Judith, I love ya, but you're way wrong …

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Judith Curry posted here on WUWT regarding rebuilding the lost trust we used to have in climate science and climate scientists. This is my response to her post, an expansion and revision of what I wrote in the comments on that thread.

First, be clear that I admire Judith Curry greatly. She is one of the very, very few mainstream climate scientists brave enough to enter into a public dialogue about these issues. I salute her for her willingness to put her views on public display, and for tackling this difficult issue.

As is often my wont in trying to understand a long and complex dissertation, I first made my own digest of what Judith said. To do so, I condensed each of her paragraphs into one or a few sentences. Here is that digest:

Digest of Judith Curry’s Post: On the Credibility of Climate Research, Part II: Towards Rebuilding Trust

1 I am trying an experiment by posting on various blogs

2 Losing the Public’s Trust

2.1 Climategate has broadened to become a crisis of trust in climate science in general.

2.2 Credibility is a combination of expertise and trust. Trust in the IPCC is faltering.

2.3 The scientists in the CRU emails blame their actions on “malicious interference”.

2.4 Institutions like the IPCC need to ask how they enabled this situation.

2.5 Core research values have been compromised by warring against the skeptics.

2.6 Climategate won’t go away until all this is resolved.

3 The Changing Nature of Skepticism about Global Warming

3.1 Skepticism has changed over time.

3.2 First it was a minor war between advocacy groups. Then, a “monolithic climate denial machine” was born. This was funded by the oil industry.

3.3 Because of the IPCC reports, funding for contrary views died up. It was replaced by climate auditors. The “climate change establishment” didn’t understand this and kept blaming the “denial machine”.

4 Climate Auditors and the Blogosphere.

4.1 Steve McIntyre’s auditing became popular and led to blogs like WUWT.

4.2 Auditors are independent, technically educated people mostly outside of academia. They mostly audit rather than write scientific papers.

4.3 The FOIA requests were motivated by people concerned about having the same people who created the dataset using the dataset in their models.

4.4 The mainstream climate researchers don’t like the auditors because Steve McIntyre is their arch-nemesis, so they tried to prevent auditors publishing in the journals. [gotta confess I couldn’t follow the logic in this paragraph]

4.5 The auditors succeeded in bringing the climate establishment to its knees because people trusted the auditors.

5 Towards Rebuilding Trust

5.1 Ralph Cicerone says that two aspects need attention, the general practice of science and the personal behaviours of scientists. Investigations are being conducted.

5.2 Climate science has not adapted to being high profile. How scientists engage with the public is inadequately discussed. The result is reflexive support for IPCC and its related policies.

5.3 The public and policy makers don’t understand the truth as presented by the IPCC. More efficient strategies can be devised by recognizing that we are dealing with two groups: educated people, and the general public. To rebuild trust scientists need to discuss uncertainty. [“truth as presented by the IPCC? say what?]

5.4 The blogosphere can be a powerful tool for increasing credibility of climate research. The climate researchers at realclimate were the pioneers in this. More scientists should participate in these debates.

5.5 No one believes that the science is settled. Scientists and others say that the science is settled. This is detrimental to public trust.

5.6 I hope this experiment will demonstrate how the blogosphere can rebuild trust.

Having made such a digest, my next step is to condense it into an “elevator speech”. This is a very short statement of the essential principles. My elevator speech of Judith’s post is this.

Climategate has destroyed the public trust in climate science. Initially skepticism was funded by big oil. Then a climate auditing movement sprang up. They were able to bring the climate establishment to its knees because people trusted them. Public and policy makers don’t understand the truth as presented by the IPCC. To rebuild trust, climate scientists need to better communicate their ideas to the public, particularly regarding uncertainty. The blogosphere can be valuable in this regard.

OK, now what’s wrong with Judith’s picture?

Can The Trust Be Rebuilt?

First, let me say that the problem is much bigger than Judith seems to think. Wiser men than I have weighed in on this question. In a speech at Clinton, Illinois, September 8, 1854, Abraham Lincoln said:

If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. You may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

So it will not be easy. The confidence is forfeit, that ship has sailed.

The biggest problem with Judith’s proposal is her claim that the issue is that climate scientists have not understood how to present their ideas to the public. Judith, I respect you greatly, but you have grabbed the wrong end of the stick. The problem is not how climate scientists have publicly presented their scientific results. It is not a communication problem.

The problem is that 71.3% of what passes as peer reviewed climate science is simply junk science, as false as the percentage cited in this sentence. The lack of trust is not a problem of perception or communication. It is a problem of lack of substance. Results are routinely exaggerated. “Scientific papers” are larded with “may” and “might” and “could possibly”. Advocacy is a common thread in climate science papers. Codes are routinely concealed, data is not archived. A concerted effort is made to marginalize and censor opposing views.

And most disturbing, for years you and the other climate scientists have not said a word about this disgraceful situation. When Michael Mann had to be hauled in front of a congressional committee to force him to follow the simplest of scientific requirements, transparency, you guys were all wailing about how this was a huge insult to him.

An insult to Mann? Get real. Mann is an insult and an embarrassment to climate science, and you, Judith, didn’t say one word in public about that. Not that I’m singling you out. No one else stood up for climate science either. It turned my stomach to see the craven cowering of mainstream climate scientists at that time, bloviating about how it was such a terrible thing to do to poor Mikey. Now Mann has been “exonerated” by one of the most bogus whitewashes in academic history, and where is your outrage, Judith? Where are the climate scientists trying to clean up your messes?

The solution to that is not, as you suggest, to give scientists a wider voice, or educate them in how to present their garbage to a wider audience.

The solution is for you to stop trying to pass off garbage as science. The solution is for you establishment climate scientists to police your own back yard. When Climategate broke, there was widespread outrage … well, widespread everywhere except in the climate science establishment. Other than a few lone voices, the silence there was deafening. Now there is another whitewash investigation, and the silence only deepens.

And you wonder why we don’t trust you? Here’s a clue. Because a whole bunch of you are guilty of egregious and repeated scientific malfeasance, and the rest of you are complicit in the crime by your silence. Your response is to stick your fingers in your ears and cover your eyes.

And you still don’t seem to get it. You approvingly quote Ralph Cicerone about the importance of transparency … Cicerone?? That’s a sick joke.

You think people made the FOI (Freedom of Information) requests because they were concerned that the people who made the datasets were the same people using them in the models. As the person who made the first FOI request to CRU, I assure you that is not true. I made the request to CRU because I was disgusted with the response of mainstream climate scientists to Phil Jone’s reply to Warwick Hughes. When Warwick made a simple scientific request for data, Jones famously said:

Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?

When I heard that, I was astounded. But in addition to being astounded, I was naive. Looking back, I was incredibly naive. I was so naive that I actually thought, “Well, Phil’s gonna get his hand slapped hard by real scientists for that kind of anti-scientific statements”. Foolish me, I thought you guys were honest scientists who would be outraged by that.

So I waited for some mainstream climate scientist to speak out against that kind of scientific malfeasance … and waited … and waited. In fact, I’m still waiting. I registered my protest against this bastardisation of science by filing an FOI. When is one of you mainstream climate scientist going to speak out against this kind of malfeasance? It’s not too late to condemn what Jones said, he’s still in the news and pretending to be a scientist, when is one of you good folks going to take a principled stand?

But nobody wants to do that. Instead, you want to complain and explain how trust has been broken, and you want to figure out more effective communication strategies to repair the trust.

You want a more effective strategy? Here’s one. Ask every climate scientist to grow a pair and speak out in public about the abysmal practices of far, far too many mainstream climate scientists. Because the public is assuredly outraged, and you are all assuredly silent, sitting quietly in your taxpayer funded offices and saying nothing, not a word, schtumm … and you wonder why we don’t trust you?

A perfect example is you saying in your post:

Such debate is alive and well in the blogosphere, but few mainstream climate researchers participate in the blogospheric debate. The climate researchers at realclimate.org were the pioneers in this …

For you to say this without also expressing outrage at realclimate’s ruthless censorship of every opposing scientific view is more of the same conspiracy of silence. Debate is not “alive and well” at realclimate as you say, that’s a crock. Realclimate continues to have an undeserved reputation that it is a scientific blog because you and other mainstream climate scientists are unwilling to bust them for their contemptuous flouting of scientific norms. When you stay silent about blatant censorship like that, Judith, people will not trust you, nor should they. You have shown by your actions that you are perfectly OK with realclimate censoring opposing scientific views. What kind of message does that send?

The key to restoring trust has nothing to do with communication. Steve McIntyre doesn’t inspire trust because he is a good communicator. He inspires trust because he follows the age-old practices of science — transparency and openness and freewheeling scientific discussion and honest reporting of results.

And until mainstream climate science follows his lead, I’ll let you in on a very dark, ugly secret — I don’t want trust in climate science to be restored. I don’t want you learning better ways to propagandize for shoddy science. I don’t want you to figure out how to inspire trust by camouflaging your unethical practices in new and innovative ways. I don’t want scientists learning to use clever words and communication tricks to get people to think that the wound is healed until it actually  is  healed. I don’t want you to learn to use the blogosphere to spread your pernicious unsupported unscientific alarmism.

You think this is a problem of image, that climate science has a bad image. It is nothing of the sort. It is a problem of scientific malfeasance, and of complicity by silence with that malfeasance. The public, it turns out, has a much better bullsh*t detector than the mainstream climate scientists do … or at least we’re willing to say so in public, while y’all cower in your cubbyholes with your heads down and never, never, never say a bad word about some other climate scientist’s bogus claims and wrong actions.

You want trust? Do good science, and publicly insist that other climate scientists do good science as well. It’s that simple. Do good science, and publicly call out the Manns and the Joneses and the Thompsons and the rest of the charlatans that you are currently protecting. Call out the journals that don’t follow their own policies on data archiving. Speak up for honest science. Archive your data. Insist on transparency. Publish your codes.

Once that is done, the rest will fall in line. And until then, I’m overjoyed that people don’t trust you. I see the lack of trust in mainstream climate science as a huge triumph for real science. Fix it by doing good science and by cleaning up your own backyard. Anything else is a coverup.

Judith, again, my congratulations on being willing to post your ideas in public. You are a rara avis, and I respect you greatly for it.


PS – In your post you talk about a “monolithic climate denial machine”?? Puhleease, Judith, you’re talking to us individual folks who were there on the ground individually fighting the battle. Save that conspiracy theory for people who weren’t there, those who don’t know how it went down.

This is another huge problem for mainstream climate scientists and mainstream media alike. You still think the problem is that we opposed your ideas and exposed your errors. You still see the climate scientists as the victims, even now in 2010 when the CRU emails have shown that’s nonsense. Every time one of your self-appointed spokes-fools says something like “Oh, boo hoo, the poor CRU folks were forced to circle their wagons by the eeevil climate auditors”, you just get laughed at harder and harder. The CRU emails showed they were circling the FOI wagons two years before the first FOI request, so why haven’t you noticed?

The first step out of this is to stop trying to blame Steve and Anthony and me and all the rest of us for your stupidity and your dishonesty and your scientific malfeasance. [Edited by public demand to clarify that the “your stupidity” etc. refers to mainstream climate scientists as a group and not to Judith individually.] You will never recover a scrap of trust until you admit that you are the source of your problems, all we did was point them out. You individually, and you as a group, created this mess. The first step to redemption is to take responsibility. You’ve been suckered by people like Stephen Schneider, who said:

To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.

That worked fine for a while, but as Lincoln pointed out, it caught up with you. You want trust? Disavow Schneider, and STOP WITH THE SCARY SCENARIOS. At this point, you have blamed everything from acne to world bankruptcy on eeevil global warming. And you have blamed everything from auditors to the claimed stupidity of the common man for your own failures. STOP IT! We don’t care about your pathetic justifications, all you are doing is becoming the butt of jokes around the planet. You seem to have forgotten the story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf. Read it. Think about it. Nobody cares about your hysteria any more. You are in a pit of your own making, and you are refusing to stop digging … take responsibility.

Because we don’t want scientists who are advocates. We’re not interested in scientists who don’t mention their doubts. We’re sick of your inane “simplified dramatic statements”. We laugh when you cry wolf with your scary scenarios. Call us crazy, but we want scientists who are honest, not scientists who balance honesty and effectiveness. You want trust? Get honest, kick out the scoundrels, and for goodness sakes, get a clue about humility.

Because the truth is, climate science is one of the newest sciences. The truth is, we know little about the climate, we’ve only been studying it intensely for a couple decades. The truth is, we can’t project the climate of the next decade, much less that of the next century.  The truth is, we have no general theory of climate. The truth is, we don’t know if an average temperature rise of a couple degrees will be a net benefit or a net loss. The truth is, all of us are human, and our knowledge of the climate is in its infancy. And I don’t appreciate being lectured by infants. I don’t appreciate being told that I should be put in the dock in a Nuremberg style trial for disagreeing with infants. You want to restore trust? Come down off your pedestals, forsake your ivory towers, and admit your limitations.

And through all of this, be aware that you have a long, long, long climb back up to where we will trust you. As Lincoln warned, you have forfeited the confidence of your fellow citizens, and you will be damn lucky if you ever get it back.

[Update: please see Dr. Curry’s gracious response below, at Judith Curry (04:34:45)]

[Update 2: Dr. Curry’s second response is here, and my reply is here]

[Update 3: Dr. Curry steps up and delivers the goods. My reply.]

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John Van Krimpen.
February 25, 2010 12:33 am

Me and Capn Jack,
say Tick.

February 25, 2010 12:37 am

Editing Note:
“So it will not be easy. The confidence is is forfeit, that ship has sailed.”
Extra “is” detected.
[Thanks, fixed – w.]

February 25, 2010 12:43 am

Great post, well done!

February 25, 2010 12:49 am

Once again Willis Eschenbach hits the nail squarely on the head.
Thankyou, Sir, for a characteristically clear exposition of the problem and an equally clear statement of the solution – honesty, clarity and humility allied with good, careful science.

Phillip Bratby
February 25, 2010 12:49 am

Thanks Willis for an excellent summary post. I’m waiting for the first “climate scientist” to come out and name another “climate scientist” for malfeisance. How long will I have to wait before anyone of them condemns Mann?

February 25, 2010 12:49 am

Brilliant – I feel inspired. There will be a cartoon shortly, hope it makes it to Bishop Hill.

February 25, 2010 12:51 am

I happily agree with everything said, and I am glad to be as angry as Willis seems to be. Sociologists can stick their noses into science, but scientists should not be sticking their noses into sociology. Same with politics. Same with economics. Show your work, let the chips fall.

Mike G
February 25, 2010 12:52 am

Superb. You speak for me, and many others I think

Steve Schapel
February 25, 2010 12:53 am

All I can say is thank you, very much indeed, for that extraordinary work. A totally brilliant expression of what many of us feel but would be hard-pressed to put into words at all, let alone so purely. I really hope Judith Curry, and perhaps others who think like her, can allow themselves to open themselves up to the ideas you have presented here.

February 25, 2010 12:54 am

“get a clue about humility”
Let’s give Judith Curry some slack here. She has stepped off the pedestal a bit and shown *some* humility I believe.
A lot more than most?

February 25, 2010 12:54 am

>but we want scientists who are honest
Exactly! John Christy is a good example. Honest, humble scientists doing transparent science is what we need.

Ziiex Zeburz
February 25, 2010 12:55 am

you have said (and much, much more) the bases of the real problem , I thank you, (and Anthony for once again making the right decision ) for bring together all that I am sure many of us have wanted to say,
again I Thank You.
Ziiex Zeburz

David Davidovics
February 25, 2010 12:56 am

Thats a hell of a read. Well written and well said.
He is absolutely right to point out just how wide the divide is between alarmists and us “uneducated” folk.
At this point, its so ingrained that I doubt any of the leading figures will ever admit wrong doing even if the world froze over. The pride runs very deep.

February 25, 2010 12:57 am

Willis unfortunately I think you are correct. The data was c### and that IS THE PROBLEMA!

Peter Pond
February 25, 2010 1:00 am

Thanks Willis, a strongly worded observation.
I recently commented on “the Air Vent”
When Climategate first broke, I wrote in a couple of blogs that SCIENCE would be the loser (because the trust of the people in Science would stop). For the past couple of years I have followed the AGW saga and I feel that I have got to know many of the blog owners quite well (from their writings).
One of the reasons that I like your blog, despite my having what I think would be quite different political views from you, is that I consider you to be WYSIWYG (another way of saying that you are open). There are a few others like you whose opinions I value, and whose approach to the science is what I would have expected from all scientists (and I particularly like Lucia, misspellings included).
We need to go forward, but realistically this will not happen until enough AGW-supporting “scientists” state publicly that the science is not settled and more work is needed.
Here in Australia, the recent words of Prof Jones, admitting that recent temp increases are not unique, have not hit the MSM at all. Rather, the AGW crowd is ploughing along in a “business as usual” fashion, with the MSM acting like an echo chamber.
As a layman bystander, I just want science that I CAN trust – regardless of what conclusions it comes to.
Thanks for your work towards that end.”
The comments about respect for the work of Jeff and Lucia goes for that of many of the posters here on WUWT and, of course, Steve McI.
Admission of error and uncertainty is a basic prerequisite for trust and respect.

Peter Whale
February 25, 2010 1:02 am

Absolutely perfectly encapsulates my understanding of this moment now.
This can be the only way forward for science to again gain respect for the folly of the advocacy climate science has taken. All scientists of all persuasions must come forth and state the principles of science and condemn the practices of these so called climate scientists. All future scientists who are in education of any kind should look at the ethics and see where they stand.
My hope is that the outcome of this period could send a message to politicians and advocacy groups that science cannot be bought for a result.

February 25, 2010 1:03 am

Couldnt have said it better myself!

February 25, 2010 1:04 am

Yeahhhh !

February 25, 2010 1:04 am

Although I agree with a lot of Willis’s sentiments I think he has overstepped the mark in a few places here. Although he is right that mainstream climate scientists should have spoken out against the distortion of science, remarks such as “the rest of you are complicit in the crime by your silence” and “your stupidity and your dishonesty and your scientific malfeasance” are over the top and not fair.

