My apologies to Judith Curry

Image courtesy of Flickr user messtiza, used under Creative Commons

Boy, is there ever egg on my face for suggesting that Judy Curry’s blogging efforts would support ridiculous doubt-mongering (as opposed to serious criticisms). I couldn’t have been more wrong.

For instance, Curry wants you to know that Murry Salby thinks [new window, MP3] we aren’t driving the increase in atmospheric CO2, and he doesn’t believe the ice core record.

IPCC AR4 Figure TS.1. Variations of deuterium (δD) in antarctic ice, which is a proxy for local temperature, and the atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) in air trapped within the ice cores and from recent atmospheric measurements. Data cover 650,000 years and the shaded bands indicate current and previous interglacial warm periods. {Adapted from Figure 6.3}

Salby ostensibly gave this presentation at IUGG. But the topic of his talk was actually on antarctic ozone. Where are his data and analysis? He can’t show them to us. Why not? Because he’s “operating in the traditional mode of waiting until the paper is published”. Didn’t he say he was actually going to sell a book about this before he got the paper published? Uh, that was a different half of the data. Or something.

This isn’t silly, it’s serious.  How serious? “Wow” serious! It’s important. How important? “[S]ufficiently important that we should start talking about [it].” Why? Because it “could revolutionize AGW science”. In what way? Curry will get back to us on that, I’m sure.

No needless doubt-mongering here! Just digging into the areas of the issue that are really uncertain, based on hard evidence and with complete transparency.

I also note that Curry has taken to citing such bastions of accuracy and credibility on climate issues as Andrew Bolt and Joanne Nova. And to think anyone had ever warned Curry against becoming a purveyor of doubt.

[UPDATE: Fred Moolten has a worthwhile defense of what he believes Curry's blog is doing.

I responded: I would be more sympathetic to that narrative if it actually had the productive qualities that Judith probably does at the end of the day intend. However, I’ve seen no evidence of such. If you have, that’s wonderful and I’d love to know about it.

The threads I’ve read at length seem to be largely “skeptic” echo chambering and backslapping, with admirable contributions of sanity by you, Pekka, and a few others. The “technical ‘skeptics’” that Judith so relentlessly pursued for an audience fall largely in with the former, and only rarely in with you in the latter.

While it may be true that Judith intended this blog to be a place where climate science was strengthened in trials by fire, its impact so far has been to bury the field under garbage (I believe that Judith has a T-shirt with a related theme). I see this blog cited approvingly by “skeptics” online, and it has without exception been in the context of dismissing, ridiculing, or otherwise attacking the mainstream. Whenever I myself have tried to cite it or Judith’s writing at say Climate Audit in a reinforcing or supporting role (to say nothing of her actual publications), these efforts are dismissed. No matter how hard Judith tries to earn her “skeptic” bona fides and proclaim herself an outsider, when she has the temerity to acknowledge the reality of anthropogenic warming and the threat it poses, she’s written off behind her back as a “warmer”.

She may believe she’s building bridges between “skeptics” and the mainstream, but so far these bridges have been decidedly one way.]

[LATER UPDATE: Curry is getting a little defensive over repeatedly getting called out for supporting nonsense like Salby by the relatively sane among her commentors. She has a new post on her "editorial policy", wherein she- shockingly- paints herself as some sort of rebel at the bleeding edges of science discourse for having the courage to suck up to the denialosphere and bash the IPCC.

I responded:

JC writes: The frustration that the “warm” bloggers (e.g. RC et al.) seem to have with Climate Etc. is that I stray from the party line of the consensus.

This is crap.

People get upset because you promote, credulously repeat, or make on your own behalf, claims that sound at best far-fetched. When pressed for specifics, you frequently backpedal or move goalposts. When you get called on it, you play the victim, seeking (but never quite succeeding) to further promote your self-styled image as a rebel.

This Salby thread is a great example. On some level, I suspect you know that it’s ridiculous, but it’s “Not IPCC”, so what the heck- you put up a thread. You get pressed on specifics of why you support it, and you cannot name a single concrete thing mentioned in the presentation you are promoting.

JC: I am striving for something different, sort of an e-salon where we discuss interesting topics at the knowledge frontier.

That humans are increasing atmospheric CO2 levels was at “the knowledge frontier” decades ago.

This “knowledge frontier” “e-salon” you describe sounds incredibly fascinating. Let me know when you trade in this dumping ground for “Not IPCC” for something remotely like it.]

[LATER UPDATE: Curry predictably ducks.

My response:

JC writes: I am not ‘promoting’ anything

So what word that is non-synonymous with “promote” would you use to describe the act of someone writing a blog post about something, exclaiming “wow” about it, saying it’s “sufficiently important that we should start talking about [it]“, saying it “could revolutionize X science”, etc.?

JC: open discussion and integrity and science

In the interest of ‘open discussion and integrity and science’, what scientifically (not “he used to be a coworker”) about the presentation do you think was deserving of all the ‘totally not-promotion’ you were throwing around in the last thread?]

26 responses to “My apologies to Judith Curry

  1. She also links to chiefio’s website approvingly. Wow! indeed…

  2. I posted a comment asking about what the “revolution” would look like since it would have to explain the C02 increase since the industrial revolution, tough to do by purely natural means. That comment got deleted yet Oliver K. Manuel’s about “propaganda artists” and consensus remains along with many other similar opinions.

    It seems that any published science is now met with “But Climategate” whereas any position contrary to consensus is met with “Interesting, could be true”.

    • Oliver K. Manuel’s comments are hilarious.

      The subject could be about baked beans and you are guaranteed within the first few comments of the thread will be something like:

      “Thank you, thank you, Professor Curry, for another moment of truth about baked beans.

