There is no tribe!

David Rose has a new article about Judith Curry called I was tossed out of the tribe. Well, here’s problem number one. There is no tribe. If you’re a scientist/researcher, then you should be aiming to do research that is honest and objective, the results of which should not depend on who you regard as being your contemporaries. If you think there’s some kind of tribe to which you need to belong, then you’re doing it wrong.

Apparently, also, Judith Curry’s record of peer-reviewed publication in the best climate-science journals is second to none. Sorry, but this is simply not true. It’s pretty decent, but it’s not second to none. The article also says: Warming alarmists are fond of proclaiming how 97 per cent of scientists agree that the world is getting hotter, and human beings are to blame. Ignoring the term Warming alarmists, the reason people say this is because it is essentially true.

Judith Curry apparently also says

‘…..A sensitivity of 2.5˚C makes it much less likely we will see 2˚C warming during the 21st century. There are so many uncertainties, but the policy people say the target is fixed. And if you question this, you will be slagged off as a denier.’

Firstly, a sensitivity (ECS, I assume) of 2.5oC does not make it much less likely that we will see 2oC during the 21st century. Not only do the ranges of projected warming already include the possibility that the sensitivity might be 2.5oC, but what we will see depends largely on how much we emit. Also, the target is fixed in the sense that it is defined according to giving us some chance of keeping warming below 2oC; normally a 66% chance. It already includes the uncertainty about climate sensitivity and uncertainty about carbon cycle feedbacks. Maybe when Judith questions this, she gets slagged off for apearing to not understand this basic concept; something a scientist with a record that is apparently second to none should be able to understand.

Judith Curry also added that

her own work, conducted with the British independent scientist Nic Lewis, suggests that the sensitivity value may still lower, in which case the date when the world would be 2˚C warmer would be even further into the future.

Well, yes, but there are many reasons why their ECS estimate is probably too low. Just because you’re proud of your own work, doesn’t mean you get to dismiss everything else. That climate sensitivity could be lower than we currently think is likely, does not mean that it probably will be.

There are numerous other examples of nonsense, such as

Meanwhile, the obsessive focus on CO2 as the driver of climate change means other research on natural climate variability is being neglected.

No, it’s not.


solar experts believe we could be heading towards a ‘grand solar minimum’ — a reduction in solar output (and, ergo, a period of global cooling) similar to that which once saw ice fairs on the Thames. ‘The work to establish the solar-climate connection is lagging.’

Firstly, there isn’t some lag in work on the solar-climate connection, and the solar experts were rather clueless about climate.

The article finishes with

She remains optimistic that science will recover its equilibrium, and that the quasi-McCarthyite tide will recede:

Rather than it receding, Judith Curry appears to be helping it to start.

So, as far as I can tell, Judith Curry gets criticised because she says things that – for a senior scientist who has a record that is apparently second to none – are embarassingly wrong. She also appears to have ejected herself from a tribe that only exists in her imagination. Good thing there are credulous journalists, like David Rose, who are willing to write supportive articles.

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142 Responses to There is no tribe!

  1. Lars Karlsson says:

    I think you are far too kind when you call Rose “credulous”.

  2. Lars,
    Maybe I’m using the wrong term 🙂

  3. Lars Karlsson says:

    Actually, that Curry has become serial misrepresenter Rose’s “go-to scientist” is just as damning as anything she has said herself.

  4. Let’s show my age. A tribe called quest.

    You are part of the tribe if you join the quest for scientific understanding.

  5. Lars,
    Indeed, that pretty much sums it up.

  6. dana1981 says:

    Well said, ATTP.
    And the proper description for Rose is ‘propagandist’, which probably makes Curry a tool for propaganda.

  7. Ethan Allen says:

    [Mod: It probably doesn’t need saying.]

  8. Hans Erren says:

    With a relaxation time of centuries ECS does not matter.
    At all.

  9. Hans,
    Really, not at all! You seem very certain. Both ECS and TCR are really model metrics. What really matters – in this context – is how much we’re likely to warm. In some sense whether it is something like TCR, or something like ECS, probably depends on whether we get emissions to zero, or just to something quite low.

  10. Ethan Allen says:

    Origin of the original image?
    “Handling the Heat”

    Melissa Bugg “OK, we need some pictures of you in a defiant pose” (I made that sentence up)

  11. verytallguy says:

    Curry seems to be turning into a case study in cognitive dissonance. 

    In rapid succession,  a post bemoaning ideology in science,  followed by an interview in an avowedly ideological magazine. 

    That interview lambasting witch hunts,  yet curry writes on her blog of her support for Lamar smith’s witch hunt.

    Her ability to hold mutually contradictory positions is breathtaking. 

  12. Her ability to hold mutually contradictory positions is breathtaking.

    In that resect Judith may be second to none.

  13. Ethan Allen says:

    RE: cognitive dissonance …

    ” … she says she recognized that climate scientists needed to work quickly to regain the public trust.”

    So Curry started a blog to do the exact opposite.

    “What bothered me the most was how climate researchers looked to the public, especially to educated and technical people,” Curry says of posting the messages. “They expect higher standards.”

    So Curry needed an audience of dumb DK Deniers to infest her blog.

    “Needless to say, Curry lost her place in the IPCC clique.”

    Translation? “clique” means “tribe”

    “While scientists shouldn’t be afraid to engage with the public or policymakers, Curry says the climate debate reveals the downside of scientists becoming too involved in politics.”

    Or the upside of Curry casting doubt on the science and becoming too involved in politics.

    I’m sorry, but I can’t stomach it anymore after seeing this …

  14. Ethan Allen says:

    Well I’m back …

    “Instead, she is trying to bring together the polarized sides of climate debate and return scientists’ focus to thorough research.”

    “trying to bring together” now that’s worked out s-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o well for Judith over these past five years.

    “I’ve gotten caught up in lots of little blogospheric tempests,” she says of her online forays. “I think the blogosphere can be potentially very important, but most scientists don’t like to do it because it can be blood sport.”

    Judith loves blood sport, see for example Lamar Smith versus NOAA.

    “One of the great frustrations over climate change is that it seems there would be consensus. Is the climate warming or not? Are humans causing it? Don’t the scientists have a conclusive answer?”

    Judith got left out again?

    “The question then naturally arises. What is Judith Curry sure about? …
    “Climate always changes,” she says.”

    James Inhofe put that one in a bill even, nope not political at all.

  15. anoilman says:

    Perhaps Judith could have said, “I chose to hang out with people who are wrong and unpopular” ?

  16. Magma says:

    “Her record of peer-reviewed publication in the best climate-science journals is second to none”

    But third or fourth to many.

  17. Magma says:

    @ Willard, I don’t know. Curry is implying that she is being blackballed for calling for accountability and engaging with skeptics, and that standing up for science and doing the right thing would end the career of a young scientist. I don’t think that claim merits an entirely polite response.

    ‘I started saying that scientists should be more accountable, and I began to engage with sceptic bloggers. I thought that would calm the waters. Instead I was tossed out of the tribe. There’s no way I would have done this if I hadn’t been a tenured professor, fairly near the end of my career. If I were seeking a new job in the US academy, I’d be pretty much unemployable. I can still publish in the peer-reviewed journals. But there’s no way I could get a government research grant to do the research I want to do. Since then, I’ve stopped judging my career by these metrics. I’m doing what I do to stand up for science and to do the right thing.’

