Thursday, June 27, 2013

Judith Curry Does a Roy Spencer

Judith Curry has chosen the low road, recently traveled by Roy Spencer. She writes:
Scientists can shift their attention from religious adherence to consensus science and get on with the real work of trying to understand the dynamics of climate variability and change.
Again, this is another very unprofessional statement, written only to instigate conflict with other scientists with whom she disagrees but hasn't been able to best in the journals -- as if she's the only one doing science, and the rest are just practicing religion. That's just low. It's Anthony Watts-level baiting, and to me it's simply incompatible with the decorum and respect scientists have always given to one another.

It is sad to see. And it is telling -- the lack of scientific protest against Obama's speech this week says that the scientific arguments have essentially won the day. The oceans are warming, ice continues to melt, sea levels continue to rise -- denying such macroscopic indicators is simply no longer believable.

By all means, argue about the economics and the cheapest way to address the problem. But cheap shots from scientific quarters are unseemly and completely unnecessary.

47 comments:

TLITB said...

The interesting thing is when I consider anyone even mildly uninitiated coming here and just reading this page, and the excerpted comment from Curry, then I can't really see how the uninitiated are supposed to see any trouble with what Curry has said. It doesn't even contradict the later part.

So one must assume one needs some prior personal investment in the characters involved. Curry is some sort of bad person with a history?

Until one sorts that out however the uninitiated can rather easier see a hightened touchiness by the author of this piece.

So then one must assume that the personality of the characters involved have a disturbing sway on the science.

And then one is back full circle, at the beginning, actually understanding what Curry was talking about ;)

J Bonington Jagworth said...

"the decorum and respect scientists have always given to one another"

Have you not been to RealClimate..?

Victor Venema said...

TLITB, the citation is more than enough. Science is not Fox News or some boulevard journal or program. Claiming that a colleague has religious and not scientific reasons is simply an insult. To claim that he adheres to an idea because it is consensus is an insult. To claim that now he is not trying to understand the climate system is an insult. And yes there is also a history. Curry's blog is full of character assaults on scientists.

Given that how you behave yourself is often how you expect other to behave, even apart from the uncivilised unscientific tone of her blog, gives me the impression that Curry's work is likely not good.

TLITB said...

@Victor Venema
"TLITB, the citation is more than enough."

The citation certainly is not enough.

Especially since you now imply additional context with this statement.

"To claim that he adheres to an idea because it is consensus is an insult."

Who is "he"? You are bringing something to the discussion that hasn't been properly introduced.
If you are really asserting that there is a "he" being insulted then you either did not read Curry's piece yourself, or are being deceptive in saying the "citation is more than enough" implying that others need not actually read Curry's article.

Which is it?

Jon said...

@TLITB

Is it so difficult to understand that "he" is the same unnamed person as "a colleague" in the previous sentence? Since Curry didn't name anyone she thinks exhibits "religious adherence to consensus science", VV can hardly be expected to read her mind and properly introduce this unknown representative of the class of people Curry accuses of not behaving as a scientist ought to.

TLITB said...

@Jon

"VV can hardly be expected to read her mind and properly introduce this unknown representative of the class of people Curry accuses of not behaving as a scientist ought to."


Curry doesn't insult "a colleague" or a "he" Jon. She makes a specific statement which sits in the context of her piece. The piece which it appears you, Victor Venema and our author apparently would dearly love to condense to this excerpt:

"Scientists can shift their attention from religious adherence to consensus science and get on with the real work of trying to understand the dynamics of climate variability and change."

How can we know from this someone has been insulted without naming names?

We have only the excessive touchiness and clear personal antipathy to Curry on display to judge here.

Are you saying there can exist no possible examples of the "religious adherence to consensus" Curry talks of?

If you are then I think it reasonable for the uninitiated on seeing such a blank assumption of purity, and the extreme touchiness that assumes personal slights without naming names, is actually rather indicative of predisposition to the religious mindset that Curry implies.

Is that so difficult to understand? ;)

Unknown said...

To state that scientists are "religious adherents to consensus" is about as low an insult one scientist can offer to another. It is basically saying that they are not scientists at all, but members of a cult.

The mark of a scientist is one who argues with facts, not rhetoric. Curry's rhetorical extravagance is just playing to her own (ever-diminishing) gallery.

TLITB said...

