Update: After this article which I tweeted to @curryja at the time, comments from Kevin O'Neill and Izen and two days after writing it, Judith has finally commented that she has changed her article (compare original to revised). She now refers to the headline but does not clarify what Professor Torcello actually wrote or the context or that she grossly misrepresented him and his views. She left the word "outrageous" to refer to Lawrence Torcello's "thinking about climate ethics", suggesting she views the organised funding of misinformation campaigns as more than perfectly okay. Does it fit with her "pragmatic ethics"?
Curry as amended... Torcello famously wrote an essay entitled Is misinformation about the climate criminally negligent? More traditional (less outrageous) thinking about climate ethics ...
Curry's original and very wrong portrayal... Torcello famously wrote that climate scientists who fail to communicate the correct message about “global warming” should face trial for “criminal negligence”. More traditional (less outrageous) thinking about climate ethics
When it comes to global warming, much of the public remains in denial about a set of facts that the majority of scientists clearly agree on. With such high stakes, an organised campaign funding misinformation ought to be considered criminally negligentOf interest may be the comments like this and this and these, especially in light of the fact that Lawrence Torcello's article attracted so much venom on denier blogs and upwards of 700 hate emails and telephone calls.
Following the disinformation on denier blogs earlier this year, Professor Torcello wrote a strongly worded very clear statement (h/t MikeH in the comments below).
(Note also that in this article I have not discussed the suspect ethics and absurdly impractical suggestions that Judith was promoting to try to justify her push to not reduce CO2 emissions and not mitigate climate change, which could be worth an article in its own right.)
Sou 12:27 pm AEST 27 July 2014 - amended 12:58 pm to compare changed wording and add more for clarification.
I don't go there too often - it's too awful. However today I visited Judith Curry's blog and I found her perpetuating an old lie (archived here). Since, as a bully herself she gets so upset about people "bullying" (ie calling her out on her disinformation and worse), you'd have thought she'd be more cautious.
No, I won't yawn, Judith, I'm outraged
What was her lie? She was repeating the nonsense about the Laurence Torcello article in The Conversation back in March this year. You know, the one that prompted all the hate mail from deniers, some of whom could well have been part of an "organised campaign funding misinformation".
Judith has to know it's made up baloney. She even linked to the article itself. So this is just one more piece of evidence to add to her long list of sins. I can totally believe that Judith would "yawn" at ethics. This is what Judith wrote [now inserted full paragraph for comparison with the update above Sou 12:27 pm AEST 27 July 2014 ]:
My recent post Why scientists should talk to philosophers elicited a comment on twitter (that I can’t find) that recommended Lawrence Torcello as a philosopher that I should be paying attention to. In case the name doesn’t ring a bell, Torcello famously wrote that climate scientists who fail to communicate the correct message about “global warming” should face trial for “criminal negligence”. More traditional (less outrageous) thinking about climate ethics is typified by this Nature essay by Stephen Gardiner.My response to most writings on climate ethics that I’ve encountered has ranged from outrage to a yawn..
No, that's not what Lawrence Torcello "famously wrote". He said nothing of the kind. He didn't say that climate scientists should face trial. Perhaps the philosophers Judith talks to encourage her to be immoral and unethical (Judith's "pragmatic ethics"), although she needs no encouragement.
Compare what Judith wrote with what Lawrence Torcello actually wrote:
The importance of clearly communicating science to the public should not be underestimated. Accurately understanding our natural environment and sharing that information can be a matter of life or death. When it comes to global warming, much of the public remains in denial about a set of facts that the majority of scientists clearly agree on. With such high stakes, an organised campaign funding misinformation ought to be considered criminally negligent.
No mention of climate scientists except to say that the majority agree on global warming. Professor Torcello was talking about "an organised campaign funding misinformation", not climate scientists.
What Lawrence Torcello did say was that he didn't believe poor scientific communication should be criminalised:
I don’t believe poor scientific communication should be criminalised because doing so will likely discourage scientists from engaging with the public at all.
Well, Judith Curry is one of those rare scientists who should most definitely not be engaging with the public. She's not to be trusted.
(I've just had a thought. Maybe Judith, climate scientist, is admitting to being part of "an organised campaign funding misinformation". That could let her off the hook, couldn't it? Maybe - at a Curry-style stretch. Especially with her "pragmatic" ethics. Only to hang her on another hook, of course.)
Justice for deliberate disinformers who are in positions of influence
Let's hope that one day there will be justice for people like Judith Curry. People like Judith Curry, who used to be a Departmental Chair at Georgia Tech
[Georgia Tech is a very worthy institution and is not a minor university by any means. I apologise without reservation for the unintended slight to all the current top notch staff, students and alumni. The intended slight was aimed at the single individual who has diminished its reputation somewhat. There are duds in the best universities. Sou 1:16 pm AEST 26 July 2014]
You know what was the razor blade in the soap? Judith wrote her lie under a headline:
Is it her pragmatic ethics that allows Judith to promote disinformation? Does it allow her to disregard any twinge of conscience or does she have no conscience?
I'd say if the former, she hides it very well, as evidenced by her testimonies to the US Government.