Curry vs Mann

Eli has a post about Andrew Dessler’s testimony to the Senate’s Environmental and Public Works (EPW) committee, so I had thought to try and write something about Judith Curry’s testimony, but haven’t really had a chance to read it thoroughly (although that doesn’t always stop me 🙂 ). Michael Mann, however, tweeted the following

which has not particularly impressed Judith Curry, who already has a post called Mann on advocacy and responsibility. Personally, I would probably not claim that what another scientist had said was anti-science as that would seem to imply intent, is hard to prove, and doesn’t really help the debate. Of course, each to their own and I can’t claim to have any real sense of how best to engage.

[Addendum : Michael Mann has commented on Twitter that anti-science implies ignorance, not intent. Rather than editing this post (and being accused of making changes), I will add that he is probably correct and that what I was getting at here was more how it would be used – i.e., some would argue that it implies intent and hence how can one make such a claim of another, rather that it being interpreted as intended.]

Although I may not have referred to Judith Curry’s view as anti-science, from what I’ve read it would seem her science is quite poor, if not quite anti-science. For example, Judith says

A comment on my testimony vs Dessler’s. Two very different perspectives. Dessler’s testimony represents the consensus view of science, focusing on what we know. My testimony focuses on the uncertainties and what what we don’t know, and why this is an important consideration for policy makers.

She seems to be suggesting that her testimony is complementary to that of Andrew Dessler’s. From what I read, this would be rather a stretch. Judith’s testimony appeared to rather contradict some of what Andrew Dessler was presenting. Judith’s testimony included claims that there was increasing evidence for a lower climate sensitivity (the evidence may be increasing, but it is far outweighed by the evidence for a higher climate sensitivity), that we really don’t understand the “hiatus” (again, maybe true in an absolute sense, but there is increasing understanding and virtually none is that it’s because of lower climate sensitivity), and that the surface temperature is falling outside the 90% confidence interval of the models (sure, but it would likely do that about 10% of the time anyway, so not that surprising).

Also, why would you present what we don’t understand without also presenting what we do? Surely you’d want to present as complete a picture as possible; with all the associated uncertainties. You wouldn’t just present the bits we’re unsure about (unless this was explicitly your role and those you were talking to already understood much of the science). The only reason I can think of why someone would do that is to make it appear that we’re less confident about what we do understand than we actually are, and I can’t see how that helps policy makers.

Judith also says,

I was very struck by the EPW Committee members’ opening statements, bemoaning the rapid sea level rise in the Chesapeake Bay (more than twice as much as anything that can be attributed to AGW), the drought in Oregon, etc., as if short term actions by the U.S. in terms of CO2 mitigation are going to have any impact on these problems on timescales that the politicians worry about.

So what? This is patently true and largely irrelevant. Everyone knows that CO2 mitigation will have virtually no impact on the coming decade and everyone knows that policy makers probably only think about what they can do that will bolster their chance of re-election. Maybe one can make pragmatic choices about how to present evidence to them, given this, but at the end of the day scientists have an obligation to present the evidence as honestly and clearly as they can. What policy makers choose to do, given the evidence, is up to them.

Judith continues with,

Policy makers have heard the ‘consensus’ scientists’ position loud and clear for the past two decades. This has not translated into policy action, and I don’t think it is for lack of activism by scientists

I find this a very odd thing to say. She seems to be suggesting that mainstream scientists have been presenting their evidence loudly and clearly for the past two decades and this has had very little impact on policy makers. What’s this got to do with science? Why does this in any way imply anything about mainstream science? Maybe they haven’t been presenting it as well as they could have, but the lack of policy action implies absolutely nothing with respect to the scientific evidence. Is Judith actually suggesting that her scientific evidence is more credible because it’s more likely to influence policy? if so, an accusation of anti-science would appear warranted. If anything, it’s those who continually present what we don’t understand, rather than what we do, that has resulted in this policy inaction.

Judith then finishes with a message to Michael Mann in which she says

If you want to avoid yourself being labeled as ‘anti-science’, I suggest that you are obligated to respond to my challenge.

Seriously? Michael Mann’s scientific credibility will be based on whether or not he responds to a challenge. Surely not. That might imply something about his character, but not about his scientific credibility.

So, maybe it would have been better if Michael Mann had not referred to Judith Curry’s testimony as anti-science, but there’s little in her response that indicates that her scientific views are particularly credible. Maybe – if I get a chance – I’ll try to have a more thorough read of Judith’s testimony and comment on that further. Maybe, however, I’ll just have a break as I’m sure some of the commenters will already read some of it and may have thoughts of their own.

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104 Responses to Curry vs Mann

  1. tallbloke says:

    Maybe Judy concentrates on communicating uncertainty at these hearings because she knows there will be no shortage of Desslers plugging the oppisite line.

  2. Maybe, but how is that in any way an appropriate way to present scientific evidence? Plus, you would then need to show that Dessler was indeed presenting too positive a view and from I’ve read, he was not.

  3. Joshua says:

    IMO, the “anti-science” rhetoric is the kind I frequently see from “skeptics” – i.e. empty and tribal. It adds nothing to the debate. I wish that “realists” would not try to defend such rhetoric – even indirectly.

    There seems to be quite a bit to criticize in the science related to Judith’s testimony. I couldn’t really say. But there is plenty to criticize from a logical standpoint. For example, Judith claims that her testimony (unlike Dessler’s) focused on the uncertainty around what is known about climate change?

    Therein a logic problem.

    It seems to me to be quite inadequate to claim focus on the uncertainty in climate change, and what she calls “the hiatus in warming,” w/o once mentioning questions related on OHC.

  4. Joshua says:

    tallbloke –

    I think that you are right. Judith has stated support, on more than one occasion, for incomplete and inaccurate rhetoric on the part of “skeptics” through some justification that it balances what she considers to be incomplete and inaccurate rhetoric from the other side of the debate.

    Unfortunately, however, such an attitude seems in direct contrast to much of what Judith states should be the ideological approach to uncertainty in science. It seems that her actions are not consistent with her philosophy.

  5. Judith’s testimony included claims that … the surface temperature is falling outside the 90% confidence interval of the models (sure, but it would likely do that about 10% of the time anyway, so not that surprising).

    That the observed temperatures need to vary within the uncertainty is a good argument. If it never came outside the 90% range, the uncertainty estimate would have been too high.

    However, even if the observed temperature would be outside a 99.99% range, I would still accept AGW by greenhouse gasses. These “uncertainties” are not formal statistical uncertainties, but are just the spread of a large number of model runs. Some bad and some good. Even the good models, do not model everything perfectly, which would be necessary for the ensemble to span the real uncertainties.

    Many models have similar components and will make similar mistakes (Arctic sea ice). This artificially reduces the uncertainty estimates using such an ensemble. Probably more importantly, climate models do not model the natural variability very realistically yet. The influence of this could go both ways, it could either artificially enhance or reduce the uncertainties.

    Ensembles are also used more and more to estimate the uncertainties in weather predictions. In such applications the uncertainties are “calibrated” by comparing previous predictions and observations. Typically in the short term the weather predictions are less certain as the model ensemble spread indicates, on larger prediction time scales the uncertainty estimates are better.

    Anyway, a long comment to say: do not overestimate the importance of the model ensemble spread. Before I throw the greenhouse theory in the waste bin, we will have to see an unexplained drop in temperatures to values around 1900 for a sustained period.

  6. Joshua,

    anti-science” rhetoric is the kind I frequently see from “skeptics”

    Using the term anti is an issue. Michael Mann has explicitly stated that he meant ignorance not intent and since I can’t read his mind I have no reason to assume that that isn’t what he meant. But using anti would normally imply that the person is openly against something, and so it could easily be interpreted as implying intent and – in this debate – giving rhetorical ammunition to those with whom you disagree would seem like something to avoid. If one is going to describe what someone has said, maybe there is a better way to do so.

