Another good editorial by Judy Curry here.
Dealing with a problem begins by acknowledging it.
It sounds to me more like she’s concerned with public relations than good science. To do good science, first tell the truth. Never mind the skeptics or the deniers – just tell the truth. She still hasn’t separated the cause from the science. It’s as if there’s a blanket of protection that covers any paper that supports the umbrella concept “climate change,” and any challenge must by necessity be in need of refutation. I’m not impressed at all. Given what she’s seen, should the actors be allowed to lead international committees, review papers, or speak for the entire community? Never mind, we’re moving on.
Yeah right, like she didn’t know this was going on all them years before.
But anyway, I guess we ought to extend a hand.
It is good that Curry is speaking out but opening the data is only the first step.
SteveMc played by their rules with Mann2008 an submitted a comment which was summarily dismissed. The editor made no attempt to get Mann to actually respond to the criticisms.
Now we see Science has published another Mann paper which repeats some of the same mistakes.
This is nonsense. Someone – the reviewers, the editors – even the coauthors should have insisted that the upside down proxy issue be addressed before publication. The fact that it did not happen illustrates a deep structural problem that is not going to be fixed by releasing some code and data.
Of more concern is the tenor of comments this editorial adduced. A ratio of 70/30 wherein the 70% regard people who ask questions of “settled science” as venally motivated murderers of unborn babies … invective par excellence
People who read and comment on CA are uninformed, deliberately so, we are told
Precisely opposed to the point of Curry’s editorial
Meanwhile, the protagonists in FOI2009.zip have all engaged their own lawyers …
I think that the host too kind to Judy. This statement:
[b]”There is no question that there is a political noise machine in existence that feeds on research and statements from climate change skeptics.”[/b]
says basically all about Judy’s position. The rest about the transparency and other soothing nice words is just an anesthetic. I wonder what does she think about the “political noise machine” that feeds on AWG. Or should it be rather called a steam roller.
My only problem with Dr. Curry’s editorial is the use of the (to her tribe) pejorative sceptic. Throughout her editorial the assumption is that her tribe is “right” and they need to use different techniques to convey that message, rather than that the science isn’t yet settled and there is much more work to be done by all.
I assume you have seen the emails from 2009 where they admit to upside down Mann?
Looks like an opening for alarmists and skeptics to sit down together and work things out.
More fence sitting. She should say,
” In light of this behavior it would be unwise to argue that we must make fundamental decisions now based on the evidence we have now. There is always time for the truth. I call on arms-length replications of the seminal papers on proxies and global gridded temperature data are called for. The goal will be a science of climate and climate change on firm ground within five or ten years. I encourage young researchers in this area to take this challenge up. I encourage established researchers to help their adversaries replicate their research. “
Dr Curry says, “Some of the things that I’ve tried in my quest to understand skeptics and more effectively counter misinformation include posting at skeptical blogs, such as climateaudit, and inviting prominent skeptics to give seminars at Georgia Tech. I have received significant heat from some colleagues for doing this (I’ve been told that I am legitimizing the skeptics and misleading my students), but I think we need to try things like this if we are to develop effective strategies for dealing with skeptics and if we are to teach students to think critically. ”
With all due respect to her apparent sincerity and good intentions – – I don’t think she gets it. Since when does a scientist need to make some sort of special effort to “understand skeptics”- especially if by that term she means individuals like Mr McIntyre? It is not clear to me that she even understands the motivations and reasonings of such “skeptics” – which to me means that she doesn’t understand true scientific thinking. The true question is not why anyone would be “skeptical” of the work and claims of a scientific community that allows mediocre researchers to get away with – and even achieve fame from – sloppy work such as the hockey stick. Rather, the question is, why should anyone take such a community seriously in the first place.
Oh dear http://biased-bbc.blogspot.com/2009/11/hudson-hushed.html
“When contacted by the Mail, the weatherman said he was not allowed to comment and asked us to speak to the BBC press office.
A BBC spokesperson said: “Paul wrote a blog for the BBC website on October 9 entitled Whatever Happened To Global Warming. There was a big reaction to the article – not just here but around the world. Among those who responded were Professor Michael E Mann and Stephen Schneider whose e-mails were among a small handful forwarded to Paul on October 12.
“Although of interest, Paul wanted to consider the e-mails as part of a wider piece, following up his original blog piece.
“Last week, Paul spotted these few e-mails were among thousands published on the Internet following the alleged hacking of the UEA computer system.
“Paul passed this information on to colleagues at the BBC, who ran with the story, and then linked to the e-mails on his blog this Monday.”
I laud Dr Curry’s efforts to engage the community and the question I would personally ask if given the opportunity would be “Dr Curry would you be able to accept, or even champion, an alternative hypothesis to climate change if the source data, including that which was provided to you for your own research, is shown to be irreversibly contaminated and distorted?”
The first step is being willing to start the dialog, the next is to re-evaluate your data and conclusions, and finally further the science. I think we all should be willing to respect each of the scientists that have to make that journey and only judge those that give up on one of those steps.
(http://www.surfacestations.org regarding NA temperature station quality and now CRU’s global temperature record)
This IMHO is a good article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703499404574559630382048494.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
“How to Forge a Consensus–The impression left by the Climategate emails is that the global warming game has been rigged from the start. ”
(Steve Mc is mentioned as “not to be trusted” in a quote from the emails by Mann in this article.)
Sheesh. I am in the Tired of Hoax tribe! :0)
Posters here at Climate Audit don’t be to quick to judge Judith Curry. She is showing true courage even to say that it was a mistake to not to be transparent with the data and code and not to circle the wagons and take pot shots at anyone that has questions about the methods used. Whether you agree with her conclusions or not she will defend her data, code, and methods in a reasonable and fair manner and correct errors when found. Steve and Judith have been open the other’s proposals and clear in their discussions. This is how real science is advanced.
She is receiving hell from the so called fair minded AGW group at Climate Progress and Real Climate. All she does is state that the data and code should openly presented and open to review. You would think that she was committing murder from some comments. This polarizing of the discussion by wing nuts on both sides must stop. A theory is a theory it isn’t a fact or a religion. Questioning the theory, supporting data, code, and methods used used to support the theory is totally proper. If it can’t stand the light of day it shouldn’t be published. Hiding the data and code by either side is not proper and she is very clear about that.
I think that I was very clear on my quick assessment of the code in my previous post here at Climate Audit. I just don’t think that it can stand the light of day. That being said it doesn’t support the theory that the CRU is putting forth because of its poor quality. It may actually disprove the theory when you look at the underlying data that is being hacked around to support the CRU theory. There may be global warming for all I know. But I am sure that the CRU code doesn’t help their case for it.
I’m glad that ClimateProgress published this. You can tell by the comments that they are pretty much horrified with the idea of engaging with anyone that disagrees with them.
This part must have sent many of them over the edge:
“What has been noticeably absent so far in the ClimateGate discussion is a public reaffirmation by climate researchers of our basic research values: the rigors of the scientific method (including reproducibility), research integrity and ethics, open minds, and critical thinking. Under no circumstances should we ever sacrifice any of these values; the CRU emails, however, appear to violate them.”
That’s a strong statement in a group of activists/media types that are more interested in the criminality of the “hack” than anything else.
With Dr. Curry’s first post I was annoyed that she seemed only willing to go half way and was blaming “the skeptics” for the current situation. I think I am beginning to understand her approach. I’ve noticed that she is not speaking to the skeptics at all in her posts. She is speaking to her “tribe”. She knows they can’t swallow the whole truth at this point, so she appears to be luring them to the table with the face saving, it-is-the-only-way-to-get-rid-of-the-skeptics line.
The fact that she made her appeal on ClimateAudit may be the only nod and wink she can give the skeptics at this point.
Just a guess,
As one of the Hoi Polloi (love that phrase), I (many) with no backround in climate science visit this site to better understand the it.
Guess it boils down to this argument:
“Does human activity significantly contribute to global warming or global cooling?”
There are three possible answers:
C) Cannot be determined
Personally, I am leaning towards “C”.
Any guest author who can contribute a qualified opinion/insight (with as little bias as possible) based on the above argument would be welcome.
In my opinion the only way to get to the bottom of this is to get an independent group of professionals to audit the key research papers. Spending say 100 million even to do this is not much money at all compared to the cost of cap and trade. You would need top statisticians,scientists in the independent group. Actually it would be best to have them from the non-climate field so they would be truly independent.
