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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

North American deniers are astoundingly ignorant. Take Judith Curry...

Sou | 5:34 AM Go to the first of 43 comments. Add a comment


I wasn't going to write about the allegations of sexual harassment against Rajendra Pachauri, and I won't. However I will pick up on something that I admit to finding very difficult to believe. After all, Judith Curry is a professor. A supposedly educated woman.

You thought so too? Think again.



The Ugly Denier


Judith Curry writes, quoting Rajendra Pachauri:
Donna LaFramboise highlights what I regard as the most serious issue for the IPCC’s reputation.From Pachauri’s resignation letter:
For me the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma. 

Then she writes:
The bottom line is this.  It is very difficult to ‘enforce’ or even defend the IPCC consensus when the leader of IPCC for more than a decade  is alleged to have partaken in sleazy and illegal behavior, regards climate change as his religion, has massive conflicts of interest, and has used his position as a platform for personal advocacy.  All of this reinforces criticisms that the IPCC is about politics, money and dogma, rather than science.

Leaving aside her quoting a nutter like Donna Laframboise, her complete nonsense about judging the IPCC by the alleged actions of one man (irrelevant to his role as Chair of the IPCC), or the ridiculousness of "conflicts of interest", or making the ludicrous claim that the IPCC is about politics and money and dogma, rather than science - what astounds me is her complete and utter ignorance of Hinduism, which is the religion of almost one billion people throughout the world. (Wiki lists Hinduism as the religion having the third largest number of adherents after Christianity and Islam.)


How Hindu Dharma views the world of nature


A central focus of Hinduism is the concept of being one with nature, of the central importance of the natural world. As Dr. Pachauri said, it is more than a mission, it is his "religion and Dharma".

Now I understand and appreciate that right wing ideologues like Judith Curry couldn't conceive of a "religion" that didn't worship money or individualism. The thought of being part of something bigger than them as an individual would be as foreign a concept as worshiping God is to an atheist.

But surely she is not so ignorant that she is unaware that many religions do not consider humans as being separate from the rest of the natural world - indeed, rather than regarding the world as theirs to be raped and plundered, many religions regard it as immoral for humans to wilfully destroy the environment. More than that, many religions regard nature as holy. Something that the Judith Curry's and Donna Laframboise's of the world would no doubt see as crazy, given their money mad, human-centric world view.

Here are excerpts from an article about Hinduism:
The Hindu approach to ecology requires that we first understand how Hindu Dharma views the world of nature, which is very different than that of the predominant western religions.
Western religious thought based upon Biblical traditions regards nature as something created by God. If nature is sacred, it is so as God’s creation. This is the basis of the approach to ecology in western religious traditions. They ask us to protect nature as God’s creation, but do not afford nature any sanctity of its own. However, they are generally suspicious of nature Gods and regard worshipping the Earth itself as a form of idolatry. That is why they have historically rejected nature based or pagan religions as unholy, including Hinduism.
The Hindu view of nature is based upon the Vedas, Upanishads and Vedanta and their philosophical views, as well as Hindu devotional and ritualistic practices. According to Hindu thought, there is no separation between the Divine and the world of nature. They are the two aspects of the same reality. The cosmic reality is one like the ocean. Nature or the manifest world is like the waves on the surface of the sea. Brahman or the unmanifest Absolute is like the depths of the sea. But it is all water, all the same single ocean.
...This Vedic vision of unity is the basis for an ecological approach in which we can honor the entire universe as part of our own higher Self. It takes us beyond the duality of God and the creation. God does not create the world out of nothing. The world, God and the soul are inherent aspects of the same Eternal Being. We need not protect nature as we would an inferior creature. We can honor nature as our own greater life and expression. 

I only write this because I can see it being spread far and wide that "global warming is a religion" - which is not at all what Dr Pachauri wrote. It is nature that is integral to his religion - and he would regard it as integral to his being. Which is about the best way I can describe it. He has a moral obligation - as we all do, to nurture and protect the natural world as we would ourselves.

Something that deniers like Judith Curry can't conceive of.

Can you imagine any science denier admitting that they regard as any sort of priority: "the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems"?