February 25, 2010 1:07 am

Just a random thought here, but when I first read Dr. Curry’s post I assumed good faith. After learning a little more about her and reading prior statements at WaPo, etc (oh and the “robust” hurricane correlation), I think Willis’ post sums up my feelings quite nicely.
Why no mention of the unfair denigration of “skeptical” scientists like Lindzen, Christy, Spencer – among many others? Why the reference to some imaginary machine on the skeptical side but no reference to the very real machine on the Pro-AGW side?
I guess I’m still a little puzzled by the “truth as presented by the IPCC” statement, does she really think that document expresses truth or is it some Post-Modern there-is-no-such-thing-as-real-truth kinda thing?
Anyway, as strange as it is to quote Joe Romm… I’m not quite sure I see the point here. We don’t need better error bars on the IPCC reports – we need good science. In its current state climate science is no better at understanding and forecasting climate than economics is for the economy. I’d say that from what I’ve seen a far measure worse.
Stop pretending, or letting other people pretend for you, that all the uncertainty is managed and therfore a non-issue. The real question now is if climate science will ever become a real science (which, IMO, an equivalence somewhere around Economics is probably what could be shot for – if you think it could be a true hard science like chemistry you’re mistaken)… or if climate science will fade away as the phrenology of our generation

Patrick Hignett
February 25, 2010 1:08 am

Regarding the FOI request to CRU. The imformation commissioner has said that CRU broke the law on this but could not be prosecuted as more than six months has passed since the offence.
I believe that this is an error in that the limit should be measured from the time the commisioner became aware of the offence not from the time of the original request. Maybe you should ask the commissioner for clarification on this.

Val Majkus
February 25, 2010 1:10 am

Willis congratulations for saying it so succinctly – and you are certainly one of the people who has every right to say what you have said

February 25, 2010 1:11 am

Bravo, Mr. Eschenbach!
“How can we restore a mutual trust?” – asks a mugger after robbing you.
“Give my money back, and go to prison. When you come out of prison and start earning your living like an honest human being, maybe I will trust you again.”

February 25, 2010 1:12 am

Fantastic response ,beautifully stated from the centre of the universe,from the place where truth resides.

February 25, 2010 1:14 am

Great post. It is clear that Judith, despite her willingness to engage still does not get it. In most fields of science the actions of jones and Mann would have made them pariahs. Why is climate science so different? Because these guys are actually second-rate scientists and so use bluff and arrogance to hide the fact. The climate is such a complex system that only the smartest minds together with great experimenters can tease out the important drivers and tell us something The problems is that these guys are not so smart and have no scientific imagination.

Gillian Lord
February 25, 2010 1:18 am

So say all of us.

Kilted Mushroom
February 25, 2010 1:19 am

Very ,very well said. The synopsis is perfect and needs answering by Judith. The rest is “piling on” a term I have learnt from Climate Audit.

February 25, 2010 1:19 am

***Thunderous applause***

February 25, 2010 1:20 am

Brilliant, Anthony absolutly brilliant.
Jo Nova and Andrew Bolt this is worth re-publishing in its entirety.

February 25, 2010 1:21 am

I couldn’t make it past her deployment that damnable ‘denial’ .
In normal circumstances I might suggest that the repetition would be insulting.
But in light of the demonstrated ‘tone-deafness’, the anti-repetition rule goes out the window…
One of the first rules in marriage counselling is to stop blaming one’s spouse, and learn to speak even-handedly, where the first topic is exploration of one’s own role in the dance before even mentioning the partner’s countersteps.
In the flouting of Rule #1, Curry is apparently more worried about persuading her fellow ‘team’ members, within the tight GroupThink constraints they’ve established. Those climascientology mindguards can be very rough on their own team members who stray too far from the ‘overwhelming consensus’…
And what is her message to the team? Does it address the roots of the alienation of affection? Or is she suggesting a better brand of band-aid?

Dave Williams
February 25, 2010 1:21 am

NPR has an interesting article about the Psychology behind peoples’ unwillingness to listen to the other side’s views/facts/science even if the evidence seems solid.
At the end of the day, I ‘believe’ (how’s that for science) that global warming will be shown to be a combination of natural causes and human activities. It seems like many want it to be completely one cause or the other.

B. Smith
February 25, 2010 1:22 am

Both barrels to the chest, at point blank range. WE, your PS was a brutal bludgeoning of the good professor’s take and shoddy science in general, with a generous Brooklyn Stomping of those blogs who perpetuate the sin of scientific censorship by not allowing a forum for opposing viewpoints.
Most unfortunately, sometimes brutality is what’s needed to wake people out of their stupor or jolt them back into the real world.
I just want to see conclusions (whatever they may be) that result from solid, empirical science done by scientists following the Scientific Method, their work unsullied by politics or personal biases.
Nice job, WE.

Eddie Hallahan
February 25, 2010 1:23 am

very well said

February 25, 2010 1:23 am

Eschenbach, your speech is worthy of Churchill. Judith, I know I won’t be the only one to have that thought here.
There are three groups today who call themselves scientists. Real scientists, whose passion is Truth. “Normal scientists” (95% of all scientists), who follow in the footsteps of the real scientists, do all the right procedures and keep business going with a lot of useful work, but lack that passion for Truth which prompts the BS detectors and fires people to speak out. Finally, there are the “Post-normal scientists” who have arrived via a Trojan Horse, well described by Lindzen. These are not scientists at all but have usurped the name as a platform for what is at best unbalanced, and at worst is hysterical, fraudulent, and even psychotic advocacy. Go check.
It is no accident that the brilliant self-taught mathematician and climate skeptic Christopher Monckton, who asks people NOT to believe him but to check his statements, quotes Jesus’ words when Jesus was between a rock and a hard place. He said his work was to “bear witness to truth”. He did not talk about Love regarding the core of his own work, at the crunch point. Go check.

February 25, 2010 1:24 am

Wow, I’m quite surprised at how passionate this post is, but yeah, start with the core problem.
Does this mean it really all comes down to checks and balances? If science wants to matter socially, then the social checks and balances will matter — become essential.
For whatever reason, any group could get it wrong — there’s a collaborative aspect where the group gets more done, but there’s the bias aspect where the paradigm is self reinforcing even if wrong.
So we need multiple independent groups and social rules enforced to keep those groups separate.
Nobody should get to have a monopoly on writing truth.

Mike McMillan
February 25, 2010 1:24 am

A little strong, a lot on target.
I had to look up “passim” in McIntyre’s post on the Mann whitewash. It means “here and there.”

February 25, 2010 1:24 am

Good idea. This wise text shouldn’t have been just a comment.

February 25, 2010 1:26 am

Unfortunatlely for science you’re spot on.

Glenn Haldane
February 25, 2010 1:26 am

Perhaps a trifle over the top with the invective, Willis, but certainly a very accurate account of how I feel about climate science too.

Paul Boyce
February 25, 2010 1:29 am

Phew! Nothing like calling a spade a spade, is there?
But having said that, I agree with every word of what Willis has written above.
The AGW movement probably reached a pinnacle of widespread public support in 2006, with the release of “An Inconvenient Truth”. Since then support has been in decline – at least if the opinion polls are to be believed.
This decline has speeded up with Climategate, with Copenhagen, with the questions about the accuracy of AR4, and with the revelations about Dr. Pachauri’s vested interests and his suitability as chairman of the IPCC.
There is no indication that the decline is going to come to a halt in the near future, let alone be reversed.
Is there anything that can be done about the decline? Would things really be any different if climate science were really to embrace the suggestions outlined by Dr. Curry?
The trouble is the AGW community has always relied so heavily on spin. Which is fine, and quite understandable in the circumstances. Except if you do rely on spin and you lose your credibility then you are done for. It’s easy to lose your reputation, but difficult – if not impossible – to regain it. And massive loss of credibility is what the AGW movement is experiencing at the moment.
Increasingly, the answer to the question “Where now for the AGW movement” is likely to be answered by another (rhetorical) question, viz: “Who cares?”

February 25, 2010 1:29 am

HEAR HEAR HEAR!!! A great rebuttal to scuttle the “good ship Clueless & Unapologetic”. My mind is still reeling from when Dr. Judith Curry praised RealClimate.org for its open-mindedness, arguably the MOST close-minded and censored blog EVER…
When she reaches out to pacifists, does she punch them in the face? 😉

Richard S Courtney
February 25, 2010 1:33 am

Willis wrote.
I read it and said, “Amen”.

February 25, 2010 1:33 am

Wow! Thank you Willis. I think you just about nailed it.

February 25, 2010 1:34 am

I put the cartoon here – top of the page

James Allison
February 25, 2010 1:36 am


February 25, 2010 1:38 am

I’ll take a different tack.
I think the first bridge building attempts are the most important ones, regardless of the flaws we might find in them. They are the bravest steps. So Judith Curry should be commended.
It’s true, some areas of climate science have become very politicized – and most of what gets the “press” is the hard sell “it’s settled” and “doom is all around us”.
But that isn’t 98% of climate science.
But 98% of climate science is what most people don’t see even though it’s there in papers full of:
maybes” and
it might be this or it might be that” and
we can’t explain this at this time“, even
this is the Achilles heel for climate models
.. and, amazingly, all these papers got published.
In Nature, in Science, in GRL..
Climate science is uncertain in many areas, but strangely finding out the uncertainties might begin to increase confidence that we aren’t being sold a used car. Hopefully, some followups to Predictability? With a pinch of salt please.. will demonstrate the unseen openness of much of climate science..

February 25, 2010 1:39 am

When I mentioned repetition, I was referring to Willis’ taking Curry to task in a fulsome, non-terse way; i.e., beating her over the head and ears.
Just as statistics has long experience that is relevant in climascientology, so too can the field of mediation be brought to bear on the problems.
It starts with acknowledgment and candid expression of each party’s “Issues”.
Curry seems to have staked out a rather narrow position somewhere between the combatants; it seems unlikely that either party will be persuaded to join her there.
Semi~Mathematically, Curry may have identified the median position of the identified parties.
However, this approach lacks merit in the present situation of a strongly bimodal distribution.

Alan the Brit
February 25, 2010 1:40 am

Wow! Blew a few cobwebs away this morning. Excellent post from the heart it would seem, & unfortunately for some, a few very well honed, aimed, & fired, home truths about the establishment scientists. That’s what happens when one politicises science, with a hidden agenda (Socialist Gobal Utopia), & plenty of (taxpayers’) money delivered to achieve that agenda! Have we learnt absolutely nothing from the likes of Stalin & Hitler & the power of propaganda? If not, what a dreadfull waste of human life!

February 25, 2010 1:40 am

Dead Right Willis.
Much as I admire Dr, Curry’s demi mea culpa…I do marketing and spin for a living.
Her article was mainly spin. Not awful, not evil; just spin.
The fact is that the Team and their cheerleaders have been pumping the Big Oil/tobacco conspiracy meme for all it is worth for years.
Is Steve McIntyre at the Big Oil trough? Or is our host? Or Lucia? Or Icecap?
Nope. The fact is that the slimeballs in the AGW camp – of which Dr. Curry is certainly not one but occasionally adopts the arguments – are out of good arguments and are now just making stuff up.
The Met Office is right: it is time to audit the data. Time to come up with a transparent, publicly accessible, raw data base. And time to disclose how the data is homogenized and gridded and adjusted.
It is also time to look very, very carefully at the current state of the science and how it got that way. It is time to examine and cross examine the people who thing nothing of grafting one set of measurements onto another, unrelated, set of measurements to “hide the decline”. Time to consider what sort of people would do such a thing and prosecute any criminals who come out of such consideration.
Sorry, Judith, I have admired your posts here and at Climate Audit; but the fact is you are pretending that there is no problem – just a perception. The fact is that there is a problem and that problem is that climate science is not grounded in fact.
Fact that can be tested experimentally. Fact which does not rely upon ginning up the data.
Otherwise it is just spin and, frankly, badly executed spin.

February 25, 2010 1:41 am

It’s simply right
What else to say?

February 25, 2010 1:41 am

What I love about these leftie-liberals is the self image they have of themselves. They believe that they are game, independent, rebellious voices of truth speaking out against “vast right wing conspiracies” and “monolithic climate denial machine”. They do not want to accept that they are now the establishment, that they are now the reactionary old fools, that they are the ones repressing freedom and liberty. Gotta love them.

louis hissink
February 25, 2010 1:42 am

Putting on my best Bullwinkle J Moose voice,

February 25, 2010 1:42 am

I am surprised by the comments accusing Mr. Eschenbach of being “over the top.” In my view, he is being much too polite.
Climate alarmists not only insult and persecute rationally thinking people at every opportunity but embezzle public funds to provide themselves with a very comfortable living.
Interrogation in the court of law is the only kind of debate they deserve.

Mike Bryant
February 25, 2010 1:43 am

I agree wholeheartedly with each and every conclusion. I learned a long time ago about playing responsibly “above the line”. Below the line are excuses, the “poor little ole me” syndrome and “blaming others” for our own shortcomings. It’s too bad that climate scientists think they can elevate themselves by these so typical “loser” mentalities. Top performers in every field understand this very simple concept of taking responsibility. Too bad the climate culture is absolutely awash in self-pity, blaming others and making excuses. I’ve seen enough. There is nothing salvageable in their approach. It’s time to set the barn on fire; there are too many snakes and too many rats. We need a barnraising with new players. Judith, it’s time to come up over the line to responsibility.

February 25, 2010 1:43 am

I put the cartoon here
top of the page.

Nick Moon
February 25, 2010 1:44 am

Think you’ve got this about right. One of the problems with Judith’s position is that it allows the following interpretation. We have to rebuild trust in science – so we can go on telling the same lies.
But apparently the quote ain’t from Lincoln it’s from P.T. Barnum. I have been thinking tho’ for the last fee weeks that it does express the atitude of the team. They have been fooling some of the people for decades. And I have no doubt that those true beleivieners will go on believing for ever – however much snow falls. They have also managed to fool nearly all the people for a short time.
Maybe it’s time the circus moved on.

February 25, 2010 1:49 am

In a lot of ways I’m reminded of the Church trying to deal with paedophile priests. They convinced themselves that protecting the reputation of the Church was more important than the sins of individual. In the long run all they did was destroy the very reputation they were trying to protect.

February 25, 2010 1:55 am

The fundamental fault of “post-normal science” – Higher risks and bigger uncertainties require MORE science, MORE checks with the basic truths, MORE open sharing of data etc before leaping into action – not LESS.
Oh crikey, another religious parallel, but it fits. It’s like being able to read the Bible in your native language, rather than it being behind a paywall in Latin.

February 25, 2010 1:56 am

@Javelin (01:26:01) :
Unfortunatlely for science you’re spot on.
I think that if we remove the first two letters (UN) from this sentence the fufture of the science will look little bit brighter

C Shannon
February 25, 2010 1:56 am

Every point on the substance of the issues covered here is absolutely dead on.
With that said, I think your accusatory use of the word “you” in reference to the actions of climate scientists generally is incongruous with your professed respect and admiration for Curry.
That’s really the only issue I saw with the entire reply which, considering it appears to have been written rather hastily, is rather impressive. And it’s a minor gripe at best as it really doesn’t change any of your substantive points.

Ian E
February 25, 2010 2:00 am

A very good reply to Judith’s post – which, I have to say, had me fuming with her pretended ‘neutral’ attempt at refereeing the current debacle. Did she fool herself in this or did she hope to fool all of the rest of us, I wonder?
As a retired scientist (physical chemistry/computer modelling – not of climate) my main comment is, how did it come about that this post has been necessary: the debasement of climate ‘science’ standards has been truly appalling to observe.

Peter of Sydney
February 25, 2010 2:00 am

It’s too little too late. So called climate scientists who advocate the AGW myth are still well regarded by most of the media and politicians. These so called climate scientists need more than just a critique of how naughty they have been by more traditional scientists. They need to be charged with fraud and hopefully put behind bars. Otherwise, they will continue the hoax for as long as they like ignoring comments by anyone else as they are very thick skinned.

David Bailey
February 25, 2010 2:02 am

I can see why you wanted to get that off your chest (and yes, I agree with it), but I wouldn’t make a habit of it.
It has been the relentless drip drip of facts from this and other sites that has made a difference. Rants are infinitely less effective.
Remember, most people are hardly even aware of climategate, the message is only gradually leaking out, so do please keep on with the “auditing”, which is making such a difference

February 25, 2010 2:04 am

“The problem is that 71.3% of what passes as peer reviewed climate science is simply junk science, as false as the percentage cited in this sentence.”
Is this admitting no relevant basis for your claims, or an ad hominem attacks lacking any basis for the facts. A lot of conjecture, fear, and no facts. And name dropping Lincoln. What is the relevance?

Peter Stroud
February 25, 2010 2:04 am

Thanks Willis for an excellent post.
I find incredible the common sense scepticism now being shown by a majority of ordinary laypersons since Climategate and the plethora of IPCCgates. Though a lot was around before these events. But when will the politicians wake up to this?
In the UK our Conservative Opposition, hopefully soon to be in power, is determined to out green the socialists regardless of the damage to business and the taxpayer. Cameron and his potential energy and climate change secretary still insist that it is because of the view of the majority of climate scientists that they support Labour’s climate Bill. In other words the consensus still reigns supreme.
Pass along please, nothing has really happened at CRU or with the IPCC.

February 25, 2010 2:07 am

Excellent post Willis. In essence you’ve listed all the reason why my BS meter goes out of range every time “climate scientist” and/or “climate journalist” open his/her mouth. I’m not a scientist, so for me the only question is. Do I have to buy BS meter with bigger range ?

February 25, 2010 2:08 am

Simply stated ‘science is about reproducibility’.
There is nothing about the Hockey Team’s science that is reproducible. The Western science institutions have produced a great many university education folks that do not work in labs. For us to see how the shoddy climate science is run, is embarrassing and fraudulent – after all, we pay for it and we will be paying for the consequence of policies derived from it.
The addition of Al Gore and Pachauri to this brew is more than embarrassing. It is wrong.
It is not clear to me how this will be fixed. Politicians are largely influenced by financial groups and the investment houses will make Trillions from this project. And the scientists well they will become compromised and go along for the ride – unable to get off.

