University Culture and Climate Change

Guest essay by Bob Fernley Jones


This essay is based on an earlier WUWT post but with increased emphasis to reflect on an important reason behind the recent resignation of Judith Curry from Georgia Tech, as posted in this WUWT account:

“…the deeper reasons have to do with my growing disenchantment with universities, the academic field of climate science and scientists… I no longer know what to say to students and postdocs regarding how to navigate the CRAZINESS in the field of climate science.”

See this from three Australian universities:

Here is a screenshot of the headline image for the public release in the university-partnered blog The Conversation, of a death story for coral reefs in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (the article). It contained some astonishing claims, one of which (red underlined) went globally viral:


It focussed not on the GBR, but on record high Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) in the vast Coral Sea (CS) in the month of March in 2016, which coincided with a “Super El Nino”, unlike anything seen for nineteen years. However, SST’s in the CS (and GBR) are typically at their coolest in that month in the “Southern hot season” (Jan Feb March)!

Of major concern is that a Google advanced search as in this cropped screenshot on 4/Oct/2016 revealed thousands of hits on the combined exact phrases as seen default bolded:


After extensive email exchanges with the University of Melbourne (UniMelb), they advised that the study at the heart of the article is to be enhanced for future journal publication as follows (my emphasis shows the major additions):

“In the more comprehensive study, we analyse observational data for the narrow coastal GBR sea temperatures and the larger Coral Sea region in March and in Jan-March, as well as climate model simulations and palaeoclimate reconstructions

However, the big issue remains that the public domain is still globally misinformed with implied high authority in acceptance of the original lesser study and UniMelb has refused to correct the “Fake News”.

The scary 175x forecast was not based on water temperature of the narrow Continental Shelf on which the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is located, but was hastily applied to SST data for the CS, presumably because GBR data were not easily accessible at that time (but did exist). Among other inadequacies was that average monthly data were used, however, it is well known that severe bleaching can occur with short temperature spikes that are only detectable with daily data. There is also strong evidence that unusually rapid rate of change in temperature can cause bleaching, and rapid rate of change in those spikes (shock) may inherently be part of the cause.

‘The study’ was not peer-reviewed study (the study) and employed complicated statistical theory to establish the ‘175x’ worse claim, but for the purpose here it is not necessary to consider it’s methodology. Instead, (and thus avoiding any controversy over statistical methodology) an empirical approach alone provides overwhelming rebuttal with incontrovertible data and observations, as elaborated later.

That aside, the primary consideration here, that echoes Judith’s lament is:

A question of honesty and diligence:

The five authors included the media-popular Professors Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and David Karoly.

Professor Hoegh-Guldberg of University of Queensland is described in their website as: “…[an] expert for media…” and, as “…the inaugural Director of the Global Change Institute… … is deeply-motivated by a desire to communicate science effectively”. Amongst many of his public performances, he has appeared on TV demonstrating a scientifically laughable “experiment” claiming to prove that our oceans are acidifying by blowing air from his lungs through a tube into a container of water and reading a pH meter! But……quickly moving on:

This review focuses on the University of Melbourne’s (UniMelb) involvement in which Professor Karoly has taken the lead WRT the study and its headline claim of: “Coral bleaching 175 times more likely…”. Oddly though, the Head of Science at UniMelb has advised me that the true author of the modelled statistic is Dr Andrew King, who has remained conspicuously silent throughout my lengthy enquiries.

It is not the first time that Professor Karoly has taken the mantle in co-authorship in a field where he has no apparent expertise. For instance, he was co-author in a UniMelb biology paper ‘Early emergence in a butterfly causally linked to anthropogenic warming’ (my bold). It found from development of their eggs in a lab, that when the (unnatural) steady state data were transcribed to the temperature record for the Melbourne suburb of Laverton, the poor creatures allegedly emerged ten days too early. Good enough for Biology Letters of the UK Royal Society of course!

Amusingly, Professor Karoly’s email reply to my enquiries included, with my emphasis on spelling: “…our study on the temperature trends and the changes in phOnology of the common brown butterfly…” I then expressed doubt that increasing carbon dioxide emissions could change the voices of butterflies but he claimed it was a typo (intending E not O). However, the two vowels are normally well separated under opposite hands on most keyboards. He was also surprised to learn that Laverton is an officially declared Urban Heat Island and that the insect has a vast range and habitat from South Australia to Queensland. And, there’s the famous ‘Gergis et al’ Austral hockey-stick saga, Part 1, such as is discussed here, where Prof Karoly took the public lead again; only to be embarrassed.

Back to the GBR: After several months of evasions by Professor Karoly, my enquiries became futile so I approached higher levels at UniMelb and after yet more evasions a total dismissal eventuated firstly from Professor Phillips, then parroted two days later by Professor Day:

· From Head of Science Prof Phillips on 27/July: I believe that Prof Karoly has addressed the issues raised in your various emails. Consequently, we consider the matter closed and will not be providing further responses.


