be experienced, but the increased extreme rain events may result in means rainfalls being not affected in some areas.
    In the north, the picture is less clear.

    There is plenty of info at CSIRO – just google.

    • A couple of details you omit:
      1. The date the ‘AGW predictions’ you refer to were made.
      2. A URL showing this to be true.

      I’m sure that won’t be a problem, giving the importance of proving my confirmation bias, to say nothing of moving on the debate here. Thanks in advance.

      • 1. Prediction about extreme rainfall events for Australia made in 2004.

        “For example, the intensity of the 1-in-20 year daily rainfall event is likely to increase ….by up to 30% by 2040 in south-east Queensland (Abbs, 2004)”

        That’s part of the IPCC summary for Australia.

        2. Link

        Now what would a real sceptic do when faced with new information? Generally, being real sceptics, they incorporate the new information, which may lead to revising or jettisoning their previous position.

        I’m sure that won’t be a problem for you, seeing how interested you are in moving the debate forward, as opposed to mindless nay-saying.

        Thanks in advance. [my emphasis]

        Thanks to Michael for the rare glimpse of sense and intelligence on that trainwreck of a blog…

About Policy Lass

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82 Responses to “Denialist Chum: Curry Style”

    • It’s more than jumping the shark — that’s an act of desperation. She’s looking for traffic, in part. She seems to be positioning herself as the champion of lukewarmers. I know she’s looking at getting a DOD grant. And Mosher is offering to help!

      I just shake my head at the hypocrisy — her blog spends time smearing the reputation of climate scientists and the discipline as a whole, insinuating that they are only in it for the gold and then she talks about getting grants to study global warming and security!

      I have nothing against getting grants to study climate change but it’s the height of hypocrisy to slam others for something you do yourself.

  1. The hat tip belongs to gryposaurus.

    Here is one conversation gryposaurus had with Judith a few months ago:

    Detection and attribution. Non nova sed nove.

  2. I would just like to point out that I am NOT trying to hurt Curry’s reputation as a scientist. Her interpretation of the literature is just as valid as the mainstream’s, and by that I mean, subject to the review of her professional peers, which I am not. I disagree with her handling of her blog, and her interpretation of the IPCC and scientists’ intension, whether they be political or scientific in nature. The entire issue revolves around the interface of science and policy, which is the real cause of the division. She has taken on several attacks and some she has handled well, IMO, and some not. But she is not perfect. I am trying to be as fair as possible, and if she or someone feels that I am not, I’d like to discuss it.

    I believe the same is true of most of the people that criticize her publicly, with a few exceptions. I am very sure many (not all) of the issues can be resolved by simply stopping the chum.

    • I am not trying to hurt Curry’s reputation as a scientist either. Her scientific work stands or falls on its own merits, not her blogging disasters. However, she has a public blog and it is open for criticism and comment from the rest of us. If I felt that Curry was genuine in her desire to bridge the divide between the public and climate scientists, and to mend wounds between “skeptics” and mainstream climate science, I would say it was a noble goal. In review of her posts and the comment threads and her moderation, I have to conclude that she is disingenuous. Her posts, despite her attempts to science-ify them by including a bit of real science here and there, end up being all about feeding the fury and cynicism of global warming denialists and contrarians. No bridges being mended. Instead, their burning hulks and being stomped on and churned up even more.

      • I think your criticism has been very fair, and specific, and something that needs to be pointed out and answered to. I only bring this up to make sure that others realize that the “we” are getting into the trap as “them” (I use those words with humor). By that I mean the constant haranguing of scientists and their non-stop targeting of their individual competence and scientific integrity, and by extension the science itself.

  3. I care not a whit about Curry’s reputation as a scientist and, not being a practising scientist, have no influence on it one way or another.

    My first and last interaction with her was on KK’s blog several months ago when she was throwing multiple random insinuations of major corruption and scientific malpractice up in the air. I asked her (fairly politely) to give examples, to be specific. All that happened was that KK told me I should be more respectful of Curry, and Curry accused me of baiting her to the extent that she lashed out at DeepClimate for trying to ruin the reputation of the esteemed statistician, Wegman (esteemed in Curry’s view, not mine). She later retracted her comments about Wegman but has never, to my knowledge, apologised to DeepClimate.