    For example, Judith claims that her testimony (unlike Dessler’s) focused on the uncertainty around what is known about climate change?

    Therein a logic problem.

    Indeed, that was what I was trying to illustrate 🙂

    It seems to me to be quite inadequate to claim focus on the uncertainty in climate change, and what she calls “the hiatus in warming,” w/o once mentioning questions related on OHC.

    Precisely.

  7. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    “Michael Mann has explicitly stated that he meant ignorance not intent and since I can’t read his mind I have no reason to assume that that isn’t what he meant.”

    I liken this to the situation with Dana referring to RPJr. as “misleading.”

    It isn’t like Mann hasn’t had plenty of experience in seeing how people react to the “anti-science” king of rhetoric. It should be perfectly obvious that people will respond to it as suggesting that Judith is “against science,” and that seems to me to be a ridiculous claim.

    At this point I have to believe that he is indifferent to those reactions at best, or actually seeks to cultivate them (which seems to me to be more likely).

  8. Joshua,

    At this point I have to believe that he is indifferent to those reactions at best, or actually seeks to cultivate them (which seems to me to be more likely).

    Possible, I guess. Personally, I would not do that and, for a long time, I would have regarded it as counter-productive. Now, I’m not so sure. I really don’t have any particularly well-formed views as to how best to engage in this topic (other than to just do what feels right). It does appear that it’s become a conflict and that actual engagement with “skeptics” is both pointless and impossible. Hence, there will be some (and this would probably be my view) who think that engaging in a way that simply makes you appear the most credible is the best way forward. Others, however, may think that attacking is the way forward. Who knows which will be best. Only time will tell, I think.

  9. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    I agree. It’s a mess.

  10. Curious George says:

    Without naming anybody .. is the following science or anti-science?

    1. Publishing only results, not data or algorithms.
    2. Hiding any data that don’t support one’s hypothesis.
    3. Splicing data from different sources to achieve a dramatic graph (and acknowledging the fact in small print, without specifying that tree-rings-only data would actually show a dramatic decline)

    Solution: The above three points clearly define a “science”, and anybody using a different methodology must be anti-science.

  11. Curious,
    I’ll post your comment given that I think you’ve never commented before. However, I know what you’re referring to and context is everything. If you want to make follow-up comments, constructive ones (i.e., that actually construct an argument and provide evidence) will be required.

  12. Joshua says:

    I will say that there are some basic principles and practices of conflict resolution, participatory democracy, and effective communication that would be the best way forward in some theoretical world… but IMO, the debate about climate change has become far too infused with partisan agendas for their to be any realistic hope of those principles and practices to be implemented – and certainly in any near-term time frame.

  13. Joshua,
    Sadly I think you’re right. There’s an interesting issue though, I think. I think I understand the basic physics quite well. So, to change my mind you’ll need to convince me that there’s a reasonable chance that, for example, negative feedbacks could be quite a bit bigger than we expect and that climate sensitivity will be lower than expected. Given that (as far as I’m aware) there is no evidence to support this, I would expect “skeptics” to concede much more than I would concede. This is probably a difficult thing to do given the position they hold. How does one resolve this? Probably make the evidence so strong that there isn’t any choice but to concede. Problem there is that we’ll then, presumably, be waiting long enough that it will be impossible to avoid some of what could be avoided had we decided to act earlier.

  14. Curious George says:

    Anders – you’ve got me. I did not expect my comment to make it through the moderation. Time to start reading your blog. Thanks.

    I’ve commented before, and you might understand my attitude better – if it is worth your time to read about 1000 words of my report:
    http://judithcurry.com/2013/06/28/open-thread-weekend-23/#comment-338257

  15. Victor,

    These “uncertainties” are not formal statistical uncertainties, but are just the spread of a large number of model runs.

    Yes, that’s a good point and I did think that when I wrote that. At the end of the day, though, as you said earlier in your comment, if it always fell within the 90% range, that would tend to imply that the uncertainty range was too high (or that we can model the temperature more accurately than we realise, I guess).

  16. Curious,
    I’ve obviously forgotten that you’d commented before. Strange that you ended up in moderation then.

    I’ve quickly read your link. My issue with the concern that you express is that it comes across as a mixture of scientific philosophy and playing uncertainty games. Nothing fundamentally wrong with that, but our understanding of changes to our climate (in a global sense at least) is based on much more than just an ensemble of climate models. There’s paleo-climatology. There’s basic radiative physics. So, there is extensive evidence that we will likely warm by 2 – 4oC by 2100 if we follow a BAU scenario. If your sense that we might not is based largely on some sense that some scientists haven’t behaved impeccably, and that surface temperatures are falling outside the 90% range of the ensemble of climate models, then I think you’re ignoring an awful lot of relevant evidence.

  17. It isn’t like Mann hasn’t had plenty of experience in seeing how people react to the “anti-science” king of rhetoric. It should be perfectly obvious that people will respond to it as suggesting that Judith is “against science,” and that seems to me to be a ridiculous claim.

    In this context, I would interpret it as “against mainstream climate science”. I read Climate Etc. too little to be able to judge whether that fits, but have read enough to see this as a possible opinion and not as a ridiculous claim.

    Michael Mann has commented on Twitter that anti-science implies ignorance, not intent.

    I am not a native speaker, but that sounds more ridiculous to me. That would make almost anyone anti-science for most sciences. A better response would have been to write that the original formulation was wrong and that it would have been more appropriate to assume that Curry is ignorant.

  18. Victor,
    Yes, that may have been better. However, I’ve been trying to think of a different term that one could have used to distinguish between Dessler and Curry’s evidence. Clearly Mann wanted to illustrate that he thought Dessler’s was scientifically credible and Curry’s wasn’t. Anti-science is short and rolls off the tongue. I can’t quite think of a different term that would have the same impact.

  19. Chad says:

    “Judith’s testimony included claims that there was increasing evidence for a lower climate sensitivity (the evidence may be increasing, but it is far outweighed by the evidence for a higher climate sensitivity)”

    There is no evidence for higher climate sensitivity to CO2. Model projections with inbuilt warming biases are not evidence.

  20. Chad,
    I’ll give you one chance. Paleo estimates suggest 3oC per doubling of CO2. Otto et al. type of estimates (that use recent observations together with forcings from models) predict somewhere between 2 and 2.5oC with a range from 1.3 – 3.9oC. So, it’s not only based on models and you’ll need to provide some evidence of the inbuilt warming bias if you wish to continue this disucssion.

  21. Without naming anybody .. is the following science or anti-science?
    1. Publishing only results, not data or algorithms.

    You never only publish results, but also describe the methods you used and discuss the results. Only with the advent of the internet and computers has sharing algorithms and data become more common. We also had scientific progress before.

    That being said, I typically do so. That makes it easier for my colleagues to use my methods, which is what you develop them for and it also helps my career as you get more citations that way.

    That climatologists are often not allowed to share data is due to political decisions. Climatologists and the weather services that collect that data are typically happy to share the data. Governments and especially free-market parties are typically against it. They want to save a little money by making the weather services sell the data and they want to create an artificial market for commercial weather companies.

    2. Hiding any data that don’t support one’s hypothesis.

    That is fraud.

    3. Splicing data from different sources to achieve a dramatic graph (and acknowledging the fact in small print, without specifying that tree-rings-only data would actually show a dramatic decline)

    In a scientific publication, I would have preferred to show the tree ring data over the full period, but as long as the figure caption explains what you did there is nothing wrong. A scientist is supposed to read the article and not just look at a picture. A scientist reading such an article is supposed to know the divergence problem of tree ring data.