· From Dean of Science Prof Day on 29/July: Thank you for your email. I believe that both Professors David Karoly and David Phillips have responded to you. Consequently, I consider the matter closed and will not be providing further responses.

pdf-2-gbr-empirical-fuller-analysis pdf-1-unimelb-emails-27-29p

But, their responses totally evaded the empirical facts presented to them, which multiply proved that the study had wrong foundations. This including various key graphics similar to some of those below and related Excel spreadsheets and data sources. I even suggested that their PhD student (a co-author) should validate the spreadsheets, but none of their advice makes any reference to the spreadsheets or the graphics with their elaborations. Proof of that is in the email archive; Click here to open PDF 1.

Apart from that issue of denial, and of great importance:

In academia, there is insistence on peer review of any study for it to be treated as valid. However, two Principals at the University of Melbourne have dismissed a request to retract a provenly wrong non-peer-reviewed and highly sensationalized study or to tolerate its proper review in the same Public Domain wherein it was launched.

Participation of the five authors (from three universities) in the article’s 143 blog comments was minimal. Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick (Research Fellow) of University of NSW) and Prof David Karoly, University of Melbourne, each made three comments when it was easy, but remained silent in other “inconvenient” questioning. Prof Hoegh-Guldberg of University of Queensland was conspicuously absent despite being called five times. BTW, 43 of the 142 comments were deleted, but highly partisan comments were retained that included strong abuse of the no longer visible inconvenient comments.

A further aspect of the decline in academic standards is in the M.O. of The Conversation, the academic’s popular university-only-author website, particularly in the Environment + Energy Chapter. Plebs are allowed to comment unhindered, prior to highly partisan moderator review. Deletions can be extraordinarily savage, and for instance here is an earlier post of mine at WUWT; “Cooking” up Denialism in some universities? where in one example of a John Cook article, 60% of inconvenient comments (including 11 of mine screen captured) were deleted. Amongst other editorial policies, if a comment is linked to any website that is considered “unreliable” such as WUWT, the whole comment is deleted, not just the link.

Technical synopsis debunking the GBR scare-story:

The focus of the study was on a record high SST in March 2016 which was clearly substantially driven by a “Super El Niño”, only three of which natural events have occurred in the past thirty-five years. (Although the first of 1982/3 coincided with the El Chichon volcanic cooling). Adoption of March is at odds with long term average data which show that month to be typically the coolest in the hot season (JFM). The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) had reported the new March record at 29.5 0C, which in real terms is comparable to February twelve years previously at 29.4 0C when unremarkably, March was significantly cooler at 29.0 0C.

This BoM figure for February shows that monthly averaged data are so volatile (noisy) that focus on an individual year’s month is invalid. For instance, whilst it was extraordinarily hot in 2015/16, the average of the preceding eight years was 0.5 0C cooler, which is quite massive compared with the centennial trend of only 0.9 0C. But, remember, this is for the CS, not the GBR.

Another concern is that the study was focussed on revelation of mass coral bleachings as found in aerial surveys in late March 2016. Then, in late April with remarkable alacrity and before the 2,300 Km (1,400 miles) x ~3,000 reefs could be properly surveyed by divers, the five co-authors from three universities coordinated their opinions (and accepted the statistical stuff from Dr Andrew King) and released the article into the public domain. At that time, it was not possible to determine when the bleaching had occurred (or its mortality levels), but they asserted that it was in March 2016!

The study utilized averaged SST’s for only the whole of the vast CS because GBR data were lacking at the time. It was thus appropriate to make validation checks against authenticated records on the GBR itself. Of eight major GBR observations over the past twenty years, there were no CS SST correlations with seven of them, and the only one that was a fit was arguably accidental because many global “Super El Nino” indicators also correlated.

Additional major empirical conflicts were found in other data not included and show that even if the study were to pass peer review and be found to be internally correct for projecting future SST’s in the Coral Sea, that would not be relevant for the shallow waters of the GBR.

That is not to dispute that later definitive surveys by divers in May and June reported localized very high coral mortality in the far north, but that the study as was launched in April was not founded on relevant evidence (and was unconditionally assertive, misleading, and excessively alarming).

Brief Summary Results:

Multiple problems are revealed in the use of March monthly average CS SST’s rather than GBR data:



[a] Long-term, the hottest month in both the CS and the GBR is February, not March. These modest February warming trends are not indicative of sudden change on the GBR due to global warming.

[b] The 2015/16 El Nino global bleaching event did not reach GBR waters in 2015, they being more distant from the warming El Nino regions than the bulk of the CS. The CS ideation failed badly.

[*] GBR average SST’s were erratically much cooler than the CS in some years.

[1] GBR mass bleaching #1. GBR February data correlated well with the global El Nino driven bleaching event, but March in the CS was a poor indicator.

[2] March CS ideation should have caused greater bleaching than the two earlier mass bleachings but did not, and GBR SST’s were far below trend showing a CS disconnect from the GBR.

[3] GBR mass bleaching #2. This reported mass bleaching is paradoxical; absent globally and not driven by an El Nino, yet has been ranked as stronger than in 1998 despite lower average GBR SST’s.

[4] & [5] Paradoxically high SST’s but serious bleaching not reported. (Scope of survey’s?).

[6] Severe bleaching reported only in the far south, especially around the Keppel Islands.

[7] CS ideation should have caused severe bleaching but did not, and GBR SST’s were cool.

