Climatologist Judith Curry levels both barrels against alarmist climate science

Guest essay by Larry Hamlin

Alarmist claims: inference from incomplete, inadequate and ambiguous observations

Climate scientist Dr. Judith Curry has recently posted a number of sharply worded essays providing stinging critical rebukes of assertions of climate harm by alarmists derived from biased and highly selective reading of the UN IPCC AR5 reports.

In an April 21 posting she says the following regarding the so called ‘facts’ cited by climate alarmists to try to make a case for man made climate harm:

“With regards to climate science, the biggest concern that I have is the insistence on ‘the facts.’ This came up during my recent ‘debate’ with Kevin Trenberth. I argued that there are very few facts in all this, and that most of what passes for facts in the public debate on climate change is: inference from incomplete, inadequate and ambiguous observations; climate models that have been demonstrated not to be useful for most of the applications that they are used for; and theories and hypotheses that are competing with alternative theories and hypotheses.
I particularly like Dyson’s clarification on facts vs theories:
Facts and theories are born in different ways and are judged by different standards. Facts are supposed to be true or false. They are discovered by observers or experimenters. A scientist who claims to have discovered a fact that turns out to be wrong is judged harshly.

Theories have an entirely different status. Since our understanding is incomplete, theories are provisional. Theories are tools of understanding, and a tool does not need to be precisely true in order to be useful. A scientist who invents a theory that turns out to be wrong is judged leniently. Mistakes are tolerated, so long as the culprit is willing to correct them when nature proves them wrong.

The loose use of ‘the facts’ in the public discussion of climate change (scientists, the media, politicians) is enormously misleading, damaging to science, and misleading to policy deliberations.

I would also like to comment on the ‘good loser’ issue. I wholeheartedly agree with Dyson. In the annals of climate science, how would you characterize Mann’s defense of the hockey stick? Other good or bad losers that you can think of in climate science? The biggest problem is premature declaration of ‘winners’ by consensus to suit political and policy maker objectives.”

Dr. Curry’s entire essay on climate science significant limitations and inadequacies is here:
( http://judithcurry.com/2014/04/21/the-case-for-blunders/)

In an April 19 posting she addresses the increasing trend of climate alarmists and their supporters in the media to try to suffocate and eliminate free speech by attacking those who offer opposing viewpoints, scientific analysis and alternative theories to unproven claims of man made global warming theories. She notes the following regarding this attach by alarmists on free speech:

“I am broadly concerned about the slow death of free speech, but particularly in universities and also with regards to the climate change debate.”

“With regards to climate change, I agree with George Brandis who is shocked by the “authoritarianism” with which some proponents of climate change exclude alternative viewpoints.

While the skeptical climate blogosphere is alive and well in terms of discussing alternative viewpoints, this caters primarily to an older population. I am particularly pleased to see the apparent birth of resistance to climate change authoritarianism by younger people, as reflected by the young Austrian rapper.
Climate change ideology, and attempts to enforce it in the media, by politicians and by the cultural practices of academia, leads us down a slippery slope:

Because the more topics you rule out of discussion — immigration, Islam, ‘gender fluidity’ — the more you delegitimise the political system. . . A culture that can’t bear a dissenting word on race or religion or gender fluidity or carbon offsets is a society that will cease to innovate, and then stagnate, and then decline, very fast. – Mark Steyn”

The complete essay dealing with attacks on free speech by climate alarmists is here: ( http://judithcurry.com/2014/04/19/in-defense-of-free-speech/)

In a January 6 posting Dr. Curry performs an analysis of the UN IPCC AR5 WGI report addressing the hiatus in surface warming and discrepancies that outcome creates with climate models, the WGI evidence of lowering  equilibrium sensitivity of climate to doubling CO2 concentrations, lack of WGI evidence for increasing rates of sea level rise, lack of WGI evidence explaining increasing Antarctic sea ice levels and reduced WGI confidence in connections between atmospheric CO2 levels and the occurrence of extreme weather events.

She addresses in detail the failure of the climate models to project the global temperature hiatus of the past 15+ years and the need to instead use “expert judgment” to create an estimate for future temperatures to year 2035 as noted in her essay material below.

Dr. Curry also addresses the WGI reports treatment of equilibrium climate sensitivity which clearly trends toward lowering the expected value of this variable noting as follows:

She summarizes her analysis of the WGI report by noting:

The entire assay addressing the AR5 WGI report analysis can be found here:
( http://judithcurry.com/2014/01/06/ipcc-ar5-weakens-the-case-for-agw/)

In these remarkable essay’s Dr. Curry demonstrates and documents the huge limitations and inadequacies of climate alarm science and the attempts of alarmists, media propagandists and ideologically driven politicians to ignore extensive contrary scientific evidence challenging man made climate harm claims, falsely condemn and demonize qualified and competent scientists peer reviewed work which exposes the huge shortcomings of alarmist climate science claims and alarmists ever increasing efforts to eliminate free speech concerning the climate science debate.

98 thoughts on “Climatologist Judith Curry levels both barrels against alarmist climate science”

1. I read them all on her blog. I sense a lot of frustration on her part. She sees her chosen profession being destroyed in the name of expediency. And even then, the alarmists are trying to parrot Mann and tar [her] for the simple reason she is for good science. She remains a warmist. But more than that, she is an ethical scientist, and that goes against the grain of “the team”.

2. Louis Hooffstetter says:

Thank you Dr. Curry. You are casting pearls before swine, but we are pulling for you none the less.

3. Judith Curry’s “This came up during my recent ‘debate’ with Kevin Trenberth. I argued that there are very few facts in all this” caught my eye at Climate Etc. I commented there; let me rephrase my comment slightly more succinctly as a simple question here.

Of the thousands of department chairmen in the US, which of them have expressed an even lower opinion of their colleagues’ understanding of their field?

4. asybot says:

Thank Dr Curry. The more I read and learn about this ( and others) whole debate and the larger picture of what is happening on our planet the more and more I see history repeating itself . From the Sumerian / Egyptian / Greek / Roman and ALL following Empires all across this planet The rise and fall cycles are apparent.
Sadly, I think our decline maybe the fastest and most spectacular and devastating ever if not the end of us for generations (as we know it today) to come. I sincerely hope reason will prevail.

5. Niff says:

..and we sceptics are accused of denying the science…? What Dr Curry demonstrates is that the alarmists not only deny the science, they obfuscate it, muzzle alternative perspectives and castigate those who would speak out. Utterly despicable.

6. Louis says:

I don’t know how many years it will take, but some day we will look back at this time when major news outlets willingly aligned with politicians, universities, and pseudo scientists to censor opposing viewpoints and wage inquisition against dissent and skepticism as the dark ages of modern science.

7. A scientist is suppose to be interested in Truth, not in “making policy.”

Hansen’s talk of “death trains” seems to focus more on policy than on facts. Once a person starts to feel policy is more important, then “adjustments” become more allowable. They are not. I personally feel “adjustments” are tantamount to the falsification of public documents. Even when “adjustments” are in some way helpful, the fact they are adjustments should be stressed. Raw data should rule.

The attempt of some Alarmists to ostracize and marginalize differing opinions is especially ironic, when you consider how many who assert such demands also make a show of respecting “diversity.”

In actual fact it is not so much that some Climate Scientists live in an Ivory Tower divorced from reality, as it is they are attempting to create a new Apartheid.

8. tancred says:

The term “scientific consensus” should be anathema to anyone with an appreciation of the methods of science — and aware of the long history of wise certainties widely agreed among the learned which eventually were debunked as complete nonsense.

9. By the way, I second the motion of thanks to Dr. Curry.

10. thallstd says:

Louis says:
April 22, 2014 at 5:41 pm
“I don’t know how many years it will take, but some day we will look back at this …”

Louis, perhaps you’ve been looking in the wrong place. “Some day” for me happened years ago.

11. Don Gleason says:

Brilliant

12. Steve in SC says:

Judy is smarter than the average bear.

13. bushbunny says:

Judith has struck at the AGW’s soft underbelly, Well done Dr Curry.

14. TImothy Sorenson says:

I seem to remember about two Reports back, it was pretty clear that solar and volcanoes had no impact in their=”warmists” work. But I just noticed in Judith Curry’s summary she quoted the IPCC that “The decline in the rate of increase in ERF is primarily attributed to natural (solar and volcanic) forcing…” So does anyone know what peer review lit they cited to support that? I’d like to see what/how they quantified their ‘new’ ideas on solar and volcanics.

15. pat says:

give thanx for judith curry.