  18. Willard says:

    > @ Willard, I don’t know

    Here’s one thing you and everybody should know, Magma: whatever Judy may do or say, it does not make anybody not stay classy. I understand this is the Internet, and the Internet is the Land of the Snark. As long as it’s classy, anything goes.

    I’d be the last ClimateBall ™ player to raise concern about snark anyway. Snark can become pedagogical if it contains other things than pure ad homs. Information, for instance. Links, citations, quotes, references, that kind of thing.

    The bottom line is that this is AT’s venue. Moderation wastes time, his time actually. Time he could use to write other blog posts.

    The Internet approximates an eternal process. Any rant runs the risk to remain forever in our collective memories. Let’s try to make sure what could remain forever stays classy.

  19. Ethan Allen says:

    “Be sure to link to the article, there is an astonishing cartoon.”

    Which does look a heck of a lot like her pose for the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine I linked to above. AFAIK, her website doesn’t even acknowledge the GTAM article. Short memory perhaps.

    “It is indeed a travesty that climate science has become so politicized and that a large majority of the scientists visible in the public debate on climate change are partisans.”

    Really? I would never have known that, except that she seems to have not noticed how ironic that statement is. Judith can’t possibly be partisan, what would possibly ever give someone else such an idea that she was partisan? Her blog and other public statements can’t possibly be partisan. Why? Because..

    “For the sake of science, not to mention the policies that are being driven by the science, we need to open up the debate on the causes of the warming and scenarios of climate change for the 21st century.”

    Open up the DEBATE? Wait a minute, I thought this was all about “saving” science from the scientists, oh, I see, Judith thinks all the scientists have been looking at the wrong things, like, for example, atmospheric CO2/CH4/NO2/CFC’s. It’s not like LBJ got a science report back in 1965 related to potential/hypothetical long term consequences of continued use of FF and the emissions of GHG’s. Nope that never happened. We’ve wasted 50 years on this “politically” motivated science, we need to get back to “real” science.

  20. anoilman says:

    It sounds like a ‘poor me, may attention to me’ cop out. Whatever.

    I don’t see what she’s concerned about at all. She can easily drop her tenure and get another job, hands down. No problem. Perhaps she’s just not used to the job market. There are plenty of institutions that will hire her.

    The only thing that might be a concern is that reputable people in the field probably won’t want to work with her. I mean she hangs with the guys slinging poop at them. Would you wanna collaborate with that? I wouldn’t. That comes with the territory. (Profs are catty enough to work with.)

    In any case there is all that extra cash she earns from oil and gas. Newbs apparently can’t earn that moola on the side. I mean how would they possibly compete with the weather services that offer the exact same data and understanding? Yeah. Hard to do.

    In any case, I’ve been reading Storm World which is a book she has endorsed.

  21. Canman says:

    If you guys are not a tribe, then what are you? A clique, a mob, a religion, a cult, a form of mass psychosis? A team?

  22. Marco says:

    Canman, I am afraid you are projecting your own line of thinking onto others. You apparently feel the need to put people in particular boxes and name that box, so you can distance yourself from that box and proclaim it a “tribe, clique, mob, religion, cult, mass psychosis, team”, etc.

    In other words, your comment says so much more about yourself than about others…

  23. Marco says:

    “record of peer-reviewed publication in the best climate-science journals is second to none”

    Uhm…to the best of my knowledge Kevin Trenberth puts her record to shame (among others – I am sure also Pielke Sr has a better publication record in climate-science journals).

  24. Marco said what I was going to say. Just because some people will choose to defend some reearch does not mean there is a tribe/team/cabal/….

  25. Actually, that comment thread on the climateaudit post to which Canman links is quite interesting; especially the exchange between SoD and Judith Curry.

  26. BBD says:


    How you find the time to read the comments I do not know, but that was indeed an interesting exchange between JC and SoD. Thanks for the nod.

    SoD to JC:

    your false claims obviously are part of the cause of this “unnecessary conflict”.

    Exactly my point to Kestrel on the previous thread.

  27. verytallguy says:

    Channeling Willard’s call for chilling and links.

    Judith’s claim that she was “tossed out of the tribe” should be compared to the alternative hypothesis that she decided to exclude herself from rational scientific debate. There are far too many examples to cite them all, but here are a few choice ones.

    Canman gives us a good start above.

    Then we could move on to her labelling of colleagues as “high priests”

    We can observe her characterisation of her opponents as “the equivalent of racists and anti semites”

    Then her promotion and subsequent defence in the comments of unscientific crank theories.

    There’s an inexhaustible supply of similar.

    Tossed or jumped? Seems pretty clear to me.

  28. BBD,
    The Realclimate post is also a classic. In particular, this exchange between Gavin and Judith.

  29. “there is no tribe”
    Wotts disagrees with decades of research into the sociology of science.

  30. BBD says:

    In particular, this exchange between Gavin and Judith.

    I remember that 😉

    Zap! Smell the ozone.

  31. Richard,

    Wotts disagrees with decades of research into the sociology of science.

    Richard misses the point again. What a surprise.

  32. Lars Karlsson says:

    Let’s not forget an earlier example of “anthropogenic CO2-scepticism”:

    I just finished listening to Murry Salby’s podcast on Climate Change and Carbon. Wow.
    JC comments: If Salby’s analysis holds up, this could revolutionize AGW science. Salby and I were both at the University of Colorado-Boulder in the 1990’s, but I don’t know him well personally. He is the author of a popular introductory graduate text Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics. He is an excellent lecturer and teacher, which comes across in his podcast. He has the reputation of a thorough and careful researcher. While all this is frustratingly preliminary without publication, slides, etc., it is sufficiently important that we should start talking about these issues. I’ll close with this text from Bolt’s article:

    He said he had an “involuntary gag reflex” whenever someone said the “science was settled”.

    “Anyone who thinks the science of this complex thing is settled is in Fantasia.”

  33. BBD says:

    Morning Richard

    Wotts disagrees with decades of research into the sociology of science.

    Physical climatology isn’t tribal. Right-wing politics is.

  34. Right-wing politics is.

    Indeed. I assume this is why Richard is reluctant to criticise Matt Ridley whenever he incorrectly quotes Tol’s now corrected meta analysis. Maybe he’s afraid of being ejected from the GWPF tribe?

  35. @BBD
    We’re not tribal! The other guys are!

  36. Richard,
    Well, you seem to think it exists somewhere, so presumably that’s your experience. Far be it for me to comment on the standard practice in the social sciences.

  37. verytallguy says:

    “Tol’s law of blogs ”

    “Any thread with Richard as a contribututor inevitably ends with Richard as the subject”

    Could I suggest that now would be a good opportunity to prove this wrong. By not responding? Please?

  38. vtg,
    Yes, fair point. A good suggestion.

  39. dikranmarsupial says:

    I think perhaps some sociologists don’t understand science. In statistics, you could argue that there are two “tribes”: the Bayesians and the wrong-headedfrequentists. This means that there are statisticians who have different ideas on how statistical inference is best performed. However that doesn’t mean that either side is departing in any way from ATTPs comment:

    If you’re a scientist/researcher, then you should be aiming to do research that is honest and objective, the results of which should not depend on who you regard as being your contemporaries.

    Most statisticians have a preference for one school or the other, but most have a good grasp of both. Of course that doesn’t mean there isn’t some banter, but I don’t think many statisticians take it that seriously, at the end of the day what matters is the strength of the argument.

