Curry Goes to Congress

Posted by: Keith Kloor  :  Category: Judith Curry, climate change

This announcement, that Judith Curry will be giving Congressional testimony next week, is sure to send the climate blogosphere into overdrive. At her site, Judith writes:

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 hearing is set for November 17 and is called “Rational Discussion of Climate Change: the Science, the Evidence, the Response.” Let me be the first to say that in some quarters and public forums, the response to this latest Judith Curry news is not likely to be rational.

Let me also be the first to say that House Republicans are likely mistaken if they think they already know what Judith Curry is going to say.

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88 Responses to “Curry Goes to Congress”

  1. Rob Ryan Says:

    Curry has become little more than a self-aggrandizing popinjay.
    And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

  2. Jerry Says:

    Rob Ryan  has become little more than a self-aggrandizing popinjay. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

  3. Zeke Hausfather Says:

    And to think, just yesterday I wrote that:
    “Actually, I think given what Curry has written about maintaining a divide between science and policy, testifying against her peers in front of congress might be a tad hypocritical. It may happen (who knows?), but I’d put it down as somewhat unlikely.”
    Ahh well, sure called that one wrong :-p

  4. DeNihilist Says:

    Ummm, Zeke, you ever thought that maybe she will tell the truth as she understands it? You know, yes there is uncertaintity in science, but it’s up to you pols to decide how to interpret what is known and make the policy decisions?

    Nah, of course not, cuz Dr. Curry has been thrown off the team. Mann if you parrots wern’t so colourful, you’d really have no use in this world.

  5. cagw_skeptic99 Says:

    Once she testifies that there is uncertainty, and that it was not well addressed in the IPCC reports, and maybe suggests that independent verification of data analysis is important, the groundwork will have been established.
     
    ‘Settled science’ might be a really tough sell going forward.
     
    When this resolves itself with a few more years of satellite measurements and some analysis by people who maybe have not already determined what their research results should be before they start working,  we may or may not think CO2 is really important.  My unscientific opinion continues to be influenced by the behavior of the hockey team and associates: people with nothing to hide would not be hiding it; people who wanted credibility and had done quality work would not permit the whitewash ‘investigations’ to continue to tarnish their good names.
     
    Folks can claim that the three ‘investigations’ were honest and cleared their subjects of any wrongdoing, but most folks know they were designed to find nothing because they were not looking for and didn’t want to find anything.  Dr. Curry’s testimony is likely to continue forcing these issues.  One doesn’t need guilty verdicts to know that the work of the hockey team and the CRU needs to be redone by independent parties, and probably will have even more uncertainty if that happens.
     
    The world may or may not be warming due to CO2, but the work done so far isn’t very convincing.

  6. Øystein Says:

    So, according to DeNihilist, climate scientists i general (or maybe just ‘the Team’ - cue scary music) do not tell the truth as they see it. Nice to know.

  7. NewYorkJ Says:

    KK seems to think that this “news” of Judith testifying for Republicans is somehow supposed to be both surprising and profoundly interesting, enough to illicit irrational responses in overdrive.

    Perhaps Congress will be treated with some of this:

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/10/judith-curry-born-beyond-shark.html

    followed by some of this:

    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2010/11/wheres-beef-curry.html

    to which my response would be the opposite of overdrive…(yawwwn)

  8. coby Says:

    I only hope she reiterates her endorsement of the AGU position statement

    “The Earth’s climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming. Many components of the climate system—including the temperatures of the atmosphere, land and ocean, the extent of sea ice and mountain glaciers, the sea level, the distribution of precipitation, and the length of seasons—are now changing at rates and in patterns that are not natural and are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century.”

    Republicans won’t want to hear that, the Democrates should make sure she says clearly she agrees with it.

  9. Latimer Alder Says:

    @oystein
     
    Being sincere in one’s beliefs is no infallible protection against being wrong. It may well be that every cliamtologist has sincerely believed everything they have ever said or written. The same may be true of Osama0bin-Laden, the Dalai Lama or was once true of Stalin or Hitler…I cannot tell.
     
    But when one observes some of the ‘questionable’ practices of Climatology Central, I am not convinced that the occasional ulterior motive or ‘malpractice’ has not slipped through their net.

    No matter - sincerity or not, skulduggery or not, jigger-pokery or not…the case for AGW is not very robust and relies on too much dodgy or imagined evidence for my taste. And I hold that view most sincerely folks!

  10. Keith Kloor Says:

    Latimer:

    That equation with three of the most heinous characters in modern times is quite offensive.

    As for the case for AGW, your beef would be with Judith Curry, too, as she believes it is robust.

  11. grypo Says:

    The Republicans on this subcommittee aren’t too bad.  Neugebauer and Akin  are skeptics, and might state some misleading facts, but I doubt there will be any substantive discussions on how God will prevent climate change or hoaxes and such.  We will have to wait until January for that.

  12. PDA Says:

    I think we can look forward to a live reading of a Curry post: a confused muddle which will be loudly praised by pseudoskeptics who will read whatever they want into it. If we’re lucky, maybe Shimkus will say something about Noah to which Curry will respond “very interesting, thanks.”

  13. grypo Says:

    Coby:
    I only hope she reiterates her endorsement of the AGU position statement.
    Yeah, besides, small differences in the tone of language, I don’t see much difference between what the AGU advises and the APS or any other organization.  I brought that up in the thread also.
    http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/08/why-engage-with-skeptics/#comment-10478

  14. grypo Says:

    The about starts here, should be this link:
    http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/08/why-engage-with-skeptics/#comment-9930

  15. laursaurus Says:

    This is terrific news!
    Looks like her bridge-building efforts are coming to fruition sooner than she hoped. If we expect to make any progress toward enacting climate legislation, these are the political leaders who need to persuaded.
    This is an encouraging development despite what the nay-sayers have been cynically projecting.

  16. Andy Says:

    Well, I hope she is prepared because these politicians will try to use her if she lets them.  That goes for all the panelists.  She should also be prepared to spend most of the time sitting there saying nothing - Congress critters love to spend most of their “question time” talking.