Both sides are too caught up in emotions. Politics is playing a role as well.
This audit team could be a “liason” or “arbitrator” between both groups.
My above post was intended for the “preaching to the choir” thread.
Is there any way to move it?
The way I look at it is science can only be trusted if it can predict the future. If these models do not predict the future with any degree of confidence then we have change them.
On the one hand how often do we hear about a new cure for this disease or that disease, or a new fat loss drug or something and they never seem to pan out despite the “peer-reviewed” studies ? On the other hand Einstein came up with the theory of relativity and many said he was crazy and it was junk but then it held up under experiments.
I guess what some say is we don’t have time to wait 100 years to see if these theories work because it could be too late. That is why I’m a fan of geo-engineering because it costs way less and we only have to do that if the temperature goes up a certain point. All we do is have an agreement that says if the temperature goes up say x degrees we implement the geo-engineering. ( you could even say if it goes up x degrees each country agrees to cut emissions a pre agreed upon amount and plus to geo-engineering ).
And the follow up:
Oh, that’s right, thanks to the heroic whistleblower at the CRU, we DO know what Climate Scientist’s thought about Tiljander. Here is one email:
“On Sep 4, 2009, at 5:24 PM, Nick McKay wrote:
The Korttajarvi record was oriented in the reconstruction ***in the way that McIntyre said***. I took a look at the original reference – the temperature proxy we looked at is x-ray density, which the author interprets to be inversely related to temperature. We had higher values as warmer in the reconstruction, so it looks to me like *** we got it wrong ***, unless we decided to reinterpret the record which I don’t remember. Darrell, does this sound right to you?”
And yet McIntyre is a “sceptic” that you don’t want to “legitimize”, but Mann, only a few days ago, publishes another study STILL USING THIS BOGUS DATA.
Well, it’s a couple of small steps. Take a look at comment #56 where Joe Romm is a little less than kind with a detractor:
” Marie Elks says:
November 27, 2009 at 6:19 pm
Guess I made it to the naughty list. Sorry, I keyed out a long explanation for my assertion that there is no hard physical evidence for an increase in temperatures but it was squashed by the mod.
Hardly a great example of “dialogue.”
[JR: You tried to post long-debunked disinformation. The Earth’s warming in recent decades is “unequivocal” — your “explanation” was laughable. Since you deny that which is “unequivocal,” you are a pure disinformer and not welcome here. There are lots of useful things to have a dialogue about, but that ain’t one of ’em.]”
It’s going to be a long, bumpy road methinks.
Hello everyone :0)
I’m not an expert on climate change so please forgive me if I make any mistakes.
I would like to know how much monetary funding was given to those who advocate Global Warming/ Climate change and those who do not.
You see I am under the impression that those who advocate climate change have been funded a great deal more (particularly by governments) than those who differ with them, and yet those who differ with the global warming scientists are still able to rebut most of the claims made by the climate change scientists.
Something which I often read is that oil companies are funding the non climate change crowd. is this true? this is quite an audible mantra of the climate change scientists and their supporters. How will it benefit the oil companies if they will be heavily taxed? would it benefit the oil companies if the consumer has to pay the tax and they get a percentage if not all of it? are oil companies financing carbon tax policy implementation?
what of industry in the third world? will they be paying carbon taxes? or will they be given exemption so that the oil companies and other pollutant industries will be able to use them as a loop hole to move there business there and continue polluting but veil it under the guise of “oh but look, we are helping the third world by giving them technology and jobs”?
I have also learned of how information was requested under the freedom of information act and that scientists on the climate change side for whatever reason blocked those requests…why? why would you hide your science? If you yourselves do not have the confidence in your science why should we the public accept it.
I always thought that science was the often painstaking endeavour to shine light on a truth but with these climate change scientists it seems as though it’s a game to procure the next pay check.
Unless someone can give some good answers, screw climate change and your bull manure science which at the moment seems nothing more than scientists performing fellatio for the corporations and state.
Judy Curry’s piece is almost surreal. At first it seems so cosy and pleasant that “scientists” should seek to meaningfully engage with “skeptics”, until you realise they should be one and the same entity. In some ways her missive is more disturbing than the whole of “ClimateGate”.
Looks like UEA might be beginning to wake up:
We will have to wait and see…
Patrick M., Monbiot seems to be playing the same role in the UK. He, of course, is a journalist, but I think both are looking at this as an exercise in damage control. It really is the smart, and frankly only thing to do at this point to avoid a losing PR battle.
Only time will tell if they really mean it, though. As soon as this has blown over, I suspect that many are going to be back to their old tricks. Just remember who said what in the heat of this crisis. It may come in handy later.
While appearing reasoned she still fails to recognise that those scientists that stand outside the consensus are equals. Her quote “At the heart of this issue is how climate researchers deal with skeptics.”
In many cases the ‘skeptics’ are in fact fellow scientists publishing inconvinient data. It seems she accepts that the consensus should still hold the reigns and allow oppenents in only so they can be “understood'” or “effective strategies for dealing with skeptics” can be developed. Openness should be applauded but it has to have real substance.
My only problem with Dr. Curry’s posts have been her (unsupported) claims of skeptics being coached and funded by “big oil” and other capitalists. She still is not being objective about CAGW.
With this essay Dr. Curry seems to be a little more open-minded than most in her tribe, but she’s still steeped in its mythology. She needs to distinguish between those who oppose AGW for political and economic reasons and those who have been skeptical of the behavior of many of the more prominent climate scientists. It’s a crucial difference.
Previous comments here question Dr. Curry’s distinction between “scientist” and “skeptic.” She elaborates on her definition of “skeptic” in one of her comments: “I reserve the word “deniers” for people that are explicitly associated with advocacy groups that are politicizing this issue (CEI comes immediately to mind). Skeptics that are doing analysis and publishing their research (in journals or the blogosphere) deserve to be called skeptics, even if their analyses and research provides fuel for the deniers. It is the failure of the many in the climate community to draw this distinction between deniers and skeptics that has resulted in this problem. In my classification system, Steve McIntyre is a bona fide skeptic, not a denier.”
My only problem with Dr. Curry’s posts have been her (unsupported) claims of skeptics being coached and funded by “big oil” and other capitalists. She still is not being objective about CAGW.
That’s what stands out like a sore thumb. What’s odd about it is that it’s unnecessary and counterproductive. It doesn’t really help anyone, all it does is make her look like a conspiracy theorist. It must be an ingrained academic habit, a verbal tic that she doesn’t even recognize that she’s doing.
The site where she posted reminds me of Realclimate. Many are not trying to understand what she said.
My welcoming letter to new graduate students:
First, a quote from a former grad student in microbiology, another field that copes with ambiguous data and how to handle the outliers:
“In 1992, O’Toole told me that shortly thereafter Imanishi-Kari called her in and said, “‘Margot, look. There’s really something here,'” showing her data that suggest the results O’Toole had been unable to repeat. Then Imanishi-Kari, sitting at her desk, went over the data with a pen. To O’Toole, who was looking over her shoulder, she appeared to be crossing out high measurements in mouse groups that she wanted to be low, and low measurements in those that she wanted to be high. ” ‘See, she’s really happy and perky. I’m just astonished.'”
“Until that moment,” O’Toole continued, “I was in complete turmoil. I was frantic trying to make myself get the data. I was frantic trying to understand why I am not able to be a scientist. Watching her, I just had this utter feeling of tranquility that I was not partaking because I would not partake. She said, ‘Bring me your data.’ And then she went through my data and made them conform. She turned around to me and she said, ‘So, what do you think?’ Then she turned back. And this word came out of my mouth, spontaneous and genuine; it just escaped in a whisper out of my lips: ‘Fascinating.’ And she turned around to me and she looked in my eyes and her eyes were smiling at me. And she liked me. And she pitied me. And she welcomed me back into the fold.”
The Baltimore Case: A Trial of Science, Politics, and Character, by Daniel J. Kevles, W.W. Norton & Co (London, New York), 1998, p. 56.
Now, my message to you, dear, young climatological student: May you also be so welcomed into the fold.
“At the heart of this issue is how climate researchers deal with skeptics.”