    Curry is one of those people who creates a smokescreen and then says where there’s smoke there’s fire – all without any basis whatsoever. She indulges in insinuating major corruption of people and organisations, provides no evidence whatsoever (because there is none) and then cries foul when it’s pointed out what she is doing (with the complicity of others such as KK).

    I’m surprised that anyone would be taken in by her antics. I’m not surprised that about the only people left commenting on her blog these days are denialists. I’m guessing that was her intention all along. Who else would stoop to her level?

    • Sou, an example URL or two please. Otherwise a denialist could say something similar just as easily – the way for the reader to tell the difference, is to follow the links (if provided) and see the examples.

      Remember there are game theorist fingerprints on this issue; it’s not just scientists & other well meaning folk.

      And SheWonk, thank you for doing this; I really appreciate that you can do it, since I don’t have the stomach for dropping into some regions of the blogosphere.

      • (I meant an example or two re “My first and last interaction”; SourceWatch provides evidence on other stuff.)

        • Anna, I hesitated to provide links because I don’t recommend the site. It’s another ‘denier-chump’ site to be avoided, IMO. However, given what I said it’s only fair to provide links. The length of the discussion makes even this post a bit long-winded. To get the full picture you’d have to read the entire thread. The following isn’t even a snapshot – more like a macro photo of a very small section of the whole dreadful discussion. IMO, the discussion as a whole contains all that needs to be understood about Curry (and KK):

          This is a link to a Q&A during which Curry makes numerous insinuations and allegations. She makes more insinuations and allegations further down.

          KK made a comment to me questioning why I commented on Curry’s motives and looking for ‘wider discussion’ of Curry’s allegations. In response, this is a set of questions that I put to her asking her for specifics:

          Further down, KK directs another comment to me, this time asking me to be respectful to Curry, as Curry is being respectful (you’ve got to laugh)

          Cross-post where I ask if this is the same Wegman that Curry says should be given credence, and provide a link to DeepClimate:

          Judith’s defence of Wegman is a quote from Wikipedia about Wegman and a quote from Wikipedia about plagiarism.

          (After this I read and respond to KK’s post, letting him know that I was being as respectful as possible under the circumstances, so can’t meet his conditions for more respect and will no longer post on his blog – and, despite KK later saying he doesn’t want me to leave, I haven’t gone back because I don’t encourage denier-chum blogs. Others continue to press Curry for explanations or defend her.)

          And the best ‘specifics’ we can get from Curry’s serious allegations is:”…I have seen substantial documentation of the things that I mention (there is plenty provided by the CRU emails, for example),…”. So she bases her allegations on no more evidence than that claimed by the most ignorant deniers. Wait, she also refers us (elsewhere) to CA and Bishop Hill to back up her claims. Gee, we were hoping for some insider gossip from a ‘real’ scientist. /s

          In the whole thread, note also how, in true denier-chum fashion, KK only jumps on those who challenge Curry. How Curry pretends to be the fount of wisdom when she knows that she was being asked to put up or shut up (disingenuously saying “Sou, if you are serious about investigating this…” and “Sou, I thought your first round of questions reflected a desire for information…”). Then spitting the dummy later in the thread when she discovered the plagiarism incident was bad indeed (it wasn’t my fault, I was baited, they made me say it). Really, Prof Curry? Was your (non)research of your other allegations of the same low standard?

          • ‘denier-chump,’ whether it was intentional or not, was so WIN

          • I read the whole nasty thing and when I was done, I thought that was an hour or so I would never get back…

            I remember way back in 2007 when I first came across CA and saw Curry post there. I thought at the time that she seemed rather reasonable. People loved that she posted there because even back then, her presence gave an odour of legitimacy to CA. When I left the climate blogosphere for a couple of years to pursue other interests (university classes, work, family) and returned after the CRU hack, I was surprised to see her metamorphosis from a scientist hoping to put a good face forward about climate science to the public and “skeptics” to a climate scientist joining in on the smearing of climate science and scientists in general and the IPCC in particular. I don’t know how busy she was in the intervening years and have not looked back to see what she was up to, but there certainly was a turnaround. She may get more attention as a friend to “skeptics” than a run-of-the-mill climate scientist. It could be that simple.

