Scientists and motivated reasoning

by Judith Curry

Motivated reasoning affects scientists as it does other groups in society, although it is often pretended that scientists somehow escape this predicament.

Motivated reasoning has been put forward as the reason why educated conservatives reject the consensus on climate change science.  This post examines the thesis that motivated reasoning by climate scientists is adversely impacting the public trust in climate science and provides a reason for people to reject the consensus on climate change science.

Microethics vs Macroethics

I have had a draft post on Microethics vs Macroethics sitting around for almost a year.  Ideally, I should have completed that post before this one, but an email exchange with Dan Kahan motivated me to write this post instead.  So here is a quick overview of my points re microethics vs macroethics.  This particular framing of the ethical dilemmas for research scientists came to my attention in context of materials that have been provided to universities in support of training for responsible conduct in research.  Research scientists all have the responsibilities to adhere to the principles of ethical research and professional standards as outlined in the document On being a scientist.  But what happens when other responsibilities get in the way of these professional standards?

As a researcher, what kinds of responsibilities do you have to

  • your conscience (micro)
  • your colleagues (micro)
  • institutions (micro/macro)
  • the public (macro)
  • the environment (macro)

One can imagine many different types of motivated reasoning across this spectrum of micro/macro ethical responsibilities that can either bias the scientific process or even violate professional standards.  Climate science has many examples to provide in this regard.

Nobel causes

Scientists may either bias their research in favor of concerns about public policy and the environment in subtle ways, or they may actively work to suppress evidence, and in some instances they may proactively manufacture evidence to discredit their opponents.

To start:  Reiner Grundmann at Die Klimazweibel has a recent article entitled Science for a good cause? Excerpts:

Imagine the following scenario. An atmospheric scientist makes a discovery that seems to challenge a particular model of sea level increase due to global warming. She expects her discovery will be refined through further research, and that, in the end, it will not refute the mainstream view. In the meantime, she wants to avoid giving ammunition to climate skeptics, so she postpones publication. But an ambitious postdoc surreptitiously informs the media about the discovery. The media accuse the scientist of a cover-up and report that key evidence for anthropogenic climate change has been refuted.

How would you react if someone concludes in the following way: ‘The atmospheric scientist was not wrong to withhold the information from the public; she wisely foresaw the danger that it would be deployed in misleading ways and attempted to do her bit for the promotion of public freedom’.

This is not a scenario invented by myself, but by the philosopher of science Philip Kitcher, recounted in a review of his book by Mark Brown.  (Science in a Democratic Society, Prometheus Books, Amherst, New York, 2011; review article by Mark Brown, published in Minerva (51:389–397; DOI 10.1007/s11024-013-9233-y). 

In my view this comment exemplifies a problematic attitude not only in climate science but in the social sciences as well. The good cause which allegedly motivates much of the research puts the researcher in a special position. It allows them to dispense with essential standards of professional conduct. It is perhaps not remarkable that we see a ‘leading figure’ in the philosophy of science defend questionable practices which have been modelled (not by accident I suppose) after the famous climategate affair.

The risks for the credibility of science (no matter which branch or discipline) are clear. Anyone who comes across such commentary will take this as confirmation that science can be twisted according to the will of scientists (or elites); that science is constructed (in the vulgar sense of being ‘made up’ and ‘fake’); and that scientists preserve the prerogative of making judgements which data are for public consumption and which are not.

As I pointed out in a recent talk, motivated reasoning is a problem for scientists. It affects scientists as it does other groups in society, although it is often pretended that scientists somehow escape this predicament. The above comment from Kitcher (‘the atmospheric scientists was not wrong to withhold the information from the public’)  is a powerful illustration of social scientists falling into the trap of motivated reasoning, justifying the questionable professional standards through recourse to alleged higher ethical standards.

Scientists will only be able to command trust in society if they follow basic professional standards. Prime among them is to publish the results of their research, no matter if they support a desirable storyline or not.

Last year, I encountered a stark example of this.  One of my colleagues was thinking about publishing a paper that challenges the IPCC interpretation of the previous pause during the 1940s to 1970’s.  My colleague sent a .ppt presentation on this topic to three  colleagues, each of whom is a very respected senior scientist and none of whom have been particularly vocal advocates on the subject of climate change (names are withheld to protect the guilty/innocent).  Each of these scientists strongly encouraged my colleague NOT to publish this paper, since it would only provide fodder for the skeptics. (Note: my colleague has not yet written this paper, but not because he was discouraged by these colleagues).

What is at issue here is a conflict between the micro ethics of individual responsibility for responsible conduct of research and larger ethical issues associated with the well-being of the public and the environment.  Most such examples are related to suppression of evidence including  attempting to stifle skeptical research (particularly its publication and dissemination to the public); the Climategate emails provide abundant examples of this.

A more pro-active example of this conflict is the curious case of Peter Gleick and the Heartland Affair.  On my post Gleick’s integrity, I wrote:

Gleick’s ‘integrity’ seems to have nothing to do with scientific integrity, but rather loyalty to and consistency with what I have called the UNFCCC/IPCC ideology.  

When ‘Heartlandgate’ first broke, I saw no parallels with Climategate.  Now, with the involvement of Gleick, there most certainly are parallels.  There is the common theme of climate scientists compromising personal and professional ethics, integrity, and responsibility, all in the interests of a ’cause’.

Fuller and Mosher’s book Climategate: The CruTape Letters argued that ‘noble cause corruption’ was a primary motivation behind the Climategate deceits.  Noble cause corruption is when the ends (noble) justify the means (ignoble).  I think that there is an element of this that can be seen in the Climategate emails, but I think the motivated reasoning by climate scientists is more complex (and ultimately less ‘noble’).

Institutional loyalties

In the early days of this blog, one of my more controversial essays was Reversing the positive feedback loop, which lays out motivated reasoning associated with institutional loyalties.  Excerpts (with some slightly toned down wording):

Once the UNFCCC treaty was a done deal, the IPCC and its scientific conclusions were set on a track to become a self fulfilling prophecy.  The entire framing of the IPCC was designed around identifying sufficient evidence so that the human-induced greenhouse warming could be declared unequivocal, and so providing the rationale for developing the political will to implement and enforce carbon stabilization targets.   National and international science programs were funded to support the IPCC objectives.  

Were [these] just hardworking scientists doing their best to address the impossible expectations of the policy makers?  Well, many of them were.  However, at the heart of the IPCC is a cadre of scientists whose careers have been made by the IPCC.  These scientists have used the IPCC to jump the normal meritocracy process by which scientists achieve influence over the politics of science and policy.  Not only has this brought some relatively unknown, inexperienced  and possibly dubious people into positions of influence, but these people become vested in protecting the IPCC, which has become central to their own career and legitimizes playing power politics with their expertise.

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.  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.  This advancement of their careers is done with the complicity of the professional societies and the institutions that fund science.  Eager for the publicity,  high impact journals such as Nature, Science, and PNAS frequently publish sensational but dubious papers that support the climate alarm narrative.

Especially in the renascent subfields such as ecology and public health, these publications and the media attention help steer money in the direction of these scientists, which buys them loyalty from their institutions, who appreciate the publicity and the dollars.

Further, the institutions that support science use the publicity to argue for more funding to support climate research and its impacts.  And the broader scientific community inadvertently becomes complicit in all this.  While the IPCC proponents loudly cry out against the heretical skeptical scientists and the dark influences of big oil and right wing ideology that are anti-science, we all join in bemoaning these dark forces that are fighting a war against science, and support the IPCC against its critics. 

So do I think IPCC scientists are policy advocates? They seem mainly concerned with preserving the importance of the IPCC, which has  become central to their professional success, funding, and influence.  Most don’t understand the policy process or the policy specifics; they view the policy as part an parcel of the IPCC dogma that must be protected and preserved at all cost, else their success, funding and influence will be in jeopardy.

Back in 2010, this post raised the ire of a number of people.  My response to people that were angered by my post: ‘If the shoe fits, wear it; if it doesn’t, don’t.’

The existence of an institutionalized consensus further complicates the issue, and an additional motivation comes into play.  In my paper No consensus on consensus, I used this quote from Jean Goodwin:

Once the consensus claim was made, scientists involved in the ongoing IPCC process had reasons not just to consider the scientific evidence, but to consider the possible effect of their statements on their ability to defend the consensus claim.

Loyalty to colleagues

The issue of loyalty to colleagues came starkly to the forefront in response the release of the Climategate emails.  I was criticized for my early essays by colleagues because talking about even the broad issues of uncertainty, transparency, losing trust etc  was viewed as insensitive to the feelings of the individual scientists involved (and not helping the ’cause’).  Jerry North stated publicly that he would not read the emails out of respect for the scientistists involved.

This issue was made very explicit by the title of the Scientific American article entitled Climate Heretic:  Judith Curry turns against her Colleagues.  Of all the issues raised by Climategate and the points I had been trying to make about overconfidence and uncertainty, transparency, engaging with skeptics, etc., the main issue of interest in all this was construed as me turning against my colleagues?  It was hard for me to understand this at first, but then I realized that by talking about uncertainty and engaging with skeptics that I was following the playbook according to the merchants of doubt meme.  So talking about topics that I regarded as efforts that were needed to rebuild the credibility of climate science was regarded by my ‘colleagues’ as damaging to the consensus.

Early on in my statements about Climategate, I became aware that my statements were looked upon very unfavorably by some scientists, particularly those that were vocal advocates of the IPCC and UNFCCC policies. As an example, Peter Webster related a conversation at a professional meeting in 2010 with a young scientist who said something like: ‘You know, Judy is REALLY unpopular among the scientists at lab.  I’m not sure, but I think she might be right.  I can say that to you but of course I wouldn’t dare say that at the lab.’

I soon realized that by doing this, I was pretty much destroying any chance I might have had for further recognition/awards by professional societies such as the AGU.   I also thought I risked unfavorable reviews of my papers and grant proposals (this has definitely not happened).  I have become a minor hero to some  for my advocacy of integrity in climate research.  So does any of the above matter to me?

Last June, I encountered at a meeting an elected official of one of the major professional societies, who was not unsympathetic to my positions.  He asked me:  “I have wondered what possessed you to break loose from the mainstream opinions of the community, with potentially adverse professional consequences.”   My response was that I was doing this because I thought it was the right thing to do, and that I thought that someone needed to stand up as an advocate for professional responsibility and integrity in climate research.  And I inched into all this, with the adverse response from my ‘colleagues’ further justifying to me the need to do what I was doing.  So in context of the microethical dilemmas, I went with my conscience, which told me to put professional responsibility and integrity ahead of the norms and desires of my colleagues and the institutions of climate science.  It is still astonishing to me that there should be such a conflict.

I can understand  how a  personal conflict can arise between professional responsibility/integrity versus an environmental or social issue that the individual deems to be very important (scientists working on the atom bomb are an example here).  But conflicts between professional responsibility/integrity versus loyalty to colleagues/institutions seems to me very difficult to justify in a way that is not self serving.  The only non-self serving justification that I can think of (and one that I fell for for awhile) was solidarity in fighting against a ‘war on science.’  I now understand that there was a heck of lot of motivated reasoning in putting forward the ‘war on science’ argument.

My ‘ostracism’ from the IPCC advocacy  ‘tribe’ has been noted by other scientists that are quietly sympathetic to my position.  As an example, several years ago at a conference, one of the speakers was quite critical of one piece of the conventional IPCC wisdom, but prefaced the talk with the statement something like this:  ‘While my talk contains some evidence that challenges some of the findings of the IPCC, I want to state up front that I support the IPCC consensus on climate change.’  After the talk, I asked this scientist why he felt the need to preface his talk with a statement of IPCC allegiance, when his research was rather devastating to part of the IPCC’s argument.  He stated ‘I don’t want to have to put up with what you have had to, so I make it very clear that I support the IPCC consensus.’

Dan Kahan’s post (discussed on the previous Scientific Evidence thread) included a statement that I find to be particularly apt here:

But if I take the wrong position on the issue relative the one that predominates in my group, and I might well cost myself the trust and respect of many on whose support I depend, emotionally, materially and otherwise.

My treatment at the hands of the consensus police has apparently discouraged some other scientists from publicly following suit.  On the other hand, perhaps I have helped to pave the way for the emergence of a Tamsin Edwards.  It will be interesting to see how all this plays out.  And all this is why I regard the institutionalization of climate tribalism such as evidenced by the recent AGU statement on climate change to be so pernicious to the field of climate science.

Impact on trust

On his latest post, Dan Kahan makes the following points:

Those points reduce to three:

  1. Members of the public do trust scientists.
  2. Members of culturally opposing groups distrust each other when they perceive their status is at risk in debates over public policy.
  3. When facts become entangled in cultural status conflicts, members of opposing groups (all of whom do trust scientists) will form divergent perceptions of what scientists believe.

Here is some counter evidence regarding blanket trust in scientists.  From an article entitled Responses of the legal order to the loss of trust in science:

It is doubtful that there is a general reduction in the public’s trust in science. [O]nly certain fields of scientific research are regarded as controversial, that is, primarily the biosciences, but also fields like the environment, reproductive medicine, communications technology and protection of privacy.

Losses of trust are valid not only for certain fields of science, but also for certain institutions, especially when political or economic partial interests impel such institutions to drive certain scientific developments whose advantages for the public are not clearly evident.

Liz Neely has a relevant post Advocacy and trust.  Excerpts:

The best specific resource I know of is an E&E News article from last summer in which Paul Voosen covered some particularly relevant research by Jon Krosnick. Krosnick wanted to go beyond simplistic ideas of scientists being trusted or not trusted, and instead delve into the difference that advocacy messages make. Using footage of real climate scientists making public remarks, Krosnick was able to test the difference between a science-only message versus one of science + a “call to arms.” (Elegant, isn’t it?) He found it did make a significant difference… for some audiences:

For a cohort of 548 respondents who either had a household income under $50,000 or no more than a high school diploma, the results were stunning and statistically significant. Across the board, the move into politics undermined the science.

The viewers’ trust in the scientist dropped 16 percentage points, from 48 to 32 percent. Their belief in the scientist’s accuracy fell from 47 to 36 percent. Their overall trust in all scientists went from 60 to 52 percent. Their belief that government should “do a lot” to stop warming fell from 62 to 49 percent. And their belief that humans have caused climate change fell 14 percentage points, from 81 to 67 percent.”

Those numbers knock me back, but… I haven’t seen the paper. I checked with Paul yesterday – to the best of our knowledge, it remains in pre-publication*, so I can’t speak to specifics. While I am cautious in running too far with this, it provides mounting evidence that different dynamics are governing different segments of “the public.” If we know that distrust in science increases with increasing education among political conservatives, and we know that advocacy increases distrust in science and scientists among those at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum, what does that mean?

I genuinely don’t know.

Concluding statements

This essay was motivated by a very interesting email conversation with Dan Kahan.   I have put forward a thesis that is supported by some anecdotal evidence and arguments (names have been omitted to protect the innocent/guilty).  This post is sort of a prolegomena to what I hope will be future studies that investigate the sociology and psychology of scientists and motivated reasoning, and its influence on public trust in science.

Climate change is arguably a unique case in all of science owing to magnitude of the socioeconomic impacts of both the problem and the proposed solutions and the massive institutionalization of a consensus that has been manufactured by the IPCC.

While there may be genuinely difficult ethical challenges associated with perceived noble causes, I am particularly concerned about microethical conflicts involving colleagues and scientific institutions that apparently justify self-serving irresponsible professional behavior, both by individuals and institutions.  This seems much worse to me than politically motivated reasoning by members of the public.

I have no personal attachment to the hypotheses presented here; I fervently hope that someone can justifiably demonstrate that my thesis is incorrect.  But to me there seems like a heck of a lot of evidence supporting my thesis, only a fraction of which can be included in a blog post.

Personally, I have felt the need to break loose of the shackles of loyalty to colleagues and institutions if it comes at the expense of integrity in science and professional conduct.    I envy Richard Muller who comes at the issue of climate science without the baggage associated with loyalty to colleagues or institutions in the climate field; rather his colleagues are a very elite group of physicists.  Muller’s approach of securing private funding and publishing his papers first on the internet has allowed him to avoid the schackles that I rather uncomfortably had to break away from.  Private funding, the internet, and the emergence of scientists from outside the traditional community (not just Muller’s team but also Steve McIntyre, Nic Lewis etc.) bodes well for improving the integrity of climate science in the 21st century and diminishing the effectiveness of the consensus police.

But I am hoping this essay will promote some self reflection among climate scientists regarding their own ethical conflicts and values.  Unfortunately, I suspect this essay will also trigger a backlash from the consensus police (absence of such a backlash would help disprove my thesis ha ha), but I am pretty much immune to all that at this point.

758 responses to “Scientists and motivated reasoning

  1. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Naomi Oreskes has thoroughly documented the motivated reasoning that, in recent years, has pushed climate-change scientists toward overly conservative climate-change risk-assessments.

    Do not omit to cite this research, Judith Curry!

    • Thoroughly, Huh? Naomi!

      • David Springer

        I don’t care a bit about motivated reasoning. Motivated and wrong aren’t synonyms fercrisakes. I care because it was hasty reasoning with insufficient data being used to promote major policy changes expensive for the US that would never have a snowball’s chance in hell of making any significant change in outcomes. The hypothetical numbers being spit out by models didn’t seem to have much going for them except a brief barely decadal correlation with CO2 and even if they were right all the warming is up in the frickin’ frozen north where people welcome it. Find a cheaper source of energy than fossil and you get my attention. Kill the goose that lays the golden energy eggs before you do and I consider you a danger to society.

    • Yes, Fan of more B.S. We are all amazed at how conservative people have been. It’s so hard now-a-days to find anyone boldly “projecting” temperature rises of 15 C and sea-level rises of 50 meters. I long to see such bravery by climate-warriors.

    • David Springer

      Why would a PhD geologist know more about motivated reasoning than (for instance) a cab driver or convenience store owner?

    • Steven Mosher

      Naomi argues that scientists have underestimated significant drivers.

      The best way to audit this is to look at the most important metric: sensitivity.
      The record is clear, early numbers have been on a steady walk AWAY FROM worrisome numbers. The numbers are still high, but they are being ratcheted down.

      ‘We have learned a lot from experience about how to handle some of the ways we fool ourselves. One example: Millikan measured the charge on an electron by an experiment with falling oil drops, and got an answer which we now know not to be quite right. It’s a little bit off because he had the incorrect value for the viscosity of air. It’s interesting to look at the history of measurements of the charge of an electron, after Millikan. If you plot them as a function of time, you find that one is a little bit bigger than Millikan’s, and the next one’s a little bit bigger than that, and the next one’s a little bit bigger than that, until finally they settle down to a number which is higher.
      Why didn’t they discover the new number was higher right away? It’s a thing that scientists are ashamed of – this history – because it’s apparent that people did things like this: When they got a number that was too high above Millikan’s, they thought something must be wrong – and they would look for and find a reason why something might be wrong. When they got a number close to Millikan’s value they didn’t look so hard. And so they eliminated the numbers that were too far off, and did other things like that..”

      We could list other examples besides the over estimation of sensitivity.
      We could look at various predictions of sea level rise. Hanson has a whopper here. We could look at estimates of sea ice, some way too high others way too low.

      We could tally all the estimates that were too high or too low. But that tally would tell us NOTHING about whether a particular estimate was high or low.
      The tally is being used as a rhetorical tool. In most cases scientists are conservative ( err dont look at these other examples ) therefore, we can conclude.. what exactly? what follows from the case that in many or most instances ( but not all) that an estimate was too low? NOTHING of scientific interest follows from this. What follows from the ratcheting down of sensitivity. Nothing. its not a fact that has any bearing whatsoever on the “real” value. Imagine the lunancy of somebody look at the trajectory of measurments of the speed of light over time and doing a regression to determine what the true value would be in say 10 years. Since scientists are not universally conservative, and since there is no constant of progression to the truth, noting the conservativism ( or liberality) of scientists is a distraction from science.

      • +1

      • Nice analogy, lurker
        Bts

      • Beth, wrong nesting. Cosylol :)

      • David Springer

        How we fool ourselves? What’s this “we” schit paleface?

      • Steve,
        “NOTHING of scientific interest follows from this. What follows from the ratcheting down of sensitivity. Nothing. its not a fact that has any bearing whatsoever on the “real” value”. I was right with you until this conclusion.

        This type of omission in a complex discussion is why advocacy and PR experts are effective. Dismissing the question is not the same as saying that you know the answer. It also does not obviate the need to answer the question. You sound like a lawyer seeking time?

        Your answer is a good tactical response but many of us would like to know the answer. The implications matter?The answer is what the observations will eventually conclude. Your BEST work and answers seem to demonstrate that you acknowledge open questions? Observations and their interpretation are the most important part of the puzzle (unless you just want to pick a winner out the air). I would also add that a scientifically significant time frame is equally important. The issue of sensitivity is at the moment in the forefront of this discussion. You likely have a better idea than most on this sensitivity question. This type of answer would likely have caused you to be curt during a staff meeting?

        Your post on BEST was most informative and shows your dedication to hard work.

        Appreciated an Thanks

      • Steven Mosher

        Garry

        “Nothing. its not a fact that has any bearing whatsoever on the “real” value”. I was right with you until this conclusion.”

        Here is what I mean.

        lets suppose we go back to the first estimates
        1896: 5.5

        from that day to today the estimates have bumped up ( to 9.6 in 1963)
        and down to values below 1.

        the general course has been down.

        my point is this. nobody would suggest doing a regression on that line to arrive at an estimate of the true value. that course whether it be conservative or ‘liberal” doesnt tell you anything about the final value.

        That history of change can go from the underestimated to spot on
        or from over estimated to spot on. And you can even get wild swings.

      • One of the cool things about science that I learned is that sometimes it is the outlier in your data that ends up telling you the most.

      • The difference between the charge on an electron, and the climate sensitivity, science’s estimates, is that the former wasn’t *motivated* reasoning. Millikan’s successors had no vested interest in any particular answer. Physics isn’t corrupt as climate science so obviously is.

    • lurker passing through, laughing

      Of course with ‘fan’, we see a daily repeat of fine examples of motivated reasoning. One does not have to come by very often at all to know that AGW true believers like ‘fan’ are to discussions of climate as porn addicts are to discussions of human sexuality.

      • Meh. While along with countless others, I often upbraid Fan for her utterly impregnable, one sided views which are nothing if not extreme examples of motivated reasoning, I believe her to be a sincere and passionate person. I think the contempt in which she’s held by some of the skeptics is unwarranted. And she shows some courage by continuing to fight the good fight despite it.

        My sense is she’s wholly embraced the cause in an Oreskean kind of way, which holds that the dangers are so great that we shouldn’t even keep our minds open to contrary arguments.. The fate of “the planet” is at stake after all. .

        Of course fan fails to take into account the grievous economic hardships that would ensue if she were to have her way, both because she doesn’t want to believe them, and because even if true, they’re still worth it…

      • pokerguy,

        Don’t let fan’s fondness of attributes often associated with 14 year old girls confuse you. I believe he is a Prof. at University of Washington.

    • How about the motivated reasoning of psychologists trying to describe the motivations of sceptics as motivated reasoning and ideology (especially if they paint themselves blue, and go on climate marches!)

      Psychologists Professor Stephan Lewandowsky and Dr Adam Corner spring to mind
      Adam painted blue.

      The Wave. London

      Dr Adam Corner (psycholoist interested in climate scepticism) cheer leaded the ‘Moon Hoax’ paper in the Guardian without the slightest bit of scepticism towards the paper..

      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2012/jul/27/climate-sceptics-conspiracy-theorists

      When it was suggested to Adam that perhaps his own motivated reasoning and ideology prevent him from questioning climate science or even that very dodgy paper, (he thought he was being smeared/attacked personally)

      http://talkingclimate.org/are-climate-sceptics-more-likely-to-be-conspiracy-theorists/

      A reasonable person would suggest that a psychologist that is an active campaigner, and Director and Policy Advisor to climate lobby groups (COIN, PIRC), is perhaps not neutral, or at the very least would be perceived by the public as perhaps having a bias or two

      and of course there was this photo of Dr Adam Corner, painted blue (Friends of the Earth) on ‘The Wave’ Stop Climate Chaos march, pre Copenhagen. Hard to smear him, linking to a photo, from a publically available article he wrote for Friends of the Earth?

      The Wave. London

      http://www.foecardiff.co.uk/content/cardiff-campaigners-demand-climate-action-record-breaking-protest

      and he was tweeting about ‘deniers’ whilst at Copenhagen,

      @AJCorner
      loving Brown calling people ‘deniers’ and ‘luddites’ on Cif. Tell it like it is Gordy! http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green
      12:59 PM Dec 7th, 2009 from web

      Adam was carrying an Act Now banner at Copenhagen, Photo from an article written by Adam himself for the Green Party (can you smear somebody, by quoting from their own articles?)

      from:

      http://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/localparties/gwent/newsletters/2010/greenwales_spring.pdf

      But no that is all irrelevant according to Adam, just attempts to smear him or to make him lose credibility amongst his colleagues, because presumably motivated reasoning only applies to sceptics not academic psychologists?

  2. “Motivated reasoning affects scientists as it does other groups in society, although it is often pretended that scientists somehow escape this predicament.”
    This is a statement of the obvious though it is one which deserves to be repeated constantly since it holds a bunch of issues that never sleep.
    One place where it errs however, in my view, is the idea that “it is often pretended that scientists… escape this predicament”. On the contrary, it is because scientists are always subject to this predicament that they focus so strongly, in whatever form or with whatever philosophy it is understood, on scientific method. Method is the antidote to exactly this predicament. It is why method, and logic, was devised, to avoid the errors which arise form personal prejudice. Succumbing to the predicament is in the first analysis a failure of method. Succumbing is also human weakness, sadly.

    This is not to say that following a sound method does not often require courage and self analysis and deep choices. It does and it always will. Thats the nature of what is a permanent battle. There are no final solutions.

  3. Of course, the pure of heart Ms. Oreskes is beyond such sordid human frailty as motivated reasoning herself.. This is the same woman who I believed, argued that when it comes to climate change, far better to keep our minds closed.

    Always a fan, Fan. Greatly admire your passion and energy. But your Manichean view of the world gets you into trouble time and again.

    • Sorry, above meant for “FOMD”

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        timg56 claims “Naomi Oreskes is hardly a scientist.”

        Hmmm … let’s check, shall we?

        [Naomi Oreskes] began her career as a geologist, received her B.S. (1st class Honours) from the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College London, and then worked for three years as an exploration geologist in the Australian outback. She returned to the United States to receive an inter-disciplinary Ph.D. in geological research and history of science from Stanford University, in 1990.

        It appears that historian-of-science dual-PhD Naomi Oreskes has substantially greater training and experience in science, than most practicing scientists have training and experience in history!

        Are you entirely confident that your assessment has no component of ideology-driven prejudice, timg56?

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Let’s check, shall we? “Oreskes received her BSc degree in Mining Geology from the Royal School of Mines of Imperial College”. Mining Geology, not Geology. It’s an applied science degree that is specific to mineral extraction and it’s unclear to me what in a Mining Geology course of study would prepare one to ponder questions of atmospheric physics.

      • fan,

        In answer to your last question – yes, I am sure.

        From a reasoning standpoint I am skeptical of activists for any topic or viewpoint. Not sure how that points to any particular motivation.

        Perhaps the closest I come to motivation is from personal experience with the intersection of science education and environmentalism.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Pokerguy, whatever Judith Curry (and her colleagues) happen to think personally of the works of Naomi Oreskes (and her colleagues), it is just plain wrong not to cite/critique that work.

      Isn’t that common sense, pokerguy?

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Meh. I think Judith includes a wide range of people and points of view, some of which she strongly disagrees with. I’m not sure Naomi Oreskes who’s plainly an activist, if not a propagandist with her recommendation we all just close our minds to contrary ideas, adds much if anything to the discussion. Jmvho, of course

      • search for ‘oreskes’ on Climate Etc. search, you will see that she is mentioned and critiqued many times here, including in several of my recent publications.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Judith Curry reminds us “on Climate Etc. [Naomi Oreskes] is mentioned and critiqued many times”

        You are entirely correct Judith Curry!

        The most recent substantive Climate Etc mention of Oreskes’ research was the August 22, 2012 column On the rapid disintegration of projections, in which the IPCC’s (too conservative?) omission of sea-level rise associated to West Antarctic Ice Sheet disintegration was criticized by Oreskes. In this instance you sided with Oreskes:

        “My [Judith Curry] preference is to include the full range of plausible scenarios [regarding ice-sheet disintegration] (including back of the envelope, semi-empirical and model-based), including a qualitative likelihood assessment if possible.”

        Needless to say, James Hansen and colleagues concur in your assessment, that long-term climate-change effects are important. And so it will be mighty interesting to see if IPCC5 follows the (non-conservative!) joint Oreskes/Curry/Hansen recommendations in assessing these long-term.

        Most important of all, thank you very much, Judith Curry, for your sustained and committed effort, and thank you for your even-handed and thoroughly professional scientific standards, that are the foundation of the outstanding forum that is Climate Etc.

        As the Aussies say … “Good on `yah, Judith Curry!”

      • Naomi Oreskes is hardly a scientist. I will not denigrate a degree in History, as that is what my undergrad degree is in. Nor would i argue that her work be ignored. But in choosing between Judith Curry and Naomi Oreskes as the author having greater trust and credibility on the issue of science and motivated reasoning, it is no contest. If there is one thing indisputable about Prof. Oreskes, it is the fact she flies her motivations high and clear. In many ways that is honorable. In considering credibility, not so much. With Naomi Oreskes it is impossible to distinguish when she is speaking as a professional historian and when she does so as an activist.

      • Naomi is a far-left social scientist with no knowledge or understanding of climate science. Why should anyone give a shit what she says? I normally don’t care what someone’s political persuasion (or their religion) is until they try to cram it down my throat and I see that their politics or religion is what is driving their viewpoints and their “science”.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse
      • So while the IPCC has been doing its utmost to hype-up alarmism, ignoring the growing chasm between models and measurements, Oreskes says they aren’t going far enough??

        Is there even ONE SINGLE point that Oreskes can claim as her OWN, that isn’t patently obviously utter drivel, motivated by her desire to have science dictated to by extreme statist ideology ?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Pokerguy claims (without evidence) “Naomi Oreskes [is] plainly an activist”

      That is an excuse tgat denialists use to dismiss and/or omit-to-cite Naomi Oreskes’ body of research.

      But it is scarcely a valid reason, is it pokerguy?

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Oreskes’, speaking on a panel discussion carried by CSPAN (some LA Times book festival) not long ago dismissed Freeman Dyson’s obervations on climate science as the words of an old man, out of the limelight, craving attention. That ugly sort of ageism wouldn’t be accepted if it were not for the ‘noble’ motivation of destroying the credibility of one who isn’t a friend of the IPCC.

        She is despicable and deserves no better than she gives. If it wasn’t for her value as an attack poodle for the IPCC she would be quietly teaching in some academic backwater.

    • timg56, I doubt JC’ s motivation is any better than Oreskes’ motivation.

      • Max,

        No surprise there. But then you are the Goldielocks of Climate Etc, who likes his climate just right. In other words your stereotypical blonde.

      • I’m conservative on climate. People who want to change climate are radicals.

      • Maxi you must be in Viagra tainted divining mode. Not one but two souls, whose motivations you can assess. Or is the motivation anomaly more certain than the motivations themselves? Hmm I have seen that somewhere.

      • Don’t say “Viagra” at Climate Etc. It’s not nice to remind geezers of their shortcomings.

      • Max,

        I am of the opinion that a climate conservative is someone who understands there is not much they can do about it and therefore either plan according the best (meaning most accurate and reliable) forecasting or simply go about their business and don’t pay it much attention.

        Living in the PNW you learn to be prepared for a wide range of conditions or simply adapt and ignore it.

  4. Motivated reasoning is much worse among scientists than among the general public, as the former group is made of people who invariably think very high of themselves and very low of anybody else, especially after they achieve tenure or one of its various non-US equivalents, and their pet ideas become an object of personal cult.

    The informed and knowledgeable is much more dangerous when unwise exactly because there is _nothing_ that will stop him or her from debasing themselves. It’s a dirty job but something’s got to do it.

    And yes, the foremost example is a conspiracy theorist called Oreskes.

    • Motivated reasoning is much worse among scientists than among the general public, as the former group is made of people who invariably think very high of themselves and very low of anybody else

      There’s a lot to be said for this. Self-annointed elitism.

  5. Judith –

    Motivated reasoning stems from the very human attributes of how we reason – particularly when we’re examining controversial issues, and particularly in particular when those controversies overlap with social, cultural, political, etc., identifications…

    As such, if you’re arguing that motivated reasoning is disproportionately characteristic on one side of the climate debate in comparison to the other, it seems to me at least that you should provide some evidence to support that argument. Anecdotal stories provide useful information and context, and they are useful for showing that scientists and climate scientists are not immune from motivated reasoning. However, it certainly doesn’t seem that they would suffice as a particularly scientific approach to the more far-reaching dynamics you discuss in this post.

    • So this is what you call it now?

      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/356260/missing-koch-report-eliana-johnson

      While the rest of US wait for our Tea time.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Joshua: if you’re arguing that motivated reasoning is disproportionately characteristic on one side of the climate debate in comparison to the other,

      I don’t know where Prof Curry has ever tried to claim that any kind of flaw was more prevalent on “on side of the debate in comparison to the other”. Here she asserts that motivated reasoning exists among some climate scientists who support the IPCC consensus. Plenty of people have already documented “motivated reasoning” among skeptics.

      • Matt –

        I don’t know where Prof Curry has ever tried to claim that any kind of flaw was more prevalent on “on side of the debate in comparison to the other”.

        I’m not sure that she has. However, she does selectively point to motivated reasoning on one side of the fence, as she does with advocacy, normative science, tribalism, etc.

        Here she asserts that motivated reasoning exists among some climate scientists who support the IPCC consensus. Plenty of people have already documented “motivated reasoning” among skeptics.

        Plenty of people have already documented “motivated reasoning” among “realist” scientists also. Sure – some doubt that it exists among “realist” scientists, just as some doubt that it exists among “skeptics.”

    • joshie:”if you’re arguing that motivated reasoning is disproportionately characteristic on one side of the climate debate in comparison to the other,”

      You are supposed to be smart enough to know if that is what Judith is arguing. Do you have any evidence that Judith is arguing that? Are you saying that scientists should be allowed to engage in motivated reasoning, since deniers do it all the time? Shouldn’t scientists sucking at the public teat be expected to adhere to a higher ethical standard than the hoi polloi deniers?