22 April: WSJ: California’s Carbon Spending Rush
The Senate leader last week proposed a “long-term investment strategy” to divvy up the revenues from California’s cap-and-trade program…
So far the auctions have generated \$1.5 billion, but cash will start to pour in next year when the cap is applied to fuel suppliers, which account for nearly 40% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Revenues will balloon as the California Air Resources Board reduces both the cap and the free allowances. The state legislative analyst predicts that cap and trade will raise between \$12 billion and \$45 billion in toto by 2020.
While state law requires that these cap-and-trade “fees” fund programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Governor Jerry Brown last year seized, er, “borrowed” nearly all of the auction proceeds for general-fund expenses…
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303626804579507840884336078

22 April: Phys.org: In Mediterranean marble, secrets of the global carbon cycle
Scientists at Yale University have clarified how carbon dioxide escapes minerals deep inside Earth and seeps into the planet’s atmosphere, a significant step in the planet’s natural carbon cycle. Deeper insight into the cycle helps scientists more accurately assess how humans are altering carbon’s movement and affecting the planet’s climate…
In new research published in the May 2014 issue of Nature Geoscience, the Yale team presents evidence that the mineral aragonite, which is composed of calcium carbonate, can dissolve to release carbon dioxide in water-based fluid. This reaction occurs in high-pressure subduction zones, places where one slab of Earth’s outer rocky shell slides beneath another…
http://phys.org/news/2014-04-mediterranean-marble-secrets-global-carbon.html

16. Arno Arrak says:

I still regard her as a reformer, a Martin Luther rather than Charles Darwin, of the warmist tribe. She has exquisite logic in pointing out numerous technical errors of the warmists but what she does not do is attack their basic doctrine, their raison d’etre that started with the Hansen theatrical in 1988. If you missed it or have forgotten it, Hansen’s senate hearing was deliberately scheduled for June 23rd, the warmest day in Wahington D.C. Not only that, but Senator Wirth, the chairman, went out at night before the hearing, opened all the windows in the hearing room, and disabled the air conditioner too. Next day everyone at the hearing, including Hansen himself, sweated profusely. But what was his argument that the greenhouse effect has been detected? He showed a rising temperature curve that went from 1880 to 1988, then pointed to its peak in 1988 and stated that this was the warmest day within the last 100 years. There was only a 1 percent chance that this could happen by chance alone, he said. And since chance had to be ruled out as a cause of this warming, it proved that “…global warming is now large enough that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship to the greenhouse effect.” This is it, and it is still statistical, not absolute proof. But this is not the worst of it. If you examine the temperature curve he submitted to the Senate you find that his “100 year warming” includes the early century warming that started in 1910, raised global temperature by half a degree, and then stopped on 1940. Not even IPCC has the nerve to use any warming before 1950 as greenhouse warming because of signal to noise problems. But the 1910 to 1940 warming is provably not greenhouse warming because of radiation laws of physics. You cannot start any enhanced greenhouse warming without simultaneously increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. And this did not happen in 1910. Likewise, you cannot stop it without removing the gas from the atmosphere, something we can be sure of did not happen in 1940. Because of these physical requirements we have to lop off the last sixty years before 1940 from Hanson’s 100 year warming curve. What is left of it after surgery is a temperature segment consisting of 25 years of cooling followed by 23 years of warming. No way can this be called proof of the existence of the greenhouse effect. Hansen just screwed up and thought he had discovered the greenhouse effect when actually he didn’t. No one else has discovered it either. It follows that the entire global warming establishment built upon Hansen’s great discovery has been venerating the emperor’s new clothes. It should take just a little child to point it out to them. Or a person not hypnotized by the one billion dollars a day this scam generates for THE CAUSE worldwide. I will deal with further consequences of this in a paper I am working on.

17. Jeff Alberts says:

“Facts are supposed to be true or false.”

Umm. if it’s false, how can it be a fact?

18. Paul Westhaver says:

There is Science and then there is politics.

Judith is a scientist trapped [in] a non-science world.

What a living hell.

Her good science and tempered approach is the right one, except the world is just politics and ego.

Keep saying the right thing Judith! The rest of us will roll in the muck with the lying jerks and keep them occupied with our rhetoric. I will never quit!

19. The only kind of “death train” that I know of is one without air-conditioning.

“Umm. if it’s false, how can it be a fact?”

There are such things as ‘false’ or negative facts. E.g. you cannot divide by zero.

There are also unknown facts (for lack of a better term). E.g. you cannot define the square root of -2.

20. Ben U. says:

Jeff Alberts says: April 22, 2014 at 7:21 pm

“Facts are supposed to be true or false.”
Umm. if it’s false, how can it be a fact?

Jeff, she means assertion of fact, give her a break.
Meanwhile, I renew my offer to her of penang curry, or any darned curry she likes – massaman, jungle, red, yellow, or even green.

21. PhilMcC says:

queue mosh drive-by…

22. John Slayton says:

In the 1990’s an educational movement known as “Whole Language” swept across the country. Claiming to be based on the latest science, it became mandated curriculum in California. Massachusetts was heading in the same direction, until some 40 Massachusetts professors of linguistics wrote to the state Commissioner of Education challenging the claims to scientific support. Their letter read, in part (my bold):

The authors of the draft Content Chapter claim that research on language supports their views of reading…These supposed developments in linguistic research are used as arguments for a
comparable view of reading. We are entirely unaware of any such shift in research.

We want to alert the educational authorities of Massachusetts to the fact that the view of language research presented in this document is inaccurate, and that the claimed consequences for reading instruction should therefore be subjected to serious re-examination.

Their letter and followup correspondence with the state agencies are online at:
http://listserv.aera.net/scripts/wa.exe?A2=ind9608E&L=aera-c&F=&S=&P=684
The result of the conversation was a modified proposal for the state framework, that, IMHO, may have kept Massachusetts from going off the deep end.

The climate ruckus might be deja vu all over again, but for one thing. The leaders in Massachusetts were willing to listen to scientific dissent. The leaders in Washington, not so much.

23. I do not read Luke warmer websites.

24. Thanks LH & Dr. Curry.

No issue more clearly demonstrates the absolute ideological manipulation of “news” by the legacy media.

25. TonG(ologist) says:

It does not matter whether Dr. A curry is a “warmist”. She is one of the handful of scientists in that discipline with enough integrity to call out her colleagues (and I use the term in n academic sense only). What she points out is that there is a large and growing credibility issue with science in general as a result of this entire debacle and it is larger and more far-reaching than even many scientists realize. Let me outline two problems I see.

First is this issue of fact and theory. The fact bit is OK as far as it goes. More specifically, a fact in science is an observable and reproducible condition which occurs in the natural world. All three components are necessary: the phenomenon can be observed/measured, and it can be reproduced by others, and it occurs in nature.

The issue of theory is a bit stickier. In science a theory is an overarching explanation of some component of the natural world which encompasses all facts (observations, measurements,etc). Theories are NOT hypotheses, or ideas, or estimates, or educated guesses. A theory is the highest form of organized thought and explanation for the various systems of the natural world. Gravity is a theory, in which the explanation we have is consistent with all of the facts. The Big Bang explanation is a theory which is also consistent with all observations. Evolution is a theory which explains all observations pertaining to biology. And so on… If in any of the disciplines mentioned above, and all others, an observation is made which is not consistent with the theory, it is the theory which is discarded and the observation (reproduced of course) remains.

We need to be clear about that distinction of theory vs hypothesis, idea, conceptual model… That is because science is under attack over ths very distinction in the evolution wars. Opponents of the teaching of evolution have the rallying cry of “only a theory” as if it is only a guess. The life scientists of the world are at constant warfare to avoid any hint that evolution is somehow a suspect idea. Their opponents are in the halls of Congress daily trying to convince legislators that the scientists are shoving an unproved guess down our children’s maws and undermining our societal values with godless science. So far, science has prevailed but only because of the establishment clause of the first amendment to the Constitution.

My amalgamated concern is that, once the emperor is revealed as having no clothes the anti-evolution crows is going to say: 1) “you see, scientists are really partisan advocates to their own narrow way of life, and 2) “you see, climate scientists use the word theory to mean an idea, an educated guess, so the narrow definition that evolutionists have been forcing on us over the years is false. Evolution really is ” just a theory.” Now we want if removed from school science curricula because it is not factual.

You might think me over reacting, but I have been involved in both battles in my time and have seen the lengths to which people who are truly anti scienc will go. What I find ironic is that evolutionary theorists such as blogger PZ Myers are adamant on the whole theory vs hypothesis idea AND they are also big catastrophic global warming supporters, but they don’t recognize that the entire CAGW concept is only a hypothesis and does not even approach theory. Yet they trumpet against climate skeptics in a clarion voice which will inevitably come back and bite them on the ass pretty damned hard.

Anyway, thank you Dr. Curry. Don’t let trivia statements here at WUWT about how you are ok but really just a warmist get to you. Rational, balanced thought with a consideration of all hypotheses and the dismissal of none without evidential elimination, is the only means to overcome the inertia of the hysterical, group think, juggernaut of CAGW. For those who state that Dr. Curry is still a warmist at heart, all I have to say is “stop being dogmatic and allow honest consideration of all hypotheses.” If you don’t, you are no better than our CAGW dogmatist adversaries.

26. Jeff Alberts says:

Karim D. Ghantous says:
April 22, 2014 at 7:37 pm

The only kind of “death train” that I know of is one without air-conditioning.

“Umm. if it’s false, how can it be a fact?”

There are such things as ‘false’ or negative facts. E.g. you cannot divide by zero.

There are also unknown facts (for lack of a better term). E.g. you cannot define the square root of -2.

Sorry, no. “You cannot divide by zero” is not false, it’s a true statement.

Maybe something else was meant by “Fact are supposed to be true or false”, if so, it’s a very sloppy statement.