@Unknown
"To state that scientists are "religious adherents to consensus" is about as low an insult one scientist can offer to another."

Oh! I think I see now. The depth of the insult that is wilfully interpreted from a statement allows precluding the possibility that it could have any basis in reality. Is that right?

How comforting your umbrage must feel, and more important, how clearly useful it is to you ;)

Layzej said...

TLITB supposes that she has written this essay without believing that anyone fits that description. I'm not so sure. She doesn't come right out and say it, but clearly she is referring to Roy Spencer himself who believes that the "Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence —are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history.”

TLITB said...

@Layzej
"TLITB supposes that she has written this essay without believing that anyone fits that description."

I can't see how you inferred that from anything I have written here but because I can only think within your musing must lie a question - I am leaping at the nearest thing to a question like a hungry shark! - I will help you out :)

I don't believe that Curry has nobody in mind when she mentions the *description*.

For me she doesn't need to go through a list supporting that *description* any time she uses it (if more than once).

There are short hands that work for some.

Short hands that obviously offend others in some quarters ;)

The thing that is seems key to me is, is that if there could be clearly nobody that could fit that *description* then it would be a clearly risible statement that would have some measure of attack at its basis.

I know proving a negative is hard, but what is science about if its self proposed best adherents can't at least try to engage on that level?

As I started off by saying; I propose that an uninitiated person reading here could not see anything here that looks like engagement with Curry's piece, or any critique on a logical level. I think that same hypothetical uninitiate would only more easily see personal antipathy and blank statements that along the lines she can only be wrong - well because...


"She doesn't come right out and say it, but clearly she is referring to Roy Spencer himself who believes that the "Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence —are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception."

Mmmm. I don't see that myself.

I think you are suffering a bit from context confusion here.

The author of this page made a comparative to Spencer without being more specific other than implying that Curry is doing something like something Spencer has done.

"...Does a Roy Spencer"

There is no mention of Spencer or hint of any connection to him in her piece.

I am pretty sure you felt you were being ironic but were you also more concerned about being informative about Roy Spencer than Judith Curry ? ;)

Neill Stokes said...

David, still waiting for the 'predicted' mid-tropospheric hot spot to make just one appearance. Where could it be?

Perhaps on the altar littered with climate models that you bow down before...

Unknown said...

The depth of the insult that is wilfully interpreted from a statement allows precluding the possibility that it could have any basis in reality. Is that right?

What evidence was produced that the statement had a basis in reality? None. So all it just rhetorical flatulence to raise a cheer from the small coterie of Curry-believers. They know the code - isn't it just like Ronald Reagan and his "welfare queens" whose actual identity remained forever unspecified?

The lack of any names to go with the allegations only demonstrates to the gutless cowardice of Curry's gassy blather. "Willing to wound, but afraid to strike" I think is what Alexander Pope called it.

Toby

Neill Stokes said...

The pejorative term "denier" is used by warmists to culturally target their political opponents, in the same way "heretic" was used by religious orthodox in the past to target opponents. 'Deniers'
haven't been burned at the stake for their 'crimes' -- yet.

Mann is one prolific user of term. David Appell is another. As a matter of fact, which one of you doesn't use it?

Neill Stokes said...

" the lack of scientific protest against Obama's speech this week says that the scientific arguments have essentially won the day. The oceans are warming, ice continues to melt, sea levels continue to rise -- denying such macroscopic indicators is simply no longer believable"

Appell is SO full of crap:

*no statistically significant warming of atmosphere or ocean over last 15 years -- yet CO2 has increased 25% during same period

*global ice extent is actually up slightly

*sea levels have been rising since the end of the last ice age, the rate of rise has been essentially constant since 1850 in most places

(the island atolls - reefs - GROW with sea level rise, as discovered by Darwin)

David your argument is political, NOT scientific.

Jon said...

@TLITB

You write "Curry doesn't insult "a colleague"...."

And yet she wrote:

"Scientists can shift their attention from religious adherence to consensus science and get on with the real work of trying to understand the dynamics of climate variability and change."

Clearly, she believes that some climate scientists are adhering to the consensus religiously rather than for entirely rational reasons and she believes that they aren't getting on with their real work. That sounds insulting to me. Does it not sound insulting to you?

How can that not constitute insulting one or more colleagues? Is it that you don't consider Curry a scientist, therefore other scientists aren't her colleagues?