  4. “If climate scientists were pushing strategies to adapt to extreme events through better land use policies, infrastructure, and better forecasts, then I would be more impressed. Instead, these attribution statements get tied up with statements about reducing CO2”

    Non sequitur. What does this have to do with the scientific validity of attribution of extreme weather events? Curry says it might be ok to attribute extreme weather events to global warming if the reason for doing so is to promote adaptation (which Curry is fine with). But if it’s to promote meaningful CO2 emissions (which Curry appears to be strongly against), it’s totally wrong and an example of scientists behaving badly.

    Then she follows this up with a ridiculous strawman most middle school students could identify.

    “Thinking that floods and droughts and hurricanes will go away if we stop burning CO2 is beyond a joke.”

    If we look at theory and evidence, reducing GHG emissions will reduce warming, and thus reduce extreme precipitation events and droughts relative to BAU. Curry knows this, so she creates a strawman to attack instead.

    So why would Curry promote such idiocy? Perhaps it’s to push an agenda…

  5. Perhaps it’s time to consider GTech’s political milieu and its funders (not scientific grants). That might explain some of this. Also, Curry operates a private forecasting company with Peter Webster. Neither is a modeler, and attribution is model-based, so perhaps Judy has a direct economic motivation.

    One problem Judy has is that her professional chops don’t rise to a level where she can get people like Trenberth and Hansen to do anything but ignore her. As I said on the other thread, Judy’s considerable scientific limitations are very apparent from her pub record (and are neatly exemplified by her recent Antarctic sea ice screw up). Obs are of course a critical part of climate science, but a career spent doing them doesn’t give her credibility in commenting on other areas of expertise.

    FWIW, I gave up on Curry when (on Kloor’s blog a year or so ago) she was arguing for low sensitivity, I responded by pointing to the paleo record as disallowing a low (real-world Earth system) sensitivity, and she replied by pointing me to Knutti & Hegerl (2008), which she claimed stood in opposition to my paleo point. Er, no it didn’t, in fact quite the reverse, but by the time I double-checked (by re-reading the paper and with James Annan) the discussion had gone elsewhere. I should mention for those who may not have read them that James (an expert on modeling analysis, sensitivity and Bayesian analysis) wrote several posts raking her over the coals for making bad arguments regarding his areas of expertise. Those who seem to think that Curry is still due any respect at all need to (re-)read this stuff.

    • I’ll agree on one point and disagree on another. Yes, I’ve also criticized Judy for going outside her expertise, and, in fact I also went to James Annan ! to clear up the confusion. And like your situation, he agreed with my interpretation of the IPCC modelling sections in question.

      Where I will disagree is using GTect’s politics or the forecasting company, looking for direct economic motivation, especially without something tangible. I’m not being overly moral, or too careful. I just think it gets dangerous when putting forth a message when there are multiple points for the opponent to attack. The whole destruction of scientists’ competence and integrity (whether it is for noble causes or personal gain) is not our game. It’s theirs. It is very important for the “skeptics” to undermine the science by pointing at known faces, then forming narratives based people. In fact, it’s crucial and without this, they are mostly twisting, searching for scientific evidence that does not exist. Their only option is to damage the messenger. It is my opinion that we stay out of that fray, and focus on rebuilding the trust in the science itself. This also means identifying the next “Trenberth attack” and pointing it out for what is, and not getting hung up defending ourselves against the same kind of criticism we are trying to dish out.

      As an aside, it would better if more mainstream scientists felt comfortable posting at Judith’s, and not have to deal a hoard who constantly questions their integrity, prompted by the host.

      • A sharp sea-change of the sort she seems to have undergone usually has a specific explanation. The one she puts forward (the horror of Climategate) doesn’t wash. Judy herself had recently said equally flip/dismissive/nasty things about Bill Gray, in public.

        But for now it’s just a question.

