Weather Channel Issues Ultimate Professional Insult

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UPDATE: The national website www.junkscience.com has referenced this blog entry.

From the waaaayyyy over the top department:

The Weather Channel’s climatologist, Dr. Heidi Cullen who hosts the program “The Climate Code”, is advocating that broadcast meteorologists be denied certification (or re-certification) if they express skepticism about predictions of manmade global warming. She posted this revelation in the blog she runs on the Weather Channel website and you can read it here: http://climate.weather.com/blog/9_11396.html

She writes: “If a meteorologist has an AMS Seal of Approval, which is used to confer legitimacy to TV meteorologists, then meteorologists have a responsibility to truly educate themselves on the science of global warming.” “Meteorologists are among the few people trained in the sciences who are permitted regular access to our living rooms. And in that sense, they owe it to their audience to distinguish between solid, peer-reviewed science and junk political controversy.” “If a meteorologist can’t speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn’t give them a Seal of Approval.”

Them’s scientific fightin’ words lady.

So, apparently any free speech, scientific debate, and public dialog that doesn’t agree with the peer reviewed popular scientific opinion is grounds for denying an AMS Broadcast certification?

This reminds me of Galileo and his fight with the Roman Catholic Church in 1632. Galileo wanted to publish a book Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems which totally revised the earth centric view of the universe favored by scientists, scholars, and clergy of the time and built on the work of the earlier astronomer Copernicus. Galilieo was tried and imprisoned for daring to speak out against the “consensus” of the time for what he saw as a scientific truth.

I think we would all do well to follow this maxim: “People who live in greenhouses shouldn’t throw stones”.


Open scientific debate is essential to the scientific process, to call for castigating and silencing TV weathercasters who see other evidence is not only against American free speech values, it’s unprofressional for a scientist. Freedom of speech is the concept of the inherent human right to voice one’s opinion publicly without fear of censorship or punishment.

I support Cullen’s freedom of speech to make the claim that Global Warming is entirely an affliction caused by humanity, but I don’t support her call for decertifying of proponents of alternate theory

Despite receiving over 1000 blog comments by the public, most of them harshly critical of Cullen’s call for suppressing the voices of manmade global warming skeptics Cullen has refused to retract her call for AMS decertification of broadcasters who may also be global warming skeptics but instead blamed the whole mess on “spin.‿ Here is her latest post on the controversy. No mention of the word “sorry” or mea culpa in that post.

The Weather Channel has yet to officially comment on the matter. They are most likely being very careful as they are now in the middle of a scientific and political firestorm.

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15 thoughts on “Weather Channel Issues Ultimate Professional Insult

  1. Apparently a good number of people were insulted and/or offended by this woman’s dictatorial opinion, neither link is there now.

    …advocating that broadcast meteorologists be denied certification (or re-certification) if they express skepticism about predictions of manmade global warming.

    Is this woman an American? Was she educated in our schools? If so, why does she not realize what an incredibly un-American idea this is?

    Hugo Chavez might have an opening for her should she find herself in need of a job!

  2. OK, I admit I’m a Weather Channel addict but I also have wondered at Cullen’s ability to take ancedotal reports and twist them to to her global warming crusade. To stiffle scientific dissent is akin to excommunicating Galileo for not holding to doctrine.
    The search for knowledge does not advance by agreeing.

  3. There is an interesting pair of pictures in the November 12th 2005 issue of Science News that compares an Alaskan tundra valley from about 1.5 miles away. They use this picture to demonstrate the amount of shrub growth between 1950 and 2002. The problem is the 1950 picture is in black and white and taken in July while the 2002 picture is in color and taken in August.
    There could be as much as 60 days difference seasonally between the 2 pictures in an area where a couple weeks can mean great change. Also they fail to mention rainfall amounts that year and previous years, runoff, time of day, etc. etc. Terrible science.

  4. Ironically, Cullen isn’t even living up to the AMS statement she used in her quote and is pathetically attempting to cover her hygrometer… Nowhere in her commentary do you find a mention of the most prolific and important greenhouse gas of all – water vapor. Moreover, she claims she is a scientist. Well, according to an article written in early January

    Cullen’s supposed expertise on climatology includes, among other things, earning a bachelor’s degree in Near Eastern religions and history from Juniata College. One must indeed have to believe in the mystical to accept anything Ms. Cullen has to say about climatology.

  5. Interesting Galileo take. I actually see the role of Galileo taken on by those seeking to “prove” mankind’s influence on global warming. You might recall that Galileo advocated (correctly) against the status quo. The status quo is that we are *not* influencing global warming. The overwhelming *peer group* has deemed that mankind is influencing global warming (whether you think they are right or wrong is not relevant in this discussion quite yet – just that the peer group believes it to be so). This is advocating a change in perspective and policy that is different than that preceding condition and “science.? Then there is the release of more information and more data.

    The Catholic Church advocated an adherence to a flawed perspective beyond the early indications otherwise. As more information and scientific study was conducted, the Church could no longer adhere to their flawed theory.

    Incidentally, it took over 200 years before the Church came around and permitted a censored release of his work and ideas. Unfortunately, if the “hypothesis? on global warming and its manmade causes prove correct we are doomed to substantial damages (which can be estimated wildly). But it does appear with the number of scientists now on board and that number increasing faster than the population of new scientists, we may be in the neighborhood of the turn the century 1700; keeping in mind that it wasn’t technology that so much improved to help the Church “see? its errors but adoption by the masses and scholars.

