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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Weekend Denier Weirdness: How disinformers cope with the stress of climate change

Sou | 1:46 PM Go to the first of 69 comments. Add a comment

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.

When "climagegate triggered me".  Now you could read it that Judith was willing to believe the worst of her professional colleagues. But anyone who was around then knows that Judith wasn't examining the content of the emails or she would have soon seen for herself that there was nothing to see. No, it was fairly obvious that she saw an opportunity for minor celebrity status.

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.

Post script

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.


  1. Last night on the ABC's The Drum, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki appeared as a guest to talk about about his new book The House of Karl's.

    He dedicated the book to climate scientists who are being systematically victimised.

    He talks about that victimisation here at 13:10.

    1. Good for Dr Karl. Pity about the focus on methane / permafrost though, which is considered by many scientists to be unlikely to be a problem at least in the foreseeable future. There are other tipping points already crossed - like the collapse of WAIS.

    2. @GSR

      >>"He dedicated the book to climate scientists who are being systematically victimised. "

      I presume you mentioned that because of Sou doing the same? (To Judith Curry...)

      In fact the purpose of this blog is victimising people she disagrees with...

    3. RR - Your comment is despicable - but why am I not surprised.

      You are equating my valid criticism of Judith Curry's verbal trashing of her fellow scientists, and her misrepresentation of science, with louts who physically assault the property and homes of climate scientists.

      I'll leave this one comment from RR as an illustration of the unethical and spineless behaviour of deniers and disinformers.

    4. I think the perception of who is trashing who in this debate (AGW and the severity of its effects) very much depends upon one's beliefs on the matter/one's side of the debate.

    5. The facts speak for themselves. Beliefs are irrelevant.

      It's one thing to disagree with a scientific paper and to argue it on the data. It's quite another thing to claim, as Judith Curry just did, that the 98% or whatever of scientific researchers around the world who find that climate change is real have a "God complex" and suffer "paranoia".

      I doubt that Judith really thinks that. I can't dispute that Judith said that - because it's right there on her blog. It is such a ridiculous claim that I don't need to research it to see if Judith is accurate.

      If you want to pick "sides" then tell us - are you with Judith on this or are you with facts?

      BTW - climate science itself doesn't have "sides".

    6. @marke

      Beliefs? No, someone who thinks it is about beliefs is already trashed in this debate.

    7. Why is Rum Runner commenting here still? He promised to leave and not return after being show to be wrong. He was shown, yet here he is again. This man's word is clearly worthless.

    8. Beliefs or facts? There are four major positions in this debate:

      1. Enough (all?) data is in and enough (all?) facts are known. We must act now.

      2. We need more data, but what we have seen makes this plausible enough that we would be wise to act now.

      3.Looks like a plausible concept but we have very little good data and the plans put forward thus far are piecemeal and unpredictable in outcome. Lets keep collecting more precise data and experimenting with alternatives before we upend our economies.

      4.It is wrong and a great plot of some sort to achieve some political aim.

      I am in group 3, which I regard as a most reasonable position. I presume most here are in group 2, which is also a reasonable position.

      The difference between those two positions is simply the degree of faith in the data.

    9. marke - it would help if you told us what you are talking about. Your comment has no context and seems to be moving way off topic.

      Would I be correct in thinking you want to "tell all" about your personal "beliefs" on whether or not the greenhouse effect is real, as opposed to the science? Are we about to be subjected to another baring of the soul experience? Another "true confessions from a climate science denier"?

  2. Dr Karl's media trajectory has driven him to become a public polymath in much the same way as (Engineer) Bill Nye has in the US. They are preferred by media bookers because they can hold a TV audience.

    Professor Brian Cox, on the other hand, has that media ability along with the scientific standing and the judgement to contain his statements to the best available information. He's got enormous appeal in the UK, Europe and Australia.

    Dr Karl and Bill Nye, have contributed enormously to raising science's profile in their communities even if they sometimes bight off a bit more than they can chew.

    1. Brian Cox is very good. Track down the BBC radio programme The Infinite Monkey Cage where he invariably limits his comments to what is known. His TV shows are excellent too.

      In my younger days, the best science communicator I saw was James Burke, whose degree was in English.

      As for reading Feynman, as Dr Curry suggests - by all means but read carefully and it is clear how much he would have despised the deniers, especially ones who should know better, like Spencer and Curry.