27. rk says:

Prof. Curry is obviously one brave scientist that can weather the scorn of the alarmist crowd. The heart of the issue really is summarized by her ‘debate’ with Kevin Trenberth. She posted the slides from both her and Trenberth. Look at his. Just boilerplate Gore-ism, we’re gonna die, the Republicans did it. This is science? He even had the petulance to question her if she were a Denier. The stupid, it burns.

http://judithcurry.com/2014/04/11/curry-versus-trenberth/

But she has put on her armor and fights the good fight….no doubt exploding heads by favoring Steyn and others. I see now she’s RT’d Charles Murray. So she is playing the renegade. She’s got tenure and is going to use it.

Good job, Professor

28. pat says:

WOW! this is the most amazing CAGW sceptic interview ABC Australia has ever aired. read/watch it all.

VIDEO: 22 April: ABC Lateline: No evidence that man has caused warming
Maurice Newman, the chairman of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council (& former Chairman of both the Stock Exchange and the ABC) discusses climate change and says that there is little correlation between carbon dioxide and the warming of the planet.
TRANSCRIPT:
ABC’S EMMA ALBERICI: It’s no secret that you don’t agree that man-made CO2 is causing global warming. Given there is now consensus among 97 per cent or so of climate scientists across the world that the view – around the view that human activity is responsible for climate change, what would it take to convince you?
MAURICE NEWMAN: We know first of all that the survey which came out with the 97 per cent number was flawed in the first place. So we don’t pay any attention to that. What we do look at…
EMMA ALBERICI: There have been roughly three that have come up with that.
MAURICE NEWMAN: They all come up with flawed methodologies. So we don’t pay any attention to that. We know that there are a whole host of scientists out there who have a different point of view, who are highly respected, reputable scientists. So the 97 per cent doesn’t mean anything in any event because science is not a consensus issue…
MAURICE NEWMAN: What do we make about the pause?
EMMA ALBERICI: That it’s a pause. I guess that’s what scientists say. It’s a pause. They look back 800,000 years as I understand it, so 17 years in the scheme of things isn’t an enormous amount of time…
EMMA ALBERICI: So what if those 97 per cent of climate scientists and all business people across the world, like the likes of Bill Gates and Richard Branson and the miners here in Australia, what if they’re right and you and the scientists you quote are not right. Doesn’t it make sense to have a policy that at least transitions Australia to cleaner fuel sources?
MAURICE NEWMAN: Emma, let’s not confuse the issues. Cleaning the atmosphere, which is what carbon pollution is about, not CO2, CO2 is not a pollutant. But cleaning the atmosphere, being more efficient, all of that makes sense. That’s got nothing to do with climate. That’s to do with economics and being efficient…
http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2014/s3990190.htm

29. David Ball says:

Dr. Curry, glad you have acknowledged the limitations in the science. One question; what the hell took you so long?

30. Larry Hamlin says:

Dr. Curry’s rational and comprehensive assessment of the flawed and distorted climate alarmist positions addressed in her essay’s is an extraordinary example of leadership and openness to objective scientific analysis free from the the political ideology which drives much of the alarmist agenda. Those who chose to try and divert her powerful message with misleading and trivial comments that completely fail to comprehend the major emphasis of her posts appear to be merely attempts at creating unwarranted distractions from her primary and completely justified message.

32. TonG(ologist) says:

…I have been involved in both battles in my time and have seen the lengths to which people who are truly anti scienc will go. What I find ironic is that evolutionary theorists such as blogger PZ Myers are adamant on the whole theory vs hypothesis idea AND they are also big catastrophic global warming supporters, but they don’t recognize that the entire CAGW concept is only a hypothesis and does not even approach theory.

Excellent comment (among many others here). I would go farther, and point out that their belief is not even a hypothesis. It is only a conjecture — the first step in the hierarchy: Conjecture, Hypothesis, Theory, Law.

A conjecture is an opinion. It should be testable, but ‘catastrophic AGW’ is not testable. In fact, every CAGW prediction has turned out to be wrong.

When one side’s predictions are 100% wrong, then it is time to re-assess. We should not take the opinions of those who are always wrong, as fact. Prof Curry should defend the Scientific Method, at least to that extent.

33. William McClenney says:

Cross-posted from JC’s site:

William McClenney | April 22, 2014 at 11:45 pm | Reply

@JC: “This came up during my recent ‘debate’ with Kevin Trenberth. I argued that there are very few facts in all this”

Well, somewhere in all of that feldercarb is the fact that at the end of the last extreme interglacial, sea level, the ultimate arbiter of climate change, went somewhere between 1 to almost 2 orders of magnitude higher than the IPCC SRES A1F1 “worst case, business as usual” scenario of +0.59M above present-day MSL for the end of the last half-precession cycle old extreme interglacial.

http://www.350.me.uk/TR/Hansen/GlobalSeauow045009.pdf

http://lin.irk.ru/pdf/6696.pdf

If we are to separate the anthropogenic climate “signal” from the most recent end extreme interglacial (the Holocene?) climate “noise” then we are going to simply have to get our climate “signal” up an order of magnitude (or two), just to register as normal end extreme interglacial climate “noise”.

It would be good, of course, if we could ratchet the anthropogenic climate signal more than 2 orders of magnitude, just in case…… But we must also consider the last time we were at an eccentricity minimal; MIS-11, like we are now, at the half-precession old Holocene.

Of course, all that gets you is this:

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/240752030_A_sustained_21_m_highstand_during_MIS_11_(400_ka)_direct_fossil_and_sedimentary_evidence_from_Bermuda._Quaternary_Science_Reviews_28_271-285/file/9c96051c7177e8b1b2.pdf

The most recent major climate oscillation occurred at the mid-Brunhes, about ~400kya, when last we were at an eccentricity minima. For the past 4 or so eccentricity cycles we have experienced deeper lows and higher highs. Going back 2 ~400kyr cycles buys you the half-precession or so old interglacial known as MIS-19, during the mid Pleistocene Transition.

We will either “go long” like MIS-11 did, or we won’t, like MIS-19 didn’t.

The only climate mitigant proposed to date that might impede or delay onset of the next glacial is CO2. The proposal is before us to remove that speedbump to glacial inception.

34. Patrick says:

“pat says:

April 22, 2014 at 8:36 pm”

Interesting. I don’t usually watch any ABC programs here in Australia regarding climate change because they are almost always clearly biased in support of CAGW and “carbon pollution”. Far too many people here have been duped into believing CO2 is C (Carbon) the analogy used is that coal is carbon and coal is black and dirty therefore “carbon pollution” (CO2) is also black and dirty. We even had ads on TV with black coloured balloons popping out of the front panels of appliances and floating up into the sky, laughable!

Newman, Abbott and the LNP are constantly and publically ridiculed here too for their stance on CO2, climate change and any form of tax or ETS.

Great message from Dr. Curry. Is this the start of a landslide in similar statements from other climatologists, the beginning of the end of CAGW alarmism?

35. Sparks says:

I am not a drone.

36. Doug says:

My only question is why there are not more of her type? A scientist needs to place the scientific method above all. I am more liberal than 97% of the fans of this board, but the scientist in me forces me to agree with most posts and be at odds with 97% of my friends on the topic of AWG.

37. noaaprogrammer says:

Jeff Alberts says:

“Sorry, no. ‘You cannot divide by zero’ is not false, it’s a true statement.”

Sorry Jeff, but the programming language C++ allows the following:

const float x = 1./0; // effectively assigns inf (infinity) to x

This allows the handy upper bound of infinity against which any (including the largest) real floating point representation on a machine can be compared for a running minimum as needed in various algorithms – for example Dijkstra’s Algorithm for computing minimum routes between a given node and all other nodes in a weighted graph.

(However C++ does not allow integer division by zero.)

38. The reason for all the hysterics and desire to use violence to “shut up” the “deniers” is that they are not making enough headway against fossil fuels to solve the “problem” they see as drastic. And of course, the real problem: all this was supposed to enrich government coffers with a big new tax. Instead, the Guv is going broke. They think that is because we have shaken people’s faith, but really it is because anti-energy greenies have crashed the American and EU economies so money for more taxes simply does not exist, no matter what people believe.

39. Dr. Curry observes that climate change skeptics skew old. She is correct. We oldsters who have obtained financial stability and whose professional careers have peaked, can consider the issues and data about climate and reach scientific conclusions without fear of negative impact on our financial and professional standing.

Younger scientists entire careers and their financial status hang in the balance. One skeptical statement can cost them everything.

The politicians who control the research funding are in total control. And the liberal biased, crisis loving media keeps the climate alarmist politicians in total control of all levels of government.

I, like Dr. Curry, cheer when a significant young person publicly questions the climate change crisis. However, the most common position of younger, non-scientist activists is based on reasoning that even if our use of fossil fuels and the resulting increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is not causing a climate crisis, the alternate green energy movement and the limitations in atmospheric and ocean pollution that result form a reduction in oil and coal production, processing the energy production is environmentally responsible. Therefore they lend their support to the climate change alarmists agenda. Correcting the bad science of CO2 pollution is not a significant issue with them.

What an awful state of affairs.

Dr. Curry please continue to try to reach out to the younger generation. You are on my list of heroes.

40. Judith Curry is not so much criticising “climate science” as “consensus science” – this is science by committee, science whose only standard is “buddy review”. She is criticising the idea that has grown amongst many academics that peer review is the be-all and end-all of “science” and that if these omnipotent academics proclaim that “we should all recycle” … then this is “science”.

This is in sharp contrast to what I term “skeptic science”, the kind of science most skeptics were taught at school and university. This is science based on the “skeptic method” (formerly known as scientific method – but now little used in many areas of science).