    The idea that you need to belong to the mainstream to get on is also nonsense, the majority of scientists want to be iconoclasts and cause some (perhaps minor) paradigm shift in their field and so have impact. You don’t get that by just agreeing with your mainstream chums. Sadly most of those that think they have something paradigm shifting actually don’t. Sadly if they can’t see the flaw in their argument, end up marginalizing themselves by not listening, rather than by their arguments. A really good way of not listening is to dismiss criticism as the result of tribalism.

    Anyway, I have a paradigm that needs shifting so I’d better get back to it. ;o)

  40. Sadly most of those that think they have something paradigm shifting actually don’t.

    Indeed, and a potential indicator of this is complaining about being thrown out of the tribe.

  41. Paul S says:

    “Needless to say, Curry lost her place in the IPCC clique.”

    I recall she said a few years ago that she was offered the chance to be an author on AR5, essentially because of her perceived contrary views, but she turned it down. She wasn’t involved in AR4 so it seems she may have actually increased her chances of being in the “IPCC clique” through her actions.

  42. Ken Fabian says:

    “…solar experts believe we could be heading towards a ‘grand solar minimum’ — a reduction in solar output (and, ergo, a period of global cooling)”

    If there is a period of global cooling isn’t it far more likely as a consequence of a shutdown of the Gulf Stream/AMOC, which would be a consequence of increased inflows to the North Atlantic of fresh water from ice melt and increased rainfall, in turn as a consequence of a warming climate?

  43. Ken,
    I’m not even convinced that that would lead to global cooling. It might lead to cooling in parts of North America and parts of Western Europe. I think the only way it could lead to global cooling would be if it produced an expansion of the NH ice sheets, and I suspect that that is implausible if CO2 is above 400ppm.

  44. Willard says:

    If RichardT can find examples of sociologists of science who use “tribe” in a neutral manner, that would be nice. Meanwhile:

    “Tribe” is a contested term due to its roots in colonialism. The word has no shared referent, whether in political form, kinship relations or shared culture. Some argue that it conveys a negative connotation of a timeless unchanging past. To avoid these implications, some have chosen to use the terms “ethnic group”, or nation instead.

    Are scientists an ethnic group or a nation?

  45. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says:

    ‘Also, the target is fixed in the sense that it is defined according to giving us some chance of keeping warming below 2oC; normally a 66% chance’

    Sensitivity estimates don’t usually quote the 33-67 interval so that’s a pretty unintuitive/confusing way to look at the issue, especially when they do quote the figures for 50% probability and 5-95 intervals (and sometimes also the 10-90 or 17-83 intervals). And now that I think of it, I don’t ‘normally’ see the 67% probability bandied about… in fact I think the only other time I’ve seen it mentioned was in this blog, though I might be wrong. Honestly it smacks of goalpost moving – the 50% mark went down so let’s go for 67% which will keep the ‘required’ emission policies intact.

    Of course a stat guru can download the data/code for any specific estimate and work out the 33-67 interval… but how many are actually going to do that?

  46. Willard says:

    To follow up on Very Tall’s examples, here’s one that may be of some actuality:

    Anyone defending the satirists at Charlie should have a tough time defending Michael Mann in his legal war against the satirical writings of Mark Steyn and Rand Simberg. It will be interesting to see if Charlie and the defense of satirists changes the dynamics of the Mann vs NRO/CEI/Steyn lawsuits.

    If Judy associates Mark with the Charlie Hebdo satirists, and herself by extension, with whom does she associate Mike?

  47. If you believe something that goes against the mainstream and you can’t get your mates to accept your ideas, it’s inevitable that you’ll start to think they’re ganging up on you. That’s just human nature. Judith Curry appears to run her blog as an emotional support network where sycophants like Josh, the cartoonist who represents her as a knight in shining armour, cling to the hem of her dress, butter her up and egg her on. If this wasn’t all about the serious issue of climate change, she’d be sitting her life out, forgotten, in an academic backwater.

  48. Willard says:

    In November 2010, Judy was into another D-word:

    What did I mean by dogma? As per the Wikipedia, […]

    Well, I don’t like the idea of “IPCC dogma” either, especially since I have been labeled a heretic. There is no question in my mind that IPCC dogma has existed in the past (think 2007, after the IPCC AR4 was released, and the “consensus” was all the rage and dissent was expected to be ignored.)

    The “heretic” like is still in vogue today.

  49. Willard says:

    A few days later, it was time for the I-word:

    It is fine for people (and scientists) have political ideologies. The problem comes in when you use politics to defend your science, and you use science to demand policies. This whole thing seems to me to boil down to the traditional clash of values between the greens and the libertarians.

    So does this make more sense? I think a fairly large number of scientists will sign up to believing this ideology, but few will want to be regarded as ideologues. Are we getting closer her to clarifying this? I think so (hope so).

    So does this make more sense?

  50. Willard says:

    A few days later, there’s the mention of a BIG TABLE:

    I have been invited to present testimony for this hearing. I have been specifically asked by the minority (Republicans) to discuss how we can go about responding to the climate change issue in the face of uncertainty, dissent and disagreement.

    The BIG TABLE got some air time with part II, III, IV, and V.

    That testimony is linked in Judy’s About page.

    “How we can go about responding to an issue in the face of uncertainty, dissent, and disagreement” looks like a good paraphrase of what we usually call politics.

    PS: Seems that the commenter calling himself “Don Monfort” (whom I prefer to call Don Don for obvious reasons) appears at Judy’s around that time.

  51. Willard says:

    A few weeks later, Judy uses another I-word:

    Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” is a fascinating study in education versus indoctrination.

    There’s a part II and III to that I-word.

  52. Willard says:

    A few weeks later, it’s the L-word:

    A fascinating article appeared in the November issue of the Atlantic, entitled “Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science.” The article is an absolute must read, about the prevalance of (unconscious) bias in medical science. […] On the broader issue of bias in science, Daniel Sarewitz writes of the concern that most scientists in the U.S.

    How to swiftly switch from lies to bias to politics in a few paragraphs.

  53. Willard says:

    The most important I-word in Judy’s repertoire might appear a few days later:

    Over the past week, there have been several notable events on the “Hill” of relevance to U.S. science policy, addressing issues of concern related to the integrity of science. In a word, Bravo!

    One might even say that I-word has supplanted Mr. T (i.e. the Uncertainty Monster), which is a good thing since uncertainty’s not Judy’s best friend.

    INTEGRITY ™ – Bravo!

  54. @Willard
    Google “anthropology of science”, “ethnography of science” or “culture of science”.

  55. Willard says:

    Dear Richard Tol,

    Your claim, your proof.

    Show us an example of the word “tribe” in a sociology of science paper.

    Until you do, I might look into the sociology of think tanks such as the two to which you collaborate.

  56. Willard says:

    First hit:

    This chapter uses the case of American think tanks to develop the idea of a ‘‘boundary organization,’’ or a formal organization that acquires its distinctiveness and efficacy from its intermediate location in the social structure. Traversing, overlapping, and incorporating the logics of multiple institutional spheres – including those of academia, politics, business, and the market – think tanks at first seem to be organizations ‘‘divided against themselves.’’ However, by gathering complex mixtures of otherwise discordant resources, they create novel products, carry out novel practices, and claim for themselves a crucial mediating role in the social structure. This chapter’s ultimate aim is to consider the implications of this idea for theories of organizational power. With respect to this aim, I argue that boundary organizations – and organizational boundary-making processes in general – underscore the need to think about power in relational and processional terms.