  17. Roddy Campbell Says:

    I’m sure she will reiterate consensus science, as per the AGU position paper.
    Why people think she is, or wants to be, a standard bearer for sceptics / inaction / fossil-fuel conspiracy /denial of AGW and so on is beyond me.
    It’s more likely a scientist who is ‘reasonable’ on uncertainty can persuade deniers of the reality of AGW than, er, choose the right word here, the more alarmist scientists?
    Keith, you get this one, a lot of people seem not to - the people you want to convert are not the converted.
     

  18. Boris Says:

    So Dr. Curry thinks there is too much politics in science and then agrees to testify to congress? I find that a bit odd.
    I’ll keep an open mind, but if Dr. Curry still has not realized that books like The Hockey Stick Illusion are non-scientific nonsense then I think her testimony will be a hindrance to true understanding of the issues in climate science and their implications for policy.
     

  19. Shub Says:


    Latimer:
    That equation with three of the most heinous characters in modern times is quite offensive.

    Ready as always, for policing? :)

    That was Latimer’s whole point - even heinous characters can rationalize and justify their actions. Since when did sincerity in belief count for something?

    And Boris, …have you read the Hockey Stick Illusion at all, or you are just going by the Realclimate review?

  20. cagw_skeptic99 Says:

    Keith is a journalist and has addressed issues of bias in recent posts.  Consider this quote from Dr. Curry and whether there will be any notice or comment by anyone concerned about bipartisanship.
    “I am the sole invitee allowed by the minority party (the Republicans).”
    My prediction is that nothing much will be said anywhere about a hearing where the majority Democrats select seven panel participants and the minority Republicans are allowed to select one.  7:1 is the bipartisan ratio chosen by those who will soon be the minority.
    Probably there will be another hearing one day with participants chosen by the then majority Republicans.  My next prediction is that there will be lots of articles and blogs commenting on how the Republicans were so against bipartisanship that they only allowed the Democrats to select one or two participants.
     
    Anyone else think these things matter?  Those of you who think the science is settled maybe agree that only those folks who will reliably support the certainty of the coming catastrophe caused by CO2 and fossil fuel consumption should have a place at the table?  No need to actually have a public discussion involving scientists who don’t agree?  (This is not a comment about the other seven participants, it is a question about whether there should be open hearings with parties from multiple points of view speaking and answering questions.)

  21. Boris Says:

    I didn’t read the entire book. I read enough to know that it is not a valid scientific contribution, and of course I am familiar with Bishop Hill’s blog which also has very little of value to add to the science.

  22. Pascvaks Says:

    Who invited?  Who did they invite?  Why?

    The Dems want to show that AGW is very important, critical to human survival, and one that must continue to be funded big time by Uncle Sam the Pauperman?  The Goppers only get one invite so they pick a person who will perhaps put some ‘reasonable doubt’ into the discussion and give them a basis for future committee hearings to cast more doubt on the issue.  If she does, it worked.  If she doesn’t, it really doesn’t matter.  ‘Climate Change Research” Federal Dollars are going to dry up regardless beginning in January, 2011, with or without Curry.  Perhaps, maybe, let’s cross our fingers and spit, if she’s given enough time of speak about the matter, she’ll be able to influence what critical research doesn’t get cut.  Oh well, in bad times bad things happen -or so I’m told.

  23. Latimer Alder Says:

    Hi Keith
     
    Thanks for your comment.
     
    I very deliberately included that most peaceful and ’saintlike’ of men - the Dalai Lama - in my rhetoric to illustrate  my point robustly that sincerity was neither an indicator of truth, nor of its opposite. Just because anybody - good guys or bad guys - whichever way you see them - is sincere should play little part in judging whether they are correct.
    Had I not included him, I would feel rightly admonished. But I did, so I don’t.
     

  24. Latimer Alder Says:

    @Boris
    The Hockey Stick Illusion does not set out to be a new piece of scientific work..but as a book covering recent science history. If you were expecting to read exciting new revelations about the fprecise measurement of the warming feedback factor, I am not surprised you were disappointed.  You would no doubt have learnt more about short centred PCA and its disadvantages as well as that mysterious beast R2 than you would care to have shaken a stick at.
    But was there any part of the history as recounted that you found incorrect or the analysis wrong? I am sure that you will recall that - like all good history - it is littered with references to the primary sources (270 in all).  Are there some there that you found wanting?
    The good Bishop’s blog equally does not claim to be the place to go for publication of the new primary scientific work..you need Climate Audit for that ….but for knowledgeable  commentary at the science/policy/media intersection. It has a very lightly moderated and relatively light-hearted tone. You are welcome to contribute any time. Your (I assume) colleague ZedDedBed, who is emphatically no sceptic - gets a fair, if exasperated, hearing regularly.
     

  25. RB Says:

    I think Keith is expecting JC to be mavericky like the time she was invited to speak after the William Gray episode, but I think she will satisfy the Republicans who invited her setting up for the larger invite next year. Everybody else testifying in that hearing is likely to have an opposite perspective to hers making hers the lone different voice wherein she bemoans the “alarmists” while emphasizing the uncertainty only on the lower end of the sensitivity range (i.e., lots of talk about negative feedback but we won’t be hearing anything about clathrates or anything that Hansen might have said).
    I agree that she can testify and not look hypocritical if she talks about the science and not about the policy implications. Clever Democrats should play up her position on the AGU statement.
     
     
     

  26. Dean Says:

    Like cagw_skeptic99, I wonder about the eventual Republican hearings next year. I wonder about who they will call. Will actual scientists be as prominent? Of course there are actual scientists who are skeptical and critical, like Curry and others. But these folks accept the general science and criticize specifics in varying degrees. Will this be skeptical enough for the next House, or will they prefer scifi authors and charlatans who favor conspiracy theories and the like?

  27. JMurphy Says:

    They seem to have learnt not to call on Monckton again, anyway, which shows they have some sense at least.
    Will Curry become as irrelevant and as much a figure of fun as Monckton, though ? We’ll have to see what she comes out with.

  28. Øystein Says:

    The big problem with DeNihilist’s post is, as I pointed out, that he implies that some scientists (most?) do not call the science as they see it.

    The big problem with Latimer Adler’s post is - apart from the invocation of Godwin’s law - that he thinks I said good intentions are enough. I didn’t.

