A “Cadre” of Dogmatic Scientists Trampling

(h/t to climategal and www.curryquotes.wordpress.com)

ETA: This post is in honour of Judith Curry being declared “Climate Scientist of the Year” at the Post-Normal Conference in Lisbon – h/t to Bishop Hill. Tallbloke gave her a commemorative t-shirt with a Josh cartoon on it — the cartoon depicts a trash can labelled “Climate Science”. Curry quips “My reaction to climate change”. Say no more…

Here’s the video:

Over at Curry Quotes, I came across the use of the term “cadre” in Judith Curry’s commentary on climate science.

Here is the  quote in question:

“When I refer to the IPCC dogma, it is the religious importance that the IPCC holds for this cadre of scientists; they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC.”

What image does this language create in the mind?

Here’s the Oxford definition of “cadre”:

Pronunciation:/ˈkɑːdə, ˈkɑːdr(ə), ˈkadri/

noun

  • 1 a small group of people specially trained for a particular purpose or profession:a cadre of professional managers
  • 2 a group of activists in a communist or other revolutionary organization.
  • a member of an activist group.

Now, I don’t know about you, but the term “cadre” has a very negative connotation to people in the west. It smacks of communism, of totalitarianism and as you can see from the Oxford excerpt, that connotation is well-deserved.  It may refer to a group of specially trained personnel or it can be a military term (cadre is used in West Point to refer to senior students in charge of junior) and it is used in reference to communist revolutionaries and activists.

.

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Thanks to Curry Quotes for highlighting this quote. It’s so rich in meaning, one could spend some time pulling it apart and enjoying each juicy tidbit of smear and innuendo.

So I will. 🙂

Aside from the term “cadre”, which we see has military, communist, connotations, Curry uses the word “dogma”, which is clearly religious in connotation and denotation.

From Wikipedia:

Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or by extension by some other group or organization. It is authoritative and not to be disputeddoubted, or diverged from, by the practitioner or believers. The term derives from Greek δόγμα “that which seems to one, opinion or belief”[1] and that from δοκέω (dokeo), “to think, to suppose, to imagine”.[2]

It seems to me that the original Greek is more generous, and our modern usage of it more limited to a set of religious beliefs that are inviolate.  I think Curry is like Francis Crick before her, who referred to molecular biology’s “dogma” and later recanted when others pointed out he didn;t really understand the meaning of the term.

Here’s Crick:

As it turned out, the use of the word dogma caused almost more trouble than it was worth…. Many years later Jacques Monod pointed out to me that I did not appear to understand the correct use of the word dogma, which is a belief that cannot be doubted. I did apprehend this in a vague sort of way but since I thought that all religious beliefs were without foundation, I used the word the way I myself thought about it, not as most of the world does, and simply applied it to a grand hypothesis that, however plausible, had little direct experimental support.

I suspect Curry doesn’t really understand the meaning of the term and hence uses is with a great deal of inaccuracy. Dogma is meant to indicate something that is beyond question and that is not appropriate for a discussion of science. Scientists question many aspects of all theories — even when there is a consensus view in the discipline. To use dogma to relate to modern science is to be inaccurate and doesn’t bode well for any sense of security in the value of Curry’s analysis.

Onto the notion of dissent. Here is another term torn from politics. It indicates the opposite of consensus, or agreement. Curry suggests that this cadre of scientists “trample” and discredit anyone who disagrees with them.  Strong words. One gets this image of Mann and his fellow climate scientists in jackboots, crushing opposition.

She provides no evidence of this – of legitimate climate scientists trampled, whose careers were destroyed and publications denied by this jackbooted group of rogues. Here is her comment in response to Steig:

Steig:

So who are these brilliant young scientists whose careers have been destroyed by the supposed tyranny of the IPCC? Examples?

Curry:

With regards to Eric Steig’s point, it is a nice statement, but it is an anecdote, the experience of one person.  There are hundreds of contrary experiences.

All she has is a few emails with scientists making overblown statements on which they never acted. Sure, there have been many criticisms of folks like Singer, Lindzen, McIntyre, McKitrick, Michaels and others linked to the denialist movement, but they do not count. Singer and Michaels have outright admitted to being funded by oil interests and so in this debate they lack credibility. McKitrick and McIntyre are not scientists so their “dissent” doesn’t really count. If they want to be considered peers, they have to publish science in the peer reviewed literature and open their work up to criticism.

She may be referring to the Climate Research debacle, in which Von Storch and other editors resigned over the publication of a paper that was not up to snuff, but that is an example of the very opposite of what she claims. It is an example of peer review being thwarted by denialists.

Here’s more from Curry:

“[A]t the heart of the IPCC is a cadre of scientists whose careers have been made by the IPCC. These scientists have used the IPCC to jump the normal meritocracy process by which scientists achieve influence over the politics of science and policy. Not only has this brought some relatively unknown, inexperienced and possibly dubious people into positions of influence, but these people become vested in protecting the IPCC, which has become central to their own career and legitimizes playing power politics with their expertise.”

On we go with more smearing. In this quote, Curry alleges that the IPCC is led by a “cadre” of scientists whose careers were made by the IPCC — but not properly. They bypassed the “normal meritocracy process” – which must mean the long slog of publication, teaching and fighting for grants. We can all  guess to whom she is referring. “unknown” “inexperienced” “possibly dubious” people. The evil Michael Mann. She alleges that these scientists then play power politics with their expertise.

Yet, it was her side that played power politics — I refer to the efforts on the part of Inhofe and his group, to Joe Barton and Whitfield – and Cuccinelli – who have been playing power politics with congress and the courts in an effort to discredit climate science.

When pressed to provide evidence on her blog, Curry offers surprise that anyone thought she was referring to actual climate scientists:

“I’m surprised that people thought I was attacking climate scientists in my original post. Climate scientists have been pawns in all this; some have been victims and others have benefitted. If anyone can be labeled as a “villain” in all this, it would arguably be the UNEP/UNFCCC; but in a way that begs the question of how all this started and who started it.”