      • Hi Don –

        Who said that I’m supposed to be smart?

        Oh, and btw, nice to see you back. Keep this up, and next time I’ll just ignore you when you say that you’re going away.

        Too funny.

    • Flowers Josh.

      Send flowers.

    • Nice try, but surely you josh. JC was not trying to impugn one side, but if I understand she was showing some level of perhaps disgust at its presence on the consensus side, especially as it is main stream. Your juvenile bald statement of we are all sinners is pointless, if not a straw-man

    • Steven Mosher

      Josh,

      I pointed this article out to Judith.. I think she had already read it, but the researcher is one who I think you have cited before..

      What is your take

      “For a cohort of 548 respondents who either had a household income under $50,000 or no more than a high school diploma, the results were stunning and statistically significant. Across the board, the move into politics undermined the science.”

      Interesting that you would not comment on a what appears to be some evidence that you have asked for many times..

      • steve –

        I think it’s interesting. It is a bit hard to judge, without more access, how the case for causation is made.

        I have seen other examinations of changes in trust in science. From what seems to me to be best I’ve seen, it seems that “trust” in science or scientists, has remained steady or grown among libs and moderates, and dropped among a minority of conservatives.

      • It shows that science is respected as a search for the truth until a connection is made to policy, either by the scientist or a politician. No one cared about climate science when they were just understanding Ice Ages or paleoclimate for the academic interests that they were, which was what was happening into the 70’s and 80’s. They might as well have been studying Mars for the interest it generated. It was long accepted CO2 was effective in explaining the climate, but no one complained about that, and even when it was starting to be recognized that adding CO2 was warming the earth as done by Callendar in the 1930’s, no one complained. Then people started doing sums about the growing fossil fuel usage and projections and it became realized how big this effect could be. The Charney estimate in 1979 was 3 C per doubling, but that didn’t create much of a stir either as it was still academic, but just about to become political as Charney had been commissioned to look into manmade climate change. Then after scientists like Hansen started projecting some very large effects of business as usual, mitigation policies started getting talked about, following on international mitigation successes with acid rain and ozone. Then the dams burst and the skeptics came running in with their disbelief of the whole previous half-century of academic conclusions, and made very loud noises to industries that fund politicians, and here we are with a whole political party disbelieving established climate science as part of their platform. In short, science is just science until it affects policy, then it becomes a public opinion fight.

      • steven –

        You might to Google around and look at the work of Gauchat.

        As for my take – from a comment I wrote in a discussion with harry on another blog:

        –snip–

        It discusses the important of the relationship between the data results on trust in science and trust in government and other social institutions. Also important are factors such as the growth of the religious right, the impact of high profile debates about Intelligent Design, abortion, stem cell research, and other issues that cross over between political identification and views on science.

        We know that how people feel about science is heavily influenced by social, cultural, personal, or political identification.. [for example] crossover between libruls and views about the science of vaccines.

        The issues at play here are not simple nor unilateral. I would say that no doubt, the change in view among American conservatives w/r/t trust in science is a very complicated issue. To start with, I would say that assuming validity in the poll data is questionable: What does “trust in science” really mean? Does it mean that conservatives are less likely to take medicine that was developed through medical research? Wouldn’t that be an outcome of a real loss of trust in science? Or does it mean that when they were asked the question about trust in science, they were thinking about their concerns about governmental overreach and not really science?

        In the end, I think it is reasonable to speculate that some degree of the change in perspective among conservatives w/r/t trust in science – as questionable as the validity of that measure might be in terms of measuring what it is intended to measure – is some combination of change in conservatives and changes in the nature of how science is conducted.

        [...]

        Trust in scientists dropped in one group, defined strictly by political affiliation, that comprises 34% of the American population. Not across nations. Not moderates (or liberals). Conservatives only, only in this country, and only. 34% of the population. Over 41 years.

        How much do you think that 25% drop among conservatives (only) affects the degree of trust when you consider the entire world population? How about the U.S. population? How much has the % of total population that trusts scientists dropped when the drop was by 1/3 among 1/3 of the American population?

        [...]

        Do you suppose that conservatives have stopped trusting in medical science, since that the problems with the research literature in that field is quite well identified? Hmmm.

        [...]

        [from Gauchat]:

        For example, on fundamental ontological questions about who we are and how we got here, conservatives are far more likely to doubt scientific theories of origins, including theories of natural selection and the Big Bang.

        Hmm. I wonder if the growth of the religious right might be a factor in the decreased trust in science among conservatives? Ya’ think?

        and this:

        In general, results are consistent with claims of the politicization thesis and show that conservatives experienced long-term group-specific declines rather than an abrupt cultural break.

        [...]

        Relating to the second pattern, when examining a series of public attitudes toward science, conservatives’ unfavorable attitudes are most acute in relation to government funding of science and the use of scientific knowledge to influence social policy (see Gauchat 2010). Conservatives thus appear especially averse to regulatory science, defined here as the mutual dependence of organized science and government policy.

        [Is it advocacy that conservatives are adverse to, or specific advocacy? ]

        –snip–

        It would be interesting to look at the overlap between what Gauchat has done and what Krosnck has done.

    • The dynamics of why the catastrophic side of the argument is the most guilty of motivated reasoning, is no more complex than that it serves the interests of those paying them. Government stands to gain from an acceptance of catastrophic global warming, so its paid scientists ‘conclude’ that is indeed the outlook. Note too that government provides close to 100% of all climate science funding.

  6. The climate science problem is not unique. I can remember a half-dozen episodes (I was actually involved in one) where there was significant pressure in the scientific community itself to alter scientific behavior to suit a political agenda. On the other hand, almost the same thing happens when a genuine scientific consensus develops around a new theoretical paradigm and hold-outs are eventually just told to shut up and quit wasting everyone’s time. (E.g., when the idea that birds are dinosaurs was nearing 100% acceptance in the early 90’s). What I’m getting at is that “motivated reasoning,” marginalization, and other behaviors in clear cases of politicized science — are not imposed from outside, but are actually characteristic behaviors of science-as-usual. I hope this is correct, since it would suggest that science has not become institutionally corrupt, or changed its fundamental structure. It is still probably within the 2-sigma variation in perversity to be expected of any group behavior.

    Of course, it might be a hockey stick …

    • On the other hand, almost the same thing happens when a genuine scientific consensus develops around a new theoretical paradigm and hold-outs are eventually just told to shut up and quit wasting everyone’s time.

      Don’t forget the many times that challenges to established paradigms have been suppressed with such tactics. Of course, most of these challenges won’t pan out, but IMO most of those defending the paradigm have no idea whether they will. AFAIK this is just as common in fields without real political implications as those with.

    • It is a hockey stick. Mann smoothed the data and took out the little ice age and the Medieval Warm Period and put the modern warming on the end of the stick. Climate Models smooth the data for the past ten thousand years and then put modern warming on the end of the stick. They say it should not have warmed this time like it always has in the past. They took out the past warming periods with their Models and that took out the one we are in. They have yet another hockey stick, but this one is ten thousand years old.

      If you properly fit the data of the past ten thousand years, this warming would have been right on time and magnitude.

      • “It is a hockey stick. Mann smoothed the data and took out the little ice age and the Medieval Warm Period and put the modern warming on the end of the stick”

        No. He took noisy data and picked any one with an uptick at the end. The uptick stays and the noise becomes flat.

    • +2

      Most fascinating are cases when very established “insiders” become “heretics” who refuse to self-censor their consensus-challenging findings. For an entertaining and interesting memoir from a “heretics'” point of view, I recommend Louis Frank’s (with Patrick Huyghe) The Big Splash and their follow-up Washington Post article http://smallcomets.physics.uiowa.edu/wp.html. As far as I know, mainstream science has effectively buried Frank and the late John Sigwarth’s work, although they did force some reconsideration of water in the upper atmosphere.

      Haldon Arp’s near-excommunication from astronomy for questioning velocity redshifts and distance estimates is also instructive. Neither of these cases had any policy relevance, but it was found critical by the “consensus” to destroy these individuals professionally. It was not enough to simply maintain disagreement.

      Perhaps threats to paradigm-based research funding from heretical ideas account for the lashing out and destruction of heretics. But Harry Collins’s detailed work on the history and sociology of gravitational wave detection is a counterexample to that thesis: The field’s pioneer, who became a heretic for claiming to detect the waves with an apparatus generally believed to be orders of magnitude too insensitive (and inexpensive), was refuted in print and challenged at meetings in a scientific but fairly gentle fashion (given the stakes for those trying to raise money for more-sensitive detectors). He never lost his funding. People just stopped paying attention to him.

  7. Better question now is, will the seemingly impenetrable motivated reasoning of modern climate science ever move back to more objective reasoning?

    Andrew

    • Better question now is, will the seemingly impenetrable motivated reasoning of modern climate science ever move back to more objective reasoning?

      No. Only government can afford to fund it, so it will always be biased towards maximizing government interference.

  8. “Nobel causes”

    I presume that was intentional.

  9. This post is an excellent example of what happens when people try to design their own code of ethics. Our culture has abandoned the supposedly out dated Judeo-Christian ethic, and is at sea trying to replace it on and ad hoc basis, to devastating effect.

    (By the way, I have the same response to the hair pulling and gnashing of teeth when lawyers stress about how to deal with ethics, conflicts of interest, privilege, etc., not just climate scientists.)

    What value takes priority? My duty to my peers? My duty to the world? My duty to myself? It makes for great theater. And one can be both completely self absorbed, and yet create the appearance of being concerned with the broader issue of “ethics.”

    Try these:
    -Don’t lie,including by omission – to anyone, for any reason.
    -Don’t steal – from anyone, for any reason.

    Or this one, the all purpose rule of ethics set forth by someone most of you try very hard to ignore:
    -Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    Imagine the climategate keystone cops applying that one, simple principle. But we’re all way too sophisticated for that. Right?

    Trust in science? Science is a method. Trust, if it exists at all, must be in people. And so long as the people at issue think they can have their own tailor-made, designer ethic, they will engage in conduct that makes the rest of the world distrust them.

    Ethics is not complicated. It only gets complicated when you give in to your vanity and decide you have other priorities that are more important.

    If it is your priority to be honest always, then conflicts between what impact the truth will have on the macro scale become irrelevant. You just have to trust others to do what is right. But that takes all the fun out of being an elitist, doesn’t it?

    • Our culture has abandoned the supposedly out dated Judeo-Christian ethic, ….

      GaryM raises an excellent point.

      If only we could go back to those Judeo-Christian ethics of yore, you know, like those manifest among slave-holders, crusaders, and the like. Those folks didn’t just “try to design their own code of ethics,” now did they?

      If following the dictates of prescribed Judeo-Christian ethics was good enough for them, why would we think we should do otherwise?

      • Joshua, of course, can’t ‘go back’ to his tribe’s code. There isn’t one.

        Andrew

      • So I read fro your scorn of GaryM’s comment you think telling lies and treating folks badly is OK.

      • No, Joushua is mystified by the Judeo-Cristian ethic which allowed slaves and bond sevants until Judeo-Christian ethics did some introspection and banded slavery. He doesn’t have a particular substitute for Judeo-Christian ethic or Protestant work ethic so he may just be jaded a willing to accept anything other than his heritage. He may be a closet paganist or Aryan Mystic, you know some other classification that has never strayed from the righteous path or perhaps has started his own Brotherhood of Bacon sect.

      • So I read fro your scorn of GaryM’s comment you think telling lies and treating folks badly is OK.

        Interesting logic.

        Logic whioch leads you to a wrong conclusion. No, I don’t “think telling lies and treating folks badly is OK.”

        What I’m doing is pointing out the obvious – that GaryM is falsely attributing some categorical difference in behavior based on whether or not someone “designs their own code of ethics.”

        And I’m also pointing out that he is falsely attributing some categorical difference in behavior based on his conclusion that “Our culture has abandoned the supposedly out dated Judeo-Christian ethic.”

        What is he comparing to in order to make his conclusion? What is his conceptualization of what existed pre-“abandoned?” Slave holders? Crusaders?

        By what comprehensive measure is there evidence that “our culture has abandoned” anything that has led to a difference in behavioral ethics, generally? Are we less ethical than we used to be – perhaps when we wouldn’t allow people to sit at lunch counters on the basis of skin color? How about when we routinely discriminated against people because of sexual preference? Perhaps when we denied women the vote?

      • He may be a closet paganist or Aryan Mystic, you know some other classification that has never strayed from the righteous path or perhaps has started his own Brotherhood of Bacon sect.

        Nope. None of the above. I used to belong to the B of Bs, but lately I’ve begun praying to the god of pork belly.

      • Joshua, of course, can’t ‘go back’ to his tribe’s code. There isn’t one.

        Really? What is my tribe – and how do you know I’m a member?

      • So which of not lying/stealing, giving false testimony and treating others in the way that you want to be treated do you object to exactly?

      • The Judeo-Christian ethics of yore are what have gotten western democratic civilization to where it is today, as flawed as it is. It coulda been a lot worse. It wasn’t a clean journey and it did not proceed on a straight line. What provided the impetus for ending slavery? Islam? Atheism? Unicorns? If you had any sense you would know that you are a product of Judeo-Christian ethics, as flawed as you are. You coulda been a lot worse.

      • I am the product of escape from Judeo-Christian slavery

      • Joshua, why don’t you try and adopt the novel approach of actually reading what someone writes, rather than picking on one little phrase and twisting it around to feed your own little prejudices?
        With such a talent for spin, you should be a politician – or maybe you are one.

      • Don Monfort,

        There is a very good argument that the Judeo-Christian culture is what gave rise to the free market system, not to mention universities and science in the west, without which we would be…well…Africa, but colder.

        Modern progressives love to explain the ascendance of the west by climate (which apparently explains everything to them nowadays). But Africa and Asia are equally rich in natural resources, and China has as varied a climate.

        Bhuddism has similar values. Yet, while China developed a complex culture and its own science, it was ultimately stunted compared to the explosion of knowledge, technology and prosperity in the west. Same with Muslim cultures of the Middle East.

        Oh, and for all you scornful self appointed elitists, who can name the originator of the concept of the separation of church and state? Here’s a hint. It isn’t Thomas Jefferson.

      • D
        E
        A
        D

        H
        O
        R
        S
        E

        Josh, your slavery defense (or is it attack), is tedious, tiresome and intellectually weak. It may have worked in 7th grade debate class. Most folks here have graduated from the 7th grade.

      • GaryM said in his post on August 20, 2013 at 6:45 pm

        There is a very good argument that the Judeo-Christian culture is what gave rise to the free market system …
        _____

        The Christians in Dixie had a free market in slavery. But I imagine they considered it sinful to buy or sell slaves on Sunday.

      • Josh, your slavery defense (or is it attack), is tedious, tiresome and intellectually weak.

        Defense? What am I defending?

        I am pointing out the facile nature of Gary’s reasoning. I’m not “defending” anything.

      • So which of not lying/stealing, giving false testimony and treating others in the way that you want to be treated do you object to exactly?

        None.

        Interesting logic, though.

      • Steven Mosher

        “If only we could go back to those Judeo-Christian ethics of yore, you know, like those manifest among slave-holders, crusaders, and the like.”

        so weird that you would say that when the history of the church at least back to the 6th century shows a continual division over the issue.
        In short, it would be weird to include a concept that was debated as a core belief.

        Not it very well may be that there is no unchanging core to the Judeo Christian ethic, but its clear that the position on slavery has been divided at least back to the 6th century.

        There is a way I can make sense out of your weird comment.
        That would be to ascribe an anti christian sentiment to you.
        I wont do that. But others might be motivated to see this as confirmation of their theories about you.

      • But others might be motivated to see this as confirmation of their theories about you.

        They can be motivated to see whatever they want, and if they see some “confirmation” of my anti-Christian bias, it just shows that they are “motivated” to be wrong. They’re entitled. More power to ‘em.

        I think my point was rather obvious – that Gary’s argument was facile.

        But if you’re “motivated” to think his argument logical – that we are slipping into some state of moral decay because of the “abandonment” of the Judeo-Christian ethic – and you see a devolution of ethic in our society since, say, the 18th century or the Crusades, more power to you as well.

      • Joshie, we know that you are an anti-Christian bigot. Let’s move on. Your argument that Gary’s argument is facile, is way more facile than Gary’s argument.

      • Joshie, we know that you are an anti-Christian bigot.

        Gee, mosher. I guess you’re right. Don found my post as “confirmation” of my anti-Christian bias.

        Too funny.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Gee, mosher. I guess you’re right. Don found my post as “confirmation” of my anti-Christian bias.”

        i trust you saw that coming.. I figured you just wanted to enrage them.

      • Oh, and btw steven, I see you’re still celebrating non-sequitur day, eh?

        so weird that you would say that when the history of the church at least back to the 6th century shows a continual division over the issue.

        Here’s what I said:

        If only we could go back to those Judeo-Christian ethics of yore, you know, like those manifest among slave-holders, crusaders, and the like.

        What I said was that slave-holders believed themselves to be the flagship of the Judeo-Christian ethic. And I didn’t even mention the missionaries who wiped out indigenous populations all over the planet in the name of their Judeo-Christian ethic.

        From none of that follows that some individuals who identified with Judeo-Christian theology did not debate the ethics of slavery – or that questions about the ethics of slavery or other unethical treatment of human beings did not create divisions with the church.

      • Steven, joshie isn’t trying to enrage anybody. He is actually trying to make friends. Pathetic.

      • i trust you saw that coming.. I figured you just wanted to enrage them.

        Actually, no. My point was to highlight the facile nature of GaryM’s argument – not to enrage Don or anyone else. (Besides, I doubt that he is “enraged” anyway. He just thinks I’m an idiot. Why would that “enrage” him?)

        And at any rate, if pointing out the lameness of GaryM’s argument enrages anyone, so be it. Sure, I can probably anticipate something like that, but I don’t see why it should alter what I post. Should I not ridicule GaryM’s argument in order to prevent someone from getting enraged? Perhaps it would be better, but I don’t really see why. Do you think that it would have any significantly positive impact?

      • He is actually trying to make friends. Pathetic.

        What a fascinatingly bizarre comment – that I would be trying to “make friends” by exchanging blog comments with people that I have never, and will never, share any time with in person. And even further, with people whose reasoning I consider to be facile. And further, with people who clearly have disdain for anyone that shares my political beliefs.

      • Steven Mosher

        Joshua

        “If only we could go back to those Judeo-Christian ethics of yore, you know, like those manifest among slave-holders, crusaders, and the like.”

        Frankly I like the way I put your argument much better than the way you put it. Sarcasm isnt partcularly effective especially in religious debates.

        If you wanted to make the point it would be much better to make it concrete. Which christian ethics? The ethics of agustine of Hippo who advocated slavery or Saint patrick who argued for its abolition.

        Showing some knowledge of the divided opinion on this might have won you some points. Instead, you use sarcasm which shows contempt for your conversation partner. Not a good sign when discussion “ethics”

      • Trust me joshie, you are trying to make friends. You are a needy little tike. I have told you before, that you would do yourself some good by showing some of these comment threads to your shrink.

      • Frankly I like the way I put your argument much better than the way you put it. Sarcasm isnt partcularly effective especially in religious debates.

        I like it better too (although I was also making another point). If I were as smart as you, I might be able to phrase it as effectively.

        Showing some knowledge of the divided opinion on this might have won you some points. Instead, you use sarcasm which shows contempt for your conversation partner.

        I have no contempt for Gary. Never met the fellow. I do have “contempt,” in a sense, for his argument, however.

        Not a good sign when discussion “ethics”

        Why, because someone might therefore make a judgement about my ethics? On the basis of a blog post? People are entitled to do so. That’s on them.

        I don’t judge someone else’s ethics on the basis of blog posts, but how they live their lives, how they treat people in the real world. If I haven’t met them, then I know I am in no position to judge their ethics, I feel no particular concern if someone is “motivated” do judge my ethics because I write a sarcastic blog comment.

        If Gary truly was hurt (or even affected) by anything I might write (or Don truly “enraged”), it would be different. My estimation is that won’t happen because he reflexively rejects any opinions that align with my political views. These notions of being “enraged” are dramaqueenism, IMO.

      • Steven Mosher

        Joshua

        “And I didn’t even mention the missionaries who wiped out indigenous populations all over the planet in the name of their Judeo-Christian ethic.”

        I dont think once can make the argument that they wiped out people in the name of their ethics. I think they rationalized their actions by appealing to their ethics. But I think youd be hard pressed to find a suitable number of cases where missionaries showed up and said. “hi we are here to kill you because our ethics told us to” .rather the ethics was used as justification after the fact.

        But Im sure you’ll find a case or two.

        maybe the crusades but even that is difficult

      • Steven Mosher

        Joshua,

        whether you actually have contempt for gary is unimportant. in fact I can never know whether you have it or not.

        I can observe you behaving in a way that shows contempt. Put another way, if you had admiration for gary I wouldnt expect you to be sarcastic.

        Think about the epistemology of sarcasm and you will see the point.

      • I can observe you behaving in a way that shows contempt.

        I don’t have contempt for people I’ve never met. For all I know, Gary is a fine man. Treats his family well, Does good deeds for his neighbors. Is generally a great guy. Why would I feel contempt for such a man?

        I have “contempt,” in a sense, for his argument. It is facile, and it demeans the ethics of people he has never met – on the basis of them having different ideology of political beliefs than he. We all make facile arguments. And I would say, at times, we all fall into the trap of demeaning the ethics of people we’ve never met. Such behavior is part of the human condition. It is well-explained by “motivated reasoning” in a general and abbreviated sense. Has been that way for eons. People I know and love display such behaviors. I have no contempt for them.

        If you think you observe me behaving in a way that shows contempt, you’re entitled. You are entitled to be wrong. As to whether I might behave in a way that is less likely to induce that judgement from you is another matter.

        BTW – I thought that you like to stay away from discerning motivations here. Wouldn’t contempt be a motivation?

      • You’re confused, joshie. Of course you have contempt for Gary. Gary is apparently a Christian and he is so bold as to advocate for Judeo-Christian ethics, which you condemn for the advent of slavery , crusades, wiping out natives, pestilence and dogs sleeping with cats.

      • Of course you have contempt for Gary. Gary is apparently a Christian and he is so bold as to advocate for Judeo-Christian ethics, which you condemn for the advent of slavery , crusades, wiping out natives, pestilence and dogs sleeping with cats.

        There’s nothing wrong with advocating for Judeo-Christian ethics, IMO. A fine set of ethics, indeed. I think his argument is facile, however.

        And I don’t “condemn” Judeo-Christian ethics for the advent of slavery, etc. As one example, slavery existed before the advent of Judeo-Christian ethics. Obviously, people believing in Judeo-Christian ethics is not causal for slavery. Neither does people believing in Judeo-Christian ethics prevent slavery, or other behaviors that I, personally, consider unethical.

      • Steven Mosher

        Joshua

        “I like it better too (although I was also making another point). If I were as smart as you, I might be able to phrase it as effectively.”

        This isnt an issue of being smart, nor is there any suggestion in what I wrote, that I think it is an issue of intelligence. Of course I like my way better? why would you suggest that it has something to do with one person being smarter.

        Let me show you why it is not an issue of intelligence.

        Any argument that appeals to origins or return to origins( lets call it logocentrism ) say an argument that suggests we ought to get back to our ethical origins can be attacked in a systematic way.

        1. demonstrate that the origin is divided
        2. demonstrate that the origin is not unique

        Once you learn that pattern of attack, then all you have to do is recognize appeals to origins. arguments are machines, the persona making them doesnt even matter.

      • Gary M
        Re Separation of Church and State religious tolerance.
        I believe Enlightenment thinkers Denis Diderot and John Locke
        promote this before Thomas Jefferson?
        A serf.

      • > There is a very good argument that the Judeo-Christian culture is what gave rise to the free market system, not to mention universities and science in the west, [...]

        Indeed, that’s exactly what Averroes was teaching ,a bit before Europeans rediscovered Aristotle.

      • BTW, you’d have to bring something else than Done Aikin’s op-ed, as he’s simply trying to raise doubts on what seems to be a clear case of deception from Francis’ past.

      • Beth Cooper,

        No. Before them.

        Ever hear the quote “render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God, the things which are God’s?”

      • Steven Mosher

        Joshua.

        “I don’t have contempt for people I’ve never met. ”

        whew, for a minute there I thought you had contempt for all those missionaries who killed people in the name of their religion.

        and you have no contempt for slave owners?

        Cool, I know you have no contempt for them, its their actions you have contempt for.

      • Joshua.

        “I don’t have contempt for people I’ve never met. ”

        whew, for a minute there I thought you had contempt for all those missionaries who killed people in the name of their religion.

        and you have no contempt for slave owners?

        Cool, I know you have no contempt for them, its their actions you have contempt for.
        </blockquote

        Well, I suppose those are fair points. Do I have contempt for slave-owners? From the days of yore? It's a bit tough. Although there were certainly abolitionists, there were different societal norms at the time. If I were born in those circumstances…..

        Slave-owners of today, that I've never met… do I have contempt for them.. yes, I suppose so.

        I guess I should have said that I have no contempt for people that I've never met, and for whom I have no evidence of contemptuous behavior. Do I find GaryM posting diatribes describing his moral superiority to millions of people that he's never met to be contemptuous behavior? Not really. No one is harmed by his doing so. Just another blog ranter. My guess is that in how we live our lives, Gary and I probably manifest similar values and similar behaviors. I have no reason to have contempt for him, or his behavior. Although I do have contempt, of a sort, for his arguments.

    • >blockquote>Don’t lie,including by omission – to anyone, for any reason.

      Your friend Bob phones you from Cafe de Paris, says he’ll be there for the next hour and asks if you want to join him for a coffee. Ten minutes later, as you’re leaving for Cafe de Paris, mad axeman Mike appears, tells you he plans to kill Bob and then asks if Bob’s at Cafe de Paris…

      • Or, is it OK to tell my five year old that Santa Claus exists?

      • RichieRich,

        You don’t answer.

        Of course, if he asked the question he already knew the answer.

        Oh, and this is not a new quibble, none of them are. Debates about ethics have been going on for millennia. But don’t worry, you will never hear of them in your world.

        The harder question is when telling a lie would actually save a life. Which was the point you were trying to make.

        The Catholic Church has amended its catechism to say that lying is never ok, but the issue has never been expressly addressed when it comes to saving a life. Here is an article about the current Pope, before he became Pope under slightly less extreme circumstances.

        http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/pope-francis-and-lying-to-save-life

        Even “thou shalt not kill” has exceptions: self defense, defense of others, just war.

        But none of this is relevant to the discussion above. Climategate was not about stopping a murderer on his way to his victim, no matter how hysterical the CAGWers become.

      • is it OK to tell my five year old that Santa Claus exists?

        Only if you add that he’s living at the North Pole today, but planning on moving away because the ice and snow there are all melting because people are driving SUVs.

      • GaryM,

        For those of us with no religious beliefs framing your argument in terms of the Catholic church’s position on the issue is entirely meaningless.

        Of course you are correct that ethical debates have been going on for centuries, but that would tend to indicate that it’s a bit more complicated than saying it’s always wring to lie in any circumstances.

        I would certainly have no problem telling a lie in Richie’s (admittedly unlikely) example.

      • Richie,

        Assuming you are either 12 years old or a graduate of the School for the Not So Gifted, I will be happy to provide you with a range of responses to your hypothetical situation.

        1) You say nothing.

        2) You tell him to get lost. (Not recommended if he is carrying the axe.)

        3a) You tell him and then call Bob and the authorities, in that order. (This assumes you are under duress.)

        3b) You give him misinformation. (Actions taken while under duress are judged by a different set of standards.)

        4) Assuming this occurs in the US and you are carrying, you detain the individual while someone calls the autjorities. (Note: I do not recommend this unless you are highly competent with a firearm. Even then I’d be reluctent to do this unless I was placed in a situation of duress – i.e. your last choice on the decision tree.)

        5) You say something like “Oh my God, do you see the tits on that woman!” and when Mike turns to look, you run away.

        In not one instance above does one run into any ethical dilemma’s.

      • “3b) You give him misinformation”

        You mean lie.

        But: >blockquote>Don’t lie,including by omission – to anyone, for any reason.

        For any reason!

      • Richie

        6a) You shoot the SOB and then call 9-1-1

        6b) If a trial ensues, you get a slick lawyer and plead self defense (the guy was wielding an axe, after all)

        Max

      • lolwot,

        Don’t be a dumbass. Unless of course you too are an alumni of the School for the Not So Gifted.

      • I don’t think recapitulating the deontology v. consequentialism debate in a Climate, Etc. comment thread is likely to add much insight over the many forests felled on the topic since Kant.

        Next up: Do we have free will? Also, how do we know the whole universe isn’t just part of the toenail of a giant?

    • “Really? What is my tribe – and how do you know I’m a member?”

      Well, you can tell us directly or I can guess that you are a member of The Indoctrinated Progressive Trolls Society. ;)

      Andrew

    • Gary,

      I agree. Ethics are neither complicated or difficult to decern. I’ve never had a problem figuring out what is or is not ethical behavior. Much of that I attribute my parents and my upbringing, with some help from both the Presbretyrian (sp?) and Catholic churches and military service.

      What is sometimes hard is living by those ethical standards. I get the impression people who argue that it is difficult and complicated, or try to blur lines are those for whom making the ethical choice is harder than most.

      • timg56,

        “I’ve never had a problem figuring out what is or is not ethical behavior.”

        And I suspect no one else here does either. it’s just the need to rationalize doing what they know is wrong. That is what gives us lengthy, complex, detailed “codes of ethics.” And angst ridden musings on the nature of ethics and “motivated reasoning.”

        You now what motivated reasoning is? It’s believing what you want to believe. And that’s a new concept?

      • “…it is equally or <strongifnot more ethical than telling the truth…

    • Nicely said, Gary, and so true. Poor Joshua can’t argue with the values you point out, and who can, or should? So he had to impugn them by pointing out that the world, and people have flaws, serious ones, like (200 years ago) slavery.

      But slavery wasn’t caused by the ethics Gary brings up. It was cured by them — “-Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

      • But slavery wasn’t caused by the ethics Gary brings up.

        Did anyone suggest that it was?

        The point, again, is that Gary’s argument is facile. All kinds of things, positive and negative, have been done in the name of Judeo-Christian ethics. All kinds of things, positive and negative, have been done in the name of other ethics as well. What makes the difference is the person, not some dogma and whether they attribute their actions to that dogma.

        And were is there any documentation that a higher sense of ethics, as a society, have been “abandoned?”

        Please, do, make an argument.

      • Steven Mosher

        John the point Joshua is making ( I think) is that gary calls
        for a return to Judeo-Christian ethics. and two cases obtain

        1. the history of the church is such that a whole bunch of things
        count as “judeo christian ethics” like owning slaves was
        ok… then it was not ok, In short he points to a thing
        that isnt well defined

        2. Somebody points to the “core” of judeo christian beliefs
        ( err dont lie etc) EXCEPT there is nothing DISTINCTIVE
        about this core.

        so the appeal to “return” to our beliefs of the past is confused in one of two ways.

        A) the beliefs of the past are in conflict
        B) where they are not in conflict, then are not “unique” not “ours”

        make sense?

      • make sense?

        I am primarily arguing that the delineation of some ethical trend, a qualitative devolution, is facile.

        Is there evidence that our ethics have devolved as we have “abandoned” enlightened Judeo-Christian ethics?

      • “Somebody points to the “core” of judeo christian beliefs ( err dont lie etc) EXCEPT there is nothing DISTINCTIVE about this core.”

        Well, the beliefs of Buddhism on the issues of morality are very similar, but the core difference there is that theirs are only suggestive. There are no commandments in Buddhism, since there is no one to command.

        If you think that is a distinction without a difference, history might suggest otherwise.

        Hinduism also has similar basic tenets, but includes the caste system as part of their core beliefs.

        And don’t get me started on the failings of Islam.

        There are significant differences on the core beliefs of the world’s major religions, that may well account for the reason the Judeo-Christian ethic has led to the richest, most generous, most just, most powerful society in the history of the world.

      • Gary:”that may well account for the reason the Judeo-Christian ethic has led to the richest, most generous, most just, most powerful society in the history of the world.”

        Evidence, as opposed to joshie’s facile cherry picking of the failings of some Christians. But that is what we expect of, joshie. Let’s see how much longer he can keep this up.

      • ”that may well account for the reason the Judeo-Christian ethic has led to the richest, most generous, most just, most powerful society in the history of the world.”

        Really. And there I thought it was cheap energy.

        Where is the establishment of causality? Why isn’t it the belief in representative democracy? Why isn’t it large “socialistic” states that provide services to the poor, or regulation of the market economy? Interesting how Gary picks and chooses among the good and the bad to attribute some conditions of modern society to the positive Judeo-Christian doctrine, some conditions of modern society so somehow not be the product of Judeo-Christian doctrine (because he doesn’t like them), and some conditions of past society. like slavery, to not be the product of Judeo-Christian society.

        Confirmation bias is confirming.

      • And btw:

        ”that may well account for the reason the Judeo-Christian ethic has led to the richest, most generous, most just, most powerful society in the history of the world.”

        There is an argument to be made that w/o exploiting slaves, we would never have become “the richest, most generous, must just, most powerful society in the history of the world.” Would we have attained that status had we not taken the land of the indigenous population and forced them to live on reservations? Would other countries have obtained similar status w/o brutal colonization?

        Given mosher’s comments, I will make it clear that I happen to respect Judeo-Christian ethics, in general. A fine set of ethics, indeed. I question, however, how much they have shaped the course of history – as ethics manifest in the actions of those interpreting them, and I certainly question GaryM’s facile determination that our society is devolving, ethically, because of some “abandonment” of those ethics.

      • Joshie, make a list of the Judeo-Christian countries. Ask Gary to help you. Compare economic well being and political and individual freedom with the rest of the world. And then shut tf up.

      • Don –

        Joshie, make a list of the Judeo-Christian countries. Ask Gary to help you. Compare economic well being and political and individual freedom with the rest of the world. And then shut tf up.

        Make a list of countries that have “socialistic” governments that regulate the market and give handouts to “moochers.” Ask Gary to help you. Compare economic well-being and political and individual freedom with the rest of the world – in fact, for the rest of the world throughout history.

        And then keep posting – because with each and every post you make, you advance my arguments.

        Anyway, glad that you didn’t live up to your claim that you weren’t going to respond to my comments.

        Again.

        Have a nice night, Don – with pleasant dreams that are consistent with Judeo-Christian ethics.