[8] No reported bleaching on the GBR despite 2010 being a big El Nino year with global mass bleaching, and when GBR average SST’s were warmer than with the local 2002 mass bleaching.

[9] CS ideation dictates mass bleaching but increasing coral cover recorded 2013 through 2015.

[10] GBR mass bleaching #3 CS in March (and other global indicators) correlated per expectations!

Additionally, the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) have daily water temperature records for the GBR which are compared in the Full Empirical Analysis that follows. This finds additional conflicts with the study and identifies inabilities in the monthly data above which may explain the several paradoxes therein.


Optional Fuller Empirical Analysis:

Click here to open PDF 2 containing nine graphics and 2,300 words etcetera. It incorporates daily water temperatures at nine sites along the GBR and BoM SST data for the whole of the GBR that are not employed in the study. These data provide many additional incontrovertible findings against the use of CS monthly SST to predict bleaching on the GBR.


· The analysis proves that month-average data for March in the Coral Sea does not predict coral bleaching on the GBR. Typically, water temperatures are higher in February and daily data are required to detect dangerous spikes.

· The authors should admit to errors and bad assumptions, and retract their article and its study with the same high level of publicity as occurred following its public release on their academic’s website The Conversation.

Bob Fernley-Jones (Mechanical engineer retired, Melbourne Australia)

(Note: when first published, somehow none of the embedded images that were part of the essay transferred incorrectly. This has been rectified – Anthony)

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J Mac
February 3, 2017 6:00 pm

“The authors should admit to errors and bad assumptions, and retract their article and its study with the same high level of publicity as occurred following its public release on their academic’s website The Conversation.”
Indeed, they “should admit to errors and bad assumptions….” but none of the biased ‘climate scientists’ ever do. They are selling the ‘crisis’, not honest science.

Reply to  J Mac
February 4, 2017 5:59 am

There is a term in education and any of the other so-called ‘human sciences’ called Guiding Fictions. It applies to beliefs and narratives that are not factually true at this moment, but that motivate desired behaviors and justify desired planning. The Soviets actually had a term for it–Upravleniye.
Once we insist that people should have veto power over what is deemed science involving natural systems, the constructs of the human sciences like sociology and anthropology and increasingly the law come to the forefront. Guiding Fiction is truly a useful term to know and it is one I lifted from academic literature on creating cultural change.

Reply to  Robin
February 4, 2017 1:31 pm

Thank you for that post.

February 3, 2017 6:06 pm

In university we are trained to be analytical. Reality doesn’t matter much as long as the analysis is valid. The emphasis is on left-brain activities. This leads to an atrophied right-brain.
In an experiment, the subjects had their brains’ right hemispheres temporarily disabled. They were presented with the following:
1 – All monkeys climb trees.
2 – Porcupines are monkeys.
3 – Therefore porcupines climb trees.

But after temporary suppression of the right hemisphere, many subjects concluded that the syllogism was true. The conversations went like this:
– “Yes, it’s true.”
– “But you know the porcupine isn’t a monkey, don’t you?”
– “Yes, I know, but it’s still true.”
– “Why?”
– “Because it’s written here on this piece of paper.”
It happened time and time again, with different subjects and similar syllogisms. It’s true because it’s there on the paper: that’s how truth works, according to the left hemisphere of the brain. link

In English and History, students learn to write wonderful logical essays and not stray from the party line (if they want decent grades). In MBA programs, students learn how to BS their way through case studies about businesses on which they know nothing.
The universities produce the liberal elites and it’s no wonder that they are so disconnected from reality.

Reply to  commieBob
February 3, 2017 6:58 pm

I appriciate your point, but I can’t help wondering how the study would change if “porcupine” was replaced with “elephant”.
That study is flawed from the start…. Regardless of the unrelated premise about monkeys, porcupines do indeed climb trees. Some study participants would have known this and it would have confused the outcome stats.
Mebbe those researchers had been subject to right hemisphere brain trauma at some point in the past.

george e. smith
Reply to  DonM
February 3, 2017 9:17 pm

Deed they do. I believe (lots of things) that the porcupine (at least in the USA) is considered a critter worth protecting in the wild because anyone stranded out in the wilderness without food can probably catch themselves a porcupine to eat, where they aren’t going to run down any deer and slay it with their Bowie knife.
So it is sort of survival food on the hoof.
Now for the record; I personally have never encountered a porcupine in the wild; so I might not be a survivor.

Reply to  DonM
February 3, 2017 11:04 pm

I’ve only seen a few. And I wouldn’t have seen them unless my dog told me about them.

Reply to  DonM
February 4, 2017 5:16 am

But elephants do climb trees.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  DonM
February 4, 2017 5:21 am

because anyone stranded out in the wilderness without food can probably catch themselves a porcupine to eat,
I’ve seen porcupines in the woods, have even shot a couple of them. And the fact is, they are slow movers on the ground, can easily climb trees and really aren’t afraid of humans or any other meat eating predator.
So don’t be fooling around with a porcupine unless you know what you are doing. I once owned a horse that found out how painful it could be.
And I just hafta say that, only about one (1) out of every fifty (50) people within the current population that found themselves “stranded out in the wilderness without food” ……. would actually be capable of catching, killing, cooking and eating the meat of a porcupine.

