Take the Scientific American poll on Judith Curry

Scientific American writes:

As a profile of Judith Curry in the November 2010 issue of Scientific American makes clear, the University of Georgia climate scientist has become an increasingly polarizing figure IN the past year or so.

Yet Curry herself is convinced that some of those facts are seriously exaggerated, and that the IPCC has failed to acknowledge the real uncertainty in the science.

She’s been denounced, sometimes vehemently, for her efforts.

So here’s the central question: Is Curry a heroic whistle-blower, speaking the truth when others can’t or won’t?

Let us know what you think.

Here’s the link to the poll:


h/t to Joe Romm

NOTE: I should add that this poll is rather poorly designed. On that, Mr. Romm and I agree. Bear in mind that many of the questions are multiple choice, and more than one answer can be selected. You can also skip questions that you feel don’t offer a representation of your view. – Anthony


UPDATE: If readers would like to offer some alternative suggestions for question sets in comments, I’ll be happy to setup and run a comparison poll here. – Anthony


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What I say is that Dr Curry is a true scientist.

Just looked at the poll. Hate it. A lot of the questions are the “When do you figure you’ll stop beating your wife” variety.

One answer in the next to last question should have been reversed. It should read: “Keep politics out of the scientific process.”

Murray Grainger

I am sure this survey was not constructed by a genuine pollster as the questions seemed a bit amateurish.


This will be obvious to most people here, but to any who didn’t notice it, the square buttons are check boxes for which you may may more than one choice.

Alex Buddery

I strated taking the poll but then I got to question 3. What is causing climate change giving 4 definitive options. Does scientific america read its own articles?


the survey is far too polarized and does not allow for uncertainty itself!


What a crock…
All of their answers are loaded.
The answers give you a choice between being a dufus and a moron……

Frank Kotler

Horrid poll. I refuse to take it.
Dr. Curry is an “appropriately sceptical scientist”.
The author of that poll is an idiot.
Neither of those were available answers.


I decided I couldn’t take the poll. Too many question where they forgot to put a “none of the above” answer. It’s exactly what Frank Lee MeiDere said, if we support Curry but don’t give the kind of answers they want for the other questions, they can show how “biased” or ignorant of climate “science” we are.

Henry chance

It will be impossible to get politics out of the process.

Amateurish and loaded, still I enjoyed taking part!


Scientific American should thank WUWT for doubling the internet traffic for the year in one day. They are finally realising what is current in science.


Given the limited choices in the SA poll, I can’t find any reason to respond to it.

Joshua Corning

What a crappy poll. To many of the questions had no answer that i agree with…and it would not let me complete the poll with blanks so i had to lie (choose an answer i do not agree with) to complete it.
Anyone ever heard the term “Push Poll”.
If you looked at that poll you now know what one looks like.

Ben D.

I was given no good choices in 2 of the questions…and in one I wanted to click on two choices, but it only allowed one…so the best choice was what I clicked.
Not a very good poll, obviously someone who does not understand the science very well wrote it, or was written by someone with an obvious bias.


Curry is not a skeptic, I think she’s just opening her mind a bit to the points our side makes that have merit.
For some reason, this is really wadding the panties of her colleagues.

Hector M.

The questions and choices is ridiculously biased, and directly designed to twist the right options. Several questions do not allow for any serious and thoughtful answers.
I took it, just to add my two cents in favor of Dr Curry, but it is regrettable that a magazine with the word ‘scientific’ in its name had allowed for such profound stupidity to disgrace its pages.


A very pathetic poll. Poorly written by someone with a clear and obvious bias.

Hector M.

Sorry, I meant “are” instead of “is” in my first phrase.

Bob Newhart

Soo… there is thus-far about 1100 responses, you should take a look at the results.
That said, yes it is a stupid one-sided poll that either shows contempt of any knowledge the reader may have, or a lack of knowledge by the ‘pollster’. What a bunch of asses!!!!! So much for Scientific…. it should be renamed Unscientific….


Dr. Curry is at Georgia Tech, not the University of Georgia.

Don B

“h/t to Joe Romm” ??
That’s funny.

That poll is the biggest pile of crap I’ve seen. These fanatics have no shame.

John M

Well, I started the poll so thought I might as well finish it.
But maybe SA should have someone write an article entitled:
Can you design a poll better than a fifth grader?

BC Bill

Wow, what a horribly designed poll. As somebody on the SA web page observed the poll was the equivalent of “Have you stopped beating your wife”? Several of the questions consisted of lists of stupid alternatives. If those are all the alternatives that the bright lights at SA can come up with, then we clearly need more people reading WUWT.

Bad, loaded poll – BUT – not taking it as best one can could create a result none want to see – I did my best given the questions


A singularly stupid poll, singularly stupid questions and choices.
On Ms Curry, I used to think her playing politics, and covering her bets while staying securely on side. But this latest material changes my mind: it sounds like the real thing. This is really burning bridges.
What’s interesting is that such a mild degree of skepticism is intolerable to the true believers. That is really extraordinary. Because Ms Curry is not radical, not a real AGW skeptic at all. She’s like one of those faithful Bolsheviks who died under Stalin, for only being 99% behind him.


Kramer is right… they’re in such a snit they don’t know up from down, hot from cold. (They never have known much about the latter so I beg your forgiveness). As far as this “poll” (similar to their “climate science”), the answers are so obviously tilted that there’s no objectivity, hence no reason to waste my time.
Ms. Curry must be laughing out loud–I presume she has a sense of humor. Anybody that would call out her colleagues as pirates undoubtedly does.