    So where are we in this debate now?

    *** Moderators Response ***

    Hi Randall, Thats a nice spin on the subject. See my next blog entry, in a day or two, and then tell me what you think.

  6. The spin wasn’t even a quarter-turn. It was not my Galileo spin, it was yours. But I await your statistics on scientific numbers. Thanks for posting my comment (not everyone on NorCal blogs does regardless of reasonable censorship rules – read: the comment doesn’t matter, just the person).

    *** Moderators reply *** I don’t censor anybody’s comments, except if there’s foul langauge or a slander involved. I use the AP’s writer guide as my bible there.

    One could also argue that the seemingly religious “we are right and we aren’t going to discuss it anymore because there’s ‘consensus’ ” green movement fits as an example for your argument too.

    The big problem is that anytime science becomes politicized, it loses its objectivity. And science without objectivity is dangerous ground.

    The science needs to stand on its own first, then change policy. Right now there’s neither a full scientific consensus nor absolute proof that anthropogenic CO2 is the cause (though some claim there is) but there is building evidence.

    But science has been known to head down garden paths before, only to reverse itself in the face of new hard facts.

    A good example is the case of stomach ulcers. Doctors used to think it was all about nerves in the stomach. That didn’t change and there was no complete cure until a stubborn clinician in Australia who had been treating thousands of patients gave himself ulcers by purposely drinking a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, giving himself an ulcer, then curing it with antibiotics. Then saying OK NOW tell me its nerves, go ahead.

    Of course now stomach ulcers are treated with antibiotics.
    He got a Nobel Prize just two years ago:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4304290.stm

    The Nobel citation praises the doctors for their tenacity, and willingness to challenge prevailing dogmas.

    If Global Warming does prove conclusively to be caused only by anthropogenic CO2, then hey I’ll be the first to admit I’m wrong. Right now there’s other compelling evidence its not.

    By the way, did you attend the NorCal Natural History museum lecture series last night? Some eye opening things were presented there.

  7. Ooo. Having just the moderator’s comment might indicate that *I* wrote the comments which is obviously not the case. It might be best just to post and then comment after the fact. Just a suggestion.

    And I didn’t mean to imply that you would edit or censor my posts at all. Quite the contrary. As this is was my first post to your blog and not every “conservative” blogger posts my reasonable and non-slanderous/profane/disgusting comments it was a genuine thanks for posting.

    But don’t let that imply that I *expected* you to censor them. I already know enough about you to respect your openness to discourse, period. I have respect for you as a person, a former elected official, and now as a blogger and climatelogist. If only we could see eye to eye on a few things. ;)

  8. “It might be best just to post and then comment after the fact. Just a suggestion.”

    Yeah thats the way I should probably be doing it…but the way this blog software is setup, it takes four extra steps to reply in a separate comment because the software only allows editing of the last comment, not adding a new one. So I have to open a separate browser window, locate the blog entry, type in comment, post it, then go back to admin page to approve my own comment. I’ll try not to take the short cut in the future.

    No worries on the censor discussion, I wasn’t concerned at all, but just wanted to let people know what my criteria was. And I’m sorry if that gave an incorrect impression. The Internet is notorius for not conveying tone or intent that you can pickup from verbal conversation.

    Thanks for the nice comments, I believe that even the most opposite sides can always find common ground. See my letter to the editor today regarding that idea.

  9. Pingback: The Weather Channel - they’re not just about global warming anymore « Watts Up With That?

  10. It is very interesting from the point of view of the intellectual history of this fantastic episode.

    People (Hansen and this lady) are arguing at the same time that AGW is obviously true and the science is settled AND that the expression of dissent from this view is so plausible and threatening that it must be suppressed because of the danger that people will believe it.

    Both cannot be true. If it is so very obvious and settled, the only effect of voicing public doubt will be to cover oneself with ridicule. If you are worried about the effects of such expressions of doubt, it must be because you don’t feel the science is as settled as you are arguing.

    After all, no-one thinks that members of the flat earth society should be banned from speaking in public in case too many people find its arguments plausible!

    You cannot escape the conclusion that these people must have an unconscious realization that the theory is not as well grounded as they wish it were. This is why dissent is so threatening. This is why they think it will be so easy for the masses to be led astray. This is why skepticism must be silenced.

  11. Pingback: Weather Channel nixes “Forecast Earth”, possibly Cullen « Watts Up With That?

  12. And later tonight on the news, the world is still flat.

    Chances are people “do” have an impact on the environment. Duh. But to shut down debate and other arguements at a certification level reeks of pure ego.

    Pathetic, we need our schools to re-teach our scientists what it means to be open minded and not agenda driven. There is a pretty damn good precident for science changing with the emergence of new technology and new information.

  13. Chances are people “do” have an impact on the environment. Duh. But to shut down debate and other arguements at a certification level reeks of pure ego.

    Sure, anything that lives or even that doesn’t live (volcanoes, earthquakes, storms, etc..) have impacts on the “environment”. But for some reason when humans do it it’s not “natural”.

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