Judith very clearly articulates this difference where she criticised climate/consensus science for : “inference from incomplete, inadequate and ambiguous observations; climate models that have been demonstrated not to be useful for most of the applications that they are used for; and theories and hypotheses that are competing with alternative theories and hypotheses.

I have described Skeptic science as a “tyranny of the facts”. Perhaps more accurately it is a “tyranny of observation”. Because a skeptic scientist would never consider a model at all validated unless & until it is able to predict the facts & observation. Moreover, a skeptic scientist could never assert as “science” anything that is not thoroughly backed by careful observation and tested hypothesis.

But lastly – before anyone replies as they might that “science is skeptic science”, unfortunately, science is just a word, and society has chosen to apply it to a social group largely of academics who have chosen to use that word to apply to their work irrespective of whether it uses the skeptic method.

These academics are the “guardians of science”. We skeptics might not like their standards and might want them to be higher, but when society is asked to chose between the definition of “consensus science” that is now prevalent or that of “skeptic science” which we would like, unfortunately I cannot see our view prevailing.

41. I have watched Dr. Curry’s evolution from a scientifically rigorous bemusement with the difficulties and uncertainties in climate science to a scientifically rigorous outrage at the clown show being staged by “the team”. It is not any particular distortion, nor any specific tantrum on the part of little Mikey and his pals; rather it has been the recognition that The Team” is uninterested in science as an honourable, honest practice.

Were I in Mann’s slippers or if I brought politics to the science table I would be very, very afraid of Dr. Curry’s intelligence; but I would be downright terrified of her clear eyed integrity in defence of the science she has devoted her life to.

42. Paul Westhaver says:

There is Science and then there is politics.

Science is simply a brand name like “Heinz” or “Coca Cola” or “Penn State University”. Such brand names are endowed with a public perception from years of vigorous PR. Like many brands, “Science” has been portrayed as some kind of statement of honesty and integrity. But like any brand, when the PR doesn’t match the produce being delivered the brand looses credibility.

We skeptics clearly want “science” to be a very robust standard; one which is far higher than many of those working under the brand name “science”.

Unfortunately, we have no control over the standards within “science” because it is effectively a club – one into which you are admitted by being assessed by a committee of members in what they call “peer review”. This is the rules of their club. This club sets the standards of “science”, we skeptic do not.

However, there are many scientists who still want to adhere to the standards of skeptic science. I think we should concentrate far less on trying to change what we clearly cannot: so no longer should we say “science isn’t … science”, and instead should start saying we want government advisors to work to the stand of “skeptic science” and not the present [consensus] science.

So I would prefer we see a spectrum of certainty.

Politics – assertions are true if they cannot be proven false and some agree.
Pseudo science (like economics) – careful observation and a lot of speculation and peer review gives more credibility but often not.
[consensus] science – assertions that may or may not be backed by evidence and test, but which a “consensus” of scientists agree to.
Skeptic science – assertions have to be backed by evidence and hypothesis testing and in which consensus (democracy( plays no part because it is an anti-democratic “tyranny of the facts”.

43. NikFromNYC says:

Comic relief: remember just before Climategate, Mann’s Atlantic hurricane hockey stick in Nature that referenced the medieval warm period for support and included not even a list of what sea surface temperature proxies were used, but did reference an unpublished paper by one M. Mann, and this paper was followed by an Al Gore effect of a record lull in hurricane activity continuing to the present.

44. Rhys Jaggar says:

Climate Science is about to undergo the modern equivalent of ‘The Reformation’ and Judith Curry is one of the more outspoken dissenters aka the Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, Quakers etc etc etc.

There will be victims and sacrificial lambs – there always are in these kind of situations.

There may also be geographies which revert to power-based faith rather than data-driven science, just as the Reformation left certain catholic countries relatively or completely untouched.

The real question is whether it will take a break-up of the United Nations to stop this runaway train of climate alarmism and, if so, which nations of sufficient clout will cecede to trigger the reforms necessary?

45. jauntycyclist says:

the person who stays with the facts wherever they lead is the scientist.
A scientist is not afraid of divergences but interested in them.

The main divergence right now is between what academia claims its does [science] and what it really does [politics].

46. In-depth studies, carried out over the last 45 seconds, confirm there is a direct link between the climate and politics.

Both climate and politics change over time !! A fact confirmed in the afore mentioned in-depth study.

“Man” is the main cause of all political change, therefore “Man” is the main cause of climate change.

The climate is seen as a problem if a particular political party is in power, whereas there is no problem at all to be see with the climate if the opposite party is at the helm.

So, the simplest way to solve any climate problems is to keep that party “who see no problems”, in power.

Not only will this save the Earth from certain destruction, it will save a lot of money in the national budget as there’ll be no need for climate science committees, reports, analysis, action etc.

Prior to the 45 second in-depth study, a cartoon was created, which may, or may not, conflict with the theme of the above summary.

That climate change cartoon is here . . . . . . . .

http://cartoonmick.wordpress.com/editorial-political/#jp-carousel-775

Cheers
Mick

47. Rhys Jaggar says: Climate Science is about to undergo the modern equivalent of ‘The Reformation’

I’ve said before that the internet is about to do to “science” and academia in general what printing did to the catholic church.

For years, the almost unquestioned right to say what “knowledge” is has been retained by academia. It has jealously guarded this right and by monarchical and then government patronage, it has maintained a special position as omnipotent “expert”.

Printing dramatically reduced the cost of conveying information. The result was that no longer were the costs so prohibitive that only one institution (the catholic church) could afford the costs of collecting and conveying information. Printing so reduced the costs that all kinds of institutions and many of the richer members of society could now afford to have their own libraries and even to regularly publish material in “newspapers”.

However, whilst the costs of printing have slowly reduced, the conveyance of information was still largely retained by the big institutions: Universities, News Papers, Government, Big corporate book sellers.

Then along came the internet …

Suddenly, someone like me can sit down with a cup of coffee and someone like you can read what I say. It costs be little more than my time, and it cost you little more either.

Now the costs of conveying information have been revolutionised, and that now means that individuals like you and me are on an equal footing to even the most grandiose academic.

…. And do they hate it!!

Because for years, what counts for “knowledge” by these academics has been a lopsided, highly politicalised view in which e.g. “carbon credits” were advocated in the same way the old catholic church advocated “indulgences”.

For years, academics have been able to portray themselves as “the highest of standards” and “the best experts” … because no INSTITUTIONAL newspaper was going to criticise another INSTITUTIONAL university based on the say so of some individuals like us skeptics.

However, now their dirty laundry can be openly discussed by us here … and no journalist, no university and certainly no government can stop us revealing the appalling standards which are endemic in some areas of academia.

But just as the catholic church was certainly not all bad – nor do I believe all academics are bad – but will that save them if they don’t reform?

48. Niff says: “..and we sceptics are accused of denying the science…?

Back in the 1980s I worked in a heavily unionised company which was full of demarcation disputes. One day we in R&D were given a new office. We duly packed up everything … and then sat and sat and sat. Eventually after several hours waiting, we commandeered a trolley and took the key boxes and a coat stand … along past the production floor … to the the new office.

Well, obviously all hell broke loose. We weren’t in the right union for pulling boxes! So very quickly the “trolley pulling” union demanded a senior level management meeting with the main trade unions it was agreed that we would take them back.

So we put the coat stand and an empty box on the trolley and took them back (leaving the boxes we needed for our work).

We skeptics are not “denying science”, instead “science” is a social construct, or in this terms a “social boundary” demarcating an area of work “belonging” to a certain social group. So, what we are actually being accused of is “treading over the boundary” in that we are saying things which academics believed was their “job”.

So, given that this is a boundary dispute between academics and “outsiders”, just like that union dispute in the company, it isn’t very surprising that recently some climate scientists threatened to “go on strike”.

And so we should see the use of “the denier”” term as much a reference to “denying Christ twice”, in that skeptics are denying the divine omnipotence of climate scientists.

And this I believe is why the vitriol has been so free flowing from academia toward us skeptics. Because for us to assert our right to free speech and say anything about the climate, is deemed by those in academia who used to be omnipotent as a denial of their authority particularly because we are all so well educated and reasonable in what we say. That is undermining their legitimacy as the unquestioned authority on this subject.

And of course they’ve done the equivalent of “go and speak to the management to insist we take our coat stand back from whence it came” … but neither the “management” nor academia nor any of their friends have the power of legitimacy to stop us.

49. john says:

David Ball says: April 22, 2014 at 8:39 pm
[ Dr. Curry, glad you have acknowledged the limitations in the science. One question; what the hell took you so long? ]

Not that I’m religious, BUT they do have some great quotes, this seems appropriate –

…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7

50. Gary in Erko says:

Sometime in the near future all this will be swept under the carpet like the Y2k fiasco. Those who curse the skeptics today will shrug their shoulders and say “well, what could we do except trust the experts, and at least we cleaned up some of the pollution, so stop accusing us of being stupid. If your position was so wonderful, then what did you do for pollution.” And they’ll find something else to worry everyone about – maybe a statistic about stray asteroids or an imminent inter-galactic invasion. I hope no-one here expects to stand tall with “I told you so” statements. They won’t be interested.