      • You are a dopey little clown, joshie. The milder forms of socialism that pander to the citizenry by lavishing borrowed money are not incompatible with Judeo-Christian ethics. Are you saying that your ethics are not derived from Judeo-Christian ethics? Be careful now, because if you admit the truth you will have to share the blame for slavery, the crusades, cats sleeping with dogs etc.

      • Steven Mosher

        Joshua

        “I am primarily arguing that the delineation of some ethical trend, a qualitative devolution, is facile.”

        So, you are arguing which?

        1. There is no ethical trend away from or toward a christian ideal
        2. The concept of ethical trend is meaningless
        3. The trend is opposite of what Gary says
        4. There is no judeao christian ethic and hence no trend
        5. Somebody might make a case but gary hasnt done so.

        Depending how you answer there will be more questions.

      • “There is an argument to be made that w/o exploiting slaves, we would never have become “the richest, most generous, must just, most powerful society in the history of the world.” Would we have attained that status had we not taken the land of the indigenous population and forced them to live on reservations? Would other countries have obtained similar status w/o brutal colonization? ”

        The South in terms of wealth, wasn’t ever very wealthy, and the civil war basically destroyed the wealth it had gained.
        Nor can it argued that US was particularly wealthy prior to civil war.

        Second, the US was only lightly populated by Native Indians. Having less native population may have been slight factor. I would guess there are more Native American Indians currently than there ever was.
        Generally, any war doesn’t reduce population, though disease does make some dent in populations. And disease in war was the biggest cause of death in most conventional war of the early America history. The French were “slaughtered” by disease in Haiti in their military campaign, for example.
        Southern America had much larger populations of natives as compared to North America.

        But anyhow, what most influenced US wealth was trade and European investment in the US. Basically the same thing which is responsible for China’s recent increase in wealth.

      • Joshua,

        You might appreciate that Pius II condemned slavery.

        H/T Marguerite Yourcenar’s Oeuvre au Noir.

        Of course, GaryM will await Aikin’s gloss on how it it did not really apply to non-Christians.

      • steven –

        5 would be the closest.

        I think of a convo I once had with a Japanese executive/researcher. (He was working for a couple of years in States – at the office of a large global corporation that does research in both the U.S. and Japan).

        He had many questions about why American corporations do things the way they do them. One of those questions was about why Americans, in a country where individuality is stressed, respectively, seem to think that writing down a code of ethics (specifically, why American corporations seem to think that writing down a code of corporate ethics) is an effective at manifesting ethical behavior. He compared the situation in Japan, where there is a very strong sense of duty or obligation to society, or to one’s organization. He felt that in Japan it is not an explicitly identified code of ethics that influences ethical behavior – but a general sense of shared societal duty. I think also of some experiences I’ve had with Indians, where being truthful was less important as a discrete ethic than what I observe in American culture, and for whom if lying in the end preserves some sense of desirable social order, it is equally or not more ethical than telling the truth. I think of how, in the U.S., getting over on the system is often seen as being smart, and the shame with being discovered comes relatively less from breaching societal obligations than from being careless and getting caught. I think of being in an airport in Italy, and laughing at a group of Italians sitting and smoking directly under a no smoking sign.

        BTW – do you have any family ties to West Hurley, NY?

        http://tinyurl.com/n7djdtw

      • David Springer

        Judeo-Christian ethics is a non-starter from the word go. Jews rely on the old testament which is a brutal, ugly thing. Christian ethics on the other hand are based on the new testament which is all about love and light and charity and forgiving. The problem with a lot of Christians is they don’t live very much like Christ did. Just try to suggest taking away their meat for instance. God gave us seed bearing herbs for our meat. We aren’t supposed to be slaughtering animals for it. That was a temporary disposition to Noah because there was nothing else to eat when the flood receded. I have more respect for vegetarians than most Christians because the vegetarians are usually leading a life more like Christ’s than the hypocritical church goers who at most think about Christ for an hour once a week.

      • David Springer,

        Wow, vegan biblical/historical revisionism. Now that’s something you don’t see every day. But your logic is right up there with Willard’s. Congrats.

        (Unless you meant that as a parody, in which case it’s funny as hell. But from the way you started, you sound all too serious.)

      • Say, Gary –

        Where does accountability (for hare-brained ideas about how pollsters were “skewing” their polls to give Obama an advantage) fit into your taxonomy of ethics?

      • David Springer

        Oooooh… GaryM reacts to the thought of God commanding that we eat seeds as meat like trying to take a dead rabbit away from a dog. See what I mean? Try to find in the new testament how Christ liked his steaks; rare, medium, or well. ROFLMAO

        In point of fact there is no reference to Christ eating meat, ever, except for after the resurrection where he ate a bite of broiled fish to convince the apostles he was risen from the dead and not an apparition. Even fish, which Catholics don’t consider to be meat, is questionable because the original Aramaic word in the scripture for fish means seafood and includes anything edible taken from the sea. There isn’t even a reference to Christ partaking of the ritual lamp on passover. All Jews are supposed to take a bite of it but did He? Probably not. Christ set an example for how God wants us to live our lives and I absolutely stand by my assertion fact that a vegan hippy who wouldn’t hurt a fly and shuns materialism is closer to God than the vast majority of so-called Christians.

        ROFLMAO

      • David Springer

        GaryM “funny as hell”

        Hell is funny? Which religion teaches that?

      • It’s OK David. It”s OK. Calm down. I called the nurse for you. She’ll be here any minute. She probably won’t use restraints this time, if you just calm down.

      • David Springer

        The nurse didn’t show up. What did you do, pray instead of pay?

    • What excellent timing:

      Germany is set to become the first country in Europe to introduce a third, “indeterminate” gender designation on birth certificates. The European Union, which is attempting to coordinate anti-discrimination efforts across member states, is lagging behind on the issue.

      What better example of the “abandonment” of Judeo-Christian ethics, eh?

      And sure enough…

      It’s fitting that Germany passed this legislation. It reflects our postmodern version of the will’s triumph over given realities. Nazism was an earlier version of this triumph, very different in countless ways, of course, but sharing a basic, underlying similarity.

      Yes, indeed, the defeat of the Nazis was only a speedbump in our path of “abandoning” Judeo-Christian ethics.

      Or imagine this:

      A couple of years ago, Australia allowed transgenders who haven’t had gender reassignment surgery to declare a third gender on their passports.

      Yes, indeed. Gay rights, rights for transgenders. Ah yes, the death of the traditions of Judeo-Christian ethics. How could I have possibly wondered what Gary was talking about, eh?

      http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/desire-uber-alles/

      • Nobel Prize winning well drillers from BP are flying to Fukushima, to assist nuclear physicists with the cleanup of this class 3 emergency on the INES scale.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23776345

        The good doctors would like the drillers to clean their mess up before the MOX fuel starts burning or something else, real soon too. We had a good couple of years, though…

    • What excellent timing:

      Germany is set to become the first country in Europe to introduce a third, “indeterminate” gender designation on birth certificates. The European Union, which is attempting to coordinate anti-discrimination efforts across member states, is lagging behind on the issue.

      What better example of the “abandonment” of Judeo-Christian ethics, eh?

      And sure enough…

      It’s fitting that Germany passed this legislation. It reflects our postmodern version of the will’s triumph over given realities. Nazism was an earlier version of this triumph, very different in countless ways, of course, but sharing a basic, underlying similarity.

      Yes, indeed, the defeat of the Nazis was only a speed bump in our path of “abandoning” Judeo-Christian ethics.

      Or imagine this:

      A couple of years ago, Australia allowed transg-nders who haven’t had gender reassignment surgery to declare a third gender on their passports.

      Yes, indeed. G-y rights, rights for transg-nders. Ah yes, the death of the traditions of Judeo-Christian ethics. How could I have possibly wondered what Gary was talking about, eh?

      http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/desire-uber-alles/

      • No reason to get hysterical, joshie. Judeo-Christian ethics have evolved and expanded. Judeo-Christian ethics are the framework of our great western democracies. I say great, because there ain’t been anything better in the history of the earth. And the beauty of our western democracy is that if you don’t like it, you can move to Egypt.

        Hey, today I got the feeling that maybe perhaps finally there was hope that Judith was about to reply to one of your smarmy comments . Hang in there. It still could happen.

      • No reason to get hysterical, joshie. Judeo-Christian ethics have evolved and expanded.

        What? You mean Judeo-Christian ethics haven’t been “abandoned” after all?

        Imagine my relief.

      • They have been abandoned by many, joshie. Some have substituted situational ethics, let it all hang out, Scientology, dialectical materialism and crap like that. A self-righteous anti-Christian featuring a lot of smarminess serves others.

      • Don Monfort,

        ” Judeo-Christian ethics have evolved and expanded.”

        Actually, the underlying ethic did evolve, until about 2000 years ago. The evolving since then has been in the ability of people to live by it. Even the dithering on slavery for centuries was simply a failure to live up to the teachings at the core of the faith/ethic.

        As man has become more civilized, more is expected of him. Whether morality derived from God, or evolved by trial and error as “natural law,” it is man that has slowly, morally evolved, not the underlying ethic.

        2000+ years ago, man was so barbaric, stoning of adulterous wives was permitted, as were wars of conquest. But as man rose out of barbarism, more and more was demanded of him.

        But the ethic, represented by the ten commandments, or the “golden rule” new commandment of the New Testament, have been the same all along. The fact that even today man often falls far short of the ideal, does not diminish the truth, not the efficacy, of the Judeo-Christian ethic itself.

      • I thought situational ethics was a creation of a Christian, Don Don:

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

      • > The fact that even today man often falls far short of the ideal, does not diminish the truth, not the efficacy, of the Judeo-Christian ethic itself.

        Of course. Since any possible problem for this ethic (or any other, actually) can be attributed to man, this ethic can’t be short from perfect.

        We could even claim that this perfection, far from diminishing truth, augments it.

        Reminds me of the movie The Seventh Self-Seal.

      • They have been abandoned by many, joshie.

        Interestingly, only from those who disagree with Gary, politically.

        Must be a coincidence.

      • I’d pick from 9-9 onwards, with some Megadeath.

        I’m not sure I’d pick 9-6, Tom, as GaryM would have to justify God’s statism.

    • Steven Mosher

      “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

      crap you just killed 3/4s of the fun stuff.

      • Morality is a bitch.

      • Prefer “Do not do unto others that which you would not want done unto you.” Not arguing with anyone, just stating my own opinion.

      • Chuck L –

        I like your both your phrasing as well as the phrase mosher quoted – as a more comprehensive guideline than either as a stand-alone.

        BTW – you wouldn’t be related to Chuck D, would you?

      • Mosher,

        Your math fails you on this one.

    • http://www.buzzfeed.com/hunterschwarz/map-what-religion-does-your-member-of-congress-belong-to

      Proof positive that calling yourself christian, and actually following the Judeo-Christian ethic are two entirely different things.

      This overwhelmingly “christian” congress represents an overwhelming “christian” nation has that: performs a million abortions a year, has out 40% of births out of wedlock (approaching 70 percent in minority communities), has a Supreme Court that has ruled that virtual child pornography is protected by the first amendment, has a culture that teaches ever younger girls (through movies, music, tv, books and magazines) that their primary function is as living sex toys for men, forces religions to provide insurance to include abortifacients against their faith, and is rapidly redefining marriage by judicial edict.

      The fact that all of these social pathologies increases dependence on government is, of course, purely a coincidence.

      • Secular progressivism will solve all those problems, Gary. Just trust them.

      • You won’t find in the commendments your view on abortion and other pathologies, GaryM.

        You’re just using them for your populist claptraps.

        Something about taking names in vain, you know.

      • willard, Which one do you prefer…

        Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

        I like them all…

      • willard,

        Amazingly, you also won’t find eugenics, industrialized genocide, or euthanasia in the commandments either. Just the simple, thou shalt not murder. It is only the modern objectification of human beings, combined with the barbarous use of technology, that raises new issues. But the unjustified taking of a life is the unjustified taking of a life. It wasn’t until progressives saw the need to undermine the family that human beings in the womb suddenly became “excess tissue.”

      • Amazingly, you also won’t find eugenics, industrialized genocide, or euthanasia in the commandments either.

        You’ll find plenty of genocide in the bible, commanded by YHVH and mandated by the first 4 commandments. Even if it wasnt “industrialized“.

        It wasn’t until progressives saw the need to undermine the family that human beings in the womb suddenly became “excess tissue.”

        Actually, both the Greeks and the Romans practiced post-natal abortion, which is modernly called exposure. To be fair, Jews and Christians didn’t.

      • Tom,

        I answered elsewhere. Search for “Megadeath”.

        I forgot to ask: which child?

      • Yes, GaryM, the taking of a life is unjustified, unless it’s justified.

        You should fold, now, or I’ll pick all your chips.

        Ask Moshpit, he knows why.

      • Willard,

        Wow, you did it. With one sentence you have disproved the efficacy of all morals systems.

        But I will agree with you, your logic is on a par with much of Mosher’s output. Though I probably don’t see that as the compliment you do.

      • It is only the modern objectification of human beings, …

        As opposed to the non-objectification of human beings who are kept as slaves?

        Selective reasoning is selective.

      • AK,

        Yes, hence the use of the word industrialized.

        Nor did I say abortions weren’t done in biblical times. My comment was to the objectification of the fetus. The Romans and Greeks didn’t feel the need to rationalize their barbarity.

      • GaryM,

        I’m not sure how you think your ad hominem will help you justify 2000 years of abuse for the name of the Lord, but I don’t claim to be a professional lawyer either.

        The trial of reason might not be won the same way you game a jury you select.

        Thank you for playing.

      • Steven Mosher

        gary, perhaps we should talk about the original “ten sayings” ( commandment is a bad translation from the hebrew)

        Lets take though shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

        getting back to the original meaning ( opps there are two versions )

        what does “false witness mean’ and who is your neighbor.

        Funny that we should end up describing ‘tribalism”

        perhaps you should have pointed to the Noahide

        Do you know the difference between the Noahide and the covenant god made with the jewish tribe?

        Maybe its best just to replace all 10 commandments with just one as Paul did.

      • Steven Mosher,

        This is not the place for a discussion of christian apologetics, My comments have been about the Judeo-Christian ethic in general and its salutary effects on western civilization, in response to the main post’s musings on the difficulties of deciding what is ethical in “science.” I have responded to questions and arguments in that context.

        I am a Roman Catholic, not an evangelical. I do not view the Bible, including the ten commandments as a statute book to be read literally in all cases. The Judeo-Chritian ethic is not limited to the written word of the Bible. (And please, do you want to really go into Hebrew vs. Greek vs. Latin vs. Aramaic and the various translations of different books of the Bible – on Climate Etc., or are you just huffing and puffing? Don’t answer, it was a rhetorical question.)

    • David Springer

      Don’t lie for any reason?

      Say your child has a beloved pet. A cat. It disappears one day and you find it hanging from a twine in a tree with its gut cut open and intestines spilled out. You gonna lie to your kid about the fate of the cat?

      There are many circumstances where the truth is so cruel that its telling is itself a cruelty. Theft can also be justified. Say you’re driving along late at night and come upon an accident scene. People are hurt and dying. There’s a convenience store, closed, with stuff in it you need to render first aid otherwise these people who need fluids and bandages might die. Do you throw a rock throught the window of the store to take what they need? I would. Without hesitating.

      These are classic situations where one has to choose between the lesser of evils and be the judge of which is the lesser. Absolute dictums are no guide unless it’s simply “To the best of your judgement always do the right thing.”

      • Objection. Asked and answered. Above.

        And your last paragraph is exactly the problem. Because there are cases where there are conflicting values (self defense, just war) each person should make up his own ethos as he goes along. Sheer idiocy.

        That’s working just marvelously, as the post above demonstrates.

      • I don’t dwell into categorical imperatives, but when I do, I say:

        > Do onto others what Chuck Norris would not, for you’re not Chuck Norris.

      • David Springer

        I don’t give a fig about your objections or answers. There are cases where lying is the right thing to do and there are cases where stealing is the right thing to do. Maybe you’re not made of stern enough stuff to choose between right and wrong and need a scriptural crutch to help you along. We were made in God’s image. You have it within yourself to know the difference between right and wrong. God isn’t a robot and hence neither are you.

      • Springer,

        If you can’t differentiate between telling your child that the cat is dead and giving them a detailed and graphic description of how it came to be that way, then I may think your kids might have “issues”. I’m guessing you can and your example is just you being argumentative.

      • David, breaking a store window to get materials, or taking a car, to save human life is not a crime in the USA (or in the Anglo-Sphere). It is covered under ‘reasonableness’, as in ‘would a reasonable person object to their property being used in this manner’.

      • David Springer

        DocMartyn,

        I’m calling BS. Sounds like urban legend to me. What if I need a car to get someone to the hospital. Can I stop traffic and force someone out of their car at gunpoint? I don’t think so.

      • David Springer

        GaryM said lying includes lie by omission and it’s never acceptable. You tell the kid the cat’s dead and there will be questions. Did you find her? Where is she? What happened? Think, McFly.

      • You can stop a bus, kill all the passengers and use it how you see fit. But only if you’ve witnessed a crime such as jaywalking.

      • So you must now live in Mexico, lolwot.

      • Springer,

        RE the stopping a car at gunpoint.

        Sure you can. It happens all the time in the movies. I’m betting Bruce Willis has done it a dozen times and he’s a free man.

        Now on a serious note, Doc isn’t running afoul of the BS detector. The reasonable person standard is very well established in law. If you are allowed to use deadly force in a situtation, do you really think you are not allowed to forceably stop a motorist and appropriate their vehicle in certain situations?

      • Springer,

        Are you trying to argue that a child young enough to want to keep gory details from is more than you can handle? Without “lying” to?

      • DocMartyn,

        You are correct. In most states, it is called the defense of “necessity.”

        It is a simple fact that all these supposedly insoluble moral conundrums, aren’t insoluble at all. And have been discussed, and debated, and decided, over centuries. It’s just that the products of modern “progressive” education are not just historical and economic illiterates, they are ethical illiterates as well. Intentionally so.

        “Hard cases make bad law.”

        In certain extreme cases one is justified in taking another life. Therefore, in every case, everyone should make up their own mind as to whether to take a life or not.

        The stupidity of the argument becomes clear as soon as you say it out loud. But this is actually the very “logic” used to confuse the muddled masses, including the majority of default progressives who comment here, to abandon any sense of objective morality.

        So we get endless musings on when it is appropriate to lie, or hide data, or prevent publication of unpopular views. Not one of which is actually a difficult question, in the least.

      • My friend Keith often rides his ‘Hog’ to the airport, picks up a human heart, and comes back to the hospital and delivers it to the transplant unit. He is faster through traffic on his bike than a police car.
        However, I imagine what would happen if he suffered a break-down and hijacked another bike. Can you imagine a jury convicting?

        The UK police hijacked a Diesel Tanker on the motorway and had the driver deliver it to a nuclear power station that had an electrical switching problem. The operators wanted to make sure that they didn’t run out of diesel and lose the reactor. Again, no case to answer, as the actions were ‘reasonable’.

      • David Springer

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

        Actually it’s still a crime. A successful necessity defense erases liability for commission of the crime. Good luck with it. In the US it’s generally limited to medical emergencies.

        In any event this doesn’t argue against GaryM’s assertion that one should never lie or steal. Even the law recognizes rare cases where the greater good is served by committing a crime rather than avoiding one.

        http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/hrp/documents/Cavallaro_1993.pdf

        (my emphasis)

        “The Demise of the Political Necessity Defense”

        I. Evolution of the Necessity Defense

        A. Criminal Law Origins

        The necessity defense developed at early common law as a means of avoiding the injustice of punishing a defendant who violated the letter of the law in order provent a greater evil than that which the law sought to punish. The rationale underlying the defense is one of public policy: “The law ought to promote the achievement of higher values at the expense of lesser values, and sometimes the greater good for society will be accomplished by violating the literal language of the law.” As a practical matter, the necessity defense recognizes that it is impossible to draft laws that take into account the infinite range of situations that may subsequently arise.

        GaryM’s “law”, or moral imperative or whatever he considers it to be, that one never lie or steal does not take into account all possible situations. This I stated at the very beginning by saying that when faced with a choice between the lesser of two evils a lie or theft may be the lesser. Thanks for pointing out that my initial response is actually enshrined in the British Common Law.

        I rest my case.

    • Well, I come down this AM, and see that the discussion has swerved far away from Judith’s exemplary post.

      Sometimes, even for the most sophisticated of us, it pays to look at things more simply.

      Here is a simple statement: science and policy would be much better off today, even climate change politics, if scientists were more honest than they are today, if they didn’t lie either explicitly or implicitly. That means: if they published their findings without self censorship, if scientists didn’t try to censor other scientists, if they didn’t create a culture of shame where good scientists won’t publish important findings because it will hurt their career.

      Honesty, not lying: not trying to manipulate political ends by twisting the public’s perception. Scientists, climate change scientists, would be held in higher esteem, their findings not viewed as political maneuvering, if we hadn’t come to see what some of them do when they thing we aren’t looking. Judith gives what to me are added, and chilling, real world examples of more self censorship for “the cause.”

      I don’t care particularly to argue about whether honesty, and not lying, is a Judeo-Christian believe (although I think it is emphasized more in countries with a Judeo-Christian background — just my take on history and culture, and no, I don’t want to discuss it further, because to do so would be to take us further from Judith’s points, and thus to minimize them).

      What matters is that scientists are fully honest, and don’t lie either by omission or commission, as most of us used to believe.

      • Well, I come down this AM, and see that the discussion has swerved far away from Judith’s exemplary post.

        Except that, as usual, the discussion did not “swerve” on its own. The thread-jackers always seem to be the same people whose only purpose I have been able to discern is that of fulfilling a mission dedicated to wrongly persuading any newbie lurkers that there is little sign of intelligent life amongst the commentariat here :-(

        That being said, you wrote:

        Here is a simple statement: science and policy would be much better off today, even climate change politics, if scientists were more honest than they are today, if they didn’t lie either explicitly or implicitly.

        [...]

        What matters is that scientists are fully honest, and don’t lie either by omission or commission, as most of us used to believe.

        Hear! Hear!

      • But … but … John, your post is calm, sensible and to the point! Are you sure you are in the right sub-thread?

    • Andrew Wilson shows there’s nothing particularly extraordinary behind the Judeo-Christian Décalogue:

      > The moral outlooks of most religions are basically quite similar. Just as the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments, is the basis of Jewish and Christian ethical values, similar lists of ethical principles may be found in one form or another in the scriptures of most religions. The Qur’an contains several passages summarizing proper ethical behavior which have been called Islamic Decalogues. In Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism we find lists of ten charges or ten precepts for monks and lay people, and there are further condensations into five universal dharmas called samanya dharma. Another comparable list is found in the Buddhist Eightfold Path.

      http://www.unification.org/ucbooks/WorldScr/WS-02-03.htm

      GaryM is touchdown dancing about a false positive.

      • Willard,

        Just saw this. I addressed above, before you wrote this comment, the issue you raise here. All the major religions do indeed have similar general tenets. But in Bhuddism, they are suggestive only, there being no authority to command. In Hinduism, you have the caste system at the core of the religion. And the modern Islam is replete with subjugation of women and religious intolerance as dogma. Thee are of course other major differences, but these alone are sufficient to suggest why the west progressesed so much further, both in prosperity and justice, under the Judeo-Christian ethic. And why constant searching for new ethical rules is redundant. We have all we need. They just need to be followed.

    • Here’s an old fashioned idea (not sure if it’s Judeo-Christian though) :

      why don’t climate scientists start putting THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH as their ethic?

      And to blazes with tribes, causes, advocacy, politics.

  10. “Each of these scientists strongly encouraged my colleague NOT to publish this paper, since it would only provide fodder for the skeptics.”

    I think their responses here are well-intended, but short-sighted. The scientists presuppose skeptic fodder produced by science is bad for society, a reasonable position. But if the results are well-reasoned and add to a better understanding of the physical world we’re seeking to gain insight about, our corporate conscience is impeding our individual stake in science. It temporarily soothes our corporate conscience – which seeks to promote civil and environmental good – but sears the progress of the very mode of doing so in science. This should be considered potentially more dangerous to the public than protecting them from confusing or contradictory findings.

    • @Currya

      If something like that quote were to occur in a corporate research setting -i.e. the withholding of relevant information by one group because it might be used by another to bolster their case for e,g, competing project funding- this would be considered not only as unethical but be grounds for dismissal with cause.

      Only in a terminally politically veined academic environment is it conceivable to argue like those scientists did -not only without consequences but with the delusion that they were doing the right thing.

    • Rob Hodges | August 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm
      “Each of these scientists strongly encouraged my colleague NOT to publish this paper, since it would only provide fodder for the skeptics.”

      I think their responses here are well-intended, but short-sighted. The scientists presuppose skeptic fodder produced by science is bad for society, a reasonable position.
      —————————————-

      As wrong as it is possible to be:
      1. Since when has has suppressing ideas been “well-intended” science?
      2. How can it be “reasonable” to assume suppressed ideas are bad for society?

  11. These issues are so complex that maintaining objectivity is extremely difficult both in what concerns own behavior and motives and what concerns judgement of other people’s (and organizations’) actions and motives.

    I think that it’s a little easier to judge the wisdom of what others are doing than the morality of their decisions. I have defended the view that must maintain the scientific style of listing the main caveats when the describe the present “best scientific understanding”. Personally I have a list of a few scientists and institutes that I consider too willing to bend the corners to make their message stronger. To me it seems clear that many others must have similar feelings. I think that the scientists that have led me to feel that way have not acted wisely, but I*m not ready to condemn them morally. (No, I don’t tell the names on that list, because I may have erred in my intuitive judgment.)

    Maintaining objectivity is difficult for an outsider, it must be much more difficult to everyone personally subjected to the attacks by those too certain of the superiority of their “side”.

    • “Maintaining objectivity is difficult for an outsider, it must be much more difficult to everyone personally subjected to the attacks by those too certain of the superiority of their “side”.”

      Maintaining objectivity is not in the job description of the deniers. It is in the job description of scientists.

      • The sentence is obviously applicable only to people who try to be objective.

      • Pekka:”The sentence is obviously applicable only to people who try to be objective.”

        Maybe I didn’t understand the sentence. What is your point? That climate scientists are trying to be objective, but it’s hard because they are being attacked by mean people who are not trying to be objective?

        It seems to me that it is irrelevant that climate scientists are allegedly being “attacked” and it is irrelevant whether or not the alleged attackers are trying to be objective. It’s in their job description as freaking professional scientists sucking at the public teat to be objective. If they are not being objective, for whatever reason, they are not fit to be scientists.

        Maybe if we provide them with flak jackets and combat pay they will do a better job and stop the freaking whining.

      • The point might be that we don’t wait for whom you call “deniers” to tell us who’s objective or not, Don.

      • That is also irrelevant, willie.

      • willard thought he was irrelevant once, but it didn’t make any difference.
        ===================

      • Your job description implies a prescription, Don Don.

        It also presupposes that scientists do not seek objectivity.

        Both are relevant to what you’re doing with your prescription.

        Your prescription can be turned into a description if instead of speaking of scientists, you speak of science.

        Science is a process whereby objective results obtain, notwithstanding anyone’s motivated reasoning.

      • Plop, plop, fizz, fizz O what a relief it is…

    • Pekka,
      See my comment above. Withholding relevant information because it might substantiate a line a of reasoning that you do not support is unacceptable and scientifically unethical. Period. Trying to justify it, no matter how, is a slippery slope of moral hazard.

    • Pekka,

      I disagree with your conclusion it must be more difficult for someone “inside” an issue or organization to maintain objectivity than an outsider. I believe the primary cause of an outsider unable to being objective is lack of information. Hard to be objective when you only know a small piece of the puzzle.

      For me, maintaining objectivity is as simple as placing myself into the position of my customers. While my primary loyalty and responsibility is to my company, that does not preclude looking out for the interests of the companies I deal with.

  12. I’ve often thought to write something about the phrase “Motivated Reasoning”. The notion of “motivation” can be traced to the position one holds on the philosophical problem of Indeterminism vs. Determinism.

    In short, Libertarians tend to view the Universe as Indeterminate, while the Far Right and Far Left tend to view the Universe as Determinate.

    Libertarians look at such things as social/economic planning, centralized, top-down structures and natural systems (such as the climate) and see them as largely unpredictable and uncontrollable, and they are very suspect when anyone claims to be able to do so.

    While the Far Right and Far Left both tend to believe that there is nothing that can’t be known or controlled either by God or Society.

    • “While the Far Right and Far Left both tend to believe that there is nothing that can’t be known or controlled either by God or Society.”

      There is little difference extreme far Left and Right.
      And both are a small minority.
      A problem with idea of controlled by God or Society is the assumption that either are understood.
      And if neither are entities which are known, then they are in a sense the same thing.
      The difference being the rules, the Christian God has 10 rules.
      And it is these rules which if followed, which is about the most one can know about God.
      The first rule being one must not worship other gods. And it seems if you believe things are controlled by Society, then Society is another god- or I suppose, it happens to be the same God.

      An extreme right believes they know God.
      And they tend to have ideas of how to help God.
      [Strapping on a suicide vest- is supposed to be of great use
      to the Supreme Being.]
      To me, seems rather doubtful that God of all existence is in dire need of such assistance.
      The extreme Left also believes they are providing great benefit to the Society which is considered to be in desperate need of their assistance. And likewise it seems to me, rather doubtful that Society is in great need such help.

    • It seems you are virtually unanimous in being completely clueless of what the “right,” actually believes. It seems that centralized, socialized education is one of the great successes of the progressive movement. The deconstructed, sanitized, Orwellian view of history, economics, government and culture leaves you copletely incapable of comparative analysis.

      Which is of course the point of the deconstruction, sanitization, and Orwellization.

  13. by Judith Curry: “This post examines the thesis that motivated reasoning by climate scientists is adversely impacting the public trust in climate science and provides a reason for people to reject the consensus on climate change science.”
    ========================================

    This must be a new “consensus”: “consensus on climate change science“.

    Anyway, as for “consensus on climate change”, this is a fiction. One only need to look at the Doran&Zimmerman2008 study closely. Like 70% of relevant scientists refused to conform this “man made global warming” thing, although it would have taken them only 2 minutes to fill in the form on-line.

    • More telling of Doran & Zimmerman is that to be counted as part of the “consensus” all that was needed was to agree that 1) It’s gotten warmer since the Little Ice Age, and 2) Mankind had something to do with it. Nothing about CO2, nothing about dire consequences. So what if about 70% of the invited earth scientists ignored the invite; it’s more telling that of the 3146 who took the survey, D&Z threw out all but 77 of which 75 said yes to both of those two questions to fabricate the misleading “97%” consensus.

      I also say yes to those despite being something of a scoffer, believing since ’07 that CO2 is not the climate bogeyman the IPCC says it is, that the case for catastrophic AGW has absolutely not been made. Henrik Svensmark was denounced as “extremely naïve and irresponsible” by the chair of the IPCC after he published his first paper in the mid ’90’s linking cloud cover with the sun’s magnetic field strength. Naive, yes; but we’d not have Kirkby’s CLOUD results from CERN if Svensmark had kept quiet because “skeptics” might misuse it.

      • The actual questions asked by D&Z that is the basis for their celebrity, just in case anyone doubts my paraphrasing:
        “1. When compared with pre-­1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
        2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”

      • ggoodknight | August 21, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
        “So what if about 70% of the invited earth scientists ignored the invite;”

        =================================

        This is not realistic. People who believe in AGW would not ignore the invite, everyone can find 2 minutes to fill in the form and press the “send” button.

  14. It so happens that The Book we have, is better than all their books.

  15. interesting collection of items.

    I had to chuckle at this:

    “I want to state up front that I support the IPCC consensus on climate change.”

    I always think when I hear these preamble pieties – Mmmm I wonder what he is about to say might be interesting ;)

    I always laugh at them; reminds me of when Tuco in the The Good Bad and The Ugly threw up cross shapes up every time he shot someone dead ;)

    Science is a human activity and foibles are visible in all its fields, but surely climate science just has to be the one most utterly overshadowed by its craven need for a public perception that it just can’t live up to?

    I appreciate Judith Curry’s stance but would say it really should be the mundane norm for anyone who wants to feel they are working in a real field.
    Her stance just seems shocking and stark in contrast because the rest of the practitioners seem just divided between the loud bombastic self-promoters.and the cringing silent.

  16. Judith, you write “Personally, I have felt the need to break loose of the shackles of loyalty to colleagues and institutions if it comes at the expense of integrity in science and professional conduct.”

    Coming up in late September will be the release of the SPMs to the IPCC AR5. If the Reuter’s report turns out to be accurate, the IPCC will claim things with 95% certainty. I cannot see how any real scientist can possibly agree with this 95% figure, since all the scientific evidence obtained since 2007 supports a reduction of previous high claims of certainty, not an increase. The 95% figure seems to be based purely on “expert” opinion\. There is absolutely no empirical data whatsoever to support it.

    Now you, Judith, have written extensively on your “uncertainly monster”. We are only just over a month away, and it will be interesting to see how you react to the first results of the IPCC AR5. I hope the scientiifc world will not ignore the SPMs to the AR5

    • Jim, i wasn’t going to post on this orchestrated leak by the IPCC, but I think I will change my mind. Stay tuned.

      • Wonderful. I was hoping so. Of course, the NYT’s is all over this. Page 1, above the fold. Seems they could barely contain their relief.

      • this orchestrated leak by the IPCC

        When the Reuters piece came out, I had a feeling it might have been orchestrated, as well! Particularly following relatively closely on the heels of the sob story from (can’t remember the name of the guy, but he had been the prime man on their enviro beat for years, or so he claimed).

        What better way to entice Reuters back into the climatically correct tent than to tempt them with an “exclusive” leak,eh?! And no doubt the “leaker” knew full well that Reuters’ reach would pretty well guarantee far wider circulation within days!

        Oh, and Pachauri – who offered his very own “sneak preview” yesterday – is evidently “bracing for a range of criticism”.

        Thanks for this great post, today, btw – even if it does feed my confirmation bias! And I really liked your post on “best available scientific evidence”, last week, too … But, of course, I would say that, wouldn’t I? ;-)

      • The head of the IPCC says: we have the right to question science

        http://hro001.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/its-official-we-have-the-right-to-question-science/

        I would go further and say we have the responsibility to question science.

      • R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

        The need to “precondition” and set context is not surprising in an attempt to achieve maximum effect, but neither will the overall larger (lack of) policy reaction be surprising with a few noteworthy exceptions. Not much will change, so in short…a lot of smoke but very little fire for a few years more.

      • orchestrated leak

        I join Hilary in highlighting and applauding that.