    I pointed out that what DeNihilist said about JC almost certainly goes for the majority of scientists. DeNihilist seemed to be unaware of this.

    In addition, Latimer seems oblivious to the fact that his post could just as easily be applied to DeNihilist’s original post.

  29. NewYorkJ Says:

    cagw_skeptic99:
    My next prediction is that there will be lots of articles and blogs commenting on how the Republicans were so against bipartisanship that they only allowed the Democrats to select one or two participants.
     
    Anyone else think these things matter?  Those of you who think the science is settled…”

    Contrarians tend to view science through a political lens.  Science isn’t conducted or “settled” via a debate in the halls of Congress by politicians selecting their favorite witnesses to push their point of view.  Such a scenario will always favor the fringe as there’s always some dubious characters out there to call upon to raise doubt, whether it’s Wegman’s atrocious scholarship used as evidence against multiproxy reconstructions or Judith Curry mangling IPCC conclusions to support her “uncertainty” narrative.

    Science is conducted in the peer-reviewed academic literature, at scientific meetings, and in the universities, and organizations like the IPCC are there to bridge the gap with the public.  The science is pretty clear in this regard.

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

  30. Shub Says:

    “Science is conducted in the peer-reviewed academic literature,…”

    We know how that one works.

  31. Pascvaks Says:

    For what it’s worth, one more time, here goes nothing — nothing is settled, everything is settleing.  To say “The Science is Settled” is like saying, “The World ended yesterday at noon EST, and I can prove it!”.  It actually hurts my ears to hear anyone say the science is settled.

  32. Lazar Says:

    “The Hockey Stick Illusion [...] a book covering recent science history”
    HSI isn’t history, it’s PR all the way down. If you want history, or if you want science, read the originals… McIntyre, Mann, von Storch, Zorita, Huybers…

  33. Latimer Alder Says:

    @oystein
    I made it entirely clear that my position is that believing what you say is no guarantee of being right. Whether you believe in the Rights of Man, the bible, the koran or the saying sof the giant lizards who rule the world. Be you Judith Curry or Mikey Mann or Joe Romm or Chris Monckton sincerity may or may not be a necessary condition..but it is certainly not a sufficient one.
     
    As to invoking Godwin’s Law  - I will confess that this is the first time I have head it defined in terms of  His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
     

  34. laursaurus Says:

    JMurphy: “They seem to have learnt not to call on Monckton again, anyway, which shows they have some sense at least.
    Will Curry become as irrelevant and as much a figure of fun as Monckton, though ? We’ll have to see what she comes out with.”
    Fine!
    If you’re going to bring up Monckton, then Al Gore is fair game! At least Monckton doesn’t have millions of dollars invested in the passage of Cap & Trade!
    We can at least give some credit to Monckton for dropping the topic of drowning polar bears from climate change hyperbole. Entertaining to see him roll those large eyeballs of his, wasn’t it?

  35. Shub Says:

    Lazar,
    I would suggest you go a bit easy on us. You are linking to your own post to prove that Andrew Montford’s book ‘is PR’. The post you link to,  proves your ill-informed ridiculous interpretation more than anything else.

    Montford’s response to Bob Ward is clear and easily understood. Whether or not Hans von Storch resigned from Climate Research journal is “entirely independent of the question of whether inappropriate approaches were made to the journal by senior climatologists. “

  36. DeNihilist Says:

    Oystein at 6 - WTF? How do you get that from my post? My post was in reply to Zeke, a person I usually respect, who is now parroting the teams’ BS about Dr. Curry. She has said that scientists should tell what they know but should keep out of the policy decisions. So how is her testifying before congress “political”? So she goes before congress, tells them about uncertainty as she understands it and leaves the decision making to the elected reps. No hypocrisy there.

    I tend to feel that most scientists explain their science as best as they understand it. Doesn’t make them right or wrong.

  37. Lazar Says:

    Shub,
     
    “Whether or not Hans von Storch resigned”
     
    … that is not being disputed
     
    “entirely independent of the question of whether inappropriate approaches were made to the journal by senior climatologists.”

    … what is not independent, the question ‘did he jump or was he pushed?’… which is why his reasons are relevant… more generally, his reasons relate to the scientific validity of the Soon & Baliunas paper… which disputed the existence of the ‘hockey stick’… that ought to be relevant to a book which is claimed to be a ‘history’ of the ‘hockey stick’ alleged illusion…

  38. Steven Sullivan Says:

    PDS wrote:
    “If we’re lucky, maybe Shimkus will say something about Noah to which Curry will respond “very interesting, thanks.””
     
    First LOL  of the day…thanks!
     
    Anyway, I thought Dr. Curry was not interested in preaching to the converted (hence her lack of interest in posting on RealClimate)?   The Republicans are already ’skeptical’ of the IPCC.

  39. NewYorkJ Says:

    About the only cases I’ve seen where peer review clearly and significantly fails are when climate contrarians try to game it.

    I’m guessing that propagandist Montford missed the fact that Soon/Baliunas targeted a journal headed by an editor they know wouldn’t critically review their politically-motivated junk. 

    “Von Storch later stated that climate change sceptics “had identified Climate Research as a journal where some editors were not as rigorous in the review process as is otherwise common”[16] and complained that he had been pressured to publish the paper and had not been allowed to publish a rebuttal contesting the authors’ conclusions.[5]

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

    Scientists of all views (von Storch is no friend of Mann) were absolutely right to slam the junk paper and the editorial standards at this journal.

  40. Steven Sullivan Says:

    Pacsvaks:
    ” To say “The Science is Settled” is like saying, “The World ended yesterday at noon EST, and I can prove it!”.  It actually hurts my ears to hear anyone say the science is settled.”
     
    Too bad for you then, because  some science is settled in any rational use of the term ..which is to say, the great preponderance of evidence points to it as being correct, with the provision that new evidence could overturn it.   Otherwise science itself would have a hard time moving forward.  And if you think some bit of ’settled’ science isn’t settled, feel free to make the argument why, and do the experiments to prove you right.  That’s the way it works.
     
     
     
     

  41. Chris S Says:

    She’s non-partisan, it’s a step in the right direction.

