A Bad Recipe for Science

Reposted from Climate Etc.

Judith Curry

by Judith Curry

Politically-motivated manufacture of scientific consensus corrupts the scientific process and leads to poor policy decisions

An essay with excerpts from my new book Climate Uncertainty and Risk.

In the 21st century, humankind is facing a myriad of complex societal problems that are characterized by deep uncertainties, systemic risks and disagreements about values. Climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic are prominent examples of such wicked problems. For such problems, the relevant science has become increasingly like litigation, where truth seeking has become secondary to politics and advocacy on behalf of a preferred policy solution.

How does politics influence the scientific process for societally relevant issues? Political bias influences research funding priorities, the scientific questions that are asked, how the findings are interpreted, what is cited, and what gets canonized.  Factual statements are filtered in assessment reports and by the media with an eye to downstream political use.

How does politics influence the behavior of scientists? There is pressure on scientists to support consensus positions, moral objectives and the relevant policies.  This pressure comes from universities and professional societies, scientists themselves who are activists, journalists and from federal funding agencies in terms of research funding priorities. Because evaluations by one’s colleagues are so central to success in academia, it is easy to induce fear of social sanctions for expressing the ideas that, though not necessarily shown to be factually or scientifically wrong, are widely unpopular.

Activist scientists use their privileged position to advance moral and political agendas. This political activism extends to the professional societies that publish journals and organize conferences. This activism has a gatekeeping effect on what gets published, who gets heard at conferences, and who receives professional recognition. Virtually all professional societies whose membership has any link to climate research have issued policy statements on climate change, urging action to eliminate fossil fuel emissions.

The most pernicious manifestation of the politicization of science is when politicians, advocacy groups, journalists, and activist scientists intimidate or otherwise attempt to silence scientists whose research is judged to interfere with their moral and political agendas.

Speaking consensus to power

A critical strategy in the politicization of science is the manufacture of a scientific consensus on politically important topics, such as climate change and Covid-19.  The UN climate consensus is used as an appeal to authority in the representation of scientific results as the basis for urgent policy making.  In effect, the UN has adopted a “speaking consensus to power” approach that sees uncertainty and dissent as problematic and attempts to mediate these into a consensus. The consensus-to-power strategy reflects a specific vision of how politics deals with scientific uncertainties.

There is a key difference between a “scientific consensus” and a “consensus of scientists.” When there is true scientific certainty, such as the earth orbiting the sun, we don’t need to talk about consensus. By contrast, a “consensus of scientists” represents a deliberate expression of collective judgment by a group of scientists, often at the official request of a government.

Institutionalized consensus building promotes groupthink, acting to confirm the consensus in a self-reinforcing way. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has worked for the past 40 years to establish a scientific consensus on human-caused climate change.  As such, the IPCC consensus is a “manufactured consensus” arising from an intentional consensus building process. The IPCC consensus has become canonized socially through a political process, bypassing the long and complex scientific validation process as to whether the conclusions are actually true.

The flip side of a manufactured consensus is “denial.” Questioning the climate change narrative has become the ultimate form of heresy in the 21st century.  Virtually all academic climate scientists are within the so-called 97 percent consensus regarding the existence of a human impact on warming of the Earth’s climate. Which scientists are ostracized and labeled as deniers? Independent thinkers, who are not supportive of the IPCC consensus, are suspect. Any criticism of the IPCC can lead to ostracism. Failure to advocate for CO2 mitigation policies leads to suspicion. Even a preference for nuclear power over wind and solar power will get you called a denier. The most reliable way to get labeled as a denier is to associate in any way with so-called enemies of the climate consensus and their preferred policies—petroleum companies, conservative think tanks, or even the “wrong” political party.

Covid-19 provides a very interesting example of a manufactured consensus.  The consensus that COVID-19 had an entirely natural origin was established by two op-eds in early 2020—The Lancet in February and Nature Medicine in March. The Lancet op-ed stated, “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.” The pronouncements in these op-eds effectively shut down inquiry into a possible origin as a leak from a laboratory in Wuhan. Articles in the mainstream press repeatedly stated that a consensus of experts had ruled lab escape to be out of the question or extremely unlikely.

The enormous gap between the actual state of knowledge in early 2020 and the confidence displayed in the two op-eds should have been obvious to anyone in the field of virology, or for that matter anyone with critical faculties. There were scientists from adjacent fields who said as much. The consensus wasn’t overturned until May 2021 with the publication of a lengthy article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists that identified conflict of interests in the scientists writing the Lancet letter in hiding any links with the Wuhan lab. This article triggered a cascade of defections from scientists – the fake consensus was no longer enforceable.

What is concerning about this episode is not so much that a consensus was overturned, but that a fake consensus was so easily enforced for more than a year. A few scientists spoke up, but they were aggressively cancelled from social media. The vast majority of scientists who understood that there was a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the origins of the virus did not speak up. It was becoming increasingly clear that any virologist who challenged the community’s declared views risked being labeled as a heretic, being canceled on social media, and having their next grant application turned down by the panel of fellow virologists that advises the government grant distribution agency.  The ugly politics behind this fake consensus are only now being revealed.

Political and moral biases in a manufactured consensus can lead to widely accepted claims that reflect the scientific community’s blind spots more than they reflect justified scientific conclusions.  A manufactured consensus hampers scientific progress because of the questions that do not get asked and the investigations that are not undertaken.  Further, consensus enforcement interferes with the self-correcting nature of science via skepticism, which is a foundation of the scientific process.

Broken contract between science and policy makers

Speaking consensus to power acts to conceal uncertainties, ambiguities, dissent, and ignorance behind a scientific consensus. Greater openness about scientific uncertainties and ignorance, plus more transparency about dissent and disagreement, is needed provide policymakers with a more complete picture of policy-relevant science and its limitations.