    Click to access Medvetz.2012.Murky+Power.pdf

    Can Bjorn’s gig be considered an American think tank, Richard?

  57. Willard says:

    Perhaps when Richard says “tribe” he means “epistemic community”:

    Climate change is unusual compared with most environmental issues in the extent to which it has become accepted among orthodox policy institutions and public-and private-sector organizations. The authors explore the conditions that have led to the establishment of an epistemic community that brings together a broad array of actors, including the various NGOs, and the operational dimensions that define the participation of NGOs within the community. An epistemic community does not imply conformity of opinion or approach but allows for differentiation in terms of how its members construct the problem, and their objectives, core beliefs and favoured responses to climate change. Three broad styles of engagement through which NGOs contribute to this debate are identified: developing creative policy solutions, knowledge construction, and lobbying or campaigning. It should be noted that the authors refer primarily to development or environmental NGOs (ENGOs), though they do discuss business NGOs at a few points.

    Not sure how Richard can spin “does not imply conformity of opinion,” but what’s quite sure is that there’s no hit for “tribe” in that paper.

  58. Willard says:

    Another interesting concept is the one of circuit of culture:

    This article argues for a cultural perspective to be brought to bear on studies of climate change risk perception. Developing the “circuit of culture” model, the article maintains that the producers and consumers of media texts are jointly engaged in dynamic, meaning-making activities that are context-specific and that change over time. A critical discourse analysis of climate change based on a database of newspaper reports from three U.K. broadsheet papers over the period 1985–2003 is presented. This empirical study identifies three distinct circuits of climate change—1985–1990, 1991–1996, 1997–2003—which are characterized by different framings of risks associated with climate change. The article concludes that there is evidence of social learning as actors build on their experiences in relation to climate change science and policy making. Two important factors in shaping the U.K.’s broadsheet newspapers’ discourse on “dangerous” climate change emerge as the agency of top political figures and the dominant ideological standpoints in different newspapers.

    Would be interesting if Richard could recall the dominant ideological standpoint in David Rose’s newspaper.

  59. JCH says:

    It’s not going to warm much by 2030 because of natural variation… the stadium wave!

  60. @Willard
    One of the first to do this was Axel Leijonhufvud, but he’s an amateur:

    Click to access life_among_the_econs_leijonhufvud_1973.pdf

    Since then, there is a bit of a cottage industry in anthropology proper. This is a popular science account of recent research in high energy physics:
    Arpita Roy’s work has since been published in Dialectical Anthropology and Cultural Anthropology.

  61. Richard,
    So, the first seems to be about economics. The second seems to be an article in which the word “tribe” is used in a somewhat colloquial fashion.

  62. @Wotts
    We can of course start a discussion on the exact definition of the word “tribe”. We can also, perhaps more fruitfully, acknowledge that we did read our Kuhn and Latour when we were young.

  63. verytallguy says:


    Stadium wave

    Undersea volcanoes



    Not necessarily in that order

  64. Richard,
    I have no interest in either, to be quite honest. If you really think that there are tribes within the sciences to which you need to belong in order to do what you regard as interesting and important science, go ahead. It wouldn’t be the first time that you’ve spent time savaging these strawmen that you so like to knock down. Continue defending denialist nonense if that’s what you wish to do.

  65. vtg,
    Basically anything that could cause cooling, whether real or imaginary.

  66. @Wotts
    You have no interest in acknowledging that you read Kuhn and Latour?

  67. Willard says:

    > We can also, perhaps more fruitfully, acknowledge that we did read our Kuhn and Latour when we were young.

    If we did, dear Richard, we would also need to acknowledge that the two authors share incompatible views on science.

    There’s no need to convene on the meaning of “tribe,” BTW – you just need to point out to an article in the sociology of science lichurchur where it’s used as a theorical construct.


    Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and the media have been demonstrated to play a key role in shaping public perceptions and policy agendas. Journalists are faced with multiple challenges in covering this complex field. This article provides an overview of existing research on the media framing of climate change, highlighting major research themes and assessing future potential research developments. It argues that analysis of the reporting of climate science must be placed in the wider context of the growing concentration and globalization of news media ownership, and an increasingly ‘promotional culture’, highlighted by the rapid rise of the public relations industry in recent years and claims-makers who employ increasingly sophisticated media strategies. Future research will need to examine in-depth the targeting of media by a range of actors, as well as unravel complex information flows across countries as media increasingly converge.

    No hit for “tribe” in that research.

  68. Richard,
    I have no interest in playing your silly games. Do you have any interest in acknowledging your defense of denialist nonsense and your tendency to spread misinformation?

  69. anoilman says:

    I thought this was a pub.

    FYI, Canman is a free market zealot. He’ll regurgitate what ever the PR slogan is popular at the moment. He’s afraid of regulations, and makes the most extraordinary claims that he can’t back. His nick name is Conman.

  70. @Wotts
    I take it you haven’t read Kuhn and Latour. Maybe you should. They write about one of your favorite subjects: Physicists.

  71. Richard,
    When did you stop beating your wife?

  72. dikranmarsupial says:

    I have to say that being tossed out of the tribe doesn’t seem to have prevented Prof. Curry from publishing, or reduced the rate at which her work is cited (presumably by the “tribe”)

    Of her 13722 Google scholar* citations 6197 were since 2010 (Phil Jones, for instance has a pretty similar ratio, although the absolute volumes are higher). This suggest that perhaps the rest of the “tribe” have yet to be informed of her expulsion?

    Again according to Google scholar, her publication record in climate could perhaps be described as “second to about fifty-something”, but that in itself is pretty impressive, without the need to indulge in the hyperbole of “second to none”.

    * yes, I know Google scholar has its problems, especially not being able to distinguish blog articles for scientific articles on occasion, but > 13,000 suggests they are likely to be in the noise.

  73. dikranmarsupial says:

    Did Kuhn write about tribes? I don’t recall that from “the structure of scientific revolutions”, perhaps Richard can give a page reference (it is a long time since I read it, so it could be my memory at fault)?

    There is an old stats joke, which is that statisticians are like artists and have a tendency to fall in love with their models; I think Kuhn’s work is a bit of an example of that as well (some truth, but a perhaps rather overstated).

  74. @dikran
    I don’t recall Kuhn using that word. He is pretty adamant, though, that research takes place in a social context, and that many of the things that are going on in the lab are easier understood as humans interacting with humans than as rational and emotionless researchers doing objective science.

  75. Willard says:

    Following through what I called at Judy’s her political turn, I’ve rediscovered one of the first occurence of my INTEGRITY ™ brand a few weeks later than the last ClimateBall ™ episodes I underlined earlier:

    Focus on the lesser sentence. Interpret that sentence litterally. Do the touch-down dance.

    SEO. Branding. Must be Moshes’s book. Can’t be anything else.

    Can’t be INTEGRITY ™.

    In the comment thread of a post that mentionswas called politics of climate expertise. Fancy that.

  76. Richard,
    Yes, that all seems patently obvious. There is no claim that scientists are somehow automatons and that science takes place in some kind of emotionless vacuum. None of that, however, means that there is some kind of over-arching tribe to which you have to belong in order to do scientific research and that you can be ejected from it if you somehow says things with which other people disagree.

  77. Willard says:

    The politics of climate expertise don’t go up to XI, only to at least IV (I’m just following along):

    The emphasis of geographical diversity rather than elite scientific expertise and insight seems to have been motivated by getting “buy in” from the countries that were expected to participate in the UNFCCC treaty. The end result is industriousness rather than insight, designed to support a treaty. Participating individuals may not see it that way, but that seems to be the net result.