Neill Stokes said...

Calling an assertion 'insulting' implies that it is baseless. The heart of the matter of course is whether there is any truth to Curry's assertion. There are many who think there is, as well as many who disagree.

Unsettled, you might call it.

David Appell said...

Neill Stokes: Every one of your claims at 1:40 pm is factually wrong or misleading, and badly so.

The first is simply ridiculous.
The second isn't much better.
The third is both false and misleading (For most of the Holocene SLR was about 1/15th its current value.)

No, I'm not going to provide any numbers, although I have them, since you didn't either.

David Appell said...

"Denier" is an accurate term; it was a word in the English language with no inherent association other than denial long before it was applied (accurately there, too) to those who deny the Holocaust.

In fact, some GW deniers say they are happy to be called "deniers":

http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2012/05/why-its-ok-to-use-word-denier.html

Neill Stokes said...

Didn't think you would.

You know that we deny ONLY claims of warmists that present-day use of fossil fuels is sure to lead to catastrophic disruption.

The intended association with those who deny the Jewish holocaust during WW2 is a classic Lefty smear. Because you can't win a debate based on logic-based argument, you resort to your dog-eared playbook of appeals to fear, authority, supposed consensus, and ridicule......ad nauseum.

It leads one to ponder why, if your case is so strong, you feel compelled to cast your opponents as genocidal murderers. Why not simply state facts and allow a self-interested public to decide?

David Appell said...

Look up the word "denier" in the dictionary. It says nothing about any genocidal murderers:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/denial

Neill Stokes said...

My bad - why, if your case is so strong, do you feel compelled to cast your opponents as equivalent to deniers of the worst example of premeditated genocide in history?

What are you compensating for?

David Appell said...

Using the word "denier" is not equating anyone to deniers of the Holocaust -- it is simply a proper use of the word "denier" according to its definition:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/denial

Neill Stokes said...

And I gotta bridge to sell you.

David Appell said...

It is a sad day when people take umbrage at words being used accurately, according to their definition.

It would instead be better to worry about producing superior science. That would convince people real quickly.

Neill Stokes said...

As I said.

WHT said...

Having been one of the most prolific commenters at Curry's blog the past few years, I can confirm that David is spot on with his assessment.

It's a combination of Merchant of Doubt and Merchant of Innuendo.

Merchant of Innuendo should be the title of a post.

Neill Stokes said...

Now that the Merchant of Authority has weighed in, it's all settled -- nothing to see here.

Neill Stokes said...

David is the Denier -- he denies that global temperatures have been essentially flat during the past 16 years. Everyone including the Met Office agrees with that.

Who knows, maybe he denies the Holocaust occurred, for that matter...

David Appell said...

http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2013/05/wither-global-warming-has-it-slowed-down/

Neill Stokes said...

The bottom line, Santer says, is “there are multiple, not mutually exclusive interpretations of modeled versus observed differences, and claiming that there is only one explanation is not scientifically accurate.”

Pierrehumbert: “I think it’s true that some rather sloppy discussion of the rapid warming from the 20th century has given people unrealistic expectations about the future course of warming.”

Drop the policies that have pissed away by now a trillion taxpayer dollars worldwide at least, driven by that "sloppy discussion", come to at least a rudimentary understanding of the roles solar activity, clouds and oceanic oscillations etc play in climatic heat transfer -- and then reevaluate the entire effort.

To use an analogy, you are trying to formulate policies based on the equivalent of a sixth-grader's understanding of how the climate actually works, when what is required to make well-advised judgements and investment decisions is a college-level understanding.

Neill Stokes said...

Problem is, by crying wolf over the past two decades in order to stampede public opinion, now with all the wayward predictions you have lost credibility with the public -- and now even if the wolf shows up few will pay appropriate attention.

TLITB said...

@Jon

"How can that not constitute insulting one or more colleagues? Is it that you don't consider Curry a scientist, therefore other scientists aren't her colleagues?"

Jon, you've set a precedent and talked of a “class of people" on this page above.

"VV can hardly be expected to read her mind and properly introduce this unknown representative of the class of people Curry accuses of not behaving as a scientist ought to."

Maybe we could agree a hypothetical - the existence of a possible *class of people* that are known as scientists who treat the concept of scientific consensus as religious?

Let’s call these people C.

Maybe they don't exist?

Maybe they can't physically exist?