Heck, most of them can't wait to see the earth destroyed.


As you know, I didn't think much of Judith Curry before. If it's possible, I think way less of her now. This article of hers shows you'd be hard-pressed to meet a sleazier individual or a more ignorant academic.

43 comments:

  1. Couldn't agree more. Curry condones a registered predator on her comment board by the name of "omanuel", Easy enough to ban the felon as a physics news forum did, but she doesn't. Politics is first with her and hypocrisy reigns.

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    1. Sounds like you condone one as head of IPCC. ROFL

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    2. It appears that they have done the right thing to remove him as head. OTW, Curry allows the Missouri felon to remain because of political expediency. How convenient.

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  2. right wing ideologues like Judith Curry

    Any evidence Judith is right wing, Sou? I'm unaware of any exposition of her personal politics. A link would be nice.

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    1. VTG, I don't know if she's declared publicly her voting preference. The GOP like her. Her strange attitudes to "free speech" (including the "right" to defame) are also a giveaway, as is her opposition to government policy action to mitigate global warming IMO.

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    2. Apart from the 'guests" she favours, and the "things that catch her eye", there are more clues in the 'balance' of Judith's blogroll - though I see she's removed some blogs recently. She's still promoting libertarian Jo Nova (why else would Judith do that? Giving credence to Force X and the Notch? Surely not) and right wing deniers Bishop Hill and Anthony Watts etc.

      Her previous longer version is here:

      https://archive.today/oh8Zq#selection-25269.0-25269.8

      You could argue it's just that they were predominately deniers I suppose, but seems to me its as much about ideology as science denial. In the USA it's hard to tell them apart :(

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    3. Sou,

      I certainly agree that Judith is very useful to right wing ideologues and is very much supported by them. I'm not convinced that there's much evidence that she is one. She mainly seems to support anything which could conceivably show IPPC and particularly Mann in a bad light.

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    4. Why would she want to do that?

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    5. She did donate money to elect Barack Obama in 2008 according to Open Secrets.

      https://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/search.php?name=judith+curry&cycle=All&sort=R&state=GA&zip=&employ=&cand=&submit=Submit+Query

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    6. Dunno Sou. I think it's better to concentrate on the public facts of her behaviour rather than the unknowable motives. Or alternatively to assume positive motives until there's clear evidence to the contrary.

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    7. "assume positive motives".

      Based on what Dr Curry has said on her blog - no. Her motives are not positive.

      Left-wing, right-wing, I don't really care, they are (American) labels.

      But Dr Curry's hypocrisy is another matter.

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    8. Plenty of "clear evidence to the contrary" has piled up over the years. E.g.

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    9. She has mentioned that she leans to towards Libertarianism or something similar.

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  3. So it's your position that science & religion are okay together so long as it's some religion that isn't practiced much in the wicked industrialized west?

    That's funny stuff. I suggest you take a closer look at how well they care for the environment in India with regard to air pollution, water pollution, and preservation of natural habitat. Another item you might want to consider is what country is the third largest emitter of CO2 after China and the United States. Like duh.

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    1. No, it's my position that Judith Curry is abysmally ignorant of Hinduism. And while I didn't explicitly point it out, she either knowingly twisted what was written, or her confirmation bias is so strong that she couldn't read it for what it was.

      Much like you are twisting what I wrote, DaveScot. (Is that your confirmation bias showing or are you knowingly misrepresenting what I wrote?)

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    2. @-
      That's funny stuff. I suggest you take a closer look at how well they care for the environment in India with regard to air pollution, water pollution, and preservation of natural habitat.

      I suggest you take a closer look at how Hinduism treated the environment in India, before the British Raj. As a culture with one of the longest histories of city-based civilisation the inherent environmentalism in Hinduism prevented a lot of the environmental degradation seen in other nations.
      It also prevented a lot of the economic development and exploitation of material and animal resources of course. If you believe you might be reincarnated as any of the animals around you and that the land is a 'sacred' as your own body it tends to inhibit large-scale animal husbandry, encourage vegetarianism and block digging up minerals.