    • Not just Reuters, Jim. Check out todays NYT’s.

    • 95% certainty is based on “opinion” but the “opinion” is clearly not “expert”
      I will not use the proper words to properly describe this “opinion” because I would not be allowed to ever post again.

    • Jim Cripwell, “If the Reuter’s report turns out to be accurate, the IPCC will claim things with 95% certainty.”

      So what else is new? They could be 95% certain the mankind is responsible for “most” of the warming of the past 100 years and 99% certain that no one can disprove that. They would be right BTW, mankind did set out the thermometers. All they need is to get out this last report so the UN flunkies can meet, vow to endeavor to persevere and then run home to short carbon credits.

      • Captain, you write “So what else is new?”

        What I hope will be new is what our hostess’s opinion is of the IPCC report.

      • Jim Cripwell, “What I hope will be new is what our hostess’s opinion is of the IPCC report.”

        I doubt that will be new. Confidence levels in climate science as published in the IPCC reports are pretty much meaningless. It is like a Texas Sharpshooter. Her main complaint was the “most” due to CO2 was over stated, I don’t think her mind has change other than having more confidence it was overstated. Personally, the more this report overstates confidence the better. I would hold off on commenting until it is actually released, then let the games begin.

      • Here Jim Cripwell,

        “Drafts seen by Reuters of the study by the U.N. panel of experts, due to be published next month, say it is at least 95 percent likely that human activities – chiefly the burning of fossil fuels – are the main cause of warming since the 1950s.”

        “Chiefly the burning of fossil fuels”, not CO2, just burning of fossil fuels, so black carbon, indirect aerosol effects, land use anything that involves the burning of fossil fuels. Remember it is now Carbon Pollution, not Greenhouse Effect or Climate Change or Climate disruption, Carbon Pollution. That is the broadside of the barn.

        “Main cause” – that is just like the “most” but now not just CO2, all Carbon Pollution. There is no way to challenge even the “at least” because it is so vague it is laughable. Also remember it is a “Carbon Tax” not a CO2 tax even though CO2 is what is being taxed. The time frame is from 1950 which gives them a 25 year lag before the Carbon Pollution has to kick in.

        I am fairly confident the report will not mention the Pacific Centennial Oscillation, LIA recovery, NH land amplification, the stratospheric warming event cycles, the less publicized post 2009 proxy reconstructions, which all combined can barely push the “main cause” limit, because with the playing field shifted completely away from the meat of the debate CO2 forcing. You are only going to have the lolwots,Websters, roberts, micheals and a few others the just can’t grasp the complexity defend the old “cause”. There is a new “cause” in town so they can just pretend that there is nothing to see here and move along with their fantasies.

  17. Dr Curry:

    I envy Richard Muller who comes at the issue of climate science without the baggage associated with loyalty to colleagues or institutions in the climate field; rather his colleagues are a very elite group of physicists. Muller’s approach of securing private funding and publishing his papers first on the internet has allowed him to avoid the schackles that I rather uncomfortably had to break away from.

    Schackles? The schmuck! As I’m sure the consensus police will say.

    I noticed the word because I’d just used it on Bishop Hill in a rather different context – of us ‘members of the public’ in the UK daring in our ignorance to be sceptical of climate policy escaping the bondage of the much-assumed 3% because of the current national fuss about shale gas.

    Brilliant Judy. When the history of whatever they call the global warming scare is written this post will be a key signpost to the end of the madness.

  18. “Climate change is arguably a unique case in all of science owing to magnitude of the socioeconomic impacts of both the problem and the proposed solutions and the massive institutionalization of a consensus that has been manufactured by the IPCC.”
    ______

    What ! Climate change is a consensus that has been manufactured by the IPCC?

    Aw, come on.

    • Comprehension is not one of your strong points, is it?

    • Claims of “near certainty” … given ever weakening real world data and study after study showing less sensitivity than originally thought… are at this point prima facie evidence of bad faith. Simple as a pimple.

    • More than 25 million people have died of AIDS worldwide since the first cases were reported in 1981.
      Yearly, 2.7 million become infected and around 1.8 million die.
      There are more than 200 million people infected with malaria and each ear 1.2 million people die from this disease, mostly children

      Can we have some perspective?

      • Even diseases are political.

      • David Springer

        If we were to categorize people who die from AIDs by their religious beliefs and how well they follow the ten commandments what do you think we might learn from that?

        Would we find the same relationship between values and malaria victims?

      • David,

        What would we learn? – that you’re a nutjob.

      • The distribution of HIV infection rate in Africa closely follows religion, the majority of people with HIV are Christian.

      • David Springer

        You dodged the second part of the question, which is why there were two parts. How well do they follow the ten commandments?

        You brought up the subject Doc. I know very well a majority of AIDS deaths is in Africa and I know very well why. So do you. Have the balls to say it.

        This might help.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_Africa#Causes_and_spread

        Bottom line if they were following the ten commandments they wouldn’t have the problem. Just like with global warming, Doc, there are plusses and minuses to religion. One of the plusses to actually following Christian ethics is it almost eliminates the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. It’s okay for objective people to say it. You aren’t being a traiter to your atheism by being honest are you?

  19. Hi Judy,

    Thank you for a wonderful essay. You are my hero.

  20. Judith is a major hero, among so many cowards.

    • And Don is a major arse-kisser.

      • To prove that statement factual he will have to kiss yours.

      • tim,

        I think the arse-kissing is in relation to those who stick to the ‘desired storyline”.

      • Michael,

        I was taking a more literal approach.

        Regarding the “storyline”. Unless you believe Dr Curry is fabricating, what storyline do you think she is trying to push? Is it that difficult to simply accept what she says as being her experience without attaching any other issues or conclusions? And lets assume that her experience is an outlier. Being so does not invalidate or proof false what she has stated here. I would argue that even as an outlier, it depicts an environment that needs to be looked at.

      • tim,

        Judith’s preferred ‘storyline’ is the anything-but-the-IPCC and the ludicrous dogma-heretic-persecution-victim complex.

        Anything that can be crammed into those narratives will get a run and the much lauded scepticism is suspended (see Murray Salby).

        The latter ‘complex’ is in full flight in this post – the usual broad brush allegations which are moslty Judith’s interpretation of anonymous interactions, or mere hearsay (A said B said….).

        In fact much of it has the appearence of Judith not tolerating criticism – how dare people tell Judith they don’t like what she says. Oh, the irony!
        And she labels such critique in the most perjorative/emotive way possible; ‘consensus police’ , ‘dogma’ etc etc.

        Judith should understand that playing the victim has a limited shelf-life. I suspect it’s beginning to wear very thin.

      • I am intolerant of other people who cannot tolerate opinions/analyses different from their own

        I have been victimized by such lack of tolerance by other scientists (at this point I have the hide of an alligator, so this does not upset me personally)

        I am putting forward my own experiences in the hope of stopping the institutionalized intolerance of alternative perspectives from a ‘consensus’

        And most of all, so that bright young scientists (such as Elizabeth Barnes) can pursue research without fear of the consensus police attempting to discredit them and damage their career.

      • “In fact much of it has the appearence of Judith not tolerating criticism – how dare people tell Judith they don’t like what she says. Oh, the irony!”

        Hard to believe you’ve been paying attention. Judith’s history of not just allowing, but not even bothering to respond to frequent personal attacks on her credibility, integrity, and motives, is for any reasonable person, to be admired.

        “oh the irony,” indeed

      • “I am intolerant of other people who cannot tolerate opinions/analyses different from their own” – JC

        Irony deficiency alert.

        How exactly do you decide who is intolerant in this little scenario? We can deduce that’s it’s absolutely fine for you criticise the IPCC and various scientists involved with the IPCC. Return of serve is not? Is it now suddenly intolerance, if they respond and disagree with you??

        Is no one allowed to disagree with Judith Curry, or they get slapped with perjorative labelling?

        You’ve provided some clues yourself;
        (let’s ignore the hearsay)
        ‘a young scientist who said something like: ‘You know, Judy is REALLY unpopular among the scientists at lab…..” – JC

        And then there is this;
        “In the early days of this blog, one of my more controversial essays was Reversing the positive feedback loop, which lays out motivated reasoning associated with institutional loyalties. Excerpts (with some slightly toned down wording):”

        Hmmm, why did the wording need to be “toned down”?

        Because it was over-the-top, inflammatory and poorly substantiated.

        “Judy is REALLY unpopular….at the lab” may have grounds in Judy’s behaviour, rather than in what Judy would like to believe.

        I have not the slightest doubt I would be REALLY unpopular in the lab if I publicly trashed my professional collegues in the same manner.

        And you couldn’t help but yet again link to that silly ‘heretic’ headline – it was nothing more than a piece of attention grabbing editorialising that had nothing to do with the actual article, which didn’t even mention the word.
        Yet you cling to it like a drowning man. Motivated reasoning and ‘desirable storylines’ – yes indeed.

      • Wake up Michael. The discriminator is tolerance of scientific perspectives that disagree with your own, and INtolerance of personal behavior that is publicly INtolerant of other scientific perspectives.

        When I complained about the intolerance of other scientists to other perspectives (if you don’t know what I am talking about, read the climate behavior), this generated second order intolerance that was directed at me since these folks didn’t like me criticizing their behavior that did not tolerate scientific dissent and disagreement.

        Trying to intimidate other scientists and bury their research is contrary to ethical and responsible conduct for research scientists.

      • hey pokerguy,

        “consensus police” – people who don’t agree with Judith.

        Go Ditto-heads!

      • Well Judith – that is you; publicly intolerant behavour of scientifiic perspectives you disagree with.

        Don’t agree witht he IPCC handling of uncertaintly – they’re in it for personal gain, or to cultivate favour to advance careers.
        Hmmm, very scientific.

        You’d better get a better discriminator.

        Here’s another clue; “consensus police” – reason or rhetoric?

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse.


        I have been victimized by such lack of tolerance by other scientists (at this point I have the hide of an alligator, so this does not upset me personally)

        Hide of an alligator – Tears of a crocodile.

        Poor Dr. Judith Curry – Burdened with the task of having to defend her opinions to other scientists who might not agree with her!

        If your opinions are unpopular among other scientists, don’t take it personally. Provide more evidence.

        Because maybe it’s not your character other scientists are rejecting,
        Maybe your opinions are wrong. Or vague. Or inconsistent.

        It happens.

        And do remember, Dr Curry, there are ‘consensus police’ lurking everywhere.

      • Steven Mosher

        Michael

        “I have not the slightest doubt I would be REALLY unpopular in the lab if I publicly trashed my professional collegues in the same manner.”

        Well thats easy to test. lets see how un popular Francis becomes for her trashing of Barnes.

        Under your theory Francis publicly trashing Barnes and questioning her motives should make her un popular.

        Lets see if she gets dropped from the speaking circuit..

      • Where is, David Apple?

      • They’re getting him an Armored Personnel Carrier.
        ===========

      • it was nothing more than a piece of attention grabbing editorialising that had nothing to do with the actual article,

        Yes, but sometimes attention grabbing editorializing is just fine. It’s only a problem selectively.

        Selective reasoning is selective.

      • Michael –

        “Judy is REALLY unpopular….at the lab” may have grounds in Judy’s behaviour, rather than in what Judy would like to believe.

        I’d say that it is fair to speculate that this is not an either/or situation. Tribalism and motivated reasoning exist among “realists.” Although I think that she gets overly dramatic about being a victim (e.g., her “Yes, but denier” focus in that recent clip of her exchanges with Gavin), I would say that there’s little doubt that Judith has been the focus of such phenomena. However, IMO, there is a matrix of problems, and selective approaches to tribalism and motivated reasoning are one of them.

        Selective reasoning is selective. Tribal behavior is tribal.

      • Judith

        At one time I naively believed that all scientists were rational, polite, apolitical and eager to learn of new research from others that might help further that aspect of science they specialise in.

        I also believed they were exceptional researchers who would put together interesting and coherent papers that would be fairly peer reviewed.

        I USED to believe that. Having now been involved in climate science for a decade I am very disappointed at what I find.

        The ‘not invented here’ syndrome seems firmly entrenched. Overspecialisation is rampant, whereby someone might know their limited branch of climate science inside out, but fail to see the bigger picture. Many (but by no means all) climate scientists are rude, petulant, opinionated, snarky and unwilling to listen to their peers or accept criticism of their entrenched views in firm contradiction of the Royal Society motto ‘take no ones word as final.’

        I have had the misfortune to read through hundreds of poorly researched and badly written papers as I look for material for my own articles, so it appears there are many mediocre scientists working in this field.

        The addition of politics as a (in some cases) driving force behind what the scientists wants to achieve is also a disappointment.

        We have some questionable ‘post modern’ science built on shaky foundations that assumes we have a much greater knowledge of the historic record than we do, or assumes that the historic record-such as sea surface temperatures to 1850- are a rock solid piece of science from which an edifice can be constructed.

        We also seem to believe we know far more about how the climate operates than we actually do.

        I will repeat my favourite Moroccan proverb;

        ‘if at noon he says it is night, will you say; behold, the stars?’

        We have a number of leading lights in this relatively new science-individuals and organisations- who should have been challenged from the outset. Highly accurate temperatures from tree rings? How does that work? Why was such as Dr Mann not openly challenged by those working in this field?

        We are partly in this mess because the basics are left unquestioned and those promoting them seem above criticism from their own side.

        You, Judith, should be proud of the way you are trying to put some sanity back into a branch of science that attracts more than their fair share of zealots from both sides of the fence.

        Whilst I doubt you want to completely leave your own ‘tribe’ (as others phrase it) you are willing to listen to those from the other ‘tribe’ and I suspect may ultimately be happier in one of your own making that lies somewhere between the two firmly entrenched positions

        So, polite and searching ‘criticism’ overt and subtle, of other scientists, organisations and papers, is probably long overdue, but it needs to be backed up by a rational argument, and too often scientists seem afraid of stating a ‘contrary’ position to the status quo .

        I know of several scientists in the Environment Agency and Met Office here who are highly sceptical of the ‘dramatically rising sea levels due to man’ story, or that temperatures are rising dramatically, but will never say so in public. Several other climate scientists I know post under false names.

        How did science come to this? Why is climate science considered a special case?

        You run a terrific blog Judith and we all look forward to watching your personal exploration of the numerous highways and byways of this infuriating, perverse, but fascinating new branch of science. Who knows, we might find ourselves joining a new and different tribe to the ones we currently find ourselves in?

        tonyb

      • hey pokerguy,
        “consensus police” – people who don’t agree with Judith.
        Go Ditto-heads!”

        I have no clue with this means, and in any case it completely evades my point. I could care less what people believe, Michael. What I do care about is how they debate, and whether or not they’re somewhat open-minded and fair. From what I’ve read of your comments, you fail miserably in that regard. I don’t know why you even bother to comment, since I see no sincere attempt at reasonable discussion.

      • Michael,

        Long ago I accepted the concept of all of us viewing the world around us through our own set of filters. For me this meant trying to recognize my own set as well as those of others.

        If I can know what filters I use to take in information, I am better able to watch for bias and pre-concieved ideas to creep in. If I am able to understand what filters others use, it allows me to find ways to better communicate – i.e. ones which will be less likely to get diluted, altered or filtered out completely.

        So I am going to say that it could be my own filters which cause me to miss the intent and behavior of Dr Curry that you attribute to her. Furthermore, my filters do not prevent me from seeing how Dr Curry’s post could be seen by others as the playing of the victum card. But to see it that way requires another set of filters. One that screens out any other possible interpretartion.

        Perhaps you should take a second look. Only this time without preconceptions and your usual filters.

      • Josh,

        On the overly dramatic topic:

        Which does not fit?

        Michael Mann

        David Appell

        David Suzuki

        Judith Curry

        Dana Nuccitelli (aka Scooter)

      • Tim –

        I’d say that they’re all prone to dramaqueenism. Perhaps Judith less so than the others.

        That doesn’t however, mean make her “Yes, but denier” any more useful for advancing the debate (or, more precisely, any less likely to only contribute to undermining legitimate debate).

      • tim,

        er, yes,filters.

        You might have missed the point.

        Judith offered reasons for her positions on certain topics.

        I offered others.

        You see?

      • Unlike say RealClimate, Judith is indeed intolerant of those who disagree with her.
        That’s why the likes of Michael are never allowed to post here.
        And why skeptics have no trouble posting at RealClimate.

    • “And do remember, Dr Curry, there are ‘consensus police’ lurking everywhere.” -Rev

      This ‘consensus police’ stuff is pure BS.

      Science is properly slow to react – that’s the whole freakin idea. The last thing we want is ‘science’ running off down every little alley and laneway only to find they are dead ends. Inertia – it has a purpose.
      Individuals can do all the running off after every little fad and thought, just don’t expect the entire world to come running after you immediately, and definitely don’t start imagining you’re some kind of martyr because others think you’re wrong.

      • Sorry Michael, our time is up.

      • Steven Mosher

        yes, the piltdown mann existed in the record for decades, despite the fact that some experts rejected the idea early on.

        But several things kept the fraud alive..

        1. researchers were not given access to the actual fossil.
        2. The fraudster claimed a replication early on

        In fact even after the fraud had been exposed it was relied on in certain publications, most notably Nature..

        That is interesting for historical parallels

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


        This ‘consensus police’ stuff is pure BS.

        No. No. And No.

        There ARE consensus police. It’s just that Dr Curry wrongly imagines that they have jailed her.

        The real consensus police strictly enforce the ‘skeptic’ ‘law’ that humans can dump gigatonnes of GHGs into the atmosphere with no significant negative consequences. Those police have warrants out for Mann, Hansen, Schmidt, and Weaver – but Curry is so uncertain about everything except uncertainty itself that she gets away with a suspended sentence.

        Oh Look. Everyone’s a victim. Boo hoo.

        Life is hard.

      • Sometimes I wonder why people don’t post under their real names. In your case, I don’t wonder.

      • Judith

        Maybe one has to make exceptions for a man of the cloth?

        Max

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


        Sometimes I wonder why people don’t post under their real names. In your case, I don’t wonder.

        Judith – It’s a blog.

        You get to post things about everyone else’s mistakes and about the consensus police. But you won’t name names.

        People will respond in kind.

      • i don’t name names because people want anonymity (including yourself)

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

        Mosher:

        But several things kept the fraud alive…
        That is interesting for historical parallels.

        Oh dear.

        Is that an argument by imagined analogy, or simply a petitio principii?

        One man’s fraud is another man’s motivated extrapolation.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Life is hard.”

        yes, life is hard, some evil skeptic asked for you data and you think that is harassment.

        yes life is hard our grand children will have to deal with a warmer world
        and higher sea lives. tough luck,

        yes life is hard, somebody stole your emails. boo hoo

        yes life is hard, the Bush adminstration controlled what you said Dr. Hanse.

        yes life is hard, those horrible oil companies spread disinformation

      • Steven Mosher

        ‘Oh dear.

        Is that an argument by imagined analogy, or simply a petitio principii?

        actually the analogy is very strong.

        First in how the “bad data” got into the science
        Second in how difficult it was to remove
        Third in how it persisted even after being exposed.

        As oreskes argues science is conservative which means when error get in its very hard to purge them, ESPECIALLY when the error is tied to ethical/political/religious issues.

        To be clear the hockey stick is an error not a hoax, but the dynamics of how error or hoax gets into the science and the time it takes to remove it is the same for both errors and hoaxes.

        I do have a essay on this, but publishing it has been discouraged by the consensus police.

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse


        yes life is hard, somebody stole your emails. boo hoo

        Exactly. And Al Gore.

        All’s fair in love and climate science.

      • Looks like Jeb just took a jab to the chin from the good doctor.

        Stuff like that can happen when you forget what your mom taught you. Very Reverend indeed.

      • Joshua, re name calling:
        Normally I would agree with you. But most of you guys are utterly beyond reason. 16 years without additional warming, no more intense hurricanes, no more intense tornadoes, no increased sea level rise beyond the rate we’ve seen for centuries, no more flooding, no more droughts than we’ve had, and on top of it what looks to be lower, perhaps much lower atmospheric sensitivity. And yet not one of you guys has backed off in the slightest, including you. There’s really no point in trying to reason with minds that can never be reached.

      • Steven,

        Piltodwn Man?

        Hmmmm….should check your history more carefully before launching into poor analogies.

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse | August 22, 2013 at 12:36 pm
        The real consensus police strictly enforce the ‘skeptic’ ‘law’ that humans can dump gigatonnes of GHGs into the atmosphere with no significant negative consequences.
        ——————————————–
        So these alleged skeptic police … how many have you identified ?
        Some bloke in a pub, once, was it? And did he have a friend who agreed?

        Of the perhaps hundreds who post here, there’s maybe two or three.

    • Joshua, Big Soda says that the Green Team is already good with the soap. How does that wash with all the rest of the tribal stuff?

  21. Great post. I have sometimes tried to point out to sociologists who claim that sceptics suffer from motivated reasoning that the same might apply to them. I had an exchange of views with Kahan about this.

  22. Theo Goodwin

    “In my view this comment exemplifies a problematic attitude not only in climate science but in the social sciences as well. The good cause which allegedly motivates much of the research puts the researcher in a special position. It allows them to dispense with essential standards of professional conduct. It is perhaps not remarkable that we see a ‘leading figure’ in the philosophy of science defend questionable practices which have been modelled (not by accident I suppose) after the famous climategate affair.”

    Very well said. I would say that you are set to do some ground breaking work in the ethics of scientists. I believe that it will be very interesting. For the fun of it, let me say that you seem to have the instincts of a Kantian. You are very concerned with personal integrity and you are absolutely unwilling to put your thumb on the scale. (A very good thing because that little white lie will be discovered.) You want to be transparent and, like Feynman, let the cards fall where they may. You are unwilling to be paternalistic, except maybe toward children, and are unwilling to control or shape perceptions of information about your results or theories. Of course, you are out of step because simple utilitarianism and acting for the greater good are all the rage these days. On the other hand, I share your surprise at Kitcher’s reasoning. I look forward to seeing your work in ethics published. Much success to you, Saint Judith.

    • Theo, I wish I had thought of the now obvious comparison of Judith with Feynman, re their integrity to science at all costs!

      Freeman Dyson also comes to mind here.

      • Scientists who disagree with Judith lack integrity.

        Scientists who disagree with Freeman lack integrity.

        Got it.

        HA HA !

      • Feynman could serve as the exemplar of integrity for science. He did not pass up an opportunity to teach that a researcher must publish all results that support his work and all results that conflict with his work.

      • Max_OK

        Let me help you along a bit with your logic:

        Some scientists who disagree with Judith lack integrity.

        Some scientists who disagree with Freeman lack integrity.

        Members of both groups may also lack the necessary scientific knowledge to fully understand Judith Curry, but this is not a question of integrity it is a question of scientific acumen.

        Max_CH

      • OK, Max_CH, I think I got it now. Some scientists have integrity, some don’t.

        JC is one of those who has integrity. How do we know? She said so, or a least implied it.

      • I am someone who cares passionately about research integrity (and also personal integrity). I ask myself questions and struggle with this issue, and I think about the issue a lot in terms of my own personal behavior, institutions, and the broader climate community. ‘having integrity’ is not something like having blue eyes; its in the eye of the beholder (yourself or someone else).

        That said, there are very clear guidelines for research integrity for U.S. scientists, that our outlined in the NRC publication On being a scientist.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Judith Curry posts “I am someone who cares passionately about research integrity (and also personal integrity) …”

        That paragraph ranks (as it seems to me) among the most outstanding meditations upon climate science (or any science). Thank you, Judith Curry!

        Please allow me to commend to the attention of Climate Etc readers the similar-themed meditation (by William Thurston) titled On proof and progress in mathematics (1994; since cited more than four hundred times), along with the recommendation that “mathematics” be read as “climate change science”, and “proof” be read as “theory and data”, and “progress” be read as “understanding”. This isomorphism yields passages like:

        The question I prefer [is] “How do scientists advance human understanding of climate? This question brings to the fore something that is fundamental and pervasive: that what we are doing is finding ways for people to understand and think about climate-change.

        Thurston’s notions of integrity have stood the test of time, and (as it seems to me) yours will too, Judith Curry!

        Good on `yah, Judith Curry (and William Thurston)!

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Judith, I believe my religious background makes me suspicious of people who talk about how good they are and how bad some other people are. If you talk about what’s wrong with others, I think OK you may be right, but how about you?

      • I listen to people with a range of perspectives, I allow open discussion here even when the individuals insult me. In fact I try explicitly to provide a forum where alternative perspectives can be aired and discussed (including ones that I personally disagree with). I try to be non-normative in my public communication about science. I regard being open about uncertainties and the existence of other perspectives as being important in terms of communicating science to the public, but also important for the rapid progress of science. I’ll leave it to others to decide whether this is ‘good’ or ‘right’.

        As I stated in the main post, my personal ethical conflicts in context of the climate debate have been resolved by choosing to focus on my responsibilities as a scientist as outlined by the NRC report. Others seem to think it is more important to support your colleagues or institutions, or to do what they think is best for the environment or the public. Their choice. I did call out as irresponsible in my opinion those who put their loyalties first to their colleagues or institutions in a self-serving way that supports their own career.

      • Steven Mosher

        Judith, I believe my religious background makes me suspicious of people who talk about how good they are and how bad some other people are.

        yes, I’ve noticed how you are suspicious of Gore, hansen, Mann, Romm, Oreskes,

        So, lets talk about all those evil old people on this site

      • curryja said in her post on August 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm
        “I listen to people with a range of perspectives, I allow open discussion here even when the individuals insult me. In fact I try explicitly to provide a forum where alternative perspectives can be aired and discussed (including ones that I personally disagree with).”
        _______

        Yes, you do, and that’s what I like about Climate Etc.

      • Mosher said

        “yes, I’ve noticed how you are suspicious of Gore, hansen, Mann, Romm, Oreskes,

        So, lets talk about all those evil old people on this site.”
        ______

        Steven, either you forgot to include yourself, or you don’t see yourself in the same league as them, and/or you think you have more integrity than them.

        IMO, you are purdy good when it comes to integrity, and probably better than me.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Steven Mosher: yes, I’ve noticed how you are suspicious of Gore, hansen, Mann, Romm, Oreskes,

        Really? Where was that when you “noticed” it?

      • max_ .

        You’re either 16 years old, or a very foolish man. Truthfully I’m stunned and depressed by the vicious outpouring of utter nonsense from you and Michael regarding J.C. If I were new the climate debate as of today, and just scrolled down through this thread it would be enough for me to begin to suspect where my sympathies lay. What a rogues gallery of intellectual thugs.

        Something’s amiss with a group whose best and brightest is Joshua.

      • Something’s amiss with a group whose best and brightest is Joshua.

        Wow. You really have a low opinion of those boyz, don’t you? But honestly, PG, I don’t think that anyone could be less “best and brightest” than I.

        I think you’ll have to think of a better insult in your quest to distinguish yourself from that utter nonsense from those intellectual thugs.

        ‘Cause, you know, insulting people is so meaningful and intellectually enlightened, eh?

      • Steven Mosher

        Max, OK

        i do not talk about how good I am and how evil others are
        you should note that my religious background includes the canons of dort.

        basically we all suck.. or just the opposite.

      • Theo Goodwin

        “curryja | August 22, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
        I am someone who cares passionately about research integrity (and also personal integrity).

        Yes, you do care so very much about personal and professional integrity. Please write some articles or a book about your views on ethics in science. Your work is likely to be ground breaking. After it is published, the professional philosophers can refine the terminology a bit. (Teaching through examples of moral dilemmas or issues is probably the practical way to proceed.)

    • Kitcher’s underlying philosophical position, if memory serves, has a Marxian flavor. So his attitude is pretty consistent in terms of ends justifying the means.

      BTW, lots of “right-wing” people are also consequentialists. Here is Milton Friedman:

      “A common objection to totalitarian societies is that they regard the end as justifying the means. Taken literally, this objection is clearly illogical. If the end does not justify the means, what does? But this easy answer does not dispose of the objection; it simply shows that the objection is not well put. To deny that the end justifies the means is indirectly to assert that the end in question is not the ultimate end, that the ultimate end is itself the use of the proper means. Desirable or not, any end that can be attained only by the use of bad means must give way to the more basic end of the use of acceptable means.”

      • Stevepostrel, I think it is more like, “The end justifies the means.” – Marx
        “The end better justify the means!” – Conservative
        “It depends on what mean means.” – Liberal (of US persuasion)
        “This means the end.” – Progressive

      • Theo Goodwin

        If you are interested in some very serious reasoning on the “ends and means question,” then you want to read John Rawls’ “Theory of Justice” (1971). Because that book is a tad daunting, you might search for reviews or criticisms of the book. In the book, Rawls uses decision theory as a framework for marrying utilitarianism (ends) and Kantianism (not means but principles governing means). His conclusion is that a just society contains some form of the welfare state. The degree of welfare is debatable.

  23. . “Last June, I encountered at a meeting an elected official of one of the major professional societies, who was not unsympathetic to my positions. He asked me: ”I have wondered what possessed you to break loose from the mainstream opinions of the community, with potentially adverse professional consequences.” My response was that I was doing this because I thought it was the right thing to do, and that I thought that someone needed to stand up as an advocate for professional responsibility and integrity in climate research. And I inched into all this, with the adverse response from my ‘colleagues’ further justifying to me the need to do what I was doing. So in context of the microethical dilemmas, I went with my conscience, which told me to put professional responsibility and integrity ahead of the norms and desires of my colleagues and the institutions of climate science. It is still astonishing to me that there should be such a conflict.” – JC
    Hmmmm.

    One of Judith’s anecdotes in relation to this the case of a researcher not immediately publishing a result that may challenge an existing “desirable storyline’.

    Compare and contrast this with Judith promoting the results of a non-existent paper, with no data, claiming it potentially “revolutionary basing such a grandiose claim on little more than a .ppt.
    Says Judith,
    ““Scientists will only be able to command trust in society if they follow basic professional standards. ……., no matter if they support a desirable storyline or not”

    Of course this was motivated reasoning, with Judith casting aside the norms of publication and professional standards in the pursuit of her “desirable story line” – her not-the-IPCC fixation. Anything not-the-IPCC can bypass the standards Judith claims to want.

    This is what I call the Judith Delusion – bemoaning motivated reasoning, arguing for professional standards and ethical behaviour, while simultaneously committing all those sins to achieve her “desirable story line”.

    • Well, Judith never claimed to be perfect.

    • Michael, what specific professional standard did JC violate?

      How did she promote a non-existent paper? She promoted an unstated concept she found worthy. Perhaps she errs, but that is not the same as your claim.

      You call it delusional. I call it normal in that I have heard such discussions, criticisms, and conversations for decades about scientific research by scientists themselves. And IIRC, such discussions and blog posts have been claimed by scientists to show what is wrong with certain papers, both by IPCC authors and Not-IPCC authors.

      What specific sin and what did JC say?

      In fact, your evidenceless post while bemoaning her supposed evidenceless reeks of the motivated reasoning and other sins you accuse JC.

      • John,

        Judith says that ‘public trust’ in science is at stake …and promotes non-existent papers with non-existent data.

        Science by rumour.

      • Steven Mosher

        Micheal

        This is your idea of promotion?

        ‘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. ”

        thats promotion?

        Jezuz you are so fired from my marketing department.

        Go clean the loo

      • No paper, no data – how does one reach such a conclusion on importance??

        Science by rumour.

        Go team!

    • Michael,

      Beyond throwing stones and braying, are there any other skills you possess? After awhile the novelty of a talking donkey wears thin, unless the donkey can participate in reasoned and polite conversation. I’m beginning to think the couple of ocassions you have done so are evidence in support of the blind squirrel theory.

    • “Of course this was motivated reasoning, with Judith casting aside the norms of publication and professional standards in the pursuit of her “desirable story line” – her not-the-IPCC fixation. Anything not-the-IPCC can bypass the standards Judith claims to want.”

      This is her blog. Apparently, you think that it is a refereed journal.

      • Theo – yes it’s a blog and this was just so much more blogivating.

        Science needs more hot air.

  24. Schrodinger's Cat

    Excellent.

    It needed to be said and you have said it extremely well.

  25. Perhaps we could get a comment from Edward Snowden.

  26. An example of motivated reasoning would be how climate skeptics react to the following graph.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/plot/uah/from:1979/to:2008/trend/plot/uah/from:2008/trend

    It shows the temperature trend from 1979 to 2008 is 0.15C/decade. But since 2008 the trend is greater, 0.24C/decade

    Now by climate skeptic’s own methodology this suggests an acceleration in warming. By their own methodology I mean graphs like this:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1979/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1979/to:2001/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2001/trend

    They typically choose a year like 2001, stick trends before and after it, compare them and announce to the world that warming has stopped or cooling has begun based on that comparison.

    So I chose the year 2008 instead. A spanner in the works because it shows a result contrary to what climate skeptics want to promote. So guided by motivated reasoning they are motivated to “reason” the graph away while trying to defend their own graph starting in 2001.

    One climate skeptic immediately jumped in to state the period was too short! (wow!) apparently 2008, 5 going on 6 years is too short a period! I wonder what that is based on? I’ve never heard climate skeptics complaining a period is too short! 12 years apparently is fine but 5 years is not. I wonder why.

    Another climate skeptic came along and said “It’s only an apparent acceleration if somehow ignore the downward step from the end of your green line trend to the start of the blue tread.”

    wow again! It’s amazing the forced concessions that accidentally come out the woodwork! Have climate skeptics not notice the step upwards in their own 2001 graph? It has been mentioned before. Only now does one of them concede (but not directly) that step upwards exists and is a problem with their pauseology method.

    • A typical example of what happens when toddlers start playing with sharp knives. Trend lines tell you nothing except whatever you want them to tell you.

    • we have thousands of years of ice core data that we could curve fit.

      You argue about which really short period of data that you want to extrapolate. You are right you can pick short term data that will extrapolate to any answer you picked ahead of time.

      Short term data is useless except for how it fits in with the long term data.

      Only long term data should be used to determine long term facts.

    • The hell, all the CAGW nonsense is based SOLELY on 1950 to present data, with a profound fingers in ears about any previous CO2 or temperature swings. In context the last 63 years are totally unremarkable in any way related to climate, but quite remarkable in wealth redistribution strategies.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Oh course if science suggests that there was a climate shift to cooler conditions in 1998/2001 – it makes perfect sense. It suggests moreover a decade to three more of cooler surface conditions. This is what comes from having a testable hypothesis rather than playing with inherently variable data. Short term changes are clearly ENSO associated.