        • Re: sea change – JC has an interesting post at CA in February of 2008, regarding the invitation she extended to one Steve McIntyre to talk at Georgia Tech:

          To me, her whole attitude now (as opposed to then) reeks of sour grapes. She stood up for Steve M as a “little experiment”, was apparently ostracized by the university and climate communities for doing so, and is now letting her vicious attack guppies (thanks Lass!) wreak her revenge. Drop chum into tank, let the innuendo and libel fly, and sit back and watch your colleagues flounder (pun intended).

          • Pushback from her colleagues and students is certainly one of the possibilities. The drawback for Judy is that it makes her appear to be a bit crazy.

        • Judy herself had recently said equally flip/dismissive/nasty things about Bill Gray, in public.

          Yes, but it’s cute when she does it. Any good authoritarian knows that.

  6. It turns out that the GCMs have been significantly underestimating Arctic albedo reduction. No doubt Judy’s faith in low sensitivity will be unperturbed by this.

  7. For the Sou – Curry exchange, please scroll through this thread:

  8. Permalink for the short-attention-afflicted among us.

    Curry’s response – “go read climateaudit” – is almost humorously telling in hindsight, as is her hat-tip to Siegfried “Fred” Singer’s NIPCC.

  9. Memories, memories.

    Reading back that thread reminds me the Marshmallow challenge:

    > I’d suggest that climate scientists take on the Marshmallow Challenge, for the sake of seeing how to make it a more successful tribe:


    > See also the TED presentation:



  10. “Denilaist Chum”– love it SheWonk, too true.

    I see Stephen McIntyre is a pro at generating “Denialist Chum” too..

  11. Speaking of chum, here are intriguing news:


    > Contrary to what was stated in Dr. Ball’s article, Dr. Weaver: (1) never announced he will not participate in the next IPCC; (2) never said that the IPCC chairman should resign; (3) never called for the IPCC’s approach to science to be overhauled; and (4) did not begin withdrawing from the IPCC in January 2010.

    Here is where I found it:

    Please note the comments just above it.

    • Weaver’s won his case, then, I take it? 🙂

      A pity McI doesn’t have a blog post entitled, “Steig praises O’Donnell et al (2010), and wants to do work with O’Donnell”.

  12. J Bowers,

    Alas, I do not think Weaver’s case has been decided. The article Willard linked to was a groveling (but sincere it seems) apology by the CFP for allowing a piece to go to print in which Tim Ball made libelous and fallacious statements about Weaver. And I see that Stephen McIntyre is only too happy to allow people to make equally defamatory and false statements about Weaver on his blog. By doing so, McIntyre is endorsing what Tim Ball is saying, not to mention aiding and abetting him.

    Re Steig and O’Donnell– now, now J Bowers had McIntyre stated what you suggest he would have been speaking the truth, and you know he does not do that very much 😉

  13. Yup. Astonishing.

    Latest post at that sad train wreck WUWT thread is from one of the book’s coauthors defending “My revelations on Carbon-14 dating are in the book Two volume and concern Earth’s fission generated ‘elemental’ Carbon” — and says “We are engaging in the greatest debate in the history of science and welcome all informed dissent.”

    He links to his page advertising the book:

    “… the fraud that you always instinctively knew existed.
    Feed your instincts with these incredible facts. Let us show you conclusive evidence that exposes how crooked climate scientists fake the climate temperature numbers by a factor of three!”

    • The author bios need updating at the book’s website. One needs a link to Canada Free Press, the other to the Missouri Miner.

  14. Apparently Delingpole gets a complete kicking on the BBC tonight on Horizon.Seems the anti science goon was unfairly treated as they brought on a scientist to question him.

    • Got my popcorn. I love how Guardian commenter, LawJim, emailed Delingpole and posted Delingpole’s “thousands of scientists” very sad response on CIF (which has now been removed). Monbiot should be able to milk this story for weeks 🙂

      For those who aren’t aware, the UK Royal Society’s president, Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse, has made a documentary trying to get to the bottom of attacks on science which airs tonight on the BBC.

      • be sure to update us J Bowers. I am assuming we won;t be able to watch that outside of the UK?