Double take.

[A]t the heart of the IPCC is a cadre of scientists whose careers have been made by the IPCC. These scientists have used the IPCC to jump the normal meritocracy process by which scientists achieve influence over the politics of science and policy…(my emphasis)

“I’m surprised that people thought I was attacking climate scientists in my original post. Climate scientists have been pawns in all this; some have been victims and others have benefitted.  If anyone can be labeled as a “villain” in all this, it would arguably be the UNEP/UNFCCC; but in a way that begs the question of how all this started and who started it.

Then she does a disjointe review of the history of the UNEP/UNFCCC and comes up with this backtrack — kind of:

Do we blame Mann and Santer for this?  Heck no (well they were complicit, but not to blame).  These were decisions made by people that were higher up and with pressure from policy makers.  At the time of publication of the TAR in 2001, Mann was 3 years post Ph.D.    Santer is a few years younger than I am, which was pretty young (early 4o’s) in the early 1990′s when the SAR was being prepared.  Whatever their scientific talents or contributions, they were put into a highly political situation that required a lot of judgment and experience to navigate these things.

So what cadre of scientists trampling on their dissenters does she mean?

In the commentary, there is some attempt to discover who this evil bureaucracy really is that Curry holds responsible, but in the end, this huge bureaucracy trampling the careers of worthy dissenting scientists is really a non-bureaucracy — a group of volunteer scientists who really can’t be called a bureaucracy in the traditional sense of the term.

Here’s the Oxford online:

bureaucracy noun (plural bureaucracies)

[mass noun]

  • 1 a system of government in which most of the important decisions are taken by state officials rather than by elected representatives.
  • [count noun] a state or organization governed or managed as a bureaucracy.
  • [count noun] the officials in a bureaucracy, considered as a group or hierarchy.
  • 2 excessively complicated administrative procedure:the unnecessary bureaucracy in local government

It’s hard to see that the IPCC conforms to this, but perhaps it’s the UNEP/UNFCCC?

Now, the UNFCCC is a treaty, so it’s hard to see it as a bureaucracy that is running roughshod over the careers of dissenters. But maybe she means the secretariat,  located in this building in Bonn, Germany…

Germany, of course, is known for having had many jackbooted types in the past… Need I say more????

As for the UNEP, its secretariat is located in Nairobi, Kenya.

Here’s a photo of the UNEP staff — you can see they are all wearing a beige vest — a uniform perhaps?

These must be the people Curry refers to — the bureaucrats who trample and discredit dissenters… Scary…

Can she really mean these people are the ones responsible for the whole sorry affair? It must be them for we know she wasn’t indicting the climate scientists, who are after all the pawns in all this, although they are complicit…

Lubos Motl shows up with his own overview of the ones responsible, and who does he include but the most scary of all:

Here’s Motl:

They would clearly include environmental activists, scientists who honestly believed a threat that was a fringe science a few decades ago, but maybe even Margaret Thatcher who previously wanted to suppress the mining unions (before the IPCC was born).

Many of the initial people did “almost” legitimate things. Again, I have no doubt that some scientists had legitimate concerns and they honestly believed that what they preached followed from the physics. However, there abruptly came a moment for “speculators” – people who made bets that this thing would grow and they could grow with it.

The people were in many sectors – media, politics, activism, and of course science – and these parts of the society, with a vested interest to support the alarmism, managed to do so, indeed. They could support each other by having alternative tools.

Curry finally intervenes about a third of the way down in the comments section:

I am trying to redirect this dialogue away from the behavior of individual scientists, and even to some extent the collective of IPCC scientists, to the broader institutional issues. Consider something else beyond the nuances of what a particular email message meant.

She starts the entire discussion off with clear and unequivocal references to climate scientists. Now, after people discuss individual scientists like Mann, she tries to rein them in. Dogwhistle then retreat, chum then retreat.

Quite the act.

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119 Responses to “A “Cadre” of Dogmatic Scientists Trampling”

  1. The Thatcher thing has been kicking around for near enough ten years, I seem to remember it on Warwich Hughs web page.

  2. Good post.

    Let’s get a couple of definitions of complicit in the record, your honor:

    — adj
    involved with others in reprehensible or illegal activity

    –adjective
    choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, esp. with others; having complicity.

    So at best Mann and Santer are guilty of a conspiracy to engage in a questionable act, at worse to engage in reprehensible or illegal acts.

    Yet she doesn’t accuse climate scientsts of bad stuff, oh no, no, no, she says.

  3. “I suspect Curry doesn’t really understand the meaning of the term and hence uses is with a great deal of inaccuracy. Dogma is meant to indicate something that is beyond question and that is not appropriate for a discussion of science. “

    Well her stated reasoning for using the term (along with “high priests” etc) is the Scientific American article which referred to her as a “heretic” in the title. This is a very flimsy justification for using such a loaded term.

    In reality she seems extremely keen to paint herself as an outsider. She seems to want to apply the “heretic” label retroactively like on the CO2 no-feedback sensitivity where she claims even asking questions on the topic caused her to be called “dotty”. Of course she couldn’t backup such a claim and the discussion was ruled off-topic and moved elsewhere.

    The video of her receiving the t-shirt is quite a spectacle, I really can’t believe many professional scientists will want to associate with someone who depicts climate science that way. Imagine the furor if the participants were scientists associated with the IPCC and the t-shirt depicted skepticism, there’d be a stickied post at the top of WUWT for weeks.

    “a group of volunteer scientists who really can’t be called a bureaucracy in the traditional sense of the term.”

    She seems to be pro-actively courting libertarians and trying to draw them under her banner. It’s not my experience that they’re hugely concerned about strict definitions or accuracy, consequently you can point them at the “bureaucracy” and they’ll attack it on a purely idealogical basis.