W’s review of Dr. Curry’s article was to the point.

Gerry B
February 25, 2010 2:08 am

As a physicist and a geologist, may I heave a huge sigh of relief that this article has been published – and hopefully re-published elsewhere in the blogosphere.
As well as summarising the facts about the abuse of scientific method, and the vain merger of science with advocacy, it expresses how I feel about the abuse of science and parallels my own deep feelings on the matter .
All fair-minded auditors, scientists, engineers etc. who understand these arguments should read and share this posting with others.

Mari Warcwm
February 25, 2010 2:09 am

Wow. Now there is a clever fellow, Dr Curry. You had better listen and learn
It has been well known in academic circles for years that if you want to get research money for any project, just put ‘global warming’ in the title. Otherwise you and your family starved.
Climte science has never attracted the brightest brains in the academic world. The University of East Anglia is a third rate establishment. To call what they have been up to ‘science’ is to insult the great science departments of our great universities, both here in the UK and in America.
What makes us sceptics out here so angry, Dr Curry, is our very clear understanding that we are paying for a massive scam. The idea that those responsible for perpetrating this scam should now have the audacity to try another tack in pulling the wool over our eyes makes me furious. And I am just an old granny. You wait until Mr Joe Public Taxpayer really gets his head round all this. Perhaps he already has.

Cold Englishman
February 25, 2010 2:09 am


Ed Murphy
February 25, 2010 2:15 am

Bernie Sanders compares climate skeptics to Nazi deniers 
23 Feb 10 – (Excerpts) – “Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is comparing climate change skeptics to those who disregarded the Nazi threat to America in the 1930s, adding a strident rhetorical shot to the already volatile debate over climate change,” says this article on politico.com. 
“It reminds me in some ways of the debate taking place in this country and around the world in the late 1930s,” said Sanders, perhaps the most liberal member of the Senate, during a Senate hearing Tuesday. “During that period of Nazism and fascism’s growth – a real danger to the United States and democratic countries around the world – there were people in this country and in the British parliament who said ‘don’t worry! Hitler’s not real! It’ll disappear!”
“Earlier in the hearing, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) had chided Sanders: “I know the senator from Vermont wants so badly to believe that the science on climate change is settled but it’s not.”          
I was born and raised in Vermont. I am saddened that Vermonters have elected and re-elected such a despicable man.
Thanks to Marc Morano for this link
I would encourage all people to listen and call in to the Thom Hartmann radio show every Friday at noon EST. The first hour that day of the week is called ‘Lunch with Bernie’ and they take your calls if you’d like to talk with Sen. Bernie Sanders over this issue or any other.

February 25, 2010 2:15 am

“Trust” is for politicians and priests. Scientists have facts and testable models. Something is wrong when “trust” is debated. I don’t need to trust any scientist, I just need to see the data and the methodology, I can make up my own mind.

David L
February 25, 2010 2:18 am

Willis: couldn’t agree more! I’m a Phys Chem PhD ’95 scientist, and since graduate school my job is essentially doing chemical research with massive time constraints and then communicating the results and convincing nonscientists to accept my research for “publication”. To this end, I see the bloggsphere as an excellent opportunity for science to be strengthened. It’s not a problem that nonscientists ask me tough questions about my research; many times they make me think of angles that I never would have. To have the bloggosphere (general public) understand and accept the science is further proof that the science is legitimite, correct, and understandable.. When a special exclusive club is formed and we are suppossed to trust them solely on their credentials is when bad things happen.
If your theory can’t stand up to laypeople, then that theory is bogus. People may not be educated in a particular field, but they aren’t stupid by any means. The problem the climategaters are in is due to things like we see from Al Gore “massive snow because of global warming”. That sounds like doublespeak to a lot of people. It may be true, but you have to convince them that it’s true. When I tell people that a feather and a bowling ball will fall at the same rate due to gravity, some don’t beleive it. But you can do the experiment in vacuum to prove it. This doesn’t happen at the CRU. They simply say “trust my expertise” or “you’re too stupid to understand” or “you’re asking because your’re a shill for big oil”….I could go on. When in reality, to be an effective scientist, you have to prove your theories, not hide and make up excuses.

February 25, 2010 2:20 am

I greatly appreciate the effort that Dr Curry has continued to put into these articles, it is a commendable exercise. However I would like to make the following observations:
I also find the term ‘denier’ unnecessary and insulting by association. It’s continued use only weakens the argument of the user and I found the presence of it peculiar in her article.
I submitted an FOIA request but can assure Dr Curry this was not for the reasons she proposes. My concern was the reluctance of the institution to provide the data that would permit independent verification of the work undertaken, there was no pre-supposition of the results that verification would establish.
Climate science is clearly a broad church, with many interested parties. We regularly observe every discipline from pure political spin to environmental pressure groups and ivory tower academia falling over them selves to tell everyone else what they should think. The presence of political spin is an unfortunate fact of life on pretty much every subject now days, but far more worrying is the association of scientists with this practice. It is essential that scientists keep the ‘clear blue water’ of objectivity and verifiable fact between themselves and the fetid aspects of political spin and obscure environmentalist agendas if they are to receive trust from the public.
Unfortunately the recent events have, again, illustrated the inability of climate scientists to either recognize their professional responsibilities or act to police their own colleagues actions. I fear that if their actions are indistinguishable from those of the political spin doctor they will be ‘tarred with the same brush’ and at best can expect public disinterest in their opinions.
Of far greater concern than the professional standing of a few climate scientists should be the damage that is being done to science as a whole. Guilt by association should be a real concern to academia and I sincerely hope practical steps are taken quickly before this perception takes root with the public. Those with a real interest in ensuring the longevity and standing of the scientific profession would be, in my opinion, well advised to embrace the openness and transparency espoused in the more progressive areas of the blogosphere – yesterday’s announcement by the Met office seeming to be a step in the right direction. However, it is a truism that for most people ‘perception is reality’ and the perception of many with regard to the current ‘Climategate’ related investigations is ‘whitewash’ – the Abraham Lincoln quote should be heeded.

Phillip Bratby
February 25, 2010 2:21 am

Josh (00:49:46) :
“Brilliant – I feel inspired. There will be a cartoon shortly, hope it makes it to Bishop Hill.”
Yes it has – brilliant cartoon! Keep them coming.

February 25, 2010 2:21 am

That is a excellent response. Approx 15 years ago there was a article in the Australian Paper that said Co2 will be traded on the stock market. At that stage I could not believe it. Gas that is found on the periodic table to be traded. I kept thinking what next oxygen??
I hope that your statement hits home. I for one will never believe in the current crop of climate scientists even if they said that the sun was going to come up tomorrow I would instantly be a sceptic.
When the new crop of climate scientists stop being funded by the government and the words change from climate change to global warming then I might put a ear out to see if there results are not fabricated.

David L
February 25, 2010 2:21 am

Paul Boyce 1:29
…”There is no indication that the decline is going to come to a halt in the near future, let alone be reversed.”…
Can they hide their own decline?

February 25, 2010 2:22 am

Superbly said! And I’m delighted to see such clear emotion. I know that as reasonable adults we should sit and debate politely but in some cases, and this is one, I believe we should be very angry.
Not just because the essay reeks of the underlying arrogance that the science is settled and it’s all a problem of communication. Nor just because some climatologists have demeaned and debased science.
No, it goes beyond that. This perversion of science into alarmist advocacy, in which many climatologists have been fully complicit, is not just causing a few scared kids and forcing a bit of a change of tax policy. This unproven theory is already killing people through starvation by diverting their food supply into biofuels. It will impoverish the underdeveloped world, causing untold deaths and hardships, by witholding access to exactly the cheap carbon based energy that brought us ‘westerners’ our current living standards. Anger is fully justified.

February 25, 2010 2:23 am

Well trust is earned can’t be bought and can’t be extracted by shouting the loudest. Judith should just do a Mea culpa and begin to treat all of us who hang out here and on other blogs as potential allies not enemies.
Willis you said it all. I hope they would listen

John of Upton
February 25, 2010 2:26 am

wow that must hurt. I can feel the heat from you from here 🙂 (UK)

February 25, 2010 2:32 am

Willis… Why don’t you get off the fence and say what you really mean! 🙂
Excellent exposition, if a tad “robust”. Couldn’t have said it better myself (claim made to a CI of >99.9%).

February 25, 2010 2:33 am


Viv Evans
February 25, 2010 2:33 am

Thank you Willis – you said what many of us think but wouldn’t be able to say so well and concise.
This paragraph, at the bottom of your post, is very important:
‘Because the truth is, climate science is one of the newest sciences. The truth is, we know little about the climate, we’ve only been studying it intensely for a couple decades. The truth is, we can’t project the climate of the next decade, much less that of the next century. The truth is, we have no general theory of climate. The truth is, we don’t know if an average temperature rise of a couple degrees will be a net benefit or a net loss.’
To which I’d like to add that the very sad truth is that millions of taxpayers’ money from many countries, have been wasted, and decades have been wasted in pursuing a preconceived goal (AGW) rather than the truth.
It is similar to the police deciding beforehand who is the murderer and not looking for any evidence which points to a different culprit.
That is called a stitch-up.
It grieves me that science has become a tool for activists, that scientists have become activists themselves, pushing agendas rather than the truth – and that other scientists, such as Dr Curry, have been complicit and kept quiet while this was going on.
Lets not forget that we’re not talking about the last couple of years – this has been happening over a couple of decades.
And lets not forget how the careers and lives of those scientists have been ruined who tried to stand up and speak out against AGW.
Saying ‘sorry’ and hoping to ‘communicate better’ is no longer sufficient.
Follow Willis’ advice – that is the only way for forward.

February 25, 2010 2:34 am

There are some excellent points in this post and a few pointers for the future as well. I like the concept of assessing the net benefit vs net loss. This appears to have been lost on people, primarily due to be being buried under the doom and gloom and the need to make everyone feel guilty. The infancy of the science is a very good point and the politicians have ruined the scientific process once again.

Luis Dias
February 25, 2010 2:34 am

This is how you people want things to change?
This ridiculous autistic rage will get you folks nowhere but inside the fringe lunatic conspiracy theory land.
Congratulations, you just slapped Currith and gave RealClimate folks a huge laugh out of you. Now all the people can point to this post to show how crazy you bunch really are.
For —– sake, you really don’t have a clue, do you?
[Sorry, pottymouth may be standard operating practice at RC, but it isn’t here… clean it up… -The Night Watch]

February 25, 2010 2:38 am

Will, you appear to be an irreconcilable.
Your precondition for the restoration of trust invokes scenarios not very different from the public humiliation of professors by the Red Guards during China’s Cultural Revolution – a notice listing their crimes hung round their neck, head pushed down into a microphone, mumbling a forced confession to a baying crowd. It didn’t work in China and the culture of the revolutionaries was more loathed by the common man than the culture which went before. Your appeal for such an approach is unlikely to find fertile soil in the populations of Europe or the United States, though it may find a sympathetic ear in some corners of the blogosphere.
In our culture, when there’s a form of delinquency that has no sanction, and spinning, over-claiming and sleight of hand in the presentation of science is one such area, then a process of truth and reconciliation is invoked, the faults are acknowledged, a promise made to do better in future, and the delinquents and aggrieved are reconciled. It may leave a bad taste in the mouth, but it is functional, it brings closure and enables all involved to move on.
At some point this will happen between climate science and the general public, the debate will then move on leaving behind the irreconcilables who want to fight old wars to the death.
I’m open to any reasonable proposal for truth and reconciliation.

Dave Wendt
February 25, 2010 2:39 am

Your citing of the story of the boy who cried wolf is interesting, because I’ve always felt that in emphasizing the bad effect of telling lies, what is usually overlooked is the equally bad effects of being lied to. The boy in the story suffers negative consequences for his repeated lies, but his community suffers also, because his lies have harmed their ability to respond appropriately to a real emergency. In the real world those community consequences are even greater because the resulting lack of trust is never limited to the original liar. Every time we are deceived by someone we thought trustworthy, it becomes more difficult to really trust anyone again, even those who might still be deserving of that trust.
Unfortunately, deception and betrayal has become so pervasive and accepted in all areas of modern life, that placing trust in anyone or anything has become such an insane leap of faith, that fewer and fewer people are willing to make it.
The trouble is when everybody reaches the point that they move through their days with the view that each person they encounter is just another used car salesman trying to rip them off, the thin veneer of civilization disintegrates and we descend into a dog eat dog state of nature. Without the implicit perception, even if unfounded, that most people are trustworthy until proven otherwise modern life becomes untenable.
For all the talk of catastrophic “tipping points” we’ve been exposed to in this sham, this is one I fear we may have already passed.

John Hooper
February 25, 2010 2:41 am

Willis, may I suggest you write an open letter to George Monbiot at the Guardian slamming him for his obstruction and smearing?

February 25, 2010 2:42 am

This is a superb and comprehensive refutation. I never became interested in climate science until AGW was used as an excuse to surround some land I once owned by a huge wind farm. I have since sold ( more like gave away ) the land and moved from NZ to Australia as the cost of fighting this became too great. Ironically it now looks like the wind farm will either be dramatically scaled back or cancelled altogether. The affected community has for over 4 years suffered greatly and I am still involved helping out close friends who will be ruined if this travesty goes ahead. However, the victims are conflicted as some are still believers , or at least until climategate, in AGW. Once I did my research on this matter 5 years ago I became a confirmed skeptic and endured a considerable amount of abuse for my position. How things have changed!! Not that it stopped one warmist cretin who emailed me the other day offering to beat me with sticks. Visit this website which I run and you will see why,
My final submission to the Board of Enquiry into this wind farm, which reconvenes in two weeks, takes apart Salinger, expert witness to the enquiry and manipulator of the NZ temperature record to show a distinct warming bias.

Roger Carr
February 25, 2010 2:43 am

Thank you, Willis — and thank you Anthony or Mods for recognising a brilliant comment and taking it mainline.
(And thank you, Judith Curry, for the setup which inspired this brilliant piece…)

Patrick G
February 25, 2010 2:43 am

“and for goodness sakes, get a clue about humility.”
Very true. It’s a lesson that many smart people in the climate science field (or any field) would do well to ponder.
Yes, you may be very intelligent.
You’ll be more right, more often about more things than most other people put together.
We respect you for that.
But you are NOT infallible. When an error is pointed out to you, have the good grace to stand corrected.

February 25, 2010 2:43 am

What a brilliant dissection and analysis, and articulation of true scientific principles in the process.

4 billion
February 25, 2010 2:45 am

“The problem is that 71.3% of what passes as peer reviewed climate science is simply junk science, as false as the percentage cited in this sentence.”
So peer review is false, seems rather extreme.

Capn Jack.
February 25, 2010 2:45 am

Luis Diaz
The PHd’s name is Judith Curry
and autism is not a curse or an insult.
But trollism is the mark of an infantile mind that never left kindergarten bullying.
Anyone can shit in Library but why?

February 25, 2010 2:46 am

I think Willis is over shouting himself. I do understand the sentiment and he is perfectly right in a lot of points. (Realclimate is censored for instance, I experienced that myself) but I think he should catch the reaching hand. Judith is a perfectly reasonable person in search of truth and we need those on both sides of the debate. I think there is particularly something worthwhile in the suggestion of the blogosphere debate. At the same time we don’t have the correct tools and rules for that at this moment. I agree with Willis however on the communication part. Climate science at this point has more then a communicational problem.

February 25, 2010 2:46 am

A good post. Judith Curry is not the only one who has got the wrong end of the stick over what needs to be done. Here in the UK, the Met Office’s Vicky Pope is another who is saying, in effect, not “Is there the possibility that we’re wrong on catastrophic climate change?” but “How are we failing to communicate the seriousness of catastrophic climate change?” The core problem is being framed as a failure to communicate rather than a need to question assumptions and a challenge to the way climate science has been conducted. This is echoed by government ministers here such as Ed Miliband, who have no doubts about catastrophic climate change and have been spending huge sums of money in a vain (and very expensive) attempt to win over a growing sceptical majority of the public.

February 25, 2010 2:49 am

I just finished posting on the Judith article and said Willis should have his own reply posted as an article – oops, I should have checked first.
Willis, your reply is right on the button, and in no way OTT as some have suggested. Your writing has a power that comes from the heart. It is full of passion and outrage and pain, and rightly so. It is your passion for science and devotion to the scientific method that stands out most and stands as the most powerful rebutal against Judith’s PR.
You are rightly indignant over the silence of Judith and others who allowed the abuse of science. Where was Judith when Mann and Briffa made fraudulent hockey sticks? Where was Judith when Jones and Wangs produced a fraudulent UHI study? Where was Judith when RealClimate humiliated and attacked sceptical scientists?
Where is Judith now? Can you hear the silence?

Allan M
February 25, 2010 2:50 am

Well said, Sir. And, please, keep on saying it.
NickB. (01:07:35) :
I guess I’m still a little puzzled by the “truth as presented by the IPCC” statement, does she really think that document expresses truth or is it some Post-Modern there-is-no-such-thing-as-real-truth kinda thing?
Either way they expect the right to tell us what to believe. After all, they imagine that we pay them to control us.
Andy Scrase (00:54:07) : edit
“get a clue about humility”
Let’s give Judith Curry some slack here. She has stepped off the pedestal a bit and shown *some* humility I believe.

Let’s hope she hasn’t been sent out here by the propaganda machine. (Unlike the ‘denial machine,’ it is necessary to have a ‘machine’ to do propaganda.)

February 25, 2010 2:53 am

Willis, that was an oustanding post, many thanks for putting into words what so many of us feel….

February 25, 2010 2:54 am

Luis Dias (02:34:33) :
“This is how you people want things to change?
This ridiculous autistic rage will get you folks nowhere but inside the fringe lunatic conspiracy theory land”
Well lets count the votes shall we? 83 for 1 against. Quick sample shows 99.8% agree with Willis and 1.2% disagree.
Yep, I think “we people” can live with that. How many supporters have you alarmists got?