  3. This was a GREAT article. It exposes the problems in your thinking acutely. It shows the , seemingly essential, need to supress debate and censor talk of uncertainties. You must come to terms with the fact that both sides of the debate exist in their own echo-chamber. The denialosphere and the alarmosphere. Just look at your blog list - the same type of sorry blog re-gurgitating the same identikit phrases, and then slapping each other on the back - "well said Sir!". Echo. Echo.

    When someone like Judith Curry comes along with all the right credentials, and makes some serious points. Bam! Head expolosion! You just can't seem to stand that there are serious sceptics. I would argue that Dr Curry (I note just Judith to you) is not in either camp. But, she has committed the sin of "seriously listening to serious sceptics", and for that she must be cast out. HotWhopper is the witchfinder-general, and she must burn...

    It seems that the climate alarmist community still hasn't learned the lesson of climategate. What is the lesson? It's one (and only one) of these:

    * There's oil funded hackers out there who want to destroy the world

    * People should secure their email better

    * Stealing is wrong

    * If in a debate of worldwide importance (WMD in Iraq, AGW) the full facts, including *all* the uncertainties are not made absolutely clear, and then people *find out* that the uncertainties have not been made absolutely clear then people will be pissed off. If they find that you've been expressing certainty publicly, but uncertainty privately, they will feel cheated and they will turn on you. If you (perhaps for the best intentions) lie - and they find out, they will never believe you again. And if your lies are exposed, and you try to say you've done nothing wrong and wriggle out of it, then your credibility is toast. EndEx.

    1. So, Rum Runner agrees with Judith Curry (what she writes on her blog, not in her scientific papers) that 90% plus of climates scientists are crazy and so we can reject the mainstream scientific consensus. And that Judith and another one or two per cent of the population are the only sane people on earth.

      What "witches" does Rum Runner want to burn, I wonder? (Not really.)

      I think readers will know what pigeon hole Rum Runner belongs in. They also know that Rum Runner doesn't read science, preferring disinformation blogs. Otherwise he'd know that probabilities are spelt out very clearly in the literature, if conservatively.

    2. @Sou,
      >>>"So, Rum Runner agrees with Judith Curry...And that Judith and another one or two per cent of the population are the only sane people on earth"

      [Assuming that *is* what she said] It would not be the first time in the history of the world... This was written in 1852, but is more relevant now than ever. Especially the last sentence:

      "In reading the history of nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities; their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first. We see one nation suddenly seized, from its highest to its lowest members, with a fierce desire of military glory; another as suddenly becoming crazed upon a religious scruple; and neither of them recovering its senses until it has shed rivers of blood and sowed a harvest of groans and tears, to be reaped by its posterity. At an early age in the annals of Europe its population lost their wits about the sepulchre of Jesus, and crowded in frenzied multitudes to the Holy Land; another age went mad for fear of the devil, and offered up hundreds of thousands of victims to the delusion of witchcraft. At another time, the many became crazed on the subject of the philosopher’s stone, and committed follies till then unheard of in the pursuit. It was once thought a venial offence, in very many countries of Europe, to destroy an enemy by slow poison. Persons who would have revolted at the idea of stabbing a man to the heart, drugged his pottage without scruple. Ladies of gentle birth and manners caught the contagion of murder, until poisoning, under their auspices, became quite fashionable. Some delusions, though notorious to all the world, have subsisted for ages, flourishing as widely among civilised and polished nations as among the early barbarians with whom they originated,—that of duelling, for instance, and the belief in omens and divination of the future, which seem to defy the progress of knowledge to eradicate them entirely from the popular mind. Money, again, has often been a cause of the delusion of multitudes. Sober nations have all at once become desperate gamblers, and risked almost their existence upon the turn of a piece of paper. To trace the history of the most prominent of these delusions is the object of the present pages. Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."

    3. Tell us, Rum Runner - is relativity a religious scruple or military glory?

      Is DNA the stuff of religion or the sword?

      What about the force known as gravity - does it rock your bearded man in the sky off his cloud or does it send you to your armory?

      You have, I'd say, proven my point, given that you are unable to distinguish between the science of meteorology, oceanography, marine science, geology, and atmospheric physics, hydrology, agricultural science, forest science, ecology and earth science in general - and any of the various spiritual beliefs, such as Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Paganism, Mormonism, Bahá'í, Rastafarianism, or any other religious faith - and probably including superstitious pseudo-religions like Cornwall Alliance hogwash.