A manufactured consensus arises from oversimplification of the problem, which leads to restricting the policy solution space and mistaken ideas that the problem can be controlled.

A manufactured consensus on a complex, wicked problem such as climate change or Covid-19 leads to the naivete of thinking that these are simple risks, and the hubris of thinking that we can control the risk.  Even beyond the technical issues, greater realism is needed about the uncertainties and politics underpinning the pursuit of control for wicked societal problems.

The pandemic illustrates that our tools for acting on a complex global problem—experts, precise scientific metrics, computer models, enforced restrictions— have resulted in much less than the desired quality of control. The global energy transition and worldwide transformations to sustainability are far more challenging than the global COVID-19 pandemic. The modernist paradigm of mastery, planning, and optimization is not appropriate for the wicked problems of the twenty-first century.

As a consequence of the exaggerated sense of knowledge and control surrounding climate and Covid-19 policies, some highly uncertain issues that should remain open for political debate are ignored in policy making. Premature foreclosure of scientific uncertainties and failure to consider ambiguities associated with wicked problems such as climate change and pandemics results in an invisible form of oppression that forecloses possible futures.

With regards to climate change, what is going on represents more than politically motivated consensus enforcement and cancel culture. Climate change has become a secular religion, rife with dogma, heretics and moral-tribal communities. The secular religion of climate change raises concerns that are far more fundamental than the risks of bad policy.  At risk is the fundamental virtues of the Scientific Revolution and the freedom to question authority.

The road ahead requires moving away from the consensus-enforcing and cancel culture approach of restricting dialogue surrounding complex societal issues such as climate change. We need to open up space for dissent and disagreement.  By acknowledging scientific uncertainties in the context of better risk management and decision- making frameworks, in combination with techno-optimism, there is a broad path forward for humanity to thrive in the twenty-first century and beyond.

This article includes excerpts from my new book, Climate Uncertainty and Risk.

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abolition man
November 18, 2023 6:17 pm

A bad recipe for science, but the perfect recipe for building a one-party, socialist Matrix where our wealthy elites can rule the world without having to listen to the little, smelly people! Never have so many socio- and psychopaths attained so many positions of power over Mankind!
Whether or not humanity survives this bleak period of history is actually in question now; and without an intelligent species to prevent CO2 starvation all life on Earth is in jeopardy from these religious fanatics! If you are not indignant and irate, you’re not paying enough attention!

Izaak Walton
Reply to  abolition man
November 18, 2023 6:35 pm

A society in which is ruled by a “wealth elite” is a plutocracy and is the complete oppossite
of a socialist state. We may well be living in a plutocracy but giving that inequality is rising and the rich are becoming ever richer and more powerful while the average person owns less and less and pays a higher percentage of their income in taxes we are certainly not in a socialist system.

abolition man
Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 18, 2023 6:40 pm

Oh, Izaak, you are SOOOO obtuse at times! It’s socialism for the masses, and crony, corporate capitalism for the our betters! Look at how Wall Street gets to enjoy their profits, but if they suffer a major hemorrhage who foots the bill? The little guy; the American taxpayer!

Izaak Walton
Reply to  abolition man
November 18, 2023 7:55 pm

You are never going to solve that system unless you name it correctly. Crony corporate capitalism is not socialism. It is a system of plutocracy in which the rich get the benefits while the “little guy” is fleeced. It is class warefare and the rich are winning.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 18, 2023 8:16 pm

And, with your support of the AGW scam, people like you are on the side of the rich.

And are probably too brain-washed and lacking in common sense, to realise that fact.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  bnice2000
November 19, 2023 3:47 am

nailed it!

Reply to  bnice2000
November 19, 2023 1:57 pm

The rich are winning because of people like him who keeps voting slime back into office who corrupts it up.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 18, 2023 9:15 pm

Crony capitalism is just another name for socialism.
Like socialism, it is a method by which the rich use government resources in order to enrich themselves.

Reply to  MarkW
November 18, 2023 10:31 pm

Yep, just like the Russian oligarch’s and Chinese fuyidai.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  aussiecol
November 19, 2023 3:49 am

first time I’ve seen the word “fuyidai”- I googled it- I wonder how it’s pronounced – I’ll have to start using it 🙂

Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 18, 2023 9:21 pm

It is a system of plutocracy in which the rich get the benefits while the “little guy” is fleeced

Which just so happens to be the definition of socialism.

Reply to  MarkW
November 18, 2023 10:21 pm

I know you don’t read anything outside your nursery cirriculum, but jeez, guy, at least go steal a frigging dictionary.

Richard Page
Reply to  cilo
November 19, 2023 3:08 am

Heh so you are trying to argue the dictionary definition against reality? Every socialist society, whatever it’s lofty starting ideals, has devolved into the rich in power getting richer and the poor getting fleeced. The fact that several other forms of government also devolve into that form should tell you much about human nature. That and whatever laws or checks and balances you put in place to stop it an organised criminal group that takes power will ignore or circumvent every one in their own interests.

Reply to  cilo
November 19, 2023 7:07 am

It really is sad the way you actually believe the nonsense you post.
BTW, are you still denying that the holocaust ever occured?