  4. Well her stated reasoning for using the term (along with “high priests” etc) is the Scientific American article which referred to her as a “heretic” in the title. This is a very flimsy justification for using such a loaded term.

    Especially given the level of snark in her previous comments about climate science and those in the field that led to that article being written …

  5. I appreciated that Motl quote. The man is priceless because he has the wonderful ability to make explicit the knee-jerk libertarian tendencies of many denialists. It’s not just the science, it’s the bureaucracy. I see this a lot among denialists who point to all the climate change hangers-on — the policy wonks, the NGOs, conference organisers — and start muttering about gravy trains.

    I find this objection bewildering, since every major global threat attracts the same constellation of lower-level bureaucrats and related workers. Show me an HIV/AIDS conference without the hangers-on and I’ll show you an anaemic response to a major health threat.

    As Motl’s throwaway line about climate science starting as a fringe science: didn’t every science start on the fringes? The difference is that most stayed there.

  6. And the first comment on the video at Youtube is….

    The circus clowns are in town.

    Bet that was a thrilling dinner………….. (cue crickets)

    • I think they scared everyone out of the restaurant, it seems dead in there. Could you perhaps post that bizarre video front and centre SheWonk?

      Curry seems to have a problem with the English language (at least if one is to believe her excuses). But that is all a big lie is it not? I mean how can one allegedly and innocently use cadre, dogma and complicit in the incorrect context?

      Well she knows very well what she is doing, it is called “Denialist Chum”.

      That gives me an idea, how about someone sends her a T-shirt with a shark and some chum feature don it and the title “Denialist Chummer” blazoned across the top 🙂

      One could also say that Curry is a denialist’s chum.

  7. Here’s another word that could do with the dictionary-definition treatment:

    “Reconciliation”.

  8. “As Motl’s throwaway line about climate science starting as a fringe science: didn’t every science start on the fringes? The difference is that most stayed there.”

    Tyndall was hardly a fringe scientist …

  9. On the other hand, Motl’s a fringe scientist, without doubt.

    String theory isn’t universally accepted as science, for starters, and Motl’s in exile in Eastern Europe for good reason.

  10. Thanks for the h/t…

    I’ve gone through some progression of reaction to Curry since her real “arrival” right after the release of the stolen emails. First, I was confused, then astounded. Now, I’m neither. Her pattern has emerged into clarity.

    Curry makes sweeping claims (most often some repetition of thoroughly debunked denialist narratives), waits for the echo chamber, peters out of the debat she starts after not making any significant point, and shifts gears. She would change the meat of her message by deflection. For example, the repeatedly stated, “well, I am too busy to get into, or read, this in detail”. Often, she would attempt to bolster an original generalization by vaguely referencing some denialist meme (like, you know, Santer and TAR). When asked for clarification, you saw …. “others can chime in here”. Sometimes it was – “Gee, I can’t see what all the fuss (about me) is”…. a heretic? Dotty?

    She shifted topics as fast as blog posts could be written. Her topics included the players of climate science (e.g. all kinds of references to those pesky TEAM members), corruption in the system (IPCC), fawning over McI, blah, blah, blah (That was the worst – it sounded like some school girl that had gotten enamored with the oppositional, defiant kid in the back of the class – but never figured out that this kid was going nowhere. She kept saying how smart and much he had to contribute – perhaps he should be the class president, you know?!) …. Then, there was her attack on DC and the plagiarism debacle – and, sort of a retraction; of course, the ever present “Gavin is mean” (which is nonsense, btw). Eventually she landed, it seems, on uncertainty. She seems to communicate a grasp of this topic as little as she displays in the rest of her blathering. She behaves as if the importance of communicating uncertainty is her personal discovery … as if detection and attribution are actually her areas of specialty.

    But, at least it’s not confusing anymore. She has dethroned McI as the denialist darling. And, as Gavin notes in his review of Merchants of Doubt –

    http://pubs.acs.org/cen/books/89/8903books.html

    “The pattern of antiscientific tactics by the merchants of doubt is often constant across many different topics, the authors write. Frequently, personal attacks against individual scientists are used in lieu of addressing the substance of their conclusions. Cherry-picking of single outliers to counter well-supported general results is common. The elevation of caricatures of the real science as straw men to knock over is ubiquitous.

    But one of the strongest methods to deflect attention away from what the science has actually concluded is to find ways to exaggerate the amount of uncertainty…”

    Seems Curry is applying well founded tactics of a merchant of doubt quite well. And, as Gavin notes, being a professional denier can be quite lucrative. Too bad the price is one’s integrity.

    cg

  11. If you thought the Lisbon I post was bad, just check out Lisbon II, not so much for the main post but for the comments.

  12. The comments have been trending towards monoculture since the blog started with about five people providing most of them. That post is probably the worst yet and if that’s what science is going to look like after the “reconciliation” I feel like I need to start archiving everything in preparation for the dark ages.

  13. You know Eli can actually name a few scientists who blew up their careers by publishing crap on climate, they tend to be Judy’s friends. One example is Miskolczi. They tend to latch onto a mistake, and owning the hammer they are stuck with it. Of course the Judy’s of the world make it even harder to convince them that they are a) wrong and b) doing themselves no favors.

  14. Analyzing the social network of the commenters after last few posts might prove intriguing.

    The emergence of the avatar “Joe Six Pack Esq” made me cheerfuller.

  15. sharper00:

    “I feel like I need to start archiving everything in preparation for the dark ages.”

    Yeah, sort of an updated Canticle for Leibowitz

    A slight update of the book’s description could well fit the future:

    Set in a Roman Catholic monastery in the desert of the southwestern United States after a devastating nuclear blogscience war, the story spans thousands of years as civilization rebuilds itself. The monks of the Albertian Order of Leibowitz take up the mission of preserving the surviving remnants of man’s scientific knowledge until the day the outside world is again ready for it.