      That reminds me of the time NASA at the behest of the world government fraudulently covered me in baked beans for daring to speak out about secret agreements made with Chinese leaders in the “week that changed the world”, new discoveries about the origin, composition and source of energy of the Earth-Sun system have been ignored, hidden or manipulated by the US National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society, and the federal research agencies they control since 1972.

      Now, four decades later, we have physically survived in an increasingly totalitarian world government with tightly controlled information.”
      -Oliver K. Manuel

      The funny thing is it isn’t a joke is it?

  3. “any position contrary to consensus is met with ‘Interesting, could be true.’”

    You are too generous. The very first comment on the carbon cycle thread began “Thank you, thank you, Professor Curry, for another moment of truth.”

    It’s inspiring to see true fearless iconoclastic skepticism in action, is it not?

  4. Heh well it doesn’t take too much time reading the blogosphere to learn the awful truth: Climate change skeptics are only skeptical of things they don’t want to be true which makes them biased, the precise opposite of what they claim.

    Sadly, the same appears to be true of Dr Curry albeit with a twist: She wants currently established scientists gone and is happy to believe that for anything they say is true, the reverse must be. This is usually anyone involved in Climategate but it often extends much further than this.

    It’s the equivalent if deciding to encourage students to work harder by giving those that do little work A’s (so they learn what it is to be “listened to”) and those that work hard Fs (so they learn not to be complacent to arrogant). Who knows when the experiment is supposed to end and scientists go back to learning about how the world works.

    • This is ridiculous sharper00. Your handwaving about all “skeptics” as if you could do such a thing is just mind-blowingly wrong. Most people on that thread just wanted to know more about the thesis, if it is interesting, why, what are the counter-arguments, etc.

      Now of course, there will always be the I-knew-it-all-along-its-a-scam types of comments, just as there will be people like you trying to shut the discussion down for it is ridiculous that such basics are called into question.

      Your last paragraph is just insane, so I won’t even bother.

  5. This one is actually really bad. And her thread comments are making it worse.

  6. Just because there is a lack of details and there is churn among the commenters does not mean that there are not serious claims and evidence to deal with.

    For instance, Salby claims satellite disparities inform his conclusions on CO2 – among others.

    What’s really challenged is the IPCC reliance on uncalibrated ice-cores where CO2 level fluctuations are compressed out to interpret the carbon cycle. Thus, Salby develops a contemporary counterpart to the paleoclimate reversal of a decade ago to challenge the traditional cause-effect attribution, ie, that CO2 levels drive climate, especially with respect to delta-T.

    If Salby is correct, this will indeed be revolutionary as Curry says.

    It is too early to jump on Curry and snark about it. Most of the blogosphere, scientific or not, is consumed by churning (eg, P Z Myers) of old news.

    Salby’s paper is supposedly due out in September.

    • As Tim Lambert points out, Salby appears to have done a “McLean”. If so, what is it with those Australians and removing the trend, do correlation analysis, and then claim to have an explanation for the trend?

  7. Pingback: Murray Salby and conservation of mass : Deltoid

  8. I see this blog cited approvingly by “skeptics” online, and it has without exception been in the context of dismissing, ridiculing, or otherwise attacking the mainstream.

    The reason for “dismissing, ridiculing, or otherwise attacking the mainstream” is because of IPCC’s claim of “accelerated warming” when there is nothing like that in the global mean temperature data shown below.

    Accelerated warming interpretation by IPCC:

    Natural warming and cooling cycle interpretation by sceptics:

    The unbelievable must be dismissed, ridiculed, or otherwise attacked; especially when it results in artificially increasing the cost of energy for billions.

  9. Thanks, Thingsbreak, for your “splash” in JC’s blog’s comments – I’ve been reading a few of her posts again recently, for the first time in a while, and though of course I was not liking what I was reading I couldn’t quite articulate why/how – your comment nailed it. That’s was exhilarating…

  10. Jesus Christ, that’s a pretty epic shark jump. Even for Curry.

  11. OTT – What is Judith’s beef with Gavin Schmidt??

    Whenever he comments on something Judith has posted (not often), she jumps in with both boots and claims Gavin has it completely wrong (often using the term “fallacy” IIRC), only for it to be shown almost immediately that she’s got it horribly wrong.

  12. Hey, it turns out it was all just a clever way to encourage the denizens to learn more about the carbon cycle!

    Win! (crafty, she is!)

  13. RE: Curry’s blog, after much patience and foolish optimism I gave up on that rats nest when she allowed climate scientists to be referred to as eugenicists. It is somewhere below WUWT in my estimation.


    You’ve been peddling that garbage (and other howlers) for years now in the face of countless detailed painstaking corrections that you’ve ignored utterly. You are either:

    a) knowingly lying or

    b) completely delusional or

    c) a computer simulation of the worst sort of crass stupidity designed specifically to vex and enrage rational people

  14. As an example of how wacky (and there is no other term…) Oliver K. is, I present the following:

    • LOL! The guy does not even understand the difference between the Bilderberg group (which had its first meeting at Hotel de Bilderberg in 1954, and never afterwards in that same place) and a scientific study group held at Hotel de Bilderberg in 1967.

      Hotel de Bilderberg is a common venue for conferences.

  15. J.C doubts are justified.

    Every links to commentaries and research papers containing questions about ice core – CO2 – whole is here – discussion of F. Engelbeen.

    In addition, we compare these four figures (around 1950)
    : ‘Global and European temperature (CSI 012) – Assessment published Jun 2010’

    CO2 historical



    P.S. Of course, the fluctuations in water pH of the oceans is affected by many factors (tides, monsoons, sunshine, temperature – rather small), but …

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