February 25, 2010 2:54 am

I think you’ve given her too much attention Anthony. She’s a shill for the IPCC and the powerful money men behind the IPCC. Seem’s like she’s won your respect and friendship with her contrived PR skills, which she learnt in her psy-ops training!
The IPCC is in damage repair mode, so we can expect them to send round a few calm freindly fellows, while at the same time they restock their fanatic base with fiercer people. Like the new CRU guy.

February 25, 2010 3:00 am

Great article. For anyone whose interested the Catlan Group (insurance) have funded another arctic expidition. This time it will meaure ocean acidification. The first comment on the guardian article insults Watts and McIntyre. They are obviously seen as a great thret. My first comment was deleted but I put another one on there. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/25/catlin-arctic-survey-ocean-acidification?showallcomments=true#end-of-comments

Robert Christopher
February 25, 2010 3:00 am

A tough but correct assessment.
“… the problem is much bigger than Judith seems to think.”
I agree, and the upper boundary is harder to determine. Hopefully, the ramifications will be visible, so we will be able to see how far this cleansing process is progressing and that better methods and standards will be generated. The more that is initiated from within, and in an open manner, the quicker and cleaner should be the process.
So, Judith, thank you for, again, making the effort and taking a risk from being criticized from both sides. I fear it may require several iterations, (not necessarily from you 🙂 ).
Remembering that email you received and quoted, asking why anyone would what to start a career in climatology, always helps me focus why this is such an important a task.

Sam the Skeptic
February 25, 2010 3:01 am

I especially liked the idea of climate science being still in its infancy.
A correspondent to last week’s Spectator replying to a letter that referred to the “centuries-old science” of the greenhouse effect pointed out that in the first place “science” in the sense the letter writer meant it is not much more than 100 years old. The concept, Bacon’s Novum Organum is less than 400 years old, and — perhaps most critically of all — the thermometer is only about 300 years old.
He adds that the “greenhouse” effect really only entered scientific debate in the 70s at which time there was more fear about cooling than about warming!
It surely takes a great leap, either of faith or of arrogance, to start studying something as complex as the climate and within 30 years be so definite about what the cause of the most recent trend is and that this trend will continue indefintely unless mankind (who for the last several million years has just got on with life without worrying about such things) does something about it.
Yes, well done, Judith, for being prepared to come into this particular lions’ den. But you misunderstand what we are about here. Surely as a member of the human race you understand why “trust me; I’m a scientist” doesn’t work, especially when trusting you is going to cost me a lot of money and grief. It’s the refusal to treat intelligent adults like …. well, intelligent adults, that gets up our noses.

February 25, 2010 3:02 am

David L (02:18:49) : “If your theory can’t stand up to laypeople, then that theory is bogus.”
Jay Currie (01:40:34) : “Her article was mainly spin. Not awful, not evil; just spin.”
Indeed. The article was too long, too many nuances, and just a long story that avoided the main issue. On the plus side, there was an invitation to talk.
Eschenbach’s piece was a bit ranty, but those who would dismiss it for its tone were dismissing it anyway. How long to people have to keep repeating the same things before frustration sets in?
You know why I’m on this forum? Because one day someone said to me:
“and that makes you a DENIER buddy”
Scary stuff.

Alex Heyworth
February 25, 2010 3:02 am

The latest ridiculous example of climate science gone mad –
Yes, and they may not. When will they ever learn?

February 25, 2010 3:06 am

I wonder, what was the role of WUWT in the public losing its trust in climate science and scientists?
I saw Anthony Watts mentioning responsibility. I hope this means he understands what his role has been if AGW turns out to be problematic after all. With the traffic comes accountability.

Capn Jack.
February 25, 2010 3:06 am

The first Law of Mathematics.
There is no truth only approximations to it.
The first law and only one is called the axiomatic statement.

Michael Larkin
February 25, 2010 3:09 am

One small point: “the truth as presented by the IPCC” can be read more than one way. It could imply that “the IPCC presents the truth”, or it could imply “the truth (as the IPCC sees it)”.
Also, the fact that warmists are having paroxysms over Dr. Curry’s essay does tend to suggest that she isn’t playing deceitful games. It probably took a lot of guts to post it. Okay, so maybe she “sinned” in the past, but I don’t see an awful lot of AGW scientists making ANY concessions. We all know how difficult it can be to begin to admit even the faintest possibility of error; but gradually, bit by bit, we may be able to see its full extent.
So give it time…

February 25, 2010 3:12 am

3.2 First it was a minor war between advocacy groups. Then, a “monolithic climate denial machine” was born. This was funded by the oil industry
Nobody influenced me, no big oil check hit my mailbox, not a single penny from either side.
Three things caught my eye as Al Gore and AGW loudspeakers were blaring in the dizzying heights of their ascendancy:
1.) Melting Arctic – I distinctly remembered seeing a surfaced submarine in open waters at the North Pole in Time Magazine,1959…in 1959.
2.) Rising Sea Levels – I cannot for the life of me tell that the sea has risen in the course of 50 years….despite many trips to many places on the Calif. coast.
3.) Unprecedented Warming – I remember the warm years prior to the 70’s, the cooling of the 70’s, and the warming afterwards. It is now cooling once again. I remember the damaged crops of the 60’s and 70’s. That has returned once again.
So, my take on this is that the theory (CAGW) has no basis in reality that I can directly observe. Being nothing more than observant, millions of others just like me must also have a like experience.
As long as CAGW referenced places I cannot get to, there was skepticism.
Now that CAGW has come home to proclaim unheard of conditions and cite data that I know is false where I live, there is no more doubt.
If climate science wants to regain trust, it will have to include independent verification, and it will have to cease & desist from grabbing the loudspeaker every time there is a weather event on Planet Earth. No more one-sided specials on the growing menace of AGW 24/7.

Green Sand
February 25, 2010 3:15 am

Well, there you go Mr Eschenbach, sitting on the fence again!:-)
Take a bow; take a bow, thank you very, very much. I have a growing feeling that we are going to owe you, Steve, Anthony et al a great debt for your sterling work. I wish I could contribute more than by just posting support, I must try harder!
“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.”
Sir Francis Bacon
(1561 – 1626)

February 25, 2010 3:18 am

Time after time we have had alarmists saying that the sceptical community is, or in Judith’s case used to be, very heavily funded by “Big Oil”. Obviously no alarmist who was not hopelessly corrupt could make, or stand by without disputing this libel, unless they had evidence.
The fact is that the billions put into alarmist “research” by governments in Europe & the US is 10,000 times greater than the couple of hundred thousand Exxon once put up.
If Judith wishes to be treated as honest she should either put up evidence for her slander or withdraw it. As, obviously, should every other alarmist. Note that the emails show Professor Jones as well as getting £13.6 million from the state had a close relationship with BP to which no alarmist objects.

Dave Williams
February 25, 2010 3:20 am

Wow, I put my first posting on this site and now I’m ready to leave forever.
Name-calling, insults, pottymouth and everything that I’m NOT looking for in a site that I thought was about science is missing here… at least on this particular topic.
Seriously, couldn’t it be that there is some credibility to the AGW theory as well as the “it is all natural” camp? Humans are modifying the face of the earth, pumping enormous amounts of various chemicals (some more harmful than others) and many seem not willing to accept any responsibility whatsoever for the impact that humans are probably having on the earth.
I can only say how unimpressed I am by the closemindedness exhibited thus far. It’s like listening to Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory… geez.
[Sorry, what pottymouth? We dont allow that here.. or did you come here looking for pottymouth, thinking we’d be just like RC? – The Night Watch]

Rick Bradford
February 25, 2010 3:20 am

The tragedy is that Curry is still trying to argue that it should be business as usual for the AGW crowd. Her and her ilk are utterly unable to put themselves in other people’s shoes and see the visceral distrust now felt by scientists, the general public, and even some journalists.
They suffer from a form of delusional narcissism which underpins their unquestionable dogma, sacred science, and infallible ideology.

View from the Solent
February 25, 2010 3:21 am

Willis, thank you. I spent a couple of hours yesterday trying to boil Judith’s meandering post down to it’s essence. And didn’t get even half-way towards your succint analysis.
I can only add to the applause.

February 25, 2010 3:23 am

I have nothing to add to what Willis has written, and nothing to take away. The closing paragraph has crystalized a feeling a was only dimly aware of in myself. This blog won’t change my life, but it has neatly swept away a lot of thick fog for me.

Zoltan Beldi
February 25, 2010 3:28 am

Willis, An oratory right up there with Marc Anthony’s speech in “Julias Caesar”
I would hope that the condescension in Ms Curry’s article is seen for what it was.
Congratulations…I will read it over and over.

February 25, 2010 3:29 am

Hear Hear,
Further point would be as another poster put it, what about the Careers etc of those
who were hounded out for standing up against this crock.
Luis Dias (02:34:33) :
Noticed your comment at the end, surprised you think we’d give a stuff regarding
what the gulliblists at RC think.

February 25, 2010 3:31 am

Those who have a problem with Mr Eschenbach’s strong talk need to step back and reflect about the sneering and condescension that has been the stock in trade of the pro-AGW camp. This has included an analogy to Holocaust denial(Ellen Goodman), treason against the planet (Paul Krugman), clueless old farts(George Monbiot) and the onerous requirement of having had to listen to Al Gore for so long. And isn’t it a surprise that the most lunatic opinions in favor of AGW overhype seem to be associated within a certain political spectrum?
Is that predictable or merely inevitable?
Bravo to Mr Eschenbach.

February 25, 2010 3:32 am

Anthony “Luther” Watt
This post should be nailed – nay, encased in plastic and screwed, riveted and bolted – to every scientist, educator and politician’s front and office door!
And c.c.’d to the Library of Congress for preservation.

February 25, 2010 3:36 am

WattS! (First coffee not quite finished.)

February 25, 2010 3:40 am

And then I should have a second cup, and attribute the post – properly – to Willis “Luther” Eschenbach.

R Grey
February 25, 2010 3:40 am

I think this whole posts could have been shortened to a paragraph or two, with no loss of the message, you kept repeating yourself a tad to much.
Quality not quantity.

Dr T G Watkins
February 25, 2010 3:40 am

Well written, brilliant.
Some credit to Judith Curry though, she has at least taken the first steps along the long road to credibIlity.
Where oh where are the UK MSM.

February 25, 2010 3:40 am

Willis Eschenbach has encapsulated the whole range of the carefully controlled anger that was so obvious in nearly every single poster’s comment in Judith Curry’s Rebuilding Trust post.
Anger that was directed at the sheer bloody minded hypocrisy that is such a hall mark of the warmista science’s willfully obscurantist troglodytes.
Anger at the hypocrisy that now calls for a rebuilding of trust when luke warmers and non believers are still openly and derisively called “skeptics” and “deniers”.
Anger that nowhere was there a demand that in turn the whole of the warmista science should come completely clean and place EVERY single bit of data, algorithms and calculations on the table for a full and open examination by anybody and everybody.
Anger that all the honeyed words meant exactly nothing when the speaker of those words has utterly failed in the past and in the present in every way to stand up and demand that those warmista scientists and advocates who have now been proven by their own words and actions to be manipulators, corrupters and destroyers of the climate data and at the nastiest level, bullies and deliberate obstructors of those who might not toe their line of BS climate science, should be permanently thrown out of every science institution and denied any funding ever again.
They should be forever treated as pariahs but not a honeyed word on this ever passed Curry’s lips.
There is an anger out there which sees Judith Curry and her ilk just too wrapped up in their own self importance and self satisfaction and indulging in a gross condescension to those who are considered inferior, so much so that they may never be capable of seeing that their own hubris and arrogance will one day destroy them.
Willis has superbly encapsulated that anger and Curry and her ilk, if they were ever capable of exhibiting any humbleness and self introspection would be now be cowering and whimpering in the corner at the thought of what is still about to come.

February 25, 2010 3:41 am

I think a few things. If you’re actually genuinely interested in furthering understanding of science, climate and it’s implications then working with science rather than against it is essential. To this end Dr Curry’s gesture would seem opportune. If you want to remain on the fringe and exist only to fog the debate and hinder science and understanding then carry on throwing stones from the sidelines.

February 25, 2010 3:42 am

Hear bloody hear, Willis. A stunning and necessarily hard-hitting article that gets to the heart of the issue. Now come about and give ’em the other broadside!

February 25, 2010 3:42 am

” I admire Judith Curry greatly. She is one of the very, very few mainstream climate scientists brave enough to enter into a public dialogue about these issues. I salute her for her willingness to put her views on public display, and for tackling this difficult issue.”
But there are no canals on Mars. Stomach ulcers are not caused by str ess. There is no subluminiferous ether standing as the medium in which light waves propigate.

February 25, 2010 3:45 am

“I’m not the only one who is mad as hell and who is not going to take it any more.”
Too right. The window’s open and we’re yelling.
I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.

February 25, 2010 3:46 am

@Luis Dias ‘Now all the people can point to this post to show how crazy you bunch really are.’
normal rational people always looks crazy to the ones in dire need of a padded cell.
Ever wondered why you see conspiracy peeps everywhere? Do you still think you’re sane?

February 25, 2010 3:48 am

Well, that was an object lesson in analysis and response I must say.
Good stuff to be had on this here blog, and it all helps me live a better life.

February 25, 2010 3:52 am

Did Lincoln really make that statemnet ?
I have always held it was made by P.T.Barnum .. or at least the last half anyway.

February 25, 2010 3:54 am

Hans von Storch did express dismay at Phil Jones’ response
to Warwick Hughes’ request. I am not aware of any other
professioinal climate researcher who did so.

John Murphy
February 25, 2010 3:57 am

Val Majkus
Val. Look up my number on my professioanl association website and ring me.

John Murphy
February 25, 2010 3:58 am

I wish I’d said that.

February 25, 2010 3:58 am

Joe public sees these climate scientist academics as beards, bicycles and anoraks.
Not living in the real world or within mainstream commercial reality. When they are interviewed on the TV they are not seen carefully groomed or in a good fitting suit with a tie. ( I betcha Anthony wore a suit, tie and was carefully groomed for his weather report – adds that credibility factor)
Once they have blown their scientific credibility with Joe public and are pushing advocacy, that’s it – there’s no getting it back.
On the other hand I’ve seen that Bill Nye science guy on youtube – he’s right out of central casting – right?
It would be worse for them if the MSM was doing more coverage of what’s is discussed here on WUWT

February 25, 2010 4:00 am

Gold, Willis. Pure Gold.
thank you for being so direct and so darned honest!

Bob Roberts
February 25, 2010 4:04 am

Bob Roberts
Great comments on what is wrong with the “Establishment Science” and what they need to do to re-establish the trust of the general populace.
However I don’t think “Leopards” will change their spots while the money keeps flowing.
What needs to happen is for the World’s Governments in all their forms (local as well as National ) to cut out grants to the AGW scientists until they become transparent with their research and accept proper standards of review.
Only political pressure on our politicians will achieve this end. They need our votes.
We need to let our pollies know we don’t appreciate our taxes spent on bad science.

Mike Ramsey
February 25, 2010 4:07 am

Brilliant and spot on.
All through the last few years I have been asking, “Where are the real scientists?” I thought that there must be a vast silent group who were just waiting for an opening to speak truth to power.
What are they waiting for now?
Maybe the problem is that the field of climate science is filled not with scientist but with true believers. I sure hope that this isn’t true.
Mike Ramsey

February 25, 2010 4:07 am

Let’s hope Judith finds the time and the inclination to read this, and the comments, and takes it all on board. How will we know? Will she come back and comment herself? It’s not a bad idea…

John Murphy
February 25, 2010 4:08 am

They are still at it.
A few weeks ago, I asked the CRU by email for the purpose of the famous “fudge factor” program.
I received an email from a Lisa Horton at UEA Press Office telling me that it had nothing to do with fudging temperature sequences but was designed to “evaluate the effect of climate variables … on crop yields.”
When I asked 2 or 3 weeks ago by email who had told her that lie, she didn’t reply.
Not an hour ago (about 11 am Thursday GMT), I had her on the phone, asked her again and she told me that they were investigating the answer to my question and had asked “the CRU.” (Her term. Sound it out. To me it’s the name of a south LA street gang for 6 year-olds).
Naturally, she must know who gave her the lie to pass on to me, but she’s not saying. You’d think they would have woken up by now. Is it congenital dishonesty or congenital stupidity? Or both?

Capn Jack.
February 25, 2010 4:08 am

Jay (03:41:58) :
No one is working against science, it’s not a football match.
Obviously you do not understand the rules.
My team and Your team do not matter.
The rule is one. You dont need consensus, just gotta be right.
Gotta make a case in opposition. It’s called science. One hypothesis in a thousand makes a cut, not a person the ideas.
But if you need a website topless cheer leaders and football teams you are on the wrong blog site.

February 25, 2010 4:09 am

What a great article. I found myself reading sections out to everyone else in the room. Yes, why were they so silent for so long about clear scientific malpractice and; until they acknowledge that; why should we believe a word that they say.

February 25, 2010 4:09 am

Your response is to stick your fingers in your ears and cover your eyes.
In deference to the “Three Wise Monkeys”, you left out (of this sentence anyway) that they covered their mouths as well.

February 25, 2010 4:10 am

“Because the truth is, climate science is one of the newest sciences. … we’ve only been studying it intensely for a couple decades. … we can’t project the climate of the next decade, much less that of the next century. … forsake your ivory towers, and admit your limitations.”
And please will they stop telling us utter crap like it is currently warming when even the discredit CRU stats tell us it is cooling this century
That cooling doesn’t undermine the scientific case for manmade warming, but it totally absolutely, completely, unquestionably destroys the integrity of those who deny it!
And wil they stop all this utter crap media PR that they can predict the climate, followed by a deafening silence about whether any prediction was accurate.
This is utter Bull, spades loads of it when you put out the predictions, and then spades loads of it to hide the actual global temperature when it doesn’t EVER fit the predictions.
And sooner or later, by pure statistical fluke, they’ll finally get a forecast that is something near to what happens, and then we all know their bull PR machine will go into overdrive filling the media with the brown stuff about how good their forecast has been.