  16. Judith Curry over there, over there, over there, way out there:

    While I have despaired of the personalization of the debate, I came to understand why this isn’t going to go away, and maybe why it is even important.

    How can she despair of something she actively has fomented, with her very personal attacks on the integrity and honesty of the climate science community?

    • “How can she despair of something she actively has fomented, with her very personal attacks on the integrity and honesty of the climate science community?”

      It looks like cognitive dissonance to me – she likely despaired at personal attacks as an observer but now as a participant in (and hopeful shaper of) the debate she sees the value in them.

      It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and declare generic principles like oh you should all be nice to each other and treat each other with respect and so on. It’s harder to do when you’ve invested a lot of time and effort explaining something only to be told you’re closed minded. If you’re trying to shape the debate then a bit of fresh meat from the Climategate can is a great substitute for hard work.

      It’s a bit like that post where she declared that scientists should be explaining the greenhouse effect such and such a way and then there won’t be people claiming it doesn’t exist. She then went on to explain the greenhouse effect in such a way that seemed to make people more convinced it didn’t exist.

  17. Here’s steven mosher from that thread, discussing post normal science:

    tommorrow we see an asteroid that will hit us in 15 years. Will that change the science? yup. will it change what people look at? yup. will you see certain scientists becoming advocates and activist? yup. will you see people selling substandard science using the precautionary principle? yup.

    Apparently Mosher would argue to ignore the precautionary principle, let the asteroid hit, and adapt afterwards … sorta like the dinosaurs did (wellcouldabeenacometnotanasteroidbutyougetthepoint).

  18. Reflecting on some of the comments (mosher and tallbloke are active, and attended the Lisbon conference), along with Curry’s posts, I’m amazed at the self-importance these people assign themselves.

    I’m really interested in where the funding for this came from … maybe DeepClimate has a few spare CPU cycles he can assign to the task…

    • I gotta say it – that video scene seemed more like a comic convention dinner before the all night film show. I know I’m being unkind to comic conventions, but to think that these people are influencing legislative policy on something of possibly more importance than the Cuban Missile Crisis is the scariest s**t I’ve witnessed in my life.

    • self importance? i was invited, last minute, to represent the AGW side of things since others refused to attend. So it was left to Nick stokes, Hans Von Storch, and me to represent AGW. While I was cleared to fly business class I flew coach so that folks in the EU didnt have to foot a large bill ( 4K versus 1K).
      Some of the attendees found this odd. I thought it was act that comported with my own estimation of my importance in this matter.

      not exactly the act of someone who thinks they are important in this debate.

      • “i was invited, last minute, to represent the AGW side of things since others refused to attend.”

        You slipped again. There are no sides here mate– just science. I think you meant to say to “represent the science of AGW”, or “represent the science”.

        I hope transcripts (or detailed notes) will be made available so we can see what you had to say on behalf of the science.

      • For such an alleged humble character, you sure do go around proffering unsolicited advice an awful lot.

        And as others have inconveniently shown here, you are also guilty of coaching “skeptics”. Two-faced– yet another strike against you. I hope that you have never used the words “honest broker” when referring to yourself….

        Let me be candid, just fess up (be honest to both yourself and others) and climb in bed with the deniers….you already have one foot in, so it is not exactly a big jump. Give Morano a buzz and do some “consulting” for him or his social network 😉

        I for one do not want the likes of you defiling the science more than you already have. Capiche?

      • I think it is odd they were willing to foot business class tickets.

        P.S.: last time I checked, James Risbey was the most ‘alarmist’ of you lot:
        doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2007.06.003

      • Why not Bart V?

        Although an invitation to dhogaza would have been interesting.

  19. but to think that these people are influencing legislative policy on something of possibly more importance than the Cuban Missile Crisis is the scariest s**t I’ve witnessed in my life.

    They’re tools, not drivers. Think about it …

    Do you really think Mosher, Tallblock, etc will be asked to testify at any governmental forum? Curry was asked by Rs because she’s a qualified (if kinky) scientist. Can you imagine Tallblock being called up for testimony in whichever country he resides? “I’m an HVAC repairman who later took a BS in computer science … climate science is a fraud!”

    That would only fly if the political environment had already tossed science overside, in which case it wouldn’t be needed. Oh, fast forward to the present tense given the current makeup of the House in the US.

  20. I don’t get the Thatcher reference. Is it being suggested that Thatcher destroyed Britain’s mining industry out of some kind of environmentalist zeal?

    • Yep. Denialism Type 2 – changing history to suit a narrative.

      Thatcher hated unions. There was nothing environmentally friendly about her motives on that subject.

      • Thanks – I guessed that was what it meant but it is such a totally batshit insane idea I thought it worth checking.

        Anyway, surely Mrs Thatcher’s scientific advisor Lord Monckton would have set her straight on the threat of climate change?

        • Thatcher’s economic hero was Milton Freedman and her Chancellor was Nigel Lawson of GWPF fame (the grandfather of British neo-liberal economics). It’s true that she was warm on global warming, but that was before the George Marshall Institute had been able to really take an international dump on rational thought on the subject. The idea that a classics graduate like Monckton could tell a chemistry graduate like Thatcher that global warming was a scientific fraud at the time is jumping the shark IMHO 😉

          Again IMHO, what we’re seeing today in the UK, US and Europe seems to be a takeover by stealth of political parties by those adhering to the Austrian school, or, as I prefer to think of it, the Somalian example of how to run a country.

    • In my experience the argument is more along the lines that Thatcher’s proffessed belief in global warming was a cover for her to attack coal. Some struggle with the idea that Thatcher could have been taken in by such a socialist conspiracy.

  21. And here’s Geoff Sherrington FTW*: “Good science needs good scientists. It does not need appeals to authority which impede progress at present. … The essence of the problem above is given in ‘Atlas Shrugged’ by Ayn Rand 1975, at several places.”

