I like summer
There hasn't been much silly stuff in the past couple of days. Or I should say that the silly stuff is too lame even for HotWhopper. Like a content-free letter to the WUWT editor from coal company director Viv Forbes, whose letter can be summed up as: "Summer is nice and warm, and I hate winter therefore global warming is good and anyway an ice age cometh."
Read on for the latest weekend psychobabble from Anthony Watts and Judith Curry. Judith Curry claims that almost all her professional colleagues in climate science (probably 90% or more of the thousands of climate scientists doing research today) are psychologically aberrant, have a God complex and suffer paranoia.
Psychobabble with permission from an "anonymous coward" at WUWT
At the same time, Anthony Watts posted the contents of an email he said he got from a friend, which helps him cope with fears he has about climate change. He wrote:
A dear friend sent me a note the other day that I thought was prescient, as it relates to the alarmism side of climate, where we see fear stories being propagated by the media on an almost daily basis. Many of the fears spread by climate alarmism pander to the base emotions of people.
So with permission, I repeat it here.
Fears are all subject to the climate, just sometimes it’s an emotional climate.
- A friend who remains anonymous
A few things about that. First of all, Anthony doesn't know what prescient means. Secondly it's very odd that he went to the trouble of getting permission to quote something as meaningless as "fears are all subject to the climate" - huh?
Third, that he got permission to quote that bit of meaningless psychobabble, and then attributes it to some "friend who remains anonymous". This isn't just senseless (why make a big point about getting permission to not tell people his friend's name), it is particularly hypocritical in Anthony Watts' case. He has no such qualms about releasing truly private information that he does not have permission to publish. It's how he tries to intimidates people who write about climate science. In fact that's how he entered the limelight - by publishing private emails without getting permission from the correspondents.
Why Judith Curry became a science disinformer
Which leads me once again to a climate scientist called Judith Curry. I was wandering about the deniosphere and I came across an article on her blog (archived here).
Judith was writing about an article in Grist by Madeleine Thomas. The article was about how climate scientists cope with the stress of their work. It touched on things I've mentioned briefly at HotWhopper, like how scientists cope with knowing better than any of us, what is to come with climate change. How to cope with people calling you frauds and fakes when you are reporting your work.
Judith used the Grist article to ridicule the emotions of climate scientists relating to climate change. She described how she coped with the knowledge that we are causing global warming. Judith implied she "believed" the nonsense manufactured by other climate disinformers after the emails were stolen from CRU. Well, I find that as hard to swallow as what she makes up about climate science. It's at least as likely that she saw an opportunity and took it. She wrote, mockingly:
I feel your pain. Circa 2007 I felt the same way you did, and ran around turning off lights and unplugging things, feeling really uncomfortable about the carbon footprint of myself and my surroundings. But then I woke up as a scientist and realized that my belief in dangerous anthropogenic climate change was second order belief – based on the IPCC consensus. That is, I believed in the consensus without having done a real detailed assessment of my own.
Judith claims she "woke up as a scientist" and claimed that she hadn't done "a real detailed assessment" of her own. That strikes me as either self-delusion or a lie. In her next sentence, she confessed her waking up wasn't anything to do with science. She admitting it was the publicity and disinformation about the stolen emails that prompted her to join the denialati. She wrote:
Then when climategate triggered me to closely examine everything, notably the IPCC’s attribution argument, I realized that the fingerprints were ‘muddy’, the climate models are running too hot, the forcing data is uncertain, no account is made for multidecadal and longer internal variability, and they have no explanation for the warming 1910-1940, the cooling 1940-1976, and the hiatus since 1998. Once you raise questions about 20th century attribution, then your angst about impacts that you think are attributable to AGW becomes much less justified.
And take that opportunity she did, as anyone who was around at that time knows. She openly used "climategate" to turn on her colleagues and launch her new career as a science disinformer. She jumped on the bandwagon while it was in its "denial by stolen emails" heyday and hasn't looked back since.
There were at the time only a few scientists who were contrarian if not corrupt, who were spouting climate change denial. Some of the more prominent ones were tainted, having associated with organisations that had a history as pro-tobacco lobbyists. There were a few minor contrarians who weren't much favoured by the media. They were too extreme in their opinions or otherwise too difficult for the image-makers to sell to the public as someone credible (or likeable). The popular press was looking for new faces. They were delighted to find not just a new face but a mainstream climate scientist who was willing to turn her back on science.
The publicity surrounding the stolen emails was a fleeting opportunity and Judith jumped at it. She is now a go-to person for politicians who want to pretend that global warming is a hoax. She is the only climate scientist I've come across to publicly come out in support of allowing defamation of her professional colleagues, arguing that Michael Mann suing Mark Steyn and the National Review for defamation has "frightening implications" for free speech.
Listen seriously - and weep
Judith gives this advice to climate scientists who are concerned about what humans are risking by causing global warming. She wrote:
In terms of tips, try reading some literature on history, philosophy and sociology of science – you will become more humble as a scientist and less likely to believe your own hype. Read Richard Feynman. Hang out at Climate Etc. Listen seriously to a serious skeptic.
Reading literature, history, philosophy and sociology (of science or anything else) is a worthwhile pastime. However hanging out at Climate Etc. will definitely not provide decent scientists with any comfort. Judith publishes a lot of pseudo-science crap articles as well as having an "anything goes" attitude in the comments. Richard Feynman won't give climate scientists much comfort, either. As for a "serious skeptic", I think Judith means "serious fake sceptic", of which there are none - by definition. If one were to "listen seriously" to fake sceptics for any length of time, it might just be enough to push one over the edge.
The God complex and paranoia
Judith then suggests that climate scientists are nuts. She wrote:
If these strategies don’t work, try learning about aberrant psychologies, such as the God complex and paranoia and look in the mirror (there are probably others, but I don’t know that much psychology myself).
I wonder what Judith sees when she looks in the mirror these days? Does she see herself for who she has become? Does she see herself as others see her? Would a psychologist see her behaviour as aberrant?
It's hard to say. It's also hard to believe that a scientist could maintain the level of self-delusion necessary to write her next article without feeling ten stomach turns of hypocrisy.
In the comments, there is an excellent example of the type of denier/disinformer Judith Curry spruiks to. People who can't tell the difference between disinformation, FUD and statistical probability; people who can tell the difference, and evangelise for climate disinformers. People who cry "censorship" when someone disagrees with them. People who think free speech bestows the right to libel, defame and say whatever comes into their head. I don't usually single people out in this manner, but Rum Runner has been showing off his disinformation here for a while now. He'll probably be chuffed to get a mention.
Sou 1 November 2014
Just keep plugging away
While the climate science disinformers are busy trying to justify the path they've chosen, climate scientists continue to do their work. These are ordinary men and women who've chosen a career that they must, at times, find extremely difficult. Ordinary men and women, some of whom find themselves doing extraordinary things. I hope they know how much most of us value their work. I hope they are not turned off by people who try to demonise them. Or by the fact that a few of the people who they may have regarded in the past as professional colleagues have chosen what they regard as the "glamour" of denialism over their profession as scientists.
My father used to give these dry words of encouragement: "just keep plugging away", he'd say. It doesn't sound like much, but what else is there to do? If you put one foot in front of the other, before long, you'll have traveled quite a distance along your journey. And remember to stop and smell the roses along the way.
If laughing at the Bozo's doesn't do it for you, then look to the young for inspiration and hope.