February 25, 2010 4:18 am

Judith Curry obviously is on the other side of the scientific debate. She made a great number of conciliatory not condescending points in my opinion. My recommendation is that you retract what appears to be a post written from a frustrated emotional perspective and replace it with a more objective one. Just my opinion.

R. de Haan
February 25, 2010 4:18 am

That was a great response. Great experiment. Thanks
About humility,
I don’t expect any scientist or politician for that matter to show humility.
But I hate it when when they get in a “We know what’s good for for the planet” mode.
As stated before, I would love to hear a response from Dr. Judith Curry!
However, I am not very optimistic that this “experiment” will make any difference.
We have too many “Gore, Mann and Schneider ideologues” who have infiltrated the system and who’s presence is not only limited to our scientific institutions but also our Government, Government Institutions, Financial Institutions our media, and environmental organizations like Green Peace and WWF and all share the same bed.
Besides that, there is too much money going around than is good for preserving the ethics.
I agree the scientists have a responsibility to control their colleagues but I would like to see this responsibility extended to the organizations they are working for.
The scandalous propaganda campaign of the World Meteorological Organization currently aired by CNN for example would not have been possible if the scientists working for this organization and the member organizations (National meteorological Institutes) would be more critical.

February 25, 2010 4:19 am

Willis, absolutely excellent post, demonstrating an almost-unique command of the English language. Every paragraph resonated with me, as I saw Dr Curry as nothing much more than an apologist for the entire coterie of AGW mythmakers.
You are entitled to your anger and I feel you did not overstate anything.
When I first began work, I was taught by those older and wiser than me that the first rule in any cooperative enterprise is “don’t foul the nest”, which the IPCC and it’s sycophantic adherents have done very comprehensively.

February 25, 2010 4:21 am

On the political front, imagine if a comprehensive treaty had been signed at Copenhagen and then the CRU files had been dumped.
There is a good chance that Mann and Hansen would now be before a Congressional committee looking like Toyota, leaving “climate science” forever tainted in the eyes of the “political class”. NOT.
Of course that would never happen because the “political class” is even more asute at covering up embarrassments. They would press ahead know that they are “j.rking off” the public because it’s really about being in on the “ground floor” of a new venture that will channel trilions of dollars, euros, yen of which even a tiny percentage is enough to live the good life (i.e. the gravy train).
When “climate scientist laid down with these dogs, they got up with the fleas that infest the “body politic.”

February 25, 2010 4:23 am

POUNCER: “There is no subluminiferous ether standing as the medium in which light waves propigate.” Actually, the first two you mention are causal, links which are good examples, whilst the ether was a conceptual model rather than something that could be “disproven”. There were political reasons at the turn of the century, similar to this climate nonsense, which required a few scapegoats, and personally I think the concept of ether was one of them.
If you were simply to replace the word “ether” by “space” or even “space-time” I think, if I understand the use of the word at the time (with was rather nebulous), it would be possible to say that we still have a concept of the ether, in the same way as we still have the same concept of gravitation, as they did then, although it has been signifantly modified.

February 25, 2010 4:23 am

Willis, brilliant! Absolutely, stunningly brilliant. Not a word in your post can be denied. (But expect it anyway – “Such hostility to an overture for reconciliation” – that sort of bulldust. But evildoers who insist on keeping on doing their evil simply cannot expect reconciliation; they should expect to be fought until they start behaving decently.)
Cheers Willis – magnificent!

February 25, 2010 4:25 am

Well said we just want substance. For the last 6-7 years I have taken and interest in AGW and the constant media baraging using words such as disasterous,crisis and catastophic. Etc Act now. !!! When you look under the covers you find exaggerations, half truths and red herrings. Let’s not exaggerate but point truths and facts out. And the right direction for goverments and mankind will become clear.

February 25, 2010 4:26 am

A marvellous polemic. Of course it’s OTT, it’s a polemic. Of course Judith won’t be upset about it, it’s not personal. I love polemics – from either side, really. it’s the weaselling that is far more annoying, the Gavin Schmidt technique of finding one thing he can pick on in Judy’s article for example, and using that to undermine the rest, as he’s done on RC – I posted up the Judy link, and it’s driven them nuts over there. It’s like he never reads anything for what it’s trying to say.

February 25, 2010 4:28 am

An ‘on point’ and an excellent summming up worthy of Winston Churchill. The perversion of the basic principles of science by “The ends justify the means” climate scientists is neatly summarised.
Yes, realclimate smugly censors all opposing views – that is not science, that is Faith. Well done Willis.

February 25, 2010 4:30 am

Let’s break this down – first the premise as presented by Judith and condensed by Willis, then an ad hoc elevator rebuttal.
“Climategate has destroyed the public trust in climate science.”
No the field of climate science has beclowned itself by failing to practice science and instead attempted to take on the task of making public policy.
“Initially skepticism was funded by big oil. Then a climate auditing movement sprang up.”
No, skepticism is a fundamental element of science – the presumption that expression of doubt as to the extraordinary conclusions advanced by AGW theorist is somehow a regrettable response is the core fallacy of Judith’s position.
“They [“deniers”] were able to bring the climate establishment to its knees because people trusted them.”
No, The term for those who seek truth through experiment aimed at falsification is “scientist”, not “deniers”. Scientist have peeled an onion to illustrate how paltry and unreliable the data sets behind AGW theory are, and that there are enormous flaws in the process of manipulating same used to reach the conclusions AGW theorist advance. Scientist have also raised valid questions about the assumptions used in AGW theory which ignore vast and know influences other than CO2 [the Sun for example] and scientist have taken note of the utter failure of AGW theory to accurately predict actual ongoing behavior of the climate. This is not bad form – it is good science.
“Public and policy makers don’t understand the truth as presented by the IPCC.”
No one understands the “truth of the IPCC” for the simple reason that, the UN’s IPCC reports are not true – grasp that fact and the knots unwind. The UN reports have been revealed to be composed of little actual scientific work which has proved its mettle by surviving trial of falsification [the core of the scientific method]. Instead the conclusions of the UN’s work is based primarily on strained manipulations of mined data, anecdotal accounts, opinion pieces, pure supposition and outright misstatements. In short the UN’s IPCC reports, taken on the whole, are by no means valid in the context of science. This fact is evidenced by the almost daily growing list of retractions and corrections of these reports undergo [glacier regression rates, hurricane frequency, sea level rise – and on and on and on].
More importantly, actual and real scientific consideration of the matters considered by the UN’s work has been actively suppressed by the AGW clique whilst at the same time the data and methods used to reach AGW theory conclusions has been sequestered from review. This is the scandal behind Climategate that gives rise the great stench. Judith’s blithe failure to address this element of the crisis in credibility faced by the climate science community shows that she is not yet ready to honestly grapple with this problem.
“To rebuild trust, climate scientists need to better communicate their ideas to the public, particularly regarding uncertainty. The blogosphere can be valuable in this regard.”
The blogosphere aint the solution. Willis said it best…. the climate science community needs to do science. Your profession is collectively supping on bitch-slap-soup right now because as a community you have failed in that chore.
Judith seems a reasonable person, but in my view her position is inherently unprofessional and irresponsible. Break the context and the flaws of her position become stark – remove her comments from the context of climate science and consider them instead in the context electronic engineering, or acoustics or medicine. If you consider the abovelisted side by side “elevator” reductions and modify each in your mind as you read so the passages are couched as if they addressed optimized amplifier design, or a noise control problem, or the risks and benefits of prenatal vitamin supplements for pregnant women, Judith’s position is risible.

R. de Haan
February 25, 2010 4:30 am

Prof Philip Stott comes with this publications that perfectly fits the current “experiment”, a must read if you ask me:
Quote, Unquote:

Mike Riordan
February 25, 2010 4:31 am

Extraordinarily good post. I thought of replying to the Judith Curry post, but there is no way I can say it better than this.

J. D. Lindskog
February 25, 2010 4:32 am

My response to Dr. Curry
Dr. Curry,
Thank you for your thoughtful exploration of the effects of trust as it pertains to the present conflicts within the climate change debate.
The scientific community lives within the bounds of the quest for knowledge and understanding. The political/economic world lives in the environment of competitive advantage. Their quest is quest simply the search for opportunity. The bridge is of course funding. The social contract between these two worlds can result in beneficial or non-beneficial cooperation or co-option. These transaction out-comes are subject to any and all of the human vanities and as such, trust is best subordinated to verification and documentation. When public policy is to be effected the records must appear in the public domain. If it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen, zero trust.
The climate is changing. It is always changing. The climate research community has now experienced the process of co-option by the political community with regard to alleged warming.
If the climate is indeed cooling as some predict, my unsolicited advice to the climate research community is, prepare for the attempt of co-option by the political/economic world. Your defense is quite strait forward; produce credible, documented, openly published data.
Trust is a byproduct born of verifiably successful labor.

February 25, 2010 4:32 am

Jay: “If you want to remain on the fringe and exist only to fog the debate and hinder science and understanding then carry on throwing stones from the sidelines.”
Jay: Thankyou for posting, because we need more people with contrary views because it is easy to become convinced that we are right just because we all agree with each other. But you fundamentally misunderstand us. We are not would be actors, we are critics. We don’t want to “strut and fret our hour upon the stage”, we just want to watch a good play (i.e. good science).
The reason the “scientists” getting booed off, isn’t because we want to get on the stage, but because we paid good money to get decent science and it is not being delivered.

Judith Curry
February 25, 2010 4:34 am

Willis, thanks for your very thoughtful post. I would also like to thank all the people that sent very thoughtful essays to me by email. I am listening. I would first try to clarify a few misinterpretations of the words i used.
First, i did not use or intend to use the “d” word in a pejorative way; my main motive in using the word at all was to differentiate what was going on in the technical blogs from what is very commonly referred to as the “d” machine. I would have thought the community here would have appreciated that point; i guess not
A second point, re the communication paragraph, it should have said the “truth” as IPCC sees it.
A third point, in my reference to realclimate, i was referring to scientists putting themselves out there in the blogosphere. And I then stated that they should participate in open debate. I haven’t tried to post anything at realclimate in several years, but my name has not been mentioned over there since climategate broke, they are reading what i write in the blogosphere but wish i would stop. I am not going out of my way to say anything nice about realclimate.
With regards to “trust”, I am not talking about smooth talking snake oil “trust”, but the real thing based on the scientific method, transparency etc etc I have written other essays on this. But no one person can sort through everything, so we have to trust the process and institutions of science to support the scientific progress. When these are no longer working, we are all in trouble. I am angry as a scientist, since I may have been using unnecessarily inaccurate surface temperature data in my research. Ecologists, chemical engineers, etc. who have made career decisions in directing their research toward climate change impacts or mitigation have been trusting the system to work. Etc.
So by staking this middle position, i pretty much am getting tomatoes thrown at me from both sides, but I am hoping to provoke both sides to think about productive ways of moving forward in getting climate science back on track.
Thoughtful responses such as Willis’ are much more helpful in this regard than focusing on the “d” word

February 25, 2010 4:43 am

Dave Williams,
you say :
Seriously, couldn’t it be that there is some credibility to the AGW theory as well as the “it is all natural” camp? Humans are modifying the face of the earth, pumping enormous amounts of various chemicals (some more harmful than others) and many seem not willing to accept any responsibility whatsoever for the impact that humans are probably having on the earth.
Worried about where all that naturally occuring CO2 is going? Here is someone who was obviously responsible enough to do some serious scientific work on it;
I can see the South Downs from here. Guess how they were made?
(PS; Willis, an excellent example of how to do a précis. Brilliant! Essential reading for any English Teachers reading this thread)

February 25, 2010 4:44 am

I hope Dr. Curry takes your comments in the constructive manner in which they are meant. She is more open minded than most of her compatriots, but is still trapped in their paradigm. Maybe we should start calling it Climate Lysenkoism.

John Rutter
February 25, 2010 4:44 am

Thanks, great article.
I am a PSU graduate, and am ashamed Dean Spanier is more interested in the continuing funding of Climate Science than a real investigation.

February 25, 2010 4:45 am

Thank you Willis. In summary, the pro AGW climate scientists’ mistake was not that they could not get their message across. Their mistake is that most of their messaging consisted of simplification, exaggeration, unsupported assumptions, unwarranted extrapolation and downright obfuscation of the data.
Let the science speak for itself. If it is uncertain or equivocal, then don’t patronise the public by calling it settled. If the data doesn’t support the political actions, then the political actions including the proposed cap and trade, should stop.
A bunch of obscure geography academics were in the limelight for a while and got off on that. Fickle celebrity! Their famous 15 minutes is now over.

Harry G
February 25, 2010 4:46 am

I wish I had your text in front of me this morning when I had a consultant company in front of me telling me they could sell me services to “help me with my climate change issues”. I exploded and demanded some justification using science. All I got back was some blustering about third world living conditions, changing social order and the Science is agreed.
Don’t these people realise that the answers proposed for this non issue are a threat to our very economic well being?
Willis I am learning the words – It could become our very own Gettysburg Address.

February 25, 2010 4:51 am

Great post, but I agree with PaulM that you a bit too harsh in places (not all climate scientists are as bad as Mann and Jones). Judith has taken a step in the right direction – let’s not make her regret it.

February 25, 2010 4:56 am

Willis:- “Dear Judith; please find, enclosed, your butt. Kindest regards..”
I have to say that Willis has encapsulated my feelings absolutely.
If the folks over at realclimate are laughing, it’ll be one of those classic Hammer House of Horrors, mad scientist laughs.. “huhua ha ha.. MUHUHUAHAHAHA…”

Carbon Dioxide
February 25, 2010 4:56 am

Dang, I wish I had been reading these blogs two+ years ago.
I now know exactly how to enforce FOIA compliance through the UK courts.
You can do it through the Small Claims court in front of your local District Judge, for a fee of £35, which is then claimed back as damages.

February 25, 2010 4:56 am

PaulM (01:04:37) :
Although I agree with a lot of Willis’s sentiments I think he has overstepped the mark in a few places here. Although he is right that mainstream climate scientists should have spoken out against the distortion of science, remarks such as “the rest of you are complicit in the crime by your silence” and “your stupidity and your dishonesty and your scientific malfeasance” are over the top and not fair.

While true, this is a harsh accusation (as many, many others have done), the interesting thing is that none of those accused will or would step forwards to defend such an accusation.
Combined with Judith Curry’s essay, it demonstrates (to me, anyway) that the majority of these scientists feel they are the only ones who can see above the ignorant masses; that our accusations are baseless and not worth the effort. This may not be directly true, but that is the appearance.
Summarily, we are seen as the populace with pitchforks and burning brands swooping on these scientists to burn them at the stake as witches.

February 25, 2010 4:58 am

I’m re-posting this comment from Judith’s post. It shouldn’t be glossed over. It’s proof that some of the outrage directed specifically at Judith is warranted.
DJ Meredith (18:50:31) :
From a Nature paper
“There is a robust signal behind the shift to more intense hurricanes,” says Judith Curry, chair of the school of earth and atmospheric sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1839281,00.html#ixzz0gURMei3j
“There is no conclusive evidence that any observed changes in tropical cyclone genesis, tracks, duration and surge flooding exceed the variability expected from natural causes.” says a team of researchers under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization has published a new review paper in Nature Geoscience (PDF) updating consensus perspectives published in 1998 and 2006. The author team includes prominent scientists from either side of the “hurricane wars” of 2005-2006: Thomas R. Knutson, John L. McBride, Johnny Chan, Kerry Emanuel, Greg Holland, Chris Landsea, Isaac Held, James P. Kossin, A. K. Srivastava and Masato Sugi.
“……Over the last few months, I have been trying to understand how this insane environment for climate research developed….”
–Judith Curry
Let’s not feel too bad for Judith merely because Willis had some pointed words for her. She has had plenty of chances, both here and over at Climate Audit, to realize the failings of climate science, her science, and how we arrived at this point. Still, we are told, by her and others in the mainstream of climate science, that this whole problem is a “lack of effective communication” on the part of the climate science establishment.
We, the uninitiated, simply aren’t getting the message they say. The science is sound, they say. We’re just clouded by our own ignorance and, perhaps, undue influence from nefarious, yet nebulous, entities like “Big Oil”.
As for Willis, I greatly appreciate his mentioning of climate science being in its infancy. This point hasn’t been made often, nor loud, enough.

John Hewitt
February 25, 2010 4:58 am

Judith Curry is wrong to think that communication is the problem. Those of us who know AGW is at best a gross exaggeration also know that the “science” is flawed and that several of the leading practitioners are at best dishonest.
Some of you have had a lot of abuse and false accusations made about you. However if you want to persuade the large groups of “dont knows” and “concerned but not sure” the last thing you do is put up a “rant” such that by Mr Eschenbach.
If I want to read a “rant” I can go to Realclimate – you sadly [sadly because you are right about the “science” of GW] lower yourself to their level. Can you imagine Steve McIntyre writing a “rant” such as the above.
My first and last visit to this site.

Kum Dollison
February 25, 2010 4:58 am

Willis, I haven’t gone through your whole article, yet, but this sentence needs to be changed.
When is one of you mainstream climate scientist going to speak out against this kind of malfeasance?
to “when ARE”
The next sentence has the same problem.
Oh, Great Job.

February 25, 2010 4:59 am

You nailed it. These people still fail to understand they have no proven foundation to stand upon (won’t repeat my comments from last thread). However, there is a thread here to pull on, and that is Dr Curry’s repeated comment on uncertainty. I think she understands there is no mathematical or scientific confidence in the numbers – or there may not be when scrutinized.
Invite her to prove the certainty (or at least define the uncertainty)? One way to understand is by doing.

Peter Plail
February 25, 2010 4:59 am

Thank you Willis for articulating so well many of the reservations I had with Dr Curry’s piece. I feel she is in denial about so many of the issues highlighted here (and I hope I can use the phrase “in denial” without offending anybody) and her contribution only serves to focus attention on them.
On a side issue regarding Real Climate, it appears that the king of ad hominem remarks is easily offended. He objects strongly to being referred to as “you people” (comment on “The Guardian Disappoints”), so I hope no-one is ever tempted to use this outrageous phrase when trying to comment on his blog.