    The tribespeople who comment at Climate, Etc. seem to have coalesced their viewpoints in that thread. Is the goal of their science to discover the truth? Apparently not. Tallbloke wants to research to show it’s solar, Mosher wants INTEGRITY(TM) (h/t willard) but what the group seems to have in common is that they want to go after the scientific nabobs of negativism: Hansen, Jones, Mann and now Trenberth.

    To me, they are outsiders who desperately want to be insiders. Those of us who comment at various blogs are discussants; we are not the players that the career scientists are. There are some good peer-review publications that come out of various efforts by non-specialists, but there is a huge body – a foundation – of scientific knowledge built by those who do this sort of thing for a living.

    To think that a new way – blog science – can overturn this foundation seems arrogant. To attack the science by attacking the scientists seems, I dunno, unscientific. Dr. Curry does her reputation no favors by seeking approval from the blog science crew.

    * Although Dr Michael Cejnar in the next post really tries: “I feel that Reconciliation with alarmists is like reconciliation with cancer.”

    • Actually, I would make a sharper argument. I think that since 2004 at least people have tried the wrong tactics with skeptics. 7 years later you’ve made no headway.

      Do i want to go after hansen, Jones, Trenberth and Mann?

      No. i’m more interested in changes to process than I am in individuals.
      but i think that as spokespeople hansen, jones, Trenberth and Mann are horrible.

      Apparently NCAR agrees with me WRT trenberth as they were not too happy with his AMS performance.

      The best hope for skeptics is for folks who believe in AGW to keep these wounded birds around.

      • “Apparently NCAR agrees with me WRT trenberth as they were not too happy with his AMS performance.”

        Actual evidence please, b/c right now that sounds like innuendo.. I know of someone who attended Trenberth’s talk– standing room only and loud applause afterwards is what they witnessed.

        Does the science need more gifted orators? Definitely. The science also needs a talented PR group with a some experience in the sciences.

        The “skeptics” have it easy, get a hyperventilating shock jock yelling BS is all they need to keep the rabid following fired up. Well, that and the complete moral vacuum in which they operate.

        You keep slipping Moshpit and keep betraying your true feelings on this–scientists do not “believe” in AGW.

      • To criticize the people you are undermining seems a bit unseemly. So now are you people setting your sights on Gavin? Now you have the “science is not settled” label pinned to him – what’s next?

      • “I think that since 2004 at least people have tried the wrong tactics with skeptics. 7 years later you’ve made no headway.”
        Making headway with Delingpole, Monckton, Mad Mel Philips and Booker? Its not going to happen. It can be far more effectively characterised as a defensive than offensive ‘operation’. Its the Skeptical Science approach, have answers available and just make sure people dont get taken in by the guff and a lot of it is just guff. Here in the UK all three main parties have AGW action as a major part of their manifestos and just shy 70% of people believe it is an issue that needs tackling.
        So far as the UK is concerned we have all but won.
        The US is a different story but their there will be no action for around 4 years so by my reckoning all that will happen is losing 8-10ppm (CO2) in space with which to act.
        We wait and watch Acrtic sea ice extent and the major temperature datasets. Next time UAH breaks an anual record Id say a lot of ‘sceptics’ are going to have to do a lot of quick talking. My take is that it is now a patient defensive game….
        Perhaps you disagree?

        • Excellent reply, dorlomin. There isn’t a tactic that would have worked better or is going to work better. That’s a strawman used since the switch to denialism 2.0.

          It is going to take the time that is needed, not faster or slower. Data, observations, that’s the tactic that is going to work. That’s why I started the Arctic Sea Ice blog.

      • “The best hope for skeptics is for folks who believe in AGW to keep these wounded birds around.”
        Data. Its about data not people. We wait on the temperature and sea ice datasets.

  22. It was very gratified [sic]to come to another country and have people come up to me and tell me they were reading my blog.

    There we have another Freudian slip. Curry is loving every minute in the warm bath of attention.

  23. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jan/31/public-belief-climate-change

    68% of UK people surveyed say man is responsible for climate change.

    So all the thunder and fury has not really changed peoples opinions.

    • Comedy timing for a response to “Looks like climate change has had its day…” elsewhere over there. Thanks 😉

      By the way, if you really want to give denialists a hard time, debate the economics. All they have is Freedman, Ayn Rand, a demonstrable attitude reminiscent of the Luddites, and no audited proven oil reserves (P90).

  24. andrew adams :
    I don’t get the Thatcher reference. Is it being suggested that Thatcher destroyed Britain’s mining industry out of some kind of environmentalist zeal?

    The theory is that Thatcher invented and promoted global warming to justify shutting down the coal mines in favour of natural gas.

  25. tv program on the sceptics tonight Beeb 4
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00y5j3v

    • I will catch up on iPlayer tomorrow. It should be fun – the skeptics always complain they are not properly and fairly represented on TV, they should be careful what they wish for.

    • @ Andrew Adams – *****SPOILER ALERT!!!”””””

      It had an interview with John Abraham. Monckton says, on camera, that “we” will be going through all of Abraham’s financials, and there are people watching Abraham to see if he takes any interesting holidays. Lindzen says he can deal with five degrees (perhaps Fahrenheit). Some really good explanations of the real issue – climate sensitivity. Kevin Trenberth was in it amongst others (including Plimer), with plenty of balance to show the other side to Monckton’s claims.

      Apparently Monckton went to the High Court to try and stop the film being aired, and failed: BBC wins battle over climate show 😉

      It was another personal journey trying to get to the heart of the debate. In the end the filmmaker concludes that, given a choice of who to trust, he sides with the scientists.

  26. Motl may have just entered a contender for the craziest climate post ever.

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/01/czechglobe-began-their-agw-criminal.html

    Love the flag.