    In case of a publication for non-scientists, and that is the case here, I might have done the same. Not sure. You do not want to confuse your reader with too much detail, otherwise it again becomes a hardly readable scientific article. The idea of an publication for the general public is that it is easier to understand. The topic of this section was historical temperatures and not measurement techniques.

    The moment it turns out that the problems with tree ring data for the last decades also indicate problems for older data as well, it would no longer be appropriate to remove the recent decades from such a figure.

  22. Joshua says:

    Victor –

    “In this context, I would interpret it as “against mainstream climate science”. “

    Yes, well, that’s part of the problem in that it conflates mainstream science with science itself.

    “A better response would have been to write that the original formulation was wrong and that it would have been more appropriate to assume that Curry is ignorant.”

    I’m not sure how much better that would have been,. The claim that Judith is “ignorant” seems little better, to me. Just as it seems to me to be highly implausible that Judith is against science, it also seems highly implausible to me that she could be fairly described as ignorant. It certainly would not stand up as an assumption. Perhaps it could be proven, but even so, to try to do so seems to me to be fraught with overwhelming subjectivity and quite honestly, seems poorly grounded in a scientific approach. How does one prove “ignorance” in another in a sufficiently objective manner? Even assuming that Judith is mistaken, how does one prove that being mistaken is evidence of ignorance? I find it fundamentally fallacious to try to reverse engineer from someone’s stated positions on complex and controversial issues to try to ascertain some fundamental attribute about the personally.

    Judith has a different view on climate science than does Mann. I think that the bar to get over, starting form that to then prove that she is either against science or ignorant (in general or about climate science more specifically), is waaaaay to high to even waste time with. And even if it weren’t, what would the benefit be? Who would be convinced by anything upon viewing the sausage making of such an endeavor? I’d say virtually no one. People will judge any such endeavor by filtering what they see through their predispositions to confirm the validity of their original orientation.

  23. Curious George says:

    “the concern that you express is that it comes across as a mixture of scientific philosophy and playing uncertainty games”. You’ve lost me. There is physics. That model got its physics wrong. If you don’t get it right, say so, say why, or say why it does not matter. They did none of the above. No reason to trust them. It is one of the IPCC ensemble.

    What does it have to do with scientific philosophy or uncertainty games? Learn to read more thoroughly.

  24. Curious,
    I did say I read it quickly. That was my impression. You presented some kind of historical anecdote and then discussed models. Maybe you can elaborate. However, responding by telling me to read more thoroughly isn’t the route to an interesting and constructive discussion.

  25. Curious George says:

    Anders – you have formed an impression, after reading quickly. I told you I did not understand your impression, and you ask me to elaborate. I did so, see my reference. READ it.

    Under the circumstances I don’t see a route to an interesting and constructive discussion – which requires an attempt by both sides to comprehend the other side.

  26. Curious,
    Fair enough. I wasn’t trying to mis-represent you. I have re-read it and an interesting and constructive discussion would still – for my benefit at least – require that you clarify/elaborate. Feel free not to though. It doesn’t really matter.

  27. Curious George says:

    Anders – my point is that a latent heat of vaporization of water is treated as a temperature-independent quantity in CAM 5.0 model. That leads to a 2.5% overestimate of an energy loss by an evaporation from tropical seas – over 50% of our planet’s surface. I have no idea if the overall effect of this approximation is an increased global temperature or a decreased global temperature; all I know it is incorrect. I hope NCAR are developing a better model, but they are not saying.

  28. dana1981 says:

    Mann’s Twitter word choice may not have been ideal, but his point that Curry’s testimony is not scientifically supported is correct. Curry made comments that not only directly contradict Dessler’s testimony (which was excellent, by the way), but directly contradict IPCC AR5. Frankly her testimony was nonsensical. She argued that our confidence about AGW is decreased by the content in AR5 (which explicitly increased confidence in AGW as compared to AR4). Her argument was that because of the ‘pause’, the slightly lowered low end of the ECS range, and increased Antarctic sea ice extent, that means scientists have lower confidence in AGW. This directly contradicts climate detection & attribution research (on which the AR5 statement is based) that consistently shows humans have caused ~100% of the global surface warming over the past 50 years.

    Basically Curry expressed her opinion (which always involves exaggerating uncertainty), but claimed it was supported by the contents of AR5, which it was not. Moreover, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for policymakers to focus almost exclusively on what we don’t know. It’s very important for policymakers to be aware of what we do know, which fortunately Andrew Dessler focused on in his testimony (again, infinitely better than Curry’s). Curry’s testimony reminded me a lot of Pielke Jr.’s – cherry picking the data that will help make the case against taking action to address climate change. That’s of course why Republicans keep inviting them both back.

  29. dana1981 says:

    I’ll have a post about Dessler and Curry’s testimony on Friday, by the way.

  30. Curious, you have not found an error, but a simplification. And “found” is already a big word, because it was clearly written in the documentation that the latent heat is a constant.

    The world out there is complex and one cannot model everything. If you call every simplification an error, you have not only proven that CAM is wrong and that any climate model is wrong, but that (almost) any model of a complex system is wrong.

    Simplifications are necessary and are the reason that you should validate a model and are the reason that a model cannot be used for any purpose. They add to the uncertainty in the results, but do not automatically make the result wrong.

    You could model this minor dependence of the latent heat on temperature, but then you would have to compute the energy changes due to temperature changes at every time step, for a large range of variables: humidity, cloud water droplet, cloud ice particles, rain, snow and whatever other hydrometeors the model knows as well. Otherwise you would make a systematic error in the energy budget as the evaporation at the surface will be at colder temperatures as the condensation to cloud droplets.

    Like Steven Mosher already explains below your comment at Climate Etc., the community atmospheric model (CAM) is a community model. If you think this is important and that this simplification would change the estimate of the climate sensitivity, you can invest your precious life time into this project, you can download the code, make the improvements and write a nice scientific paper about it.

    In the unlikely case you find that this changes the climate sensitivity, or even if you just find a clear improvement in the modelling of any one variable or process, the scientific community will be very grateful. In the former case, that could be a Nature paper. Even showing that all these additional equations are not needed and that the enormous reduction in computational resources of this simplification is not problematic would be worth a publication in a decent climate journal.

  31. jbenton2013 says:

    Most people who read Mann’s piece and Curry’s comments, together with the testimony to Congress, will conclude Mann has been spanked by Curry.

  32. Joshua says:

    BTW – Victor, what’s your native language and how did you develop such a strong command of English?

  33. John says:

    Dana1981 – there hasn’t been any warming for now 17 years. 100% of the global surface warming is due to humans…really….. Even Mann would probably reject the claim.

  34. Joshua, I did not want to state myself, that Curry is ignorant, I was just proposing a better formulation for Mann. She does not have that much experience in climate as far as I can judge though, not much more than I have. Most of her career she worked on clouds, just like me. It is a pity she does not talk more of the relationship between clouds and climate, that is where she could make interesting contributions.

    I do not think that we should apply the rules of scientific investigation to everyday communication. That would make it almost impossible to communication.

    Thanks, I am Dutch. The Netherlands being a small country, we do not synchronise television series, but subtitle them. That way you learn passive use of English as a child, which is very helpful for someone as linguistically challenged as I am. Except for communication with my colleagues in Bonn almost all my collaboration partners are foreigners, thus most of my thinking and writing at work is in English. Try to talk with me about cooking and you will no doubt clearly notice I am not a native speaker.

    It was funny to be asked once in Reno whether people in The Netherlands spoke English.

    P.S. Anders, another comment is stuck in moderation. Sorry for making you so much work.