      Just as you prove my point when you suggest that there is some military battle being waged between on the one hand, the scientific illiterati and, on the other hand, the rest of the world, which relies on science and technology for this modern every day life.

    4. If you want to disprove the scientific consensus RR you will have to do it with science not unsubstantiated claims.

    5. Anonymous, RR is a fan of Judith Curry, who revels in unsubstantiated claims.


    6. I sort of skim read Rum Runner's posts above and found them vaguely irritating. I thought about a comment on them but when I looked again a bit more closely I could find nothing of substance to comment on.

    7. Spruik? I had to look that one up and found it is an Australianism.
      This was the definition I found:

      speak in public, especially to advertise a show.
      "men who spruik outside striptease joints"

      What are you suggesting Sou? :)

    8. @Sou,

      Actually relativity and gravity are reasonable examples. Debate still exists about the theory of both. Problems with Newton's gravitational equations not *exactly* explaining the motion of a planetary body is what ultimately led Einstein to create the relativity theory.

      Currently the "consensus" view of both dominates, and is likely to for some time I would recon. But there are still uncertainties in the Standard Model of physics that aren't completely resolved. I'm sure that if in MacKay's book he had been writing about the Standard Model of Physics and he'd said that scientists believed that:

      ..." 96% percent of matter is invisible"...

      .. which is the ultimate logical conclusion of relativity, then people would have smiled at the "delusion". I hold no opinion either way, I haven't studied it enough. But if I do then I shall be sure to do so with an open mind and not a "herd mentality".

    9. RR replies: "Actually relativity and gravity are reasonable examples"

      Indeed? Of religious fervour or military glory?

      RR is claiming he really cannot tell the difference between scientific knowledge, religion and military fervour.

      I think we've heard enough.


    10. "Currently the "consensus" view of both dominates, and is likely to for some time ..."

      You really do not understand what consensus means do you?

    11. Funny thing is that there were many lessons in the 'Climategate' emails. For instance there is the intent to prevent publication of work that the climategate scientists considered (and many of us would agree) was fraudulent.

      The problem Rum Runner has is that the lessons to be learnt from the Climategate emails are inconvenient to fossil fuel industry shills and their mindless dupes. And for that reason he ignores them.

    12. Indeed, there are many lessons to be learnt from Climategate. Rum Runner, above, seems to think there is only one. The one that coincidentally appears to reflect his toxic, tunnel-visioned and one-sided view of what happened.

      Oddly I could go someway (a small way) to agreeing with some of the criticisms of what happened if the deniers were not such a a baying mob. (herd mentality?) intent on crucifying people. What I remember and they ignore is that scientists are just people with the same pressures and problems everyone has to deal with. Under pressure and abuse people do not always behave impeccably.

      If there is only one lesson to learn is that when people are harassing you let the (university) authorities deal with it. If you receive umpteen FOI request in a week just refer them to the bureaucratic department in the organisation that knows how to handle such nonsense.

    13. Remembering that early in the peace, there probably wasn't anyone at the University who knew how to handle FOI nonsense or vexatious requests. (The legislation only came into effect in 2005 in the UK AFAIK. Universities wouldn't have been expecting that scientific researchers would have been targeted for vexatious requests and wouldn't have been prepared for the onslaught. FOI legislation is mainly intended for stuff like personal info stored by governments, and decisions of government agencies - not harassment of climate scientists.)

    14. I agree that it is in hindsight it is clear that they should not have tried to handle the FOI requests on their own. I imagine they got drawn into a bit of a siege mentality instead of remembering they did not have to deal with these people.

    15. "When someone like Judith Curry comes along with all the right credentials, and makes some serious points. ... You just can't seem to stand that there are serious sceptics."

      She may or may not have made some serious points, but when she first "came along" into the blogosphere I kept an eye on her blog. The trouble is there were too many examples in her early articles of very poor thinking to which she clung even as people patiently explained why they were poor. It was clear in a short while that she didn't want to correct her thinking, she wanted to push a point of view.

      That's not serious scepticism.

      And she may or may not be a serious sceptic in other forums or other places or in that one special hour per week she reserves for such thing, but it's awfully hard to credit any of those possibilities when she spends most of her time doing an awfully good impression of a denier and a doubt-sower for when in the public eye. This is especially true because from what I recall she conspicuously reserves that kind of thing for blogs and public testimony rather than the scientific literature which indicates that on some level she knows it's bullshit but does it anyway.