      The break point is clearly seen in cloud cover change between 1998 and 2001.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/cloud_palleandLaken2013_zps73c516f9.png.html?sort=3&o=16

      Is any of this too difficult? Is the idea of abrupt change from internal climate variability too far out there? Is there some more deep seated groupthink psychopathology?

      • Chief, If you are really into that shift nonsense, you could change your name to “Shifty.”

        On second thought, you ain’t smart enough to be shifty.

        How about “Sucker” ?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Very funny Max – you speak complexity theory at about the orangutan level. And I should take your advice?

        Complexity theory is mainstream climate science – as little prepared as you are to comprehend – and as much as you mouth off in utter ignorance.

      • Chief,

        Take it easy on Max. There is an old saying that one should stick with what one does best. Commenting in utter ignorance is what Max does best.

    • lolwot

      There is a current “pause” in global warming.

      Everyone recognizes it by now.

      Get used to it. Denying its existence will get you nowhere.

      It may last another decade (or three, as the Chief writes).

      Our hostess has stated she thinks it could last another decade or two.

      Some solar scientists have predicted an even longer period of slight cooling.

      We’ll see.

      Max

    • Lolwot, motivated reasoning, like we saw in the climategate emails, creates equally motivated reasoning on the other side, it seems to me. (And political stuff on the part of those who don’t want a Kyoto can create political stuff on the part of those who do, of course it goes both ways.)

      Although I read WUWT, I find most of the posts there not very educational, kind of like Joe Romm but without as much venom, but on the other side.

      Yet occasionally there are some links to real science, good science, on WUWT. I generally don’t find such links elsewhere, that is why I go to WUWT. And that is what our science has come to. Nature and Science occasionally publish BS well below their normal standards, only when it comes to climate change issues, it seems to me. Those articles get wide coverage. Good articles and rebuttals to the (occasional) Nature BS doesn’t get reported in the mainstream, so you have to go to someplace like WUWT. For this reason, props to Anthony Watts.

      So what is someone who wants to get to the bottom of what is really happening to do? I have to read everything I can, from all sides, and try to make sense of it myself without having a trusted source. It is time consuming, but that is the best I can do, when I trust neither side, and both are doing motivated reasoning. Tit for tat.

      Hence my admiration not just for Judith’s intellect, but also courage. Judith may or may not end up being “right” on any particular climate change issue of the day, but I know I can trust her to be as ethical as possible.

      I know she is as honest as she can possibly be. Now let’s see if a few others will come out of the closet, and in so doing bring science a bit more back to where it should be, where we can begin to trust them again.

      • ” And that is what our science has come to. Nature and Science occasionally publish BS well below their normal standards”

        I would love someone to measure the average width of confidence intervals in Figures from both Nature and Science in a single month of 2013, 2003, 1993 and 1983.
        It appears, to me at least, that everyone is better than I am across a range of techniques, and can nail the conditions so well that their data is on average twice as good as mine for the same n.

    • lolwot on the “pause:”

      (with apologies to Ringo Starr – sung to the tune of The No No Song)

      A lady that i know just came from the Met Office,
      She smiled because i did not understand.
      Then she held out a warming pause, ha ha!
      She said it was the best in all the land.

      And i said,
      “no, no, no, no, it ain’t warmin’ no more,
      I’m gonna fall face down on the floor.
      No, thank you, please, I’ve got warmists’ disease
      And pauses chill my soul down to its core

      A woman that i know just came from majorca, spain,
      She smiled because i did not understand. (parazzi! Parazzi!) (ole!)
      Then she held out an old abandoned wind mill,
      She said it’d been the finest in the land.

      And i said,
      “no, no, no, no, it ain’t warmin’ no more,
      I’m gonna fall face down on the floor.
      No, thank you, please, I’ve got warmists’ disease
      And pauses chill my soul down to its core

    • So while the motivated Consensus reluctantly concedes the existence of the Pause (still desperately hoping the “missing” heat will someday be found hiding out in the deep oceans), our very own lolwot here thinks he has the wherewithal to deny it.

      Perhaps Gore and the IPCC will share some of their Nobel Prize for Political Correctness with him.

  27. Mark Brinkley

    Methinks you doth protest too much. If your basic point is that science is not always as objective and rational as we would like to think it should be, you are right. But that’s hardly an earth shattering conclusion. If you think that scientists, like every one else, feel safe if they go with the herd, then you are spot on. But you also have to ask what your own motives are in swimming against the tide. It doesn’t make you more rational or more objective. Just a little bit different, a bit rebellious. And no more likely to be “right.”

    • Swimming against the current is a hard but necessary choice that is made when the current is about to take you over a waterfall.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Depends on who is right. Simple climate cause and effect using reductionist techniques or climate as a coupled non-linear system using the new methods of complexity science. The latter suggests 20 to 40 years of non warming or even cooling subsequent to the latest ‘Great Pacific Climate Shift’ of 1998/2001.

      There are many scientists who have been quite explicit about this for more than a decade. As the non warming persists for year after year – the post hoc rationalizations seem ever more desperate.

    • Mark,

      If you consider behaving in an ethical and honest manner is swimming against the tide or being just a bit different, then you are a lost soul.

      Dr Curry is not claiming to be any more “right” on the science, just someone following her conscious on what constitutes ethical behavior as a scientist. That some people have so much trouble with that is sad and probably explains why so many will come to the defense of a Peter Glieck, a Stephen Lewandowski, or a John Cook. Why some try to direct any discussion about the climate gate emails into an argument over hacking.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        No – Judith is more right about the science. While it is sometimes expressed as uncertainty – there are in fact 2 competing and radically divergent paradigms. One is right and one wrong.

    • The point is that sometimes the worst sort of “motivated reasoners” like to pretend that they are pure scientists. This
      happens on both sides of the aisle. But then one side gets a free pass in the MSM and from folks with a particular set of political beliefs (I don’t need to spell this out) and at least up until recently were given free reign to be activists while posing as guardians of the one truth. While the other side were treated as thought they were the exact opposite: only motivated by reactionary political beliefs, bought by big oil, not scientists in any sense of the word and you had to ignore every last thing they ever said because they were evil. And if anyone even took seriously anything they said and tried to apply critical thinking to it and search for any grains of truth in what they said or look for compromise or positions of agreement, then that made that person evil as well. This is how gulags get started. Thankfully, we are probably many years away from that. But there have been a number of questionable statements from people like Hansen (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2008/jun/23/fossilfuels.climatechange) and this fool:

      http://joannenova.com.au/2012/12/death-threats-anyone-austrian-prof-global-warming-deniers-should-be-sentenced-to-death/

      • James Thurber lost his glasses in a story one time and thought that an arc welder was ‘a radiant fool setting off skyrockets by day’. Some of the stars of climate science seem like radiant fools to me, and then I take off my glasses.
        ============

  28. “As a researcher, what kinds of responsibilities do you have to
    your conscience (micro) (1)
    your colleagues (micro) (2)
    institutions (micro/macro) (3)
    the public (macro) (4)
    the environment (macro) (5)”

    – Judith Curry. With the numbers added by myself.

    I don’t know if it was the intent, but the goals as I call them seem ranked in order, with 1 being the highest goal. The order seems right to me. But what if people start using different rankings?

    Moving goal 5 into the 2 position for instance. You’re now doing almost everything for the environment that you can and placed that ahead of goal 4, the public.

    What happens if goal 3 means something like the Profession? I might swap the positions of goals 2 and 3. Putting the profession above my colleagues. The overused phrase, flexible ethics might be hinted at above.

    Did we see some people changing from a traditional ranking (perhaps the above) to something else? If the question is one’s colleagues, the way they have ranked their goals may matter. You might ask them, what are you doing?

    If we never changed our rankings under any circumstances, one could argue that’s unworkable. On the other hand, if we changed them frequently they would tend towards meaningless.

    • I don’t know if it was the intent, but the goals as I call them seem ranked in order, with 1 being the highest goal.

      No, that was obviously not the intent; they are clearly ranked in order of “size,” not importance or priority or “height.” Your whole comment is specious at best.

  29. It is better to lose on your own terms than to win on someone else’s.
    Losing sucks, but eventually, the people who pass you on the way up get to meet you when they are on the way down.

  30. When I saw the title of this post i expected it would be a guest post by the Motivated reasoning specialist practitioners: e.g. Joshua, Bart R, WHT to name just three.

  31. Movitvated Reasoning = ? Getting rich on the Cause

    Follow the money. Works every time.

  32. While true, this has been done better: http://www.bmartin.cc/pubs/92prom.html

    • Good link but seems more on the topic of ethics and structural/institutional influences pervading Australian academia.

      • If you want some evidence of the bias among high profile climate change Australian Academia, go no further than the series of thirteen extremist articles by Australia’s top climate change academics here:

        https://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-real-an-open-letter-from-the-scientific-community-1808

        Note: it was coordinated by the Editor of the Conversation and Stephen Lewandowski.

        Part One: Climate change is real: an open letter from the scientific community.

        Part Two: The greenhouse effect is real: here’s why.

        Part Three: Speaking science to climate policy.

        Part Four: Our effect on the earth is real: how we’re geo-engineering the planet

        Part Five: Who’s your expert? The difference between peer review and rhetoric

        Part Six: Climate change denial and the abuse of peer review

        Part Seven: When scientists take to the streets it’s time to listen up on climate change

        Part Eight: Australia’s contribution matters: why we can’t ignore our climate responsibilities

        Part Nine: A journey into the weird and wacky world of climate change denial

        Part Ten: The chief troupier: the follies of Mr Monckton

        Part Eleven: Rogues or respectable? How climate change sceptics spread doubt and denial

        Part Twelve: Bob Carter’s climate counter-consensus is an alternate reality

        Part Thirteen: The false, the confused and the mendacious: how the media gets it wrong on climate change

      • Here are the signatories to that pile of scaremongering nonsense and motivated reasoning (a list of the climate change activists in academia in Australia). I double anyone would produce a better example of the motivated reasoning that has pushed climate change alarmism in Australia.

        https://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-real-an-open-letter-from-the-scientific-community-1808

        Signatories

        Winthrop Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, Australian Professorial Fellow, UWA

        Dr. Matthew Hipsey, Research Assistant Professor, School of Earth and Environment, Centre of Excellence for Ecohydrology, UWA

        Dr Julie Trotter, Research Assistant Professor, School of Earth and Environment, UWA Oceans Institute, UWA

        Winthrop Professor Malcolm McCulloch, F.R.S., Premier’s Research Fellow, UWA Oceans Institute, School of Earth and Environment, UWA

        Professor Kevin Judd, School of Mathematics and Statistics, UWA

        Dr Thomas Stemler, Assistant Professor, School of Mathematics and Statistics, UWA

        Dr. Karl-Heinz Wyrwoll, Senior Lecturer, School of Earth and Environment, UWA

        Dr. Andrew Glikson, Earth and paleoclimate scientist, School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Research School of Earth Science, Planetary Science Institute, ANU

        Prof Michael Ashley, School of Physics, Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Prof David Karoly, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne

        Prof John Abraham, Associate Professor, School of Engineering, University of St. Thomas

        Prof Ian Enting, ARC Centre for Mathematics and Statistics of Complex Systems, University of Melbourne

        Prof John Wiseman, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne

        Associate Professor Ben Newell, School of Psychology, Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Prof Matthew England, co-Director, Climate Change Research Centre, Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Dr Alex Sen Gupta Climate Change Research Centre,Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Prof. Mike Archer AM, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Prof Steven Sherwood, co-Director, Climate Change Research Centre, Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Dr. Katrin Meissner, ARC Future Fellow, Climate Change Research Centre, Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Dr Jason Evans, ARC Australian Research Fellow, Climate Change Research Centre,Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Global Change Institute, UQ

        Dr Andy Hogg, Fellow, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU

        Prof John Quiggin, School of Economics, School of Political Science & Intnl Studies, UQ

        Prof Chris Turney FRSA FGS FRGS, Climate Change Research Centre and School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UNSW

        Dr Gab Abramowitz, Lecturer, Climate Change Research Centre,Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Prof Andy Pitman, Climate Change Research Centre, Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Prof Barry Brook, Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change, University of Adelaide

        Prof Mike Sandiford, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne

        Dr Michael Box, Associate Professor, School of Physics, Faculty of Science, UNSW

        Prof Corey Bradshaw, Director of Ecological Modelling, The Environment Institute, The University of Adelaide

        Dr Paul Dargusch, School of Agriculture & Food Science, UQ

        Prof Nigel Tapper, Professor Environmental Science, School of Geography and Environmental Science Monash University

        Prof Jason Beringer, Associate Professor & Deputy Dean of Research, School of Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University

        Prof Neville Nicholls, Professorial Fellow, School of Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University

        Prof Dave Griggs, Director, Monash Sustainability Institute, Monash University

        Prof Peter Sly, Medicine Faculty, School of Paediatrics & Child Health, UQ

        Dr Pauline Grierson, Senior Lecturer, School of Plant Biology, Ecosystems Research Group, Director of West Australian Biogeochemistry Centre, UWA

        Prof Jurg Keller, IWA Fellow, Advanced Water Management Centre, UQ

        Prof Amanda Lynch, School of Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University

        A/Prof Steve Siems, School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University

        Prof Justin Brookes, Director, Water Research Centre, The University of Adelaide

        Prof Glenn Albrecht, Professor of Sustainability, Director: Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy (ISTP), Murdoch University

        Winthrop Professor Steven Smith, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, UWA

        Dr Kerrie Unsworth, School of Business, UWA

        Dr Pieter Poot, Assistant Professor in Plant Conservation Biology, School of Plant Biology, UWA

        Adam McHugh, Lecturer, School of Engineering and Energy, Murdoch University

        Dr Louise Bruce, Research Associate, School of Earth and Environment, UWA

        Dr Ailie Gallant, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne

        Dr Will J Grant, Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science, ANU

        Rick A. Baartman, Fellow of the American Physical Society

        William GC Raper, Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO (retired)

        Dr Chris Riedy, Research Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney

        Ben McNeil, Senior Fellow, Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW

        Paul Beckwith, Department of Geography, University of Ottawa

        Tim Leslie, PhD candidate, Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW

        Dr Peter Manins, Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research (post-retirement Fellow)

        Prof Philip Jennings, Professor of Energy Studies, Murdoch University

        Dr John Tibby, Senior Lecturer, Geography, Environment and Population, University of Adelaide

        Prof Ray Wills, Adjunct Professor, School of Earth and Environment, UWA

        Jess Robertson, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU

        Dr Paul Tregoning, Senior Fellow, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU

        Dr Doone Wyborn, Adjunct Professor, Geothermal Centre of Excellence, University of Queensland

        Dr. Jonathan Whale, Director, National Small Wind Turbine Centre (NSWTC), Murdoch University

        Dr Tas van Ommen, Australian Antarctic Division, Cryosphere Program Leader, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems CRC

        Dr Jim Salinger, Honorary Research Associate, School of Environment, University of Auckland

        Dr P. Timon McPhearson, Assistant Professor of Urban Ecology, Tishman Environment and Design Center, The New School, New York

        Prof Deo Prasad, Director Masters in Sustainable Development, UNSW

        Prof Rob Harcourt, Facility Leader, Australian Animal Tagging, Monitoring System Integrated Marine Observing System and Professor of Marine Ecology, Macquarie University

        Dr John Hunter, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems CRC, University of Tasmania

        Dr Michael Brown, ARC Future Fellow & Senior Lecturer, School of Physics, Monash University

        Dr Karen McNamara, Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development, University of the South Pacific

        Dr Paul Marshall, Director – Climate Change, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

        Dr Ivan Haigh, Post-doctoral Research Associate, UWA Oceans Institute and School of Environmental Systems Engineering

        Dr Ian Allison, Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC

        Dr Jennifer Coopersmith, Honorary Research Associate Department of Civil Engineering and Physical Sciences, La Trobe University

        Professor Emeritus Peter Kershaw, School of Geography and Environmental Science, Monash University

        Professor Peter Gell, Director, Centre for Environmental Management, University of Ballarat

        Prof David A Hood, Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering, Queensland University of Technology

        Professor Lesley Hughes, Head of Biological Sciences and Co-director of Climate Futures at Macquarie, Macquarie University

        Dr Melanie Bishop, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences, Climate Futures at Macquarie, Macquarie University

        Dr Jane Williamson, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences, Climate Futures at Macquarie, Macquarie University

        Associate Professor Grant Wardell-Johnson, Director of the Curtin Institute of Biodiversity and Climate, Curtin University

        Associate Professor Ralph Chapman, Director, Graduate Programme in Environmental Studies, Victoria University of Wellington

        Dr Malcolm Walter, Director, Australian Centre for Astrobiology, University of New South Wales

        Dr Darrell Kemp, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences, and Co-leader of Terrestrial Adaptation Research, Climate Futures at Macquarie, Macquarie University

        Dr Liz Hanna, Fellow, National Center for Epidemiology & Population Health, ANU

        Dr. Patrick J. Conaghan, Honorary Associate, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Macquarie University.

      • Lang, could it be you think they are biased because it is you who is biased?

      • Peter Lang +1

        Australia seems to provide ample evidence of the motivated reasoning that is permeating the climate change debate. At least your message that the climate debate should focus more on policy is transparent, reasonable and logically consistent. This is because no-one knows what climate will do, not least the academics themselves.

      • Peter Lang,

        How about using a link and not posting an entire list of names? One has to take the time to scroll past the damn thing whenever perusing for recent comments.

  33. Judith uses anecdotes to illustrate the times she had encountered motivated reasoning on the part of her colleagues, perhaps someone like Lewandowski could do a survey on the tendency of practicing climate scientists to employ motivated reasoning in their work and come up with the best available evidence to the contrary? /sarc

  34. in other words: scientist by worshiping CO2 – they are worshiping the dollar

  35. Quote;
    “it provides mounting evidence that different dynamics are governing different segments of “the public.” If we know that distrust in science increases with increasing education among political conservatives, and we know that advocacy increases distrust in science and scientists among those at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum, what does that mean?”
    Bingo!
    I come at this as a uneducated layman, a lurker and as somebody who has been very interested and involved in a peripheral way in “Science” for over 50 years.

    What god given right have scientists of any discipline got to deliberately withhold, change or corrupt their publicly funded research to fulfill their own particular fantasies or beliefs?
    On what basis are scientists permitted such manipulation of publicly funded research so as to make it acceptable by theirs and others standards and beliefs and to drag the research into what is a politically correct and acceptable form to conform to some ill defined ideological belief that a group of their peers might believe in.?
    On what moral or ethical basis is it that some scientists apparently believe they have the right to change or withhold research data and findings that might conflict with their own ideological beliefs?.

    Why do some scientists believe they are somehow different in status to a highly trained doctor who in education and intellect and public status is their complete equal but who is required to bury his personal moral standards and beliefs when dealing with and treating his / her patients.?

    Repeat for lawyers who are required to take up cases in which they may be quite strongly morally and ethically opposed to.
    Or the bureaucrat who is required to implement policies that they might be quite strongly opposed to on moral and ethical grounds and would personally eschew.

    It seems to me that science, particularly climate science, has some very serious issues that high light a narcissistic self importance in that a lot of modern scientists, particularly in climate science, now seem to believe they have a role in and a god given right to try and ensure the implementation of their own personally believed ideologies. They then go out and personally promote those policies to try and ensure that they will be politically implemented and imposed on the public at large.
    Some [ climate warming ? ] scientists are seen as being prepared to go to great lengths to ensure that this is done and to hell with ethics and morality when in their opinion, the end justifies the means.

    The internet has been the great leveler for science as the type of post that Dr Curry has posted above would have never reached any of an even interested public back as recent as the early 1990’s.
    Dr Curry’s and the accompanying entire commentary in the above post would have been in-house amongst a few of the science cognoscenti.

    The internet is dragging the entire science community, with a great deal of kicking and screaming, into the public arena where it is being put under the microscope and it’s flaws, faults, weaknesses and it less than subtle pressures on the mavericks in it’s community to fall into line with the wide range of the varying science consensus’s out there, is being revealed to an increasingly better educated and sophisticated public who in an increasing percentage of the public, are equal in professional training and endowment and are intellectually equal to any scientist.
    A point that seems to have escaped a very large part of the more narcissistic end of the science profession.

    The mystique surrounding science that has served science and scientists so well for the last three quarters of a century is being dismantled by the revelations of the internet.
    It’s just that science and scientists, climate scientists in particular, still haven’t caught tup with the fact that a lot of science is now being seen by the public as equally grubby in it’s attempts to enhance it’s own status as the lawyers and legal fraternity or the big pharma of the medical world or the shenanigans of the financial and accountancy world and all the other grubbiness inherent in any profession that seeks to elevate itself and it’s practitioners to a high public, power wielding status by fair means or foul

    Respect for science is falling and fast in my rural part of the world as the long hidden flaws and the debilitating personal self promotion of so much of what now passes for science turns a much more aware and a much better educated public off a self promoting, frequently bigoted science profession where the public good is seen to be taking a back seat to the self promoting, highly paid and endowed big science of the post modern world.

    • Best rant I’ve seen in a long while :)

    • ROM,

      1. I’m from the Government. I’m here to help.

      2. I’m a scientist. I’m here to help. I know more than you.

      3. Of course I’ll still love you in the morning.

      Obviously, I agree with your comments.

      I take solace in the thought that this too will change, and if it doesn’t, I’d rather be happy than right.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

      • Now we have anti-government ideologues and anti-science ideologues hugging and patting each other on the back. Is kissing next?

        I don’t know whether to laugh or throw up.

      • Max_OK,

        If you cannot decide whether to laugh or throw up, in the interests of efficiency, might I suggest you do both at once.

        This will allow you more time in the future to make a reasoned choice.

        I usually prefer laughter to emesis, but to each his own.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Max_OK

        Don’t take Mike Flynn’s advice to laugh and throw up at the same time.

        You’ll choke if you do.

        Max_CH

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Get outside, Max_OK, and “laugh at the sidewalk”, as they say.

      • David Springer

        Lie down on your back then laugh and throw up at the same time. Thanks in advance.

      • Max_OK | August 20, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
        Now we have anti-government ideologues and anti-science ideologues hugging and patting each other on the back
        —————–
        Small-government advocates cuddling up to the likes of Mann and the IPCC? How do you work that out?

    • Thnk you Rom,
      You have clearly articulated the shamanism of a climate science
      cabal that thinks it’s above the rest of the community as guardians
      of secret superior knowledge… We will tell you what to think.
      Bts

      • Beth

        As the Lagerführer of the WWII Kriegsgefangenenlager (POW camp in Nazi Germany) in the old TV series said to the Allied POWs:

        “Ve haff vays to make you agrrree wit us – and ve vill use zem (evil chuckle).”

        Max

      • Say Max,
        Cone of silence …
        Bts.

    • Well put, ROM.

    • The really pernicious thing about the public airing of the scientific community’s dirty underwear is the way it feeds people who have a general distrust of science, and are looking for any excuse to trash the scientific-whatever complex. The vaxxers come to mind. Basically Luddites to the core, they’re just looking for any scrap of bad light to shine on science in general and technology in particular.

      When scientists misbehave, in any context, it just provides fodder for primivitists, who want all of us to believe that the military-industrial complex has morphed into some overarching one-world corporatist conspiracy, and everything from GMO foods to fluoridation of water to iodized salt is some sort of megaconspiracy hatched by some Montgomery Burns character in some glowing green nuclear plant.

      These are the whackadoodles who benefit when scientists misbehave. And kids suffer for it when they don’t get vaccinated.

      • Face reality, Harold. It is refreshing.

      • I’m not saying that sunlight isn’t good. I’m saying that it would be better if we didn’t have these misbehaving scientists making the whole thing necessary. It would be better if we could trust them, which we can’t.

      • Just for interest and to clarify my attitude to science..
        I was a trustee on behalf of the farming community for some 28 years.for the land on which one of Australia’s largest agricultural research institutes is built
        I also have an open invitation to attend any scientific seminars in that and a couple of other research organisations.
        When you have been closely associated with somebody or something for close to 50 years, you would have to be very blind indeed to not see the deep flaws and disfiguring warts on that body but you would likely still enjoy very much what they have to offer.
        And so it is with my view of Science.

      • ” The vaxxers come to mind”
        I work in the Autism field and have much sympathy with the ‘vaxxers’, and little sympathy with those who hold parents of newborns with contempt.

        We are asking parents to allow us to inject their newborns with a cocktail of substances, and the parents have little way to know the risk. The have the assurance that ‘scientists/medics’ tell them it is safe and that vaccination is a personal and societal good.
        Now, if they lose faith in scientists and medics, is it their fault or our fault?
        Personally I think it is mostly a failure of scientists and medics. It is incumbent upon us to be able to explain our work, explain advantages and disadvantages and point out how robust our findings are.
        The public are not sheep.
        The public do not owe us respect, obedience or reverence.
        The public pay our wages.
        We serve them.
        The have the right to tell us that we are wrong, even when we are right.

      • David Springer

        There’s little if any correlation between “vaxxers” and those who look askance at the military industrial complex. Just the opposite. Bleeding heart liberals hate both the military industrial complex and those who oppose draconian measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Besides that about 50% of US adults are against expensive carbon mitigation schemes and while only a vanishingly small number give a fig about any tenuous connection between Autism and infant vaccinations for childhood diseases. You thesis is both ignorant and irrelevant.

      • @Harold
        The really pernicious thing about the public airing of the scientific community’s dirty underwear is the way it feeds people who have a general distrust of science

        For the other 99% of the population, it helps explode any science frauds being perpetrated on them by large publicly-funded social institutions in positions of trust.

        The overall effect on society is overwhelmingly positive, whatever the damage to the fraudsters and their cause.

    • ROM

      I’ll second Judith’s “Wow!”

      Max

    • Thanks – ++

    • David L. Hagen

      Luke 12:3

      So then, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in broad daylight, and whatever you have whispered in private in a closed room will be shouted from the housetops.

  36. :Once the UNFCCC treaty was a done deal, the IPCC and its scientific conclusions were set on a track to become a self fulfilling prophecy. The entire framing of the IPCC was designed around identifying sufficient evidence so that the human-induced greenhouse warming could be declared unequivocal”

    Yes, indeed, Judith, that was a brave statemrnt. Now as an old, retired research sciebtist I can reflect on incidents that affected me adverseiy. During the war I always slept well at night, but after when a university student, I wondered whether I would have been as brave as my collegues who faced torture and certain death in the hanfs of the enemy.I’ll never know.

    On this site I have often described the IPCC as ‘not a research organisation’. The above confirms it. A true research organisation would not have rested until it thourghly understood the CO2 molecule, both singularly and collectively.

  37. michael hart

    Judith, how about an article starting by mentioning ‘the reason why educated Liberals reject the consensus on climate change science”?

    I think I can probably prove one of those, but I claim to be both.

    • Correct science demands more respect for the norms of science than the call of ideology. Otherwise, it’ll just be wrong, inevitably. It’s tragic.
      ================

      • kim, that sounds good, but how would you know if a scientist isn’t respecting “the norms of science” and is answering “the call of ideology?”

        My guess is your ideology would tell you. Am I right?

      • Heh, well one big clue is when they turn out wrong.
        ==============

      • Like porn Max_OK we all know it when we see it. There is always a problem when a researcher is working to prove something that he or she already believes.

      • kim, don’t be silly. If a scientist is testing a drug he thinks might cure a disease, and the drug turns out to be useless, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t respected the norms of science.

        Of course he might be motivated by ideologies that say reducing human suffering and making money off drugs are good.

      • Max, OK, you must not own a TV either?

      • I posted my reply to Peter Davies in the wrong place. It’s below in the Mosher thread.

      • Tom, please elaborate.

      • That would almost require a sidebar.

      • Well, excuse me for asking you to elaborate on senseless question anyway.

        But in answer to your question, yes, I have a TV.

        Now what?

      • Now, do you laugh at all the neo drugs side effects? Write that stuff down.

      • Max_OK

        If a scientist is testing a drug he thinks might cure a disease, and the drug turns out to be useless, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t respected the norms of science.

        But if he fudges the data to make it look like he was right and ignores or hides the results that show he wasn’t, then “he hasn’t respected the norms of science”.

        That’s what “agenda driven science” as practiced in climatology is all about, Okie.

        Max_CH.

      • TV commercials for pharma products in the USA show a suffering individual whose debiliating symptoms are miraculously cured after “talking with his/her doctor about product X” and trying it, followed by two full minutes listing all sorts of (even more debilitating) side effects, including death, that might occur from taking the product.

        This is not so in other places (Germany, France, Switzerland, for example), where the commercial simply ends with the advice to “check with your pharmacist or medical professional for any side effects that might occur”.

        The reason for this difference is obvious: the US tort law system and overabundance of lawyers, eager to cash in on someone’s agony by going after the deep-pocketed pharma companies.

        Max

      • OK, I have learned that prescriptions pills are no good and may even kill me because these drugs are developed by consensus pharma scientists who have no respect for the norms of science. So if a doctor ever writes a prescription for me, I’ll throw it away, and go to one of those non- consensus or skeptic doctors (quacks).

        HA HA !

      • spam filter note: if you use the words ‘prescription pills’ in your post, it will be on the fast track to the spam filter.

      • OK, Max_CH, next time a doctor gives me a prescription I’ll throw it away and go to a quack.

      • Max_OK

        You write:

        OK, Max_CH, next time a doctor gives me a prescription I’ll throw it away and go to a quack.

        Based on your ramblings here, I’d say that behavior would be par for the course.

        Max_CH

      • @Max_OK
        that sounds good, but how would you know if a scientist isn’t respecting “the norms of science” and is answering “the call of ideology?”

        (a) If he did the type of things revealed in Climategate.
        (b) If he didn’t speak out against what was revealed by Climategate.
        (c) If he contributed to the whitewashing of Climategate

        (b) effectively shows the 97% consensus falling into that category.

  38. I soon realized that by doing this, I was pretty much destroying any chance I might have had for further recognition/awards by professional societies such as the AGU.

    JC, you are being loyal to the data, to the observation. When the truth is finally realised, you will be on the winning side.

  39. Steven Mosher

    Judith

    “Fuller and Mosher’s book Climategate: The CruTape Letters argued that ‘noble cause corruption’ was a primary motivation behind the Climategate deceits. Noble cause corruption is when the ends (noble) justify the means (ignoble). I think that there is an element of this that can be seen in the Climategate emails, but I think the motivated reasoning by climate scientists is more complex (and ultimately less ‘noble’).”

    First a matter of credit. Steve McIntyre was the individual who deserves the credit for first mentioning the concept of noble cause corruption to me. Over the course of writing the book we had many conversations, and during one while we were puzzling over explaining why certain folks acted the way they did, he suggested this. Tom and I discussed it at length. I will say that neither of us were entirely happy with the phrase and decided not to use it as a title. The unhappiness stemmed from two aspects: First we knew that such a positioning would win us no friends on either side, as one side would not see the actions as corrupt and the other side would not see the cause as noble. In the end, struggling for a single phrase that would describe “all of it” as best we could, we decided the phrase “noble cause corruption” would at least serve as a useful heuristic for discussion. Screw it if it made enemies on both sides. What we struggled with was the binary thinking that was being applied: “boys behaving badly” or “fraud”. Bridging that divide into a more useful. more nuanced, discussion probably comes closest to our motivation, but even there we realized that some people would never leave the “fraud” camp and some people would never leave the “boys behaving badly” camp. There is too much at stake for folks to move an inch.

    Next, as I explain above the “rubric” of noble cause corruption was thought of as a catch all phrase, but in reality if you dig down into individual cases you’ll see that the motivations may have ( not to ascribe motives ) included things like defending colleages. The best example of this is found in Jones decision to not share data with Warwick Hughes. Reconstructing the series of events, up until the date of that mail Jones had been sharing data, with Mcintyre in 2002 and he had been making good gestures toward Hughes, indicating that he would share the data. However, a couple things happen.
    First, at some point prior to this mail Mann starts to complain that he is fighting the fight all alone. he asks for help. Later McIntyre gets his paper published, and finally Briffa sends Jones a mail with press clippings about Mann “hiding data” and comments that the skeptics are getting traction with the story. On that day Jones sends his mail to Hughes ‘ why should I share the data with you”

    We cannot of course see into Jones and Briffa’s heart. But a couple questions come to mind that I would ask if given a chance.

    1. Keith B. did you send that message to Jones to drive a wedge between Jones and Mann, or were you hoping that Jones would join Mann in his data denial efforts.

    2. P Jones, were you trying to take the heat of Mann by joining him in his efforts to deny folks data or was your decision totally unrelated to this.

    The same types of issues come up in all the cases.

    In the end, as we stated in the book, none of this changes the science. It cannot change the science because the science isnt what is written in mails. In the end only new science can change the science. At most it could make one more skeptical of science discussed in the mails, but mails don’t change science.

    Also, I think there is also a case to be made for folks just getting caught up in the fight. That is fighting just to win. What might start out as a fight against “skeptics” to with hold information because you think it might harm “the cause” gets transformed into just fighting to win.
    And from the skeptic side fighting to get information gets transformed into “can I win this fight in their system” In the end both sides are playing games with each other and if you asked them why, chances are they could not cite the original motivation and day to day are not driven by the original motivation.

    Finally, the talk about motivations, folks should realize, is far less settled than the science. That’s another reason why discussions of motivation, while entertaining, really do diminish the radical potential of the science.
    We talk about the less certain issues of motivation which are far from settled, because, in part, if we really fought through the science, the stakes of winning and losing are too high. I see the discussions about motivations as distractions from the central battle, and there is a reason why we distract ourselves from the main battle. neither side thinks they can afford to lose the main battle. So today brilliant minds are focused on libel suits. Win or lose that battle will be utterly symbolic. Win or lose each side will be able to spin the outcome to their favor. It keeps people busy. Its not the battle in chief. Its outcome has no practical value. No uncertainty about the MWP will be resolved by that court.

    Note I’m not telling folks not to talk about motivations. It’s very hard not to when people engage in conduct that we consider weird. It’s weird that professor X would not share data. It’s weird that skeptic “y” does believe in radiative physics. We try to make sense of this by constructing hypotheses about motivations. Thats fun, but not as rewarding or intllectually risky as explaining weird things about the world, like the last 15 years of temperature.

    • Steven Mosher

      You and Fuller were spot on with your very succinct descriptive phrase “noble cause corruption”.

      And yes, the media cloaking the UNFCCC/IPCC political agenda as a “noble cause” was the real hoax here.

      Max

    • Steve, thanks for this elucidation of noble cause corruption

    • David L. Hagen

      Thanks Steven for exploring these difficult issues.
      For reference, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy discusses Noble Cause Corruption under the broader category of Corruption.

      • Steven Mosher

        most of the literature I studied was from organization science, particularly in the area of law inforcement.