The three options proffered so far have been:
(a) Strangle them as they sleep at night (Joe Galliani)
(b) Beat the crap out of them (Ben Santer)
(c) Subject them to Nuremberg-style trials (David Roberts)
Dr Curry, I hope that you might offer some additional options that are more in keeping with civil discourse. I would also hope that you would completely cease using linguistic devices meant to liken your opponents to Holocaust deniers.
I tried posting this at Climate Progress:
A couple of years ago I decided to dig into the science behind AGW. My background is engineering but I love to learn and have never stopped studying all manner of scientific topics. It was very easy to wade through the skeptic arguments against AGW and determine that most of them were bunk – until that is I happened upon the Hockey Stick and McIntyre and McKitrick’s analysis. It was obvious to me and, I would guess, anyone with an engineering background that their analysis was accurate. McIntyre is not stupid. He only goes after what he has already proven to himself is problematic science and even then carefully makes claims that he knows he can back up with data.
When I then saw how the top AGW scientists went after his arguments I was shocked. It was obvious to me even then that they basically circled the wagons and refused to admit error – major error – and they continue to do so.
This changed my view regarding AGW. If the top scientists could not admit such basic error then what else might be problematic? I now honestly question how good our temperature record is. Obviously it has warmed but by how much? I question how good the models are. I question whether climate exhibits Long-Range Dependence and thus has a naturally varying mean (high Hurst coefficient). I mean, on the face of it, it seems to me that our climate is a non-linear open system made up of a myriad of self-similar processes – why would it not exhibit a high Hurst coefficient? Do I believe this question has been dealt with adequately? No, not at all. And why should I when the most basic errors that are pointed out with absolute clarity are simply arm-waved away as though they were irrelevant – as though they are also bunk.
The failure to determine what is good criticism and deal with it is, I believe, one reason that the skeptic community has grown so large. It is clearly what led to those e-mails.
But it seems to me that it has been moderated out.
Did I say something wrong?
I’m sorry, but in reading Dr. Curry, I find her comments insulting. She continually refers to “skeptics” as though they are some uninformed and cancerous caste. As in this from a published note to a young climate researcher:
**”Most scientists retreat into the ivory tower”
**”At the heart of this issue is how climate researchers deal with skeptics”
**”…if we are to develop effective strategies for dealing with skeptics and if we are to teach students to think critically.”
**”Scientists claim that they would never get any research done if they had to continuously respond to skeptics”
–“Skeptics” aren’t climate researchers??
At the first sign of attack from “skeptics”, Scientists retreat to their ivory towers??
–How does a scientific climate researcher deal with “skeptic”? As in weapon selection? Wearing a mask to prevent infection? Invoke ad hominem? Or simply hiding sacred data to preserve it’s dogma??
–“Develop effective stratagies if we are to deal with “skeptics” …teach students to think critically”???? Is this an episode of V where we’re learning to protect our children for reptile aliens????
–Scientists can’t get work done because of “skeptics” questioning their work????
She couldn’t be more clear in her message: There are Scientists, there are Climate Researchers…..and there are skeptics. Disruptive, leprotic, misinformed and misguided skeptics.
Her solution of making the data and the science open isn’t to advance the science as much as it is to protect her precious Scientists. How can I make this claim? By reading what she has written before.
“..using misleading information and presenting false choices is not useful in the public debate over global warming. …” –2007
“..In any scientific field of relevance to policy, scientific findings have been distorted and suppressed by the Bush administration to avoid conflicts with the desired policy…”
I’m sorry. I am insulted. She condemned the very acts we now have proof her closest collegues are guilty of.
Having read both her editorials, I have to admit I also get the feeling Dr Curry is seeking to establish a narrative to limit wider reaching consequence, if necessary. Frank acknowledgement of a problem is necessary to be sure. If so much good will had not already been squandered, I might be more prepared to accept the parts of it aimed towards sceptics at face value & not read as much into the parts aimed at alarmists.
I wasn’t impressed by either article. And looking thru the Comments one sees that the RC crowd doesn’t get it even a little bit.
snip – policy; venting
your message of data openness has reached the FT – http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8aefbf52-d9e1-11de-b2d5-00144feabdc0.html?catid=171&SID=google&nclick_check=1
We’re for open books on this. There’s no other way.
How long have Steve and others been fishing for the data?
How many times did they get the run-around from self-appointed gatekeepers?
Ms Curry should not be looking for a middle road here.
Either you’re with us, or against us.
If she supports 100% unconditional openness of the science, then I’m all for her.
Good morning news piece on MSNBC
OT Thought this would amuse.
snip – policy
Make the raw data and computer codes etc publically available so anyone can review and critique it. This is publically funded academic science. What am I not understanding about this as a necessity for the scientific method to be robust?
P Stanbrook (01:59:57)
Thanks for the link to the Cameron article – I got his email last night and sent a salvo back.
[hope this one is okay]
“I reserve the word “deniers” for people that are explicitly associated with advocacy groups that are politicizing this issue (CEI comes immediately to mind). ”
So long as that cuts both ways. I’ve long thought it was the warmist/alarmists with the political agenda that most warranted the term “climate change deniers”, because most sceptics have no problem accepting that climate changes…
This is off-topic – and not!
snip – yes
Dr. Curry’s outreach efforts are certainly laudable, but the underlying attitude, which shines through very clearly in her editorial, is that it is her mission to convert the heathen. The attitude that the science is settled is what led to Climate Gate in the first place.
Hell may have just froze over! Andrew Revkin at the NYT has just posted Judith Curry’s open letter to his blog and Mike Hulme of UEA has a supporting post stating quote:
“It is also possible that the institutional innovation that has been the I.P.C.C. has run its course. Yes, there will be an AR5 but for what purpose? The I.P.C.C. itself, through its structural tendency to politicize climate change science, has perhaps helped to foster a more authoritarian and exclusive form of knowledge production – just at a time when a globalizing and wired cosmopolitan culture is demanding of science something much more open and inclusive.”
Bravo Judith and Mike
The cold reality here is that there is a mindset that must be eliminated before anything substantive comes of all this. People with PhD’s in climate-related science who agree with AGW are Scientists, or Climate Researchers. Those with PhD’s in climate-related science who do not agree with AGW are skeptics.
As a “skeptic” you’ll never be able to be considered a peer for reviewing purposes. As a “skeptic” you’ll never be considered a reputable scientist. A “skeptic” sits in the back of the bus. Until Curry and others refrain from that term and begin to accept fellow scientists as….fellow scientists, the problem will continue.
What is so critical is an open and public exchange of discussions, however heated, between people who are real scientists, at a scientific level, with access to all the data, and all the algorthyms. McIntyre & McKitrick vs Mann & Schmidt style battles in an all out, no holds barred, public advancement of science to the never ending finish. Claim, counterclaim, ad infinitum, is true science.
And no, Dr. Curry, you’ve won no war.
DJ Meredith: “I’m sorry, but in reading Dr. Curry, I find her comments insulting”
As do I!!! Thank DJ Meredith, my exact thoughts!
DJ Meredith: “I’m sorry, but in reading Dr. Curry, I find her comments insulting”
As do I!!! Thank DJ Meredith, my exact thoughts!
you’re correct: snip…. off-topic!
But, it *was* an interesting observation on the use of peer-review outside of
climate science! ..smile…
These truths are just too inconvenient. They are not to be spoken.
I think much is missed in this discussion by attempting to differentiate between scientists and skeptics and skeptics and deniers and being upset with JCs attempts. More at issue to me is the point at which scientists cease to become skeptics. In the best of all possible worlds, scientists have to be skeptics and have to remain skeptics. But I was particularly taken aback by Wigley’s description of the still unaccounted for 1935-1945 warming and what might be done about it with the data. I am not surprised that he turned down your offer of a post.
For Steve McIntyre;
On RealClimate.org, Gavin posted a bunch of links to data and code and is claiming it has been available all along and all of the results from Dr. Mann, Jones et al is easily reproduced. Of course, all of the apple-shiners on his site are proclaiming this a “see, I told you so moment”. Do you have any specific data or code which are still not available through his links?
Knowing full well Real Climate only posts comments where Gavin can control the narrative (I know this because NONE of my comments have been posted), I am interested in the real story behind his supposed release of all the data.