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
February 4, 2017 8:32 am

“…have even shot a couple of them….”

Reply to  DonM
February 4, 2017 7:29 am
Reply to  commieBob
February 3, 2017 7:08 pm

Recently I was speaking to a top scientist who has regretfully decided to leave a job at a major university involved with the GBR.
A great loss to our scientific community.
The comment to me was inter alia, its too political, they think bleaching will destroy the reef, but bleaching has always occurred and not destroyed it, it is caused by El Nino’s.
The faculty is at war with itself on this.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  lewispbuckingham
February 3, 2017 9:41 pm

I had trouble reading this article because of all the three letter abbreviations or symbols or whatever they are. Made it easy to skip such things and get lost in the reading. How many things can ABC represent? Should define these things when first used, i.e. Automatic Boiler Control (ABC), or Antarctic Balloon Collapse (ABC),… You get the idea.

Reply to  lewispbuckingham
February 3, 2017 11:35 pm

In China it’s American Born Chinese

Reply to  lewispbuckingham
February 4, 2017 7:56 am

M Simon,
yep been there.

Reply to  commieBob
February 3, 2017 8:29 pm

Logic not based on philosophy, I’m afraid. A casual reading of Aristotle’s work on dialectics and rhetoric would show how shoddy the logic is in those papers.

Reply to  commieBob
February 3, 2017 10:14 pm

… and students can arrive at the level of a PhD candidate that cannot execute English composition at a fifth-grade level. I saw this for real decades ago, or, at least, I heard this candidate’s advisor complaining about it in disbelief.
Ah, universities, let me count the ways I came to hate them: #1 – Library Dean dispatches campus police to investigate person as a potential “threat”, because he made multiple appeals to control noise in the university library. Okay, #1 is enough. You get the picture — “keep ’em happy, make it a party, it’s … c-o-l-l-b-o-r-a-t-i-v-e … learning, man, NOT disruption, especially since it keeps those affluent-parent dollars flowing in to pay our tenured salaries.” Nah, I’m not bitter.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
February 4, 2017 2:40 pm

Auto – agreeing.

Jerry Henson
Reply to  commieBob
February 4, 2017 3:43 am

New World Porcupines do climb trees.;_ylt=A0LEViZdvZVYzcQAaxUPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByMDgyYjJiBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMyBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw–?p=Do+Porcupines+Climb+Trees&fr=yhs-itm-001&hspart=itm&hsimp=yhs-001

Reply to  commieBob
February 4, 2017 7:20 am

What does MBA stand for? “Mediocre But Arrogant.” The Universities have become cesspools of mendacity…

Reply to  commieBob
February 4, 2017 11:06 am

So you are saying that these people are just not in their right mind?

Reply to  commieBob
February 4, 2017 3:12 pm

8364 kHz Life Raft

Reply to  commieBob
February 5, 2017 4:09 am

… we had to follow their advice even though onboard information indicated severe problems …

And then the captain had the nerve to write:

I hereby certify that all possible precautions had been taken to avoid the aforementioned weather conditions …

Words fail me.

February 3, 2017 6:08 pm

Just how can any person with integrity wiggle out of such damning criticism?

Reply to  AndyE
February 3, 2017 11:46 pm

Integrity doesn’t come into it. They just think that some a-hole is annoying them and interfering in the way they do things. There is no pressure from anyone that counts. If there is an inquiry, they will have someone or two on the board and it will be dismissed as ‘nothing to see here, move on.’ Does climategate ring a bell?

Reply to  AndyE
February 4, 2017 9:12 am

The article noted that they had a “desire to communicate science effectively”; it made no mention of a desire to communicate science accurately

Reply to  Taphonomic
February 5, 2017 3:50 am

ABC who features ove hugh n karoly regularly doesnt care about facts
just keeping the warmista agenda going at high panic n fear levels
reckon their pensions are tied into greenscams like bbc.

Tom Halla
February 3, 2017 6:13 pm

The authors are doing “virtue signaling”, not science, like driving a Prius or Tesla.

george e. smith
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 3, 2017 9:19 pm

I didn’t know that Pius was spelt with an r in it.

Smart Rock
February 3, 2017 6:23 pm

Click here to open PDF 2 containing nine graphics and 2,300 words etcetera.

No hyperlink appears on my screen

Reply to  Smart Rock
February 3, 2017 7:47 pm

There is an editorial error. The link appears further up the page under the quote: From Dean of Science Prof Day on 29/July

February 3, 2017 6:24 pm

Having just come back from a morning swim in the Coral Sea, I can assure everyone the thoroughly healthy Coral Sea is swarming with baby fish, and plentiful other signs of a healthy ecosystem.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 3, 2017 6:29 pm

As for the suburb of Laverton being a “local heat island”, I grew up 10 minutes drive from Laverton. Given the amount of industrial pollution in the area I’m surprised the butterflies haven’t grown tentacles – global warming is the least of their problems.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 3, 2017 8:20 pm