      While most religions can be justly critiqued for the authoritarian and anti-libertarian aspects and traits, not all hold dogmatic views about the natural world or Mans' place within it that are incompatible with advancing scientific understanding. Although the hierarchical nature of religions can block social mobility.

      @-"Another item you might want to consider is what country is the third largest emitter of CO2 after China and the United States. Like duh."

      A distant third, emitting around 1/4 of the total emissions of the USA but with a population 4 times a big.
      Although it has population of over a billion, comparable with China it emits less than a quarter of the CO2 China emits.
      Like duh.

      India per capita CO2 emissions are about 1/3 of the global average, people in the US and Europe emit around 10 times as much per person.
      Of course that is because we are ten times richer. But it must be obvious that for people in India to be as energy rich as we are in the west will require some other means of supplying that energy other than fossil fuels. There isn't even enough coal...
      Besides, building big coal or gas power stations and trying to build a national grid in India to provide that level of energy use would be ridiculous. Local renewables are already cheaper, and will clearly play the dominant part in any progress India makes towards catching up with the energy wealth of the West.
      All you do in presenting the relative size of the CO2 emission from China, USA and India is reveal just how extreme the differences are in energy wealth between the USA, China India and the rest of the world.
      And how impossible that is to change with some expansion of fossil fuel BAU.

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    3. Davescot.

      Look! Two squirrels.

      And a strawman to start.

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    4. You appear to be the one ignorant of Hinduism. India's trashing of the environment is legendary.

      Your presumption that we all have a moral obligation to nurture and protect the natural world is a giveaway that you believe science and religion, so long as it's a religion you approve of, are okay together. Science doesn't give us morals. Science is the study of nature. A nature red in tooth and claw I might remind you.

      I often wonder how the pagan earth mommas and other new age religionists deal with the cognitive dissonance that must arise by the simultaneous belief that humans evolved from pond scum like everything else yet somehow our spcies exploitation of the environment is somehow not natural. What makes us so special that we should be held to a higher standard than any other animal?


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    5. DaveScot

      What? You aren't being serious are you?

      How do you make the leap from Hinduism to a nation not looking after its environment? There are several religions in India.

      A non-sequitur - looking after the environment is a giveaway of some science/religion link? What leap of muddled logic is that? Looking after the environment is just common sense.

      Exploitation of the environment may be natural. Luckily we are intelligent enough to consider the implications. Or most of us are.

      Are you hinting at being a creationist there as you seem to have a bit of an aversion to the idea of evolution?

      What makes us so special? Because we can hold ourselves to a higher standard. Not to mention the sense in self-preservation.




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    6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    7. A creationist and a closet racist I think.

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    8. @anonymous

      I'm hinting at being scientist who acknowledges that humans are as natural as any other living thing on our planet.

      We may however have a role in nature that is different from other species. Our planet is middle-aged and ultimately doomed to be incinerated by our sun as it becomes a red giant. No other species seems to have the ability and desire to build telescopes and spacecraft that hold the promise of taking what evolution has produced on the earth and transporting it to a younger planet or planets where life can continue after the cradle is destroyed. In the grand scheme of things, if one wishes to objectively consider the planet as a single organism, then it follows that its mission in life is to reproduce itself in kind before it dies using whatever resources are necessary to that end. So just consider the consumption of fossil fuels a necessary evil in getting technology to a point where life isn't condemned to fiery demise of possibly the only planet where it exists.






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    9. AnonymousMarch 4, 2015 at 9:16 AM

      "A creationist and a closet racist I think."

      No, you don't think that's just your knee-jerk response when confronted by a thinking person. I'm an agnostic and Hinduism is a religion not a race.

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    10. DaveScot

      You are just such a muddled thinker. Hinduism is a religion not a race or nation so how do you jump from Hinduism to a nation not looking after its environment?

      Or were you trying to claim you were not a closet racist though you likened the population to cancer cells?

      I accept you might be an agnostic as you claim. (But then you claim you are a thinker).


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    11. @-DaveScot
      "Your presumption that we all have a moral obligation to nurture and protect the natural world is a giveaway that you believe science and religion, so long as it's a religion you approve of, are okay together."