Steve: I know the available data as well as anyone. If I ask for something, it’s because it’s unavailable. Yes, there is a lot of data, but unfortunately key information on multiproxy reconstructions has been and remains unavailable. Mann and Wahl/Ammann have made a creditable effort to provide code and I’ve noted this. However, the provision of this code can hardly be separated from the efforts of Climate Audit.
Peter, thanks for commenting.
People are far to quick to apply labels and I don’t think that it’s all that helpful to the discussion. Hopefully, a more nuanced approach comes out of the present situation.
I’m a Physical Chemist, mostly paid to do analytical chemistry these days. We make measurements of various elements and isotopes in environmental samples, typically at very low levels. Instrumental and procedural biases and variability are thus critical to measure, track and report, along with the “answer”. Why do I see no uncertainties stated anywhere in these threads, blogs, emails, figures from the literature, etc.? Are uncertainties accounted for in the original publications? My sense is that until the uncertainties are dealt with, there’s nothing to discuss regarding “warming”, other trends, or discrepencies between models, between models and measurements. So the points or curves don’t lie on top of each other–show me the error bands!
Here’s a simple and obvious question regarding a figure I saw with 1000 years of average annual temperatures for the Northern Hemisphere: there’s an “instrumental data” trace in the figure, but it does not have a confidence band shown. Was one determined? How does it’s width compare with the recent rise in temperatures (i.e., since good instrumental measurements became available)? Unless there’s a quantitative answer to this question, I don’t see that you have all that much to get excited about–all of AGW hullaballoo could be just bias between methods (models used to reconstruct historical behavior versus recent instrumental data, the latter presumably combined with a methodology for weighting and averaging the measurements).
Is there a good introductory, tutorial paper on all of this? Something written for a scientist, but not necessarily an Earth Sciences person, let alone a climate scientist. How about a critical review article that summarizes recent research and the most pressing issues in the field?
One last comment, a request actually. As the wider public starts reading these blogs, could one of you climate scientists do us the service of starting a glossary (maybe at Wikipedia?) of all the insider terms and jargon used? Journalists covering this would be very well served by such and the coverage would be that much better since the journalists could spend more time on their research and thinking rather than determining the definition and connotations of such terms.
Anthony has an interesting take on this from a reader. Can’t say that I disagree. The first step in regaining her scientific credibility with the public is to knock off the cheap partisan hyperbole.
As a trained analytical chemist myself, I share your concerns. However I think you will find that “Climate Scientists” are only concerned about certainties, uncertainties are merely a trivial inconvenience.
I am dead impressed with Judith Curry’s two letters, just as I am with Steve’s overture to Tom Wigley, and I commend them both. Very simply put, we need to start talking to each other, in distinction to “at each other” or, worse, one side doing its best to shut the other up.
To those of you upset that Dr. Curry considers skeptics a problem, I would urge right now a little more tolerance. She is allowed to feel “that there is a political noise machine in existence that feeds on research and statements from climate change skeptics”. The real point is that she is urging a spot at the table for skeptics (explicitly Steve and, in the comments, Lindzen, but others as well) at a time when most on the other side are actively going to lengths to wipe this work away. Inside her own tribe there is an ethos that spawns such comments such as Ben Santer’s that he’s “tempted, very tempted, to beat the crap” out of skeptic Pat Michaels. Imagine the courage it takes to stand up to that ethos, and say not only that that attitude is simply wrong, but that instead of beating him up, you actually have to open your door. Once you do, you’ll be able to cut Judith Curry some slack.
If you want to he heard, listen.
After at least four additions to the code originating from requests/observations made at CA, Mann et al (2008) is still missing some code. For instance, the code for making the final reconstructions from the high/low “step splices” is still missing.
The code for the paper released yesterday is also available here:
AFAIK the address has not been made public (I guessed it based on the name of the SOM file in Science web site). I suggest that you go there now and download everything available. Then visit the site in, say, half an year to see what has changed…
I’m not a climate scientist, and so have a very limited understanding of the context in which various aspects of the science are evaluated.
Yet one thing that just strikes me as very strange about the use of proxies in the context of measuring global temperatures is how little the proxies seem to be constrained by the actual measured temperatures we do possess.
In most predictions, one develops a model of a phenomenon based on known information, tunes that model so that it gives a good predictions on that known data, and then extrapolates into the future. This is certainly what is claimed to be going on in the climate models, which take known (or roughly known) data from the past, tune their parameters to generate a good fit to that data, and then extrapolate into the future.
But shouldn’t the proxies for temperature go through the same procedure before they are accepted as scientifically grounded? If they instead diverge significantly in their predictions from the reality, shouldn’t that be evidence enough that they are not to be relied upon, and should be rejected? The very fact that there has been a real rise in actual measured temperatures should make such attempts to fit the known data especially useful, since there is a good range that the proxies should have to fit.
Certainly if this basic procedure had been adopted, it would have been essentially impossible for the Mann trick to have been performed; the proxies could never have been truncated as they were because their very acceptance would require that they already fit well to the known measurements.
I can only guess there’s something I don’t know about how proxies are evaluated that renders the procedure of fitting irrelevant or unnecessary.
But what is it that I don’t know? Can anybody explain this to me?
Juddit Curry’s main concern in her editorial is how to “deal with skeptics” more efficiently from the PR perspective. She openly admits that her main perspective is that of the environmental activist rather than of the scientist. She says that “we” (climate alarmists) should “state our values openly” in debates with skeptics.
Therefore, from her point of view the climate gate is mostly a failure to deal with skeptics properly. The fact that the same Revkin from NYT who refused to publish the Climate-gate emails because “they were not intended for public”, published Curry’s editorial speaks volumes.
It is fairly obvious, just like with her previous comment here, that she is desperately trying to control the damage done to their peers and to their “values”. I am somewhat disappointed that Steve is giving her rantings against “climate denial machine” the stature of an honest attempt to address the problems raised by Climate-gate.
“Some of the things that I’ve tried in my quest to understand skeptics and more effectively counter misinformation include posting at skeptical blogs, such as climateaudit, and inviting prominent skeptics to give seminars at Georgia Tech. I have received significant heat from some colleagues for doing this (I’ve been told that I am legitimizing the skeptics and misleading my students), but I think we need to try things like this if we are to develop effective strategies for dealing with skeptics and if we are to teach students to think critically.”
So, it seems that her posting here on CA, as well the invitation to Steve to have a presentation on Georgia Tech were just a part of the strategy “how best to deal with skeptics” and “how most effectively to counter their misinformation”. Are we supposed to give her a credit just for being willing to interact with the people whom she disagrees with? She calls “scientists” only those who believe in the global warming doom prophecies, while dismissing everyone who disagrees as a “skeptic”. Are we really unable to see the tone of arrogance and disrespect in such a behavior? And should we continue cheerleading and advertising every piece of her revolutionary tactics literature how best to deal with “skeptical disinformation machine” now when our comrades went busted, as a great contribution to the opening up the climate science?
Following up on my previous post, as I think about it a bit more, I can see why one would certainly not want to fit proxies to actual recorded temperatures if one lacked confidence in the accuracy of those temperatures (or composite numbers based on them, such as a posited global average temperature).
But if the point of the “hockey stick” is not so much to confirm the recorded temperatures and composite numbers based on them, but rather to demonstrate the relative flatness of everything that went before, then fitting the proxies to recorded data seems pretty much obligatory. Certainly if one wants to demonstrate that the Medieval Warming Period wasn’t so hot, I should think one would go through this important exercise.
I haven’t read all the comments above, so don’t know if I’m repeating here. Again, I applaud Dr. Curry’s call for openness and transparency. However, much of her post discussed “dealing with skeptics”.
Frankly, it is disappointing to me that she takes such a position. I see the role of the skeptic as the that of “second-line reviewer”. It is clear that the review process, as it is, is not sufficient to uncover all the potential errors in any paper. As one who has reviewed papers for journals from time to time in the past, I know there may have been issues I’ve let by in the review process that other more knowledgable scientists may have (appropriately) raised. Post publication discussion is important, and the reality is that not all of that discussion will be peer-reviewed in today’s environment.
So, the role of any skeptic is simply that of ensuring the science in the published literature is sound. Tranparency is a part of that process. But let’s not denigrate the skeptics claiming “we must deal with them”, for they do provide a scientific service.