      That's not the mark of a serious sceptic either.

    16. Was there anyone else who could have/would have dealt with those people? I don't think they had a choice. From what I read, UEA didn't provide support to scientists, or not much probably, apart from maybe an admin person sending the scientists some pro-formas and a copy of the legislation.

      Back here in Australia, when FOI first came in (well before it was established in the UK) there was usually a clerk sent off to a training session and that was about it. Most agencies wouldn't have had a full time FOI officer. Maybe something like the health dept would have, or births, deaths and marriages. But not most agencies. Universities were probably not that different. If someone had a query the FOI officer was meant to give them advice, which probably mainly meant sending them forms and instructions and telling them to make do. Academic staff at universities do not generally get FOI requests. It's unusual, still, today.

      FOI admin in universities and government agencies is a bit more sophisticated these days.

    17. Hmmmm...

      "But, she has committed the sin of "seriously listening to serious sceptics", and for that she must be cast out."

      That's ... kinda like paranoid ideation ;-) Seriously, "casting out"?!

      It does however let RR avoid dealing with the point that Curry is a serial disinformer, which seemed to be his goal.

    18. "Actually relativity and gravity are reasonable examples. Debate still exists about the theory of both."

      The debate that exists is about small effects on the margins, because essentially everyone who is scientifically serious agrees that the evidence is very strong for the rest of the theory.

      Even if we go back to the Einsteinian improvements to Newtonian theory they were incremental refinements to the existing well accepted theory, and under most circumstances they were so small that they could be ignored.

      Good example indeed ;-)

    19. "Was there anyone else who could have/would have dealt with those people?"

      In any sound organisation there is an administrative bureaucracy that can support and protect individuals. So I think the answer is yes. The skill is to know how to use that support and when. As an individual you are under no legal obligation to deal with anybody. (Not until obliged by a court anyway). That legal obligation falls on the organisation.

      Jammy Dodger
      Norwich, UK

    20. "To trace the history of the most prominent of these delusions is the object of the present pages. Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one"

      The book that this extract is from is very interesting, and of the case studies, Tulipmania is probably the most famous of the 'manias'. Of course, in this respect nothing has changed as the Dot Com boom and crash is only the latest page in the history of manias, and no doubt there will be more future ones. But what RR seems to think is that mature sciences, specifically climate science, is also some sort of mania, a delusion of sorts. This is of course typical thinking of deniers, and especially so of climate science trolls like RR who will obsessively embed themselves like a bush tick on blogs about climate science. I have seen this sort of aberrant behaviour many times before, and it will only end when they have been banned.

      But where RR is confused, and he is often very confused, is that climate science is based on physical laws and careful observations. When there is consilience, that is, a convergence of different lines of evidence to form a strong conclusion, the conclusion can be considered to be very strong. This is the very basis of many of our scientific theories, from evolution to climate science. To an ignoramus, it may appear to be 'herd thinking', but this is a misunderstanding and a gross mischaracterisation of what is actually occurring. If you want to study Einstein's theory of relativity, or quantum mechanics, or any other mature science, it is not a study of the orthodoxy itself and the consensus, but a study of the evidence that leads to the conclusions. The duality nature of photons and electrons for example is not an instance of 'herd mentality', but the inexorable conclusion one must make based on observations and experiments.The same is for climate science. That greenhouse gases cause warming is an observed function of a series of universal physical laws, from Kirchhoff's law of thermal radiation to the laws of thermodynamics. It is certainly not 'herd thinking'.

      Of course 'climate science is another case of 'herd thinking'', or 'an example of Lysenkoism' is nothing new, and is often the end game of a particularly nasty trolls who have nothing else to say. It should be considered as a new version of Godwin's Law, with the troll being immediately banned.

  4. PS If you think RR has become uncharacteristically quiet all of a sudden, it's because I've decided not to publish any more of his silly comments. (You've heard it all anyway.) He can now cry "censorship" to his heart's content.

    1. If RR wasn't pathologically incapable of admitting error *and* a liar, he would have removed himself as he promised he would several days ago.

  5. In his reliance on that cut and past word-monolith, RR seems to be asserting that scientists have a herd mentality.
    RR you really need to visit a research establishment other than Liberty U.

    1. Ha ha, yes. When I worked as a scientist it was impossible to herd any of them. The phrase "like trying to herd cats" comes to mind.