February 25, 2010 5:01 am

Did anyone else catch a pronouncement from the UEA on the BBC this morning to the effect that nothing wrong had been done by their scientists and that people had misunderstood the climategate emails because they lack the ability to understand difficult science. I did not make this up – I caught it about 3 hours ago just as I was on my way out. Sorry I am unable to post a link.

John Murphy
February 25, 2010 5:02 am

Nick Moon
PT Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” That’s what the warmists have been banking on for years.
Lincoln said teh bit about fooling all the people all the time etc. The warmists have been hoping they could.

John in Michigan, USA
February 25, 2010 5:05 am

I very much agree with the gist of Willis Eschenbach’s post, but I must point out that, at times, the rhetoric goes way over the top. The tone should have been firm but cordial. Instead, the tone at times comes off as unnecessarily defensive. Given that skeptics have enjoyed a string of recent successes, and some degree of long-overdue MSM attention, this is the time for skeptics to be confident and assertive, not sullen or defensive.
Eschenbach wrote,
“When I heard that, I was astounded. But in addition to being astounded, I was naive. Looking back, I was incredibly naive.”
I can relate! Clearly, we are all less naive now, but based on the tone of your piece, I fear you remain a bit naive. Science has, since the beginning, been done by flawed human beings, not supermen. Pride, overconfidence, herd mentality, ad hominem, etc. and even corruption has always been a problem in all human endeavors, and science is no exception. These flaws must be exposed, but it must be done in a way that make it possible for your colleagues to make amends. Some of them are demagogic hacks, but bear in mind, some of them are real scientists whose main flaw is that they are (in their own way) as naive as you once were.
I think you get this, based on your comment @ 02:16:59, but based on some of the other comments here, the point bears repeating.

Jim M.
February 25, 2010 5:06 am

Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations.  1989.
AUTHOR: Abraham Lincoln (1809–65)
QUOTATION: You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all the time.
LINCOLN.—Alexander K. McClure, “Abe” Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories, p. 184 (1904).
  Many quotation books have also attributed this to Lincoln, and the sources given have varied. According to Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 3, p. 81 (1953), “Tradition has come to attribute to the Clinton [Illinois] speeches [September 2, 1858] one of Lincoln’s most famous utterances—‘You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.’” But he goes on to say that the epigram and any references to it have not been located in surviving Lincoln documents.
  This remark has also been attributed to P. T. Barnum.
Respectfully Quoted
A Dictionary of Quotations Requested from the Congressional Research Service
Edited by Suzy Platt
The 2,100 entries in this eminently researched collection form the constellation of collected wisdom in American political debate. In fulfilling decades of requests from Members of Congress for citation of quotations, the Library of Congress compiled the most frequently asked questions of the legislature for the edification of every citizen.

February 25, 2010 5:06 am

Willis Eschenbach may be preaching to the choir here, but he has lost me as a reader for exactly the reasons that he seems to ignore anyone who fits into his ‘evil scientist’ category.
It is not reasonable to confuse groupthink with evil intent – doing so will only make it easier for those holding the middle ground to dismiss you as a fool who is making wild and unsupportable claims to justify your own personal agenda.

February 25, 2010 5:06 am

I guess I have to add “gee Willis, why not tell us what you really think!”.
I detect years of a hard fought battle, one the rest of us sadly had no idea was waging.

February 25, 2010 5:07 am

Willis, that was wonderful. You hit the nail right on the head, and expressed all the anger, disappointment, and mistrust that so many are feeling right now. Ms. Curry is still trying to spin the alarmist machine, no matter what pretty words she speaks, and you called her on it.
Well done.

Allan M
February 25, 2010 5:11 am

Willis Eschenbach (03:01:08) :
Despite this, the AGW mantra is that “climate change will hit the poor the hardest”, meaning the poor in the tropics. So they can justify slowing development and driving up energy costs by saying they are helping the poor … as if slowing development and making energy expensive could ever help the poor.
I always find it useful to start by postulating the exact opposite of what they say. A bit Hegelian, I know, but then most of them are into that sort of thing anyway. Strangely, the antithesis often yields the truth and the synthesis is not necessary. Maybe Schopenhauer was right about Hegel. Besides, they can come up with “the common enemy of mankind is man.” Perhaps they need a ‘common enema.’

February 25, 2010 5:11 am

Well said – this is a *brilliant* summation of the whole debate.

February 25, 2010 5:11 am

Willis I don’t do anger (publicly) and nor should you, it may draw those who agree with you to salute you but those who don’t will see you, whether true of false, as unreasonable.
What this looks like, and will be taken as, is an attack on Dr. Judy Curry, most of what she said yesterday I don’t agree with especially the now constant meme of “big oil” being behind the sceptics. She admitted she was a sceptic until AR4 came along, but you and I know there is no room for sceptics in the climate science community unless they are already distinguished scientists.
I don’t recollect Lindzen, Pielke(s), Christy et al raging at Mann’s chicanery, so it’s a little disingenuous of us to call Curry, a junior climatologist for not doing so, if she had she wouldn’t be here now talking to us.
You should also give her credit for bringing Steve Mc to her undergrads, she’s as brave as anyone could be in the circumstances.
You may be angry, but you have made some telling points in your article above that will be lost to the neutrals because of the strident tone.
Remember I’m on your side, I’m a sceptic, and want the science to convince me one way or the other, and I want the more erudite people, like yourself to put the case for me. It is only in films that lawyers lose their temper in the courtroom, in real life they take a cold stiletto to the arguments put before them and dispassionately dismember them. You can do that, and I promise you it will be much more effective.

February 25, 2010 5:12 am

The story of The Boy who cried Wolf is most usually interpreted to mean: No one believes a liar even when he is telling the truth.
However, it should be remembered that it is a boy who has been sent out to look after his sheep near a forest where there are wolves.
His safety depends on the villages coming to his aid and to protect the flock should a wolf appear.
The villagers are adults and the owners of the flock. They are also responsible for the boy. They have warned him of the wolf and no may even have exagerated “for effect”.
The boy has a right to expect that the adults will protect him.
His false alarms are not unusual in children.
The real moral is that those weho have a duty of care have a responsibility to respond each and every time as if the alarm is real no matter how many false alarms there are.
If they are concerned that this boy raises the alarm too often or for frivolous reasosn then he should not be entrusted with the care of the flock.
The real moral is one that every emergency services worker would identify with.
If the story were really to illustrate the moral that liars are never eblieved even when telling the truth, then doubtless it would not be a boy telling lies but someone who would normally be expected to be responsible and truthful.
I don’t think this is as good a tale for the climate debate as one would like.
The alarmists would argue from it for the precautionary principle.
Always dangeorus to rely on such stories.

February 25, 2010 5:12 am

Fantastic post Willis, wish I could write like that.

February 25, 2010 5:12 am

Can’t do anything other than offer thanks, and support, and link to this article wherever I can. And, of course, send it to every decent but misled and overly credulous enviro-scientist on the planet.
One of those posts that makes you say to yourself: “Bugger, I wish I wrote that!”

February 25, 2010 5:13 am

Dr Curry lost me when she mentioned a “vast climate denial machine” funded by Big Oil. Using the language of groups she is attempting to “reform” indicated where her true beliefs lay. And to say that the Alarmists need to better communicate is patent nonsense. They waged one of the biggest public campaigns ever to get thier point of view across. They hired some of the slickest PR firms, not to mention some of Hollywoods biggest guns to “communicate thier poiint of view. From The Day After Tommorow to the Discovery Channel, to the New York Times, mags such as Nature and Scientific American, the Alarmists pretty much had the entire MSM and blogesphere to themselves.
Could it be the disingenuous nature of the entire Climate Alarmists industry in general that has so soured the average voter? It’s not the means of communication that is wrong, but the content.

Mark Weston
February 25, 2010 5:14 am

Ranting might feel good, but it really doesn’t achieve much.
Willis seems to be proposing a doctrine of collective responsibility and guilt-by-association for all climate scientists. He implies a standard of expected behaviour that we don’t apply to any other group or profession. Who would expect a doctor in Georgia to be personally responsible for the mistakes or malfeasance of a doctor in Norfolk? Or an architect, or an engineer, or even a politician?
Mann’s, Jones’ et al’s colleagues and peers should have been examining and criticising their work and their behaviour more closely. And hopefully attitudes will begin to change now. But it’s unrealistic and unreasonable to expect other scientists to stage some kind of public denunciation, or to hold them as culpable for not doing so. When science has corrected itself in the past it generally hasn’t been with any kind of cathartic denunciation of the guilty. And when careers and livelihoods are at stake even the guilty are entitled to something more than mob (or blog) justice.
It may be a political reality that the majority of people don’t have the time or the qualifications to understand the science, so they use trust as a proxy for deciding what to believe. But it’s a deeply unscientific way to behave. For someone like Willis who invokes Science two or three times per every paragraph to claim that all climate science is tainted based on this guilt-by-association strikes me as hypocrisy. Every building-block in the AGW edifice stands on its own scientific merits. The only scientific way to win the argument is to take each one and examine its flaws and demonstrate why it’s unusable. Anything else is political posturing.

February 25, 2010 5:19 am

Brilliant rebuttal. It is exactly this silence regarding good scientific practices that everyone should be ashamed of.
As for why the silence, even if we assume that many of the climate scientists would like to speak out, the “old boys club” which can ruin your career by making you unpublishable would go a long way toward coercing their fellows. And this is why there needs to be an overhaul of the publishing system, especially when there is a very small group of “peers” that are allowed to review and spike articles.
As for the UN, they should just cut it out and let science work.

February 25, 2010 5:26 am

Not a lot to add, either to what Willis wrote, or to the comments. Except perhaps to draw attention to this line:
“Advocacy is a common thread in climate science papers. ”
No kidding. I’ve read countless “peer reviewed” (or were they “pal reviewed”?) papers which contain obligatory and often dissonant references to AGW, when the results of the papers themselves are either ambiguous, or simply irrelevant to the issue of AGW. It is as if you do not get published unless you either advocate for AGW, or at least put a caveat in your paper so that it cannot be used by someone who might be advocating against AGW.
It has become all about “the narrative,” truth be damned.

Keith Davies
February 25, 2010 5:28 am

Judith Curry is everything a true scientist should not be.
A true scientist is in awe of the data gathered when it disproves their theory.
A true scientist does not conspire with others to alter the data to fit their theory.
A true scientist is not afflicted by the sin of extreme personal pride and the resultant worship of the material resources they can accumulate.
In short I am dismayed that one of the band of quasiscientists who supported everything that went before Climategate now suggests that it was only their presentation that was wrong and is only sorry that a better house of cards was not presented.
Keith Davies

Kevin Kilty
February 25, 2010 5:28 am

3.2 First it was a minor war between advocacy groups. Then, a “monolithic climate denial machine” was born. This was funded by the oil industry.

Oh, my. Point our finger at a popular scapegoat. We can now feel better about ourselves, eh?

February 25, 2010 5:28 am

Dave Williams (03:20:26) :
Wow, I put my first posting on this site and now I’m ready to leave forever.
Name-calling, insults, pottymouth and everything that I’m NOT looking for in a site that I thought was about science is missing here… at least on this particular topic.
Seriously, couldn’t it be that there is some credibility to the AGW theory as well as the “it is all natural” camp? Humans are modifying the face of the earth, pumping enormous amounts of various chemicals (some more harmful than others) and many seem not willing to accept any responsibility whatsoever for the impact that humans are probably having on the earth.
I can only say how unimpressed I am by the closemindedness exhibited thus far. It’s like listening to Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory… geez.
This thread wasn’t about the particulars of climate science (there are ample threads prior to this one that takes it apart and examines it in detail–even man’s realistic impact). No, this thread was a response to Judith Curry’s request that we need to turn the blogosphere into a tool to restore the IPCC to it’s rightful place of authority. However, I see precious little of her post that discusses of the one thing that would TRULY rebuild trust in the IPCC, and that would be to adhere to the scientific method, not the post-normal scientific approach climateology has become.
You may think that a lot of folks here have a lot to scream about, and you’d be right. For many of us, our commone belief is that climate scientists have been anything but scientists–they’ve been politicized advocates instead. I could add a list of grievances here but to me one of the most telling aspects of their obfuscation is the denial of FOI requests. That would be a start; FOI denials are both illegal and counterproductive.
So stick around, Dave; I can guarantee this issue isn’t going away. And now that the public has pretty much seen how egregious and shoddy the IPCC’s “science” really is with “gate de jour”, the perpetrators will not go quietly in the night nor will the public take all the deceptions lightly. Indeed, it promises to get even uglier.
But resolving the problem will not happen by avoiding it.

Brian Williams
February 25, 2010 5:28 am

I agree with everything that Alan says, BUT:
No UK scientist, unless retired, will dare to go against the orthodoxy, which is cleverly set by the funding model. See: http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2010/02/money-talking.html
We don’t have private universities with oodles of money nor (many) tenured positions (any more). We used to have employment protection, but it’s a bit of a joke now.
It would be a very brave scientist who spoke up in the UK. Would you risk your career and family because you discover too late that the subject that you chose to specialise in is only funded to find the right answer? Some of these people with have young families. The honest ones will be scared but keeping their fingers crossed that the auditors win the day.
Look what happens to people who challenge Darwin (I don’t). But what would happen to an honest scientist who unearthed something that challenged Darwinism? It would instantly be assumed to be fraud, I’m guessing.
The politicians see AGW as a money train and a way to global socialism. They have tried as hard as they can to elevate it to the status of Darwinism. They have invested billions if not trillions in this grand project, and will not treat honest scientists kindly.
I don’t expect to hear from them until the house of cards finally tumbles.
Roger Harrabin of the BBC probably knows this, which would explain why he is searching for sceptical climate scientists. They keep their heads down and he can honestly report that most of the scepticism comes from non-scientists.

February 25, 2010 5:29 am

With respect to the issue of trust, it is important that climate scientists trust policymakers to make sensible decisions given the bare-bones scientific results (including uncertainties and flat-out knowledge gaps). This trust does not exist today, leading to calls for improved ‘communication’ by scientists. That’s a slippery slope, as one can tell from Scheider’s ‘double ethical bind’ comment.
For big science with big policy implications, it seems clear that there should be more well-defined boundaries between the scientific and policymaking communities. The addition of a scientifically-savvy cross-domain advisory/review board layer between scientists and high-level policymakers (senate/congress-level) would insulate scientists from having to mince and dumb-down their words, and the policymakers would hopefully receive advice that incorporates a broader view than any one narrow scientific community would provide.
Such a framework should include rules, along the lines of conflict of interest rules in other disciplines, that explicitly disallow policy-focused advocacy statements by government funded scientists. That is not what they are being paid to do.

February 25, 2010 5:34 am

Dave Williams,
“Name-calling, insults, pottymouth and everything that I’m NOT looking for in a site that I thought was about science is missing here… at least on this particular topic.”
Name-calling? I thought the whole thread has been passionate but polite. The only name calling so far has come from an alarmist troll who referred to Willis as “an autistic lunatic.”
You also miss the point about Willis article. The article is a passionate plea for the restoration of the scientific method. Willis is a traditionalist and insists that science should be based on the solid foundation handed down to us from our illustrious forefathers. That is, falsifiability, empiricism, transparency and measurement of uncertainty.
Willis is not the only one who has shown that climate science has abandoned this framework. You should read the previous article of Professor Ravetz, who explains the failings very well. He writes without much passion and in a very academic way as befits a professor of philosophy of science, so you should feel right at home.
“Seriously, couldn’t it be that there is some credibility to the AGW theory as well as the “it is all natural” camp? Humans are modifying the face of the earth, pumping enormous amounts of various chemicals (some more harmful than others) and many seem not willing to accept any responsibility whatsoever for the impact that humans are probably having on the earth.”
Nobody here does not feel a responsibility towards the earth. I used to be a Greenpeace member in the eighties when it was about saving the rainforests. Now I won’t go near them. Why? Because they have conflated the CO2 scare to the point that it has eclipsed every important environmental issue.
What are the environmental issues? IMO these are rainforest destruction, environmental degradation by over foraging among the worlds poorest, overfishing, poaching, eutrophication due to fertilizer runoff as well as sulphurous emissions. These used to be headline issues. Not anymore. We are seeing an acceleration of rainforest destruction due to planting palm oil crops to feed the biofuel industry. Madness.
“I can only say how unimpressed I am by the closemindedness exhibited thus far. It’s like listening to Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory… geez.”
I think you came here with a closed mind looking only for a reason to attack this blog. You couldn’t find anything specific so you flail all around you hoping to hit a target. You’ve said nothing that’s of any relevance and your characterisation of everyone being somehow “against the planet,” is just way off the mark.
I suggest you stick around for a while with an open mind, and engage in polite discussion of a few ideas before making such sweeping generalizations. If you show an open mind then I promise people will warm to you, but if you come here to shout everyone down, then I’m afraid they won’t.

February 25, 2010 5:35 am

Thank you Willis, again

Theo Goodwin
February 25, 2010 5:37 am

To date, this article is the very best criticism of climate science. Thank you so very much. The author and this website have done and are doing a most important service on the behalf of science and of everyone.

two moon
February 25, 2010 5:38 am

Count me with those who believe that Dr. Curry should be applauded and encouraged. Hers is a first step and the journey is long. I believe that most readers of this blog want her to take another step, and they want others to join her. I remember something about flies, honey and vinegar that I think is good advice in this instance.

Capn Jack.
February 25, 2010 5:39 am

Dave Williams (03:20:26
Make your case or ask your questions, some of the best minds in Climate science may indulge you.
But Princess smelly bums, will be attacked by the Lady Pamela Gray.
She dont take kindly to princesses with attitude.
She can and will teach you PDO . If we can awaken her from drunken stupor.