  27. Deech56. You’re absolutely right that these people at Judy’s place so desperately want to be insiders – when they’re barely qualified to report or discuss the work of the real players. I’m often facepalming and headdesking wildly when watching some of these people in technical discussions. How can they possibly think they’re capable of disputing some of the esoterica, or even the straightforward stuff, at SoD or Tamino’s or Roy Spencer’s? Knowing the limits of what you do and don’t know, and can and can’t do, is the prime requirement for serious involvement in any scientific discussion.

    Judy seems a bit like one of those awful stage mothers. Pushing her tuneless, charmless, rhythmically challenged offspring to audition after audition. Never, ever accepting the judgements of experienced and knowledgeable dancers, singers, directors that her darling charges are not in the running.

    • Thanks, adelady. I think your observation, “Knowing the limits of what you do and don’t know, and can and can’t do, is the prime requirement for serious involvement in any scientific discussion.” is apt. That’s why the grad school path is so full of obstacles. Scientists put their ideas out there for criticism every step of the way.

      In science, of course, its the ideas – data and conclusions – that count. Each is a part of the whole. What bothers me about those Curry threads is the whole philosophizing about something called “post-normal science” (are they for it or agin’ it?) with the assumption that they, and not those who actually do the work and publish the papers, know how to do science right.

  28. FWIW, who paid for the bunfest?

    • I’ve asked the same elsewhere, suggesting that DeepClimate might be the right person to ferret (sorry, not rabett) on the answer …

    • The Joint Research Centre:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Research_Centre

      “The mission of the JRC is to provide customer-driven scientific and technical support for the conception, development, implementation and monitoring of EU policies. As a service of the European Commission, the JRC functions as a reference centre of science and technology for the Union. Close to the policy-making process, it serves the common interest of the Member States, while being independent of special interests, whether private or national.”

      What I find a little odd is that I’d have thought the JRC’s Institute for Environment and Sustainability would have been a more appropriate organiser, not the Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen?

      * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_for_Environment_and_Sustainability
      * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_for_the_Protection_and_Security_of_the_Citizen

      IPSC’s core competencies are in the field of engineering and information technologies, including satellite image processing and analysis, open source information analysis, structural mechanics and risk assessment.

      I guess we’ll never know. Probably an administrative decision.

      The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation are in the header of the rationale statement:
      http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/reconciliation-rationale-ws2011.pdf

      http://www.gulbenkian.org.uk/innovation-fund/fund.html
      Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calouste_Gulbenkian_Foundation

      Created by a clause in the will of Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian, a Portugal-based petrol magnate of Armenian origin, the Foundation’s statutes were approved in 1956.

      Here’s the Gulbenkian Foundation’s UK website:
      http://www.gulbenkian.org.uk/partnerships/environment.html

      I get the impression that philosophers of science and scientific policy advisers identified a need to bring conflicting actors in the debate face to face, and this was funded by a grant from the Gulbenkain Foundation and organised by the Joint Research Centre using one of its departments. Or something like that.

      Anyone got a complete list of attendees? I can’t find one, just the list of the few fanboys given on Curry’s blog.

      • “I get the impression that philosophers of science and scientific policy advisers identified a need to bring conflicting actors in the debate face to face”

        Except they didn’t, though I’ve seen a claim that they did try to get some mainstream climate science types to attend.

        “What I find a little odd is that I’d have thought the JRC’s Institute for Environment and Sustainability would have been a more appropriate organiser, not the Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen?”

        Probably a personal connection between someone there and someone in the foundation, little conferences like this tend to be more or less personal affairs, in my experience in the software world. For instance, I got funded by the US Embassy in Berlin to attend a university conference under some weird bit of EU bureaucracy a few years back, and the whole thing was cobbled together among friends and colleagues.

      • DC has a full list of the attendees up in the latest open thread: http://deepclimate.org/2011/02/01/open-thread-8/

    • Actually, Eli himself has dug up more infop on the funding.

      As for Steve Goddard and SPPI:
      1) Oddly, he is not listed @ SPPI.

      2) The conntact for SPPI is:Primary:

      “Robert Ferguson
      Science and Public Policy Institute
      5501 Merchants View Square
      # 209
      Haymarket, VA 20169

      Secondary:
      Robert Ferguson
      SPPI
      209 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
      Suite 299
      Washington, D.C. 20003”

      Basically SPPI = Ferguson working out of his house.
      5501 Merchants View Square = UPS Store.

      I guess Goddard works out of a PO Box 🙂
      Someone ought to go take a picture and post it.

      The 209 PA Ave address is a 3-story red brick building, visible on GoogleMaps streetview, above a cafe, with white door at right marked 209.
      Someone local might visit and see if 299 is a real office or just virtual to provide the obligatory Washington DC address.

  29. I got the impression that this was supposed to be some kind of major conference. Instead, it’s a table of clowns (in an otherwise empty room) trashing science and drooling over Curry.

  30. Yasi is shaping up to be an utter beast, cat 5 already. Good luck anyone from north Queensland.

    • Grim. Last I heard it was gonna be a cat 3 or 4.

      • Dr. Jeff Masters of Wunderground states that it should be able to maintain itself as a Cat 4 until it hits. And it’s not only strong, but huge.

        Looks like it’s aimed more or less directly at Cairns. I was there once, long ago …

  31. She may hit as a 5, currently 920hP, not quite Katrina low but by hell shes low.

  32. It’s telling how Judith misses the conflicting message: She’s being honored as “climate scientist of the year” with the gift of a shirt claiming that climate science is, er, garbage. She attempts a recovery by misrepresenting the shirt as a reference to climate *change*. But the people who gave the shirt really meant what they wrote.

  33. I realized that Curry had totally and completely lost her mind when I read this:

    “Then Willis Eschenbach requested data from Phil Jones. Now Willis characterizes himself as an “amateur scientist” or a “citizen scientist”. While a case “might” be made for not going to any effort for Willis, it was a bad move since Willis is a rising star in the skeptical blogosphere with the 2M strong WUWT army behind him.”
    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/04/23/an-inconvenient-provocateur/#comment-3316

    This is the same Willis who responded to her initial post at Watts Up with a really charming post titled “Judith I love ya, but you’re way wrong…”, which was then quoted in the NYT on 3/2/2010.