  42. DeNihilist Says:

    Oy @ 28, I have gone back and re-read my original post a half dozen times now. You are way off on its’ substance! Nowhere do I say or promote that only some scientists tell the truth. What i am promoting, is that too many people on both sides “parrot” their leaders and do not think for themselves on some of the stupider comments their leaders make.

    Dr. Curry has her point of view which is uniquely hers as it comes out of her life experience. Through this lens she filters the data to understand it in her own unique way. The same goes for most people who take the time to try to understand the issues. But if you are only going to parrot your leaders ad hom attacks, then there is a good chance someone is going to point this out.

    Nuff said.

  43. Steven Sullivan Says:

    Peer review is necessary, but far from  sufficient, to ensure that only good science gets published.  Every scientist knows this.  Fake ’skeptics’ are free to offer ideas for alternatives.
     
     
     

  44. DeNihilist Says:

    Ste4ve @ 42 - but who peer reviews the peer reviewers? We are all human. There is always going to be contraversy over what is good/bad science.

    Lindzen’s last paper was PR’d and got published. In the following months some weak science was pointed out, now Dr. Dick is preparing to make his second attempt better. Was his original paper bad science?

  45. Bishop Hill Says:

    Lazar

    You seem to think that I have tried to defend the Soon and Baliunas paper. Why? I offer no defence of it. I report that “several members of the editorial board” of CR resigned over the paper. When I introduce von Storch later in the book I identify him as one of the board members who resigned.

    I describe the Soon and Baliunas paper as a “huge disappointment” to the sceptic community. I repeat the principal criticism of it (use of precipitation proxies)in several places throughout the book.

    Yet you insinuate that I have left these details out of the book. Can you confirm that you have read it.

  46. Lazar Says:

    Bishop Hill,
    To be clear…
    “When I introduce von Storch later in the book I identify him as one of the board members who resigned.”
    … do you identify von Storch as having resigned *because* of his objections to the Soon & Baliunas paper (i.e. refusal of the publisher to publish his editorial)…

  47. Bishop Hill Says:

    Page 186:

    “Von Storch is one of the big names in climatology and had been one of the editors who had resigned from the board of Climate Research over its publication of the Soon and Baliunas paper.”

    I take it you haven’t read the book then.

  48. RickA Says:

    In 1897 Indiana tried to legislate the value of pi. Indiana House bill #246.
    I don’t have much faith in doing science by legislation.
    Still, to the extent the hearings point out the various sources of uncertainty, and their magnitude relative to the temperature change, that is all to the good.

  49. Lazar Says:

    Bishop Hill,
     
    I retract and sincerely apologize over my false depiction of the way you treated von Storch’s resignation.

  50. Bishop Hill Says:

    Thanks. I appreciate that.

  51. Latimer Alder Says:

    @lazar
     
    Since you have shown your qualities as a man of  honour and principle with your apology to Andrew at 49 above, will you also withdraw your contradiction at 32 of my statement that ‘HSI is … a book of recent science history?’.
     
    You state there that it is ‘PR’ all the way down.  And yet, your recall of its contents fails you even on points you choose to take extreme issue with.
    Please assure me that you have studied the book in its entirety and so can back up your statement that ‘it is PR all the way down’, rather than my remark that is a book of recent science history. Thanks

  52. Lazar Says:

    Latimer,
     
    “Please assure me that you have studied the book”
     
    … no I haven’t read the book, and have little desire to do so… my impressions are based on reading reports by others and the introduction on amazon, though I’m responsible for any claims I make… the book still gives an impression of being heavily biased… though not as much as I had previously, and unfairly, claimed…

  53. AMac Says:

    The Hockey Stick Illusion’s treatment of the use of the Tiljander data series in Mann08 was overall pretty good, I thought.  A few details weren’t quite “spot-on,” but overall the account seemed fair to the parties involved.  FWIW.

  54. Lazar Says:

    AMac,
    “overall the account seemed fair”
    … I’ll trust that claim… I thought your treatment of the Tiljander issues was fair

  55. AMac Says:

    Lazar #54,
    Thanks.  Of course, the real challenge is in doing justice to an episode that puts the other side in a favorable light (I think BH and KK would agree).  To be clear, Tiljander isn’t that test for the HSI.

  56. Zeke Hausfather Says:

    DeNihilist,
    Frankly, I don’t mind it too much that she is testifying, though anyone who thinks congressional testimony about climate science in the current climate (no put intended) is not intrinsically political is fooling themselves. I was just somewhat surprised based on her prior remarks about the role scientists should play or not play in policy (e.g. contributing to the political process through their scientific works rather than their opinion per se). I also think Judy’s rhetoric in the last week (”high priests” and “dogma”) is somewhat counterproductive to a civil debate. Bart had a similar reaction, if I recall correctly.
     

  57. Lazar Says:

    Things I don’t recognize as history…
     
    “One can almost detect the germ of a [sic] idea forming in the minds of the scientists and bureaucrats assembled in Geneva: here, potentially, was a source of funding and influence without end” — p. 21
     
    “[...] show the problems that the global warming movement faced. If they were going to persuade policymakers to vote them still more funds” — p. 24
     
    … I don’t believe in reading minds… ‘they were in it for the money and power’… is guessing… it ain’t history… it is possible that the rest of the book is more objective than these opening passages suggest…

  58. DeNihilist Says:

    Zeke, if Dr. Curry goes to Washington with a deliberate plan to sway the panel, or butt kiss the Republicans, then yes she is a hypocrite. But if she just sticks to the science as she understands it (which is my hope), then she will accomplish 2 things. 1) show that she has integrity. 2) more then likely shock a few Republicans who may be under the impression that she is “on their side”.

    Needless to say, some of her understanding regarding uncertainties does not follow the script. Dr. Bart posted at her site that she should just stick to the known. I disagree. UntilCC scientists embrace the role of uncertainty in policy making, they will loose more and more on the general public. As I have stated many times before, we are not our parents generation. We generally do not trust authority, are well educated, and want to know as much as possible before walking down a policy path.

    To my mind, the more uncertainty is discussed, the less of a bogey man it becomes, as people realize from their own lives that uncertainty is part and parcel of all of our decisions.