        The interesting result was that cops were not reigned in by more rulz, but rather by programs of ethical training

      • David L. Hagen

        That is a good description of:

        Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

        Proverbs 22:6 NIV

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Steven Mosher,
      Those nuances are helpful in examining own views.

      However, I find this paragraph as somewhat in conflict with things you’ve said.
      “In the end, as we stated in the book, none of this changes the science. It cannot change the science because the science isnt what is written in mails. In the end only new science can change the science. At most it could make one more skeptical of science discussed in the mails, but mails don’t change science.”

      Previously you said science is what scientists do.
      Now it appears as if you’re using the word “science” in a different way.
      If science is just what scientists do, and not a body of literature or IPCC reports, then exposure of the emails changes the science …

      …. such as when it changes the kind of email account scientists use!

  40. David L. Hagen

    Judith
    Kudos and great thanks for standing up for the scientific method and for restoring integrity to “climate science”. The best statement I have seen of that high standard of scientific integrity is Richard Feynman’s 1974 CalTech lecture Cargo Cult Science, (video, slideshare); Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman p 341

    It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards. . . . Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can–if you know
    anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong–to explain it. . . .the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.

    Symptomatic of the “noble cause” corruption is putting the “cause” above scientific integrity and microethics, and foundational transcendental principles such as foundational to the Judeo Christian worldview.

    One cause of conflict between “microethics” and “macroethics” is following a high sounding superficial “macroethic” that violates foundational transcendent principles. In particular, a major fallacy in the modern “climate change” meme is that of worshiping the earth’s current status quo rather than being a steward of the earth. Furthermore, it is willing to sacrifice massive resources to that “cause” while having little regard for widows and orphans, especially the 1 billion extreme poor in developing countries. See Genesis 1:27-31, Acts 11:28-30, and James 1:27
    For discussion, see articles by the Cornwall Alliance

    Re: “Once the UNFCCC treaty was a done deal,”
    The fatal flaw underlying today’s orthodox IPCC “climate science” is the UNFCCC equivocation by redefining “climate change” from the historic scientific definition of a “change in climate” to:

    2. “Climate change” means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

    UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE Article 1 Definitions
    Consequently, “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming” became “global warming” became “climate change”. Now if one does not “believe” in “climate change”, one is a (scientific/political) heretic!

    The source taproot needs to be severed!
    That can only be done by restoring science in the UNFCCC Article 1 to state:

    2. “Anthropogenic Climate change” means a quantified change of climate which isattributed directly or indirectly to human activity and distinguished from natural causes that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate trends and variability observed over comparable time periods.

  41. Good post Mosher. I respect the work that you are doing with the BEST team and wish you well in the search for the truth about climate change. I suspect, however, we are all chasing a mirage.

    The study of the dynamics of weather/climate/electrosphere and everything else in our universe is an emerging discipline that will never be resolved by human minds alone. We will need the power of quantum computing in order to synthesise natural phenomena and to develo testable hypotheses..

  42. Pingback: Curry: The torque hypothesis – Shub Niggurath Climate

  43. Steven Mosher said: “Finally, the talk about motivations, folks should realize, is far less settled than the science. That’s another reason why discussions of motivation, while entertaining, really do diminish the radical potential of the science.”
    _______

    Good point.

    If a scientist is right what difference does his motivation make?

    • Steven Mosher

      yes max, and if he criticizes you or asks for data and code, what difference does his motivation make.

      One day the FOI officer at NOAA called me about a request that had taken them two years to get around to. She explained that she would talk to professor X and get the information. I asked her not to mention my name.

      Officer: Why
      Moshpit: well, sometimes people get upset because of a book I wrote.
      Officer: look it doesnt matter who you are or what your reasons are, we are required to release the information, professor X has no say in the matter.
      I am the FOI officer, you will get our information.

      She then mentioned that she was retiring and need to finish all the work on her desk before leaving.

      that was a good day and a fine institution.

      • Steven Mosher said: “yes max, and if he criticizes you or asks for data and code, what difference does his motivation make.”
        _______

        It wouldn’t make a difference unless the criticism is unfair and the motivation is to malign.

      • “It wouldn’t make a difference unless the criticism is unfair and the motivation is to malign.”

        What difference would it make, maxie?

      • If the motivation was to be unfair or malign, it would tell you the person is a scum bag. If that wasn’t the motivation, it would tell you the person is not a scum bag.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Scumbags cannot be given data in case of catastrophic what, MAX_OK?

      • Steven Mosher

        Max the problem is the law doesnt care about the motives of the requestor. The law breaking scientists are not experts un divining motives. They proved their ineptitude in this regard when they denied me data.
        Use the precautionary principle and youll always release data

      • Steven, I was not suggesting your motivation in requesting the data was to be unfair or malign.

        I was asked if the motivation of a person requesting data made a difference. It could make a difference to the person furnishing the data if he believed the request was motivated by a desire to hurt him, and beyond doing what was legally required he might be less than helpful.

      • Steven Mosher

        Max

        ‘I was asked if the motivation of a person requesting data made a difference. It could make a difference to the person furnishing the data if he believed the request was motivated by a desire to hurt him, and beyond doing what was legally required he might be less than helpful.”

        1. they believed the motivation was to hurt them.
        2. they were wrong.
        3. They and you do not realize that the damage done to science by refusing data is far more certain and far more dangerous than the personal imagined harms.

        There is no case, no evidence, that sharing science data has ever led to personal harm. None. Zero. All of the evidence goes the other way

        Science ethics demands release
        Epistemology demands release
        Journals require release
        the law requires it in certain cases

        and your argument is that an individual has the right to violate all these on the mere claim that he might be harmed?

        Thats easy, I think I’ll be harmed if I stop emmitting carbon. case closed

      • Steven, you aren’t reading me right. Researchers should be willing to release data and, of course when release is required by law, they must.

        My point is a researcher may be less than willing to do more than release data if he believes the motive of the requester is to cause him harm.

        In your case, you say your request was mistakenly seen as motivated by a desire to hurt the researcher. If your attempts to convince the researcher he was misjudging you failed to change his mind that’s too bad, but who do you blame?

      • Max_OK, “My point is a researcher may be less than willing to do more than release data if he believes the motive of the requester is to cause him harm. ”

        Yeah, but it his data and methods are sound, what harm can come to the researcher? It is that damn rock and a hard spot. Not releasing data can only cause problems. So the data hoarding researcher is likely not the sharpest tack in the box.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Who do you blame?
        Max_OK, why of course, if a wrong was done, you blame who did wrong, eh?

      • Steven Mosher

        ” If your attempts to convince the researcher he was misjudging you failed to change his mind that’s too bad, but who do you blame?”

        Lets see, I tried to convince Anthony Watts to give me his data a year ago.. still no luck. Who do I blame.

        Lets see I tried to convince Convince skeptics that C02 warmed and they refused to listen who do I blame?

        I tried to talk sense into you, no luck. who do I blame?

        Bottom line. asking who is to blame is stupid and non productive since there is no methodology to ascertain blame. There is only a court, some time of public opinion, sometime of law, to make decisions.

        Luckily even the most hard headed opponents of data sharing are shutting up now, you should join them and dont fight fights you cannot win.

      • Steven Mosher

        ok maaxout

        what did they say when I tried to convince them
        they lied about not being able to release it.
        then they lied about the confidentiality agreements
        then they lied in other responses to my foia
        then they lied in responses to david holland
        then their mails got liberated.
        then the ICO found that they violated the law.

        who do you blame for climategate?

    • Steven, it looks like we are talking about different things. Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear, but My “who is to blame? ” was intended to refer to a researcher unwilling to be helpful beyond releasing his data in cases where he saw the request for the data to be motivated by a desire to harm him.

      I believe the blame for his reluctance may fall on more people than just him if he has witnessed other researchers being maligned. Shouldn’t part of the blame for his reluctance be on those who have tried to hurt other researchers.

    • @Max_OK
      Steven Mosher said: “Finally, the talk about motivations, folks should realize, is far less settled than the science. That’s another reason why discussions of motivation, while entertaining, really do diminish the radical potential of the science.”

      Good point.
      If a scientist is right what difference does his motivation make?

      Lots. How do we know he is right? What are the chances of his being right, it we know he is working for a cause rather than finding the truth? What inconvenient facts is he failing to mention? What inconvenient avenues is he failing to pursue?

      See any problem believing
      – the snake-oil scientist’s claims of the powers of his potions ?
      – the government climate scientist’s claims necessitating an increase in government ?

  44. Judith Curry
    I realize that your early radiative physics focus more likely than not let you join the “club.” Club members then perceived your disloyalty, with your criticism of some climate scientists behavior. To the wider club membership, critique of some behaviors may have appeared to be a rebuke of the radiative transfer model physics itself. Club members asking: “How could you do something like this?”

    In my reflecting upon your report of anecdotal episodes by some climate scientists “on the side” comments in support of your critiques, I recall and old adage:

    “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.”

    My question to you: what prepared you to take on such a grueling task such as critiquing your colleagues behavior, if not their science? How does one prepare others, particularly those whom you mentor, to take on such a challenge? What does it take to stand the heat of the kitchen? Support? Obviously such a vocal outing task is avoided by this off the cuff “silent science cadre.”

    Is your successful foray into the climate wars a function of the security provided by your University tenured position? and, anyone attempting the same heretical enlightenment effort needs such a position first?
    Does the building of alliances within the political arena (Congressional types) allow you some protection from concerted abuse?

    Lots of questions as I have seen others who have sounded a clarion call, only to have been marginalized and failed.

    Your success is noticed and appreciated.

    • RiHo08

      +1

      And your last like is worth repeating:

      Your success is noticed and appreciated.

    • RiH, you ask “what prepared you to take on such a grueling task such as critiquing your colleagues behavior, if not their science?” See my post below, which I started drafting before yours appeared. The main basis is having high standards and the strength of character to stick to them in spite of any costs. How else can one live with oneself?

    • Interesting questions. I’ve explained some of my evolution into all this in an interview with Keith Kloor.

      http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2010/04/27/curry-the-backstory/#.UhSpXBY47DM

      Part of the answer is that I have always had broad interests across a number of fields of science, and also an interest in the history, philosophy and sociology of science. So I come from a broader perspective than many from inside the climate community.

      Also I explicitly (and relatively early) engaged with skeptics in the blogosphere, which exposed me to a wide range of perspectives.

      The fact that I have already established significant scientific credentials of the traditional variety, and have a tenured university position, and am within a few years of being able to afford to retire, gives me a relatively secure personal position (I also have a private sector company that provides additional income, but it is definitely not equivalent to my university income at this point). If I were to go on the job market in the university community, I have no idea how my application would be received, and whether I would be regarded as too controversial for a new position (nevertheless, headhunters for university positions do contact me regularly). This is part of the reason why ‘going emeritus’ is liberating from the internal cultural constraints of the ‘community’. So if I was 30 or 20 or even 10 years younger, would I have done this? Probably not.

      I used to think that universities were the place where a scientist had the greatest academic freedom. I have to say that at this point, I regard the private sector as being the place where a scientist can have the most freedom (provided that you are your own boss, I guess). Georgia Tech has been relatively good in this regard as far as universities go; Georgia is a ‘red state’ and engineers tend to be a pretty skeptical bunch. There are definitely members of the consensus police at Georgia Tech, and when the history of my time at Georgia Tech is finally written some adverse consequences may come to light. But overall Georgia Tech has been relatively good in promoting and protecting research integrity and diversity of perspectives.

      And finally, I will mention the issue of gender. In the early half of my career, I definitely felt like an outsider owing to my gender. And I have seen females in other fields taking a more radical approach to their career, and not worrying about playing the game by ‘boys rules.’ So this has influenced me also. Like I’ve said previously, I find Tamsin Edwards evolution to be extremely interesting in this regard.

      • David L. Hagen

        Judith
        Re: “engineers tend to be a pretty skeptical bunch”
        That is an essential foundation for professional work – people’s lives and millions to billions of dollars depend on our decisions.
        For the classic skeptical engineer’s perspective see Burt Rutan on Climate Change
        When will “climate scientists” realize that many lives are being lost because of advocacy over evidence?

      • David, it’s not so much a question of culture as a question of responsibility for results. You can have the most elegant and amazing concept in the world, but if it doesn’t result in something that works, an engineer isn’t going to succeed.

        What makes engineers seem ‘skeptical’ is the fact that they can’t afford the luxury of something that’s wrong (well, maybe Microsoft can, but pretty much everybody else can’t). An engineer has to be brutally frank, and get everything right, or the gizmo goes down in flames. Usually, you don’t get a second chance to do that.

      • Judith Curry,

        Thank you for your response. I read your interview by Keith Kloor.

        I agree that a broad interest and curiosity about the world and life in general is a good foundation for what comes next.

        I agree that emeritus status provides many more degrees of expression and idea exploration freedom than a secure academic position.

        I also agree that having a small outside source of income and expertise application helps with grounding yourself, i.e., a reality check.

        My question remaining has to do with those who come after us: how do those whom one is mentoring learn scientific integrity for themselves? Your mention of your own experience re: gender role models from whom you gathered bits and pieces of their successes seems to me to be what can be left by our actions that is enduring.

        I don’t believe waiting until the gray hairs starts coming in clusters is prudent advice to a younger generation you are mentoring although the concept of waiting until you have something to say before speaking has its merits. Experience matters and I equate experience with observations in science. So, advocating for getting more experience and more observations would be a good talking point.

        Learning from others, including from their bad experiences, seems also to be a necessity since we can’t learn everything all by ourselves. Whom to trust for those lessons appears to be the most difficult to acquire. Knowing when you are being fed b.s. seems to require a sensitivity to the nuances of not only what is said, but the way it is presented. Personally, I have learned to choose my mentors carefully.

        Finally, it is worthy when speaking to those who are willing to listen, to remind them to be mindful of accepting paradigms whole as opposed to component parts. Maybe it is just easier to digest smaller pieces a few at a time than to try to swallow the whole enchilada.

        Those who follow us, I believe, need to have their voice heard, although it would be prudent if they ran it through their mind a couple of times first.

      • I just received this heartening email from a government scientist in the US (a female, btw):

        You have written (and hosted) many thoughtful and though-provoking
        pieces on Climate Etc. IMO, this is perhaps the best yet — clear and
        devastatingly to the point. I am planning to share it with several
        colleagues, especially younger ones (former xxxx protégés).

        Thank you for your intellectual, social, collegial, and practical
        struggles with this over the last n years.

      • David L. Hagen

        Harold
        We must also remember that:
        To Engineer Is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design” Henry Petroski, 1992 ISBN: 978-0679734161

        Richard P. Feynman allegedly said:

        In order to succeed, I try to fail as fast as I can.

        Science and engineering progress the fastest when those involved have a culture of rewarding the identification of errors between models and data as quickly as possible, not by hiding errors or penalizing those who identify them.

        By this standard, Roy Spencer and Burt Rutan rate very highly on identifying anthropogenic climate change.

      • David, let me put a finer point on that. Engineers are rarely allowed to fail spectacularly. They’re often allowed to fail in a limited fashion. This is why new technologies are scaled up in a stepwise fashion.

        If you have something that looks like it might work at the laboratory scale, you first try to anticipate what might go wrong as it’s scaled up. You then build a pilot scale unit. Only when that all looks well at that scale do they try a small commercial scale unit. Then, after that is demonstrated, they may build a bigger unit.

        The spectacular failure of Solyndra is a good object lesson in what happens when someone jumps the rails and go from bright idea to commercial scale without passing through this time-tested paradigm. Of course, this is only possible with government financing.

        And yes, I know the Manhattan project. That was a combination of wartime do-or-die and a lot of luck. Fortunately for the allies, and unfortunately for the Japanese, Heisenberg wasn’t so lucky. But in any event, that was a project where economics was irrelevant. Most things don’t have the luxury of economics being irrelevant.

      • And finally, I will mention the issue of gender. In the early half of my career, I definitely felt like an outsider owing to my gender. And I have seen females in other fields taking a more radical approach to their career, and not worrying about playing the game by ‘boys rules.’ So this has influenced me also. Like I’ve said previously, I find Tamsin Edwards evolution to be extremely interesting in this regard.

        I’ve often wondered why it is that, for example, when Mike Hulme occasionally ventures forth with a view that shines a bright light on one of the IPCC generated myths (e.g. here) his words do not appear to be subjected to the knee-jerk rudeness and oppropbrium as you have so often sustained.

        And the loudest criticisms I’ve seen of Tamsin’s brave and excellent essay seem to have come from the same quarters, so to speak.

        This is particularly jarring in light of the silence (and in some instances incomprehensible praise) that descended from such quarters when Gleick’s disgraceful behaviour came to light.

      • When compared with Hulme, I actually challenge the scientific evidence and inferences, whereas Hulme does not.

      • Judith, you write “I just received this heartening email from a government scientist in the US (a female, btw):”

        I suppose it is too much to hope that your correspondent works for the EPA.

      • Hilary,

        The gender effect intrigues me, because I believe it’s real, but it may be more complicated than simple sexism. I think that the institutions in question tend to keep white males on a shorter leash, up to a point. That point is when you’re perceived as crossing over to the enemy. Then everything changes.

        Counterintuitively, I think the reason why they land harder on a female heretic is precisely because of the expectation of a higher level of allegiance. I think this is also true of minority males. They’re allowed to say certain things that white males aren’t allowed to say. Up to a point. But once perceived as crossing over to the enemy, the long knives come out.

  45. Chief Hydrologist

    What people need to realize is that there are two distinct climate science paradigms. One is conceptually static, equilibrium and linear. The other is the reality of coupled, non-linear, dynamical complexity. The latter complexity of adjectives hints at a threshold concept – through which lies yet more wonders of science.

    A coupled, non-linear, dynamical system is chaotic. Dynamic and not static – but obeying rules of dynamically complex systems. Slow fluctuations punctuated by abrupt transitions. At all scales from ENSO to glacials and interglacials. Sun, clouds, oceans, biology, wind, snow, ice and land interacting as tremendous energies cascade through powerful mechanisms.

    In the fog of war the first casualty is truth. In the climate war the first casualty is the evolving truths of science.

    • Sun, clouds, oceans, biology, wind, snow, ice and land interacting as tremendous energies cascade through powerful mechanisms… along with cosmic influences, like cosmic rays that shower the Earth like a galactic gravestone falling on your toe.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Well strictly speaking – if real – it is the Sun modulating geomagnetism and thus cosmic rays. Solar UV/ozone interactions seem a more direct mechanism.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Well strictly speaking – if real – it is the Sun modulating geomagnetism and thus cosmic rays. Solar UV/ozone interactions seem a more direct mechanism.

        I am not sure why it should particularly fall on my toe. Although it is an especially clumsy metaphor. The cloud data says something quite clearly whether it’s cosmic radiation or ocean and atmosphere circulation variability driven top down UV/ozone modulation.

        Somehow lost a bit? Oh – well.

      • Changes in the amount of cosmic rays that bathe the Earth as it dashes through the leftovers of busted stars is like having a galactic gravestone fall on your toe. The amount of cosmic radiation changes over time as our solar system skitters through the spiraling arms of the Milky Way at the edge of the galaxy. In addition to the the Sun, the interaction between the Earth, the big planets of Jupiter and Saturn on the Earth’s rotation, axis, magnetosphere, etc., effect the amount of cosmic radiation that we receive. There is not enough computing power in all the world to recon with the effects of this radiation on all living things.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Posted the wrong one.

      • Chief, “Well strictly speaking – if real – it is the Sun modulating geomagnetism and thus cosmic rays. Solar UV/ozone interactions seem a more direct mechanism.”

        I agree, plus tidal forcing would tend to amplify the impact. I have notice a few newer papers looking into solar and tropical ocean dynamics which is kind of surprising considering the 2007 “consensus” on solar.

    • Chief, do not forget that everywhere on the Planet is a product of the biosphere, the composition of the atmosphere, composition of the oceans, the redox potential from to of the atmosphere to a couple of miles underground. Treating a cycling biosphere as a chemical equilibrium involves deliberately ignoring more than a third of all scientific knowledge.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I always include biology – such a strong influence on the planet in a diversity of way.

        To quote myself from above – sun, clouds, oceans, biology, wind, snow, ice and land interacting as tremendous energies cascade through powerful mechanisms.

      • I still think the amplification of the solar effect could be somehow biotic. Think of the potential negative feedbacks coursing through those systems.
        ==================

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Let’s see – a negative SAM – ( http://curriculum.pmartineau.webfactional.com/monitoring-southern-hemisphere-stratospheric-vortex-fluctuations-and-tropospheric-coupling/ ) – pushes cold water along the Peruvian Current to the Nino1+2 zone dissipating the warm surface mixed layer and allowing cold subsurface upwelling. The cold, upwelling water propagates across the Pacific in a series of ocean and atmospheric feedbacks.

        The high nutrient upwelling water supports immense phytoplankton blooms that release dimethyl sulphate to the atmosphere ultimately creating cloud nucleation sites.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        As is happening at the moment – in the beginning of the next super La Nina. I forgot to add.

      • If you want to get really speculative, think about the recent discoveries of airborne microorganisms and their potential importance in cloud formation. Reminiscent of the eco-horror-thriiller Sigmet Active by Thomas Paige, only without the vengeful-Gaia business.

  46. Judith, an excellent and honourable post. You wrote that “I went with my conscience, which told me to put professional responsibility and integrity ahead of the norms and desires of my colleagues and the institutions of climate science. It is still astonishing to me that there should be such a conflict” and “I have felt the need to break loose of the shackles of loyalty to colleagues and institutions if it comes at the expense of integrity in science and professional conduct.”

    In my view, this is the only way to conduct oneself, I have always lived this way. If I have made minor transgressions, I have been tortured by them – that’s not helpful, you have to move on, but it can reinforce your basic instinct. Being true to oneself, dealing with others honestly, compassionately and with integrity, is the only basis for happy and harmonious individuals and societies.

    To me, this is a far more important issue than that of global warming. A world in which honesty and integrity prevail will always be better than one in which they don’t. To corrupt oneself in the interests of a particular cause, however important it may seem, is to lose sight of the bigger picture.

    As you know, and I have experienced, there can be costs to maintaining one’s integrity. But, however heavy, they are ultimately incidental.

    • +1

      • Hi, Peter, I’ve flagged Judith’s post to Bob Carter, who knows some of the costs, and Des Moore. Bob will be giving a talk in Brisbane on 5 Sept.

      • Faustino,

        I was at Bob Carter’s recent book launch in Canberra. It was excellent. Brilliantly moderated by Don Aitkin.

      • Say, when’s Bob Carter speaking in Melbourne?
        BC

      • Beth, I think Carter has done his Melbourne book launch. The IPA are running the Brisbane launch, you could check with them.
        nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn [Thanks, Emma!]
        Hannah Pandel
        Telephone 03 9600 4744
        Email hpandel@ipa.org.au

      • Another vote of thanks to JC for her head post and subsequent comments. I am glad that she was honest enough to concede that it is much easier to break from collegiate and institutional loyalty when one is professionally established and reasonably financially secure. Indeed, this is one of the most pernicious aspects of the bullying and victimisation which younger scientists face if they stick their heads above the parapet. It is also an area where senior scientists such as JC can provide support and advice to those who are threatened in this way.

        As Faustino will know, ethical dilemmas for public servants are the same in kind but slightly different in operation. It is our duty to execute, to the best of our ability, policies with which we personally disagree – or to move on if we can’t bring ourselves to do it (I have done both, mostly the former but occasionally the latter). Ours is not to keep fighting in the trenches over issues. However, any kind of dishonesty or malpractice is absolutely unacceptable.

        I agree with Mosher that attributing motive, especially to those you disagree with, is usually fruitless. One thing you learn when working with politicians (and bureaucrats!) is that good people can do bad things, and vice versa.

        As Goethe said: “In the beginning was the Deed.”

      • Not to be in any way negative toward the many denizens here from Oz, but this story may be of interest and remotely connected to “motivated reasoning”:

        Chinese in Australia

        After living in Shanghai for 50 years a Chinese man decides to move to Australia.

        He buys a small piece of land near Mt Isa.

        A few days after moving in, the friendly Aussie neighbor decides to go across and welcome the new guy to the region.

        He goes next door but on his way up the drive-way he sees the Chinese man running around his front yard chasing about 10 hens.

        Not wanting to interrupt any Chinese custom, he decides to put the welcome on hold for the day.

        The next day, he decides to try again, but just as he is about to knock on the front door, he looks through the window and sees the Chinese man urinate into a glass and then drink it.

        Not wanting to interrupt another Chinese custom, he decides to put the welcome on hold for yet another day.

        A day later he decides to give it one last go, but on his way next door, he sees the Chinese man leading a bull down the drive-way, pause, and then put an ear next to the bull’s bum.

        The Aussie bloke can’t handle this, so he goes up to the Chinese man and says, “Jeez Mate, what the hell is it with your Chinese customs ? I come over to welcome you to the neighborhood, and see you running around the yard after hens.. The next day you are pissing in a glass and drinking it, and then today you have your head so close to that bull’s arse, it could just about shit on you.”

        The Chinese man is very taken back and says, “Sorry sir, you no understand.. These no Chinese customs I doing, these Australian Customs.”

        “What d’ya mean mate” says the Aussie, “Those aren’t Australian customs……………. ”

        “Yes they are”, replied the Chinese man, “travel agent man say to become true blue Australian, I must learn chase chicks, drink piss, and listen to bull shit.”

        [No offense intended.]

      • johanna, I agree with everything you said except Goethe’s point that “In the beginning was the Deed.” Everything begins with volition, and we each have the capacity to determine whether that volition is positive, good for oneself and others, or negative. The deed follows on and reflects the volition.

    • Thx fer link Faustino. at least I can buy his book
      BC
      PS I agree with yr tribute to Judith Curry.

    • Faustino,

      There is no doubt you are an honorable man. I remember my dad once saying he never once lost sleep over any action or decision either as a professional engineer or a small business owner. That’s one of the things integrity gets you.

      I’m fortunate to have such a good role model. I suspect you would do just as good in that role as my dad. Based on what Dr Curry has related here, I would, with great enthusiaism, recommend her as a role model. Regardless of one’s gender.

  47. Peter Davies said in his August 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm
    “There is always a problem when a researcher is working to prove something that he or she already believes.”
    ____

    Not a problem if he or she is right. I saw a movie about a guy who believed intermittent windshield wipers would work so he designed some that worked. If he didn’t believe the wipers would work, he probably wouldn’t have wasted his time on the idea. I don’t think he was a scientist, but science can work the same way.

    • That’s true Max_OK but belief in the truth of any matter is often because of bias that may spring from peer group pressure or something else. The bias and beliefs from one’s own original thinking is absolutely fine with me. But then, who can ever claim a monopoly on original thought? Least of all a boy from the bush that I am at heart.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Max_OK says “I saw a movie about a guy who believed intermittent windshield wipers would work so he designed some that worked”

      LOL … that would be engineer Robert Kearns

      You have outstandingly good taste in films *AND* technology, Max_OK!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

  48. Great post, Judith, and it has sparked a heck of a discussion!

  49. How do you find the time to read all this and do teaching and research too? Not to mention your writing. Just followed your link to Climate Audit in 2009 and found that you had been inducted into a tribe in 2005. You and your colleagues were totally bewildered and overwhelmed by the “assault” you found yourselves under and were grateful that the “more experienced and savvy” members of the tribe could deal with it. This is not good. An experience that makes them savvy tells me that such confrontations
    were already an ongoing routine back in 2005. I for one am curious about the details of this because it is impossible to judge it without knowing what it’s all about. There were over 500 comments and they were non-trivial. No. 13 by Tim Ball impresses me as being applicable even today, eight years later. He regards your comments naive both with regard to the level and intensity of motive and action involved. He exposes the other side of this conflict where the tribesmen are not the saviors of novice scientists but have dark motives themselves. Despite the babble about ExxonMobile setting up opponents of your tribesmen the tribesmen have a huge financial advantage. The United States Government spends several billion dollars on climate research every year. Previous year 500 million of it went to NASA for Hansen to distribute as he saw fit. Tim Ball names names and points his finger, particularly at the Climategate scandal which has been successfully whitewashed by now. There are many other worth while responses to you in there that you might consider as research aids for future discussions of this subject.

  50. Eeyore Rifkin

    The global warming movement has radicalized me. It didn’t happen overnight. Climategate wasn’t quite an eye-opener, but the reaction of so-called scientists to blantant deception has convinced me that publicly funded science is rotten to the core. The good scientists we have in our universities are essentially heretics; there’s no other reasonable position for a scientist to take. Those who aren’t heretics are either deceiving themselves, deceiving others, or they’re cowards. I’ve lost patience. Now my attitude is Carthago delenda est. I resent every penny I’m taxed to fatten the bellies of liars. Every penny.

    The “war on science” meme is surely a self-fulfilling prophecy. Friends of science take note.

    • It has to get worse before it gets better.

    • @Eeyore Rifkin
      Climategate wasn’t quite an eye-opener, but the reaction of so-called scientists to blatant deception has convinced me that publicly funded science is rotten to the core.

      Yes, it’s not that there are a few rotten applies like Jones and Mann; every barrel will generally have a few. It’s the “defeaning silence” of the rest of them that Judith mentioned long ago – the institutional bias – that is the real worry.

  51. Max, there’s a difference here. The wipers either work or they don’t. If they don’t, then you have to acknowledge that and move on. If we’re talking about GCM’s, and they don’t properly work to predict future temps, then they don’t work, and we have to move on.

    What we don’t do, is argue about it, lower past temperatures 100 years after the fact to create a false impression of modern warming, and refuse to archive/supply data, and band together and call people names.

    • This would be like, when the wipers didn’t work, instead of redesigning them, the inventor started calling people who pointed out that they aren’t working “deniers” or claiming that they were just “rain shills” or perhaps even trying to redefine “working” as just moving or vibrating a little bit, instead of actually cleaning the windshield.

    • tomdesabla, you miss my point about his motivation. He wanted the wipers to work.

  52. I agree with Steven. All this stuff about motivated reasoning ignores the important point. Is the reasoning correct?

    “You’re just saying that because you’re jealous”
    “That’s why I’m saying it. But the important point is that it’s true, regardless of why I say it.”

  53. It says a lot that we all know most research is wrong. It says that appeals to concerned reflection on all of the ethical conflicts and values that are involved in science is a big waste of time.

  54. Pingback: Judy Curry on the Consensus - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum

  55. Judith Curry

    Thanks for posting an excellent essay on the dilemma climate scientists face today between being honest and impartial as scientists or supporting a political agenda falsely cloaked (as Mosh and Fuller wrote) as a “noble cause”.

    The UNFCCC/IPCC treaty made it virtually impossible for climate scientists to act impartially if this meant going against the pre-programmed consensus conclusions supporting the political agenda.

    Your courage in doing so, including encouraging an open discussion here, may have gotten you some “bruises and black eyes” from some colleagues and consensus friendly journalists (whom I won’t name).

    But it has earned you immense respect from the interested general public, including those who still believe in the integrity of science and the scientific method.

    Hats off to you.

    Max

  56. - loyalty/solidarity/Morals in re ethical behavior –
    Thank you,Judith Curry;
    “Climate change is arguably a unique case in all of science owing to magnitude of the socioeconomic impacts of both the problem and the proposed solutions and the massive
    institutionalization of a consensus that has been manufactured by the IPCC.”
    Neither arguable nor unique. Consider my birth Commonwealth as evidence: “eugenic science” led to gross violations of human rights, at great socioeconomic cost. Virginia legislatures have addressed the history of such crimes, including “institutionalization”.

    Ethics In for a dime, in for a dollar.
    Micro vs Macro: distinction without a difference
    Science – Method trumps tribal traditions/mores

    Judith, I researched real estate values, years ago. I studied a region’s development of printing and am now looking at gardening similarities – tropical vs East Coast NA temperate zone. Never have I considered challenges between tribal mores and Ethics.

    [W]“… here is a conflict between the micro ethics of individual responsibility for responsible conduct of research and larger ethical issues…?” You answered this Moral question, above:
    “But conflicts between professional responsibility/integrity versus loyalty to colleagues/institutions seems to me very difficult to justify in a way that is not self serving.” These conflicts resolve when Ethics replace Morals.

  57. Paul Colitis has some germane comments at Qudrant online, in a long piece of which much reviews Rupert Darwall’s The Age of Global warming: A History. Colitis writes:

    Darwall doesn’t just catalogue the scientific antecedents and debates. He engages them in depth. In particular, his treatment of the methodological underpinnings of science, and the ways in which climate scientists get their scientific endeavours exactly wrong, is developed lucidly. Kuhn’s discussion of paradigms, scientific revolutions and the sociology of science is very important for understanding the human herd mentality that does not exclude scientists. (Terence Kealey has argued that we shouldn’t expect scientists to be anything more than flawed advocates of various positions.) And Popper’s falsification thesis—itself disputed by critics from within both philosophy and science circles—is fundamental to the question of whether what has passed for climate “science” is really anything of the sort.

    Darwall is very good on the science, and on the distinction between “science” and “predictive opinion”. But the abandonment by climate scientists of the need to verify their claims is at the heart of Darwall’s belief that the science is the critically weak point of the “idea” of climate change. Darwall is firmly on the side of those who regard science as being the empirical testing of verifiable and falsifiable hypotheses. Building computable predictive models (or GCMs, general circulation models), however powerful, does not cut it. As Darwall notes, “computer models thus attained an independent reality in the minds of climate scientists”. For the real scientists quoted by Darwall, describing simulation runs as experiments upended the whole scientific enterprise. So too did the attempt to “hide the decline” and other perversions and concoctions.
    Darwall suggests that “without the possibility of verification, truth becomes meaningless”. But this does not seem to matter to the true believers in an age where, as David Stove might have said, “anything goes”. Perhaps it is only in the current, postmodern age where “truth” itself has largely been abandoned as a core operating principle—in the academy and in society more broadly—that an idea as harebrained as catastrophic man-made global warming could take root and prosper. …

    For Darwall, climate science has turned science into a branch of “global therapeutics”. Science has, perhaps, been changed forever, and twisted out of shape, re-formed as something utilitarian and ideological, entirely removed from its original purpose of pursuing knowledge for its own sake. This is a gazillion miles from Michael Polanyi’s “republic of science” and Bridgman’s quest for truth. Grounded epistemology is out the window. Dissent, a core element of true scientific endeavour, is to be crushed.