        Maybe it will make its way onto YouTube.

        • He was only on for a bit, but…

          Delingpole tries to lecture Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Prize winning scientist, on how science works. That was a WTF moment.

          Delingpole admits he never reads peer reviewed literature; he’s too busy. Another WTF moment.

          Here’s the money quote…

          “I interpret the interpretations.”

          There’s been some serious fun with that one over on CIF. Just posted this at CIF (bear in mind that the Guardian and the Telegraph are polar opposites here):


          1. A person who speaks by divine inspiration or as the interpreter through whom the will of a god is expressed.
          2. A person gifted with profound moral insight and exceptional powers of expression.
          3. A predictor; a soothsayer.
          4. The chief spokesperson of a movement or cause.


          It was an excellent programme, and Nurse did emphasise that scientists need to get out there explaining to the public, otherwise the vaccuum will continue to be filled by denialists. Given his position I imagine he can be quite inlfuential in prompting that. He actually used the D word quite a lot.

          It was good to see Phil Jones interviewed, who explained hide the decline, and about the FOIA spamming turning into harassment. GM crops were discussed, as was HIV/AIDS denialism (that was actually quite sad in a way). He also went to NASA to be shown the latest climate models juxtaposed against the real imagery, running in realtime. Very impressive stuff. NASA have cool toys.

          It was a good show and Delingpole could barely look Nurse in the eye throughout their conversation. Oh, Singer was on banging on about solar, but the trip to NASA cleared that one up for the viewer.

          It’s bound to be on Youtube soon, or the choice bits will be.

          • Here’s a scientist’s take on the Horizon programme. He even used to work for Phil Jones and has a good grasp of the issues raised.


            • Interestingly, that blog now comes up with a 404. But I did get the responses in comments via email before then. Here’s what Bishop Hill had to say…

              The idea that CRU was subject to a DDoS attack is repeated endlessly but has no grounding in fact. There is an exemption in the FOI Act which would have allowed CRU to refuse if subject to DDoS. The fact that they didn’t use the exemption shows thatthis excuse was untenable. This is reinforced by the fact that the Information Commissioner said that the number of requests received by CRU was not large. The requests they received asking to see the non-disclosure agreements were answered by pointing requesters to a webpage showing the tiny number of agreements they had, few of which prevented disclosure.. Responding to all the “DDoS” requests probably took less than half an hour….

              I beg to differ, given Mosher voluntarily admitted at Keith Kloor’s blog to organising a FOIA spamming of CRU . Montford needs to get his own facts straight.

              645. Steven Mosher Says:
              May 3rd, 2010 at 7:53 am

              WRT FOIA spamming I actaully orchestrated making sure that each country was covered.

              the FOIA requests were consolidated into ONE request. CRU responded. Jones took less tha 18 hours to write a 1000 words document.

              requests that went into cru that took more than 18 hours were rejected
              I know, because I tailor my request to take MORE than 18 hours to see how they would handle such a request. They refused to work on it because it would have taken more than 18 hours.

              They dealt with the spamming as I knew they would, by consolidating the requests into ONE request. In fact, I predicted they would do this..


          • dellingpole is a crank:

            I’ll post the nicer of the definitions from the urban dictionary, but suffice to say that it originated from crying and wanking…


            n. a crazy person, especially someone who purports to be a scientist or inventor who has discovered the answer to some important problem facing mankind, like curing all diseases, unlimited energy, levitation, aliens, etc.

            He defends his claims with the most ridiculous pseudoscientific crankisms, and claims that the government/mainstream science/experts are suppressing the truth.

            Sometimes cranks are businesspeople, selling such wares as Q-ray bracelets that align your chi using q ions to give you enhanced energy.

            Probably the best known internet crank is Gene Ray, for his Time Cube site.

            crackpot kook quack conspiracy theorist nut job pseudoscience

            ETA — he’s a crank, not in the typical sense, but in the sense that he buys into the whole “blame the government, nanny state, communist conspiracy” BS typical of the crankish deniers and he plays to them.

            Actually, he’s a crank provocateur. That’s the ticket.