HI Eric,
Oddly, Laverton is only one of eight sites within the 112 described in ‘World’s best practice’ by the BoM that is declared UHI affected.
I suspect that the butterfly paper that was accepted by The Royal Society started out as a simple student exercise in a UniMelb lab because it is astonishingly simplistic, wherein eggs were raised at a range of fixed temperatures and the larvae were fed on a fixed selection of a few grass species. (The Common Brown has a habitat range from SA to Queensland BTW). They determined the butterfly’s doom as controlled by the BoM T record for Laverton!
It seems that Karoly may have chatted with Biology Dept and seized the opportunity to conflate it to claim a CAUSE of AGW, even though there was nothing in the paper to show a connection with human caused warming.
I had correspondence with UniMelb Principals on that matter too, and their denial particularly from Dean Prof Day who is a biologist was quite gobsmacking.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 4, 2017 5:20 am

Eric you would know that the comparison in the Butterfly paper was at a time when Laverton was a RAAF airstrip which started with grassed runways in early WW11 and were later sealed with hangers and repair facilities for numerous types of planes. (now the area has industrial buildings and housing with the RAAF gone) Further, towards the bay but still in the vicinity was the naval flight base of Point Cook. Only a few km’s away towards Geelong was the Qantas training base which had Jumbo jets regularly landing. The butterflies would not appreciate all the air traffic and likely went elsewhere to breed.

Curious George
Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 3, 2017 6:38 pm

Eric, ask Professor Karoly to review your observations.

Reply to  Curious George
February 3, 2017 7:26 pm

I didn’t think Melbourne University Climate people are interested in observations?

george e. smith
Reply to  Curious George
February 3, 2017 9:22 pm

Well they have a nice looking cricket oval as their center piece.

Reply to  Curious George
February 4, 2017 5:28 am

Karoly has no technical qualifications. He was supposed to know something about statistics and modelling in the paper Gargis mentioned where he was co-author but it was found that he was hopelessly confused and did not understand statistics. He should be sacked from Melb. Uni. One has to feel somewhat sorry for the students very few will get a decent job.

Reply to  Curious George
February 4, 2017 5:46 am

Observations? We don’ need no stinking ‘observations’!

Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 4, 2017 11:47 am

I hope you didn’t pee in the water and change the pH of the entire ocean…

February 3, 2017 6:25 pm

They really don’t understand how clades of zooxanthellae work with corals…do they?

Curious George
February 3, 2017 6:33 pm

We live in interesting times. The meaning of words is being redefined. “Marriage” is no longer what it used to be (it is a Right now, polygamists are still out of luck), a “Free Speech” is free unless it offends someone, a “Science” consists only of pal-reviewed papers, and a “Due Diligence” no longer applies to Academia.

george e. smith
Reply to  Curious George
February 3, 2017 9:23 pm

And hermaphrodites are still not included with the 57 approved genders.

Reply to  george e. smith
February 4, 2017 2:47 pm

HJ Heinz, I guess.
George – you couldn’t be being just a micro-tad /snark?
Could you?

Smart Rock
February 3, 2017 6:34 pm

“but we’re trying to Save the Planet® so who cares if we got a couple of facts wrong? We have to get the message across so people will build more wind farms”

JJM Gommers
Reply to  Smart Rock
February 4, 2017 2:32 am

You mean — alternative facts.

February 3, 2017 6:45 pm

HELP! THREE ESSENTIAL IMAGES ARE MISSING (on my screen) and thus related text makes no sense. For instance Notes a & b and 1 to 10 near the end explain a graph that is not there.
Bob Fernley-Jones (author)

Reply to  bobfj
February 3, 2017 7:23 pm

Also, where its says Click here to open PDF 1 and Click here to open PDF 2 the links are not embedded and are actually located further up the page under the reply quotes from Profs Phillips and Day.
Bob Fernley-Jones

Reply to  bobfj
February 3, 2017 8:02 pm

Thanks. Thought I was having a senior moment x 10. I was just about to say this makes no sense. Red underlining? I’ll come back later.

February 3, 2017 6:47 pm

Knowledge and learning are being replaced by ideology in all our learning institutions from kindergarten up through the universities. And we are allowing it.

Reply to  markl
February 3, 2017 7:38 pm

“And we are allowing it.”
Could it be that “we” were indoctrinated to allow it, when we were in those institutions?

john harmsworth
Reply to  JohnKnight
February 4, 2017 4:44 pm

I think it is an aspect of a very common or even persistent phenomena in human affairs. Things get organizes toward a specific purpose and then get ever more finely tuned to that purpose by people who understand that an improvement is necessary over what came before. Then the people entrusted with that entity begin to take it for granted and fail to understand why it was constructed that way. Next comes abuse of the underlying principles that made the system work properly. Our democracies in the West suffer from this as barely 50% vote now or take an interest in public affairs, our media has sunk into the wasteland of mediocre thought and writing and sensationalism, drugs are eating the soul of our civilization. Economics long went the same way,as Keynesianism was introduced and then abused massively beyond what Keynes intended.
Here we discuss the same situation in what practitioners like to call science, where in fact climatology and many of the social “sciences are almost completely rotted out and devoid of real science. I conclude that this is the fall of the West and only revolutionary actions can turn it around. It’s time to tear down our universities and replace their cozy, tenured, self absorbed bubbles with a new system. Remote learning, no tenure, strict performance and ethics criteria for profs with zero tolerance for indoctrination. Our sandpile of civilization has topped out and we cannot make it any higher without rebuilding the base with stronger stuff.
The same needs to be done with governance. The politicians have proven they are not, ever, trustworthy. If spending and taxation at least are made more technocratic and politicians hands are removed from the steering wheel, we stand a chance of moving forward again. With our debts and degree of political apathy and ignorance we can’t slide much more before complete collapse arrives.
Trump is a reflection of this state of affairs, but he is not the answer. The problem is bigger than that, and let’s not forget, it is the lawyers and professionals that were entrusted with managing society that brought us to this point. Does anybody really believe that they will fix it? The nobility was likewise entrusted in an earlier age- that begat the Magna Carta, the French revolution and the American revolution.
Time to build something new and improved!