If the class C is small, or little influential, than there could be arguments made. Who may see them ?

We don't, do we?

See all my stuff about the hypothetical "uninitiated" above.

The emphasis on the possibility that *any* colleague could be seen as insulted creates a disturbing hypothetical universe of conformity of wonderfulness that should exist only in Disney ;)

"VV can hardly be expected to read her mind and properly introduce this unknown representative of the class of people Curry accuses of not behaving as a scientist ought to."

That is a key provocative phrase for me.

I suggest that when you used this phrase that you should have been careful, and you should have been specific, and you should have been making a case *yourself* .

Your grammatical "one or more colleagues?" question to me is a pretty worthless thing.

"How can that not constitute insulting one or more colleagues?"

You are literally saying that a colleague is someone with the same job.

saying a group of colleagues is the same thing.

Great idea on a production line. ;)

Is that where you work Jon?

Dan Satterfield said...

The attendees at the AMS 41st conf. on Broadcast Meteorology in Nahsville last week were subjected to the very same thing. A speaker accused climate researchers of insulting the religious beliefs of those who were skeptical among other things. It was shocking, and to say it went over like a lead balloon would be an understatement.

The broadcast mets as a group used to be among the greatest doubters but that has changed dramatically in the last two years. Especially among those with significant science background.

TLITB said...

@Dan Satterfield said


"The attendees at the AMS 41st conf. on Broadcast Meteorology in Nahsville last week were subjected to the very same thing. A speaker accused climate researchers of insulting the religious beliefs of those who were skeptical among other things."


Holy Crayola Dan! That is not "...the very same thing."

Meanwhile. Please, for the benefit of the hypothetical "uninitiated" audience, I say, these people aren't insane they are just crazy ;)


I mean, to get meta here... is it that simple? A buzz word "religion" is conjured in some context or other, this provokes a red mist, and thereafter all associations can get juggled and become meaningless so long as they are from the same hymn sheet?

A sort of 10 minutes hate where it doesn't matter the quality of thought on show?

I am beginning to feel embarassed that I may be intruding on a very poor intellectual discourse by being rude enough to point this out...

Ironically I have only ever had this experience before when realising I was just interrupting some very minor, and narrow minded, religious discussion boards. I felt should have just left them alone ;)


Mmmm. Until I know better...

"It was shocking, and to say it went over like a lead balloon would be an understatement."

Please enlighten us with more specifics than this hearsay Dan. Maybe show a less tendentious connection to this pages topic? ;)

Neill Stokes said...

"The broadcast mets as a group used to be among the greatest doubters but that has changed dramatically in the last two years."

Like....why...how...etc etc?

David Appell said...

Neill, do you think the Earth doesn't emit infrared radiation, or that CO2 doesn't absorb it?

David Appell said...

Dan Satterfield said...
>> A speaker accused climate researchers of insulting the religious beliefs of those who were skeptical among other things. <<

Which speaker?

Neill Stokes said...

David, yes, both occur.

Is this the physical mechanism that "drives" earth's climate? Based on the last 16 years, or from 1945-75, when CO2 rose steadily it would appear not.

Where's the dreaded "finger-print" of global warming, the mid-tropospheric "hot spot"?

David Appell said...

Neill: If that is your belief, you have an extremely shallow understanding of climatology.

I have no desire to school you on the basics.

Neill Stokes said...

David's allergic to that hot spot.

David Appell said...

The data neither rules in or rules out the hot spot:

http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2011/05/fred-singers-lecture-at-portland-state.html

Neill Stokes said...

Undoubtedly it's with the rest of the "heat" deeper than 700 meters.

David Appell said...

So, you agree that the Earth is still undergoing an energy imbalance -- more energy in than out.

Why, then, will the surface not warm again?

Neill Stokes said...

Perhaps you can tell us all. As well as exactly how sensitive the climate is to rising CO2 levels.

Neill Stokes said...

Please also educate me on how clouds affect heat transfer, and why that is not included in the models.

Neill Stokes said...

Swedish climate scientist replicates Salby study demonstrating CO2 rise follows temperature:

http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2013/07/swedish-scientist-replicates-dr-murry.html

Neill Stokes said...

Beware, this is the length warmists will go to silence us:

http://joannenova.com.au/2013/07/macquarie-university-sabotages-exiles-blackbans-strands-and-abandons-murry-salby/