    Were I a professional climate scientist and some amateur crank denier talked down to me and insulted me like that, I certainly would not be going all gooey over him (“rising star”???) less than 2 months later. And I sure as hell wouldn’t welcome his posting on my blog, let alone actually defend his statements to the occasional incredulous outsider. (Try reading his CV sometime, but do keep a vise handy to prevent brain explosion.)

    She’s totally lost it. Gone completely bonkers. And her blog sure shows it. I tried the water a couple of times, but some of the things that swam up through the swirling clouds of bloody chum were just damn too scary for me. Totally closed minded deniers who argue AGW is a dogma, as tenaciously as creationists argue Darwinism is a religion. I also noticed some self-appointed enforcers who make sure that posts by non-believers get corrected, point by point. They snap at any posts made by someone who appears to actually be sane, or even worse, a genuine scientist who knows what he or she is talking about.

  34. Goddards connection to SPPI is that he produced a bit of paper for them going on about a geologists view of the climate. He apparently has a BSc in geology and works for mining and energy companies. He takes great pride in not having a PHd as he believes they are worthless.

  35. See this on SPPI reality.
    SPPI VA = PO box in a UPS store in suburban shopping center, alternatively it is Rob Ferguson working mostly from home calling himself an Institute.

  36. Fred Pearce auditioning for a guest post on wacky Watts emporium of climate astrology?

    http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/02/climate-sceptics-scientists-at.html

  37. Eli, taking his own advice has goon over to Judy’s place and is stirring up the crazies. Their visions are beginning to get to the poor girl. Come help.

    • Eli would be right. Here is a new post by La Curry:

      Curry: Juoakola spotted an interesting new paper

      Martha: I am really surprised by any discussion of this as a ‘new’ paper. This Rial et. al. paper is not new or undiscussed. It is 7 years old and at this point familiar to many undergraduate students, Judith. It is a reference in AR4.

      Pat Casen: Agreed. Something about this paper made me check the acknowledgements immediately: “This paper resulted from a Workshop…”

      Not that its value as such is diminished, but one’s expectations should be adjusted accordingly. It is no doubt useful in describing what attendees agreed upon (at the time) was important regarding current understanding and potentially fruitful approaches for future research, but new and/or surprising insights will probably not be found here.

      Ron Cram: A quick observation – I do not think this paper would have been published prior to Climategate. I am thankful to the leaker inside CRU (or the hacker).

      Fred Moolten: It was published in 2004.

      Hilarious…

    • It might be more interesting for scientists like Eli to go over there and pretend to support the terminally crazies …

      That might really drive her ’round the bend …

    • Eli, I don’t want to give the crazies any more fuel. But I do have a question for teh well informed.

      The crazies are arguing with Phil Felton about: “The question is, can a cold body make a warm body hotter?”

      A simple example would be does the dark side of the Moon make the earth warmer? Has anyone measured how much radition comes from the moon to the earth when the side of the moon facing Earth is colder than Earth?

  38. Another way of asking this question is: Has anyone detected IR comming from the Moon to the Earth (during times when the Earth facing side of the Moon is colder than Earth)?

  39. A simple example would be does the dark side of the Moon make the earth warmer? Has anyone measured how much radition comes from the moon to the earth when the side of the moon facing Earth is colder than Earth?

    Unless it’s 0K some radiation will be emitted in the direction of the earth (that’s “zero-K” not “oh-kay”).

  40. Well Saturn has a tempeature range of -191° C to >-130° C, and we detected IR from Saturn in the early 1900s. So that is settled, The Earth is warmer than it would if Saturn was not here. Warmed by IR from at -130°C body.
    http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/I/infrared_astronomy.html

  41. Whoops, the crazies might rebut that we are recieving IR from the core which is 11,000 Degrees C.

    So I’m not sure with example is simpler, the Moon or Saturn or something else?

  42. Even simpler example is Earthshine, not IR for this visual case, but still shows the earth is warmed by radiation from the darkside side of the moone (which is somewhat colder than Earth)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetshine

  43. If some denialist want an IR image (for some reason accepting the visible light example above, but denying the IR reciprocity) the Saturn example is back. We can be sure that IR images of Saturn’s rings do not represent the core temperature of Saturn. The hottest part of the rings are less than -100 deg C.

    And here is an IR image of the rings taken from Hawaii:

    http://www.windows2universe.org/saturn/images/saturn_ir_keck_feb_2004_big_jpg_image.html&edu=high

    Thus showing that even the warm Hawaii is warmed by radiation from Saturn’s cold cold rings.

    http://www.esa.int/esaMI/Cassini-Huygens/SEM84K0XDYD_0.html)

  44. Climate gal linked to Curry Quotes where I came across the section: Curry-on-debunking-cranks

    http://curryquotes.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/curry-on-debunking-cranks/

    There Curry’s quotes about Montford’s book are compared to here quotes about Slaying the dragon.

    She complains that that “If Montford’s arguments and evidence are baseless, then you should refute them.” Insisting that people should do a detailed in-depth critique of Montford’s book.

    Then she say re slaying the dragon:

    “I’ve read Slaying the Sky Dragon and originally intended a rubuttal, but it would be too overwhelming to attempt this and probably pointless.”
    – Judith Curry

    “Claes, I have read and considered your arguments. To rebut/refute them would take more time than I am prepared to spend on this. I have to use my time where I think it is best spent.”
    – Judith Curry

    Well now she’s decided to turn her attention to SLD, how much effort does she give:

    “I suspect that many undergrad physics or atmospheric science majors at Georgia Tech could effectively refute these chapters. I’m opening up this discussion at Climate Etc. since”

    This after claiming:

    “I was hoping to put to rest any skeptical debate about the basic physics of gaseous infrared radiative transfer. There are plenty of things to be skeptical about, but IMO this isn’t one of them.”