  35. Geoff Harris says:

    Curry was interviewed recently on EconTalk (http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2013/12/judith_curry_on.html). Might interest some of you 🙂

  36. Joshua says:

    Victor –

    “….which is very helpful for someone as linguistically challenged as I am.”

    Hmmm. I have spent many years helping non-native speakers of English communicate in American business and academic contexts. I suspect you are being a tad modest. Usually, even with non-native speakers who can communicated very effectively on complicated topics, it isn’t that hard to see that English was not their first language. That hadn’t been the case with you, however. (Although now that I know I can pick a few things out).

    “I did not want to state myself, that Curry is ignorant, I was just proposing a better formulation for Mann….I do not think that we should apply the rules of scientific investigation to everyday communication.”

    I think that scientists should be consistent in showing a scientific approach to how they formulate and communicate conclusions, as a general principle. For example, if a scientist says something like “Judith is ignorant w/r/t climate science” – a statement that to me at a most basic level confuses opinion with fact (if one hasn’t carefully assessed her knowledge level), the only effect for me is that it leads me to question their process for formulating conclusions. Assuming that Judith were wrong about any particular opinion she offers, there might be any number of reasons (such as confirmation bias) for her error, and being ignorant would, IMO, rank very far down on the list of probable reasons.

    Other examples would be when Judith states conclusions about the impact of Climategate,w/o having carefully researched and validated evidence in support of those conclusions, or when she ignores uncertainty in ways that conveniently fit her narrative when discussing the debate about the climate debate. When smart and knowledgeable people, who are experienced in careful scientific analysis, get sloppy and in everyday communication formulate conclusions w/o careful evaluation of the evidence, they are evidencing “motivated reasoning.” When they fail to display thorough and and clear investigation of questions related to distinguishing correlation and causation, even in daily communication, they are evidencing “motivated reasoning.” Displaying motivated reasoning does not necessarily invalidate or even make questionable their scientific work, but IMO it is evidence that they may not be fully engaged in examining for their own biases, and that thus their application of scientific principles may be intermittent.

  37. David L. Hagen says:

    andthentheresphysics
    Michael Mann needs to go back and learn the meaning of Greek prefixes:
    Anti = against
    Antiscience = reject science
    By contrast,
    Agnostic = ignorant

    By publicly declaring Judith Curry’s testimony was “antiscience”, Michael Mann now bears the burden to publicly show scientific evidence of where Judith Curry’s sworn formal testimony is false. Otherwise Mann’s public declarations on Curry constitute libel.

    On uncertainties, Judith Curry’s formal testimony just reviewed IPCC statements and actions. That understates the problems. A 30 year period has commonly been used as evidence of “climate”.
    See Dr. Roy Spencer showing that > 96% of 30 year model projections since 1983 are running too hot.

    You have only commented on Curry’s latest post.
    Please address Curry’s actual written testimony that Mann denounced as “antiscience”.

    Re: “evidence may be increasing, but it is far outweighed by the evidence for a higher climate sensitivity”
    You provide no evidence.
    Curry explicitly cited IPCC statements.
    Try backing up your statements with evidence, not rhetoric.
    Regards

  38. Joshua, ignorance is the nicer side of Hanlon’s razor. Here are links to some of Prof. Curry’s claims. The first link summarizes a Real Climate debate that could be shaved, among others.

  39. Oops, link fixed:

    Joshua, ignorance is the nicer side of Hanlon’s razor. Here are links to some of Prof. Curry’s claims. The first link summarizes a Real Climate debate that could be shaved, among others.

  40. Joshua says:

    Dumb –

    Are you suggesting that the only choices are malice and stupidity?

  41. That first link might also be explained by someone impersonating Prof. Curry, as some commenters suggested. It seems like Morton’s demon is stronger than previously suspected.

  42. Joshua, I am really bad in languages. In high-school I almost had to redo a year because we had 4 languages and you were only allowed to have bad grades for 3 subjects (if you could compensate that with good grades for other subjects, which was no problem, the natural sciences were easy.) I would estimate that I spend at least 80% of my homework time on languages. I would read my physics book in the first two days of the year and hardly do anything else the rest of the year because I had to “waste” so much time on the languages. Good to hear that it did pay of. 🙂 And I am just correcting a manuscript and must admit that some have even more problems with English that I.

    I would say everyone uses science intermittently. You could not live without doing so. The domain about which we can make scientific statement is negligible small relative to the rest. I have no trouble distinguishing opinion from evidence based claims and everything in between. That a statement about the mind of Curry falls mostly in the opinion range seems clear to me. No one would expect a diverse range of scholarly studies on Curry.

    Your norms would come very close to abolishing freedom of opinion for scientists. Because you would only see someone as a good scientist if he would never voice an opinion. I hold human rights to be more important and would suggest we solve this problem by distinguishing between opinion and scientific statements.

  43. AnOilMan says:

    Curry is not ignorant… I put her in the intentionally incorrect category. Actually I put the bulk there.

    I also think she’s seriously embarrassed herself by some how saying this needs to be a high school debate.

    I triple dog dare her to recant.

  44. Rachel says:

    Another tweet, another label and another mountain of molehill made. The “antiscience” in the tweet would probably have been better left unsaid just to avoid all of this, yet again.

    Anders said,
    It does appear that it’s become a conflict and that actual engagement with “skeptics” is both pointless and impossible.

    I agree with this. Did you read that essay by Jonathan Rowson, A new agenda on climate change? He thinks we shouldn’t bother arguing with contrarians and instead focus on the people who accept the science but who are indifferent to it because there are lots of them. These would have to be the bulk of the people in my acquaintance and it amazes me how unconcerned they are. But I have noticed a change in some of the people I know in this group because of conversations I have had with them. Their level of concern has risen and with it, hopefully, the motivation to act.

  45. Brigitte says:

    Hi
    Interesting discussion. Anti-science is a word that needs more analysis, but what came to mind when reading this thread was a distinction made in ‘social representations theory’ between hegemonic, emancipated and polemic social representations. Hegemonic representations are shared to some extend by all members of a society, emancipated representations are constructed by various sections within society but not yet incorporated into hegemonic ones, and polemic representations are formed by subgroups during a dispute or a conflict and are not shared by society overall. I think Mann regards his own understanding of climate change as ‘hegemonic’ while regarding Curry’s as ‘polemic’…. perhaps. In some research we have tried to use these concepts to think about attitudes to climate change and issues of identity.
    https://www.academia.edu/4473762/Jaspal_R._Nerlich_B._Cinnirella_M._in_press_._Human_Responses_to_Climate_Change_Social_Representation_Identity_and_Socio-Psychological_Action._Environmental_Communication

  46. David,

    You have only commented on Curry’s latest post.
    Please address Curry’s actual written testimony that Mann denounced as “antiscience”.

    Yes, that’s what this post is about.

    Re: “evidence may be increasing, but it is far outweighed by the evidence for a higher climate sensitivity”
    You provide no evidence.
    Curry explicitly cited IPCC statements.
    Try backing up your statements with evidence, not rhetoric.

    What Judith included was that the bottom end of the IPCC range for the ECS has droppped from 2oC to 1.5oC. This is indeed true. However, it’s largely based on a handful of papers (Lewis 2013; Otto et al 2013 being 2 of them). Most other papers that address climate sensitivity (Hansen et al. 2011 being a good review; any GCM modelling paper) puts the most likely value closer to 3oC. Hence a handful of papers indicate potentially a lower climate sensitivity and have reduced the low-end of the IPCC estimate, but most papers would indicate a higher value. You search Google Scholar yourself if you wish to do so.