      I am not aware I made any presumption, and certainly did not intend to imply any such position. I wonder if the 'presumption' in this case may be yours rather than mine?

      @-"Science doesn't give us morals. Science is the study of nature. A nature red in tooth and claw I might remind you."

      Three flat assertions.
      All wrong.

      "I often wonder how the pagan earth mommas and other new age religionists deal with the cognitive dissonance that must arise by the simultaneous belief that humans evolved from pond scum like everything else yet somehow our spcies exploitation of the environment is somehow not natural."

      I find I am similarly puzzled by the Gaia woo enthusiasts, who find meaning in a reciprocal relationship with something (Earth, environment) that lacks the intentional moral agency that could make such an interaction ethically meaningful.
      But I try to avoid judgement of other people's moral systems and just assess their actions.

      @- "What makes us so special that we should be held to a higher standard than any other animal?"

      Probably the fact that we are self-aware intentional moral agents.
      Or to put it more simply, because we are the only animal on the planet that can ask the question you pose above.

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    12. @-DaveScot
      "No other species seems to have the ability and desire to build telescopes and spacecraft that hold the promise of taking what evolution has produced on the earth and transporting it to a younger planet or planets where life can continue after the cradle is destroyed."

      There is no such promise. To believe that it is possible for humans evolved on earth to migrate and live outside the solar system is an article of faith as dissonant with scientific knowledge as the virgin birth. You have been watching too much Star Trek.

      @-"In the grand scheme of things, if one wishes to objectively consider the planet as a single organism, then it follows that its mission in life is to reproduce itself in kind before it dies using whatever resources are necessary to that end."

      Only once?
      Sounds more like the Ichneumon Wasp than reproduction.

      @-"So just consider the consumption of fossil fuels a necessary evil in getting technology to a point where life isn't condemned to fiery demise of possibly the only planet where it exists."

      Human history is around 8K years. The expansion of the Sun is several orders of magnitude longer away than that. Are you sure we must burn all the fossil fuel now, whatever the risks?
      What about burning up to a trillion tons now, and saving the rest for later, in maybe 20k years when the effects of this burst of CO2 has worn off.

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    13. Amazing how frequently deniers show a profound ignorance of issues. One possible solution of the Fermi paradox is:

      "It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself

      This is the argument that technological civilizations may usually or invariably destroy themselves before or shortly after developing radio or space flight technology. Possible means of annihilation include nuclear war, biological warfare or accidental contamination, climate change, nanotechnological catastrophe, ill-advised physics experiments, a badly programmed super-intelligence, or a Malthusian catastrophe after the deterioration of a planet's ecosphere. "

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox

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    14. I wouldn't wrestle in the mud with DaveScot, who used to moderate William Dembski's "Uncommon Descent" blog on intelligent design, which might be described as a creationist's answer to Judith Curry's blog (though UD has been around much longer).

      He is a thoroughly unpleasant person, and the kind of word-twisting misrepresentation of others that you're witnessing here is his primary mode of argumentation.

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    15. An example of Dave Scott Springer's mind at work ...

      http://thequestionableauthority.blogspot.com/2006/05/davescott-and-new-depths-of-slime.html

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  4. Just a quick spelling correction: the former IPCC chair's last name is spelled 'Pachauri', not 'Pauchari'.

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    1. Thanks. I'm always getting that wrong. Fixed now.

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  5. Dr. Curry doesn't make sense. Even if the IPCC chair's former head is guilty of horrible things that doesn't translate to horrible science and altering reports to make them contradict what the literature has to say in the first place.

    And even if he did try to alter the reports scientists, of all people, aren't going to just line up and say "okay"; they'd challenge him very vocally and, nasty people that they are, provide evidence of exactly what he was altering (e.g. think of all the info that came out showing how the Bush admin watered down scientists reports with before and after versions, memos and email exchanges, conversations)).

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    1. What I think Dr Curry is doing is using the IPCC as a red-herring in this case. And it has an additional bonus of fitting in with her opposition to the IPCC.

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    2. D.J., it's literally textbook ad hominem: "responding to arguments by attacking a person's character, rather than to the content of their arguments."