Jim in Marietta

Dr. Curry is at the Georgia Institute of Technology (GA Tech), not the University of Georgia. This is an important distinction in this state.


Honest science by ethical scientists, what a concept. Dr Curry seems to fit the mold.

It seems to me that when people look back on the 20th century they will call it the “century of science” to contrast it with the 21st century “scientific dark age”.
I suppose it was inevitable: “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. In the 20th century scientists were given unprecedented power as a result of the stunning progress of technology (mostly from “simple” engineering like washing machines but I digress). As a result scientists were able to pontificate ad nausea about science with the politicians lapping up their every word as if they were the gods of the technological age. Absolute power corrupts and quite clearly from the article and poll in “scientific” American they are absolutely corrupt. It is like the Spanish inquisition: anything and anyone who dares to question the absolute authority of the scientific elite can be labelled a heretic and ostracised from the “church” of science.
Real science, in the sense of factual based discovery, drawing the inference from the evidence, instead of finding the inference to make a political point seems to be dead in the “scientific” American article. The question is not: “is Judith curry using the scientific evidential base …. ” it is “is Judith Curry preaching the devine doctrine of the scientific church which has been ordained by almighty mann to be the one true doctrine of the one true church”.


Here is my poll on their poll…

Bill DiPuccio

The SA poll is fraught with false dilemmas. Most of the questions forced me to answers that I would never espouse. This polarization and lack of nuance is exactly the problem in the climate debate. If this is the way SA views climate science, I fear for the future of science!

Nick Luke

Most of the questions required answers that will naturally lead to the sort of polarisation that Dr Curry seems to oppose. The given responses only allowed for either rabid AGWism and redneck stupidity. Could the Scientific American not employ a pollster who could advise on a more nuanced approach? Or is it their agender to make their readers appear dangerous, unthinking louts of whatever stripe?


Come on guys, there’s plenty of room within this questionnaire to accommodate a healthy degree of scepticism, even if you don’t agree with all of the limited choices.
The important thing here is surely to register one’s support for judith Curry’s engagement in the debate on the blogosphere…..or not, as the case may be.
I just had a look at the current results and I would say that SA will be shocked and stunned already. I’m just waiting for the poll to be closed due to some “Big Oil collusion” tampering with their preferred agenda.


She IS a skeptic. All scientists are. Alarmists are not skeptics therefore they are not scientists. And Curry isn’t an alarmist. True skeptics dont deny CAGW they give it a certain propability. And sience isnt about absolute truths isnt it?
Those who are shouting for truth are either deniers or alarmists. Those who admit they dont know are called skeptics.
Though Curry wouldnt like this labeling. She made a post where she made clear shes completely against it. And I see a reason in that.

Pull My Finger

That is possibly the WORST poll I have ever seen. Scientific American should be ashamed. I sophomore in a political science class could do better, a lot better.


That’s hands-down the worst, the most slanted poll I have ever seen. You must answer all the questions with either the climate change catechism or nonsense, and “None of the above” is never an option.
A stunning testament to SciAm’s descent into political abuse. How stupidly, transparently biased.
I do believe that the climate change movement is losing its mind.

Pathetic pole due to it’s biased assumptions.
Dr. Curry is on the right track guided by the philosophy of science and the scientific method.
She is in good company:
“Nullis in verba. Take no one’s word for it.” – Motto of the Royal Society
“I’m trying to find out NOT how Nature could be, but how Nature IS.” – Richard Feynman
“The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin.” – Thomas Henry Huxley
“A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.” Albert Einstein
“Science is empirical. Knowing the answer means nothing. Testing your knowledge means everything.” – Lawrence Krauss, Physicist
“Skepticism is the agent of reason against organized irrationalism – and is therefore one of the keys to human social and civic decency.” – Stephen Jay Gould
“It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.” – Carl Sagan
“It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” – Carl Sagan


Have you guys read the poll results? Its devastating for AGW! Read it!

The h/t to Romm is a nice touch.


Appaling poll choices; but nice comments below it. “Powered by PollMonkey” describes it well.

Ron Pittenger, Heretic

I just took their damned poll. How cheap and tawdy. Almost like it was American Idol or Survivor and we were voting for someone to stick around another week or go home now. I checked the results up to myself, and all indicators are that many doubters have voted (never fear, they’ll simply leave the poll open until they get the result they want).
Science isn’t–can’t be–democratic. A vote of 99 to 1 doesn’t make the 1 wrong or the 99 right. Change is always begun by one person with a better explanation for something than was previously available. Concensus comes after the fact, not before.
Dr. Curry seems to have that most valuable of scientific attributes: integrity. Too bad so many other lack it.


Thats the global warming poll at the bottom?

Common Sense

A peacemaker or a dupe? What kind of choice is that? Also, this question:
5. What should we do about climate change?
should have had a choice for helping people adapt to their climate. Low-cost shelter and energy are key.

Philip Thomas

In Dr. Curry’s recent blog outburst, she says, “Not to say that the IPCC science was wrong..” i.e she still believes CO2 is causing the earth to warm. This outpouring is positioning her to speak for skeptics, but she certainly isn’t one. I am suspicious that this is an orchestrated backpeddling to gain a firmer foothold and try to redefine what a skeptic is.
Just to reiterate – She still believes that the IPCC is fundamentally correct in its science despite her continued criticism of their credibility. Why?
I need her to question the IPCC science before I become a fan.


I couldn’t take the poll either. I tried not answering the questions which I didn’t agree with the choices given, but it would accept it as such.


would = wouldn’t (sheesh!)

George E. Smith

You ask idiot questions; you get idiot answers. This was really the thrid grade science question on “are you smarter than a fifth grader”; wasn’t it ?