  59. DeNihilist Says:

    Lazar - I was watching a profile on the Hudson  Bay Company’s greatest explorer, Thompson, last night. In a segment, a PHD history prof. and his wife followed in the great man’s footsteps of his exploration of the Columbia River. They did this to help them understand what he may have been thinking/feeling/experiencing, e.g. driving him to do what he did, so that their book on him would be as accurate as possible.

    Trying to ascertain motives of historical figures and situations is really quite common in history tomes.

  60. Lazar Says:

    DeNihilist,
     
    “Trying to ascertain motives of historical figures and situations is really quite common in history tomes.”
     
    … without documentary evidence, it is still wild assed guessing… because it is guessing… a range of possible motives should be presented… and clearly marked as guesses… not…
     
    “[...] show the problems that the global warming movement faced. If they were going to persuade policymakers to vote them still more funds”

  61. Lazar Says:

    …  stating a guessed motivation is not “trying to ascertain motives”

  62. TimG Says:

    #58 - DeNihilist

    The alarmists have constantly tried to frame this issue as a simple question of science and that anyone who objects to their pet policies is “denying” the science.

    This is a dishonest position to take and has pushed many skeptics to believe they needed to attack the science and the scientists in order to argue against brain dead anti-CO2 policies.

    Republicans (if there are interested in having a rational discussion) need to debunk the myth that the science tells us what policies to adopt.

    That is where Judith comes in since she has stated quite clearly that she feels scientists have no particular expertise in policy and that they really have no business telling policians what they should do about CO2. This is likely what the Republicans expect her to say and it also means her own views on AGW are not a concern for them.

  63. DeNihilist Says:

    Lazar @ 61 - agreed.

  64. DeNihilist Says:

    Keith, did you happen to see the Rachel Maddow interview with Jon Stewart tonight? I thought there was a similarity between what Jon was stating, i.e., trying to diffuse the right/left narrative, and a certain climate scientist that is on her way to Washington.

    I remember reading once that to make a new crystal come into existence, it takes a huge amount of energy, but once created, the new crystal form is easy to replicate. Could there be a  situation in life that as someone starts a new idea that it organicallygrows throughout society?

  65. Tim Lambert Says:

    I describe the Soon and Baliunas paper as a “huge disappointment” to the sceptic community. I repeat the principal criticism of it (use of precipitation proxies)in several places throughout the book.
    This is misleading.  The reason you give for it being a disappointment is because it failed to gain traction, not because it was defective.
    You only characterise and repeat the principal criticism of it as “use of precipitation proxies” in order to criticise the use of precipitation proxies in other studies.

  66. Shub Says:

    NewYorkJ
    Your depiction of the history of the Soon and Baliunas paper is incorrect
     
    de Freitas clearly lays out his logic and procedure he followed for the Soon and Baliunas papers (read his August 2003 email).
     
    The whole ground which Mann and other colleagues had for deducing that the ‘peer review process was compromised’ was ….get this….their judgement that the paper’s methods were ‘flawed’.
     
    How does one get to that conclusion, just by looking at the paper?
     
    Even as recently as ten days ago, Mann quoted the Monastersky article to support the notion that the peer review system was ‘gamed’ - for which the article offers, in actuality, no support.
     
    von Storch’s resignation was prompted by the publisher’s correct refusal to allow him to comment externally, and brought on by a Congress Senator asking him funny questions about the Soon and Baliunas paper, a step that no doubt precipitated him to explain his own position - seeing as how apolitical he wanted to be seen.
     
    It did not somehow strike him that writing a special editorial explaining his actions would have amounted to a bypass a peer-review process, in itself.

  67. Bishop Hill Says:

    Tim Lambert

    “The reason you give for it being a disappointment is because it failed to gain traction, not because it was defective.”

    Erm, and the reason that it failed to gain traction was because it was defective, right?

    “You only characterise and repeat the principal criticism of it as “use of precipitation proxies” in order to criticise the use of precipitation proxies in other studies.”

    I can hardly criticise others for use of precipitation proxies without accepting the criticism when levelled against Soon and Baliunas can I? You are criticising me for being consistent.

  68. Bishop Hill Says:

    Tim L again:

    Do you accept that use of precipitation proxies is a valid criticism of a proxy-based temperature reconstruction?

  69. Bishop Hill Says:

    Lazar

    The section you quote about “the germ of an idea…” follows on from a description of how the Geneva conference, tasked with writing an assessment of the world’s climate, came up with a “Call to Nations” to prevent climate change - a policy prescription. This is interesting background to the main story, and would have been a loose end without a sentence suggesting an explanation for what happened.

    For you to seek to condemn the book because I didn’t write an extended analysis of the question is a classic case of the fallacy of the trivial objection. This is simply not central to the Hockey Stick story. It’s scene-setting.

  70. Alex Heyworth Says:

    One point that seems to have been overlooked in the discussion above is that what Prof. Curry says may be to a considerable extent determined by the questions she is asked.

  71. Pascvaks Says:

    Ref: Steven Sullivan Says:
    November 11th, 2010 at 3:49 pm
    Ref - Pacsvaks: ” To say “The Science is Settled” is like saying, “The World ended yesterday at noon EST, and I can prove it!”.  It actually hurts my ears to hear anyone say the science is settled.”
     
    “Too bad for you then, because  some science is settled in any rational use of the term ..which is to say, the great preponderance of evidence points to it as being correct, with the provision that new evidence could overturn it.” 
    ____________________
    I actually think you just made my point.  Thank you.  Everyone needs a little reinforcement.  “Settled Science” is like “settled land” in California.

  72. Øystein Says:

    DeNihilist - I may well have misread you, I agree with your comments later on (my browser eats the first digit of the comment numbers…)

    Latimer - your attempt at humor is .. not the best. Keep trying!

  73. Bart Verheggen Says:

    Zeke (56) writes: 
    ” I also think Judy’s rhetoric in the last week (”high priests” and “dogma”) is somewhat counterproductive to a civil debate. Bart had a similar reaction, if I recall correctly.”

    Indeed I did.

  74. John Whitman Says:

    I love the argumentative energy at Judith’s blog.  Topics that dwell on the possibilities of climate science dogma and ideologues do contribute to a positive atmosphere of openness about all aspects of the climate science debate.  The most operative words being ‘open’ and ‘all’. 
     