Gary in Erko says:
April 23, 2014 at 12:43 am
“They won’t be interested.”
————————————–
They won’t have a choice. Do not measure this debate against others in the past. The Internet is a game changer.

The lame stream media used to be the gate keepers of opinion and record. This is no longer the case. When it comes to those who would bring the AGW fellow travellers to task it is a mistake to think it would be just those happy few of us who fought on St. Crispins day.

There is an elephant in the room. That elephant is the general public.

When Mr. Stampy finds out that the whole of the AGW hoax depended on claiming that –

Or –

“The net effect of the atmosphere over the oceans is warming of the oceans.”

– then Mr. Stampy is likely to get very angry. The reddened eyes. The crazed trumpeting. The stomping frenzy. Indeed, the whole farrago.

The sorry players in this tedious season of “The great Global Warming Caper” will not be slinking off to new productions like “BioCrisis! BioCrisis!” or “Sense and Sustainability”.

The thing about the Internet is that it remembers all. The AGW fellow travellers can scrub like Lady Macbeth, they can even use the Scotchbrite, but the filthy stain of global warming advocacy wilt not out.

Dr. Curry has called it. The Rubenesque diva is practising her scales and the buses are warming up…

52. Sparks says:

Build a school. I dare ya… lol

53. “… With regards to climate science, the biggest concern that I have is the insistence on ‘the facts.’ This came up during my recent ‘debate’ with Kevin Trenberth. I argued that there are very few facts in all this, and that most of what passes for facts in the public debate on climate change is: inference from incomplete, inadequate and ambiguous observations; climate models that have been demonstrated not to be useful for most of the applications that they are used for; and theories and hypotheses that are competing with alternative theories and hypotheses. …”

I would add to Ms. Curry’s complaint that much of the “data” in climate science has been massively tampered with or “adjusted”. Why do the government “scientists” go back into the 1930’s and lower historical temperatures while increasing current temperatures? Why? Because they are frauds and charlatans. Even with the data tampering we still see no warming for darn near two decades yet these rent-seekers continue to whine that we are all going to fry/drown. They are despicable.

54. Gary in Erko says: “Sometime in the near future all this will be swept under the carpet like the Y2k fiasco. Those who curse the skeptics today will shrug their shoulders and say …

No! that is not what will happen. As I explain above, the internet has fundamentally changed the balance of power between the individual citizen and the institutions.

To give an example, I was speaking to a journalist only yesterday and we were discussing the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth games in Glasgow. The organisers had decided to include in the ceremony the demolishing of a number of flats. But very quickly the former residents got onto social media and started a campaign and petition and almost before many people had heard about it, the idea was dropped.

In former times, if anyone had bothered to write to a paper – it would have gone to a paper that had already run the story about “how marvellous an idea it was” … they would only reluctantly have printed an odd letter, often selecting those that did not criticise the paper. As such, the same number of angry former residents could largely be ignored. The internet has fundamentally changed the ability of ordinary people to force change in hitherto arrogant and self-serving institutions. And people are only just realising this power!

This is the power of the internet … and with it is coming new politics.

So, we skeptics are just part of a mass change in society which is not only affecting climate or even science but the very fundamental basis of our society and politics.

In the UK we’ve seen a series of new parties grow over the last decade from the greens to UKIP. To a large part, the global warming madness can be attributed to the early dominance of the internet by green-academics.

But whilst the greens had strong journalistic support, UKIP appeared to “come from nowhere”. However, the reality, given the way most UKIP activists seem to start off blogging or on facebook, would appear to be that UKIP became a mass social movement through the internet. And the same has happened in other places because e.g. the internet placed a key role in the “Arab spring”.

So, the internet is quite literally a revolution in the political sense as well as in the scientific sense that blogs like this allow views to be heard which in former times were repressed. Now those views cannot be held back not by repressive governments, nor by repressive political systems nor by “establishment” journalists, nor be “establishment” academics.

The “establishment” is losing control. Climategate was the UK establishment trying to regain control and asserting “the establishment is vindicated”. That would have worked a decade ago before the internet and yes, a decade ago it would have been swept under the carpet, but not now!

The best historical president for what we are about to see is the change in society from monarchical church and kings to one of oligarchical (institutional rule) by parliaments, press and institutions like Universities.

That led to the massive decline in the power of the Catholic church and a new balance was only obtained after the emergence of many new churches. In other words, we went from “the one institution” to “the many institutions”.

The internet however, is a community of individuals and not institutions. The old press was an “institution releasing press statements to institutional journalists”. This was an institution-to-institution communication network that disempowered the individual. The new internet is a peer-to-peer network which by undermining the commercial viability of the “dinosaur news media” is disempowering the institutions (i.e. establishment)

The new internet is now vastly increasing the power of individuals outwith institutions and that will cause a fundamental change in society.

Or perhaps the best way I can put it is this … they say “history is written by the victors”.
In the past, history was written by academia. But in the future, it will be written on the internet, because the internet will be the victor.

55. Excellent discussions here. When Science is declared settled, as advocated by politicians and echoed by scientists, it becomes propaganda.

56. rogerknights says:

TonG(ologist) says:
April 22, 2014 at 8:18 pm

My amalgamated concern is that, once the emporer is revealed as having no clothes the anti-evolution crows is going to say: 1) “you see, scientists are really partisan advocates to their own narrow way of life, and 2) “you see, climate scientists use the word theory to mean an idea, an educated guess, so the narrow definition that evolutionists have been forcing on us over the years is false. Evolution really is ” just a theory.” Now we want if removed from school science curricula because it is not factual.

You might think me over reacting, but I have been involved in both battles in my time and have seen the lengths to which people who are truly anti scienc will go. What I find ironic is that evolutionary theorists such as blogger PZ Myers are adamant on the whole theory vs hypothesis idea AND they are also big catastrophic global warming supporters, but they don’t recognize that the entire CAGW concept is only a hypothesis and does not even approach theory. Yet they trumpet against climate skeptics in a clarion voice which will inevitably come back and bite them on the ass pretty damned hard.

Here’s the light-hearted payback I envisage: A dinosaur mini-park, with Fred Jetson aboard, on the campus of every university with an advanced degree in climatology, as a token of repentance–and a reminder not to sin again.

57. Mike McMillan says:

pat says: April 22, 2014 at 8:36 pm

58. johnmarshall says:

It is a pity that Dr Curry did not voice these concerns when she was in a position to have made a difference. Now as a retired person she will be ignored as past it or senile like others.

59. Gary in Erko says:

“Sometime in the near future all this will be swept under the carpet”

Yes – the internet is a great catalyst for a new way of social relations, and in this case for group work of critical analysis. We’re strangers somewhere loose around the world having a conversation. This didn’t happen when I was advancing from 7 figure log tables to a grown-up’s slide rule before the calculator with lit-up green readouts. But I don’t believe that people (us) taking part in this new world conversation pit have changed. Think back over all the errors that were laid aside in the past and whether the perpetuators and their supporters expressed a real sorrow and apology. Witches. The Inquisition. Genocides – eg, Armenian, Nazi, 1930s Ukraine. The cold war nuclear holocaust. Did anyone apologise for teaching the world is flat, or that tectonic plates don’t drift. If we can’t figure why those fetishes were believed and just as easily dropped then our best basis for predicting the outcome of AGW mass hysteria being dumped is that it will be like the past. Remember – it’s the contemporary expression of some sort of mass apocalyptic hysteria. Don’t assume AGW faith is a logical or scientific thingumy that entails a logical end point.

Sorry but there won’t be any revenge for dragging us through this AGW insanity. Don’t expect to feel any satisfaction when it’s all over. Just be glad we’ll get a break before we move on to the next one whatever it will be. Gee – what a depressing thought. It’s worse than all the AGW predictions.

60. By using quotes contained on the blog of Dr. Judith Curry (mainly – among other things), I “constructed” such a comment on one (rather alarmist) blog … :

James Lovelock:
“It is far better to think about how we can protect ourselves. This is something we should be looking at carefully, not just applying guesswork and hoping for the best.”

Lennart Bengtsson :
He was the Director of Research at ECMWF and Director of the Max Planck Insitute for Meteorology.
“The complex and only partially understood relationship between greenhouse gases and global warming leads to a political dilemma.”
“… the forecasts [here] are more a matter of faith than a fact.” “… produce a false impression of reliability.”

Hans von Storch, Armineh Barkhordarian, Klaus Hasselmann and Eduardo Zorita:
“… warming stagnation over fifteen years, from 1998 -2012, is no longer consistent with model projections even at the 2% confidence level.”

Mojib Latif: “This raises questions about the average climate sensitivity of the IPCC models.”

Once again James Lovelock:
“ A lot of investment in green technology has been a giant scam, if well intentioned.”

… and once more Lennart Bengtsson:
“… before radical and hasty changes to the current energy system are implemented, there must be robust evidence that climate change is significantly detrimental.

I hope that this “forcing” into thinking …

61. johnmarshall says: “It is a pity that Dr Curry did not voice these concerns when she was in a position to have made a difference.”

For years, I sent off press releases to the “mainstream media” trying to get skeptic views into the “mainstream”. But eventually, it twigged that the “mainstream” on climate was WattsUpWithThat, etc.

I know it is difficult for us old fogey skeptics who have had a career in an institutionalised establishment and institutional news-media to understand that these institutions are fast becoming quiet back streams, and the back streams like WUWT are becoming the mainstream, but the simple fact is that Judith has expressed her concern where she will make “a difference”.