Tom FP
February 25, 2010 5:43 am

I read this splendid piece of spleen AFTER I had read Dr Curry’s piece, and sent her an extended comment, which I append below. She responded in terms which I will treat in confidence, save to say that they were warmly receptive.
“Dear Dr Curry,
I read your essay with interest. I am not a scientist, but one of the lay “public” whose trust you wish to regain, so my own Climategate story may be of some interest.
I believe I have a grasp of the Scientific Method which is both adequate for lay purposes and attainable by any reasonably well-educated person, whatever their actual state of scientific knowledge. Until Climategate my view of scientific controversy was coloured by the (naive) assumption that while scientists might succumb to the temptations of confirmatory bias, the peer-review system, which I understood entailed reproduction of results as an axiom, would take care of correcting their errors. If asked whether scientists should strive obsessively to dispel such bias, I would on reflection, reply no, we probably need scientists to have bees in their bonnets, get things wrong, learn from their errors, move on, etc – PROVIDED the peer-review system is healthy, it will sieve out the dross, and save the paydirt. I was aware that organisations like CERN post their work contemporaneously in reproducible form, and I casually assumed the climate alarmists were doing likewise, but didn’t bother to look. I am naturally given to scepticism, and have some understanding of the difficulties of modelling complex, nonlinear, chaotic systems (although not a clue as to go about attempting it myself), so I realised that any attempt to do so would involve a little bit of fairly well-established and uncontroversial physics (“settled” if you like), and a huge dose of statistics. Merely having a good grasp of the physics wouldn’t get you to first base, and the real ground would be broken in the statistical analysis of the observed data. Again, I assumed that “climate scientists” did not merely have a firm grasp of climatology, but in addition an especially good one of statistics, and that, again, the peer-review system was operating properly to ensure that this was the case. And when the talk was of “computer models” predicting catastrophe, once again I assumed (tell me why I should not have) that these models were routines that ran, unaided, on a computer. I rather vaguely followed the debunking of the hockey stick, but again I perversely took it to be evidence of the health of the peer-review system, and though I personally doubted AGW, I remained confident that good science would drive out bad in the long run, instead of the other way round. Again I assumed that the peer review process would stand in for my want of science – as I continue to believe it should have. And I assumed, based again on my misplaced faith in the peer review process, that the very first requirement of such a model as a driver of public policy – that it have skill in hindcasting – was being demonstrated in repeatable form, somewhere, to someone who could understand it.. As you can see, I was complacent, but so I ought to have been able to be! The increasing fervour of the climate change church began to pique my interest around Christmas 08, when I asked by brother-in-law, a medical scientist, if he could point me to the sites where the guys making these intuitively improbable claims posted their work. He couldn’t and from then on I started to look more closely at the whole AGW racket. For that is what I, a relative stranger to the blogosphere, found.
No, the models were not freely available. And no, it turns out that they weren’t “computer models” in the ordinary sense, but “computer-plus-man-with-keyboard-and-an-outcome-in-mind” models. Not only that, but those proclaiming their skill were actively obstructing their release. It still amazes me that comment about the FOI requests, your own included, does not begin with the obvious observation that people resorting to FOI to obtain data must have received an earlier rebuff to a simple request – the mere existence of a single FOI implies improper withholding of information. Had they gone so far as to post their work a la CERN, no requests of any kind (except those we may reasonably suppose they were trying to avoid, like “why doesn’t this work the way you said it did?”) would have interfered with their work, as they complain. Not only that, but the policy-makers and press influenced by their work seemed indifferent to this defect, whereas I saw it as a flouting of the scientific method so flagrant that it could not be innocent, and must invite the adverse inference that they were being secretive because they lacked faith in their own work.
Even so, when Climategate broke, I was shocked at what I learned. The emails, which I have read, reek of the correspondents’ clear understanding of their wrong-doing, of their doubts about their work. Reading the emails disabuses the layman of another cherished AGW shibboleth – that it is the shared conclusion of a variety of independent researchers – clearly the CRU “Tree Ring Circus” were orchestrating a “Bombers-over-Red –Square” parade of scientific opinion, safe in the knowledge that intruders who could see the bombers turning to make another pass could be excluded or bullied into silence. They reveal a collusive environment in which Phil Jones could tell his circle to delete sensitive emails and dodgy data without either expecting or getting a single cry of “foul” in response (whether or not the request was complied with is to some extent a red herring).
Climategate, and the comments it provoked from statisticians and FORTRAN wonks, revealed that for from being good at the physics but excellent at the statistics, as I had assumed, they were hopeless at computerised statistical analysis. And yes, although I know no statistics or FORTRAN, I give the critics credence, because they are alleging wrongdoing in people I already know to be wrong-doers. Logic, innit?
I cannot avoid the adverse inference, which a stream of subsequent revelations or “errors” (deceit, to the ordinary folk like me whose trust you want to recover), all of which lean towards, and none away, from catastrophe, merely reinforces – that AGW is probably a crock, and that we have nothing more to worry about from climate change or CO2’s part in it, than we do, say from the problem of hip dysplasia in overbred spaniels. Whether you agree with that view, I think that you must agree that for practical purposes it is the view with which climate science must henceforth expect to contend, and that the sooner it is reconciled to this unpalatable truth, the more likely it is to save the planet, if indeed it requires its assistance.
With all that in mind, I have the following comments on your essay:
You write:
“Credibility is a combination of expertise and trust.” Maybe, but a scientist must devote him/herself entirely to the former, trusting that the latter will follow. Cruel, I know, but giving priority to the cultivation of trust in “outsiders”, over cultivating expertise in their field, was in a very real sense what got these guys into trouble. It’s no good advocating a return to genuine peer review if the principle objective is the “restoration of trust” – you’ve got to do it for its own sake and for the benefit of the science, and hope that the trust will ensue, as it surely will. Much good science has survived temporary public disfavour.
“Climate research and its institutions have not yet adapted to its high policy relevance.” With respect, that is precisely what the Hockey Team have done far too well, although the adaptations are not to your taste or their credit. If they had done less “adapting” and more sticking to time-honoured scientific method, they wouldn’t be in disgrace today. The first such adaptation was to call themselves “climate scientists”. When I was taught science in the 60’s there were meteorologists and there were climatologists. Now we have “climate scientists”. Isn’t “Climate Science” just a field invented by and for AGW believers who either choose not to call themselves meteor-/climatologists, because that’s not where the grant money is, or who in addition may not do so because they are in fact neither? If so it should neither have surprised nor greatly impressed us if they “overwhelmingly” endorse AGW. It’s just what “climate scientists” do. If it is to enjoy trust in future, it must convince us that it has shed its predisposition to alarm. If not, it will wither on the vine as scientists migrate back, if they may, to their fields of true expertise, and that still carry weight and trust.
“…blamed on difficulties of communicating such a complex topic…” – this is a recurring theme amongst CRU apologists – the suggestion being that had the Jones’ and others’ refusal to share their work been handled by a PR organisation trained to dissemble, rather than by scientists with no such training, and having to pick it up as they went along, all would have been well. I understand that is not your intent, but you risk association with a reprehensible argument. And there are several objections to your own:
1. Trying to communicate the complexity of climate science to lay-folk like me is futile and unnecessary. We laiety, and that includes most of the political establishment, will always have to rely on “proxy data” (if you will forgive the allusion) to assess competing hypotheses, and chief among these is our ability to see that the readily-grasped precepts of the scientific method, including its ineluctible extension, peer-review, are being adhered to.
2. The trouble seems to me that since I was taught science in the 60s, ordinary people no longer understand the Scientific Method in the way that used to be instinctive to anyone with a good high-school education. Worse still, many scientists, sometimes in the name of “post-normal” science, seem shockingly innocent of basic tenets of science. Everywhere in the climate debate (now that we are finally having one) the mistake is made by so many climate alarmists (and too many sceptics) that it is the job of sceptics to present counter-theories to their own. It is not. What matters is whether AGW theory survives proper scrutiny, not whether those scrutinising it can do any better. It is up to the proponents of AGW to present their theories in the form of falsifiable argument. The Climategate emails and code reveal the excruciating efforts of the high priesthood of AGW to do just that, their continuing failure, and the lengths to which they did or were prepared to go to conceal their work, with all its inadequacies, from proper peer review.
I hope this helps you appreciate the lay person’s view, and wish you well in your efforts to rehabilitate science. However I think you’re going to have to be willing to spill more blood than you imagine, or will find agreeable. The Emperor is naked, and the answer is not to try to reclothe him, but to banish him for the conceited ass he is now seen to be. Efforts such as your own, to resolve the issue through reform, with a token smattering of contrition, will undoubtedly earn the appearance of success – the MSM is consumed with a desire to stop the agonising process of retrospectively reporting its own recent gullibility. Politicians share that desire, mutatis mutandis. Their complaisance will be easy to get. But a public conspiracy of silence is not the same thing as a renewal of public trust in science, although they may seem very similar. And AGW will be allowed to die a quiet death, leaving billions misspent, and pointless, growth-inhibiting legislation on statute books the world over, where it will be obeyed in the Anglosphere and northern Europe, and elsewhere ignored.
But the conspiracy of silence won’t hold out here in the blogosphere, and you surely know it. If you really love science, and want to restore it’s dignity, I’m afraid you need to get a bit nastier*. And if you don’t, the job you find repugnant will be done by others who will relish it, which would be a shame, because I think you could do it infinitely better, if you could only grasp the sceptical nettle.

*I might have added “repentant”

Richard A.
February 25, 2010 5:43 am

“I think a few things. If you’re actually genuinely interested in furthering understanding of science, climate and it’s implications then working with science rather than against it is essential. To this end Dr Curry’s gesture would seem opportune. If you want to remain on the fringe and exist only to fog the debate and hinder science and understanding then carry on throwing stones from the sidelines.” – Jay
Quite frankly Jay, the opportune bit here is the public debate, not Judith herself. If she is gullible enough to think there is a ‘climate denial machine’ then she herself is a lost cause, and Willis is more than right to take the opportune moment not really to address her personally, but to publish a direct smack to the face of all the BS artists who have been doing business in this field for far too long. The scenario is that the world’s petroleum companies got together and pooled their trillions in profits and executed their master plan for world domination and eventual destruction by greenhouse gas emissions – putting aside for the moment that they are as likely to have kids and be as concerned about this planet as the next person – by funnelling those trillions to… a retired Canadian statistician, a few retired weathermen, and some random limey’s to run blogs and file FOI requests? This is The Master Plan, the Monolithic Climate Denial Machine? To be blunt, anyone stupid enough to believe such a ridiculous load of crap doesn’t deserve respect. Willis’ post is spot on. Perhaps it might be hard for a bunch of nits who have made careers sucking off the government teet and never having to actually do anything productive in their lives to understand this point, but when something’s screwed up in your life or career the rest of us know that more often than not the man in the mirror is to blame. A lesson maybe at least a few climate ‘scientists’ will take to heart instead of bitching and moaning about their screw ups as if they were someone else’s fault. Like Willis said, grow a pair. After decades of BS and marginalized skeptics it turns out the skeptics were right about a lot of things regarding The Science™ and The Consensus™. Credibility starts with the truth, not better packaging for the same old crap.

Ed Lambert
February 25, 2010 5:43 am

Thank you

A. Ford
February 25, 2010 5:45 am

As usual, Willis does an excellent job. Couldn’t agree more.
BTW, is Willis a scientist? If not, what is his profession?

Dave L
February 25, 2010 5:48 am

>Because the truth is, climate science is one of the newest sciences. The truth is, we know little about the climate, we’ve only been studying it intensely for a couple decades.<
Isn't it remarkable that mankind often responds more vociferously to the issues with the least known factual content? Isn't the major issue between the two AGW camps one of BELIEFS …. and not facts? Anyone who does not see religious dogma in these arguments is naive. I think historians will look back at this period of time and refer to it as "The Climateblog Crusades".
Well done Willis. At the same time I do not think anything Willis has said should be taken "personally" by Dr. Curry. What Dr. Curry accomplished with her post was to provide an excellent summary of the general perspective of the AGW-science proponents in academia and related institutions. Willis responded with a rebuttal representing the opponents to AGW science. Can we anticipate a second round?

Steve in SC
February 25, 2010 5:51 am

Perhaps you were a little harsh to Judy.
Now, being a southerner, what you have to do is say “bless your heart”. Then, you can proceed to insult the other party as much as you want and it will be all right.
Now, for Judy’s part, “bless her heart” she must be a yankee. I don’t think any self respecting southerner would hold such views about global warming. As a matter of fact, I don’t believe that there is one southerner in the entire climate science community. Someone correct me if I am wrong.
Kindest Regards.

February 25, 2010 5:52 am

I started reading , and a cringed after the first bit, because it was quite vitriolic in its attack. But then I realised that I fully agree with just about every single point.
Yes it is harsh, but very, very true. I fully admire and respect Judith for reaching out to the plebs with an invitation to start a frank discussion. This is exceedingly frank, but I do implore Judith not to be turned off by it. Let it harden your resolve, let’s come back to the table and figure out where to go from here.
We need to heal the rift. It has been oh-so-long in the making, and it is a deep one. Nonetheless, it can be healed, I believe.

Sean Peake
February 25, 2010 5:55 am

Phew! Good rant. I enjoyed that.
Dr. Curry takes a good lick here but it’s mild in comparison to the bitter personal attacks her camp has doled out over the years. I imagine she knew she would get mauled when she entered this arena, but I wonder if she expected it from her own people, too? Romm et al have thrown her into a lifeboat and cast her adrift. But that’s not a bad thing. The ship they tossed her from is worm-eaten but it’s crew still believe it seaworthy. However, as W.E. succinctly points out, if her professional reputation is ever to make landfall, she must stop acting like a CRU member and start thinking like a captain… in a Shackelton-esque sort of way.

February 25, 2010 5:56 am

Just an observation about the performance enhancing substances scandal in baseball: It has parallels here. Those athletes who admitted their abuse of these drugs in public (Andy Pettit, for example) have fared much better than those who have continually denied or obfuscated (Roger Clemens and Mark Maguire). People are willing to forgive past sins if a realistic attempt is made to recognize and admit the offense and a promise made to do better in the future.

February 25, 2010 5:57 am

The case for action was pretty strained before the inaccuracies in the UN and temperature record were highlighted. Perhaps the AGW crowd could gain some credibility and trust by indicating what they believe are the current implications of their hypothesis. The implications of hurricanes and water shortages in particular are the main catalysts for giving governments cover for expensive action. Stating their position on ’50 days to save the world’ and the real implications could go a long way to removing heat out of this debate. There is an urgency to this while governments race ahead with action, and urgency spawns brutality.

February 25, 2010 6:00 am

Well put Mr. Eschenbach. The other problem are the political classes both elected and unelected. The elected we can ultimately deal with democratically, but the insidious bureaucrats and chairs of intergovernment organizations that infest our western democracies are far more difficult to deal with. They control the purse strings that feed the bad science. In the UK and in Canada we see government funded broadcasters spewing out AGW propaganda like candy on Halloween while suppressing the voice of we skeptics.
The war of words thanks to the Blogosphere is alive and well. Thank goodness.

Charles Battig
February 25, 2010 6:00 am

The February 19, 2010 Wall Street Journal printed an edited version of my letter-to-the-editor, in reference to Prof. S. Schneider and “post normal science.” The original is pasted here:
To the Editor:
The WSJ February 16, 2010 editorial “The Continuing Climate Meltdown” ends with “the lesson of climategate is that the claims of the global warming lobby need far more rigorous scrutiny.” I suggest that years of such scrutiny have existed as evidenced by the many editorials and letters published on the pages of the WSJ and elsewhere. The several international climate conferences organized by the Heartland Institute; such publications as the “Climate Change Reconsidered-The Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change”; independent scientific web sites such as those of ICECAP, Climate Depot, Anthony Watts, and Steve McIntyre have been tirelessly providing the scrutiny missing in the general media. There are many others.
There are several other lessons of climategate. Traditional, objective, evidence-based science has morphed into a new “post-normal science,” only too ready to allow malleable interpretations of inconclusive or incomplete scientific understanding… interpretations chosen to support an ideological agenda. We were warned of such philosophical mindsets in the widely quoted statement by climatologist Stephen Schneider (in part): “to capture the public’s imagination…to get loads of media coverage…to offer up scary scenarios…make little mention of the doubts we have…to decide what is the right balance between being effective and being honest.” The IPCC and climategate cabal seem to have made liberal use of such scientific flexibility in their “the-end-justifies-the-means” approach.
Another lesson would be that tens of billions of federal funding will likely get you the results you prefer. If the politically correct zeitgeist is accommodated, there seems to be no end of funding for research grants, favored corporate entities, and activist groups…it pays to be green.
One other lesson is that objective science cannot compete with dogma. Those who believe in climate change will likely never be won over by scientific argument. For them “the science is settled”, has been, and will remain so.
Charles G. Battig, M.S., M.D
Charlottesville, VA 22906

February 25, 2010 6:02 am

It is an amazing thing to watch a renowned scientist say that they must restore trust. That sounds so…….fake. Restore trust? Now the Met Office is going to restore trust by going over data? What data? The Met will probably come up with #’s that are similar and gloss over any problems they had in the past…and say something like…” okay it’s what we thought it was so let’s just move on”. Willis is right…and very right for getting steamed. People do not trust a liar just because the liar admits he must restore your trust….but continues to do the same things.

February 25, 2010 6:05 am

It’s truly astonishing to see how Judith Curry can provoke such anger as this article displays (which I very largely agree with, BTW) and at the same time, provoke an almost completely opposite view from the hyper-warmist community.
It does make you wonder how Joe Public is to judge the issue without years of research.

February 25, 2010 6:06 am

Dave Williams (03:20:26) :

Wow, I put my first posting on this site and now I’m ready to leave forever.

Having spent fruiltless hours being soundly abused on warmist blogs for expressing doubt, and being just plain deleted on MSM and CA comment threads (with absolutely no insults or ‘potty language’ from me, merely polite dissent), I can tell you that you are priveleged to be heard here.
Use that privilege and challenge the wrongs that you see need to be righted. Don’t run away just because people have strong opinions, and sometime use strong language.