Reply to  john harmsworth
February 4, 2017 5:12 pm

I too believe apathy is allowing Western civilization to become undone but I point the finger at Socialist/Marxist ideology being foisted on the gullible as driving force.

Clyde Spencer
February 3, 2017 6:48 pm

I have had comments on The Conversation survive when I have used links to WUWT. However, I have had comments deleted, for example, when I had the temerity to suggest that the author was unfamiliar with Fresnel’s equation, based on her comments.
The editors and moderators show a great range of tolerance versus intolerance. Sometimes the comments from other commenters get rather vicious, in direct violation of stated ‘community’ standards, yet nothing is done. When I have complained about personal attacks, sometimes the offending comments were removed, other times my complaints were ignored. In any event, there is a great deal of inconsistency on how they police their comments sections. Also, sometimes comments remain open indefinitely (at least for months) and other times the comments are closed within a couple of days, presumably because of the undesirable comments.
The Conversation clearly has a liberal bias, and I suspect that it is viewed internally as an opportunity to spread propaganda, rather than any real attempt to educate the readership.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
February 4, 2017 1:08 am

We don’t call it a “liberal” bias in Australia, because it can be confused with “Liberal”, the party, which is actually conservative.
You should be more plain in your descriptions, “socialist” works best. Sometimes you would use “communist”. If in doubt, use the intermediate term “Green”.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
February 4, 2017 1:16 am

Posting anything critical of climate scepticism or supporting climate science gets you instantly banned from Breitbart (not just moderated). do try it!

Reply to  Griff
February 4, 2017 1:22 am

No griff, its posting unfounded idiotic statement…
…the sort you specialise in,100%…. that gets you banned.

Reply to  Griff
February 4, 2017 2:45 am

If you said anything that made sense then it would be accepted. It’s how you defend the indefensible. The Lord has forsaken you.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  Griff
February 4, 2017 7:58 am

Griff: Notwithstanding your lack of evidence of being ‘banned’, you must know that Breitbart uses Disqus for comments. That means that a commenter can be blocked by any other commenter or a comment can be flagged to Mods for deletion. It is not my experience that I have seen multiple deletions/bannings. It is not like the Conversation or some other CS sites where the entire thread can be disappeared except for pro-AGW comments. Methinks you have no evidence.

February 3, 2017 6:58 pm

I am wondering what replaces Universities? When do employers begin to say, ‘Well, that piece of paper is not really what we look at here. Tell me about other things you have been doing…’
Several alternatives spring to mind:
– Self-education via internet courses, which I imagine can gain some credibility over time.
– Prior experience.
– On the job training by the prospective employer – something like apprenticeships.
It was not that long ago that law, for example, was largely learned on the job.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Mark
February 4, 2017 5:58 am

Many years ago I spent time as a headhunter. Even back then, for non technical jobs, our clients would consider a university degree not for what the education was but as a demonstration that the candidate had “completed something”. They were more interested in things they had done that were related to the area of that particular job.

February 3, 2017 7:07 pm

The Universities should get their funding cut until such time they retract these outrageous so called “Studies” as a matter of fact some of these “Authors” of said “Studies” should be fired!
Okay, I know I am dreaming.

tony mcleod
February 3, 2017 7:24 pm

Talk about a load of froth and bubble about nothing.
The most important thing I can see was that you corrected his typo.
Don’t you have anything better to do Bob?

Reply to  tony mcleod
February 4, 2017 1:24 am

“Talk about a load of froth and bubble about nothing.”
Just read your posts.. hey McClod.

Chris Hanley
February 3, 2017 7:28 pm

John McLean’s GBR page shows no significant trend in the SST on the reef in the past 35 years:

Reply to  Chris Hanley
February 4, 2017 1:30 am

I vaguely recall reading somewhere that one of the operators thought it was more to do with a period of very low ocean current flow.
Corals require flowing water to extract their food.

February 3, 2017 7:39 pm

No more tax money to universities. Pay the students, then let them decide who will educate them. I bet it slashes the fiction that now passes for science in higher education.

george e. smith
Reply to  Duckhomie
February 3, 2017 9:32 pm

Well did you believe that the professors were actually going to give lectures to students, and take time away from their “studies”.
I know I had three full professors for Physics, and two more for Mathematics. I’ll have to think about chemistry. I only did that for the first year, so he may not have been a full professor. But then my High School Chemistrator was as good as any full professor.
I must have been lucky.