The problem is not that she is expressing her views in the wrong place (or wrong time), but that you (and obviously many in the establishment and institutions) are failing to recognise the growing power and influence of WUWT and other on line information communities.

Now that many of the “dinosaur” news media have given up serious commentary on issues like climate science, Judith Curry has come to what is probably the most read and authoritative source of public information on climate.

What better place could their be to put her views?

62. Martin A says:

Karim D. Ghantous says:
April 22, 2014 at 7:37 pm
(…) you cannot define the square root of -2.

j × 1.414 ?

• @Karim D. Ghantous – it is eye, not jay (lower case). It represents the square root of -1.

63. rogerknights says:

HL Mencken–warmist-related quotes:

The business of a man of science in this world is not to speculate and dogmatize, but to demonstrate. To be sure, he sometimes needs the aid of hypothesis, but hypothesis, at best, is only a pragmatic stop-gap, made use of transiently because all the necessary facts are not yet known. The appearance of a new one in contempt of it destroys it instantly. At its most plausible and useful it simply represents an attempt to push common sense an inch or two over the borders of the known. At its worst it is only idle speculation, and no more respectable than the soaring of metaphysicians.

Science, at bottom, is really anti-intellectual. It always distrusts pure reason, and demands the production of objective fact.

Penetrating so many secrets, we cease to believe in the unknowable. But there it sits nevertheless, calmly licking its chops. Why is the so-called science of sociology, as ardent young college professors expound it, such an imbecility? Why is a large part of economics? Why does politics always elude the classifiers and theorizers? Why do fashions in metaphysics change almost as often as fashions in women’s hats? Simply because the unknowable casts its black shadows across all these fields—simply because the professors attempt to label and pigeon-hole phenomena that are as elusive and intangible as the way of a man with a maid.

[It is a delusion] that a moron run through a university and decorated with a Ph.D. will cease thereby to be a moron …

Nature abhors a moron.

A professor must have a theory as a dog must have fleas.

The professor must be an obscurantist or he is nothing; he has a special and unmatchable talent for dullness, his central aim is not to expose the truth clearly, but to exhibit his profundity, his esotericity – in brief to stagger sophomores and other professors.

Platitude [aka settled science]: an idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true.

Of a piece with the absurd pedagogical demand for so-called constructive criticism is the doctrine that an iconoclast is a hollow and evil fellow unless he can prove his case. Why, indeed, should he prove it? Is he judge, jury, prosecuting officer, hangman?

Nine times out of ten, in the arts as in life, there is actually no truth to be discovered; there is only error to be exposed. In whole departments of human inquiry it seems to me quite unlikely that the truth ever will be discovered.

The final test of truth is ridicule. Very few dogmas have ever faced it and survived.

The cynics are right nine times out of ten.

64. NikFromNYC says:

Gary, there is an additional element that doesn’t make the Y2K bug a good analogy. A whole generation or two of students have now been fully indoctrinated that energy generation is destroying instead of greening the planet. As the temperature falls in a likely repeat of a natural cycle, the backlash will be youthful and possibly quite intense exactly because it has been so emotionalized by teachers. I remember how terribly angry I was after reading Born Lomborg’s early book The Skeptical Environmentalist when he destroyed the halo of mainstream environmentalism.

65. Martin, I am tempted to refer to the quote above, posted by Roger Knights:

“Nine times out of ten, in the arts as in life, there is actually no truth to be discovered; there is only error to be exposed”

But you’ve been a good sport, and I thank you!

(I also need to confess that I am largely ignorant in mathematics – a situation I aim to remedy).

66. Gary in Erko says:

NikFromNYC
Is that vastly different than, for instance, the youth imbued with Nazi doctrine against Gypsies, Jews, and others when they discovered they’d been fooled? If they’re youth in high school (Australian terms for school ages 11 to 18) now, they’ll be young adults when it all falls apart. And is it their age you’re referring to or the different extend of global effect between Y2K and AGW? I pity the teachers though when they realise the damage they’ve done.

67. ConTrari says:

Sooner or later, alarmist politicians and scientists HAVE to take notice of these objectons that Dr. Curry raises. It will not be possible for climate science to go on as before, and still remain a part of the scientific community.

The scary part is the obvious trend towards silencing opposition, even attacking democracy itself. Dr. Schellnhuber, the chief alarmist climate scientist in Germany, said it very clearly in an interview with Spiegel back in 2010;

“SPIEGEL: Which countries do you believe are best suited to bringing about a total rebuilding of industrial society?

Schellnhuber: Ultimately only democratic societies will be able to master this challenge, notwithstanding their torturous decision-marking processes. But to get there perhaps we’ll need innovative refinement of our democratic institutions. I could imagine assigning 10 percent of all seats in parliament to ombudsmen who represent only the interests of future generations.”

Innovative refinement of democracy…can you think of some other persons who might have had such thoughts?

68. beng says:

Lately I’ve been reading her posts. Many are pretty good, but hard to sift thru the replies — alot of thread-bombers there that wouldn’t be tolerated here.

69. Tucci78 says:

Dr. Curry sure as hell ought to be bitter about the alarmism pervading her chosen discipline.

Like many other people with talents and training in the geophysical sciences, Judith Curry invested her life in an area of study tied ineluctably to the preposterous bogosity of “man-made global warming” by way of anthropogenic increases in atmospheric CO2.

Hers has been a career that reflects the ways in which many of her contemporaries had been drawn in directions they might well have never gone had the AGW error not been propagated in the late ’70s and then force-fed (on “other people’s money,” by way of taxation) into a concerted fraud by authoritarian “Liberal” fascist politicians, beginning in the 1980s. In February, 2010, Dr. Curry wrote:

Credibility is a combination of expertise and trust. While scientists persist in thinking that they should be trusted because of their expertise, climategate has made it clear that expertise itself is not a sufficient basis for public trust. The fallout from climategate is much broader than the allegations of misconduct by scientists at two universities. Of greatest importance is the reduced credibility of the IPCC assessment reports, which are providing the scientific basis for international policies on climate change. Recent disclosures about the IPCC have brought up a host of concerns about the IPCC that had been festering in the background: involvement of IPCC scientists in explicit climate policy advocacy; tribalism that excluded skeptics; hubris of scientists with regards to a noble (Nobel) cause; alarmism; and inadequate attention to the statistics of uncertainty and the complexity of alternative interpretations.

In the years since she composed that essay on “Rebuilding Trust” in her profession, Dr. Curry has been engaged vigorously in what she calls “the blogosphere” and appears to have had her nose rubbed repeatedly in the arrogant mendacity of the vested (and government-funded) establishment in climatology, an inbred cadre of charlatans and quacks who see themselves as nothing but a publicity machine in support of political pillage being perpetrated by kleptocratic regimes all over the planet.

For the very best of regions, eh?

“Noble cause corruption,” indeed.

70. Reblogged this on Power To The People and commented:
Alarmists True Agenda Is Not Truth It Is: No Growth, Stagnation and Ultimately A Road Back To A Pre-Industrial Society When Life Was Short and Brutal and Everyone But the Elite in Power Were Equal Equally Poor That Is.

71. Jeff Alberts says:

HL Mencken–warmist-related quotes:

The business of a man of science in this world is not to speculate and dogmatize, but to demonstrate. To be sure, he sometimes needs the aid of hypothesis, but hypothesis, at best, is only a pragmatic stop-gap, made use of transiently because all the necessary facts are not yet known.

Would those be false facts or true facts? ;)

72. Bart says:

garymount says:
April 23, 2014 at 4:09 am

j =
[0 -1
1 0]

73. AJ says:

Vaughan Pratt says:
April 22, 2014 at 5:21 pm
“Of the thousands of department chairmen in the US, which of them have expressed an even lower opinion of their colleagues’ understanding of their field?”

My guess is that there’s plenty of Department of Economics Chairmen in the US with a similar opinion of their field. Especially so after the financial crises. The Dismal Science shares a defining characteristic with Climate Science. The individual parts might be explainable, but trying to model the whole is fraught with propagating uncertainties. In Economics, it is customary for quantitative analyses to be accompanied by several qualifications. Should we expect any different in Climate Science?

74. rogerknights says:

Did Dr. Curry retire? I thought she still had an administrative post and maybe did some other work.

• Tucci78 says:

At 8:27 AM on 23 April, AJ had written:

My guess is that there’s plenty of Department of Economics Chairmen in the US with a similar opinion of their field. Especially so after the financial crises. The Dismal Science shares a defining characteristic with Climate Science. The individual parts might be explainable, but trying to model the whole is fraught with propagating uncertainties. In Economics, it is customary for quantitative analyses to be accompanied by several qualifications.

Not so much in those Departments of Economics where the implacable praxeological honesty of the Austrian School prevails over the economeretricious prestidigitory putzelry of the Keynesians and the Monetarists and suchlike quacks.

Austrian School economists don’t give a good goddam about “trying to model the whole” as a mechanistic cosmos-in-a-bottle but seek instead to analyze the motivations and effects of purposeful voluntary individual human action (praxis), considering econometrics and aggregate macroeconomic analyses so fraught with the errors of arrogant scientism as to be perniciously worse than useless, offering armed government thugs various excuses for aggressively normative interference in market economies to violate the rights of participant individuals on the idiot premise that the ruling class is somehow superior in knowledge, wisdom, and responsibility.