Bryan A
Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 18, 2023 11:55 pm

It’s crony capitalism being used as a tool by Socialist Democrats to gain even more power over the masses and institute a Global Socialist Government where the people will have no power (neither political, actual nor electrical)

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 19, 2023 3:46 am

There are many forms of authoritarianism- rule by the rich, rule by a Church, rule by an intellectual elite. They’re all bad. A true socialism might actually be OK, in theory, but it’s not feasible due to human nature, which is selfish and manipulative. What works in the interest of the “common man” is a system where everyone can speak up without fear and fight for THEIR interest. That has been the American way but it’s been weakened by both the left and right. Time to get back to the middle. Fierce political battles have been the norm in America since the beginning. I just read for the second time a great biography of President George Washington who had hoped that the nation would avoid having political parties. But the parties arose quickly and the battles have never ended. But that’s a good thing. When the battles end – you know you’re in a authoritarain society. When it comes to this climate emergency bullshit- we seem to be living in such an authoritarian society because there is so little resistance to it- despite the nice conversations here. Outside of this site and a few web pages- I see nothing but slavish faith in “the emergency”. Or maybe that’s just because I live in Wokeachusetts.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 19, 2023 5:33 am

‘A true socialism might actually be OK, in theory, but it’s not feasible due to human nature, which is selfish and manipulative.‘

If a theory consistently fails in practice, it can’t be an ‘OK’ theory.

I’d also like to think that there is more to human nature than being ‘selfish and manipulative’, but it’s very worth noting that it is only within a ‘capitalist’ economic system that these traits are positively harnessed to serve humanity.

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
November 19, 2023 7:10 am

There is more, but unless you do something to stop them, those who are selfish and manipulative will always end up on top.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  MarkW
November 19, 2023 1:36 pm

The Lockean (American Revolution) ideal is to ‘stop them’ from hurting others by limiting the power of government solely to those needed to protect life, liberty and property.

The Rousseauian (French Revolution) ideal is to perfect humanity by any means necessary, starting with Guillotines, and then continuing with whatever nightmare scenarios our budding socialists can come up with.

I have no problem with selfish and manipulative people in the former system to the extent that they probably had a big hand in bringing about cheap steel, oil, automobiles, etc.

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
November 20, 2023 8:54 am

Only within a “free enterprise” system. Capitalistic systems only function with cronies in the government power structure.

Free enterprise does not require government to “allow” profits.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 19, 2023 7:10 am

What in your opinion, have those on the right done to restrict freedom?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  MarkW
November 19, 2023 10:19 am

right and left are vague terms- the right has had some bad behaviors which show up everywhere – but this isn’t the place for a full discussion of all of political science

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 19, 2023 6:07 pm

In other words, you can’t actually come up with a list, but you just know that they must be equally bad.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 19, 2023 5:19 am

The technical name for crony capitalism is fascism, which is a form of socialism, which in all of its forms is defined by centralized (government) direction of economic activity. As abolition man said, above, stop being obtuse.

William Howard
Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 19, 2023 5:35 am

Marxism, socialism, communism, totalitarianism – not much difference in the outcomes – enslavement for the vast majority ruled by elites

Mark Whitney
Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 19, 2023 6:29 am

Other commenters here have detailed one simple dynamic. There are ultimately only two forms of government. The most difficult to maintain is one by the rule of law, called a republic. In its ideal form, all members of society are held to the same set of expectations regarding the application of force, which is what government is by its nature.
The other is oligarchy, the rule by a dominant minority. Everything else is just a distraction on the road from the former to the latter. Pluto’s Philosopher Kings, Arthur’s Round Table, and now the various billionaire oligarchs are just period-specific manifestations of that inevitable fate of the governed.

Reply to  Mark Whitney
November 20, 2023 9:00 am

And all American billionaire oligarchs support the Democrat party.

They know which politicians will happily abuse their power.

IF TRUMP! is reelected POTUS, the 6 years of elections reforming the Republican House power structure from beltway insiders he dealt with the last time COULD allow for major legislation eliminating much of the swamp.

Reply to  abolition man
November 18, 2023 10:15 pm

Oh, Izaak, you are SOOOO obtuse at times! It’s socialism for the masses, and crony, corporate capitalism for the our betters! Look at how Wall Street gets to enjoy their profits, but if they suffer a major hemorrhage who foots the bill? The little guy; the American taxpayer!

Oh, AboMann, you’re sooo obtuse at times. It is the promise of capitalism for the masses, and standard communism for our betters. Look at how Wall street owns everything, and the way they make us hemorrhage money to honour their kommisars. And who keeps confusing socialism with Bolsjhevik communism? The average Believer in that mythical American capitalism!
Next, shall we do vehement anti-Bolshevism, also known as Fascism?

Bryan A
Reply to  cilo
November 19, 2023 12:13 am

Fascism??? Too late, Biden already has us there…hence the prosecution of political foes (Trump) with every effort possible to try and get him disqualified to run in various contentious battleground states that the Dems lost in 2020

abolition man
Reply to  cilo
November 19, 2023 12:38 am

Very disappointing! The reason that American capitalism is mythical is that the US has not been practicing ANY kind of “enlightened capitalism” in many decades! I’m reluctant to even use the word since what it is supposed to describe is better delineated by the term “economic freedom,” but it requires the rule of law and private property rights to work effectively.
Fascism was the name coined by the Italian National SOCIALISTS, led by Il Duce; who allied with the German National SOCIALISTS led that crazy Austrian with the funny mustache! Our children are being indoctrinated into believing that communism/socialism actually work, but I can’t think of a single instance where freedom and prosperity were the result! Can you?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  abolition man
November 19, 2023 5:55 am

“Our children are being indoctrinated into believing that communism/socialism actually work,”

Yes, that is a BIG problem.

We have lost the schools to the radical leftists.

It’s time to take them back.

Reply to  abolition man
November 19, 2023 11:49 am

The simple definition of capitalism is an economic system where the means of production is privately owned and operated for profit. It seems to me that among the western nations the only truly capitalistic economic system is the US and that is being badly eroded by half baked regulation.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  cilo
November 19, 2023 3:52 am

“It is the promise of capitalism for the masses”

capitalism doesn’t promise anything to anyone- other than if you invest YOUR money, you MIGHT make a profit, but you might also lose your shirt- THAT works in the interest of the common man, over time, as long as monopolies can be avoided

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 19, 2023 7:18 am

Monopolies are only possible when they have a government to enforce them. Free market naturally destroys monopolies.