    So far, we’ve only covered 2 months of loaded words at Judy’s. It goes on and on and on.

    But “heretic.”

  78. dikranmarsupial says:

    Richard Yes, that is what I thought, in which case citing Kuhn doesn’t really support what you were saying. “Social context” is not the same thing as “tribalism”.

  79. Willard says:

    > research takes place in a social context

    Does it mean any social context can be called a tribe and that any phenomenon occuring in a social context can be called tribal, Richard?

    But “heretic.”

  80. anoilman says:

    Perhaps there’s a tribe;

  81. Willard says:

    To return to think tanks:

    Environmental scepticism denies the seriousness of environmental problems, and self-professed ‘sceptics’ claim to be unbiased analysts combating ‘junk science’. This study quantitatively analyses 141 English-language environmentally sceptical books published between 1972 and 2005. We find that over 92 per cent of these books, most published in the US since 1992, are linked to conservative think tanks (CTTs). Further, we analyse CTTs involved with environmental issues and find that 90 per cent of them espouse environmental scepticism. We conclude that scepticism is a tactic of an elite-driven counter-movement designed to combat environmentalism, and that the successful use of this tactic has contributed to the weakening of US commitment to environmental protection.

    These numbers may not include reports such as Nic & Marcel’s for the GWPF and rubberstamped by Judy:

    Click to access Oversensitive-How-The-IPCC-hid-the-Good-News-on-Global-Warming.pdf

    Coincidentally, Judy has been more open in her green-bashing recently.

  82. dikranmarsupial, in the Web of Science “Curry JA” has 8 thousand citations, about 700 a year currently, Hirsch index of 42. (cleaned a few highly papers by people with same initials, but not all.) The top 10 articles about about the Arctic, clouds and hurricanes. The topics of her expertise.

    No climate papers in the top 10, although in the introduction of an article you normally try to get the full span of opinions in. Thus such papers would be expected to be cited more than you would predict based on their scientific value.

  83. dikranmarsupial says:

    “No climate papers in the top 10, although in the introduction of an article you normally try to get the full span of opinions in. ”

    I think that is a good example of the sort of “tribalism” found in science ;o)

  84. dikranmarsupial says:

    “He is pretty adamant, though, that research takes place in a social context, and that many of the things that are going on in the lab are easier understood as humans interacting with humans than as rational and emotionless researchers doing objective science.”

    This is a good example of the sort of overstatement to which Kuhn seemed rather susceptible. If you are interested in the sociology of science (which is what Kuhn really discusses) then of course many of the things of interest to Kuhn are easier to understand in that way (rather than the Spock caricature/straw man). However that doesn’t mean that the progress of the science itself needs to be understood in that context, in most cases it doesn’t, but those were not the cases that illustrated Kuhn’s thesis. The point about artists/statisticians/sociologists falling in love with their models is just as much a part of how human nature influences the progress of ideas, and why in science we try to inculcate the sort of self-skepticism that guards against it (even though we don’t expect to achieve it in an absolute sense).

  85. Willard says:

    Following our guided tour of Judy’s, Jan 2011 marks the Lisbon agreement:

    I am hoping that there is some sort of path for reconciliation in this debate for the benefit of both scientific progress and social consideration of the issues surrounding climate variability and change. I don’t know what this should look like, other than:

    – transparency and traceability in the science
    – loyalty to truth and the scientific method
    – understanding and acknowledgement of uncertainty and the possibility of error
    win-win situations such as no regrets policy.

    I know what it DOESN’T look like, and that is reflected by Kevin Trenberth’s essay, where the blame is put on the deniers, the media, etc. (everybody but the IPCC scientists and their supporters). The domination approach only “works” if you can actually pull it off; climate scientists are babes in the woods when it comes to this kind of politics. A partnership approach makes much more sense and might actually produce a good outcome.

    Judy’s political turn starts to take shape.


    Also note that January 2011 centers around Trentberth at Judy’s, which gryposaurus illustrated so:

  86. Willard says:

    > This is a good example of the sort of overstatement to which Kuhn seemed rather susceptible.

    Quoting Kuhn might be preferable than assuming Richard Tol’s relaxed reading of Kuhn.

  87. verytallguy says:

    Willard, I do believe you’re enjoying yourself.

    Everyone else, I might say “I Tol you so” soon.

  88. Willard says:

    Indeed I do, Very Tall.

    The Lisbon reports don’t go up to XI, only up to X, the Xth being about a pair of letters sent to Congress:

    Judge Judy’s verdict: Score one for the “deniers”. Rationale:


    3. The consensus scientists fired the first “shot” in this insane little battle.

    It wouldn’t matter if this was a victimless war. The chief victim is climate science and its credibility.

    And of course “deniers” (Judy’s term) have no responsibility in this insane little battle. What they do can’t affect climate science credibility at all.

  89. Willard says:

    A bit later, Judy about herself:

    I am mainly trying to provoke the people on both extremes to stop being so partisan and acknowledge that uncertainty is a big part of their disagreement.

    This objective has changed since then. One can argue that it was already changing at the time, and that this response carries more rationalization than anything.

    Notice the title of the thread.

    Sometimes, the word “scientist” can carry a normative meaning.

  90. Willard says:

    I was wrong, the Lisbon reports do indeed go up to XI (that’s a This is Spinal Tap reference, folks):

    Convinced – unconvinced allows for a spectrum, and also the opportunity distinguish what a person is convinced or unconvinced about and the epistemic level of their conclusion (that includes both the amount and quality of effort in drawing their conclusions. I agree with Nick Stokes that the reference for being convinced or not should be the IPCC, parsing this into the Physical Basis, Impacts, and Mitigation/Stabilization Policy. So an individual could be convinced about the physical basis, but unconvinced that this change would be dangerous or that CO2 stabilization is needed. Clearly separating out what a person is convinced-unconvinced about is a big part of the problem in any sort of sensible classification.

    So more taxonomy navel-gazing, right in the middle of the O’Donnell affair:

    Contrarian c. establishment carries less cognitive load and works just better, in my opinion.

  91. BBD says:

    @ vtg

    You are of course right (upthread) wrt nil by mouth for RT, but I have to admit I’m enjoying watching Willard enjoy himself 😉

  92. anoilman says:

    Here’s a great video about rising temperatures in an office to which standard denier answers are offered;

    We can’t control the temperatures…
    I don’t think the thermostat is accurate…

    All we’re missing is Richard Tol telling us its too expensive to turn down the heat.

  93. Willard says:

    At long last an epistemology of disagreement confirms everything Judy so far believed:

    Light bulb: personal insight – the climategate emails made me concerned that I had been duped by the IPCC, and I started questioning the stuff that I used to agree with, without having given it adequate scrutiny. Hence, Climate Etc.


    Light bulb: explains confirmation bias


    Light bulb: the “overconfidence” thing


    Light bulb: perfect one sentence summary of the problem with the IPCC.


    Memo to the NAS, NIPCC, Gang of 18, etc.: you can stop signing all those petitions.

    A bit later in February 2011, we get part XII of the Lisbon reports (Jerry’s Return) and the month ends with Hiding the Decline stuff.

    You just can’t make this up.


    A flashback on a little thing I did a lot at the time:

    (Major premise) Climate scientists have actually been advocating things.

    (Minor premise) Judith Curry is a climate scientist.