I, personally, am grateful for that service. Instead of discussing how to deal with the skeptics, I wish Dr. Curry would more readily welcome their service and more willingly integrate them into the scientific process. At that point, there would be no need to deal with them, but rather, partner with them to truly move the science forward in an collaborative effort to uncover the truth.
BTW, I just saw this over at Revkin @ NYT:
Ignoring skeptics coming from outside the field is inappropriate; Einstein did not start his research career at Princeton, but rather at a post office.
Not to make a huge stink, but it wasn’t a post office, it was a patent office. I’m really shocked that Dr. Curry is that sloppy with the facts. I thought everyone knew that. Einstein was hired by the Swiss Patent Office, because his bachelor’s in physics qualified him to review patent applications.
While this doesn’t change the basic thrust of her argument, it bothers me she doesn’t know something that I knew in 2nd grade, and didn’t bother to look it up. It’s not that difficult to look things like this up in this day and age of search engines.
While Dr. Curry’s essay and this follow-up are to be commended, her words in my opinion betray the fundamental bias of the pro-AGW scientists. The bias is to find ways of refuting the “skeptics” rather than letting scientific inquiry and data lead the way. And further to discover evidence that “fits” the hypothesis, without reference to other non-reinforcing or contrary data. Ideology trumps science.
There is no need for a researcher like Dr. Curry to even engage with climate skeptics, although she does have a duty to critically and objectively consider their work.
A good example is her own field, hurricane research. With the terrible toll of the 2005 hurricane season, climate science predictably asked the question of whether recent warming is influencing the frequency and force of tropical cyclones. With that inquiry came “science” predicting a sharp increase in frequency and effects. 2005 hurricanes were held as a beacon the same way 1998 is/was held as a beacon in the global temperature series. The implication that man-made CO2 was causing the warming was, of course, implied as a given.
And then, well, nothing much out of the ordinary happened. But the researchers have not retracted or modified their positions, to my knowledge.
In reading all the comments to my essay (here and elsewhere), I guess my framing of the “skeptic” issue mixed the conventional definition of scientific skepticism (all scientists are skeptics) with the more politicized use of the term that has come to be common in the public discourse on this issue. Any scientist that is skeptical of an aspect of global warming, but is prepared to be convinced otherwise by evidence is a bonafide scientific skeptic (and every climate researcher should be labeled as a skeptic by this definition). There are however some people who will not be convinced by evidence (from either side of the debate) because they are driven by politics rather than scientific evidence.
Jeff Masters has an extensive writeup on the “manufactured doubt industry” at http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1389
which is worth reading. these are varyingly called skeptics or deniers, but their label as skeptics really runs counter to the conventional scientific definition. And deniers runs into the holocaust issue, but i have to say that denier means one who denies (there are many things that could be denied, not just the holocaust). This is clearly a sensitive issue, and WUWT has opened up a whole thread on the “denier” issue. Over at climateprogress, Joe Romm has issued a staunch defense of using this term in the context of the climate debate.
We’re clearly getting trapped by these words “skeptic”, “denier”, “team” that have other meanings and connotations. I think we really need to get back to using the word “skeptic” in its traditional scientific meaning, and get away from labeling certain individuals as skeptics in the context of climate change. This would be alot easier if scientific researchers did not align themselves explicitly with advocacy groups. But of course each individual is free to do so if they choose.
We need a new frame for the public debate on climate change, and science in a highly politicized environment is not easy to frame. Suggestions for better words?
Any scientist that is skeptical of an aspect of global warming, but is prepared to be convinced otherwise by evidence is a bonafide scientific skeptic (and every climate researcher should be labeled as a skeptic by this definition)
Dr. Curry, with all due respect, I find this statement impossible to reconcile with Phil Jones’ now infamous reply to Willis Eschenbach’s FOI request.
Maybe many, or even a sizable majority of, climate researchers meet this definition of skeptic, but I believe it is wishful thinking on your part to believe all of them do.
Dr Curry has taken on the mostly thankless task of trying to build a bridge over a yawning, treachorous chasm, so I try accept that her carefully crafted essays must contain a little disingenuousness, and (maybe)condescension towards skeptics & luke-warmers, in order to mollify her tribe.
Thanks & good luck, Dr. Curry.
I appreciate your willingness to post in this forum. However, I read the article at your link on “manufactured doubt” by Jeff Masters. It appears that with few exceptions Mr. Masters labels as “manufactured doubt” any PR campaign he disagrees with. I have known my whole life (I’m 46) that cigarettes are dangerous to my health and asbestosis is an easily diagnosed illness where it really exists and it typically only occurs in individuals with high level chronic exposure. Members of the ABA have benefited more from these two issues than those harmed by cigarettes and asbestos have.
The ozone “hole” has appeared over the South Pole every time we have had the technology to look. In fact, I remember the first time I read an account of its existence those that found it acknowledged that fact. The ozone hole in my opinion was an important turning point in these issues. It has long been known that cold temperatures and solar radiation reduce ozone concentrations naturally. However, environmentalists hijacked the issue such that the layperson now assumes it was beyond any doubt caused by man-made emissions. While I have not done extensive research on the subject, to my knowledge no one has ever addressed how substances with a vapor pressure 4 times that of air are depleting stratospheric ozone in a more significant manner than that which occurs naturally. Nor has anyone explained why a hole appeared over the Southern pole when the vast majority of emissions were in the Northern hemisphere. I do not claim to know beyond any doubt that the ozone hole wasn’t caused or aggravated by anthropogenic causes but I do think there is much more scientific uncertainty around the issue than is let on. This unwillingness to acknowledge uncertainty is a major source of my discomfort where AGW is concerned.
My replies over at ClimateProgress are disappearing into thin air. Here’s a response I wrote:
dhogaza (#190), your talking points are SO misleading, apparently you don’t even know the truth of the matter yourself. The truth is far more embarrassing than you imagine. Your talking point:
They’ve been working on this for quite some time now. The denialist claims that CRU is “trying to hide data” is baloney. 98% has been available online for years, and they’re working on making the other 2% available. Whether or not they succeed is entirely dependent on whether or not the various met services involved agree to allow their raw data to be placed in the public domain.
Here are a few pertinent questions for you:
1) How long has it been known exactly what proportion of data has been available online?
2) What nation(s) represent the vast majority of the available data?
More pertinent to the “agreements” question:
3) The 2% withheld represents data from how many nations?
4) With how many nations does CRU actually hold confidentiality agreements?
5) Who revealed the 98%/2%, and the number of nations’ data being withheld? CRU or McIntyre?
For other observers, I’ll give the correct answers below. To verify, you’ll have to look up the archive of CRU’s August 2009 release of confidentiality information, and some CA postings. (CRU posted their confidentiality agreements, then removed them. Perhaps the info was too embarrassing?)
1) The 98/2% information has been known since July 2009, when McIntyre analyzed old/new station lists and determined which nations have new stations since a 1994 publicly archived version of CRU data.
2) The vast majority of the data is from US stations
3) The withheld data is from at least 59 nations (the number of nations reflected in new stations since 1994).
4) CRU holds a confidentiality agreement with one nation, Bahrain.
5) McIntyre worked out this information. CRU has not revealed it even under FOI.
Yes, dhogaza, let’s hold a party when CRU finishes their difficult challenge of renegotiating the ONE confidentiality agreement with the “various met offices” at Bahrain.
I’m sure UK taxpayers will be pleased to know Jones’ budget has been used so assiduously to protect the valuable data of 59 nations (the list itself even being kept secret).
We all owe a debt of gratitude to Jones for so greatly respecting his secret confidentiality agreement with Bahrain, that he used that agreement to also protect data from 50+ other nations from release.
What more needs to be said, to let go of such inane political posturing?!
Please oh please, can we push for the restoration of a modicum of transparent, replicable science to this field?
What I find particularly piquant is the notion of “qualifications” employed in these debates. There is no established discipline called “climate science,” there is no special set of fundamental methods or techniques of “climate science,” and most of the prominent practitioners have degrees in things like physics or chemistry. Yet one of the legs supporting the AGW stool is the proxy reconstruction argument, and that is largely a matter of statistical analysis.