    The lineage in the twentieth century from environmentalism to sustainable development to global warming to climate change is critical to the story, and here, perhaps Darwall is at his best. He details the strategies, tactics and manoeuvres of the protagonists and the international political plays of the global warming movement’s chief proponents and their fellow travellers. The interconnections of ideas and politics, of science and public influence, of science and propaganda gravy trains, of environmentalism and the NGOs and churches, of multilateral politics and ideas about world government, are told in fascinating detail. The push by the ideologues of doom was intense, multi-layered and sophisticated.

    http://www.quadrant.org.au/magazine/issue/2013/7-8/the-age-of-global-warming-is-over

  58. Mike Edwards

    This essay by Roger Scruton on the subject of “Democracy” makes a point that strikes a chord in this debate about science:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23607302


    “Orthodoxy, conformity and the hounding of the dissident define the default position of mankind, and there is no reason to think that democracies are any different in this respect from Islamic theocracies or one-party totalitarian states.”

  59. Edit: “for the scientistists involved”
    Too many “ists”.

  60. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘Could the pressure exerted on the climate system by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases trip a trigger at some point, forcing these changes on humanity suddenly rather than gradually?

    Scientists do not know for sure, but the question gives them pause.

    ”The climate system is an angry beast and we are poking it with sticks,” said Dr. Wallace S. Broecker of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who was one of the first to raise the alarm about abrupt climate change. ”We don’t know whether it’s going to pay attention to the pokes. But if it does, it might rise up and do something we don’t like.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/1998/01/27/science/if-climate-changes-it-may-change-quickly.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

    Yet the simple radiative physics of the atmosphere are obvious to all but eccentric monomaniacs as we increase anthropogenic emissions from 4% to 8%, 16%, 32% of natural emissions as economies grow this century. Some people assume they know what will happen. I will assume they don’t.

  61. Judith, this is an excellent piece, and the comments cover the vast range of views out there. I plan to repost a (small!) portion of your post, with a link back to it, of course, because I want reasoning, Intelligent people to see what is going on that the MSM and politicized scientists don’t want them to see.

    I’d love to click on ‘notify me of follow-up comments,’ but I know there would be hundreds. In any case, I am asking your permission to do what I stated above. The public needs to understand that reality is NOT ‘liberal’!

    • Otter, by all means re post this. Climate Etc. operates under the creative commons principle, and I look forward to hearing more about your blog and any discussion that your re-post generates.

  62. Hi Judith,

    As someone working in climate science (aka “climate scientist”), I can only confirm your observations/experiences first hand.

    Over the years I have had many colleagues and higher level management having issues with for example my scientific dabbling in temperature measurements – which is not what I am paid for to work on – and more general having issues with my critical attitude. Sometimes they ventilate that in the open, but more often than not it is sub-surface and much more subtle, with colleagues not even conscious of what they are saying actually implies. Either way, there is tremendous pressure inside climate science to stick to the consensus.

    The same applies for institutional correctness: managements tend to be afraid that criticism in climate science may have a negative effect on their institute (and themselves …). Then there are Public Relation departments of research institutes, where in my experience generally people are working with hardly any to no background in science and research. I have rarely encountered a PR officer who really properly understood the need for criticism and debate in science. Both management and PR fear bad publicity by being critical more than the good it might do for the integrity of science by showing that as an institute they really do have a critical attitude. And the pressure does not stop there: political correctness, scientists from totally unrelated fields, public opinion, NGOs, friends, family. It is really amazing to see people from outside with no background in climate science nevertheless pressuring you to stick to the consensus.

    Anyhow, it is ubiquitous, this pressure, this “noble cause corruption”.

    I have also seen many colleagues giving presentations where they first do a confession that they still believe in “the consensus”. This has become particularly evident the last several years and is particularly something that occurs when they are criticizing on one thing or the other. As an example, Roger Pielke jr did it during the recent congressional hearing and he does it most of the time, which is not to criticize Roger in particular as I have see many others do it as well, but Roger more often speaks/writes publicly.

    Yet at the same time I encounter colleagues everywhere being critical of just about anything related to climate science. If they feel sufficiently confident about their knowledge on a topic they will be critical – and often much more critical than I actually am.

    The fact that colleagues feel a need to position themselves when venting criticism publicly – or even just amongst colleagues – tells you a lot about the politization of climate science and its distortion, and personally I don’t like it at all: no one in science should have to worry about outside pressure when being critical of that science. Here, in my view, professional organizations like AGU and EGU are failing. Rather than writing position documents about climate science they should worry about the integrity of climate science and making sure that science can evolve wherever it wants to go. If we – by way of our professional organizations – are not defending the integrity of science, who will? It is a safe bet that no one else does.

    Trying to discuss these issues amongst colleagues is nevertheless very difficult, and my experience is that such discussions quickly tend to drift away from the ethics of science and move towards politics and policies.

    Anyhow, there are two things that I think are worth further consideration in the light of your post.

    The first one is what this all means for young scientists entering the field: chances are that by now – 2013 – they enter the field with preconceived ideas and/or motivated by the “noble cause”. Then, it is equally likely that during their formal education they will not be taught to think independently and be really critical. I have particular problems with entering science motivated by this “noble cause”, or as Tasmin Edwards put it, because she “cares about the environment”. I think you should start doing scientific research first of all because you are interested in the topic, not because you want to save the world. For that you should get into politics. I realize that there are some nuances here – think about people entering medicine because they want to help people and cure diseases – but I don’t think those are particularly useful comparisons. If you honestly believe that doing environmental science provides a way to change the world you will become utterly disappointed. Which does not mean that science does not have a big impact on society. It does, but often research starts out of curiosity, not to have an impact, and maybe that is also where the confusion comes from: people see science having a big impact on society, and automatically but incorrectly conclude that society (and politics) thus automatically follows whatever comes out of science. This “knowledge to power” idea is a widespread meme, is my experience, yet, as many political scientists time and again point out, this is not how it works.

    The other issue is a general tendency – and this is only based on personal experience – that climate scientists tend to be uncritical of topics that fall outside of their own expertise. I know many very critical colleagues, much more critical with regard to their own expertise than I would be, who nevertheless are surprisingly uncritical of topics outside their expertise. That is something I have never really understood: if you are critical towards research you are familiar with, why be uncritical towards research you are less familiar with? I see first-hand in my field of research many non-intentional mistakes and errors being made and how science actually progresses by the ensuing debate. Knowing that, I don’t expect research in other fields to behave differently and thus try to be equally critical of those fields. Yet most colleagues don’t, in particular towards the IPCC consensus. Why is that? Awareness that lack of detailed knowledge may put you in a weak position (your will be vulnerable to the opposite of “appeal to authority” fallacy)? Is it peer pressure, noble cause corruption, political correctness? Lack of proper education in the ethics and philosophy of science? Maybe too much confidence in their own knowledge and ability to judge (particularly since most scientists by definition were the “clever” ones in high school and college, always been praised for being the best and thereby rarely exposed to criticism). Or just simply being lazy, as always trying to be critical takes a lot of time, when doing it properly?

    Best regards,

    Jos de Laat
    KNMI

    • Jos de Laat from KNMI, you write “If we – by way of our professional organizations – are not defending the integrity of science, who will? It is a safe bet that no one else does.”

      Thank you for your long and interesting post. Science will always maintain it’s integrity, because, the only thing that matters is the empirical data. “Expert” opinion, and any consensus that is not based solidly on things that are measured, if they are wrong, will in the end be proven to be wrong. As I have noted before, no-one in their right mind is going to reduce the use of fossil fuels, so we will proceed with the uncontrolled experiment of adding more and more CO2 to the atmosphere.

      All this new CO2 is going to provide the empirical evidence which shows what the true acience of CAGW is. And science will, in the end, maintain it’s integrity.

      • Jim Cripwell, If you were on the phone with another GS 15, you would call the empirical data, empire building. Lingo.

      • Jim Cripwell

        Yep.

        That’s the way this is going to play out, regardless of what the GCMs project.

        “And climate science will, in the end, maintain regain its integrity.”

        Max

    • Paradigm paralysis. Luckily, it will be over soon. You cannot fool nature.

    • Hi Jos, thanks VERY MUCH for your contribution here.

      • Judith likes nothing better than robust critique……….well, except for some ditto-headism.

      • Dr Curry,

        I’m thinking that instead of advising Josh to send you flowers, I should change it to a bushel of apples. You can forward to Michael.

      • tim,

        apologies for my lack of appropriate behaviour.

        How’s this;

        Oh Judith, light of my life, may I lie at your feet and bask in your radiance!

      • No apologies needed Michael. At least to me.

        I just had the thought that if you were munching on a bushel of apples, we might hear less from you. Unless you talk with your mouth full.

      • tim,

        Surely my ungraciousness makes the answer clear?

    • “Over the years I have had many colleagues and higher level management having issues with for example my scientific dabbling in temperature measurements – which is not what I am paid for to work on – and more general having issues with my critical attitude…… there is tremendous pressure inside climate science to stick to the consensus.” Jos
      Or, maybe, in your case, there is tremendous pressure to do the job you’re paid to do, rather the things you unilaterally decide to ‘dabble’ in.

    • Jos, This guy wrote big books on the stuff…

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

      and tells US, “we” really have no ideas. He is now happy in his little box. Sweet.

    • The other issue is a general tendency – and this is only based on personal experience – that climate scientists tend to be uncritical of topics that fall outside of their own expertise.

      I’m not really a scientist in any field (although I’ve used a version of the scientific method in several), but it’s my observation that this seems to be general: scientists in any field tend to accept the paradigm in other fields, unless they’re actually credentialed in both.

      This may have been acceptable during the earlier years of science, when different fields were unrelated enough that you were unlikely to find a successful paradigm-breaking hypothesis in one field that depended on a paradigm-breaking hypothesis in another. But as fields of science multiply, and research concentrates more on intersections of those fields, revolutions (in the Kuhnian sense) can be expected more and more to be cross-disciplinary.

      • AK many scientists re-pot every 10-15 years, moving sideways throughout their careers or oscillate between fields as the technology jumps a decade.

    • I’m not really a scientist in any field (although I’ve used a version of the scientific method in several), but it’s my observation that this seems to be general: scientists in any field tend to accept the paradigm in other fields, unless they’re actually credentialed in both.

      So I was reading the comments at Climate Etc., and a bout of skepticism broke out.

      Nice to see.

      Perhaps in response to Jos’s comment, we might also think of climate scientists who feel intimidated due to attacks from “skeptics.” Or we might think of climate scientists who are have criticisms of the work of other climate scientists, but legitimately think it is important to note that they don’t agree with the basic, likely attribution of climate change to ACO2.

      Tribalism and motivated reasoning exist.

      On both sides. The existence on one side, in no way, justifies the existence on the other side – but selective reasoning such as that you highlighted will not help to reduce those problems. My guess is that they are only more likely to exacerbate them.

      • So I was reading the comments at Climate Etc., and a bout of skepticism broke out.

        No, Joshua, I’ve been following Kuhnian revolutions since long before Climate Etc. existed. Particularly the work of James et al. regarding the mythical nature of the “dark age” separating the East Mediterranean Late Bronze Age from the Iron. And the Plate Tectonics Revolution since the ’70’s.

        And the “Biblical Minimalists” in “Old Testament” studies, although the “scientific” status of such studies is debatable, and there’s just as clear a political agenda in “Biblical Minimalism” as in “Global Warming”.

      • Joshua

        Isn’t a significant difference that “one side” in the debate needs to convince the rest of the world that they should implement specific actions while the other side only needs to remain unconvinced by the evidence to support the conclusion of “one side”?

        I do agree that motivated reasoning exists of both sides of the debate, but it would seem logical that the party trying to do the convincing is more motivated than the other party.

      • Joshua claims expertise in motivated reasoning, but he’s demonstrated expertise at motes and beams.
        ==================

      • Joshua claims expertise in motivated reasoning, …

        Never let reality get in the way of a good story, kim. Your fantasies about me do amuse.

      • Rob –

        Isn’t a significant difference that “one side” in the debate needs to convince the rest of the world that they should implement specific actions while the other side only needs to remain unconvinced by the evidence to support the conclusion of “one side”?

        I guess that might be a significant difference, but I’m not sure what the upshot of that difference is. There seem to be a number of factors that influence why some “remain unconvinced.” A careful evaluation of evidence might be relevant for some % of people, but that % is questionable, and that does not seem to be the operative variable for many.

        I do agree that motivated reasoning exists of both sides of the debate, but it would seem logical that the party trying to do the convincing is more motivated than the other party.

        I’m not speaking about motives, but motivated reasoning. I see no structural reason why motivated reasoning would be more prevalent in one side as opposed to the other.

      • Joshua writes–

        ”There seem to be a number of factors that influence why some “remain unconvinced.”

        Joshua

        You over generalize imo. What is it that some are unconvinced about? It all comes down to specifics.

        The “one side” wishes to have specific objectives implemented by a specific political or governmental entity. General discussions are meaningless.

        The “one side” needs to convince the “other side” although the arguments necessary to convince them may not be at all the same in the different areas where the decisions are being considered.

        Try to think in terms of the acceptance of a specific proposal and why it is accepted or rejected by a specific governmental entity.

        As an example- I generally have written that I do not think that a fossil fuel tax to reduce CO2 emissions is a good idea for the US to implement. I would change that conclusion if such a tax was a part of a larger program to resolve the structural budget deficit problem the US faces over the coming 40 years. It all comes down to the specific idea being proposed and where.

        The “one side” has a great deal of convincing to do and a very large number of diverse audiences to try to persuade.

      • Josh,

        When you tap dance like this – I guess that might be a significant difference, but I’m not sure what the upshot of that difference is. – I find it hard to give you much credibility.

        Rob posed a straight forward question. Who can be expected to exhibit a greater degree of motivated reasoning? Verbosity doesn’t count for much and you often use multiple paragraphs when a few sentences should suffice.

      • Joshua

        Perhaps in response to Jos’s comment, we might also think of climate scientists who feel intimidated due to attacks from “skeptics.”

        Care to name any?

        Max

      • @Joshua
        we might also think of climate scientists who feel intimidated due to attacks from skeptics

        So although all their money comes from government, and as alarmists they are actively working towards building up government’s empire, and they are themselves mostly of a totalitarian (ie leftwing) persuasion, they feel intimidated ?

        This is cloud-cuckoo / Orestes land.

    • “I see first-hand in my field of research many non-intentional mistakes and errors being made and how science actually progresses by the ensuing debate.”

      Corollary: forced consensus is the enemy of progress.

    • Jos

      Excellent comment – thanks for posting it.

      Max

    • Steven Mosher

      Jos,

      Thank you for all your hard work and devotion. You saved me countless hours of pain and suffering

    • Excellent post, Jos. One small point: I think Roger Pielke Jr. does believe in the consensus, if that is defined as: “CO2 and other positive forcing agents such as methane, black carbon, and tropospheric ozone have been increasing, and these pollutants warm the troposphere.” This “consensus” doesn’t exclude those who think that a doubling of CO2 might produce modest temp increases, increased crop yields, and few disasters.

      But I don’t think he buys the expensive fixes, he thinks we should be using money today to bring down the price of the eventual fixes, such as very widespread solar.

    • The first one is what this all means for young scientists entering the field: chances are that by now – 2013 – they enter the field with preconceived ideas and/or motivated by the “noble cause”. Then, it is equally likely that during their formal education they will not be taught to think independently and be really critical. I have particular problems with entering science motivated by this “noble cause”, or as Tasmin Edwards put it, because she “cares about the environment”. I think you should start doing scientific research first of all because you are interested in the topic, not because you want to save the world.

      Hear! Hear! It’s good to see this expressed so well. This is a problem which will haunt us for quite a while.

  63. Michael Larkin

    Judith, you say:

    “Last June, I encountered at a meeting an elected official of one of the major professional societies, who was not unsympathetic to my positions. He asked me: ”I have wondered what possessed you to break loose from the mainstream opinions of the community, with potentially adverse professional consequences.” My response was that I was doing this because I thought it was the right thing to do, and that I thought that someone needed to stand up as an advocate for professional responsibility and integrity in climate research.”

    I have been asking myself what “mainstream opinions” mean. Does it mean opinion as expressed in IPCC reports? My impression is that you have a number of bones to pick with the IPCC, and that maybe you know of quite a few other climate scientists that do too, albeit that motivated reasoning might be preventing them from saying anything.

    I’ve been reading your blog from the beginning and I must confess I’m not 100% clear as to what your opinions are: I mean, If I waded through your every post I might be able to come up with a precis, but would you yourself be able to produce such a precis?

    The reason I ask is because I think you are well-respected by sceptics. I know that I would value a precis like that. You’re an expert and I am not, but you are that rarest of things: a climate expert I am inclined to trust because you can write posts like the present one, demonstrating your integrity.

    I wouldn’t be looking to argue with you. Genuinely, if you were to say something I didn’t like to hear, I would nonetheless be disposed to give it serious consideration, and I don’t think it would lessen my respect for you. So: would you consider posting a precis like that? Maybe I wouldn’t be alone in welcoming that.

      • There were statements of interest too in those testimonies.

        They fail to appear in the About page, Judy.

        INTEGRITY ™ – See My Previous Posts

      • good suggestion, i’ll add links to the testimonies to my about page

      • Judy, personnaly I can’t thank you enough for your professional courage. When your scientific american and discover magazine profiles came out it allowed an isolated and intimidated professional an avenue to explore the science and issues.
        Scott

      • Michael Larkin

        Thanks very much, Judith. I don’t recall having read your April 2013 testimony to Congress in detail: maybe I glanced at it if you posted a link, but I have now remedied that by giving it a close reading, and have saved it to my hard disc for future reference. I’m glad that you are going to link to it in your “about” page. Maybe you could go even further and have a sticky post labelled appropriately, indicating that this represents your latest opinion, perhaps with comments closed. But of course, it’s your prerogative as it’s your blog. I’ve got the information I sought: I just think it’d be nice if something like that were readily apparent for the benefit of all your readers.

        It seemed to me a fair evaluation, couched in cautious and “diplomatic” language, and there’s nothing in it that I would take strident issue with, which I find encouraging in respect of the validity of my own views.

        You know, Judith, it may not be entirely PC to say it, but I think the fact that you are a woman may be significant. There are so many hirsute primates posturing in the climate jungle, and it’s refreshing to hear the calm and considered voice of a wise lady for a change: just what the doctor ordered.

      • Thanks Michael. I think the gender issue is unappreciated in all this. If I can generalize, women seem less interested in ‘winning’ and more driven to do what is right (although I can certainly think of some unfortunate exceptions to this). There’s one for the culture & cognition folks to ponder :)

      • She’s furious.
        ==========

      • This isn’t a reply to anyone. It’s just a test. Elsewhere here at Climate Etc my last two posts didn’t appear.

      • There’s one for the culture & cognition folks to ponder :)

        I’d say that the gender disparity in the climate blog commentary – indeed, in the blogosphere more generally, is quite pronounced, and not very likely just the product of random distribution.

      • (although I can certainly think of some unfortunate exceptions to this).

        Are any of the exceptions you can think of are “skeptics?”

        If not, is that merely a product of random distribution, or because the drive to “do what is right” is disproportionately characteristic of female “skeptics” relative to female “realists?”

        Or maybe because of observer bias?

      • The gender thing is interesting. And I think that it’s probably true that women are less interested in going with the flow, but the reason why is an equally interesting question (which would be a huge post by itself).

        I’ve compared you to other bloggers outside of science; in particular Ann Althouse (who is a law professor as UW/Madison). Looking at her style of blogging may shine some light on this.

        Other come to mind as well.

  64. lurker passing through, laughing

    Promoting AGW uses about the same techniques and marketing strategies as tabloid press and porn.
    The message of AGW extremists is pervasive, deceptive, misleading, over dramatized, frequently distorted, and drawn up to be falsely compelling.
    It seems a better way to think of AGW fanatics is as climate porn addicts.
    The cover of the current National Geographic, showing the impossible- the Statue of Liberty half way under a rising sea- is a great example of climate porn.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Bill claims (wrongly) “It’s so hard now-a-days to find anyone boldly “projecting” temperature rises of 15 C and sea-level rises of 50 meters

      This assertion is wrong-on-the-facts, Bill.

      ► The CAGW outcome is prevalent in the scientific literature.

      ► The CAGW outcome is prevalent in the popular culture.

      Naomi Oreskes and Judith Curry mutually agree (!) that the CAGW outcome should be assessed in IPCC5.

      Conclusion  The voting public is right to reject climate-change denialism — on scientific, economic, legal, and moral grounds — as the ideology of “gleeful yahoos who are destroying the planet, and mindless oafs who abet them.”

      Aren’t these facts inarguable, Bill?

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • lurker passing through, laughing

        fan,
        No, the idea that we are facing a climate catastrophe is not an an inarguable fact.
        And Naomi is a fool, on the scale of Lewandowsky.
        And popular culture has always loved hype and doom.
        If you keep up this climate porn obsession of yours, you will go blind.

      • Fan

        The voting public where?

        Is it wise for a voting public to implement actions to prevent future harms when they do not know that the actions be implemented will actually do anything to reduce the feared harms???? Wouldn’t the public have to be poorly informed in order to support such a risky expense in a time of very limited funds??

      • @Fan

        The CAGW outcome is prevalent in the scientific literature.

        Bought and paid for by government (that inherently has a huge and obvious vested interest in CAGW being believed), and produced by a demonstrably corrupt government climate “science” stooges.

        The CAGW outcome is prevalent in the popular culture.

        Thanks to government propaganda, piggy-backing off the above.

        I>Naomi Oreskes and Judith Curry mutually agree (!) that the CAGW outcome should be assessed in IPCC5.

        Of course CAGW should be closely examined and exposed.

        Conclusion The voting public is right to reject climate-change denialism — on scientific, economic, legal, and moral grounds — as the ideology of “gleeful yahoos who are destroying the planet, and mindless oafs who abet them.”

        No, the voting public is right to reject the Oreskes brand of ideologically-motivated, credulous acceptance, as the dogma of “dour totalitarian yahoos who are destroying society, and mindless oafs who abet them.”

  65. Beware the Murray Salby effect. If you critise the foundation of the university funding then you better have another job lined up.

    • I believe the Murray Salby effect is, when you realise your past is about to catch up with you, you’ve positioned yourself in such a way that you can try to claim that the consequences of past actions are actually victimisation for more recent unrelated activities.

      • I have no comment specifically on Murray Salby’s situation, other than to say one should have all of the facts before reaching an opinion involving an employment dispute. That it could be a situation similar to what you describe is within the realm of possibility. But it would be foolish to state that is the case without being well informed of all pertinent information.

        In other words Michael, I agree you could be right, but think you state an opinion with far more confidence than it deserves.

  66. Pingback: The Climate Change Debate Thread - Page 3029

  67. David Springer writes-

    “God gave us seed bearing herbs for our meat. We aren’t supposed to be slaughtering animals for it.”

    Personally I find it interesting when people need very reliable evidence to support some decisions and almost nothing beyond their faith to support others.

    • David Springer

      Non sequitur. Just because I know the bible doesn’t mean I agree with it. Same goes for climate change alarmism. Same goes for the modern synthesis (Darwin and Mendel).

      When arguing for or against the position of another one should be familiar with the position one is arguing for or against. Alternatively one should STFU and let those who’ve done their due diligence in learning both sides of the argument hash it out.

      • I simply quoted your comment and made an observation. Unfortunate for you if you didn’t like it

  68. Only very strong people can manage a transition as Judith Curry has done. One has to overcome internal obstacles (cognitive dissonance) as well as the expected machinations of the establishment. Few can do it. One can be consoled by the fact that much of this was well known to Socrates, Plato, and the like. It is the famous “Noble Lie:” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_lie

    • thx for introducing the noble lie idea

    • Once again demonstrating:

      There is nothing new in the climate debate.

    • I never knew.

      • This is a hysterically clever post by Robert Brown, definitely worth a read.

      • The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

        Don’t Bogart that joint, Judith.

        Pass it over to me.

        You’ve been holding on to it.

        And I sure could use a hit.

      • Thanks for the link- funny and it does make you think.

      • Everyone did their own research growing up. Having a locker next to lazy pot-head, providing the excellent kind of MOTIVATED REASONING to not take that route, made us into budding observational scientists.

        Brown is the clown on this one.

      • Webster, so you think that pot smoking and good science might not go hand in hand? You might be surprised how many dopers are successful, though I tend to think Carl Sagan might have had some restraint issues.

      • Brown notes that the “madness” science was the result of motivated science. Of course now the other team is funding their own motivated science- “careful studies” claiming the stuff is the best thing since sliced bread, complete with their own set of exaggerations.
        The “precautionary principle” suggests a few things:
        The science should be recognized as biased.
        Policy makers will be asked to act on biased science and, as a result, should default to minimal regulation to avoid unintended consequences.
        Scientific organizations should be concerned about credibility and rigorously police disciplines with heightened bias.

      • It is a bad analogy and I would suggest letting it go.

        Another DSM on WUWT has an incredibly misguided post on doubling the amount of fossil fuel usage . Willis of course.

      • Webster, “It is a bad analogy and I would suggest letting it go.”

        Why? A larger percentage of the studies commissioned to find negative effects found negative effects. Scientific “evidence” presented by opposing sides of a legal case tend to contradict each other. The EPA wants to keep a long term nuclear waste storage facility closed, they find that 15 millirem per year is the required maximum safe exposure level. A vegan scientist finds that charbroil hamburgers increase cancer risk. An Atkin’s diet scientist finds that starches are bad. Red wine is good, chocolate bad, chocolate good, red wine bad. Everybody has baggage. Except you of course.

      • Of course crude oil is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Nothing beats it for convenience and energy density. Unfortunately, unlike hemp, it is a non-renewable resource that we have to wean ourselves off of.

        No concensus police involved, as nature provides the rules.

      • Webster, “Of course crude oil is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Nothing beats it for convenience and energy density. Unfortunately, unlike hemp, it is a non-renewable resource that we have to wean ourselves off of.”

        Good shift to the “Conventional Crude” strawman. Most use the, “but the population bomb” when cornered. Next you will be using, “but I meant well.” Just about everyone is aware that liquid fuels are an issue and most of the research on synthetic fuels that could be made from natgas using any feedstock to produce that natgas, has been stymied by the coal “CO2″ factor which is now the “Carbon” factor. You drank that Koolade.

      • “Just about everyone is aware that liquid fuels are an issue “

        When cornered, they will admit this.

      • WebHubTelescope > Of course crude oil is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Nothing beats it for convenience and energy density. Unfortunately, unlike hemp, it is a non-renewable resource that we have to wean ourselves off of.

        Yes, less than 500 years to go now by some accounts.

      • “Yes, less than 500 years to go now by some accounts.”

        Then the AGW will really rear its ugly head.

  69. I discussed ter Plato’s ‘necessary’ lie in thest edishun of
    Serf Under_ground Journal. Plato’s necessary lie, the
    noble lie of the myth of the metals in man justifying the
    rigid cast system of his proposed utopian society.Plato
    justified this lie because it served a ;noble’ end. Socrates
    was used as a mouthpiece fer Plato, another deception.
    Bts

    http://beththeserf.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/the-serf-under_ground-journal/#more-6

  70. Fig 1 got lost …’ the 1st edishun’

    • Yes i read this, and I flagged it for the following quote, that i know I want to use somewhere:

      Climate science, a far-flung family of loosely related disciplines, is unusual because it has become closely aligned with a set of costly and controversial policy proposals. This political orientation raises a question: Which comes first — the science of climate or the art of persuasion?

  71. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

    Judith Curry:

    I looked for some hint of science in this post – but I couldn’t find any.

    Seems to be completely buried under all those first-person pronouns, normative posturing, identity-politics gossip, and a very large victim-card.

    Some scientists publish and then let their scientific results speak for themselves. But you are too important as an advocate for integrity in science to do that. Obviously, people need a complete autobiographical narrative. Because, without a deep understanding of where Dr. Judith Curry places her personal approvals and her “you’re all doing it wrong” opinions – well, what ever would science do?

    Fortunately, most of the Denizens are self-educated, pro-active experts who know all the details of climate science – otherwise, this blog might have a tendency to degenerate into mere egotistical verbosity.

  72. Tetragrammaton

    The other dimension to the issue of “noble cause” support – and arguably the more important dimension – is the degree to which shockingly-shoddy work is being covered up and/or defended. The Climategate “Harry Read Me” file ( http://www.anenglishmanscastle.com/HARRY_READ_ME.txt ) provides a window through which the work processes and products of some significant “climate scientists” can be viewed. The file is actually a diary of the daily tribulations of a programmer at the University of East Anglia, between 2006-2009, and has been commented on at length in other posts. Just a taste of some of the choice pieces:

    “Unbelievable – even here the conventions have not been followed. It’s botch after botch after botch.”

    “ Here, the expected 1990-2003 period is MISSING – so the correlations aren’t so hot! Yet the WMO codes and station names /locations are identical (or close). What the hell is supposed to happen here? Oh yeah – there is no ‘supposed’, I can make it up. So I have .”

    “Oh, GOD. What is going on? Are we data sparse and just looking at the climatology? How can a synthetic dataset derived from tmp and dtr produce the same statistics as an ‘real’ dataset derived from observations? “

    “OH F*** THIS. … I’m hitting yet another problem that’s based on the hopeless state of our databases. There is no uniform data integrity, it’s just a catalogue of issues that continues to grow as they’re found. “

    Apart from the obvious tortured state of the programmer, not to mention the programs and the data, the HARRY READ ME file gives insights into a lack of basic procedures and quality standards. “Robust” they’re not! [Full disclosure: my background includes supervising 25 programmers and analysts on large-scale environmental computer simulation and modeling, as well as other (non-climate) stuff involving statistics, projections/predictions, and radiational physics.]

    Besides those revealed by Climategate, there are plenty more examples of questionable gaps and startling leaps in “The Science”. One of the major areas, well covered in other posts on Climate Etc., involve the very skimpy knowledge-base on the relationship between atmospheric heating (“forcing”) and cloud albedo. Even more significant is the ridiculous reliance placed on modeling, where unproven input notions about the likely effects of CO2 are circularly spat out by the computer as multi-decade warming projections. This model issue, and others, have been eloquently explained by rgbatduke (Dr. Robert Brown at Duke University) on this blog, while the lack of actual empirical data on climate sensitivity has tirelessly been pointed out by Jim Cripwell.

    In other words, it isn’t just the “noble cause” that is being promoted and defended. Rather, the warmists are conducting an ongoing effort to disguise the fact that current “climate science” is very thin gruel indeed, and quite unsuited as the basis for any significant policy decision. And it’s perfectly understandable why the purveyors of this gruel would want to portray it as “robust”. Some of them already understand how little actual scientific basis underpins the IPCC conclusions. Others genuinely don’t – yet!

    • While I was revolted by much about Climategate, I found HARRY_READ_ME to be the most revolting part, for the reasons you explain so well.

      I nominated Harry for the Ig Nobel Prize in (nonfiction) Literature, but the committee unfortunately ignored my nomination.

    • harry readme concerned a little used and obscure dataset

      irrelevant.

      • Tetragrammaton

        It is complete, arrant, nonsense to claim, as Lolwot did. that HARRY READ ME “concerned a little used and obscure dataset”. Any reader – even without technical or information-systems background – is invited to click on the link in my post above and see immediately with his or her own eyes that HARRY READ ME is a three-year diary involving a very wide range of activities, transactions and programs involving more than a dozen countries and encompassing collection and processing of major portions of the raw temperature data which underlie more than two of the principal databases used by “climate change scientists”. It may read a little like a visit to a sausage factory, but in fact it’s an inside peek at UEA’s kitchen as it churns out the thin gruel which somehow is sustaining Lolwot’s warmist pals.

      • Tetragrammaton you are talking utter s***

        “and encompassing collection and processing of major portions of the raw temperature data which underlie more than two of the principal databases used by “climate change scientists””

        Go on name these two principle databases, just so I can confirm how clueless you are.

      • HADCRUT!! is not obscure!!!

    • “ Here, the expected 1990-2003 period is MISSING – so the correlations aren’t so hot! Yet the WMO codes and station names /locations are identical (or close). What the hell is supposed to happen here? Oh yeah – there is no ‘supposed’, I can make it up. So I have .”

      Credit must go to Harry for admitting he just made it up.

  73. The good cause which allegedly motivates much of the research puts the researcher in a special position. It allows them to dispense with essential standards of professional conduct.

    –e.g., honor, integrity

    The important lesson we learn is that a scientist cannot abandon the scientific method without throwing off morality too.

    “And as a lifelong fan of science — having idolized scientists for so long as the paragons of rational thought, in defiance of the base human inclinations — you can perhaps understand the sense of betrayal I feel to hear what I did in the panel discussion. To realize with dawning horror that scientists are just as human, just as capable of dogma, unconscious assumptions, and irrational decision-making as the rest of us.” Greg Craven

  74. Judy,
    Nice post. My trouble with the current state of academia is why after society protects large swaths of academics with tenure, a socially-respected career path, generous salary, tuition benefits for children, comprehensive medical coverage, amongst other perks, why after all that have so few academic scientists stood up to ask the awkward questions. Does anybody really think that you and Roger Pielke Sr. are the only credentialed-scientist critics of the consensus? Why are your colleagues, anonymously quoted in your post, so afraid to speak their minds?
    Surely if the prevailing view of establishment/consensus scientists is not to rock the boat, how will they answer the criticism that the reason society provides the tenure, the benefits is because it wants academics to be defenders of “the truth wherever it leads”. If science becomes another group of entitled elites, providing the cover for the puppet-masters doling out the funding, then what’s the point of having a university? What’s the point of the tenure, the benefits and the like. Why aren’t your colleagues recognizing that the immense privileges bestowed upon them are not for acquiescence but to constantly test?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Polymaths like Wendell Berry stand wholly outside your narrow worldview, nvw.

      And yet these creators have huge public followings.

      How does that work, exactly?

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • The situation is so ugly that I frankly do not blame my colleagues unless they are retired or near retirement. The other issue is that many don’t pay attention to the big picture issues and don’t have much to say on these issues (they just focus on their own research)

      • Judith

        To summarize what you just wrote: the reasons (why many active climate scientists are unwilling to speak out against the politically forced consensus) are “fear and/or apathy”.

        Where “fear” could also be called “lack of courage”.

        Historically seen, this is not an unusual situation.

        But, in the long run, history is on the side of the courageous.

        Hang in there.

        Max

      • Not quite. I am saying that many scientists are ensconced in the ivory tower and don’t pay attention to debates outside their own narrow topic of research.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Is climate-change science all that different from any other creative human endeavor?

        Wendell Berry, American Hero

        Change, Wendell Berry says, is going to come from “people at the bottom” doing things differently. “[N]o great feat is going to happen to change all this; you’re going to have to humble yourself to be willing to do it one little bit at a time.