February 3, 2017 7:42 pm

WUWT Readers, I just finished an article debunking the Mythbusters episode on CO2 and Methane. It highlights just how poorly science is taught in our universities, especially the featured Berkeley. The article is much like the one Mr. Watts did debunking Al Gore and Bill Nye.
Anyway, I’d greatly appreciate some analysis and input as to whether or not the case I detailed is convincing.
Climate “Science” on Trial; Confirmed Mythbusters Busted Practicing Science Sophistry

Reply to  co2islife
February 3, 2017 7:59 pm

If it helps, in a similar experiment, argon gas was used which as you know is not a greenhouse gas, and it had an even greater warming effect. The wrong physics is being demonstrated in these experiments.

Reply to  garymount
February 3, 2017 8:16 pm

Yep, that was the point I was trying to make. I’ll look up that argon experiment. Thanks.

george e. smith
Reply to  garymount
February 3, 2017 9:34 pm

But Even Argon radiates thermal radiation if it is above zero K.

Neil Jordan
Reply to  garymount
February 3, 2017 11:20 pm

This might be the paper:
Climate change in a shoebox: Right result, wrong physics
Paul Wagoner
TERC, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02140
Chunhua Liu
Department of Education, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts 02155
R. G. Tobin
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts 02155
Received 3 July 2009; accepted 27 January 2010
Classroom experiments that purport to demonstrate the role of carbon dioxide’s far-infrared
absorption in global climate change are more subtle than is commonly appreciated. We show, using
both experimental results and theoretical analysis, that one such experiment demonstrates an entirely
different phenomenon: The greater density of carbon dioxide compared to air reduces heat transfer
by suppressing convective mixing with the ambient air. Other related experiments are subject to
similar concerns. Argon, which has a density close to that of carbon dioxide but no infrared
absorption, provides a valuable experimental control for separating radiative from convective
effects. A simple analytical model for estimating the magnitude of the radiative greenhouse effect is
presented, and the effect is shown to be very small for most tabletop experiments. © 2010 American
Association of Physics Teachers.
DOI: 10.1119/1.3322738

Reply to  garymount
February 4, 2017 4:40 am

e. smith

But Even Argon radiates thermal radiation if it is above zero K.

What ‘thermal radiation’ are you talking about?
We all know that noble gases can emit photons (e.g. “neon lights”) if excited by an electric field or scintillated with other charged particles.
Also, heat can be transferred mechanically to and from noble gases by convection, conduction and mixing; such that the temperatures of collections of noble gases tend to equilibrium with their surroundings.
But noble gases do not absorb IR photons and therefore do not spontaneously emit IR radiation like GHG’s. (The point of the referenced experiment above)

Steve Case
February 3, 2017 8:16 pm

However, the big issue remains that the public domain is still globally misinformed with implied high authority in acceptance of the original lesser study and UniMelb has refused to correct the “Fake News” Bull Shit
There, fixed it.

Joel O’Bryan
February 3, 2017 8:28 pm

The entirety of current Climate Change paradigm cannot last, for it is built on one thing… A Big Lie.
It will crumble. When is the only real question.

February 3, 2017 9:13 pm

The area of the GBR most affected by ‘bleaching’ is the northern extent which is bathed by the South Equatorial Current – the very waters which exhibit ‘record high temperatures’. This current passes through the archipelagoes of Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, both of which are seismically very active and have been for many years. This fact may be easily verified by Googling “Vanuatu seismicity’ and ‘Solomon Islands seismicity’.
This seismic activity heats the water on the sea floor (google ‘hydrothermal’), which gravity (through convection and Archimedes’ Principle) lifts to the surface, warming the surface waters on their way to the GBR.
Unfortunately the extremely oversimplified models used for global oceanic and atmospheric circulation are unable to account for the stochastic nature of sea floor seismicity and vulcanism. Besides, such detailed records are not only sparse, but they would lead to a result contrary to the expectations – so nobody looks.

tony mcleod
Reply to  tadchem
February 3, 2017 9:21 pm

Are you seriously suggesting the GBR coral bleaching events (which coincidentally coincide with El Ninos) have anything to do with vulcanism? I know it would rule any human influence out but sheesh, that is clutching at straws dude.

Reply to  tony mcleod
February 3, 2017 9:26 pm

Vulcanism injects considerable amounts of sulfur oxides into the water, as well as heat. H2SO3 and H2SO4 are both VERY strong mineral acids and toxic to phytoplankton – the base of the coral reef food plankton.

tony mcleod
Reply to  tony mcleod
February 3, 2017 10:49 pm
Reply to  tony mcleod
February 3, 2017 11:13 pm

Hi tadchem,
That’s interesting because strangely, the reported GBR mass bleaching event of 2002 was allegedly greater than with the “Super El Nino” of 1998, and the GLOBAL mass bleaching in the big El Nino around 2010 had nil effect on the GBR. Have you seen any periodicity or timing of seismic events in that region?