    These are good times recently in the climate debate.  I see a quickening of enlightenment.  : )  It is wonderful to behold.

    John

  75. NewYorkJ Says:

    Shub (#66),

    “Your depiction of the history of the Soon and Baliunas paper is incorrect”

    to which you follow this with an unsourced and verifiably incorrect depiction of history.

    “von Storch’s resignation was prompted by the publisher’s correct refusal to allow him to comment externally”

    That was one reason, but not the core reason.  Here’s von Storch’s commentary from 2003:

    “The review process had utterly failed; important questions have not been asked, as was documented by a comment in EOS by Mann and several coauthors.”

    “I withdrew also as editor because I learned during the conflict that CR editors used different scales for judging the validity of an article. Some editors considered the problem of the Soon & Baliunas paper as merely a problem of “opinion”, while it was really a problem of severe methodological flaws. Thus, I decided that I had to disconnect from that journal, which I had served proudly for about 10 years. ”

    http://coast.gkss.de/staff/storch/CR-problem/cr.2003.htm

    http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/deja_vu_all_over_again/

    and…

    “Von Storch later told the Chronicle of Higher Education that climate science skeptics “had identified Climate Research as a journal where some editors were not as rigorous in the review process as is otherwise common.”

    http://motherjones.com/environment/2005/05/some-it-hot

    DC has a nice summary:

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/12/02/in-the-beginning-friends-of-science-talisman-energy-and-the-de-freitas-brothers/

  76. Lazar Says:

    Shub,


    “von Storch [...] a step that no doubt precipitated him” [...] “seeing as how apolitical he wanted to be seen.”
     
    … you still can’t read minds…
    … does “apolitical” mean that whilst he criticizes the IPCC he won’t tolerate skeptic bs?
    … that would be honesty

  77. Shub Says:

    NewYork J

    You can read Mann’s Eos comments - he criticizes SB’s use of rainfall records and definitions - hardly the “important questions not being asked” by the journal, as claimed by von Storch as being laid out in the Eos comment.

    A paper’s methodologic flaws are a suitable topic for a reply or a rebuttal - the very point suggested by many of Mann’s colleagues in the emails - and again, hardly a ground to assume ‘corruption of peer review’ and cry hoarse. But that was  what was done repeatedly.

    To claim that a paper’s flaws are due to sympathetic reviewers and take off in that direction - is academic politics, rather than science. The whole story was told at the time and the message was hammered in, of ’severe failure’, ‘peer review failure’ etc, etc - not just for the purported flaws in the SB03 paper, but due the anticipated political value the paper might have. We can take a more measured, calm view of the affair now since de Freitas’ Mann’s, Briffa’s and other email communications are available. All paleoclimate reviewers de Freitas submitted SB03 to, felt that whether the methods were suitable or not, was an ‘interesting’ issue.

    Lazar,
    You probably think that your dots and ellipses make your prose, … interesting (?), but it only makes it difficult to read.

    von Storch wanted to put out his views in a journal, about a paper anticipated to be used in a Congressional hearing, bypassing the paper’s editors, putting forth his own views, just before the hearing, triggered by being contacted by Jim Jeffords’ staff. He was prevented. He quit. There is politics at action here, even in von Storch’s actions, although I doubt he would see it that way.

    “After hearing from Sen. Jeffords, Dr. von Storch says he decided to speed an editorial into print criticizing publication of the paper”
    -WSJ.

    I did not read minds - I read this article.

  78. Lazar Says:

    Shub,
     
    “After hearing from Sen. Jeffords, Dr. von Storch says he decided to speed an editorial into print criticizing publication of the paper”


    “After” determines a chronology… it does not tell you why von Storch “decided to speed an editorial into print”… although it seems to imply that the reason(s) involved “hearing from Sen. Jeffords”…  it doesn’t state that… even if we knew that the reason(s) involved “hearing from Sen. Jeffords”… that of itself doesn’t tell us why… it doesn’t tell us that von Storch wanted to maintain an appearance of being apolitical… that’s your imagination… “decided to speed [...] into print” doesn’t even tell us when the editorial was first conceived or written…
     
    some more information… the editorial
     
    “the review process of CR failed to confront the authors with
    necessary and legitimate methodological questions which should have been [...] On the other hand, the publisher Inter-Research has determined that the review process was done according to the CR rules. [...[ Thus, the editorial board of CR had to admit that the formal review rules are not sufficient to guarantee the required quality control of the review process. Therefore the editorial board and the publisher have decided to change the journal's procedures for manuscript review. In particular the office of an Editor-in-Chief has been created"

     
    and the report in the Chronicle of Higher Education, by Richard Monastersky...
     
    "At first, Mr. von Storch said, he was not particularly interested in the widespread criticism of the Harvard-Smithsonian paper. He thought that those with objections should take the normal route of writing a comment that the journal would then consider for publication. But when he saw a preprint of the Eos rebuttal, he decided that the paper was seriously flawed and that the journal must take action. "We should say that we have a problem here, that the manuscript was flawed, that the manuscript should not have been published in this way," he says. [...] Mr. von Storch decided to change the system. He drafted an editorial in which he said that the review process at the journal had failed in certain ways, and that all new manuscripts should henceforth be sent directly to the editor in chief rather than to individual editors, each of whom operates independently.
    Mr. Kinne agreed that the journal should not have published
    the paper by the Harvard-Smithsonian team as written [...] But the publisher did not accept Mr. von Storch’s proposed changes to the editorial process and asked him to delay running the editorial and to get approval first from other editors on the board. Mr. von Storch, however, found that some editors on the board still viewed the Harvard-Smithsonian paper as fine. “I concluded that we have different standards,” he says. “Some are doing [the editing] in a rather sloppy way.” [...] So he resigned from the board, as did three other members.”

     
    PS
    i… am… very… sorry… about… my… prose…

  79. Latimer Alder Says:

    Lazar
     
    ‘i… am… very… sorry… about… my… prose…

    Not half as sorry as the rest of us who have to read it.


     

  80. Shub Says:

    Lazar,
    Regarding the
    After hearing from Jeffords - he decided to speed..”
     
    [1] That is as much ‘causation’ you would get, from a Wall Street Journal article. I can play word games about the word ‘decided’ as you did, with the word ‘after’.
     