Reply to  MarkW
November 19, 2023 8:00 am

Monopolies are only possible when they have a government to enforce them. Free market naturally destroys monopolies.

Well that’s obviously untrue. It’s the opposite of true, actually. See the history of Standard Oil, for instance.

Most of what you say about politics and economics is wrong. At least, history shows it to be very implausible.

But rarely are your assertions fully disproved as opposed to just being a bit silly and uninformed.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  MCourtney
November 19, 2023 5:11 pm

Baloney! Try expanding your knowledge beyond the Progressive pablum they spoon fed you in your 8th grade American History class.

‘Contrary to popular mythology, Standard Oil’s market share declined from 88 percent in 1890 to 64 percent by 1911. Because of intense competition the company’s oil production as a percentage of total market supply had declined to a mere 11 percent in 1911, down from 34 percent in 1898.‘


Reply to  MCourtney
November 19, 2023 6:11 pm

First off, Standard Oil was never a monopoly, never even came close to being one.
JUst because socialists hate anything big, except big government, doesn’t make big automatically bad.

If the best evidence you have to me being wrong is Standard Oil, then as usual, you got nothing other than your standard socialist propaganda.

Actually it is history that backs up the claims I’ve been making.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  MarkW
November 19, 2023 10:24 am

Teddy Roosevelt, Republican, was the trust buster- but conservatives didn’t care for him- especially those making $$$ from those monopolies and trusts. When there really was a need for labor unions, at their early days, conservatives obviously resisted. Of course later, the unions went too far. Nobody dislikes them as much as I do. Here in Wokeachusetts, the only big surviving industry is the state government- which has very powerful labor unions- and many state employees are vastly overpaid. Some trades, especially plumbers and electricians are also considerable overpaid in my opinion. Their numbers are limited so there is little competition.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 19, 2023 6:04 pm

TR was a Progressive. After failing to obtain the Republican nomination for President, he ran as a third-party candidate, thereby allowing Democrat Woodrow Wilson to beat Republican Taft in the 1912 election.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 19, 2023 6:16 pm

There was never a need for labor unions. Every gain that is claimed by the unions, happened despite them, not because of them.
Child labor, was only made possible because productivity improvements made it possible for parents to earn enough money that they no longer needed for the children to work.
Shorter work weeks, we also made possible by productivity improvements.
Worker safety? Work places had been getting steadily safer for hundreds of years prior to the advent of unionism.

It was capitalism that improved the lot of the worker, not unions. In fact, by opposing productivity improvements, unions have slowed down progress.

Reply to  cilo
November 19, 2023 7:16 am

Once again cilo demonstrates that to him, paranoia trumps reality every time.
Wall Street owns everything? Really? Care to prove that, or is it just another of those things that the voices in your head tell you to believe.

It’s your beloved government that is causing us to hemorrhage money.

There is no difference to between socialism and communism, socialism is merely a stop on the way from freedom to communism. As to capitalism being mythical, that is just more evidence that you have completely lost touch with reality.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  MarkW
November 19, 2023 10:26 am

big difference between what passes for socialism in the Nordic nations compared to Stalinism or Maoism and their successors with or without communism

Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 18, 2023 9:14 pm

That has got to be the stupidest thing you have ever written Izaak, just look around the world, every socialist state is run by the rich and powerful, in fact that is the reason why the rich and powerful are always pushing for more government control of everything.

Reply to  MarkW
November 18, 2023 9:51 pm

the stupidest thing you have ever written”

And it is a VERY long list of stupidity !!

Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 18, 2023 9:20 pm

There’s theory and then there’s reality.
In theory, socialism takes society’s resources and distributes them in a way that politicians feel is more fair. In socialism takes society’s resources and distributes them in a way that is most beneficial to the politicians.
By taking money from those who earned it, and using it to buy power for politicians, socialism always ends up in destroying wealth, and concentrating what is left in the hands of those who are already powerful.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 19, 2023 6:33 pm

Izaak, I think of it as a theocracy. Crazy Climate Change is a religion and we are being ruled by its priests.

Tom Halla
November 18, 2023 6:33 pm

The West learned little from the affair of Trofim Lysenko. Joseph Stalin wanted vernalization and the inheritance of acquired characteristics to be true, as it fit his dreams of the “New Soviet Man”. Lysenkoism devastated Soviet agronomy and genetics for a generation.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 19, 2023 3:55 am

The New Soviet Man- he’d be a hero of the nation- he’d work 10 times harder than anyone else but would get paid the same as the laziest. That’s socialism.

November 18, 2023 6:59 pm

With regards to climate change, what is going on represents more than politically motivated consensus enforcement and cancel culture. Climate change has become a secular religion, rife with dogma, heretics and moral-tribal communities. The secular religion of climate change raises concerns that are far more fundamental than the risks of bad policy. At risk is the fundamental virtues of the Scientific Revolution and the freedom to question authority.

Sorry, what pardon???

What an absolutely non-sensical word-salad.

Reply to  TheFinalNail
November 18, 2023 7:05 pm

Well, at least we know that Covid-19 was man made.

Reply to  Scissor
November 18, 2023 7:07 pm

Oh, we ‘know’ do we?

How do we ‘know’?

Reply to  TheFinalNail
November 18, 2023 8:22 pm

We know that you don’t actually know anything.

That becomes patently clear with every post you make.

Your lack of awareness of reality is quite hilarious. !

How do you survive in real life ???