Chris Hanley
February 3, 2017 9:36 pm

A pedantic point, Karoly et al. are housed in the Earth Sciences building which is the grey ‘70s building to the left of the ‘U’ in photo and accordingly would theoretically be in ‘The Real World’.comment image
Actually the University of Melbourne has spread its property ownership and leasing far, far beyond the original boundaries as shown.

M Seward
February 3, 2017 10:42 pm

We had former a Federal court judge here in Australia who lied about driving his own vehicle when a speed camera caught it speeding approaching the Sydney Harbour Bridge. He blamed it on a visitor from the US who it turned out had actually died by the time of the incident. He lied and lied until finally he had to admit he was driving. He was gaoled for some years due to his status as a judge. It was his ego that made him do it in the first place and then his arrogance saw him double down over and over.
My point is that Ove Gold-digger and Karoly are so far into the great global warming doom scam and all its corollary nonsense they just cannot come clean or not continue performing for their faithful and adoring (if gormless) fan base.
This is just a clown show that is old and tired but the performers have been at it too long to change.

February 3, 2017 11:30 pm

The University of Melbourne is one of several Australian tertiary learning centres that USED TO BE very good. The left has put an end to that – by laziness, fund wasting and philosophical junk.

February 4, 2017 1:08 am

The derangement of the so-called progressives is profound. Keep banging away. Resisting them is or th it.

George Lawson
February 4, 2017 4:27 am

It doesn’t say much for future standards of academia if these are the people who are in charge of students who will become tomorrows scientists..

Doug Huffman
February 4, 2017 4:33 am

The Conversation is not science but a desperate cry for attention, and which instantly turns one away. It is wasted ink.

feed berple
February 4, 2017 6:00 am

Left brain solves logical problems, but can’t spot BS. Worse left brain inserts BS automatically to bridge holes in logic. Right brain spots BS
Academic training emphasizes left brain over right. End result is eggheads, able to solve any problem but unable to spot when the answer is BS.

feed berple
Reply to  feed berple
February 4, 2017 6:06 am
john harmsworth
Reply to  feed berple
February 4, 2017 4:54 pm

Whereas blind belief is the wrong brain in action!

February 4, 2017 7:40 am

Bob Fernley Jones ==> This is a fine example of, and only a tiny tiny part of, “The Great Barrier Reef Wars“. This has been going on for so many years now that it is part of Australian culture — it was already in full swing when I was living in Sydney in 2000.
There is a hard-core group of scientists in Australia, politically supported by reef activists from all over the world, who cry doom-and-destruction every few months.
Despite the debunking of much of their work, often by the Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority itself, they publish misleading studies one after another, all carefully pal-reviewed by like minded reef-activist-scientists.
They are full-convinced, signed-up-to-do-or-die radicals, and they will not, ever, admit to any other viewpoint.
There are counter-forces publishing the empirical truth, attempting to correct the incorrect information, but the MSM doesn’t trumpet the corrections unless there is a juicy controversy, like GBRPA vs. the Prime Minister.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
February 4, 2017 10:36 am

Look people still support Paul Ehrlich after all his decades of being wrong. A clique of faux reef scientists milking the gullible with hyped deceptive coral doom is not so inconceivable or surprising.

Reply to  hunter
February 4, 2017 1:05 pm

Hunter ==> The sad news is that these are not “faux reef scientists” but rather dedicated scientist-activists who really truly believe in their cause and their bias blinders them. Like “evolutionary biologists”, every finding “naturally” supports their overriding, preconceived, hypotheses. They actually cannot think anything but “the reefs are doomed unless the whole world [fill-in the latest socio-political solution being touted this year].”
Like CliSci, the field of reef science has been poisoned with a nasty, highly contagious, cognitive virus — a combination of a cause-solution pair that in reality is not the real world cause and its solution will do nothing for the reefs.
There are real problems with near-shore reefs… run off, sedimentation, over-fishing, improper fishing techniques, lack of protected zones and marine no-take zones — and these problems do have solutions that are being worked on almost everywhere there are reefs to be protected.
Doom-and-Gloom and Alarmism sell — and they also attract research grant money.

Javert Chip
February 4, 2017 8:35 am

Don’t know why anyone is surprised that academics “protected” from the real world would behave unrealistically. These “protected” adults are also put in charge of impressionable 18-21 year-old kids who are dependent upon them for grades, and all of a sudden, academics think they have amazing powers of persuasion.
A depressing number of these Little Caesars academics easily abuse their positions of intellectual trust to indoctrinate their students and produce suspect-quality research (psychology & climate science being 2 examples).
Don’t be surprised if this system does not last forever.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Javert Chip
February 4, 2017 4:57 pm

Agree completely! I also think this is not a terrible place to talk about how it could be redesigned for improvement before it just self destructs and leaves a vacuum.

February 4, 2017 10:32 am

Modern universities have been turned into indoctrination centers in the most intolerant anti-intellectual intolerant way.

February 4, 2017 11:01 pm

That’s a nice green area in the middle of Melbourne Uni, bet you could fit a bird blender in there no worries.

Johann Wundersamer
February 5, 2017 6:53 pm

Thanks, Bob Fernley Jones –
A milestone on the way of following postmodern fake news to their origins. As you’ve shown Universities, University of Melbourne (UniMelb) in that case, play that game standing uncorrected.

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