The critics on this site are far better qualified in statistics and econometrics than the “climate scientists” publishing and peer reviewing the papers in the journals. My personal jaw-drop moment was when Gavin Schmidt casually admitted that he was unfamiliar with the term “heteroskedasticity,” something taught in first-year econometrics classes around the world. Published papers use all kind of lowbrow data-mining techniques that would get you flunked out of these classes. No one seems to have any idea of basics like the Gauss-Markov theorem, proofs that estimators are consistent (i.e. that they converge to the true value with growing sample sizes), etc. Steve M is remarkably patient on this stuff and far less scathing than he could be. When he complains about ad hoc stats methods being employed, methods without warrant in the statistical literature, that is a very polite way of saying “almost certainly crap.” Wegman was trying to communicate the same thing.
it’s not clear whether you understand yourself in this affair as a scientist or as an environmental activist-believer who has “fundamental values” (in addition to scientific understandings) that should be stated “openly”? Your editorial reads like a manual for revolutionaries who got into trouble due to the messing up of some comrades, rather than as the assessment of what is the real scandal here and how to deal with it. Any thoughts about “redefining peer review process” in order to prevent “skeptical” papers from being cited in IPCC report, about “fine tuning” the 1940 temperature “blip”, about eliminating “skeptical” papers from peer reviewed literature, manipulating the data to “hide the decline”, warnings to other comrades to delete correspondence, lying about HadCrut data (destroyed, not destroyed), avoiding FOIA requests, threatening to delete the data rather than to give them to McIntyre etc etc?
Your voice will be credible only if you condemn that malfeasance unequivocally, and without the typical Team-like assaults on “deniers”. Deniers are not the subject here, but your buddies, elite climate scientists. Only after you condemn their behavior without false symmetries and excuses, we can consider your contribution to be in good faith. Until then, everything we can conclude is that you are trying to minimize the damage for the Team.
Perhaps this is the vagaries of technology, but my most pertinent comments, responding to direct challenge from Believers, have not made it into the thread over there. And now all my comments are silently tossed. Not even placed in moderation.
JR, if you are listening… are you having technical trouble or have you decided to silently ban me from commenting?
Dr. Curry, you don’t need a new word for “skeptic.” And your posts are directed wrongly here. All you need to do is to tell your real climatology colleagues and students to just drop the term entirely, and deal with the science.
Ivan, two posts above, you said it well.
On this whole issue of deniers and skepticism let me quote myself over at Lucia’s
…. I have no problem with boys being boys and scientists cracking jokes about each other. Mann’s joke about the Idso brothers being a circus act made me laugh. Besides that a couple points. I think the whole “tobacco” company meme was a bad one for the AGWs to rely on. Primarily because it cast the opposition in a light that allowed for a “ends justifies the means” scenario. As Lakoff points out we LIVE by metaphors ( I actually read him long ago and wrote some nice papers on metaphor based on his work, but nevermind) We LIVE by metaphors. So when some on the AGW side choose the metaphor of “big oil = big tobacco”
and “sceptics = denialist” Then as I have REPEATEDLY pointed out that metaphor gives one the rationale to do certain things that one ordinarily would not do. Once you use the big tobbacco metaphor and the holocaust metaphor, you can suddenly “cheer” the death of john daly. You can thwart the FOI process. You can argue against transparency in science. WHY? because those metaphors ENTAIL that your opponent is evil. Your ends suddenly justify your means. Its not just a metaphor. We live in metaphors. We act them out.
On my view people who don’t accept AGW are just ignorant. Not evil. Open debate and education can cure that. Oh sure you will have some flat earthers. deal with it. don’t demonize.
Let me add to this. There is also a tendency for some to class believers of AGW with the metaphor of “believers”
At its core all of these attempts to classify people or positions will be open to metaphorical interpretation. My advice:
avoid metaphors. And that from a freedom fighter who wants to get the data and code out of captivity. hehe. The only person I know who has attempted to detail what various groups of people believe is Tom Fuller.
Dr. Curry, thanks for your response.
So when you say “how to better deal with skeptics”, you really mean “how to better deal with scientists? If not, please help this layman understand.
May I post a comment I left at Real Climate? I know it’s generally not encouraged, but I think this one is right on the topic of transparency and repicability:
“This story from the London Times forthrightly states that the raw data that Phil Jones and his team depends upon has been lost.
Can you clarify whether this is true or not.
[Response: No. The original data is curated at the met services where it originated. – gavin]”
Gavin, the original data may indeed be at the met services where it originated, along with a lot of other data that CRU chose not to use for its global temperature record. So unless CRU released a list of which stations it used and which stations it chose not to use (which it has not done) saying that the original data is at the local met services is like saying that the answer to the “Who wants to be a millionaire” final question is in the encyclopedia. I’m sure it is, but the “trick” is: where?
Steve, I hope I am not wearing out my welcome, but please permit me to post another comment I left (this one at a local Massachusetts paper’s website):
snip – any references to religion are strictly forbidden at this blog
One feels charitable to Dr Curry given her own gracious treatment of Steve McIntyre when he was viewed askance by academia. It has plainly not dawned on her, however, how irrevocably compromised all climate scientists have been by the email leak. Professor Jones can look forward to writing papers in his retirement, soon to be announced, methinks. There will be a major shake-up of all staff involved in climate research at the University of East Anglia if the university is to rescue its reputation from the sewers. And the waves will spread world-wide. Why was it that Steve McIntyre experienced such colossal opposition from those recognised as climate scientists? The reason is that they weren’t doing their jobs properly. Dr Curry ought to be not patronising, but very busy distancing herself from the previous orthodoxies. She was gracious to Steve McIntyre of earlier occasions when to be gracious went against the wind. Has she anything else going for her? It is striking that THAT act of grace might be the most significant matter left to her curriculum vitae. We should by all means treat her with respect, but the right to patronise no longer rests with the proponents of the previous climate orthodoxies. Their reputations have been trashed and it is now incumbent upon them all to begin the long process of justifying their salaries given the monumental errors to which they have lent their names. Did they actively speak out against the graphs and the frauds? No? Why not? I am a taxpayer. I want to know.
I am somewhat dismayed by the responses Judith Curry has received. I know blog responses are not very representative of actual impact, but they do show a serious problem. A perfect example came not long ago, in a comment by Ivan. Ivan has expressed disdain for Curry’s efforts. Like most critics of Curry, it seems Ivan honestly believes what he says. Unfortunately, belief often gets in the way of understanding.
In Ivan’s comment, he quotes Curry (in part), “Some of the things that I’ve tried in my quest to understand skeptics and more effectively counter misinformation include….” In his next paragraph, he quotes her as saying (again in part), “how most effectively to counter their misinformation.” The latter is significantly different from the former. Ivan’s mistake changes Curry’s remark from unremarkable to derogatory.
I have no doubt Ivan saw Curry’s comment the way he wrote it. He expected to see something so he saw it. People do this all the time. It is why bias is such a problem. Small and honest mistakes turn innocuous into sinister. Even worse, bias is self-reinfocing. A “positive feedback” if you will.
I don’t mean to single Ivan out, as anyone is capable of making the same mistake. It is easier to believe than to understand. Hopefully the critics of Curry can step back and try to understand her. Perhaps her wording should be improved. But honestly, how important is that?
She is trying to do something difficult. She is trying to improve things. If you think otherwise, step back and ask why you don’t believe her. As far as I can tell, Judith Curry has shown incredible intergrity.
I’ll give it a few days but this is at least suspicious: other people are able to comment at Climate Progress, but I can’t. I don’t think I’ve been disrespectful; have only written things to help the conversation along. And I’ve not posted any links so it is not obvious if I’ve been silently caught in a spam trap.
Your whole “framing” discussion is not going to help. You are continuing to speak in “us” vs “them” terms, as if those who don’t agree with the “mainstream” are wrong.
If you want to encourage better science, then learn to be inclusive of those who care about science but happen to disagree with the currently popular view.
We all have a lot to learn, *together*.
I am afraid that my assessment of Curry’s remarks was unfortunately true, and that I understood her quite well.
“Some of the things that I’ve tried in my quest to understand skeptics and more effectively counter misinformation include posting at skeptical blogs, such as climateaudit, and inviting prominent skeptics to give seminars at Georgia Tech.”
“I have received significant heat from some colleagues for doing this (I’ve been told that I am legitimizing the skeptics and misleading my students), but I think we need to try things like this if we are to develop effective strategies for dealing with skeptics and if we are to teach students to think critically.”