    2. Herding scientists.

      Well, you could try providing copious research funds in one particular area of science whilst making announcements and publishing books on what you (the funds provider) regarded the outcome to be. Then let it become clear that any contradictory publications would result in no further funding.

      That might just work.

    3. Ah, marke is just another paranoid conspiracy theorist spouting Tim Ball-like slogans.

    4. marke...
      While such a situation certainly isn't outside the realm of possibility, it's not ringing any bells with me. Do you happen to have any specific individual/group and area of science in mind when you describe this quite egregious perversion of the scientific process, or are you just indulging in speculation?

    5. @GSR,

      >>"RR seems to be asserting that scientists have a herd mentality. "

      Sou, in the postscript to her sermon, teaches us that climate scientists "are ordinary men and women ". MacKay teaches us that communities of "ordinary men and women " can "suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit ... till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first."

      So. The answer is YES. They can. Especially if caught up in the echo chamber. What all science needs is critical voices. Papers need to be put up and torn down.

      What blogs like this do (and all the identikit -herd mentality- blogs in the blog roll) is try to stop that criticism. Try to smear the person making the criticism - "how DARE you question the man behind the curtain!" Try to minimise and suppress the doubts. It works. It appeals to base human nature. But it makes for a biased political environment.

      Then, when things don't go as forecast (e.g. the pause) the public at large feel duped. Cheated. Lied to. And who do they turn on? Climate scientists. But they, themselves most likely DID express the uncertainties (if they didn't they shouldn't be published) so they are not really to blame. It's the uncritical cheerleaders like Sou - and her ilk - who whipped up the stories and tried to suppress criticism of them who should be getting the criticism. THEY are the ones who attributed infallibility to the model predictions. THEY are the ones who should get the blame.

    6. What RR is saying is that s/he only wants to hear "critical" voices that he agrees with, that appeal to his emotion not his intellect, that aren't founded in science, that aren't the result of rigorous analysis and objective measurement.

      RR only wants to hear voices that spread FUD based on nothing but denier pseudo-crap.

      RR is completely uncritical of the lynch mobs roused at WUWT and Judith Curry's blog, using nothing but appeals to emotion. He claims that "What all science needs is critical voices" but when criticism is raised, like here, then RR complains that it is "try to stop that criticism".

      What a nutter. RR is only consistent in his inconsistency, double standards and an inability to tell the difference between FUD, pseudo-science and fact. Oh and a complete inability to apply critical thinking.

      If HotWhopper demolishes denier nonsense with logic and reason and facts, RR claims it is "smearing". Yet when Judith Curry says that scientists have a God complex and suffer paranoia, RR gives her a standing ovation.

      RR is a hypocrite and an idiot, who couldn't mount a coherent argument if he tried, let alone contribute to a discussion of science. He isn't worth the time of day. And will no longer get it here at HW.

    7. "He isn't worth the time of day. And will no longer get it here at HW."

      Thanks Sou, but then again RR should have just left on his own .He promised BBD he would once proven wrong, and BBD easily found an example.

    8. Rum Runner seems entirely ignorant of the intellectual knock-down brawl the the scientific literature constitutes. Scientists get ahead in their career by knocking down other people's ideas and replacing them with their own. Given that the pay is crap, this is a pretty strong motivation.

      And that error seems to lead him to the fallacy that there's insufficient critique (e.g. on certain issues because there is consensus). One needs scientific skills that he clearly doesn't have to determine whether critiques are valid, or whether sufficient scrutiny has been applied to a claim. (Dunning and Kruger ride again...)

      His obvious inability to determine what is valid or dodgy scientific argument (or criticism thereof) makes him exceedingly prone to conspiratorial ideation about (say) the purpose of blogs like this. He just gave a great example - models do not forecast, but he falsely thinks they do and draws invalid conclusions from that. (I'm sure his error has been pointed out several times now, and is certainly a standard point at many science explaining sites.)

      And the bonus point is that his argument about "suppressing criticism" only works if this blog and however many other he has in mind collectively have a massive influence on the masses of citizens around the world...which they clearly do not as his own comment reveals! He points out that people falsely treat projections as predictions and then "turn on climate scientists" when the projections are invalidly compared to real world outcomes. If these blogs had any influence, people wouldn't be pissed off, let alone pissed off for invalid reasons.

