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.

w.

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.

Me and Capn Jack,
say Tick.

kadaka

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

Great post, well done!

Ronaldo

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

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?

Josh

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

Sera

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

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

Steve Schapel

Willis,
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.

“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?

Invariant

>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

Willis,
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

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.

Stephan

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

Peter Pond

Thanks Willis, a strongly worded observation.
I recently commented on “the Air Vent”
“Jeff
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

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.

stumpy

Couldnt have said it better myself!

SamG

Yeahhhh !

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.

NickB.

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

Anthony,
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.
Regards

Val Majkus

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

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.”

RL

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

Dominic

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

So say all of us.

Kilted Mushroom

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.

***Thunderous applause***

Scott

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

Ruhroh

Thanks,
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?
RR

Dave Williams

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.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124008307&ft=1&f=1007&sc=YahooNews
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

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

very well said

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.

Stefan

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

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.”

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

Javelin

Unfortunatlely for science you’re spot on.

Glenn Haldane

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

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?”

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

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

AndyS

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

I put the cartoon here – top of the page
http://www.cartoonsbyjosh.com

James Allison

Tick

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..

Ruhroh

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.
RR

Alan the Brit

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!

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.

It’s simply right
What else to say?