      • Damn! I get BBC News but no other channels… Will have to wait and see it on youtube.

        • Via CLimate Progress, here’s a clip:

        • shewonk, there is a link to youtube of the entire BBC Horizon program (Sir Paul’s episode) in the comments on climate progress.

          For convenience, I’ve listed all the youtube links in my blog (click my name) – each link to each segment opens in a new window.

          It was a good program and easy to watch, even if not in HD.

  15. Delingpole Victim of Forced Intellectual Intercourse:

    Baron Monkhofen always asks the extremely right questions:

    > If a dear relative was suffering from a fatal disease, would you opt for the “consensus” treatment recommended by eco-fascist grant-grabbing bedwetting doctors hellbent on destroying Western civilisation, or advice to drink more orange juice offered by a British Lord who has already found a cure for HIV, MS and the Common Cold?

  16. That’s Monckhofen, of intercourse.

  17. Speaking of denialist chum, Curry is attending an entire conference dedicated to it:

    Look at the guest list. Ugh.

    • Ha ha! The conference doesn’t inspire confidence in this policy wonk given that the usual suspects are in attendance…

      Expect a blog post on this…


    • The irony is that Curry and Webster are skipping the Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society to attend this (Webster actually was scheduled to give a talk at AMS today, his co-author had to fill in for him).

    • Goddard and Tallbloke. Oh boy, interesting guest list.
      Incidently Goddard once boasted to me that he was a geologist because he had a BSc in Geology he then went on to curse about how people with PHds are not worth a damn as they dont have any real experiance.

      Wonder if he will be sharing those thoughts with his fellow travellers.

  18. SheWonk: “She [Curry] may get more attention as a friend to “skeptics” than a run-of-the-mill climate scientist. It could be that simple.”

    I think it is that simple.

    Curry: “If what i said was utter nonsense, why is anyone here talking about it, I have 440 comments in 24 hours.”

    Going back to the Wikipedia thing, Curry’s page was created in March, 2010 by a Wikipedia user with a contribution history supporting heavy global warming denial.

    Become a global warming denier, and you get noticed. Before her recent behavior, Curry’s attention was probably limited mainly to a few articles defending her hurricane research. Now she’s a celebrity taking on the important title of Credible Climate Scientist Agreeing With Skeptics. Such a role requires dismissing any rational discourse and scientific knowledge she may have learned studying science in favor of strawman arguments, generally poor reasoning, dismissing any critique of her arguments as “gotcha” attempts, and constant bogus attacks on the integrity of climate scientists who don’t agree with skeptical arguments.

    • I agree Mark — before she became involved in this debate, she was on the outside of the limelight, just another one of the evil climate scientists. Now, she’s the champion of the self-styled skeptics, the lukewarmers, the post-normal crowd. Some of her posts do legitimately discuss climate science but far too much of it is concerned with increasing public mistrust of climate science and provides a forum for every crank around. Almost every post and several times in the comments, I see Dr. Manuel pushing his own brand of nuttery. There are precious few non-skeptics/non-denialists there and for a reason. Most have just given up on Climate etc. and Curry, recognizing her and her blog for what it is.

      • A while back, I collected a catalog of reasons why people might do anti-science, also in a matrix of which reasons might be seen among which people.

        All that is part of general framework to study anti-science, see section 2 of CCC.
        I think the reasons described here might fit, looking at row B4 (Scientist, field) of the matrix:

        PSY3: Contrarian attention
        PSY6: High-bar, low bar: real science takes work; contrarian, easy acceptance.

        There might also be:
        TEC4: Intra-field conflict

    • I think it’s easy to say someone you disagree with is motivated by the attention they receive. Any scientist with a media profile (Hansen, Mann, Trenberth etc) is wide open to the same accusation, that they’ve taken up a position with a desire to receive attention as the goal rather than having a goal which requires attention in order to succeed.

      Curry has mentioned that “Climategate” was a turning point for her and that her reaction on reading the emails was visceral. This easily explains her subsequent behaviour without a need to allude to hidden motivations. Her blog deals in “Climategate” topics extensively both in the posts themselves and in the comments, yes this is partly because it gets a lot of attention but it’s also what she wants to discuss, particularly with people who reinforce her viewpoint.