All because of those “quantitative analyses […] accompanied by several qualifications” – which invariably turn out to have sweet Fanny Adams to do with objective reality.

75. Theo Goodwin says:

Vaughan Pratt says:
April 22, 2014 at 5:21 pm

“Of the thousands of department chairmen in the US, which of them have expressed an even lower opinion of their colleagues’ understanding of their field?”

Correction: “some of their colleagues.”

76. u.k.(us) says:

Jeff Alberts says:

April 23, 2014 at 7:10 am
==============
I think you’ve made your point, I agree it was poorly written.
Can we move on now ?

can be found in this recent book review by F. Dyson: The Case for Blunders, March 6, 2014 Issue (NYBooks)

Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein—Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe
by Mario Livio
Simon and Schuster, 341 pp., \$26.00
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/mar/06/darwin-einstein-case-for-blunders/

Science consists of facts and theories. Facts and theories are born in different ways and are judged by different standards. Facts are supposed to be true or false. They are discovered by observers or experimenters. A scientist who claims to have discovered a fact that turns out to be wrong is judged harshly. One wrong fact is enough to ruin a career.

I like the dichotomy of Facts vs. Theories, in that Facts need to be more trustworthy than theories. But I am not at all certain that “Facts are supposed to be true or false” is itself a fact, but a more theory with many weaknesses.

“The Earth is Flat”, certainly a statement that is not true. But it was fact for some a couple thousand years ago. But even today, a Flat Earth is a useful simplifying assumption for small scale construction projects.

“The Earths’ surface is concave upwards.” Certainly this is false in general. But there are places where it is true: Barringer Crater, AZ; Crater Lake, OR; the Great Salt Lake Basin, UT. So it is not totally false, either. If measured in cross section, every river valley expresses a concave upward dimension.

“The Earth’s surface is a sphere.” This isn’t quite true either. In a sphere the radius is constant in all directions. The Earth radius at the poles is less than the radius at the equator. So while the statement is not true, it is certainly more true than the statement that the “Earth is flat.”

So I am forced to conclude that Some facts are more true than other facts.

78. Frodo says:

Gary in Erko said:
>> Sometime in the near future all this will be swept under the carpet like the Y2k fiasco. Those who curse the skeptics today will shrug their shoulders and say “well, what could we do except trust the experts, and at least we cleaned up some of the pollution, so stop accusing us of being stupid. If your position was so wonderful, then what did you do for pollution.” And they’ll find something else to worry everyone about – maybe a statistic about stray asteroids or an imminent inter-galactic invasion. I hope no-one here expects to stand tall with “I told you so” statements. They won’t be interested.<> The thing about the Internet is that it remembers all.<<

I sincerely hope you are right, but I think you are wrong. Too many important people have bought into this farce for there to ever be any dire consequences. There will never be any public apologies or admissions of failure., and you will never see a Showtime documentary on the “Great CAGW Fraud”. It will be largely forgotten, as the next farce takes its place. People like Judith Curry and Anthony Watts will not get the proper, just benefit from their work, and might actually get hurt, even if they are proven 100% correct. The general public will never readily understand the true enormous costs to humanity of this farce – that stuff will be hard to accurately measure – and will subsequently not care all that much.

Again –I really, really hope I am wrong.

79. Frodo says:

Oops, I made a few mistakes in prior post with stray HTML tags – sorry about that – My response was mainly to Konrad, not Gary. Just, once again (I keep going back to him, don’t I?) going back to Ehrlich – after 40+ years of failure, look at where he is now. All that failure has been extensively documented and is on the ‘net – it does not matter. It will actually be worse than you think – people like Mann, I am afraid, will have exulted places in academia. There will be rewards for all the deception and waste. Too many powerful people (President Obama, as just one example) do not want to be embarrassed in the future.

80. I read them all on her blog. I sense a lot of frustration on her part. She sees her chosen profession being destroyed in the name of expediency. And even then, the alarmists are trying to parrot Mann and tar [her] for the simple reason she is for good science. She remains a warmist. But more than that, she is an ethical scientist, and that goes against the grain of “the team”.

“Remains a warmist”? What does that even mean? An ethical scientist (which she is, as you note) cannot be labelled as a warmist or a denier. Those terms would never have arisen at all if the science and scientific process remained uncorrupted. The only branch of endeavor that I’m familiar with where a debate exists that is even remotely similar (without the politics) is the argument between the “frequentists” and the “Bayesians” of probability theory (where the debate is over what the “best” formal definition for probability should be — a term that obtains precise meaning only in an inaccessible limit or in the defensibly optimal way that information-theoretic estimates of that probability approach the limit. Even there both sides recognize that most computable results cannot and do not depend on one’s stance regarding this subtlety, it is more a matter of practical utility, especially in the realm of scientific logic a la Jaynes and fuzzy reasoning in general.

Am I a warmist? Or a denier? I’ve been called both. To PSI-level deniers I’m a warmist. To catastrophic warmists I’m a denier. To myself I’m neither one — simply someone who understands at this point a fair bit of the science and evidence, enough to form a Bayesian estimate of the probable truth of various assertions in climate science (frequentist estimates being essentially impossible in non-independent sampling from a single planet). Catastrophe seems improbable. So does a complete lack of CO_2-driven warming compared to whatever mean temperature the planet might have or have had without the industrial increase. Those are not religious statements, they are based on direct consideration of observational evidence and the physical arguments themselves. As Dr. Curry might say, as a theorist performing a meta-analysis of theories and their correspondence to (itself uncertain) data, I might well be mistaken, but my mistakes are both forgiveable as being the best I can do given the existing models and physics and data and in the long run self-correcting because I continue to pay attention to data as it comes in, and to the changes in the theories.

Real science cannot be warmist, coolist, denierist, or any of the rest of the possible derogatory semi-religious labellings one might think up. Real science only cares about what is true, not expected or believed to eventually be true but what our best system of models, theories, beliefs predicts that turns out to actually be true. That’s the thing that the real “warmists” seem impervious to — the idea that they might turn out to be wrong, and that at the moment the data suggest that they are, in fact, wrong. It is by no means a slam dunk fact that they are wrong, but Bayesian reasoning is their worst enemy at the moment given the trends in the data over the last 16 years. However strongly they might have believed in their priors 25 years ago, the data is gradually forcing reassessment to bring posterior probabilities in line with observation.

Or to put it in the language of Nicholas Nassim Taleb in The Black Swan, a frequentist, presented with a run of 50 coin flips that all turned up heads, still thinks that the probability of the 51st flip being heads is 0.5, because it is a two sided coin and theoretically both sides should land equally likely. Baysian Joe the Cab Driver, on the other hand, says “It’s a mug’s game. The coin is fixed. The 51st flip will be heads.” At the moment, the evidence suggests that the hypothesis of catastrophic warming is a mug’s game, although sure, there is always a chance that the climate will suddenly change its behavior (just as sure, the run of 50 heads can occur naturally in an honest coin — with a probability of $2^{-50} \approx 10^{-15}$, that is, one run of 50 flips in a quadrillion. The thing is, one has to ask how many coins out of the order quadrillion coins on Earth are unfair coins, designed by the unscrupulous to only flip heads. Joe thinks that’s a whole lot more likely than him seeing a fair coin producing the run. I think Joe is (literally more likely to be) right.

rgb

81. Bart says:

Robert Brown says:
April 23, 2014 at 11:54 am

“It is by no means a slam dunk fact that they are wrong…”

It is a slam dunk that they are not right. An OR gate produces a 1, but the AND operation produces a 0.

82. rgbatduke says:

Well, at least we can say that they are not right yet.

Now stop, or I’ll tell the black sheep in scotland joke.

rgb

83. Latitude says:

Now stop, or I’ll tell the black sheep in scotland joke.

LOL

84. Leigh says:

This is the “thinking” global warmist scientist that will probably bring them all down.
The others have turned on her like a pack of rabid dogs.
why am I not suprised?

85. Bryan says:

Jeff Alberts says:
April 23, 2014 at 7:10 am
HL Mencken–warmist-related quotes:

The business of a man of science in this world is not to speculate and dogmatize, but to demonstrate. To be sure, he sometimes needs the aid of hypothesis, but hypothesis, at best, is only a pragmatic stop-gap, made use of transiently because all the necessary facts are not yet known.

Would those be false facts or true facts? ;)

=====================================
Surely I’m not the only one other than Judith Curry who realizes that there is an alternate usage for the word “fact”. The more common usage is to mean something that is true. The alternate usage is to mean something that is asserted to be true, or believed to be true, but may or may not actually be true. Thus she was completely correct in using the word as she did. Check the usage note in the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language:
http://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=fact
I learned this usage in the 7th grade from my excellent English teacher, Mrs. Thompson.

86. I also should have mentioned that in this usage what makes it a fact is that it is something that is either true or false, and is asserted or under discussion.

87. Reblogged this on The GOLDEN RULE and commented:
Getting tired with demonstrating the IPCC alarmists and supporters unsupportable “science”. It falls on deaf ears, blind eyes and dysfunctional brain receptors.
Nevertheless here is another try.