  47. Brigitte,

    I think Mann regards his own understanding of climate change as ‘hegemonic’ while regarding Curry’s as ‘polemic’

    Interesting, I’d never thought of it that way. That’s certainly possible. My personal view is that there are some (Pielke Jr, Judith Curry for example) who think that if what they say is factually correct, that they’re then right. However, what can be more important in such circumstances is what you don’t say and so from what I’ve read of Judith Curry’s testimony, it may all be factually correct (although maybe not) but it paints a completely different picture to that presented by Dessler, and I fail to see how that’s good science.

  48. Curious,
    I wasn’t aware of that. Surely the energy is still conserved? Energy is used to evaporate water which is then released when it condenses in the atmosphere. If they’re using the wrong latent heat values then it will be the wrong amount of energy, but it would still be conserved.

  49. OPatrick says:

    I’m not sure I fully understand why so much of the discussion here seems to ignore the context of Judith Curry’s words, as testimony to a Senate committee and therefore with political as well as scientific import. I’m assuming no-one would argue that many of the Republicans, who invited her to testify as I understand, are not anti-science. Curry cannot be ignorant of why they chose to invite her or of what messages they want to hear from her and how those messages will be used. Given that, I find her choices about how she has presented her arguments, in particular the choices about what she has left out, to be strong evidence of intent to mislead. Of course I don’t feel I could be justified in saying this based on this one instance alone, but again that would be ignoring a wider context in my view – Curry’s blogging and other media activity all point in the same direction.

  50. OPatrick,

    I’m not sure I fully understand why so much of the discussion here seems to ignore the context of Judith Curry’s words, as testimony to a Senate committee and therefore with political as well as scientific import.

    Possibly because I made the mistake of focusing on the term anti-science in the post, rather than on Judith’s testimony. I have read it, but haven’t had a chance to digest it properly. If I get a chance maybe I’ll write another post about the actual evidence.

    in particular the choices about what she has left out

    Yes, I agree. That is the crucial issue.

  51. It seems that some are shocked (shocked I tell you) that I claimed that there is more evidence for a higher than a lower climate sensitivity. Just to be clear, by higher I meant a likely value close to 3oC; for lower I meant below 2oC (or close to). We have two papers (Lewis et al. 2013 and Otto et al. 2013) that suggest below 2 or close to 2. I went to Google Scholar and typed in “climate sensitivity” and here are 4 papers on the first page that all have likely values close to 3oC.

    I may be wrong, but it’s my understanding that if you were to go through the literature, there are many more studies suggesting that the ECS is around 3o than around 2oC. I know that there is always a range, so this doesn’t mean that it will be 3oC, but the evidence for a value close to 3oC, far outweighs (as far as I’m aware) the evidence for a value close to – or below – 2oC.

    Bitz et al. (2012)
    Watanabe et al. (2010)
    Andrews et al. (2010)
    Sherwood et al. (2014)

    There’s one that puts it a bit lower, but still above 2oC.
    Schmittner et al. (2011) (Comment)

  52. OPatrick says:

    in particular the choices about what she has left out

    Having said that could the same be said of Andy Dessler’s testimony? Not that it would change my opinion of what Judith Curry is doing.

  53. OPatrick,

    Having said that could the same be said of Andy Dessler’s testimony?

    That’s a good question. I certainly don’t know the answer. Having looked through his testimony, he seems to spend quite a lot of time on the “slowdown” but interprets it very differently to how Judith Curry interprets it (or – at least – the significance of the slowdown). For example he says

    An excellent example of a challenge to the standard model is the so-called “hiatus”[Trenberth and Fasullo, 2013]: a lack of warming in the surface temperature record over the last decade or so. This is frequently presented as an existential threat to the standard model, but as I describe below that greatly exaggerates its importance.

    …….

    As Fig. 5 shows, the problem in very short temperature trends (like a decade) is that climate variability such as El Niño cycles completely confounds ones ability to see the underlying trend. However, this short-term variability can be removed, and, if one does that, then the hiatus essentially disappears [Foster and Rahmstorf, 2011; Kosaka and Xie, 2013]. Because of this, I judge that there is virtually no merit to suggestions that the “hiatus” poses a serious challenge to the standard model.

    So, that would seem to be one of the major things to address and he seems to have done so. There may be other things he’s left out, but my general impression was that he had done a good job of presenting an overall picture that was consistent with our basic understanding.

  54. Marco says:

    David Hagen refers to a plot by Roy Spencer in which no confidence intervals are given.

    To make matters worse, the graph starts in a period that has a very clear positive ENSO phase. El Nino years are well known to be significantly above “baseline”, whereas the model outputs to the best of my knowledge ‘average out’ ENSO (it’s not quite clear how these specific model runs were generated, but they must be averages or at least ENSO corrected somehow). The models should thus start significantly lower than the actual temperatures measured.

    In my world we call the graph of Roy Spencer misleading.

  55. > Michael Mann has commented on Twitter that anti-science implies ignorance, not intent.

    It implies neither of these mental attributes. At best (?) it implies one or the other.

    PS: Can’t login with Twitter since last week.

  56. Willard,
    The term anti-science is one that I do find hard to define, so maybe you have a point (if I understand it, that is). I did wonder where you’d gone.

  57. Pingback: Andrew Dessler’s testimony on what we know about climate change | My view on climate change

  58. Joshua says:

    Victor –

    I would say everyone uses science intermittently. You could not live without doing so. The domain about which we can make scientific statement is negligible small relative to the rest. I have no trouble distinguishing opinion from evidence based claims and everything in between. That a statement about the mind of Curry falls mostly in the opinion range seems clear to me.

    Maybe it’s just me – but I see a conflation between opinion and fact – when people are explaining their reasoning and their analysis of various issues – to be ubiquitous throughout the blogosphere. It is part of what distinguishes discussions of science in the blogosphere from discussions of science in academic papers, where great pains are taken to try to distinguish objective analysis from subjective opinions. Of course, from an absolutist perspective one can never really fully achieve that goal even in scientific papers – but striving towards that goal is a primary objective of academic endeavoring.

    Part of what has happened with the growth of Internet technology and media more generally is that discussions of science have spread outward to involve and engage a wider cross-section of the public. That is certainly a good thing, IMO, but along with that development we find scientists talking about science to a larger audience, and failing to accurately and carefully distinguish fact from opinion in that process dilutes the discussions, IMO. I think it failing to clearly deliniate fact from opinion reflects carelessness, and “motivated reasoning.” IMO, conflating fact and opinion is a common indicator of motivated reasoning.

    I have been haranguing Judith about these issues for a couple of years now (to no avail – in fact I find that if anything, the problem has gotten significantly worse).

    Of course, it is probably not possible to go through life w/o at various points conflating fact with opinion. Doing so does not somehow mark you as being different than anyone else. So then, IMO, what becomes most important is what you do upon further reflection.

  59. What is so hard to define about anti-science? People who are against science and attack it. Maybe you could add: attack it with non-scientific “arguments”, because if they would have valid arguments, they would contribute to science (against their will).

    Have to go now, will respond to Joshua later.

  60. Joshua says:

    OilMan –

    “Curry is not ignorant… I put her in the intentionally incorrect category.”

    FWIW (if I understand what you mean correctly), I think that is no more plausible than saying that she is against science or that she is ignorant. Do you think that Judith does not believe the opinions that she states to be true?

  61. Victor,

    What is so hard to define about anti-science?

    I should have added “in this context”. I would agree that, in general, what you’ve defined it as is how I would define it. However, Michael Mann is claiming he meant it to mean ignorance rather than intent. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Others probably aren’t. Given how you describe it, it isn’t a term I would use when describing what another scientists has said.

  62. Curious George says:

    “If they’re using the wrong latent heat values then it will be the wrong amount of energy, but it would still be conserved.” Absolutely correct. But AGW is not about a violation of a conservation of energy; it is about energy flows: greenhouse gases decrease the energy radiated into space, thus forcing a temperature increase to compensate. The question is how much. The temperature of Earth is approximately 300K, a change of 3K is of the order of 1%. A 2.5% error in an energy flow between oceans and the atmosphere looks huge in this context.