February 25, 2010 6:07 am

Willis – brilliant!
“Scientific papers” are larded with “may” and “might” and “could possibly”.
Climate Science has gone too far – so far it has blurred the lines between science and fiction (and to quote Mark Twain – “Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn’t.”). Perhaps ‘Climate Fiction’ is a better term.
Consider for a moment one of the final lines of the Hippocratic Oath (modern version): “May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling…”. Not that there’s a scientific equivalent. As a scientist I am angry that this field has been allowed to cloud the integrity of my profession.
In sport, there are consequences for “bringing the game into disrepute”. If climate scientists feel like victims, perhaps they should show some contrition for their behaviour in allowing the propaganda machine to develop.

February 25, 2010 6:09 am

My favorite line: “stop trying to pass off garbage as science.”
That, in a nutshell, is all we’re saying….

February 25, 2010 6:10 am

The major problem, in my opinion, is that climate scientists actually seem to believe that they have the ability to build machines that can predict the future.

Henry chance
February 25, 2010 6:12 am

Judith and big OIL
Judith runs a side business (remember Pachauri does sex novels and consulting )
It is CFAN at Georgia Tech.

Hurricane forecasts for the petroleum industry CFAN responded to the need of a client in the petroleum industry for hurricane forecasts in the Gulf of Mexico that provided greater accuracy and longer lead times than those currently available in the market. CFAN’s extended hurricane forecasts are being used by the client to anticipate disruptions to energy supply and their impact on energy markets, and to anticipate disruptions to drilling, refining, and transport activities. A sophisticated web based decision support system for the client was developed that serves the needs of both the staff meteorologists and broader user group, which required translating the forecasts into meaningful outputs and language to meet a range of specific decision needs. CFAN’s hurricane forecasting method has consistently predicted the hurricane formation in the North Atlantic 3-7 days in advance, with tracks accurate (within 100 miles) out to 7 days. During the 2008 season, with Hurricanes Ike and Gustav having major impacts on the production region in the Gulf of Mexico, CFAN’s forecasts were also used for operations and emergency management.

So we have uncovered another eco poser.
So she hustles oil companies that want to be prepared for Gulf coast storms. I posted on oil companies gathering weather data yesterday.
Greed and pride. I guess you have to follow the money Judith.
Paul Brassey (21:15:12) h/t
They will do anything for a buck and put on a front.
Judith, what say you? You should be ashamed for husstling Big Oil dollars.

February 25, 2010 6:13 am

Not to take away from Dr. Curry;s important efforts, but this analysis and annotation of her essay is excellent.
I distinguish AGW from climate science, and name the scientists and opinion leaders who push the AGW agenda as ‘promoters’.
AGW is to climate science what eugenics was to evolutionary biology: bad and wrong.

R. de Haan
February 25, 2010 6:13 am

Same subject, valuable contribution from Dr Timothy Ball
Confused Public
Climatology: A Generalist Study In a Specialized World

February 25, 2010 6:14 am

David Williams – I hope you might think again about your post. Consider the point that you have read very little of the background to this letter – a history that goes back years. And before you comment you might want to read some more of the more ‘basic’ posts on both this site and Climate Audit. You say pottymouths where there are none – except for the RC drop-in – and talk about chemicals being spewed in the air when this is completely irrelevant. CO2 is a gas and not a pollutant. And indeed humans HAVE been taking care of the environment as they move beyond survival to development thanks to cheap and efficient energy. In the first world, our air and water are cleaner, our forests growing in size, animals better protected etc etc.
In addition, I have found that skeptics live much ‘greener’ lives than those in the AGW camp, but are sympathetic to the developing nations – i.e. India and China – because though on the short term they will be using less efficient technology due to cost, their only other option is to have their countrymen wallow in dire poverty and live shorter, more barren lives.
So perhaps you might wish to read up and reconsider. And come back.

George Tetley
February 25, 2010 6:16 am

It would be wonderful if we could get, just one politician that can read, unfortunately it is forbidden, from the very top down.
I thank you, you must be a very special person.

Richard M
February 25, 2010 6:18 am

Josh (01:34:55) :
Thanks, I got a good laugh. Keep up the good work.
Willis, absolutely fantastic!
As for the last two days, we all need to understand that Judith Curry’s essay was aimed at BOTH sides of the aisle. She tried to achieve a middle ground. As a result she got lambasted by BOTH sides. I believe that puts the issues in perspective.
There is no middle ground. One side is right and other side is wrong. Not necessarily in the final answer because no one knows enough about climate to know what is happening. The one side is right because their position is based on science. The other side’s position is based on getting more grants. That is not science.
I hope Judith learns something here. It’s fine to want to clean up the mess, but that will never happen until you admit there is a mess in the first place and while there’s a bunch still messing away.

February 25, 2010 6:21 am

@ Jay (03:41:58):
Are you saying that Dr. Curry is “Science?” Please do define Science for us and exactly how one “works with it.”

February 25, 2010 6:24 am

(Stands and applauds) Bravo Willis, bravo.
Dr. Judith Curry is to be commended for having the courage to do what Al Gore, Phil Jones, and Michael Mann will not, and that is to talk to people who disagree with them. Be that as it may, making an argument does not mean you are right. I don’t trust climate scientists because they are power hungry and greedy.
The one thing that turned me from a man made global warming believer to disbeliever was when I saw these advocates for it act like a religion and not like a science. Then when I started to investigate, I saw just how crooked these people are. There is an apt proverb from the Bible: “That which is crooked cannot be made straight.” (Ecclesiastes 1:15 if you care to look it up) And another: “Can a leopard change its spots?” (Jeremiah 13:23) These people are crooked to the core, it is how they are. You cannot fix that. It would be as futile as trying to straighten up a crooked old tree and trying to make a leopard change its spots. You have to cut down the crooked tree and start with a new one.
And that is the hard part. These scientists have a sweet deal, they are not going to go down quietly in the night. They are going to fight to the last breath. If they went away, they would have to *gasp* work for a living. Who wants to do that? But a crooked tree can be cut down. We need to start over because reformation has long since passed.

jack morrow
February 25, 2010 6:25 am

WOW! I wish I had said that.

Malaga View
February 25, 2010 6:26 am

ML (02:07:26) :
Do I have to buy BS meter with bigger range ?

Unfortunately I think the answer to your question is: YES
Instead of cleaning up their act they are looking for new ways to present, persuade and propagandise… ways that are more difficult to audit… techniques that are more complex to unravel… So please upgrade your BS meter.
Thank you for articulating my thoughts, frustrations, disbelief, anger and sadness… I become inarticulate when trying to respond to propaganda dressed up as science… words usually fail me… my BS meter goes off the chart… and I vent my frustration with a string of expletives….
I do not know how to respond to scientists that believe there are fairies living at the bottom of my garden… they are trying to live in a parallel universe and escape hard truths and reality… how do you reason with an infant? how can you argue with a madman?
The problems run so deep… the blogsphere has long demonstrated that the settled science is bogus… surfacestations.org has long proved that their scientific data is corrupt… ClimateGate has proved that their scientific methods are corrupt… and yet they still will not come clean!

Ron Cram
February 25, 2010 6:26 am

I am not saying you are wrong in your assessment, but I think Dr. Curry has taken some important steps toward the light and this should be encouraged. Compare her latest essay with one she wrote soon after Climategate.
See http://camirror.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/curry-on-the-credibility-of-climate-research/
In the older essay, her main goal was to reaffirm the credibility of the climate consensus to reinforce the idea the science is trustworthy mostly settled. Her mindset has changed quite a bit now. Now she wants to work toward rebuilding trust and near the end of her essay, Curry writes:
“No one really believes that the “science is settled” or that “the debate is over.” Scientists and others that say this seem to want to advance a particular agenda. There is nothing more detrimental to public trust than such statements.”
While Curry made some mistakes in her essay, she has come a long way. This is an important break with her former worldview and will cause her some pain from colleagues who are not ready to follow her yet.

February 25, 2010 6:29 am

… public, it turns out, has a much better bullsh*t detector than the mainstream climate scientists do … or at least we’re willing to say so in public…
I was at a meeting in the NYC offices of GISS where they were summarizing their views on climate change and consequences for NYC. Afterwards, I spoke with an academic from another local institution and expressed my doubts about the high confidence the GISS folks had in their long-term projections. He said that he had spoken with them and voiced his astonishment about some of the things they had said [“I told her, you just can’t say that!”], and he suspected that they would not be doing work with GISS in the future.
So, I suspect that there are lots of scientists out there like that, but they have their own work to do, and it’s not for them to go publicly into battle in this way. I really can understand their predicament. Still, they have avenues to pursue, and I won’t be surprised if that slowy begins to build over the next few years.

Bill S
February 25, 2010 6:30 am

Great post, Willis, yet again. Having worked down in the trenches for years, as you put it, your ire is justified and appropriate, as it would be for Anthony or Steve or any of the other skeptics at the forefront of this. The main premise of her article was misguided and not far enough across the bridge. It wasn’t an olive branch, but it was something, and that something still needs to be encouraged. It is clear from what you have written that you believe that, too, but I just wanted to re-iterate the point. We need to befriend people on the inside on their side if we’re ever going to get anywhere. The upshot of this exchange will be obvious on RC, most of the climate community, and in the Left Stream Media: they will say, “See! We tried reaching out to them and we got slapped for it!”
Dr. Curry, all props to you for posting and thank you, but I think you will have to agree that it is a sad referendum on the state of science today that trying to understand the other guy’s position needs to be labeled as a “brave thing to do”. It should always be job #1, and never an afterthought.

February 25, 2010 6:30 am

Ok, so anyone thinking that Willis was OTT with Judith, you need to take a gander at the vitriol spewed by ole Joe Romm!
And then the master of proxies Ben Santer weighs in too.
After reading that rant, one can understand that what Judy did was actually a courageous act. Can’t wait to hear what Mickey and Gavin have to say.

February 25, 2010 6:33 am

I can do little more than admire what Willis wrote, for there is little that he failed to address and even less that could be improved upon. The wheels have come off the AGW bus and it has crashed. Dr. Curry would have us believe that it can be fixed and be made safe to ride on once more. Willis just crushed it with a steam roller.
It is unfortunate however, that there are so many people who will read neither Dr. Curry’s article, nor Willis’ crushing response. To that end, I will be posting links to both articles on my blog, which will increase readership by about…. 12. But should many others do the same with a handfull of readers each…. well that would be the power of the blogosphere. I commend Dr. Curry for initiating this experiment. The results of many experiments are not what the scientist expected. I think this may be one of them. And I hope it is.

February 25, 2010 6:34 am

The depth of the disconnect is reflected in:
EXCLUSIVE: U.N. Climate Panel to Announce Significant Changes
By Ed Barnes, FOXNews.com

In the wake of its swift and devastating fall from grace, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) says it will announce “within the next few days” plans to make significant changes in how it does business.
Just one year ago a pronouncement from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) was all that was needed to move nations and change environmental policies around the world. But today, the panel’s creditability and even its very existence are in question.
In the wake of its swift and devastating fall from grace, the panel says it will announce “within the next few days” that it plans to make significant though as yet unexplained changes in how it does business. . . .

February 25, 2010 6:38 am

Like the editors of the “The New Republic” of Stephen Glass fame, scientists are realizing that what the climate scientists have done is indefensible.
It is indefensible. There is no possible excuse.

February 25, 2010 6:40 am

Hooray!! Hooray!! Hooray!!
This is the first bit of opinioneering that I trust!

February 25, 2010 6:43 am

Great post Willis. Finally, somebody is willing to publicly call out Curry for her disingenuous “out reach” posts.

February 25, 2010 6:46 am

Climate science advocates are telling us we MUST impose a tyrannical world government to avoid global catastrophy – when we don’t even reliably know the temperature trends or what cause them. See:
Before we embark on drastic plans to combat climate change, we must be sure of the facts Roddy Campbell 24th February 2010

But the evidence is not yet clear; there were, for example, periods of warming in the 19th century almost identical to the modest warming we seem to have experienced since 1975. We cannot rely on highly imperfect climate models as a basis for policy initiatives that cost billions and change how we live. An accurate and unbiased temperature record is critical.

February 25, 2010 6:47 am

A really excellent piece, thank you.
I think two early comments encapsulated my position;
“Andy Scrase (00:54:07) :
“get a clue about humility”
Let’s give Judith Curry some slack here. She has stepped off the pedestal a bit and shown *some* humility I believe. A lot more than most?”
Yes agreed, give her some space. I think Judith is the science equivalent of the rabbit caught in headlights. She hadn’t really realised what was happening until climategate alerted her that not everything in the garden was as fragrant as she believed. What she said was brave, if a little short of humility, and she deserves the time and space in order to realise that whilst she was looking the other way the tide has come in and is sweeping her old certainties away.
Dave McK (00:53:53) : said
“Joe Romm et all have ripped Judith to shreds over her essay. Going off message infuriates. She is compared to Neville Chamberlain. Godwin’s Law is in effect. Now would be a great time for her to make friends with facts. They are more faithful than consensus.”
Can Judith really stand back and look at the actucal facts and not what was always presented as such? She has surely made a start-faltering as that is. Facts are probably not as exciting or as profitable as theories-especially when computer generated- but it would help her to be a bit more sceptical when she is next presented with things presented as incontrovertible facts, which might be anything but.
Once again Willis, thanks for a great post and it is very encouraging to see so many perceptive comments-many from people I hadn’t seen here before-who made useful remarks on both this piece and Judith’s original paper.

February 25, 2010 6:48 am

When I went to College the Professors were more interested in you showing your work in solving a problem than whether you got the right answer.
This showed your thinking orocess and methodology for solviny the problem. The scientists(???) in ths case seem to come up with the answers prior to developing the methodology and tried to conceal the details of their work thus leaving no trail to proving their results.

February 25, 2010 6:50 am

Before I get totally brainwashed by the overwhelming dismissal of the theory of manmade global warming, can I remind everyone that there is good scientific evidence that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. It is therefore logical to expect that an increase in CO2 should lead to an increase in global temperature, and therefore as burning fossil fuel does produce CO2 to go into the atmosphere, and the increase in CO2 appears to have occured in correlation with an increase in global temperature, there is strong circumstantial evidence of a link.
Now can anyone tell me where this argument is wrong?

February 25, 2010 6:51 am

Willis, you rock – thanks for the incredible mind injection of pure truth and thanks as well to Dr. Curry for encapsulating current climate science’s mind-set in detailed and sensitive prose.
I am not a climate scientist or any kind of scientist, just a humble mechanical engineer; and didn’t pay much attention to Al Gore and his silly little movie or anything else in climate science until Climategate, and then wow! I am on my fifth book on climate stuff.
Being new to all of this I am shocked at the rottenness of establishment climate science; it’s shoddy and fake and that I can see that plainly with my limited technical education. It’s not hard to figure out that if thermometer data was manipulated or “lost” all following conclusions must be questioned and more than likely rejected – on that count alone.
There is no excuse, rationalization, or explanation that will rejuvenate this fraudulent bastardization of science which done exclusively in the interest of money and career advancement. Mann, Jones, et al are going down in history. No excuses.
Thanks again, and though American MSM won’t touch this (in my opinion the biggest story of fraud and misuse of science in history) I am reading every word of it I have time for and I sincerely appreciate your excellent response.

February 25, 2010 6:52 am

I recall Judith Curry being quite condescending (including the “deniers are shills for Big oil” paradigm) at CA in her earlier posts. On the other hand she had some not-so-kind things to say about RC, yet now appears to be implying something different. Apparently Judith has forgotten or is unaware of RC’s character assassination and ad hominem attacks of qualified scientists such as Roy Spencer, Nir Shaviv, Roger Pielke and many others. When RC makes blatant gaffs and false statements, do they admit it? Generally not, they just let it……fade away.
RealClimate’s censoring goes way back to the early days of the hockey stick, which is precisely why Steve M started his own blog as I recall it. The emails reveal RC’s MO, and to this day still censors qualified posts. RealClimate has earned their reputation as a dogmatic dishonest motley crew and deservedly so. I stopped posting there over a year ago.

February 25, 2010 6:52 am

Willis, I love ya, but. . .
As I said on the other thread, I’m struck by the similiarity here in methodology to GHCN. 1st generation raw data, second generation reduced and value added data, third generation further reduced data –then react based on that. You get points, however, for being much more transparent in the process.
How, in both second and third generation data, did you find Dr. Curry’s call for leveraging the open source distributed computing model unworthy of mention, let alone failing to recognize its potential to be transformative? Your progressive levels of summarization either miss that entirely, or severely mischaracterize it as only “better communicate their ideas” as if it was just more talk-talk. It’s not –It’s what Steve and Anthony and others (including you) have been fighting for for years. How can you zip right by it without even a tip of the cap, let alone a hearty yippee!?

February 25, 2010 6:56 am

Absolutely brilliant essay.
It’s unfortunate that Willis’ prescription for climate science is so similar to what I preach to my kids: if you want to be taken seriously, show some principles, take responsibility and stop whining! LOL

February 25, 2010 6:56 am

@ Judith Curry (04:34:45):
Thanks for the clarification. That certainly clears up some of the confusion I had regarding your essay.

February 25, 2010 6:57 am

Dave Williams (03:20:26)
If you joined a family at their table during a particularly intense moment and spouted a load of stuff unrelated to the issue at hand. Would you expect them to say ‘OMG, you’re right. Let us kiss and be friends forever’?
Your first post was about people’s unwillingness to listen. I’d ask you how much listening you’ve done? If you had, you’d know that most people here think that Global Warming is ‘a combination of natural causes and human activities’ and ‘there is some credibility to the AGW theory as well as the “it is all natural” camp’. These very clever people have moved on from that and realise that the true question is ‘by what proportion’? Without high quality science, there will be no answer forthcoming. Seems the scientists were so keen to get their message across they forgot about quality control, honesty and accountability. Scientists are failing both believers and sceptics by being unwilling to clean up climate science.

February 25, 2010 6:57 am

I think you got that off everybody’s chest. I feel better already.

Steve M. from TN
February 25, 2010 6:59 am

I’m guessing this is the most popular blog that posted Dr. Curry’s letter. Yesterday’s post (as of now) is closing in on 600 responses, plus another 300 responses on WE’s reply. I didn’t see a single response from Dr. Curry. Is this her idea of communication?

Harold Vance
February 25, 2010 6:59 am

Great essay, Willis.