      Skeptical, he is not, although he likes to think he is - and that goes double for his own argument.

  6. No disrespect intended and it's OT but, the name 'Rum Runner' rings a bell. It was supposedly the Prohibition Era occupation of Harry Truman, not the famous one, the one who failed to dodge a volcano. Harry Randall Truman was buried (probably with his 16 cats) under 46 metres of pyroclastic flow when Mt St Helens erupted in 1980. He steadfastly refused to budge when told to by the local sheriffs because he felt that the media was blowing (no pun) the whole situation out of proportion i.e. being alarmist.

    1. In Harry Truman's defense (I lived in Portland, OR at the time), the predictions were greatly understated compared to what actually happened, i.e. the USGS wasn't predicting that the entire dome that resulted from the last rebuilding episode would blow out and be transformed into a pyroclastic flow.

      So Stubborn Harry wasn't wasn't as bonkers as (say) Rum Runner or Judith Curry. The authorities would've forcibly removed him if they thought he was at high risk of immediate death.

      Remember that one notable fatality was David Johnston, who died at his supposedly safe USGS observation post.

      And that the others were for the most part camped outside the closed zone, where they were presumed to be safe enough.

      I had a friend up there the day it blew, he'd summitted the night before to (unofficially and illegally) collect samples from the vent for Portland State University. Which he'd done a dozen or so times after the closure went into effect. He camped that night on a high ridge and people died at lower elevations on either side, he got out without a problem. Combination of luck and an expert climber's intution telling him to stay high when sleeping …

      Anyway, Harry Truman at Spirit Lake was a crank, but not nearly as denialist or bonkers as our climate science denialist friends.

    2. One way in which Harry Truman was just like Curry and Watts … he loved the limelight which his stubborn refusal to leave caused to be turned his way.

    3. @marke

      That might just work.

      Well, no it would'nt. Yes, you might get scientists applying for the funds. You might put dodgy conditions in the conditions of the grant. But that is as far as it can go. Scientists can publish what they like. If they feel they can't, because the next grant is dependent on the correct results, they will talk to other scientists who will publish contrary results. All the time there is a lot more kudos attached to the person who gets it right. It is really impossibly difficult to run the worldwide type of conspiracy you imagine.

    4. Jammy, I don't think it takes a conspiracy. Just a certain belief at a certain level of government, a bit of hype in the media, publication of some 'position positive' results, denigration at all levels of 'position negative' results, a newly expanded field of science with a population of scientists needing to make a living, with many having a strong belief in their work, and the whole thing becomes self perpetuating.

  7. "Curry claims that almost all her professional colleagues in climate science ... are psychologically aberrant, have a God complex and suffer paranoia.

    It's not clear to me she applied it as widely as you indicated (although I'm not sure I can rule out that interpretation from her words either).

    Orthogonally, as I often say at Deltoid: it's always projection, and that just might fit here as well. I'm not necessarily suggesting the specific pathologies she identifies are projection, especially since she self-admits she doesn't know much in that field, but the idea that pathologies explain the experience and the delusion she clearly thinks most climate scientists are under.

    1. You think I might have misread Judith's comments, Lotharsson? That's quite possible. She might have only meant them to apply to the scientists referred to in the Grist article, and climate scientists on the "front line". Which would probably still be a heck of a lot of scientists, wouldn't it :(

    2. Yes, I think it's more plausible that she meant them to apply to either the scientists in the Grist article or to the set of scientists who feel like those in the article. You could also argue for a reading that limits it to the subset of (one of those) sets that try the other recommendations in her article and don't find them helping much. You could argue for the reading you initially had, but I think that's less likely. She didn't make it very clear.

      Either way, the suggestion is imprudent, especially when made in such a scattergun fashion and in the very article where she acknowledges little psychological expertise.

    3. Given her past history, I'm sure she places Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt in that group …

  8. Judith Curry has wobbly judgement.

    Days before publication of Lewis and Curry - her most important literature to date - she made an absolute spectacle of herself by addressing the execrable George C Marshall Institute.

    Couldn't she have found somewhere nicer like the John Birch Society?

  9. This is Rum Runner agreeing to leave this blog permanently:

    I'll make a deal with you BBD. If you can prove something substantive that I've said that was wrong - I'll never darken Sou's doorstep again.

    1) You have to prove (which includes providing data and, where necessary, calculations) that I'm wrong on a substantive point

    This proof was provided and all conditions met immediately thereafter.