  63. Curious,
    Can you clarify what the 2.5% is. I understood you to be suggesting that the latent heat values were wrong by about 2.5%. What would seem to be important then is how significant convective energy transport is. If the latent heat values are wrong by 2.5% in some regions, then that would imply we’re either using too much or too little energy when water evaporates. The other implication is that it’s either over-estimating or under-estimating the amount of water vapour. Given that energy is transported via conduction, convection and radiation, it seems highly unlikely that a 2.5% error in the latent heat values in some regions would have a significant effect on the resulting surface temperatures.

    I’ll also echo what Victor was saying (or at least what I think he was). In any complex model there will be approximations and simplifications. Hence, one can always find an “error” in a model. The important thing is not the existence of the error, it’s the implication of the error. My personal view is that a 2.5% error in the latent heat values in one region of a simulation is unlikely to have a big impact on the overall result. I could be wrong, but I would need more than simply pointing out this “error” to convince me that the implications are significant.

  64. BBD says:

    One claimed “error” in one model and everything we know about sensitivity is invalidated? Gosh, wow.

  65. guthrie says:

    I disagree with ATTP re. Victor’s definition of anti-science, perhaps because I was involved in the creation wars first. There it is entirely to be expected that someone qualified and even professionally employed as a scientist will spout anti-science nonsense, claiming that the earth is only 6,000 years old or that evolution is wrong and so on. Even one of my chemistry profs was a YEC!
    So we have clear evidence that scientists can compartmentalise their ideas and knowledge in order to make statements which are clearly anti-scientific. Whether Judith Curry has this time I haven’t looked into, but I am pretty sure that some of her previous statements border on it, and those of the likes of Watts and his merry followers certainly are.

  66. BBD,
    Yes, thanks. That’s why I also included the link to the Comment that I think addresses some of these issues.

  67. Guthrie,
    Sure, you and Victor are making valid points.

    Whether Judith Curry has this time I haven’t looked into, but I am pretty sure that some of her previous statements border on it, and those of the likes of Watts and his merry followers certainly are.

    This is the issue I’m skirting. I’m trying hard to avoid making any claims with respect to Judith Curry’s intent. So, there are certainly people who make statements that are anti-science. Whether or not that’s relevant here and is a term that was appropriate, I don’t know. I’d rather, for the moment at least, just discuss the science and whether or not I agree with what Judith presented.

  68. BBD says:

    ATTP

    That’s why I also included the link to the Comment

    Oops, so you did. Sorry.

  69. Pingback: Some comments on Judith Curry’s EPW testimony | And Then There's Physics

  70. Curious George says:

    andthentheresphysics says: “energy is transported via conduction, convection and radiation.” How about evaporation? Nitpicking aside, I fully agree with the rest of your comment. Yes, in any complex model there will be approximations and simplifications. To quote myself, “I know that today’s computing technology is barely adequate to model a severely simplified climate. What I am against is to take that extremely simplified model seriously enough to worry about emperor penguins. NCAR should worry about a quality of their models and an accuracy of model results.”

  71. Curious,

    What I am against is to take that extremely simplified model seriously enough to worry about emperor penguins. NCAR should worry about a quality of their models and an accuracy of model results.”

    I would dispute that all GCMs are extremely simplified (simplifications isn’t the same as simplified) but what you say is a policy choice. You’re quite entitled to hold that view – obviously. I would add, however, that projections/predictions of our future warming are not based only on GCMs. So, basing your policy view mainly on GCMs would seem to be ignoring a lot of other relevant information.

  72. jpcowdrey says:

    Joshua,
    From the beginnings of her strange career to, at best passively, habilitate the opinions of a broad range of cranks, Curry has shown a remarkable ability to deflect, without due consideration, any criticisms that, if rationally considered, might make her opinions moot. E.g., the Italian flag imbroglio. Such intentional avoidance allows many people to maintain sincerity in what are factually untenable opinions.

  73. dana1981 says:

    This discussion reminds me of what ensued after I wrote a poorly-worded Tweet that dealt with comments made by Pielke Jr. about extreme weather, including in congressional testimony. All anyone wanted to talk about was the wording of my Tweet, and nobody cared that I was correct that Pielke Jr. had made factually inaccurate statements about extreme weather.

    Whether Curry’s comments are “anti-science” is irrelevant. The important point is that she made comments in her testimony that are scientifically wrong (most importantly, claiming that AR5 decreases our confidence in AGW).

    Given that Curry has issued a challenge to show where her testimony is wrong, I’ve moved my post on the subject up the schedule to tomorrow (Monday).

  74. Joshua says:

    jpcowdrey –

    I certainly agree about Judith’s failure to address serious criticism. I don’t think that means that her sincerity can be questioned – but it certainly shows that she’s not particularly open to examining her own biases.

  75. AnOilMan says:

    Joshua says:
    “January 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    OilMan –

    “Curry is not ignorant… I put her in the intentionally incorrect category.”

    FWIW (if I understand what you mean correctly), I think that is no more plausible than saying that she is against science or that she is ignorant. Do you think that Judith does not believe the opinions that she states to be true?”
    That is correct. Its takes some pretty motivated reasoning to the exclusion of and blinders on for other data.

    I read one of her opinion pieces and was astounded… I think she’s have to be stupid.. or…
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/baked-curry-the-best-way-to-hide-the-incline.html

  76. David L. Hagen says:

    andthentheresphysics
    You refer to any GCM paper supporting higher sensitivity. See Roy Spencer’s showing the actual temperature evidence against 90 GCM models.

    As seen in the following graphic, over the period of the satellite record (1979-2012), both the surface and satellite observations produce linear temperature trends which are below 87 of the 90 climate models used in the comparison.

    When 87 of 90 climate model predictions over 30 years are greater than evidence, that is an amazing example of very high Type B error (aka systematic error, aka the lemming factor etc.), NOT evidence for higher climate sensitivity. See NIST TN1297 Guidelines for Evaluating and Expressing the Uncertainty of NIST Measurement Results etc.

    marco
    Spencer shows the actual data over 30 years and all 90 climate model 30 year projections. The evidence is OBVIOUSLY BELOW 87 of 90 model projections. See above. On ENSO, he apparently chose the “30 years = climate” argument. Adding 4 years to the beginning of the satellite era at 1979 will make very little difference to the very obvious results that GCMs currently cannot predict 30 years temperature trends in any shape form or fashion. Let alone 100 years!

  77. David,
    The point Marco was trying to make was how did Spencer baseline his models. 1983 was a warm year, hence if the models have averaged out some of the variability they should have been set a few tenths of a degree lower and the mismatch would not appear that severe. Also, why does Spencer include the UAH data? Either the models are for the surface or the troposphere. They can’t be both. What emission pathway did the models have? If that doesn’t match what actually happened, then the models wouldn’t match reality.

    The point is that there are many reasons for the potential mismatch. Simply showing the model runs with the data without explaining the model assumptions doesn’t really prove anything.

  78. Dana,

    This discussion reminds me of what ensued after I wrote a poorly-worded Tweet that dealt with comments made by Pielke Jr. about extreme weather, including in congressional testimony.

    Yes, I think that resulted in one of my most read posts.

    Given that Curry has issued a challenge to show where her testimony is wrong, I’ve moved my post on the subject up the schedule to tomorrow (Monday).

    I look forward to it.

  79. dana1981 says:

    “Skeptics” should be a lot more skeptical of the stuff Spencer and Christy put out. In addition to the problems pointed out by ATTP and Marco, there’s also the fact that as Cowtan & Way (2013) showed, HadCRUT4 has a cool bias. Did Spencer account for this by comparing the observational data to masked model runs? He doesn’t say, but I doubt it.