    The conclusion is left as an exercise to the reader.

    Denizens always had the very good idea of pontificating about climate scientists’ on a climate scientist’s website.

  94. So, scientists are human in every respect except for the human tendency towards tribalism?

  95. Øystein says:

    Willard: “(That is a This is Spinal Tap reference)”

    There are people who don’t understand this implicitly? Heretics!

    Off with their heads!

  96. BBD says:

    Evening Richard

    So what, exactly, does this have to do with physical climatology?

  97. dikranmarsupial says:

    Richard, it is a shame that you are unable to admit that Kuhn doesn’t actually directly support your contention. As human beings we may have a tendency towards tribalism, but that doesn’t mean that tribalism is a significant issue in science, and it certainly doesn’t mean that Kuhn was making the case that it is.

  98. Magma says:

    verytallguy (a while back)
    Stadium wave
    Undersea volcanoes
    Not necessarily in that order

    A meaningless list without the unifying paradigm, Climate Elves.

  99. So, because Kuhn did not use the word tribal, Curry cannot say she feels like having been tossed out of the tribe?

  100. The notion of a “tribe” is of course central to the study of Latour and Woolgar.

  101. Willard says:

    Seems that BartV traces back Judy’s political turn around the same time I did:

    I was moderately positive about Judith Curry’s initial reflections on the climate debate in the beginning of 2010:

    But since then she started to base her arguments more and more on unfounded accusations and poor reasoning. My opinion changed as a result:

    She wasn’t tossed out of anything. She moved away from mainstream science all by herself via the abovementioned behavior.

    Oh, and Richard Tol, I assume that your rhetorical question means you have no evidence to offer regarding the usage of the word “tribe” as a valid theorical construct in sociology of science?


    I’ll try to build a timeline of the topics at Judy’s. My retrodiction is lots of psycho-pop and moralistic claptraps.

  102. Magma:

    Oh dear, it’s a low blow, but you forgot gremlins.

  103. Richard,
    Is this too complicated for you? Scientists are human. Clearly they behave as humans do, with all the normal failings and idiosyncrasies. That does not mean, however, that there is some kind of over-arching tribe from which you can be ejected (well, unless you suddenly stop being human, but that seems unlikely to be relevant) in such a way that it prevents you from doing what you regard as important and ground-breaking science. On the other hand, if Judith wants to feel that she’s been tossed out of the tribe, she’s welcome to. It doesn’t somehow make it true, though. It also makes it seem that she’s simply making an excuse for not doing the supposedly important and ground-breaking science.

  104. dikranmarsupial says:

    Rcihard wrote “So, because Kuhn did not use the word tribal, Curry cannot say she feels like having been tossed out of the tribe?”

    It was you that used Kuhn to support your argument AFAICS, not Prof. Curry. Besides, I am not specifically asking whether Kuhn used that particular word, just whether he wrote anything that directly supported tribalism (or words to that effect) being part of his thesis.

    Also she may feel that she has been tossed out of the “tribe”, but that doesn’t mean it is actually what happened. Science tends to be rather critical, if you start to make arguments that are not well supported by the observations (or indeed the sources you cite), you are likely to come in for some criticism. This doesn’t mean the “tribe” has turned against you, the “tribe” behaves this way to everybody, and it is the strength of your argument and your willingness to address criticism that decided the outcome.

  105. Joshua says:

    ==> “So, because Kuhn did not use the word tribal, Curry cannot say she feels like having been tossed out of the tribe?”

    Yes. She cannot say it.

    So no one can question the logic behind Judith saying that she feels like having been tossed out of the tribe?

    Willard – what’s the name for that fallacy?

  106. Joshua says:

    ==> “Also she may feel that she has been tossed out of the “tribe”, but that doesn’t mean it is actually what happened.

    I just hate it when people like you say that that she cannot say that she feels like she’s been tossed out of the tribe – like you did in that quote I excerpted.

    Why do you say that? Doesn’t Judith have a right to say that she feels like she’s been tossed out of the tribe?

    Why do you deny her that right?

    Lysanko. McCarthy. Genghis Kahn!

  107. verytallguy says:


    So what, exactly, does this have to do with physical climatology?

    Could I take the liberty of suggesting something?

  108. JCH says:

    If a scientist wants to add a new floor due to natural variation, etc., then it seems to me there should be a new ceiling added to account for the possibility natural variation could accentuate AGW during the period.

  109. BBD says:


    Sorry, I f***ed up. Forgot meself, innit? I just seed the geezer and let go.

  110. Canman says:

    When I bring up the book, “The Hockey Stick Illusion”, on comment threads, people still respond by linking to the RC post, “The Montford Delusion”. I don’t know how any of you can read that exchange between Judith and Gavin without cringing! I picture Julianne Moore from the movie, “Hannibal” and Joe Pantoliano from just about any character that he has ever played.

  111. > When I bring up the book, “The Hockey Stick Illusion”, on comment threads, people still respond by linking to the RC post, […]

    I don’t, and usually stick to the words we can read in our beloved Bishop’s political hit job, and Denizens usually move onto another subject, Canman. In any case, please stick to Judy’s “tribe” meme.

    Thank you for your concerns.

  112. snarkrates says:

    Look, to be a scientist, there is really only one thing you have to do–science that is useful to your fellow scientists. Period. That’s it. Judy chose to stop doing science because it was too hard and the “uncertainty monster” was too scary. That isn’t the response of a scientist. A scientist acknowledges the difficulties, challenges, and yes, the uncertainties, but perseveres and does what he or she can to make sense of it.
    Judy hasn’t been doing that. And climate science has been progressing without her, and it will continue to do so. Aunt Judy is crucial to the denialists. To real scientists, she’s a minor embarrassment.

  113. JCH says:

    When anybody brings up Hannibal and Julianne Moore, the lambs all:

  114. The dominant of March 2011 at Judy’s should be the Congressional Hearing on EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations, with Judge Judy’s verdict:

    I don’t agree fully with the statements by either Christy or Zwiers, although my own take on this is much closer to Christy’s. […] Zwiers’ statement was in the style of the IPCC assessment, focusing on conclusions and citations of peer reviewed papers to back them up. Christy focused on making common sense-style arguments (with fewer journal article citations). In the context of Congressional testimony, I suspect that Christy’s style is more effective (independent of the relative strengths of the actual science on each side).


    After a small post about the psycho-pop metaphor of foxes and hedgehogs, there was also the UK SciTech peer review inquiry, with this interesting remark about Donald Gillies’ testimony:

    READ THE WHOLE THING. Arguably the closest thing to what Kuhn would have said.

    I don’t know how Judy can know that. Besides, the concept of research programme is more in line with Lakatos’ stuff. I’m not sure I’d go as far as Gillies and “to eliminate the use of peer review as much as possible,” but I think there is merit in this idea, even if it’s backed up with appeals to hindsight.


    By the end of the month, there was a call for comments :

    Here is a complete (albeit rough) draft of my paper for the special issue in the journal Climatic Change (founding editor Steve Schneider) entitled Framing and Communicating Uncertainty and Confidence Judgments by the IPCC.

    Scientists really ought to hire editors.

    I might be biased.


    Oh, and by the end of the month, there was another Congressional hearing:

    And then Judy will claim that she’s not into politics.

  115. Eli Rabett says:

    IEHO, it’s not so much there is a tribe as there is a nomenklatura, and Judy has been tossed. As Eli hears it when she started going weird folks just edged away.