So, she didn’ t mean to “legitimize” for example Steve McIntyre by inviting him to give a lecture at Georgea Tech. Far from that! She actually just tried to find the way how “most effectively” to “deal with him”.
This is her preferred, third, option of dealing with the “skeptics”:
“Take the “high ground:” engage the skeptics on our own terms (conferences, blogosphere); make data/methods available/transparent; clarify the uncertainties; openly declare our values”.
Who are “we” here, Brandon? “Engage skeptics on our own terms” – note that she directs this advice to her young colleagues, scientists, assuming that no “real climate scientist” can be skeptical about AGW. It is so obvious that she considers herself as a member of climate change fraternity that must stick together and find better and smarter ways of dealing with barbarians from the outside. Why she didn’t simple say to her students: “study science and believe what your results tell you you should believe”. No, she expects them in advance to believe her dogma if they want to qualify as scientists.
That’s the key problem here. Lindzen, Spencer, Christy, Gray, Lindsea, Michaels – none of them is real scientists according to Curry. They are “skeptics”. It never sleeps her mind that some of her students can reach the same conclusions as those people, and also become “skeptics”. That is pure form of arrogance and disrespect. And I expect her to apologize to the people with excellent scientific credentials and track record who happen to disagree with her scientific conclusions. And maybe to say something normal about those god damn emails, apart from praising Gavin Schmidt for “clarifying things”.
No amount of whitewashing or “sympathetic reading” can change this ugly reality. She has to drop the offensive notion that people who disagree with her are not scientists, but some strange beasts called “skeptics”, or to risk to be considered the advocate of the Team. Period. As many posters here emphasized, just start to respect people who disagree with you, and stop insulting and name calling them. It is that simple.
Interesting but not unexpected:
Mick — your link to Dr. Curry’s comment at Climate Progress is very telling. Basically she is saying that this attempt at “reapprochment” is just a tactic and does not represent a genuine attempt to take AGW dissent seriously. I felt her post here a few days ago was nothing but “damage control” and now I feel that even more strongly.
The issues relating to proxy reconstructions and climate sensitivity to increased CO2 are not necessarily the same.
The narrow “community” at Climate Audit is intimately familiar with the statistical problems of reconstructions and the defects of Team literature. And this isn’t just me – it includes people like Jean S, UC, Roman, Hu and many others – who are substantially more expert than the Team on these issues. Here we’re comparing statistics PhDs with climate scientists with little training and less understand of statistical issues – who exactly are the “amateurs”? The problem, as Wegman observed, is that climate scientists are reaching outside their area of competence. And as Mark Twain and Satchell Paige observed, The problem aint the things that you don’t know; it’s the things you know that aint so.
I think that the Team has caused an enormous amount of needless controversy on these issues. For example, had Ammann accepted my proposal to write a joint statement of what we agreed on and disagreed on back in Dec 2005, several years of pointless controversy would have been avoided. But Ammann said that this would be “bad for his career”.
As far as proxy reconstructions-
Can the available data be trusted based on what we now know?
It seems that anyone who wanted to honestly replicate the results would have to start from square one. Going to Siberia and extracting new data is burdonsome task. Same goes for ice cores, sediment and coral data.
Even if the photos of Yamal tree ring data (for example) used by Mann et al were available online, is it reliable?
From Steve Mosher:
avoid metaphors. And that from a freedom fighter who wants to get the data and code out of captivity. hehe. ”
Excellent post. Have you read Lakoff and Johnson’s latest work: “Philosophy in the Flesh: …”
In it they suggest that ALL abstract thought arises out of “embodied” metaphors. Very powerful thesis. This suggests that metaphors are unavoidable in our discourse much like just after saying that we should avoid metaphors you use one: “freedom fighter” (I would guess you did that on purpose – love the metaphor).
I think Judith’s suggestion is very powerful. One technique to helping people overcome “mental illness” is the concept of re-framing. I hear Judith suggesting we need a re-frame in order to change thought processes and therefore behaviors.
Unfortunately I haven’t a clue on what a good re-frame, a new set of metaphors, would be. And I think that this whole debate has become so polarized one would need a Milton Erickson to figure it out.
In terms of ways to go forward in removing bias in climate science I thought Michael Crichton had some very good thoughts on this:
Of course Steve’s long-standing notion of an “Engineering Study” should be added to this mix. I think that is a very good idea as well. Well, more than that, I would say that an engineering study should be the final output for policy makers after the basic (newly un-biased) research is completed.
snip – complaining
You and I agree that Judith Curry is not a skeptic. That is not the point. The point is ONLY this: will she listen to what skeptics have to say, and will she encourage others to do so?
On the first point, she has already proved herself with her invitation to Steve to give a talk at Georgia State. Does it matter if her motive in this is “to engage the skeptics on our own terms”? Not one whit.
On the second point, not only is she encouraging others NOW to engage skeptics, but she has been doing so since at least Dec 11, 2006, the date of her powerpoint presentation Falling Out of the Ivory Tower: Reflections on Mixing Politics and Climate Science. Check this date out on her website.). The date is important since it proves she is not just saying this stuff now in an attempt at damage control: she’s been saying it for a long time. In addition, Judith Curry is also openly advocating some of the things that the skeptics have been saying for years: namely to “make all of your data, metadata, and code openly available”. If just that would be accomplished, we would live in a different and, in my opinion and in the opinion of most who read this blog, a better world than we live in today.
Judith Curry is as complex as all of us are. She is a scientist and somebody passionate in climate change (among many other things). On the passion side, she is a warmer, and she wonders how to “deal” with skeptics (as is evidenced by the link that Mick puts up a few posts up). That doesn’t need to concern us. The only thing that matters is that on the scientific side, she is both willing to listen and encouraging others in her tribe to engage with skeptics. For this, we should all be saying “You go, girl!”.
My respectful advice to the climate scientists quoted in the HadCru emails is to read the 1974 Caltech commencement address by the late Dr. Richard Feynman. With the “science” of hockey sticks and tree rings, the cargo cult appears to be operating at full force.
Based on her angst and deploring (at least some of) the revelations from the HadCru correspondence and; latterly, her statement that all scientists should engage in “skeptical” inquiry, I commend her that Dr. Feynman’s admonishment is part of her values.
Ivan, I have no intention of dwelling on this issue. You say, “I am afraid that my assessment of Curry’s remarks was unfortunately true, and that I understood her quite well.” You clearly misquoted Judith Curry. The incorrect quote supported your claims. The correct quote did not. You did not address this issue.
My point was clearly made in my first comment. Your response has done nothing but show its validity.
As a strategy or policy, Curry’s prescription is fundamentally the same as the Hockey team’s. The difference we are asked to perceive revolves partly around an assurance of underlying intent, and a corresponding assurance about the methods used to achieve that intent. There is no recognition that involving intent or strategy to the degree it has been is inappropriate, or that a feeling of ownership or entitlement to the wider process & its control, far beyond the remit of their positions, is also inappropriate & corrupting.
I have not kept up with Lakoff or Johnson since around 1985. in the early 80s I was doing Phd work in critical theory and philosophy.. esoteric stuff on metaphor. At that point I had read “metaphors we live by” and some other work on the semantics of metaphor ( either lakoff or Johnson cant recall who) Anyways, I was working with Neitzsche and Derrida looking at metaphor and catachresis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catachresis ) basically arguing something along the lines that all thought was metaphorical…
yes I did use the freedom fighter metaphor on purpose, precisely because it is devilishly hard to avoid metaphor in any discourse of substance ( you can see how I would join derrida’s work with Johnson and Lakoff ) Nevertheless I think there is a pragmatic value to be derived out of reframing. Basically, you can’t avoid metaphor or framing, but you can pick frames ( one hopes) that don’t lead to the kind of polarization we see in the current debate.
I had some problems posting at climate progress. At this stage I’m not even interested in checking back to see if my stuff got through. Debating on blogs gets very tiresome especially when people dont know the facts.. like with the 2% issue. very annoying.
“As a strategy or policy, Curry’s prescription is fundamentally the same as the Hockey team’s.”
The team’s stated strategy is to ignore and belittle the skeptical scientists.