        For details, see Berry’s Thomas Jefferson Lecture for 2012, which is awarded for “distinguished intellectual achievement”, and for which Berry chose the title It All Turns on Affection

        Should scientists appreciate that climate-change science too, in the end, “turns upon humble human affection”?

        As Wendell Berry rightly notes … this is a central question!

        Conclusion  It is not necessary that every scientist thinks like Wendell Berry, but it is vital that some scientists think like Wendell Berry. And it is vital, especially, that these scientists speak out.

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • “curryja | August 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Reply

        The situation is so ugly that I frankly do not blame my colleagues unless they are retired or near retirement. The other issue is that many don’t pay attention to the big picture issues and don’t have much to say on these issues (they just focus on their own research).”

        How is their own research going?
        Is “the situation” having much effect [good or bad] upon their research?
        I would guess conferences might be way of assessing this. No doubt that would be difficult to measure, and criterion of “progress” is subjective.
        How about embracing the subjective, are they happier or more depressed?

      • Judith

        This may be splitting hairs, but you have just given the reasoning for the “apathy” of these scientists (too busy doing something else).

        Right?

        Max

      • Denialist motivated reasoning Is as easy to understand as ABC.


        Anything But Carbon.

      • Do you think your colleagues’ apathy would be changed if tenure and generous public sector salaries were to be withdrawn because they failed to act as responsible scientists?
        In the military if you cower in your foxhole while your comrades die around you, that called cowardice. Amongst academics you suggest its part of career management?

      • Judith, I am certain of at least one thing – i.e. history will be kind to you. nolo contendere illegitimi carborundum.

      • Webby

        I thought “ABC” stood for “Always Blame Carbon”

        Max

      • Max,
        Famed denier and cornucopian Mark Mills, who wrote the book “The Bottomless Well” promising untold crude oil supplies, is now at it again claiming that the internet is a massive user of energy.

        This myth is easily debunked and is a clear result of motivated reasoning sponsored by the National Mining Association and Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity

        http://www.tech-pundit.com/category/articles/

        http://www.tech-pundit.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Cloud_Begins_With_Coal.pdf?c761ac&c761ac

        This stuff is everywhere you look. The motivated reasoning is to assign climate change to Anything But Carbon and to keep the charade going that fossil fuels are a “Botomless Well” to draw from.

        Simple Max, simple as ABC.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Energy futures are technological. No one gives a rat’s arse about oil as such. Merely having sufficient and reliable energy at minimal cost. I don’t know how to make this simpler. The winning technologies will emerge as a result of economic substitution in a free market. If oil prices rise – other energy sources will be economically viable. If technologies evolve and costs decline the new technologies will replace oil. It is a very simple equation.

        You have told this time and again webster – you are an idiot who can’t move past an absurd obsession.

        http://live.wsj.com/video/opinion-why-peak-oil-is-a-myth/F1FB10F9-4AB8-48AB-A449-969ED1AF0909.html#!F1FB10F9-4AB8-48AB-A449-969ED1AF0909

      • Cheap Hydrologist, You are a bottom-feeding internet fake who takes on sockpuppet handles such as Dr. Dunderhead and Captain Kangaroo, in order to garner support for your silly theories. Can’t walk that sockpuppet stuff back.

        A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception.

        You have zero credibility, 0 = Chief Hydro, deal with it.

        Sad spectacle that most of the other deniers on this comment board support you, as they are just as ethically bankrupt as you are.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Webster – you are an obnoxious fool with little wit. Deal with the argument and not your delusional fantasies.

      • Lay off the cheap liquor, cheap hydro.

        On that video you linked to, the Wall Street reported could barely keep from bursting out laughing at Mills towards the end of the interview. Watch her, as she fed him preposterous suggestions and he followed on with even more preposterous replies.

        The shills like Mills and Chief Hydro are trying to maintain what little advantage they think they possess in the energy transformation that the world is going through.

        Michael Tobis is always interesting as he gave a snippet of motivated reasoning from over 100 years ago:

        http://planet3.org/2013/08/21/8666/

        “Resolved, that none of us know, or care to know, anything about grasses, native or otherwise, outside the fact that for the present there are lots of them, the best on record, and we are after getting the most out of them while they last.
        Resolution of a Texas stockmen meeting ca. 1898. “

        “getting the most out of them while they last” has been the motivating factor all along.

        Watch as Chief Hydro continues to follow the script he was given. And the sockpuppet tag will be his albatross. Chief is a good illustration of the stupid things that a person does when drunk out of their gourd.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Seriously – do you think you have anger management issues? You just might be a motivated bozo with hyperventilating personality disorder? You swallowed a whole peck of vitriol and now can’t remember where you left your pants? You signed up for a charm school course at UNtopia Minnesota and then discovered you lack the prerequisite? You discovered that your life sucks and you’re an idiot but it makes you feel better to shout and rant at someone? You keep ranting and have discovered that absolutely no one gives a rat’s arse and thinks of you as the intellectual equal of an orangutan? The same words keep coming out of your mouth and you can’t figure why everyone is yawning?

        I should care less – I just comment on your inane, insane, mind boggingly repetitive posturing now and then.

      • Chief, You are seriously projecting with your anger management issues. You are the one one that will deceive and call everyone “idiots” at the drop of a hat. I just point out what people like you do and you get upset in return.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You are a liar and a fool webster.

        Energy futures are technological. No one gives a rat’s arse about oil as such. Merely having sufficient and reliable energy at minimal cost. I don’t know how to make this simpler. The winning technologies will emerge as a result of economic substitution in a free market. If oil prices rise – other energy sources will be economically viable. If technologies evolve and costs decline the new technologies will replace oil. It is a very simple equation.

        You have been told time and time again and merely return with the same whines over and over again.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        And as if anything you say can seriously disturb my equanimity. You are just deluding yourself as usual. I just point out what an idiot refrain it is and you whine on endlessly and repetitively. Very boring. Why don’t invent a new song and dance bozo.

      • Chief Hydrologist,
        Clearly you can’t explain why you continue to use multiple sockpuppet handles such as Dr. Dunderhead and Captain Kangaroo amongst others. This is a post about motivated reasoning. The usual motivation for multiple sockpuppet handles is to generate a fake grass-roots campaign to fool people into believing that your specific ideas have a greater popularity than really exists. That is the default rationale that is well understood in internet circles.

        But there could be a more clinical rationale for you as well. It is possible that you merely want to make a joke about all that is discussed here. That fits in well with the Aussie tradition of mocking authority, or perhaps by alcohol, or by some diagnosable obsession that you have, ala a Rainman disorder. The latter is apparent with your rather shallow incessant repetition of certain memes and links without adding any deeper value to the discussion. You could also be a shill, willing to comment here for compensation, ala the Mark Mills character that I linked to.

        In whatever case this may be, all that you state should be easily dismissed as a troll.

        It is simply impossible for me to ever have a balanced discussion with you. I tend to back whatever I write in these comments with extensive linked blog postings, white papers, and chapters of books that I have written. You on the other hand, have nothing to show for anything. Even a shill like Mark Mills writes something down.

        You continue to say that I have this obsession with fossil fuels, even though that the topic of fossil fuels in general is what drives this site. If it wasn’t for fossil fuel consumption, this site would not exist. The issue is a systems problem, and I analyze both the climate and geological factors of the problem. You can’t deal with this for whatever reason, so you continue to use the tools of an internet troll, creating multiple sockpuppet names and spewing invective wherever you go.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Energy futures are technological. No one gives a rat’s arse about oil as such. Merely having sufficient and reliable energy at minimal cost. I don’t know how to make this simpler. The winning technologies will emerge as a result of economic substitution in a free market. If oil prices rise – other energy sources will be economically viable. If technologies evolve and costs decline the new technologies will replace oil. It is a very simple equation.

        This is my original statement and you attempt to bury it in vitriol. It is still most evidently true and you remain incapable of addressing. Rather you seem to recognise the potential for technological innovation but then return to the theme of oil depletion along with the theme of abusing ‘deniers’ which is your only substantive contribution to the discussion.

        It is simply impossible for me to ever have a balanced discussion with you. I tend to back whatever I write in these comments with extensive linked blog postings, white papers, and chapters of books that I have written. You on the other hand, have nothing to show for anything. Even a shill like Mark Mills writes something down.

        I reference actual peer reviewed science. You link to misguided blog science. Seriously? There is some comparison to be made?

      • WHT cites Think Progress to “debunk” the “myth” that server farms are energy pigs.
        This is a fun example of motivated reasoning. WHT shows us where lefty politics requires denying that server farms are energy pigs.
        However, the Guardian shows us where lefty politics requires arguing the opposite… http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/technology-strategy-cut-data-emission
        Which one’s right? They don’t care, it depends on what they need to argue today.

      • Chiefio, Bad news man. First, you are a multiple sockpuppet abuser.
        Second, keeping track of oil reserves is important.

        The True Scotsman that wrote this piece tells it like it is:

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-23771338

        “‘Worrying’ decline in oil and gas production”

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You are a whining bozo zilch credibility. Why focus on a single and aging resource in the North Sea?

        I can tell you that we are about to become the world’s largest gas exporter and that is just the start.

        http://www.resourceinfocus.com.au/index.php/2013/03/08/linc-energy%E2%80%99s-shale-oil-find-gives-rise-to-lofty-ambitions/

        Fossil fuel resources just keep expanding. Fossil fuels are not a constraint and you are just wasting everyone’s time with your useless whining yet again.

  75. Pingback: Green Activism and Money (Not Science) The Basis Of Most CO2 Catastrophic Climate Change Studies | Power To The People

  76. Curious George

    To tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – or has science itself changed?

  77. It must be hard for creationist biologists and doctors to speak out too.

  78. I know this is a scientific blog, but just had a thought running through my mind (very perverse but funny). Mann, Schmitt, Hulme, Gore, Gleick, Romm, Lewandosky, Cook and Gammon. Talking about Judith’s post. Main theme:

    How do we shut her up!

    Cook, Mann, Romm, and Lew want to comment and tear it down (come on spike let me , let me!)
    Schmitt, Trenberth, Gammon, and Hulme want to ignore and it will go away (we are the true fathers of Climate Science!)
    Gore and other pols (just hold off until final report and EPA regs have a chance).
    I know we could clean it up a bit, maybe add a few more pols.

    Just a thought….

    • You should think about doing cartoons for WUWT. I think you have the right sense of humor.

    • PaulS

      Let’s flesh that out a bit:

      Cook creates a convoluted post with several multi-color, interactive graphs, demonstrating that JC’s essay is based on false premises and “junk science”

      Lewandowsky insists he should “out” JC as a “climate denier” who is part of a conspiracy that also denies that HIV causes AIDS or smoking causes lung cancer

      Mann pouts that he has been a victim and is so angry he wants to bat JC over the head with his broken shtick

      Romm just growls that JS has “abandoned science” in order to hide his envy because his blogsite has been left in the dust by Climate Etc.

      Schmidt suffers from the same “blogus envy” as Romm but looks (in vain) for a way to discredit JC based on the “science”

      Trenberth simply sighs that it is a travesty that Climate Etc. would dare to question the consensus orthodoxy

      Gleick tries his old trick of fabricating a phony nonsensical JC quotation, in an attempt to destroy her integrity

      Gammon agrees that “Glacier-gate” was a screw-up but Gore’s “AIT” was basically OK – he concedes it’s best not to confront JC head on

      Hulme is the only one of the bunch who ponders whether or not the consensus is being seriously challenged by JC and what this might mean for IPCC

      Gore counts his millions and chuckles

      • Pretty good manaker. Particularly the last one.

        How about adding “Joshua conducts a tap dancing marathon in an attempt to get Judith’s attention, only to intentionally bump into her so as to spill her punch over her new outfit.” ?

      • Pretty good manacker. I suppose the idea of a Reality TV Show has already been floated?

      • Neo-scient-ism:

        “Science”
        is how
        yer keep
        control
        over con-
        -sensus
        certainties
        of ‘now’.
        Evolution
        of knowledge
        by testin’
        and refutin’
        any error
        is so old
        hat. As
        scient-is-imists,
        we’re into
        non-contrarian
        pro-hegelian
        total-itarian
        historicist
        certainties.

        Mann after Hegel.

    • (come on Spike let me , let me!)

      One of my all-time favorite cartoons! [Sylvester drinks a potion which transforms him into a ravaging monster, who slices Big Dog Spike into ribbons, but it wears off and the Little Dog thrashes him (Sylvester) while Spike pulls himself together. The roles then flip, and Spike becomes Little Dog's burbling syncophant.]

  79. Gore had an interview today. I think those with motivated reasoning will read this through a red mist. Others should find it an interesting update on his view of the present situation. In short, he is optimistic.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/21/al-gore-explains-why-hes-optimistic-about-stopping-global-warming/

    • Jim,

      I use to think Al Gore was an idiot, until I realized he was laughing all the way to the bank.

      Now I only consider him an idiot if the subject is science.

      Here is some advice on being credible. If you give Al Gore any credence on matters of science in discussion of climate change, you have no credibility. Whom ever manufacture’s those big red BS buttons cannot do so fast enough when it comes to Mr Gore. I know HS students who could destroy him in a debate if the subject was strictly on the science.

      • I think he now optimistic, not alarmist, because he sees that the warning has been heeded, and the world is now starting to move in a better direction. He points to promising trends in renewable energy and in the corporate world keeping up with the science in their planning.

      • How disheartening, the comment by Jim D. Al Gore caused immense damage to science, environmentalism and liberalism.

    • Jim D

      If I had creamed off many millions of bucks by saving the planet, I’d feel “optimistic”, too.

      Max

      • 97% of those making a living off CAGW believe in CAGW

      • PS Especially if I could see that all my efforts (to do good while doing well) were paying off with the pause in global warming.

        It truly warms the heart, it does.

      • Peter Lang

        97% of those making a living off CAGW believe in CAGW

        Watch out for the other 3% – the pesky outliers.

        Max

      • Peter Lang | August 22, 2013 at 2:00 am |
        97% of those making a living off CAGW believe in CAGW

        I rather doubt that. It’s probably a minority.

  80. Clearly, the secular-socialist, government/education complex stabbed every US taxpayer in the back. Come hell or high water there is nothing that will change until we close the checkbook. Unlike Mao who marched the schoolteachers to the farms, all we really need to do is put an end to public-funded babysitting.

    • blueice2hotsea

      Wagathon,
      all we really need to do is put an end to public-funded babysitting.

      Easier said than done. Yet I agree that something must be done.

      Still, classroom teachers work in a nearly impossibly demanding environment. In that context their meager results are positively astonishing. So, education reform ought not throw front-line educators under the school-bus…

  81. Wagathon,
    Close the cheque book, anything else, but plee-eez don’t
    send me back ter the farm…I only recently escaped.
    beth the ?

  82. Motivated reasoning is not all bad in science. To a certain extent, the disinterested are uninterested. The zeal needed to dig into a question is often motivated not by simple curiosity. In fact, a dialectical approach allows us to harness those super-efficient motivated-reasoning neurons to seek out the strongest arguments for and against any proposition.

    More details about this notion at

    http://strategyprofs.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/individual-bias-and-collective-truth/

  83. Professor Curry,

    If the simultaneous loss of integrity in science and constitutional government is no mere coincidence – as some of us believe – then the Electronic Frontier Foundation has some good news (via tallbloke)

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/eff-victory-results-in-release-of-secret-court-opinion-finding-nsa-surveillance-unconstitutional/

  84. Hey, I hate to be cynical, but not everybody plays by the rules.

    As a climate activist, what kinds of responsibilities do you have to
    your conscience (nano)
    your team (macro)
    institutions (depends)
    the public (arrogance)
    the environment (lip service)

    As a politician, we know how the kinds of loyalties usually rank
    yourself
    your friends
    your party
    your public
    other (justice, fairness, and other platitudes)

    Role models?

  85. Judith Curry

    Don’t know if this guy is in any of your classes, but here’s a guy with REAL “motivated reasoning”!

    http://www.sbnation.com/2013/8/20/4641140/enhance-georgia-tech-freshman-convocation-speaker-nicholas-selby

    Max

  86. Meanwhile, some of these issues continue to be considered in the Mann v Steyn case, which will go to trial: http://www.volokh.com/2013/08/20/mann-v-steyn-mann-wins-round-one/

    • Which brings us back to motivated reasoning. This is what motivated reasoning from the bench looks like.

  87. Is there reason in this motivated reasoning?

    “Within that butterfly-effect-like chaos, Gutzler said it’s possible that the predictive climate models scientists use are partially wrong—not about the fact that the planet is warming, but about how, when, and where that warming will occur.”

    No s*** Sherlock!

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/separating-science-from-spin-on-the-global-warming-pause-20130821

  88. What is your motivation for censoring my posts comparing AGW fake fisics with traditional real world empirically tested and well understood physics as still taught by some, primarily in applied science fields, but no longer taught in the general education system?

    • They are boring, long, and repetitive, not to mention off topic 99% of the time (and incorrect at least 100% of the time). This is not just my judgment; other readers here do not respond to these posts and complain to me about them over email particularly owing to their length and repetitiveness. I would recommend that you post this stuff on the skydragon threads, but John O’Sullivan forced me to take down these threads under threat of litigation.

      • +100

      • So why not just let readers skip over them if they don’t like them? My posts are also long, boring, repetitive, and wrong more than 100% of the time too, right? So are Chief’s – at least when he starts ignoring uncertainty and/or straying away from the science. It is true that my posts get responses whereas Myrrh’s more likely get silence, but moderating out Myrrh’s posts leaves the impression that for some reason “skeptics” find Myrrh’s posts inconvenient?

      • Because they were extremely long, filling up 3 screens worth. Myrrh’s shorter posts make it through. People respond to your posts; they do not generally respond to Myrrh’s. Myrrh’s posts are arguments that the greenhouse effect doesn’t exists, not sure why this would be regarded as inconvenient to skeptics

      • So why not just let readers skip over them if they don’t like them? My posts are also long, boring, repetitive, and wrong more than 100% of the time too, right? So are Chief’s – at least when he starts ignoring uncertainty and/or straying away from the science. It is true that my posts get responses whereas Myr–‘’s more likely get silence, but moderating out Myr–’s posts leaves the impression that for some reason “skeptics” find Myr–’s posts inconvenient?

      • Josh,
        Myr– and Chief are both from the Australian contingent of commenters that exist simply to mock whatever rationale discussion exists.

        One thing that every blog maintainer has in their arsenal of tools is a way to identify commenters that have multiple sockpuppet names, such as Chief. All it takes is to look at the IP address of the potentially offending sockpuppet and see if multiple names are used from the same address. The standard practice on the internet is to automatically ban commenters who use multiple sockpuppet handles.

        This place has loads of sockpuppets. I can name Latimer Alder, who has been somewhat shamed from commenting, and a recent multiple sockpuppet that is very suspicious called Tomcat/BatedBreath/?.

        Multiple sockpuppets skew the discussion artificially and are “used for purposes of deception”, a clear case of ulterior motivation.

        If one goes to the trouble of filtering content based on the level of bad science, one could also apply some diligence to rid the site of these kind of trolls.

        Hope this helps.

      • OMG – CE moderation!!

        Censorship!!, the sky is falling!!!…….

      • David Springer

        David Springer | August 22, 2013 at 8:31 am |
        Your comment is awaiting moderation.

        Just for the record I’m one of those who emailed Curry asking her to stop M-y-r-r-h from posting reams of drivel.

      • “…commenters that exist simply to mock whatever rationale discussion exists.”

        Webby, you’re projecting.

      • Myr–’s posts are arguments that the greenhouse effect doesn’t exists, not sure why this would be regarded as inconvenient to skeptics

        My–h’s posts (to some degree) negate the “skeptics” no true Scotsman argument.

      • For the record, I want to thank Michael for being from the contingent of Australian commenters that continue to bring rational thought to the proceedings. Keep up the fine work.

      • David Springer

        WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | August 22, 2013 at 8:25 am |

        One thing that every blog maintainer has in their arsenal of tools is a way to identify commenters that have multiple sockpuppet names, such as Chief. All it takes is to look at the IP address of the potentially offending sockpuppet and see if multiple names are used from the same address.

        Incorrect. Not all blog admins have access to IP addresses. This is especially true for blogs that are hosted for free. Hosting a blog on a cloud server, at least in some cases I’m not sure about all cases, doesn’t give an originating IP address but rather the IP address of the cloud server.

        For the record though Curry has access to originating IP addresses.

      • David Springer

        @Joshua

        Because skipping them wears out my mouse wheel.

      • Josh,
        Right. All skeptical arguments are OK, as long as they are TRUE skeptics, not the fake skeptics that exists on a sliding scale such as Myr*.

        The problem has always been that there are scores of conflicting skeptical arguments, all of which will cancel each other out, but the discussion of these bad arguments is limited to sites such as HotWhopper and IdiotTracker and SkS. That’s OK, but really the discussion should be met head-on and at the frontlines, at commenting sites like this one.

      • @WHUT…

        One thing that every blog maintainer has in their arsenal of tools is a way to identify commenters that have multiple sockpuppet names, such as Chief. All it takes is to look at the IP address of the potentially offending sockpuppet and see if multiple names are used from the same address. The standard practice on the internet is to automatically ban commenters who use multiple sockpuppet handles.

        There’s a variety of ways for anyone even slightly familiar with TCP/IP on the Internet to get around this. Worse, there are situations where actually different commenters could appear to be sock-puppets without even knowing about it: such as when they happen to be going through the same proxy server, or both on a network that uses DHCP.

      • What AK says is likely true and it makes it that much harder to determine which commenters are trying to gamethe system using sockpuppets, etc.

        All this stuff gets in the way of discussing the science.

      • Joshua,

        Cudos for acknowledging how your posts often appear, with extra points for being funny about it.

        I was going to say you lose some of them for asking the question a second time after Judith answered, until recognizing it was likely a duplicate posting.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        I don’t understand Joshua’s argument that the existence of someone who denies the GHG effect discredits the argument that skeptics don’t deny it. Skeptics are, by far and large, pretty good at rejecting denials of the GHG. I would think the fact that commenter gains no traction here would argue against Joshua’s position, not for it.

        Regardless, I find the discussion of sock puppets interesting. Not only did WebHubTelescope get it very wrong (though the obstacles AK refers to are mostly surmountable), he is also a terrible spokesmen for his position. He has accused many people of being sock puppets, and according to him, they should all be banned. The thing is, that would include me.

        Some time back, I talked about creating a second account name to make humorous comments in a particular style. I said the account belonged to me multiple times, and I never used it to deceive anyone. Naturally, he called this a sock puppet.

        Apparently insulting people he dislikes is more important than facts or reality. As is banning them from conversations!

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The difference between webby and myself is that is that I actually discuss science with quotes, links and everything. Must be hundreds of papers – more all the time. Several more in the past couple of days. I have always – well since the age of three – been a speed reader. I am trained in engineering with a hydrology background – an intensive experience in itself – and in environmental science. I have an advantage in studying the source of global rainfall regimes starting with a single paper by 2 Australian geomorphologists in 1988.

        Webby is an electrical engineer who insists that the oceans are a CPU heat sink – and other such conceptually incorrect climate trivialities – when he references ‘science’ it is his delusional blog science in a quite silly and self aggrandising manner. For the most part he is simply abusive and obnoxious. It seems tied up with his sense of self worth somehow. I suspect it is a space cadet habit of assumed intellectual and moral superiority classically symptomatic of groupthink. It seems destined to crash and burn.

        Many commenters here have an extremely limited understanding of quite basic aspects of climate science. There are things that would be better learned before venturing an opinion. I have used Dr Dunderhead in the past couple of days in some gentle and polite didactic sense. The clear sense is that I am not entering a discourse but espousing some basic concepts that they need to make even the most elemental sense of climate science. I do not change my email address so it should be fairly clear to Judith who I am. I don’t think that I am fooling anyone – that’s part of the joke. Although webby does seem to lack a sense of humour as well. I may continue in the didactic manner when warranted.

        Captain Kangaroo was a climate warrior on a blue horse called Shibboleth. He was promoted to Generalissimo Skippy and retired after the “Great Northern Rivers Frog War of 2012′. His identity is a secret of the climate war known only to a cowgirl on a damn camel.

        It is a shame that the site has degenerated to carping and smarmy snarks with little content, less civility and no sense of fun and creativity. The eSalon is looking decidedly faded. Seriously – if this were Big Brother we could vote webby off. Failing that – I’d suggest adding the words ‘peak oil’ to the moderated list.

      • John Q. Lurker

        Prof. Curry – I agree. When someone with as sketchy a background as I have can easily find errors in Myrrh’s arguments … Put that together with the length and repetitiveness …

      • ” Chief Hydrologist | August 23, 2013 at 6:11 am |

        I have always – well since the age of three – been a speed reader. ”

        Behold how delusions of grandeur manifest themselves.
        It makes sense that the Chief is a multiple sockpuppet abuser.
        He needs to create a fake grassroots campaign to convince everyone how great he is.

  89. Pingback: The WUWT Hot Sheet for August 22nd, 2013 | Watts Up With That?

  90. An extreme example of motivated reasoning by the good Dr Trenberth follows. ***Warning do not be drinking anything while reading this as it will end up all over your screen:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/21/stalking-the-rogue-hotspot/

  91. ” Chief Hydrologist | August 22, 2013 at 4:24 am |

    You are a liar and a fool webster.

    Energy futures are technological. No one gives a rat’s arse about oil as such. “

    I shouldn’t respond to a commenter that uses multiple sockpuppet handles such as you Chief, but the fact of the matter is that making projections of future consumption of crude oil and other fossil fuels has some import in determining the future levels of atmospheric CO2 that we can expect. Of course if you don’t think that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has any effect on the climate, that would put you squarely in the denier camp.

    In any case, I and a few others will continue to use mathematical models of fossil fuel depletion to anticipate what the future production levels of place such as the Bakken formation hold for oil and natural gas.

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/10163#comment-974679

    • Dr Dunderhead

      Where did this come from? As Dr Dunderhead exists to impart some wisdom to – let’s face it obsessive dunderheads with a monomaniaand an implacable resolve – let’s take the text in context and deconstruct it.

      Energy futures are technological. No one gives a rat’s arse about oil as such. Merely having sufficient and reliable energy at minimal cost. I don’t know how to make this simpler. The winning technologies will emerge as a result of economic substitution in a free market. If oil prices rise – other energy sources will be economically viable. If technologies evolve and costs decline the new technologies will replace oil. It is a very simple equation.

      In the real world people will continue to use the world’s oil, gas and coal resources. These look to be sufficient to supply energy for hundreds of years – even without accessing even more ‘unconventional’ sources such as methane hydrates.

      Real, pragmatic and practical paths to decarbonisation of the energy sector requires technological innovation – but this remains insufficient to address anywhere near the the full breadth of carbon emissions. For that the ultimate solution for much of the world is economic development. This translates into reduction in population pressures, reduction in black carbon, tropospheric ozone, methane, sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide, elimination of other pollutants, improvements in ecologies and sequestration of carbon. We are interested in a bright future for humanity in this century. This requires clear and non binary thinking. The solutions are investing in energy innovation, meeting Millennium Development Goal commitments in the west and to a greater extent facilitating free trade between nations.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      JC note: Attention in the public debate seems to be moving away from the 15-17 yr ‘pause’ to the cooling since 2002 (note: I am receiving inquiries about this from journalists). This period since 2002 is scientifically interesting, since it coincides with the ‘climate shift’ circa 2001/2002 posited by Tsonis and others. This shift and the subsequent slight cooling trend provides a rationale for inferring a slight cooling trend over the next decade or so, rather than a flat trend from the 15 yr ‘pause’.

      I’d say that the shift encompasses the 1997/1998 El Nino to the 1999/2001 La Nina. A dragon-king in the sense of Sornette (http://arxiv.org/abs/0907.4290) – or alternatively a noisy bifurcation in the sense of Thomson (http://arxiv.org/abs/1007.1376).

      The rationale for a ‘slight cooling trend’ is a little thin and the presumption that the next shift will be to warmer conditions again is utterly unfounded. However, interesting as all that is, the essential problem is the political aspect. Cooling however slight poses problems in maintaining any political and social impetus to moderate emissions of greenhouse gases.

      To coin a phrase – oh what a wicked problem.

    • Flaunting the fact that he, Chief Hydrologist, is a multiple sockpuppet abuser, he dons another sockpuppet name. Then showing a schizoid ulterior motive, he flips back to another name.

      Watch and learn kiddies, the deception practiced by internet bottom-feeders.

    • Ask Dr Dunderhead

      The descent to personal abuse is both repetitive and tedious and is quite irrelevant to the argument. Whatever the names – these seem cogently posed, logical and scientific.

      The distractions are ongoing and suggest an inability to respond rationally to rational arguments.

      He should come with a caution – beware blog rage.

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  93. Pingback: How global warming research is like pot research | Watts Up With That?

  94. put simply: global warmers always claim that oil money corrupts, but government money does not.

    • You are so right, it goes both ways. Lastly, anyone else having difficulty posting to the newest topic?

      • Yes to having difficulty. Looks like a software problem.

      • Yes. It looks like our hostess will have to delete or edit the last post. Why am I not surprised whose post it is?

      • OOPS! That should be, the last Comment. Sorry.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Let’s see if that comment parses OK here!

        Jennifer Francis is quoted on a weblog: “What perplexes me, however, is that [Elizabeth Barnes}  intent  reasoning in interpreting the new results in Barnes (2013) seems less than objective and is a direct attempt to disprove the work presented in Francis and Vavrus (2012; hereafter FV12).”

        Had Jennifer Francis email replaced the single word “intent” with the single word “reasoning”, there would be no grounds for complaint.

        Is a single word — in a blog post — worth all this Climate Etc kerfuffle?

        Doesn’t the strongest skepticism necessarily focus on the strongest climate change science … not upon single-word infelicities in weblogs?

        Aren’t cherry-picking quibbles and personalization more characteristic of denialist demogoguery and ideology-driven self-delusion than science?

        Conclusion Arguments that hinge upon a single unconsidered word in a blog post are too fragile to have any substantial relevance to the climate-change debate.

        The strongest skepticism is focussed upon the strongest science, Judith Curry!

        Whereas feeble quibbling skepticism is effectively just another form of denialism, isn’t that plain common sense?

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Hmmm … yes its a bug … it appears that the present version of WordPress software goes south if a certain combination of HTML tags — that I will not name, and henceforth will not use —appears in a certain sequence in a comment.

      • Actually I fixed it by deleting your last comment on that thread. posting on the arctic thread should now work

      • It didn’t. There’s something wrong with the junk you put at the end.

  95. The official government climate alarmism complex denied easily observable natural oscillations for years and now sort of admits that oversight was probably due to ulterior motives (i.e., a hidden agenda). What else can they do? The only other explanations are willful ignorance or simple charlatanism.

  96. On the issue of motivated thinking Judith posts ‘On Being
    a Scientist. A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research.’
    Concerning presentng your data, discovering error and
    treating the work of other researches with respect, the
    Hockey Stick / Hide the Decline Team earn three fails.
    – fail – fail – fail.

    http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2009/11/29/what-happens-to-the-hockey-stick-graph-if-you-dont-hide-the-decline/

    (And in detail Climate Audit posts on Hide the Decline and IPCC.) involvement
    A serf.

    • Beth

      This here’s a troo story.

      When Ah wuz a young’un runnin aroun an all, we yoosta play hide’n seek, wher won young’un was “IT” an everbody else ran an hid (in a ditch er holler er behin a brire patch sumwheres) while “IT” stayed at the base (a tree) an counted ta ten. Then “IT” hadda fine an tag everwon fore they cuud run back an tutch the base. If sumbody got tagged they wuz “IT” nex time.

      Won li’l bitty gal named “Duhdee Kline” wuz still kinda yung an wuzznt too good at hidin.

      So we bigger young’uns he’ped her hide.

      We wuz “hidin’ Duhdee Kline”.

      Now they got faymus sine-tists doin’ it.

      Yore feller serf Max

      • Max,

        In our street, back then we played IT, as kids do… sometimes
        scarey ) That ther team plays it too but theyer duh-ny-in it

        The other serf..

  97. Very strange – no comment box at the bottom of the Arctic ice thread. It says that I’m commenting on Twitter and Facebook. I have neither a Twitter nor a Facebook account. Something’s buggered.

  98. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
    Insightful and honest article from Dr. Judith Curry. My th-

  99. Too many waffle words. A scientist owes a duty to the truth as it is revealed in discovery, observation, and analysis. Any other duties to institutions, colleagues, journals, or to public policy debates effectively diminish the credibility of the scientists and are the equivalent of worshiping a false idol.

  100. Microethics vs Macroethics: just another fancy form of situational ethics or moral equivalency.

    You cannot shade the truth anymore than you can shade the Earth from the Sun’s output, alter the position of the Earth relative to the Sun, alter the rotational dynamics of the planet, change the volcanology and plate tectonics of the Earth, or change the dynamics of deep ocean currents or significantly alter cloud formation of global spaces.

    And, how many people know that the Charter of the IPCC is to study anthropogenic global warming, not global warming in general. Myopic to say the least, dishonest to say the worst.

    • ++
      “Microethics vs Macroethics: just another fancy form of situational ethics or moral equivalency.”

  101. David Wojick

    According to the link that starts this post, motivated reasoning means holding on to a false belief in the face of “overwhelming evidence” to the contrary. This is not the case in the climate debate so I do not see any motivated reasoning at work. What I do see is people using the term to insult their opponents. A waste of time. Strong belief is not irrational.

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  103. David Wojick

    “According to the link that starts this post, motivated reasoning means holding on to a false belief in the face of “overwhelming evidence” to the contrary.”

    This is not what motivated reasoning is about and it is not quoted at the beginning of this post.

    Motivated reasoning has been used by Leiserowitz et al in a paper which interprets public perception on climate change (Climategate, Public Opinion, and the Loss of Trust. American Behavioral Scientist, doi 10.1177/0002764212458272

    In it, they state:
    “People are not dispassionate consumers of information. Instead, their motivational states, their values, wishes and preferences, influence what information they pay attention to, how they evaluate data, and the conclusions they draw. As a result, people are often inclined to accept data and interpretations that appear to validate their prior views. They may search for any evidence that their preferred conclusion is valid and stop
    once confirmation is found. By contrast, people tend to view with suspicion data that contradict their preferences and beliefs. They give greater scrutiny to and look for reasons to reject the validity of
    contradictory claims.”

    In my post at Klimazwiebel I outline how this line of thought could be generalized. Your simple assertion that “strong belief is not irrational” may be true in some instances but begs the question.

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