    This is why science isn’t done by blog post. All we have is a plot from Spencer and his assurance that 97% of the models are warming faster than the observations. He doesn’t provide sufficient details for us to verify that he’s done the analysis properly, and he has a history of being sloppy with this sort of analysis.

  80. John Mashey says:

    Part 1 of 2
    I offer a few snippets from p.7 of Crescendo to Climategate Cacophony(2010)
    Science

    ‘Science
    Real science starts with research, followed by peer-reviewed publication in credible places, and most crucially via repeated evaluation by field researchers. … at any point in time, scientists maintain differing degrees of certainty that change with evidence:
    ―I have approximate answers, and possible beliefs, and different degrees of certainty about different things.‖ – Richard Feynman’
    (Since is what people like Mann and Dessler do. Scientists argue all the time, and a primary job of science is to reduce uncertainty limits, sometimes to help decide among competing hypotheses.)

    ‘Pseudoscience
    When ideas are repeatedly examined, often explicitly refuted, but originators persist in the face of a strong imbalance of evidence, at some point it becomes pseudoscience, an attempt to convince scientists to adopt ideas for which the balance of evidence is strongly adverse.’
    (See PRiP for example, including discussion of dog astrology.

    ‘Science-noise
    In communicating new results to the public, the end-to-end process easily over-interprets results, loses caveats, or creates outright errors, as often happens in space-constrained newspaper headlines. This might be called science-noise,…’

    ‘Anti-science
    Agnotology was coined by Stanford‘s Robert N. Proctor [PRO2008] to describe the deliberate production of ignorance and doubt. When applied to scientific topics, it might be called anti-science, employed especially when research results threaten strong economic or ideological interests. It is rarely intended to convince field professionals, but to confuse the public and especially decision-makers in government and business.’

    Try pp.7-10 for more discussion, including context of flow, because anti-science memes are often repeated by people who do not know any better. See the fog graph on p.8.

  81. John Mashey says:

    Part 2 of 2
    To calibrate Dr. Curry’s viewpoint, try this comment, once at Collide-a-Scape a few years ago, back when she started into current views.
    To summarize: Deep Climate found plagiarism in the Wegman Report, a small fraction of what came out later. Curry called that “reprehensible” several times, defended Wegman strongly, made numerous erroneous statements that showed she knew little about the whole subject, which she then essentially admitted … but did not apologize to DC, but instead ruled the topic no longer discussable. About the only comment I’d changed is that we no0w know for certain that Wegman used the McIntyre&McKitrick 2005 talk for Washington thinktanks as the key input for the Wegman Report. Hopefully, this is done, but if someone wants the latest summation, see FOIA Facts series.

    Finally, regarding uncertainty, see Her GA Tech Web page, whose links include Climate, Etc and one to CFAN, the off-campus company run by her and her husband Peter Webster:
    ‘Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN) is a true pioneer in applying the latest weather and climate research to decision-oriented solutions. CFAN’s expertise is built upon a world class research team with extensive experience studying and forecasting weather and climate around the globe. ‘

    There is nothing wrong with professors having off-campus businesses, assuming they follow university rules on Conflict of Interest (as Dr Salby did not, and there is an amusing connection here, since Peter Webster was the Dept Head Salby was fighting with at one point.) I know many who do (we live bike range from Stanford), so I absolutely am not implying any COI problem here. However, it is a bit curious that Curry has spent 3+ years denigrating mainstream science and emphasizing uncertainty, given the nature of her business:

    This page is of interest:
    ‘CFAN’s innovative OmniCast suite of weather and climate forecast products for the energy sector incorporates the latest research in weather and climate dynamics, prediction and predictability, extreme weather events and their impacts, and decision support tools.’

    There is some interesting timing, on that page under Omnicast history.
    ‘OmniCast was developed by CFAN in response to the needs of a major client in the petroleum industry for extended range, better-than-market weather forecasts to support energy trading, sales and marketing. After the catastrophic 2004/2005 Atlantic hurricane seasons, the client perceived a strong advantage to having an exclusive, extended-range tropical cyclone forecast product to anticipate disruptions to energy supply and their impact on energy markets, and to anticipate disruptions to drilling, refining, and transport activities.’

    ‘’Beginning in 2012, CFAN’s OmniCast forecast products are no longer exclusive to our original client in the petroleum industry, but are being marketed to the energy sector through a license agreement with Earth Networks.’

    Now, that can mean that they convinced the original client that broader use would be better for them … or that that client was spending less. I have no idea.

  82. > So maybe you have a point (if I understand it, that is).

    Of course I do, and of course you do.

    I can extend this point and say that words like “anti-science” is a label that serves to stigmatize. This can’t be good, even if true. Too much energy will be spent on a label.

    Instead of extending my point, I could simply +1 most of what Joshua said.

    ***

    > I did wonder where you’d gone.

    Sometimes, I’m busy:

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/13113429665

    Some other times, I’m a bit bored by petty identity politics.

    At least sometimes.

  83. John,
    That’s fascinating, thanks. I don’t think I’d come across your book before. I shall have to read more of it. This struck me, though,

    Many scientists are unused to dealing with such tactics, since most scientific fields face no organized anti-science.

    I’m still amazed by some of what goes on and some of what is said.

  84. Barry Woods says:

    Michael Mann is of course totally, totally unaware of how the phrase ‘anti-science’ is used in public debate in the USA….. sorry, I don’t buy it, he got called out on his usual rhetoric, this time against another scientist, and is just backtracking. imho.

  85. Barry,
    You may have a point. I don’t really want to second guess other people’s intentions (Mann or Curry). My personal view is that dialogue is largely impossible (not completely, but by and large). There are then two possible ways (that I can think of) of engaging. One is simply to present information as clearly and honestly as you can, and try to maintain some semblance of civility in the hope that some who are undecided might consider what you say as having merit. The other way is to regard this as a conflict (as it almost certainly is) and to go on the attack. My preference would be the former, but I’m no expert at how best to engage in this topic. Given the attacks that Mann has faced over the years, it may be that he has decided on something closer to the latter (I don’t know that he has, though). If that is what he’s decided, I don’t really blame him.

  86. OPatrick says:

    Barry, were you aware of the rhetoric that David Whitehouse used when you gave him as an example of someone who had been attacked unfjustifiably for discussing ‘the pause’?

    Personally I think Michael Mann was wrong in that Judith Curry is guilty of throwing anti-science chum, as opposed to being directly anti-science. This makes her more culpable in my view, not less.

  87. John Mashey says:

    From CCC (2010):
    p.1:
    ‘Climate science has produced increasingly-stronger scientific results intentionally obscured by an increasingly-noisy anti-science PR campaign. This has surged in a long crescendo from 1990 to the cacophony of ―Climategate,’

    ‘A tight network of organizations and individuals funded and executed the long campaign. They used well-honed tactics pioneered by tobacco companies, but to obscure the dangers of second-hand smoke, acid rain, chlorofluorocarbons and greenhouse gas emissions.’

    p.8
    ‘Science Bypass Tactics
    It is difficult to understand the anti-science machine in the USA without learning about tobacco tactics. The general approach was created by Hill and Knowlton in 1954 for the tobacco companies.’ One summary of the playbook:
    ‘ The evidence is still inconclusive.
    Something other than smoking may be responsible.
    Statistical evidence can‘t be trusted.
    It‘s all a scare campaign.
    The issue is too complicated, even for scientists.
    Nit-picking at irrelevant details.
    More research is necessary.’