Richard Page
Reply to  TheFinalNail
November 19, 2023 3:19 am

We know it was highly modified in a lab because of the way it is structured, the adaptation to human infection and the location of the centre of the viral outbreak (which was in the vicinity of the wet market but not in it). We also know because the lab kept records, some of which have been released, that clearly show the modification of the original virus into 2 or 3 variant strains, 1 of which got loose due to the poor viral security protocols in the lab. It’s not quite a ‘smoking gun’ but it’s enough to put the Wuhan lab as the source of the outbreak.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  TheFinalNail
November 19, 2023 9:12 am

We don’t know 100%, correct. But we know Fauci and the NIH funded Wuhan, we know Fauci directed the authors of the proximal origins paper that “proved” it was not a lab leak, a paper written by “scientists” with grant request approvals before Fauci. Then Fauci cited the paper as tho he had no idea it was coming.

A reasonable person, an intelligent unbiased person, could look at all that and see a coverup in process.

Just as an intelligent unbiased person reading the climategate emails can only conclude there was malfeasance.

None of which likely applies to you.

Reply to  TheFinalNail
November 18, 2023 7:35 pm

Not it is spot on, but YOU are in denial of reality which is why you have heat wave orgasms and completely ignore the record cold and snow this month because you are highly selective in what you want to accept and ignore the rest that is why you get so many red mark downs.

Reply to  Sunsettommy
November 18, 2023 9:23 pm
Reply to  TheFinalNail
November 18, 2023 8:20 pm

Comprehension issues again, fungal ??

Or just choosing NOT to understand the reality of the situation.

Problem is, that every word in the quote makes total sense, and bites at the scam you have chosen to follow…. and you just can’t accept it.

Reply to  TheFinalNail
November 18, 2023 9:22 pm

Thank you for admitting that you can’t refute anything written.

Reply to  TheFinalNail
November 18, 2023 9:26 pm

The social science terminology is a little on the thick side, but the meaning is easily discernible if a little bit of thought is applied to the text.

Try it, you’ll like it.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  TheFinalNail
November 19, 2023 3:58 am

Nah, she nailed it. It hurts to hear the truth so you’re only reply is “word salad”. To read word salad, read anything about the climate in the MSM.

Russell Cook
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 19, 2023 7:30 am

Or one increment worse, have the U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speak about anything in the climate issue.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Russell Cook
November 19, 2023 10:28 am

She got her job because she’s a 3-fer: woman, half black, half Indian.

Mark Whitney
Reply to  TheFinalNail
November 19, 2023 6:34 am

On the contrary, it is a succinct and readily understandable statement of concern over the corruption of science. It is telling that it did a fly-by for the Nail.

John Hultquist
November 18, 2023 7:14 pm

Judith writes: “We need to open up space for dissent and disagreement.”

What none of us know is how to do that.
There are many indications that CO2 is not a serious issue, but I doubt that people at the top — the U. S. President and his climate Czar and many more — ever get to see it. How does one dismantle a cult?
Further, every weather episode is hyped as worsening climate change. History, especially weather history, is no more known to most than are virtual particles.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  John Hultquist
November 19, 2023 4:02 am

Reading a biography of George Washington- on one day in the late 1780s- a severe rain storm destroyed most of the crops in Virginia and washed out many roads and bridges. Way back before SUVs, oil furnances and planes. That book has many other stories of severe weather- heat waves, blizzards, floods, etc.

November 18, 2023 7:23 pm

Thank you for speaking the truth when in this day and age it can be threatening.

Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
November 18, 2023 9:20 pm

Really . Its was Socialist Party leaders that were imprisoned in 1917 for opposing the draft. That led to the famous Supreme court precedent of yelling fire in a crowded theatre- even though distributing leaflets was nothing of the sort
In the 50s its was Hollywood leftists who were blackballed for their politics

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Duker
November 19, 2023 4:05 am

yes, and those were bad events- so what’s the conclusion other than don’t ban commentators? I’m sure many alarmists would love to ban WUWT and the few web sites that dare challenge the new cult- in a way, they are banning these sites by totally ignoring them- and books like “Unsettled”

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 20, 2023 9:52 am

Actually the 50s leftists were communists in league with the USSR.

When the USSR collapsed, they released massive amounts of documents that included records of the Hollywood leftists direct coordination with the USSR spies.

No one ever heard of this in the MSM because it proved the MSM were dupes of the USSR for 40 years.

That needs to be taught in any school that gets US federal funds. Along with the Venezuela progression from wealthy free elected government to pitifully poor socialist statist dictatorship in under 30 years as an example of why “socialism” NEVER WORKS and always leads to a dictatorship. With special lessons of how their oil industry collapsed due to the “leaders” friends and family being given high paying jobs and running the business into the ground.

There must be an enforced change in social studies curriculum with required testing of students to ensure they actually learned something. Testing to be administered by the US military, easy labor to acquire, to insure the leftist teacher’s union cronies don’t cover up malfeasance. Failure to do the “education” leading to termination of federal funds. Such legislation making it a felony for any “judge” to interfere with the regulations IN THE ACTUAL LAW by making it outside of the federal or state court’s jurisdiction. We could probable get 10% of the leftist federal judges off the bench that way since they believe they are above the law.

Reply to  Duker
November 19, 2023 7:23 am

And today it is anyone who opposes the socialist who get banned and fired.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Duker
November 19, 2023 9:26 pm

Gotta love the irony. Democrat, but de-facto socialist, Woodrow Wilson imprisoned actual Socialist Eugene Debs for opposing Wilson’s insertion of the US into one of the bloodiest and most pointless wars of all time. As it turns out, making the world safe for democracy had the opposite effect of making the world safe for socialism.

John V. Wright
November 18, 2023 8:18 pm

Just want to thank Judith Curry for a beautifully-written and important article on what has now become a serious threat to scientific discourse and responsible human behaviour. This is a hard read but it needed to be pulled together and coherently expressed and JC has done a terrific job. Huge thanks to Anthony for publishing it also.