      Whenever anything relating to individuals even tangentially involved in “Climategate” reason goes entirely out the window and the visceral emotional reaction surfaces – Trenberth, Schmidt, Mann, Jones etc all get it with both barrels despite varying levels of involvement from “gets mentioned in some mails”, through “Gets their mails horribly misrepresented a lot” and upto “Said some things that were at best unwise”. Realclimate and the scientists involved have also come to be associated with the topic for some reason.

      So why does she reference views and comment counts so much?

      Firstly I think it’s not so much that she doesn’t understand the internet but that she’s used to working in an environment where the participants are preselected based on competence and merit (not perfectly of course) which is the normal scientific peer review and conference process. If a lot of these individuals are interested in or discussing something it means it’s genuinely of interest and worthwhile. On the internet this doesn’t apply at all, people will happily discuss the merits of Iron Sun theory for hundreds of comments without every getting near a fact or an insight, I previously gave her an example of this WUWT post which is clearly very silly yet has over 200 mostly positive comments.

      Secondly I think she essentially wants to redefine what climate science is as distinct from the “realclimate crowd” (i.e. anyone involved in climategate or even not involved but accused of being so anyway). She’s seeking to build a coherent body of knowledge both from the bottom up (radiative physics etc) and from the top down (what is uncertainty etc) from which a position can be built. When she talks about reconciliation I don’t believe she’s talking about finding common ground between the existing participants but rather building an entirely new position which will absorb a selection of participants and in doing so drown out the rest.

      I don’t really want to use an analogy involving religion but it’s the best I can think of: Imagine if someone was an atheist and an evolutionary biologist. Some sudden event or trauma turns that person into a theist which makes them feel at odds with their old position on evolution. Their scientific training would prohibit them from accepting normal creationist arguments but they may feel that theistic evolution or intelligent design was an acceptable and “centrist” position. They’d go through a process of still accepting the same scientific evidence but interpreting it within a different overall framework than the one they used before. They may also feel animosity towards participants like Dawkins and seek to sideline them. The goal would be to restructure the debate such that scientists fighting against theistic advances would be seen as “extemists” while the theists doing the advancing would simply be reacting to their overreach and “misuse” of science. If only the theists could be made to accept the new framework they would no longer see it as as a challenge to their beliefs.

      I believe the process here is similar: Remove the individuals who actually want to take action as well as those who oppose the basic physics, redefine climate science in a soft non-threatening manner (“Well maybe some bad things will happen but they might be good, nobody knows!”) and water everything down so all points of view are “fairly” represented (via “majority” and “minority” positions).

      The current Lisbon conference is a perfect example of the entire thing: Lots of skeptic bloggers but no notable climate scientists. That’s because the climate scientists aren’t invited to the reconciliation.

      • Very reasonable. I hope she reads what you wrote.

      • “Secondly I think she essentially wants to redefine what climate science is as distinct from the “realclimate crowd” (i.e. anyone involved in climategate or even not involved but accused of being so anyway).”

        This crowd of course is nearly all of the scientific community involved in climate research (except for those who agree that the establishment is corrupt), as it includes those involved in the “corrupt” IPCC, which of course is perceived to be all about “ClimateGate”. The scientist vs theist analogy is a good one, and it goes back to the attention-seeking motive. Tear down the existing scientific establishment on the pretenses of “corruption” and let her new budding cult fill in the void. Such a strategy would seem ludicrous if not for the strong public demand for this sort of thing.

        • “This crowd of course is nearly all of the scientific community involved in climate research”

          That’s likely but I think she’s under the impression she only needs to remove a handful or maybe a few tens of individuals to get the job done. She regularly alludes to support she’s received via emails or in person so she have concluded there’s a silent majority that will support her.

          We see a similar approach on the “policy statement” issue. She appears to very much dislike them and generally feels they’re not legitimate because if they were they would totally destroy her silent majority idea. The occasional crank (Hal Lewis) is played up to be representative of a turning tide.