    Since you seem to be stuck on the “why” issue, we can take von Storch’s own words on this (I assume).
     
    [2] “…the article by Antonio Regalado in Wall Street Journal on July 31, 2022 was a good description of the context and some of the major facts. ”
     
    Even after [1] and [2], if you want you believe in your favorite version of the events (von Storch resignation proves SB03 -> bad), you are free to do so.
     
    [3] Look at the Monastersky article for additional background on this. He writes: ”
     
    “At first, Mr. von Storch said, he was not particularly interested in the widespread criticism of the Harvard-Smithsonian paper. He thought that those with objections should take the normal route of writing a comment that the journal would then consider for publication.”
     
    This clearly, and shows that, prior to Jeffords’ contact, von Storch was taking a more measured approach which indeed must have included a generalized editorial from his chair, and that the Jeffords staffers’ questions, made von Storch go to his publisher to “speed up” his comment.
     
    Why is von Storch ‘apolitical’? What is the meaning of the word ‘apolitical’ in this context?
     
    von Storch has always maintained a senior statesman-like approach. It is his view that he has been “crosss-fire of alarmists and skeptics, two politicized gangs of climate activists “.
     
    It would be safe to assume that, in order to get caught in the crossfire between two political groups - you’d have to be somewhere in between the two groups.
     
    That is why he is ‘apolitical’.
     
    Taking about chronologies, look at the Monastersky sequence here:
     
    “But when he [von Storch] saw a preprint of the Eos rebuttal, he decided that the paper was seriously flawed and that the journal must take action.”
     
    Really? von Storch, who was brought in as Editor-in-Chief, to adjudicate SB03, realized the seriously flawed nature of the paper, only after he saw Mann’s Eos comment?
     
    On top of that, repeating what I’ve pointed out above - the Eos comment does not contain a detailed elucidation of the methodologic flaws of SB03. For most part, it just rambles on and on about the consensus.
     
    And lastly, talking of intentions, and such. We have the team’s own words to boot.
     
    Tom Wigley, on of the co-authors of the Eos comments wrote in 2003:
    “Hans von Storch is partly to blame — he encourages the publication of crap science ‘in order to stimulate debate’.”
    [Really funny, because this is the same thing that von Storch was throwing at de Freitas]

    “One approach is to go direct to the publishers and point out the fact that their journal is perceived as being a medium for disseminating misinformation under the guise of refereed work.”
    [This statement is key. Here we have, a 'team member' planning to tell publishers that their journal is perceived as a 'medium of misinformation' with 'gamed' refereeing, a reason why SB03 is bad, with the rest then turning around and declaring 'SB03 is bad, because it is published in a journal with 'gamed refereeing'.]
     
    Tom Wigley clarifies on this further himself:
    “I use the word ‘perceived’ here, since whether it is true or not is not what the publishers care about — it is how the journal is seen by the community that counts.”
    [Here it is - whatever be the merits or flaws of the paper - we perceive that the journal is gaming its refereeing - and that is all that matters - because we are the 'community'. Great stuff.]



    All that happened was planned, plotted and explored actively.

    “Mike’s idea to get editorial board members to resign will probably not work -”
    ['Mike' here being Mike Hulme. Except his 'idea' did work - all the CRU based editors did resign...]
     
    “must get rid of von Storch too, otherwise holes will eventually fill up with people like Legates, Balling, Lindzen, Michaels, Singer, etc.”

    [von Storch took care of that one on his own]

     
    “I have heard that the publishers are not happy with von Storch, so the above approach might remove that hurdle too.”
    [How does he hear these things? Because this is academic politics and these guys play very well indeed.]

     
    In the end, it looks like just copy-pasting Regalado and Monastersky worked for a few years - not anymore. Things have changed - with the emails available, and post MM03, MMo5, NAS panel, Wegman report, the sphagetti graph and more recently MW10, they look worse for the team.
     
    If one were to say today: “a single paper with methodologic flaws, but yet with fantastic conclusions, used by the policy and political community for years and years” - it rings more true of Mann’s papers than SB03.

  81. Lazar Says:

    Shub,
     
    “I can play word games about the word ‘decided’”
     
    go ahead
     
    “as you did, with the word ‘after’.”
     
    no Shub… the meaning that is imputed to the statement is unsupported by the words used… it may be that the author intended to state a causal relationship… but that is not what s/he did… unfortunately you only have their words not their intentions… your interpretation is your guess… belief in mind reading tends to result in meanings being imputed that are unsupported… sloppy interpretations… wishful intepretations… which is why precision in using and precision in interpreting language is important…

    “Look at the Monastersky article for additional background on this. [...] This clearly, and shows that, prior to Jeffords’ contact, von Storch was taking a more measured approach”
     
    … yes… that’s the chronology… “measured” is of course your interpretation…
     
    “and that the Jeffords staffers’ questions, made von Storch go to his publisher to “speed up” his comment”
     
    … no Shub… read it again…
     
    “At first, Mr. von Storch said, he was not particularly
    interested in the widespread criticism of the
    Harvard-Smithsonian paper. [...] But when
    he saw a preprint of the Eos rebuttal, he decided that the
    paper was seriously flawed and that the journal must take
    action. [...] so Mr. von Storch decided to change the system. He drafted an editorial in which he said that the review process at the journal had failed in certain ways, and
    that all new manuscripts should henceforth be sent directly to
    the editor in chief rather than to individual editors, each of
    whom operates independently.”

     
    “Really? von Storch, who was brought in as Editor-in-Chief, to adjudicate SB03, realized the seriously flawed nature of the paper, only after he saw Mann’s Eos comment?”
     
    … that is what the article claims…
     
    “if you want you believe in your favorite version of the events (von Storch resignation proves SB03 -> bad), you are free to do so
     
    the above is not my belief… Shub you can’t read minds…

  82. Shub Says:

    “…your interpretation is your guess…”
    Yes.
    That happens when you think for yourself. You make these so-called ‘guesses’ based on the available information.
     
    How von Storch chose to handle his editorship is something we are getting into here, because, it is clearly evident that you don’t have anything else, or any other approach, to counter what I have posted.
     