Please bookmark this article and, when you encounter good folk who have become ensnared by the mass hysteria (which is basically what manmade global warming is) make sure that you email the link to them and ask them to read it.

Reply to  John V. Wright
November 18, 2023 10:53 pm

They never will because it disturbs their comfortable equilibrium.

November 18, 2023 9:44 pm

I am not a doctor, a scientist, an academic or a political leader. I am as common as common can get but I know I could have handled the COVID mess better than it was handled.

Let us say that there are a million doctors in the US. Let us say that one third are general practitioners or family or emergency physicians. That would be over 300,000 trained professionals in the field actually seeing sick or ailing people every day. That isn’t even counting those specializing in virology or respiratory issues or contagious diseases.

Instead of closing hospitals and clinics and sending the sick to to some government agency to be tested and then told to go home and take Tylenol to see if they get better I would encourage the sick to seek help from those who can best help them. You know doctors! If these hundreds of thousands of doctors working individually and communicating with one another were allowed to do their job I am convinced that thousands of lives would have been saved and millions would have gotten better faster and with less discomfort.

But no we shut everything down told people to stay home, to wear worthless masks, to social distance and wait for a few experts and professionals in Washington DC to save us.

What a load of crap.

Reply to  Bob
November 18, 2023 10:43 pm

Bob, while I sympathise with your feelings on covidiocy, I have to point out that the ‘solution’ you are after, is as artificial as the ‘problem’ you try solve.
You know how the famous Dr. Salk eradicated smallpox? by renaming the symptoms as ‘pustular excema’. You know how polio was eradicated? Renaming it as flacilitis. Vaccines are provably responsible for many deaths and much suffering, whereas the ‘proof’ of efficacy relies mostly on dishonest statistics and false, manipulative corporate data.
Do you know there is no Quality Assurance procedure for vaccines? Do you know that, when someone tried to create such a protocol, they analysed a number of commonly used vaccines under electron microscope, and found it full of metal shards, foreign genomic matter and toxic solvents? Stuff proven to cause cancer, immune suppression and chronic inflammation. Lies and poison, that’s vaccines for you.
There never was a pandemic, and you fretting about how you could have handled it better, merely serves to perpetuate the stupid lie that there was a pandemic in need of mass tyranny.
…and any doctor that does not understand this, is a useless piece of
that should be prevented from ever playing doctor-doctor again.

Reply to  cilo
November 19, 2023 7:24 am

All I have to say is wow, what color is the sky in your world?

Reply to  MarkW
November 19, 2023 11:18 am

Purple Haze.

Reply to  cilo
November 19, 2023 12:04 pm

You’re an idiot, Salk worked on polio not smallpox and small pox vaccination began in the 1800’s, Beginning in 1768, arm-to-arm variolation, an inoculation using the live smallpox virus, became more widely practised in North America and helped limit the spread of the disease. Reverend John Clinch introduced a safer vaccine in North America in 1798.

Reply to  cilo
November 19, 2023 1:13 pm

Cilo you have missed the point. My belief is that we already have medicines or treatments that will help those infected with the corona virus. All we had to do is unleash the people who really know something about illness. The hospitals in my town would not see you if you had a fever, they would send you to the fairgrounds to get tested by some government employee, if you were positive you were told to stay home and take extra strength Tylenol, do not go to the hospital unless you feel it is a last resort. My doctor was told by her administrators to not prescribe hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin she was basically told to do what everyone else was doing, nothing. You can believe or not that there was a pandemic, I don’t care, but you can’t deny that people got sick from the virus. I did and it was terrible. Knowledgeable doctors just doing their job could have handled this in short order.

Reply to  Bob
November 19, 2023 8:46 pm

…but you can’t deny that people got sick from the virus.

I hereby officially and publicly state my opinion that there was no pandemic, there was no virus, there was no vaccine. There were fake news reports, organic toxins and psychotic billionaires trying to legislate us into taking said poisons.
Just because some corrupt twerp wrote ‘Covid19’ on a death certificate, does not negate the hole in the head, decapitations and starvation which really killed those covidiot victims. Like those old people tortured to death with Remdesivir and ventilators, or just left to die without food and water, because the “health care workers” were afraid of entering their rooms and “catching covid”.
The longer you believe that covid nonsense, the longer it will take us to bring those psychotic mass murderers to account. Any doctor that participated in this mysanthropic scam, should be publicly executed!

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Bob
November 19, 2023 4:07 am

but… but… the doctors can’t actually do much for us because when you see them, they’re too busy looking at their laptop computers, now required by insurance companies and many state governments- and, now it seems you’re lucky if you get 10 minutes in their office- and for that, they’ll charge $500

Reply to  Bob
November 19, 2023 7:25 am

Hospitals were being closed? Where? In most countries hospitals were creaking at the seams trying to handle the influx of sick people.

John Hultquist
Reply to  MarkW
November 19, 2023 8:18 am

Search for: hospital bankruptcies 20XX (XX = year)
There were 12 in 2021 and 50+ in 2022
But don’t take my word, do your own research 🙂

Reply to  John Hultquist
November 19, 2023 6:20 pm

2022 was two years after the start of the COVID mess.

Reply to  MarkW
November 20, 2023 10:00 am

And when the massive China Virus subsidies to hospitals ran out.

Coincidence, I think not.

It appears, another conspiracy, that covid showed up just in time to cover up the problems caused by Obamacare and now that the money ran out, the problems are manifesting themselves.