    Yet here he is again. Why?

  10. Sou , an observation, I noticed that the cities around the word run up to 10 degrees above average. So you could call this a test bed of future average temps in 50 years time.

    It seems that in this alien, hotter than average environment , tree, birds, flowers and bees seem to have adapted well. An article from the Guardian made this claim.

    "But surprisingly, the industry has discovered that bees kept in urban areas are healthier and produce better honey"

    What do you think?


    1. UHI means cities are hot. UHI means that animals and plants will be pushed over the edges of their thermal tolerances sooner by AGW.

    2. In North America, a significant percentage of migratory birds have shifted their range northward. This will continue as warming continues.

      While this means that in NW Oregon and SW Washington we now regularly enjoy the presence of red-shouldered hawks and black phoebe (among others) which used to be extremely rare in those parts, it doesn't mean "all is well" as you suggest. Some of our species are shifting north. Eventually, you run out of habitable north …

      Also note that in cities you tend to have a fairly high percentage of exotics, and in temperate zones this often includes exotics imported from subtropical climates. For instance, palm trees in Portland, Oregon, which will live, though I've only seen them living when planted right next to a house, which implies they're getting some artificial warmth. Warming temps might well help borderline exotics imported by the garden trade to do better.

      Not sure why any of this would cause you to imagine that the overall benefit of warming will be positive for the biosphere, which is what you seem to be implying.

    3. Pffft, the article Richard cites doesn't even mention climate as being a reason for bees flouishing in cities. Should've read it before responding, and should've known he'd be misreprenting it.

      The article simply points out that as industrial agriculture transforms the countryside into wide spread zones of monoculture, with herbicides killing native flowers and pesticides killing bees, cities, where flowers are often planted, gardened, and nurtured, are proving to be good habit for them.

      Note also that the article is referring to the Eurasian Honey Bee, a generalist. In the US, at least, native bee species that are more specialist aren't fairing well, and urban gardens aren't bailing them out.

    4. LOL. Yes, anonymous, plants did very well during hot house earth, too. Insects were the size of small poodles back then, I think. I'm sure it was a hoot, but I'll pass on recreating that age on a global scale.

    5. If anyone might answer, might I point that our urban areas are not laced with nerve agents designed to harm insects.

    6. Sou, I should add that cities can be up to 10- 20 degrees hotter than average temps, but more and more wildlife is adapting to this urban landscape.


    7. You repeat yourself, Richard, and are off topic. Then again, maybe not.

      You are telling everyone how you cope with climate change. By digging up off topic articles on curiosities as a distraction. And you prefaced these distractions by a bald if extremely vague and unsubstantiated statement about unidentified cities being vaguely "up to" a very wide range "10-20" unidentified (Celsius or Fahrenheit?) degrees hotter than an unidentified average (average of what?).

      Yes, it's clear there are a variety of tactics used by disinformers to cope with climate change.

    8. Another article that doesn't support his premise. Though obviously he doesn't get why.

  11. Captain FlashheartNovember 2, 2014 at 2:34 AM

    Judith writes

    I realized that .... they have no explanation for the warming 1910-1940, the cooling 1940-1976, and the hiatus since 1998

    But this is bullshit, obviously. Her blog started long before the deniers started bleating about their stupid "pause," which is a much newer argument than Judith's blog. This is obviously post facto justification and cannot possibly represent the real reason she became a "skeptic" (haha). In fact, this stupid little meme did not come from her, and the fact that she's fallen for such statistical idiocy and then elevated it to the status of genesis story says all you need to know about her. Either she's profoundly ignorant, or deeply dishonest, or both. I'm happy to assume both.

    1. IMO she got mauled in the so-called Hurricane Wars after 2005 and lost confidence in the entire scientific position as a result.

    2. While Richard Muller was crunching surface temp data, his co-researcher at BEST, Judith Curry had already formed a view about the dataset, influenced - she now reveals - by the CRU email breach.
      So while Muller was getting a clearer picture of UHIs and surface warming, Judith was leaking misinformation to Watts et al that that BEST had found no significant warming.

    3. Sure enough it's easy to check history. Curry was only one of a number of carpetbaggers riding the CRU wave. Mosher, Pearce, Curry: entrepreneurs and a new kind of paparazzi. What they're peddling is not much more worthwhile or significant than photos of actors and models having bad hair days but there will always be buyers.


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