  116. Kevin O'Neill says:

    From Wikipedia: Epistemic community
    An epistemic community in international relations (IR) is a network of professionals with recognized knowledge and skill in a particular issue-area. They share a set of beliefs, which provide a value-based foundation for the actions of members. Members of an epistemic community also share causal beliefs, which result from their analysis of practices that contribute to set of problems in their issue-area that then allow them to see the multiple links between policy and outcomes. Third, they share notions of validity, or internationally defined criteria for validating knowledge in their area of know-how. However, the members are from all different professions. Epistemic communities also have a common set of practices associated with a set of problems towards which their professional knowledge is directed, because of the belief that human welfare will benefit as a result. Communities evolve independently and without influence of authority or government. They do not have to be large; some are made up of only a few members. Even non-members can have an influence on epistemic communities. However, if the community loses consensus, then its authority decreases.

    I’ve bolded the last sentence because it might in large part explain why those of a certain stripe have spent so much time attacking the scientific consensus on AGW. Negative advertising, personal attack ads, swiftboating – we know how successful these tactics are.

    It’s easy to laugh at Richard Tol. His obsession with the 97% consensus – trying to denigrate it at the same time agreeing that it’s likely correct – makes popcorn a staple food for many blog readers. Of course this is reinforced by his criticisms of others while gremlins kept popping up in his own work. Yet a more serious question arises: What would motivate him to attack Cook et al, or call the Stern report “alarming and incompetent” ?

    Just a few years ago Tol was telling anyone that asked that the Social Cost of Carbon was $2/ton. More recently he’s been touting a carbon tax “that is in the order of 10, 20, 30 dollars per ton of CO2.” The $2/ton number now seems like an absurdity, though it’s difficult to square even his more recent number(s) with the latest research. Meanwhile that “alarming and incompetent” Stern Report generated a SCC that looks very reasonable – and conservative compared to more recent research..

    Of his own field and the SCC Tol has written, “This literature does not suffer from confirmation bias. Instead, the received wisdom is regularly challenged. A consensus has yet to be reached.” That last sentence is ambiguous; of what value is a consensus? Perhaps he means that there is still widespread expert disagreement on the SCC as opposed to a consensus position where experts would be in pretty much agreement on the SCC. An odd position to take given some of his past comments on ‘consensus’ in science.

  117. Morbeau says:

    Maybe someone should start an annual Ivar Giaever Award for people who have lost their tribes/nomenclatura/sheep?

  118. Ethan Allen says:

    So, getting back to the the Rose/Spectator headline …

    ‘I was tossed out of the tribe’

    So far we’ve adjudicated that Judith was not ‘tossed’ (literally or figuratively) and that there was not a ‘tribe’ (well actually the deniers defined the tribe as those who are not them, that happens when you use your brain stem for your entire thought process, its savage and its primitive, but, well, you get the picture, I hope) so that leaves …

    ‘I was out of the …’

    That statement is missing a word at its end and I submit or adjudicate that that word is ‘picture’ so that statement now reads …

    ‘I was out of the picture’

    We do know that Judith wasn’t in the CRU emails (well I’ll need some confirmation on that one), wasn’t involved in the IPCC (ditto) and from all appearances has a distinct dislike for other more well known climate scientists (e. g. Mann, Hansen, Schmidt, etceteras), mostly anyone who has better publication records wrt actual climate science.

    We also know that there was a long standing ‘debate’ mostly related to policy and politics of the science of climate and its long term implications.

    OK, so Judith was out of the ‘picture’ as it were, so the question in Judith’s mind was ‘How do I insert myself into this picture?’ or some such.

    We also know that the easiest route to notoriety for deniers is not through the decades long processes of peer reviewed scientific literature, but rather, through the public sphere of rhetoric and debate.

    So Judith was not ‘tossed’ rather, Judith ‘deserted’ the science via various and numerous rhetorical devices (we could also use the metaphors of ‘jumping ship’ ‘left the building’ ‘left the reservation’ or ‘jumped of the ledge’ given her rather juvenile view of how science could, should or would conduct itself).

    ‘I was out of the picture’

    We now know, six-seven-eight years later, in the specific case of Judith, how one goes about inserting oneself into the ‘picture’ as it were. There is no there there, there has just been there. There being the ancient and time honored traditions of rhetoric and debate.

    Judith’s primary mission and vehicle for that mission was/is/will be FUD. The only thing that Judith is certain about is her uncertainty (consonant dissonance) and that she thinks it would be a very good idea if the rest of humanity would get the ‘picture’ and join her inner ‘tribe’ of certainty. BAU. QED.

  119. RickA says:

    This is when Judith was tossed out of the tribe:

  120. Paywall. November 2010. Fancy that.

  121. Ethan Allen says:


    Climate heretic: Judith Curry turns on her colleagues

    I’m trying to remember Judith’s 1st few appearances at RC (or all of them) prior to the CRU emails (circa 11/19/2009). Or her interactions elsewhere in the climate blogosphere prior to CRU.

    There’s an unauthorized autobiography to be had here.

  122. Willard says:

    Thanks, Ethan.

    So the “heretic” word appears nowhere but in the title, and the author remains as charitable as one can be. Interestingly, there’s this quote from Judy:

    ‘Well, these are the people [at the Auditor’s] I want to reach rather than preaching to the converted over at [the mainstream climate science blog] RealClimate.'”

    Another interesting quote by the Auditor:

    She’s been hugely criticized by the climate science community for not maintaining the fatwa [against talking to outsiders].

    Both religious tropes can be understood by this commentary by S. Alexander Haslam:

    The climate community, he says, is engaging in classic black sheep syndrome: members of a group may be annoyed by public criticism from outsiders, but they reserve their greatest anger for insiders who side with outsiders. By treating Curry as a pariah, Haslam says, scientists are only enhancing her reputation as some kind of renegade who speaks truth to power. Even if she is substantially wrong, it is not in the interests of climate scientists to treat Curry as merely an annoyance or a distraction. [Not sure I get that argument.] “I think her criticisms are damaging,” Haslam says. “But in a way, that’s a consequence of failing to acknowledge that all science has these political dynamics.”

    What’s missing from this analysis is that Curry herself uses that “heretic” line. The immediate effect is to enhance her social status right up to what she calls “the big table.” Doing politics is fair and square to me – what’s not is to pretend that this self-victimization isn’t used as a political ploy.


    It would be ridiculous to think that academics have no political savviness. One does not become a chair by pure chance. A record based on publication piggybacking also provides a tell.

  123. Ethan Allen says:

    Captains Hindsight and Foresight reporting for duty …

    Full Committee Hearing – The President’s UN Climate Pledge: Scientifically Justified or a New Tax on Americans?
    Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 – 10:00am
    Location: 2318 Rayburn House Office Building
    Dr. Judith Curry, Professor, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology

    Click to access HHRG-114-SY-WState-JCurry-20150415_0.pdf

    “Recent data and research supports the importance of natural climate variability and calls into question the conclusion that humans are the dominant cause of recent climate change:
    • The hiatus in global warming since 1998 … ”

    So perhaps Judith has some ‘skin in the game’ as it were, maybe this gave Lamar Smith his latest input wrt the ‘hiatus’ and perhaps a potential conflict on Curry’s part wrt the Lamar Smith versus NOAA and her rather very public opinion on said matters? Don’t know. But this is wrt COP21 is it not? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Full Committee Hearing: The Administration’s Empty Promises for the International Climate Treaty
    Date: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 – 10:00am
    Location: 2318 Rayburn House Office Building
    Mr. Paul C. Knappenberger Assistant Director, Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute

    But this is wrt COP21 is it not?