Reply to  MarkW
November 20, 2023 8:57 am

Were creaking at the seams” or “were claimed to be by the obviously-lying governments and media”? Did you go and check for yourself? From what I read, anyone who went and actually looked found the hospitals mostly empty… and then got promptly thrown out before they could document the situation any further…

Did you also fall for the trick of “crisis actors” pretending to be on their deathbed for the cameras?

No, there was no pandemic. Certainly not by the old definition of the word, and the new definition includes every annual flu season, so that’s not very clinically useful. Whether there was a “new” virus at all is a matter of vigorous debate.

Reply to  Bob
November 19, 2023 11:56 am

Exactly, see Sweden for the better response.

Bill Johnston
November 18, 2023 10:14 pm

Dear Dr Curry,
Although always a team sport involving money, power and political alignments (parties), from the 1970’s, politics in Australia started to change. By the mid-1980s parties began harvesting and manipulating public opinion to serve their ends surreptitiously at first, but then more openly as time progressed.
Governance changed too. In those olden days our Westminster system consisted essentially of the Parliament, with Ministers of the Crown responsible for branches of the Executive, including Departments whose heads were then career public servants. The role of departments was to provide frank and fearless advice to Ministers in the exercise of their duty. In those days, this was the machinery that created policy supposedly for the people by the people.
However, this all changed.
Heads of Departments, became gradually replaced by blow-in, overpaid executives, secretaries etc., members of the so-called Senior Executive Service. Their job was top-down in the sense they directed Departments to justify policy that was largely pre-determined. Pre-determined policy became the realm of unelected groups, many of them lobbyists, groups such as trade unions, the WWF-aligned Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, and the many Institutes and so-called peak-bodies that popped out of the woodwork, or which were magically sponsored by universities across the land.
In this way, “elites” with their vested interests, interposed themselves between “the people” and their elected representatives. Elitist organisations and Institutes spend vast amounts of money running conferences, marketing, communicating, planning and organizing, which is how they come to set the agenda. Furthermore, through various avenues, including the Australian Research Council, governments funded many of the elitist organisations to ‘steer’ or agitate their already decided policies through to fruition. Threats to the survival of the Great Barrier Reef, supposedly due to emissions, are mostly non-problems for example. Misinformation about COVID is another example.
Another example: considerable resistance is building against Australia’s UniParty net-zero goals. Out jump a bunch of kiddies for climate action, complete with a full fake-news contingent .… and so, it goes on. Kiddies for climate action are a spinoff from the Australian Youth for Climate Coalition, which was funded by the Purves Environment Trust. Robert Purves was one-time Director of WWF-Australia and the Climate Council. He was on board the GetUp! express that regularly mobilises for political purposes. He also set-up Farmers for Climate Action and funded his mate Tim Flannery to propagate climate alarmism through Australian schools … hence the kiddies, and so it goes on.
Global warming was adopted as government policy due to pressure by well-connected elites who are hungry for other people’s money, initially those associated with the Liberal Party of Australia. (It has been the Liberals who have done most of the wrecking, but it is the Labor Party they hand-balled the problems to.) Integral to the power of the Elites is the role of The Science and it was Australia that developed the three-party model, where the third party is interposed between the other two. In that context the IPCC, was interposed as the third party between the UNEP and the WMO in 1988.
A burning question is: How does this work when no medium- or long-term Australian weather station datasets show any discernable trend that could be attributed to the climate?  
Yours sincerely,
Dr Bill Johnston

November 19, 2023 12:06 am

“a secular religion”?

It’s also been welded onto Christianity, exploiting the desperation of the church to be relevant in the modern world.
Nobody can have avoided noticing how the Pope has been coopted.
Here’s a transcript of Warwick harvest festival
as broadcast by the BBC this year.

“And this harmony is reflected in the agricultural images that we find throughout the Jewish and Christian scriptures…

Where God is depicted as farmer, as shepherd, and as gardener.

And where in our reading from John’s gospel, the very deep unity of God’s love for us, through his Son Jesus Christ, is depicted in the image of the vineyard.

Here God the vineyard-grower, and the true vine, his Son, invite us to abide in God’s love so that we might bear good fruit.

And so we might witness to God’s love in the abundant harvest of goodness that we see in our own lives and in the lives of others.

There is in this image a deep unity of God, creation and humanity witnessing to God’s love.

But this harmony between God, humanity, and creation…has been tragically disrupted and dislocated since the industrial age.

“City” and “field” have become more divided.

And too often our human work and activity has come into direct conflict with our natural environments.

Too often we’ve damaged our wildlife and the habitats that they need to flourish.

Too often we’ve forgotten God’s heart for justice as we see our fellow human beings suffering as a result of our changing climate.

And for too long we’ve ignored the environmental disaster that has been on the horizon.

In describing the impending disasters of their own day, Israel’s ancient prophets used the language of an environmental catastrophe.

The prophet Isaiah describes how the earth wails and weakens, and how the earth is polluted by its inhabitants.

The cries of the earth itself revealed the judgement of God.

And the prophets called for repentance as they longed for a restoration of a deep unity that had been lost.

The environmental warnings of the prophets seem especially striking in the context of the climate crisis we’re facing today. “

Reply to  MrGrimNasty
November 19, 2023 7:29 am

Of course the images in the Torah and Bible are pastoral. That’s the world those people lived in.

As to this impending environmental catastrophe that haunts your dreams, it doesn’t exist. The environment has been steadily improving for decades, and those places that were being devastated were always small and limited in scope.

Reply to  MarkW
November 19, 2023 8:02 am

Nothing haunts my dreams. It’s a quote, not my words! An illustration of the fact that the climate religion is not just secular.

John Hultquist
Reply to  MrGrimNasty
November 19, 2023 8:38 am

Mr Nasty,
Note that MarkW “shoots from the hip” {there is likely a better analogy} and he also missed “the Pope has been coopted“. He must have missed the lessons on reading comprehension.