88. Jeff Alberts says:

Bryan says:
April 23, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Surely I’m not the only one other than Judith Curry who realizes that there is an alternate usage for the word “fact”. The more common usage is to mean something that is true. The alternate usage is to mean something that is asserted to be true, or believed to be true, but may or may not actually be true. Thus she was completely correct in using the word as she did. Check the usage note in the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language:
http://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=fact
I learned this usage in the 7th grade from my excellent English teacher, Mrs. Thompson.

The Usage Note doesn’t really convey the statement that Dr. Curry quoted from Dyson. I fully agree that facts are what we believe to be true based on what we know, or think we know. Once we determine that those facts aren’t in fact true, they’re no longer facts. I just think the kind of sloppy language, “facts are supposed to be true or false”, has no place in science or logic.

None of my English teachers were any good. I could spell better than most of them. I learned more from reading on my own, thanks to my dad. He introduced me to classical music and literature in the 60s and 70s.

89. rgbatduke says:

Surely I’m not the only one other than Judith Curry who realizes that there is an alternate usage for the word “fact”. The more common usage is to mean something that is true. The alternate usage is to mean something that is asserted to be true, or believed to be true, but may or may not actually be true.

To be really picky, to a true philosopher or scientist, the word has only the latter meaning, because well, k’know, we could all be living in The Matrix and almost everything we think we know could be mistaken. We would only be able to tell — provisionally — if we are able to detect “a glitch”. I’m not kidding, though — there are people at MIT who have proposed experiments that are supposed to determine of the world is a massive simulation by pushing some theoretical limits of a hypothetical game supercomputer managing it. More pragmatically, science has undergone a number of revolutions — real paradigm shifts — where our previous knowledge turned out to be either completely wrong or at best approximately right in certain limits. I’m not just referring to classical vs quantum, or non-relativistic vs relativistic, or the still unresolved question of gravity — we have gone from the conceptual description of forces as being generated by contact between objects — which anyone sane would have claimed is a simple fact pre-Newton — through Newton’s tentative invention of action at a distance, through to where modern field theory holds that all forces and interactions are simultaneously “at a distance” so that one never actually touches two pieces of matter together and yet are mediated by the exchange of massive or massless particles, so that it is at the same time all contact (and with the concept of force itself still inconsistently viewable as a distortion of spacetime itself rather than either one).

We have gotten to where we cannot even interpret data and try to make sense of it in much of our observational universe without models, and the most successful models and the theoretical framework in which they are successful form Bayesian priors (strongly held beliefs) in terms of which all other provisional knowledge is assessed. In the end, Nature determines what is fact, what is fantasy, what is (perhaps) exact, what is an approximation that works up to thus and such a point but no further, but Nature is perfectly happy to dish out surprises that force us to rearrange the entire underlying Bayesian framework and make many “truths” within the previous best framework false.

This is not irrelevant to climate science. I’m a theorist, and we get a bye to use our imagination to construct exotic scenarios just so that we can also imagine how we might test them. We have evidence that in the past ice ages have occurred that are very difficult to explain with any existing model for the Sun, for the Earth, for the Atmosphere. The Ordovician-Silurian transition is a perfect example. It occurred when the Sun was almost as bright as it is today (and more than bright enough to keep the Earth much, much hotter than it is now in geological time on either side of the glacial period). Glaciation began at a time when atmospheric CO_2 was supposed 7000 ppm — almost 20 time its CURRENT level — and peaked, with substantial planetary glaciation far below the Arctic Circle of the time, with CO_2 at 4000 ppm, ten times today’s level.

As far as I know, no “sane” perturbation of the GCM-type model will ever be able to explain this. The only kinds of things that can explain it are the Sun itself going into a sort of hibernation where TOA insolation dropped by a percent or three for 2.5 million years, or a pathological rearrangement of oceanic circulation, or a vast, persistent aerosol dump from massive volcanic traps, or…

Or, we have comparatively recently come to realize that there is long range observational cosmological data that gravitation alone seems unable to act as the sufficient cause that it should be in the old four-force model. Theorists have invented “Dark Matter” and “Dark Energy” to explain the two distinct phenomena that are inconsistent — Dark Matter to explain a mass deficit inside galaxies relative to observed orbital speeds, Dark Energy to explain an apparent temporal acceleration of the Universe’s expansion. Both theories are so far “invisible fairy” theories — that is the “dark” bit, as the matter/energy in question does not, apparently, couple to the electromagnetic field and hence is literally invisible.

But, if real, it has effects. It is also very likely not uniformly distributed, although lacking a knowledge of how it interacts with itself and other charged/visible matter, it is very difficult to know how it might coalesce into or with the galaxies — infalling dark matter cannot radiate away its energy and may or may not be slowed/trapped by ordinary matter (consider neutrinos, that simply zip through entire planets as if they are not even there because of their lack of EM coupling).

If we hypothesize Dark Matter exists in structured clouds in the galaxy, cooled and semistabilized by means of e.g. radiating away gravity waves or through some weak interaction with nuclear matter, then the solar system might well slide through clumps of it. Since it will (like neutrinos) penetrate ordinary matter almost as if it isn’t there, its sole effect would be to locally increase the effective gravitational constant by just a bit. This, in turn, would cause the Sun to compress just a bit, and would in fact cause all of the planetary orbits to decrease in radius just a bit. However, a compressed Sun would heat — the efficiency of fusion at the center would marginally increase, and the whole solar body would experience compression heating. The brightness of the sun would increase, quite possibly by quite a lot. Exactly the opposite would happen if the Solar system entered a “rift” in a nearly homogeneous cloud of dark matter — part of what we interpret as G, the gravitational constant, is associated with the density and homogeneity of dark matter, and as it decreased by even a tiny amount the Sun would expand, fusion in the core would become a tiny bit less efficient, and the entire photosphere would cool.

Similar things “could” occur if the Sun entered bands of intergalactic “dust” — ordinary matter — of the sort we can see in star-forming nebulae, but mostly the light pressure of the Sun would keep its immediate vicinity swept clean — it is very difficult for matter below a certain size to fall into the Sun at this point, or even to make it into the region between the Sun and the Earth to partially occlude sunlight (one implausible explanation for the O-S transition that I’ve read about that seems to ignore solar wind and light pressure). Dark matter, however, does not experience light pressure and can infall and even get trapped by the Sun if it can interact enough with solar matter to exchange energy without electromagnetism.

Note that this explanation — however much science fiction it is — would have enormous implications. Our climate would always depend on a variable we cannot currently measure — the local galactic density of dark matter — and a varying effective gravitational constant. This might be one of the principle causes of ice ages — the entire Pliestocene could be a record of the sun crossing a massive rift in the galaxy’s dark matter cloud, modulated by Milankovitch orbital mechanics. The changes on a decadal or century scale could well be so small that they are in the noise of our ability to measure G (but consistent with the inconsistency and spatial dependency of “G” in galactic orbital mechanics) but still more than large enough to profoundly modulate the sun’s intensity. Our base of civilized technological measurement of this sort of thing is decades old at this point; we might well not have enough of a baseline to be able to detect the phenomena.

The point is, physics research into very real stuff could completely alter the baseline physics that critically contributes to climate models. It could do so “tomorrow”. It could do so half a century from now. Physicists tend to be aware of this, so no matter how much they believe that gravitation is well described and a proven theory, even in the case of gravitation if someone offered evidence of a fifth force, or put salt on the tail of a Darkon, or came up with a plausible alternative explanation for the orbital data, no physicist would do more than shrug and go on with life and try to figure out where and how this matters in the entire collective structure of “facts” that are the fundamental basis for ALL of our beliefs about the Universe.

rgb

While Judith Curry is right to criticize the non-science of global warming alarmists, I for one am wondering why she has still not apparently grasped, in the face of so much modern-day chemical/physical as well as historical and geological evidence, the simple truth that neither man’s activities nor carbon dioxide play a measurable, let alone significant, role in evolution of the climate. How she can hold on to her own apparent conviction that man is making the world warm, in the face of the evidence that this is not true which she clearly sees, seems a non sequitur to me. She seems to be hoping that science will still support the global warming hypothesis, even as it has become so obvious that it does not and cannot.

Surely Dr. Curry can see that CO2 is a tiny component of greenhouse gases, that man’s share of CO2 activity is tiny, and that GHGs in general are a factor in climate change compared to solar activity and the cycles of ocean currents, so tiny as to be indistinguishable from the noise in other factors. I will never quite understand why she cannot acknowledge this, and get off the fence and support those scientists who have provided this real and irrefutable evidence of the falsity of AGW.

91. After her debate with Trenberth in Boulder two weeks ago, Judith described his presentation as “propaganda”

92. Jeff Alberts says:
April 24, 2014 at 7:13 am

“…Once we determine that those facts aren’t in fact true, they’re no longer facts. I just think the kind of sloppy language, “facts are supposed to be true or false”, has no place in science or logic.”

I would just say it is not sloppy language, but rather an alternate usage of the word “fact”. I pointed out the usage note from the American Heritage Dictionary. I should have also pointed out one of the definitions (2c):
“Something believed to be true or real: a document laced with mistaken facts.”
So, by that definition, a “fact” can be mistaken. If a fact can be mistaken, then certainly a fact can be false. It is simply an alternate usage (alternate definition actually). It is not the most common definition, but is nevertheless correct.

I also want to add my thanks to Judith Curry for choosing the more difficult, principled path (a sincere quest for truth) rather than taking the easy road (going along with “the cause”).