    Full Committee Hearing – Pitfalls of Unilateral Negotiations at the Paris Climate Change Conference
    Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2015 – 10:00am
    Location: 2318 Rayburn House Office Building
    Dr. Bjørn Lomborg, President, Copenhagen Consensus Center

    But this is wrt COP21 is it not?

    I’m beginning to get a clue, I’m beginning to get a raging clue. This whole Lamar Smith versus NOAA thingie has always been about COP21 and nothing else as Smith would have others believe.

    All the letters to NOAA? COP21 and nothing but COP21. All of this and I do mean ALL OF THIS has to do with nothing but COP21.

    Where’s the effin’ MSM when you need them?

    I’d say more, but I’m just an itsy bitsy teeny weenie PO’ed right now.

  124. Lars Karlsson says:

    Speaking about Lamar Smith, here is his latest rant at the Washington Times: NOAA’s climate change science fiction – The environmental intelligence agency ignores satellite data.
    I guess it will never occur to Smith to investigate the massive corrections done to the UAH satellite data.

  125. Marco says:

    Indeed, Lars. It would be fun to hear a NOAA administrator ask Lamar Smith why Spencer & Christy have not been called in front of a congressional committee, despite the fact that their latest update involves *much* larger changes than those recent NOAA changes (let’s not even discuss all those corrections in the first decade of this century). Or why he ignores Po-Chedley’s version.

  126. Ethan: “This whole Lamar Smith versus NOAA thingie has always been about COP21 and nothing else as Smith would have others believe.”

    I strongly agree. Might I also suggest that David Rose’s article is timed so that he might do his bit before COP21.

    The bottom line is that record high temperatures is an awfully difficult card to trump. What strikes me most about these recent attempts to whip up a new ‘Climategate’ is how weak they are.

  127. Mark,

    What strikes me most about these recent attempts to whip up a new ‘Climategate’ is how weak they are.

    Indeed, there seems to be a clear attempt to undermine the Paris meeting. What is remarkable, in my view, is that we still see serious people criticising scientists for presenting what they think are unrealistic scenarios, and saying things like “it’s time to stop arguing about the science and start talking about solutions”. Where’s the criticism of these pretty blatant attempts to stop us from making some scenarios reality and actually discussing solutions?

  128. BBD says:

    A record based on publication piggybacking also provides a tell.

    Now that you mention it…

  129. Ethan Allen says:

    “What is remarkable, in my view, is that we still see serious people criticising scientists for presenting what they think are unrealistic scenarios, and saying things like “it’s time to stop arguing about the science and start talking about solutions”. Where’s the criticism of these pretty blatant attempts to stop us from making some scenarios reality and actually discussing solutions?”

    ATTP could you expand on that thought just a little bit? Because at my end I’m doing a little head scratching, what scenarios, what solutions and what people? Don’t need specifics just some further clarity wrt the above. Thanks.

  130. Ethan,
    My comment was partly motived by what I wrote in this post. There’s a reasonable amount of current criticism of climate scientists presenting what some think are overly rosy scenarios. Well, they can only present what is physically possible. It’s for others to decide if they’re no longer politically feasible. Criticising scientists for presenting these scenarios seems to be missing the point.

  131. Willard says:

    Reading back BartV’s thread, I now recall where this “heresy” bit started:

    When I refer to the IPCC dogma, it is the religious importance that the IPCC holds for this cadre of scientists; they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC. Who are these priests of the IPCC? Some are mid to late career middle ranking scientists who have done ok in terms of the academic meritocracy. Others were still graduate students when they were appointed as lead authors for the IPCC. These scientists have used to IPCC to gain a seat at the “big tables” where they can play power politics with the collective expertise of the IPCC, to obtain personal publicity, and to advance their careers.

    How many graduate students were appointed as lead authors of the IPCC?

    Dogma. Religious. Priests. Big tables. Yes, big tables. The same size as the Last Supper, I guess.

    It’s not the first time Judy mentions big tables. Notice the date. Also notice the article right before the Loop:

    Which means we need to dig before. Here’s another one:

    It also appears that Lemonick had to justify why he wrote about Judy:

    I was drawn to this story because, as a science journalist, my job is to try and ask the sort of questions the non-scientific public might ask — and in the contentious area of climate science, one key question is: “when scientists disagree, how do I know whom to believe?” It’s a particularly important question when it comes to climate, because the stakes are so enormously high. If we fail to act, the consequences could be dire; if we act unnecessarily, the consequences could also be costly.

    In climate science, the overwhelming consensus view, backed by a mountain of evidence, is that climate change is real, caused largely by human activities, and likely to inflict significant damage on people and ecosystems around the world. The fact that most climate scientists do agree is something that’s not always fully appreciated by the general public, who often see it as much more up in the air than that. But could the consensus – or parts of it – be wrong?

    I don’t think RickA can seriously argue that the Scientific American piece started any of this.

  132. Willard says:

    Going back in time a few weeks, we get to this post:

  133. anoilman says:

    Well, clearly her feelings are hurt. There’s nothing else to do but accept Judith’s complaint. Here’s the form;

  134. anoilman says:

    Press hard, you’re making 10,000 copies for the old tribe…. Once received we’ll be sure to mail a response to the 2 or 3 scientists in your new tribe.

  135. Related (emphasis in the text):

    Campbell and Manning describe how this culture of dignity is now giving way to a new culture of victimhood in which people are encouraged to respond to even the slightest unintentional offense, as in an honor culture. But they must not obtain redress on their own; they must appeal for help to powerful others or administrative bodies, to whom they must make the case that they have been victimized. It is the very presence of such administrative bodies, within a culture that is highly egalitarian and diverse (i.e., many college campuses) that gives rise to intense efforts to identify oneself as a fragile and aggrieved victim.


    Interestingly, Judy participates in the Heterodox Academy project.

  136. anoilman says:

    Willard… interesting… There is a group of people feel the pain of victims.

  137. Ethan Allen says:


    Yeah, I tripped over that particular heterodox article a week or so ago. Can’t remember exactly why but I think it had to do with this season of South Park …

    Janitor: Well, looks like thangs are gettin’ all PC again. [a shot of the PC frat house again]
    Friend: Well how long d’you think this will last?
    Janitor: Lasted about six years last time. We got at least [checks his watch] 5.9 years to go.

    This is their 1st season with a very major story arc devoted to a single issue: microaggressions.

    I’m sort of thinking that the whole Heterodox Academy thing is somehow related and a form of pushback to current college campus PC life.

    Chef: There’s a time and a place for everything and it’s called college.

  138. Ken Fabian says:

    A bit of a belated reply to ATTP above on my comment on AMOC (rather than Maunder minimums) and global cooling –
    “I’m not even convinced that that would lead to global cooling. It might lead to cooling in parts of North America and parts of Western Europe. I think the only way it could lead to global cooling would be if it produced an expansion of the NH ice sheets, and I suspect that that is implausible if CO2 is above 400ppm.”

    I was thinking of this Nature paper “Competition between global warming and an abrupt collapse of the AMOC in Earth’s energy imbalance”, Sybren Drijfhout, which seems to say it would trigger decades of global cooling. Not saying Drijfhout is correct of course, or even speculating on the likelihood of such an AMOC collapse.

  139. Pingback: Dogma? | …and Then There's Physics

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