    (A more detailed version, derived from Bob Proctor’s Golden Holocaust, is on p.13 of PDF @ Fake science…. I took his 14-poinjht version and edited it to fit climate anti-science.

    p.10
    Figure 2.1 Anti-Science Flow of Money and Memes

    p.15
    ‘Overall Chronology’ (starts ~1990, with George Marshall Institute + Fred Singer, the 4 *physicists* who were the focus of Oreskes and Conway (2010) Merchants of Doubt.

    p.49-
    Advocacy organizations (especially thinktanks)
    We have a horde of these in US, acting ~DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service)< although many happen to be located within a few blocks of Washington, DC’s K-streetK (lobbyist central). By comparison, the UK is lacking, although the GWPF is certainly well-connected with them, as found in FOIA Facts 5 – Finds Friends of GWPF.

    ===
    Uncertainty
    Much work in science is identifying uncertainty, quantifying it and trying to shrink it, so we can make progress. Steve Schneider argued long and passionately for incorporating such into IPCC reports, and for effort effort to explain it to broader audiences. That’s science.

    When scientists (such as James Annan) argue over climate sensitivity, that’s science. When people do meta-studies of the ranges of climate-sensitivities, that’s science. When ~20 people gather @ AGU 2012 in an all-morning session on uncertainty, we hardly agreed, but that was science.

    Talking about uncertainty monsters is not,

  88. AnOilMan says:

    To understand Curry… you just need to understand her paycheck;
    http://www.desmogblog.com/judith-curry-was-me-she-was-against-me

  89. Joshua says:

    AOM-

    Thanks for that link. Fascinating.

  90. AnOilMan says:

    Joshua, I hope that helps clarify my position on Curry and what I think those so called ‘think tanks’ are up to.

    dana1981: Here’s a great video on Christy’s paper;

  91. Dana,
    Yes, I read your article today. Very good. I hadn’t seen Eli’s, so thanks for the link.

  92. deminthon says:

    “doesn’t really help the debate”

    It may not help the *science*, but when it comes to the *debate*, which is almost entirely a sociological phenomenon, discussion of intent is essential.

  93. Pingback: Judith Curry’s Testimony: Where There’s Smoke… | Climate Denial Crock of the Week

  94. deminthon says:

    ” But using anti would normally imply that the person is openly against something”

    She is openly against something — she’s openly against the scientific consensus/standard model, and she’s specifically openly against many of Mann’s claims. One could argue that she is thereby only anti- some science and not the whole scientific enterprise or the practice of science, but I think some of her blog posts veer in that direction. And there is the problem that she has fully entered the public policy arena and largely abandoned doing science,while championing Tamsin Edwards’s view that scientists shouldn’t be policy advocates.

    “attempts to modify the climate through reducing CO2 emissions may turn out to be futile. The stagnation in greenhouse warming observed over the past 15+ years demonstrates that CO2 is not a control knob on climate variability on decadal time scales”

    If this statement by Curry is not anti- well-established science, then how are we to take it? If Curry knows the effect of increases of CO2 on multi-decadal time scales, then how can this not be *intentionally* deceptive? If Curry knows that the so-called “stagnation” (which we now have good reason to think is due to the sparseness of Arctic measurements) cannot overturn greenhouse gas physics, then how is the claim of a “demonstration” not *intentionally* deceptive? If Curry knows that the effects of concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere can take longer than a decade, then how can her claim of the futility of reducing CO2 emissions not be *intentionally* deceptive? What’s the alternative to intentional deception? If someone points to Curry’s testimony and her credentials — as many people are doing — how are we to explain it? That she doesn’t know the basics of her field? That she’s suffering from dementia? Or … something more plausible, and consistent with sociologial findings about those who are anti- the scientific consensus?

  95. deminthon says:

    “But using anti would normally imply that the person is openly against something, and so it could easily be interpreted as implying intent and – in this debate – giving rhetorical ammunition to those with whom you disagree would seem like something to avoid. ”

    Not NEARLY as much rhetorical ammunition as Judith Curry has provided with her testimony. I think this worry about providing rhetorical ammunition is seriously offbase, and plays into the hands of the opposition by adopting their own rhetoric … they like to claim that it’s largely *our* fault that they are “skeptical”, and people like Curry and Tamsin Edwards have played an unfortunate role in reinforcing that claim.

  96. deminthon says:

    “A better response would have been to write that the original formulation was wrong and that it would have been more appropriate to assume that Curry is ignorant.”

    Please keep in mind that this was a tweet. A discussion can go seriously awry when such essential facts are forgotten.

  97. deminthon says:

    “Barry, You may have a point.”

    This is where failure to consider intent can lead one astray. Barry’s comments are predictable and entirely consistent with where he stands in the “debate”, and are not supported by any evidence, fact, or reason. The simple truth is that Mann posted a *tweet*, which is limited to 140 characters, identifying Dressler’s testimony as “science” — that is, consistent with scientific fact, evidence, theory, practice, reasoning, and literature — and identifying Curry’s testimony as “antiscience” — that is, contrary to scientific fact, evidence, theory, practice, reasoning, and literature. When accused of accusing Curry of lying, which he clearly didn’t, he tweeted

    “Good, but wrong on crucial point: “Antiscience” doesn’t imply intent, but ignorance.”

    as discussed here, but immediately clarified further with his next tweet:

    “I grant benefit of the doubt, i.e assume ignorance before intent. I’ll leave others to decide themselves wrt”

    as never mentioned here. In light of this, much of the discussion here is silly. Mann did not assert either intent or ignorance in his original tweet, he only asserted anti-science — which Curry’s testimony clearly was, as it was wrong on the science, misstated the science, misrepresented the science, contradicted the science (even her own peer-reviewed findings on Antarctic sea ice), was argued unscientifically, and was generally either scientifically inept or dishonest. One can debate at length whether this was a result of stupidity or other cognitive failing, ignorance or other forms of professional ineptness, intent, or “motivated reasoning” (which entails intellectual dishonesty, which reflects intent at a deeper level), or some combination of them … but in the context of a 140 character tweet, the contrast between Dressler’s testimony as scientific and Curry’s testimony as unscientific and hostile to or contradictory to the existing climate science really cannot be denied without engaging in the same sort of failures.

  98. deminthon,

    It may not help the *science*, but when it comes to the *debate*, which is almost entirely a sociological phenomenon, discussion of intent is essential.

    You may indeed be right. This is one aspect of the whole topic that I’m still unsure about. It’s fairly clear that dialogue is impossible. Is it best then to stick with trying to present the science clearly and honestly and hope that those who are undecided find your presentations more convincing than those who are presenting poor science. Or, do you go on the attack and accuse others of intentionally misleading the public wrt science. I don’t know the answer and maybe both styles have a place.

    Please keep in mind that this was a tweet. A discussion can go seriously awry when such essential facts are forgotten.

    Yes, far too much is made of the words used in something limited to 140 characters.

    This is where failure to consider intent can lead one astray. Barry’s comments are predictable and entirely consistent with where he stands in the “debate”, and are not supported by any evidence, fact, or reason.

    Yes, you may be right but at least I can still talk to Barry without wanting to hurl my laptop across the room after a few minutes/seconds.

  99. deminthon says:

    Thanks for your responses. My apologies to Andrew Dessler for repeatedly misspelling his name.

  100. Pingback: Farina di Curry – Ocasapiens - Blog - Repubblica.it

  101. deminthon says:

    Here’s an important and comprehensive piece on Curry:

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2010/11/11/207018/judith-curry-climate-science/

    At this point I think at best one can say is that she’s unintentionally dishonest …

  102. Pingback: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2017/03/24/house-science-committee-to-hold-climate-change-hearing-from-which-well-learn-nothing/?utm_term=.3dd232bc8ad5 | Bruce's Blog

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