The Pope was born in 1936 in Argentina, so likely his pastoral fog is his own.

November 19, 2023 12:24 am

“A Bad Recipe for Science”
And certainly a recipe for BAD SCIENCE. !

November 19, 2023 12:42 am

Political cultists that wrap themselves in “consensus” and then claim that they can change the weather by spending your money need to be shown the door.

Bill Johnston
November 19, 2023 1:54 am

I appeal to Judith to respond.

If “the science” is the captive of the establishment, and contradicting that, if there is no climate-related trend in medium and long-term Australian Tmax datasets, why is the anti-rhetorical fraternity not placing the onus of proof on the other side?

Comments and debate on Climate Etc. seems to elicit zero response from Judith.

So, how and why do ‘we’ elicit but hide behind the need for robust debate? Don’t we know anything? Can’t the zero-trend case be defended?

Put bluntly, if, as I have found, no unambiguous trend in some 300 Australian maximum temperature datasets, how can anyone claim or assume otherwise?

Yours sincerely,

Dr Bill Johnston

Richard Page
Reply to  Bill Johnston
November 19, 2023 3:25 am

If you want to appeal to Judith Curry to respond, you may be doing it on the wrong site. As the heading clearly states, this article was reprinted from Dr. Curry’s blog, ‘Climate etc.’ – you may need to go there if you wish to attract her attention, not here.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Richard Page
November 19, 2023 8:48 am

He mentions there is no response on her site either.

Richard Page
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
November 19, 2023 9:55 am

Oops, yes – missed that. But he does stand a slightly better chance there rather than here.

Gary Pearse
November 19, 2023 3:15 am

“The global energy transition and worldwide transformations to sustainability are far more challenging than the global COVID-19 pandemic.”

Judith, you are most the way there, but you still haven’t shed some the major trappings of the Dark Side. “Sustainability” is a Malthusian red herring. There is absolutely no sustainability problem! The reason for the rush of totalitarian policymakers is the approaching peak population arising from falling 3rd world birthrates because of strides in ec development and burgeoning harvests. In 15 years, Bangladeshi women birthrates dropped fro 7 children per woman to below 2!

Malthusians are losing the chief underpinnings of their raison d’être. They want to interrupt this progression and make even deeper cuts in population to get ahead of the parade. Mineral resources are abundant and we have a long history if reducing unit consumption of resources. A computer used to require a large airconditioned room – we can carry amuch more powerful one in our shirt pocket. We are also great at substituting materials.

Sustainability is pure BS. Otherwise I like your work.

November 19, 2023 5:16 am

Thanks for the excellent article, Dr. Curry.
But, the pursuant conversation understates what drives big issues like anthropomorphic climate change–self-interest.
Undisclosed self-interest prohibits producing the facts necessary to define, understand, and prioritize issues.

The warriors in this fight are the people that gain both monetarily and politically. It’s not just the “wealthy elite”, although most do seem to be at the higher end of compensation.
Consider the education and government union employees that lead this particular fiasco. All with high-end pay and golden benefits from government funding with taxes on the productive economy workforce.

Think of the tens of thousands of grant-seeking professors and union employees available for the promotion of crisis claims.
The crowd of social climbers enamored and promoted by the elite add thousands more.
Add the mentioned media, journals, institutions, and world saviors that benefit from the existential crisis claims and voila!–in just a few years and a few $thousands of $Billions a “crisis” prevented.

This particular “crisis” is not the climate, it’s the undisclosed self-interest that shows the moral/value/virtue depravity of those involved.

To those of us at this site–keep fighting with facts and truth!

November 19, 2023 8:13 am

Question for all:

Which of the following three gods is receiving more “worship” under the facade of “climate change”:
1) Money?,
2) Power/Control?, or
3) Confirmation Bias?

Pat from Kerbob
November 19, 2023 8:53 am

Well as we now know, the “proximal origins” paper was initiated and steered by Fauci, written by “scientists” with grant applications on the table at the NIH, and then after it’s released Fauci used it to proclaim scientific certainty on the origin of Covid acting as though he had no idea the paper was coming.

So the NIH funded the Wuhan research and then directed the cover up.

That’s science.

November 19, 2023 1:58 pm

Turgid prose will not affect positive change. This Big Lie is so big, it will last until the lights go off, and people say “The weather seems fine, turn the lights and heat back on!” Already happened in Texas.


November 19, 2023 3:26 pm

Just inserting my pedantic two bits in here, but there’s no such thing as “Activist scientists”.

What they are is activists that pretend to be scientists. You can’t trust any of their research findings because the only research that they do is designed with a single aim in mind. I saw this for myself when I was looking at the research on whether salt created high blood pressure – one of the most political of medical beliefs.

Erik Magnuson
November 19, 2023 9:08 pm

I was re-reading the first 1.5 books of Asimov’s Foundation trilogy and Dr. Curry’s piece reminded me of the discussions between the “scientists/encyclopediaists and Salvor Hardin. The former were discussing doing research on ancient manuscripts while Salvor was suggesting going out and doing some actual fieldwork. In climate science, the distinction would be between looking at models rather than real data.

I’m assuming that Asimov was thinking of science circa 1500 to 1600 where the old school was looking for better copies of ancient Greek texts, versus looking at the stars or actual anatomy and coming up with theories that better matched the observations. This is also a key point of Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, which was the primary text for the History of Science course taught by John Heilbronn.

One final comment: The recent news about AI models supposedly doing a better job f predicting weather than the numerical weather models suggests the latter have the problem of not seeing the forest for the trees. If the AI models really are better, this doesn’t bode well for the GCMs’.

November 20, 2023 4:23 pm


Jeff Alberts
November 21, 2023 9:14 am

Typo: “At risk is the fundamental virtues”

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