Judith Curry’s is to engage them. ( This is NOT a new position occasioned by the CRUgate release of email, as is evidenced by the date of Dec 11, 2006 on her powerpoint presentation where she champions the idea of engaging the skeptics.) These two stated strategies are not even close. How you can even write that they are?
“The difference we are asked to perceive revolves partly around an assurance of underlying intent, and a corresponding assurance about the methods used to achieve that intent.”
Judith Curry may sympathize with the warmers. It may be that she wants nothing more than to prove the skeptics wrong (though I think a better reading of her position is that she is a fair sport who likes her chances in any real debate). But none of that matters. Her intent doesn’t matter. Whether she personally thinks skeptics are scientists or troglodytes doesn’t matter. Judith Curry wants to engage the skeptics! She wants to give seats at the table for Steve and Jean S and UC and Craig Loehle and Bender and Lubos and JeffID and all the rest of the guys on Steve’s website who understand the statistics behind this whole thing! And you want to chase her off because she’s not saying the academic equivalent of “pretty please”?
My apologies to Hu, Roman, and Ross (whose names occurred to me as I hit the send submit button) and to all those others whose names will occur to me later.
Chopbox, that’s simply the way I understood the following lines to be intended:
“So what should our strategy be? try harder to squash the self declared group of skeptics? Or just let it play out as background noise? I think we have to do the latter, and to the advocacy groups that try to amplify this noise, we should try to squash their influence rather than blaming the skeptical scientists. Yes a few skeptical scientists explicitly affiliate themselves with advocacy groups (e.g. Singer, Michaels) and these can be separated out from the others.”
[self declared] sceptics are to be ignored as [you would] background noise. Advocacy groups are to be squashed. Sceptical scientists seen to be affiliated with advocacy groups are to be winnowed out …for treatment unstated. Wasn’t that fairly much the original policy? I think we might be talking about the actual methods employed to achieve those ends, & the animus or paranoia driving it.
I understand your concerns, though honestly, I think she’s probably a big enough person to not be chased off by someone examining her words. After all, her words there are in reply to a much stronger opinion in the first place – she certainly wasn’t chased off by that. Chopstick, as far as I can see all these guys like Steve already do have a place at the table whether certain others can reconcile themselves with that fact or no… if you want to extend the table analogy, people are just getting round to acknowledging where the salt cellar has been placed, what the product of that act has been to date and whether it is beneficial to anyone to continue with it.
I quoted Curry extensively, and “in context” her statements look, to borrow the phrase of her buddies, “even worse than we thought”.
Look at this:
“So what should our strategy be? try harder to squash the self declared group of skeptics? Or just let it play out as background noise? I think we have to do the latter, and to the advocacy groups that try to amplify this noise, we should try to squash their influence rather than blaming the skeptical scientists. Yes a few skeptical scientists explicitly affiliate themselves with advocacy groups (e.g. Singer, Michaels) and these can be separated out from the others. The mainstream climate community needs to figure out a better strategy for dealing with the self declared skeptical scientists than the one reflected in the CRU emails, this is bad for science and very bad for the public credibility of science.”
What about alarmists scientists “affiliating themselves” with left-wing advocacy groups? Or maybe with millions of dollars of research grants for climate modeling and addressing the impact of global warming? How we are going to “deal” with them?
You proved nothing. You just tried halfheartedly to whitewash her indefensible and offensive statements, and to minimize the ugliness of their implications.
Ivan, nothing in either of your responses addresses the issue I discussed in my initial comment. You were an example, not a focus, in my comment. The problem I saw is not with you, but with basic human nature. That is all I was interested in discussing.
You are welcome to disagree, but I think people are capable of figuring the situation out without further comment.
I’ve been reading this blog a long time, and have watched the zeal with which many of the regulars would indeed chase off the occasional warmer scientist with nasty comments or blaming or piling on. For instance, Judith Curry used to come here fairly often, but hasn’t been by in a while and I think she has a thicker skin than many.
I think that you are right that Steve is paid attention. But at the moment it is the sort of attention paid to somebody you want to make sure doesn’t walk off with the silver. What I’d like is for some of those comments, like Briffa’s where he appears exasperated with Michael Mann for saying he has good tropical representation, or Trenberth’s baring of his doubt (hope I haven’t mischaracterized that) over the way things have gone for the last ten years or so, to be put directly toward Steve, in a “What do you think, Steve?” way. I recognize we are far from that right now, but then again, they’re not fighting in Northern Ireland so much these days, are they?
Thanks for engaging with me.
Re Mr. Pete and Steven Mosher
Looks like Climate non-Progress got tired of losing simple discussions. They let you in for a while and now have you on auto delete. I am now being deleted.
Dhogaza and a couple of others have taken over responding with their nonsense. While I do not agree with all of Dr. Curry’s remarks, I think she made a mistake posting on that site which is similar to RC in deleting. My last two did not get to moderation;
Re #260 dhogaza
**No, but the particular data that McIntyre spent years screaming about was available from the Russians who control it, as Briffa told him when he asked Briffa to send it to him. “You have to get it from the Russians”.
The Russians who gave it to him at least five years ago (it is now known he had it by 2004 at the latest).
Now what was he whining about, exactly?**
The explanation is rather simple. You can have all the data from the Russians. How do you know what Briffa actually used if it is not archived or if he did not state precisely what he used?
RE #261 dhogaza
**Yes, it should’ve been done a long time ago, though it’s uncertain why anyone would think that the head modeler at NASA GISS would be the person expected to do so.
Here’s a curiousity – with all the screaming about data access made over the years by people like McI and Watts, why didn’t they or one of their screaming admirers sit down and spend a day or so in google collecting URLs of publicly available datasets?
Could it be that screaming “the data is hidden!” is more politically expedient than putting together a site of URLs to data that would show that the screaming that “scientists are hiding the data!” was bull?
These people could, if they wanted, make positive contributions. Why do they not do so?**
An easy explanation. The data is available. The concern is with data and code that was not properly archived in spite of scientific magazines claiming that they have an archive policy.
snip – too wordy
Making bold and exaggerated claims which are counter to [conventional] beliefs is unlikely to persuade them that you have a valid point, it will more likely persuade them that you yourself have not fully thought through your position and are supporting the view which you want to be true for your own personal reasons. Small and irrefutable claims are solid foundations.
“Dealing with a problem by acknowledging it”.
An analogy. Modern TV is full of scenes of people dying, often from violence, often from guns. The acted scene of violent death has acquired a style of its own, a style somewhat removed from the reality of death. Try pulling half a body from a crashed truck to get the reality. It’s not poetic, romantic, gentle, bloodless. I’ll admit it’s popular.
So it is with climate science. A style has developed. It has become popular. But, that style does not correspond with the reality perceived by many of us who have grown up with the harder sciences. We have no time for excuses as to why people might have rigged data and we have no interest in fitting in with the three options that Dr Curry floats in the header. These involve actors in a stylistic show that we can choose to turn off with the press of a button.
In the present context, there is only one everyday interest. It is to work to create the best replicable science with the means available. If, against long odds, you succeed with an original important breakthrough, that is a lovely bonus – when replicated and accepted by others, who have full access to your data.
Discussions of concepts like post-modernism, or that the end justifies the means, are for people who lack adequate scientific challenges, or are acting by rote. Or, horror of horrors, they simply lack skill when others are too polite to tell them.
I fear for the education of youngsters. That’s where the intellectual equivalent of the stylised violent death is played out too often and where it has become too popular. If people wish to change the system, they could do worse than to put hard reality back into education.
I believe that civility is an important end in itself. When I look out at the way climate science is being played out right now, I see very little civility. That in itself is upsetting, but what is more upsetting is that that loss of civility is making it more difficult for the science to progress. That is, though I view civility as an important end in itself, I also recognize that it is an important means to the proper functioning of science.
That is why I have been supporting Dr. Curry’s attempts to have the warmer side engage the skeptics. Such a policy is important not just because it brings civility back to a very uncivil debate (ends), but because civility must return in order for their to be ANY debate (means).
With that in mind, I was just reading a Dec 2 interview
that Judith Curry had with The National Journal Online in which she said the following:
The scientists involved in the CRU emails are dismissing certain people as skeptics, assuming that they all have political motivations. Well, the motivation of the skeptic isn’t really the point. The point is whether or not they have a valid argument.
Curry is asking for her tribe to take their fingers out of their ears and listen. It is an important step.
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