    So how is she doing at showing where the line of skepticism should be drawn? Can she really back up her assertion, or does she now need to rely of people of more competence?

    • It’s the easiest thing in the world to sit back and say what people should be doing. People taking up anti-science positions often rely on this, it allows them to throw out baseless assertion after assertion which takes someone else enormous time and effort to debunk (as well as a lot of same for the reader to digest and understand)

      Also see the difference between her attitude towards the greenhouse effect before she actually tried to convince anyone of its reality

      http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/30/physics-of-the-atmospheric-greenhouse-effect/

      “We need to raise the level of our game in terms of explaining the planetary warming by infrared absorption of CO2 etc. The missing area of understanding seems to be the actual physical mechanism. Lets target an explanation at an audience that has taken 1 year each of undergraduate physics and chemistry, plus calculus. Once we have something that is convincing at this level, we can work on how to communicate this to the interested public (i.e. those that hang out in the climate blogosphere). Willis Eschenbach’s help is needed in translating this for the WUWT crowd.”

      We we know how well that’s gone.

      When you’re used to the scientific and academic process it’s easy to believe people are inherently rational and can always be brought to a new position with facts and evidence. It’s only when you actually engage with someone who insists black is white, up is down and simply will not budge that you realise there’s a point at which explaining things further just doesn’t help.

      Curry and the WUWT crowd are fond of interpreting “denier” broadly when it’s used by climate scientists, hopefully this experience will translate into some understanding of what they’re talking about.

  45. The reason this peeves me is that her process of denialist chumming don’t produce a forum where she can even uphold or defend the standards of basic physics.

  46. Perhaps where this conference went badly wrong was assuming there would, could or should be some kind of reproachment between the scientists and the bloggers. People like Dr Schmidt are the peers of sceptics like professor Lindzen and Pielke. That is the forum and format for their debate. The discussion should have been between bloggers, in the case of the likes of Connoly and Annan they wear both hats but they could have attended as bloggers.

    Issues like standards and tone of debate, minimal acceptable science, more clarity between off the cuff thinking out loud and what is presented as fact; those kind of issues. Perhaps even joint projects or something. There would have been some grounds for fruitful discussion. But not the idea that scientists needed to bow before the bloggers and beg there benediction.

  47. > a forum where she can even uphold or defend the standards of basic physics.

    She says she’s going to separate the “climate” from the “etc.” today.
    Here’s hoping.

  48. Gavin | February 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm posted:
    “For reference, my full email response was as follows”

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/04/lisbon-workshop-on-reconciliation-part-iv/#comment-37920

  49. Curry writes:

    “Well the punchline seems to be this. Mainstream climate scientists seem to want to loudly proclaim that the science isn’t settled. And prefer not to be labeled as a “leader of mainstream climate science.” A very good thing.

    Note to “deniers:” looks like you are currently denying unsettled science ”

    But hang on a moment, wasn’t is Curry who wrote this just a few days before:

    “I was hoping to put to rest any skeptical debate about the basic physics of gaseous infrared radiative transfer. There are plenty of things to be skeptical about, but IMO this isn’t one of them.”

    Lesson for Curry (assuming she is not being disingenuous), just because all science in climate change is not settled, does not mean important aspects are not.

  50. Curry finally decides to suggest to her winged-monkeys that perhaps Gavin isn’t totally evil.

    But one can only go so far;
    “And I agree that his [Gavin’s] style on the blog often comes across as arrogant and authoritarian”.

  51. Look, thsi might seem weird but it has been driving me crazy.

    The people sitting either side of Dr Curry in the video – are they men or women?
    Seriously, I cant tell.

  52. dorlomin :
    Here in the UK all three main parties have AGW action as a major part of their manifestos and just shy 70% of people believe it is an issue that needs tackling.
    So far as the UK is concerned we have all but won.

    83% accept that the climate is changing dangerously. 63% accept that man is causing the climate to change. “Sceptics” are on the fringe.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jan/31/public-belief-climate-change

    The US is a different story but their there will be no action for around 4 years so by my reckoning all that will happen is losing 8-10ppm (CO2) in space with which to act.

    It’s actually not too different to the UK.
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/08/11/stanford-poll-the-vast-majority-of-americans-know-global-warming-is-real/

    Hogging the media and yellow journalism can give a false impression, as demonstrated by Scott Mandia. I believe it’s better known as a successful PR campaign, or propaganda.
    http://profmandia.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/wall-street-journal-selectively-pro-science/

    Even 83% of Americans want a clean energy bill, and 63% want the EPA to smack down on polluters. Useful bookmark: http://climateprogress.org/category/polling/

  53. We have lost 22 years of research and construction to deal with this issue, plus over 44ppm of working space. 22 years of building railways, wind farms and insulating the housing stock, 22 years of not being more proactive in reducing the fuel economy of the personal transport fleet and building cycle lanes. 22 years of ensuring town planning was geared towards energy economy and low environmental impact.
    For 22 years we have treated our liquid hydrocarbon endowment as if it was a bottomless well.
    Had we begun to take action when we were warned by Dr Hansen the costs would have been lower, the timescales very reasonable and the side benefits multiple. Labour\ Tories, Clinton\Bush’s none are anything other than guilty of delay and waste.
    Now we are going to waste some more years. More time. And when we get round to taking action it will have to be that much quicker and more expensive.
    If we do experience a 2-3C warming, historians are going to be utterly merciless to those who have elbowed their way to the front of the “it’s a fraud” type blogs and shock jocks. And if in 10 years’ time 450ppm is seen as a target that has to be aimed for (even 500ppm), the people living then are going to have some very choice words for those who advocated delaying setting out towards that target for 26 years.

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