    You say von Storch’s approach being “measured” is my ‘interpretation’ while your “[...]” hides the very text on which I based my ‘interpretation’. Thanks.

  83. Lazar Says:

    Shub,


    “Yes.”
     
    we agree then
     
    “That happens when you think for yourself.”
     
    Shub… the problem is not in making guesses… the problem is labelling those guesses as facts…
     
    two guesses as to von Storch’s motivation(s)…
    1) protect the reputation of the journal
    2) protect his personal image as being “apolitical”
     
    1) maybe von Storch wanted to protect the reputation of a journal “which I had served proudly for about 10 years” … maybe the contact with Jeffords alerted him to the coming Senate EPW hearing and the resulting public scrutiny… maybe he thought that publishing the editorial beforehand would show a comittment by the journal to taking issues of quality seriously…
     
    2) “a step that no doubt precipitated him to explain his own position – seeing as how apolitical he wanted to be seen
     
    spot the difference?

  84. Lazar Says:

    Shub, read Keith’s posts
     
    “Jon Stewart’s Ethic”…
     
    “In the interview, Stewart’s sense of decency and fairness repeatedly shined through–at one point he talked about how he sought to separate people’s intentions from their arguments/actions. The discourse gets poisoned all too often, he argued, when people try to divine the “intentions” of their opponents.”
     
    “Monbiot vs Brand, cont’d”…
     
    “Monbiot undermines his own takedown of Brand with his speculation of motive[...] the most fantastic (and least substantiated) charge”

  85. Lazar Says:

    Shub,
     
    “it is clearly evident that you don’t have anything else, or any other approach, to counter what I have posted”
     
    the point is to help you make better arguments… not to ‘counter’ what you have written…
     
    “your “[...]” hides the very text on which I based my ‘interpretation’”
     
    the text is not ‘hidden’… anyone can find it

  86. cagw_skeptic99 Says:

    Is it possible that someone read this blog and noticed the complaint about allowing the minority party to invite only one panel member, or maybe the Democrats figured out on their own that acting in a very partisan manner just before they lose their majority status will minimize their ability to complain next year?
     
    “Just an FYI – Republicans will be inviting a witness for each panel.  This is a change from the usual practice of one witness per hearing, regardless of the number of panels.”

  87. cagw_skeptic99 Says:

    Quote above is again from Judith Curry.

  88. Shub Says:

    Dear Lazar,
    You are very successful in dilution and misunderstanding.
     
    A significant part of my overall argument rests on a contention that Otto Kinne was right to refuse von Storch his editorial. You do not address that. Secondly, it rests on reading emails from de Freitas. You do not address that. My objections were toward NewYorkJ who clearly states that von Storch’s resignation is one more piece of evidence that things were not well with SB03. I addressed that by pointing out that von Storch’s proximate causes, if any can be inferred from available information, are different. You do not address that.
     
    I was quite clear in my formulation therefore the immediate cause for resignation was Kinne’s refusal 
    (I support’s Kinne in this action - he was technically right to refuse), and von Storch overall objections, which are put forth in his editorial, which in turn squarely and solely relies on the Eos comment (the contents of which I find completely unconvincing - as proof of ‘failure of peer-review’)
     
    There is therefore, no need for me to ‘mind-read’ von Storch - my reply to NewYorkJ does not rely on any ‘intention elicitation’ on the part of von Storch.
     
    In contrast, a little above, talking to Bishop Hill, you wrote:
     
    “… do you identify von Storch as having resigned *because* of his objections to the Soon & Baliunas paper (i.e. refusal of the publisher to publish his editorial)…”
     
    Which one is it - according to you? Because these are two different things.
     
    In short, I am putting forward my interpretation of the events. My main argument here rests on saying that von Storch’s case is weak because his editorial amounted to a trojan-bomb brought inside Climate Research, and even otherwise, no publisher would brook editorial comments discussing ‘review process failure’ with or without hard evidence. He should have known Kinne would not accept this self-immolatory action. To ask for an impossible step and to resign as protest for its non-fulfillment makes his case even weaker.
     
    The official version (of history), of course is that, von Storch resigned because of his objections to SB03, which proved that SB03 had serious flaws.
     
    To clarify further, my personal stance is: A paper’s flaws should prove its flaws - irrespective of ’skeptics’, ‘deniers’, ‘angels’ etc being reviewers. Secondly, the only way to counter a ‘bad’ paper - is to write a response to the journal which published the bad paper, or blow it out of the water with better stuff. All other actions are ad-hominem and no one will sympathize with you in the long run if you do anything else. The Team’s actions and intentions are on full display in the emails, saying all these extra things - with the possible exception of Briffa (by half) .
     
    My original passage was in response to NewYorkJ’s sourcing of Wikipedia information about the Soon and Baliunas controversy. Why did I take issue with the Wikipedia article?
     
    The Wikipedia article states:
    “The Soon and Baliunas paper had been sent to four reviewers during publication, all of whom recommended rejecting it.”
     
    It cites Fred Pearce’s review of Climategate emails as the source.

     
    Fred Pearce writes in his Guardian article:


    “They concluded that their colleague de Freitas had ignored the anonymous advice of four reviewers to reject the paper”
     
    Where does Fred Pearce get this from?

     
    Check de Freitas’ own words:
     
    “Keep in mind that referees used were selected in
    consultation with a paleoclimatologist. Five referees were selected based on the guidance I received. All are reputable paleoclimatologists, respected for their expertise in reconstruction of past climates. None (none at all) were from what Hans and Clare have referred to as “the other side” or what Hulme refers to as people well known for their opposition to the notion that humans are significantly altering global climate.” One of the five referees turned down the request to review explaining he was busy and would not have the time. The remaining four referees sent their detailed comments to me. None suggested the manuscript should be rejected.”

     
    Obviously, Fred Pearce is wrong here. Wikipedia is therefore wrong here.

     
    But for Fred Pearce, the official version of the events, flows from this false formulation:
    “…von Storch and four other board members resigned in protest. Subsequently Kinne himself admitted that publication had been an error and promised to strengthen the peer review process. Mann had won his argument.”


    You are trying to help me “make better arguments” - thanks. My argument does not depend on reading von Storch’s mind, if at all. Thanks.

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