          ” Tear down the existing scientific establishment on the pretenses of “corruption” and let her new budding cult fill in the void. “

          I don’t think it’s a pretence from her perspective. She’s already done the mental preparation necessary to separate herself from the establishment – see how quickly she jumps on criticism and tries to amplify it. The more she’s criticised the surer she’ll be she’s doing what she intended to do, at the moment it’s slim pickings because it’s really quite hard to figure out what she’s doing.

          “Such a strategy would seem ludicrous if not for the strong public demand for this sort of thing.”

          The strategy would be fine if she was actually correct. The problem here is that she isn’t and she’s making huge mistakes because she’s far too quick to accept both the arguments of “skeptics” and the good faith of “skeptics”. Meanwhile working scientists really can’t do anything right in her eyes (likely driven by the “climategate” taint).

          Her initiative could have been good and useful if she really was aiming for some sort of reconciliation, unfortunately she’s picked WUWT and McIntyre as the middle ground and really seems to be aiming to build something new rather than fix what’s there.

      • sharper00 — you’re really trying hard to explain Curry’s flirtation — nay, outright consorting — with deniers. She started out wanting to make friends with the deniers, maybe out of the goodness of her heart, and spent time on Steve McIntyre’s blog trying to defend climate science and build bridges to “skeptics”. I think she liked the status she got by posting there and maybe is so politically naive that she doesn’t understand the larger picture and what was happening in the whole war over climate science. In fact, she seems to have it backward. When the CRU emails were released, she misinterpreted the emails, perhaps not being able to see the forest for the trees, which I think many laypeople did. Now, she has become quite a celebrity among lukewarmers and feels as if she is part of a larger movement. It gives her a valuable identity — the brave climate scientist willing to admit how corrupt the hockey team is, and how corrupt the IPCC is, and how it all needs to be reformed, jettisoned and reformulated and how she will be one of the saviours. Pretty heady stuff for someone who is not exactly an academic wunderkind…

        Did I write that???

        • To be fair, we could write a similar speculative biography of motive for each of us, me included. It’s interesting to do so, and I’ve never been one to eschew talking about motive when it comes to the climate wars. Science and the scientific method tries to minimize bias and error. Motive can be one of the forces biasing a scientist’s ability to conduct science and understand the evidence. That’s why peer review is so important to the whole process. It doesn’t ensure perfection, but it works pretty well over the long term to weed out the worst offenders and the biggest boo boos.

          When it comes to making policy, we are reliant on the best science, the consensus science, to assist us in making decisions on how to address public policy problems. The science before us is never perfect, and to expect perfection is to become impotent for one could never act. The consensus science of the day must be our guide when it comes to making policy decisions. Unfortunately, politicians can find many reasons to ignore consensus science — budget, political correctness and risks, ideology. In other words, we can know what the science says and still do nothing or do the exact opposite.

          Public policy making is not a science. Not even close.

      • I don’t really want to use an analogy involving religion but it’s the best I can think of:
        Lately, I’ve been lightly reviewing what little I know on Protestantism.

    • Curry: “If what i said was utter nonsense, why is anyone here talking about it, I have 440 comments in 24 hours.”

      That comment totally made me re-think my position on the Spice Girls. Hmm… Spice Girls… Judith Curry… Popular = Good/Right … Hmm…

  19. > why is anyone here talking about it, I have 440 comments

    This word “chum” does not mean what she thinks it means.

    She chums. She gets more chums.

    • Yep and her chummy chums include such errrmmm… leading lights as:

      Had an interesting dinner with Tallbloke, McIntyre, McKitrick, Webster, Mosher, Stokes


      Curry goes on to say (about their little sideshow in Lisbon):

      If anyone is concerned by an insufficient diversity of perspectives, well I don’t think you need to be too concerned.

      Diverse perspectives on what, we wonder.

      @shewonk, this stuff you’re doing on Curry is spot-on, and as for “Denialist Chum” – bulls-eye 🙂

      • There are [sic] genuinely a diversity of perspectives here, about a third of the participants are physical scientists with some knowledge of climate science, whereas the majority are social scientists (with a few journalists).

        I LOL’d. Literally.


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