      (wikipedia's lack of a copy editor apparent three times in part of one sentence)

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    3. Or to be a little more specific, it's the "poisoning the well" fallacy - attacking someone ad hominem in order to dismiss _anything_ coming from a particular source, in this case the IPCC.

      A complete fallacy, one that's unfortunately all too common in rhetoric.

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    4. AGW deniers, and conspiracy theorists generally, have a grossly exaggerated conception of the power individuals have. It may be connected with the rightwing authoritarian mindset, but I'm no expert. So Al Gore, Michael Mann, Pachauri, Obama, all become titanic figures bestriding their mindscapes. At the same time some guy on the internet can overturn centuries of physics with a few analogies (no maths; maths is a jargon invented to exclude normal honest folk), and if Roy Spencer or Curry could chair the IPCC its products would be radically different without a squeak from the scientific community that did the research behind them.

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  6. Facts seem to be in scarce supply on this blog. 81% of India's population are Hindus. If Hinduism was global warming science that would be a consensus. ROFL

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    1. The powers-that-be in India chose not to go the route which Gandhi (a very religious Hindu) recommended but instead to follow the secular Western path to modernisation, with all the ecological damage that entailed for us. This is the path which Lomborg and his ilk claim is the only path to modernisation, via the consumption of fossil-fuels. The way we did it. The way they learned from the British.

      What India does now, having got itself into something of a mess in the bigger cities and industrial regions, is the important question. In the West we enacted Clean Air Acts and the like. Lets hope India goes the same route.

      The bulk of India's population have little or no say in how the country is run, despite it being a democracy. The rich and powerful decide what happens and who it happens to. Apparent democracies can be like that, unfortunately.

      Dr Pachauri is apparently a religious man with a keen sense of morality, or perhaps he's a hypocrite. One thing that can be said about Curry is that she lacks a keen sense of morality and makes no effort to hide the fact.

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    2. It seems to me that what DaveScot calls 'facts' are simply pieces of crap convenient to the fossil fuel industry. And he really does not care how nonsensical they are. 81% of Indians are Hindus, therefore global warming isn't happening. ROFL.

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  7. http://www.thehindu.com/multimedia/dynamic/02253/mortality_2253620e.jpg

    http://www.thehindu.com/data/india-to-reach-replacement-levels-of-fertility-by-2020/article6717297.ece

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  8. It occurs to me that I ought to have some sort of righteously indignant reaction to this ...

    https://archive.today/MLgxV

    ... but the mix of my own incorrigible puerility and sheer amazement that Anthony and his troupe of howling monkeys so desperately wish to be taken seriously is doing unholy things to my ability to scowl properly.

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  9. A little birdie mentioned JC's husband's business. I don't know nuthin', but there is a coincidence with her change of "allegiance".

    Though anyone who regards Montford as the final authority on all this is missing something.

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  10. If one is to condemn the peoples of India for not sufficiently following Hundi ideals regarding reverence for nature and all sentient beings, then one is obliged to also condemn pretty much all peoples for failing to practice what they preach. If a society or individual embraces Christianity, then doesn’t pacifism perforce become a fundamental touchstone? How have Christian societies and cultures done pursuing that ideal? Still a long way to go I guess. (Just to be clear, this is not an implicit condemnation of Christianity.) I suggest that ‘Davescott’ needs to develop a better understanding philosophies and practices of religion in general, not just eastern religions.
    Further, DS’s argument must assume that the degradation of India’s natural habitats and resources since British colonization was undertaken collectively with conscious intent by the subjected peoples of India; a fallacious assumption, even with regard to what the British were thinking.
    Finally, Dr. Pachauri’s quoted statement need not on its face stem from any formal adherence to the practices of Hinduism or Buddhism (the term dharma refers to the truths or teachings of Buddhism). For that reason, and the plain meaning of what Pachauri said, JC’s critique of this statement wrongly posits that he has made his commitment to climate change mitigation an article of a personal religious faith. Pachauri is simply embracing a fundamental ethic that this world’s species and their habitats should not be destroyed or irreparably or fundamentally diminished simply to serve the (often questionable) material wants of one species whose only distinction really from all the others is that it came upon a very unusual evolutionary pathway.

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