Conflicts of interest in climate science. Part II

by Judith Curry

But when I queried them on various sources of funding – private, industry, government – they deemed all of the sources as suspect. – Dave Verardo

In the past several months, we have had several posts on scientists’ conflicts of interest, and possible biases from funding sources:

Industry funding has been the big ‘villain’; notably oil companies and Monsanto.

In recent weeks, several new perspectives on this issue has come to my attention.

College students

On Steve McIntyre’s post Shukla’s Gold, Dave Verardo made several comments.  If you don’t know who Dave Verardo is, he is Program Manager for NSF’s Paleoclimate Program.  Besides a Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences, he also has a J.D. He also teaches a course at George Mason University.  I responded to Verardo’s comment at ClimateAudit suggesting that he contact me, to continue a dialogue we started at last years Workshop on the Ethics of Communicating Scientific Uncertainty.  We spoke on the phone, discussing the Shukla issue as well as some broader ethical challenges faced by the climate community.

I was particularly struck by a comment he made regarding the perspectives from the undergraduates that he teaches at GMU.  I asked him to elaborate via email:

About two years ago, I stumbled onto a surprising and disturbing perspective among some college students. In a class that I teach on science and policy to senior undergraduate science students, we were discussing a topical issue in science and policy. We were discussing the pros and cons of an issue when one student casually mentioned that she did not trust the science research because of the source of the funding. I asked the class if they agreed that the source makes a difference and they all replied that it did. But when I queried them on various sources of funding – private, industry, government – they deemed all of the sources as suspect. Not just some students but all the students. I have repeated this line of inquiry to successive classes (now about 80 students over two years) and the results are the same.

This lack of confidence in our science infrastructure, to the extent that it exists, seems largely self-inflicted. If some people are pushing others to follow a predetermined scripts in support of some larger perceived good, this is counter to the foundation of scientific inquiry which is all about pushing knowledge beyond societal comfort zones. There are many historical examples of such behavior and its damage to understanding and to people.

The way to reverse course and to restore trust seems to be to shine a light on bad conduct when it occurs, follow through with substantive corrective action, and for individuals to just say no to going along as part of their own personal integrity.

Sure, there are serious pressures at play in science such as funding and the ubiquitous prestige issue but if people cave on an individual basis then institutions are doomed. If this is the case, then where does this leave us?

Scientist X – NASA

As an example of the serious pressures in play, also last week I received this email from a NASA scientist:

About 7 years ago, I was at a small meeting of NASA-affiliated scientists and was told by our top manager that he was told by his NASA boss that we should not try to publish papers contrary to the current global warming claims, because he (the NASA boss) would then have a headache countering the “undesirable” publicity.  I inferred from this that the real problem was the large amount of funds NASA obtains from claims of dire climate change, and that suggestions to the contrary threatened those.

I witnessed similar reluctance for scientists at other organizations to publicly criticize modeling they deemed sloppy because even if they themselves were not at the forefront, they also benefited from the great amount of funds made available.  So, it is not just those funded by environmentalists or dirty energy companies who have conflicts, but indeed all receiving government funds based on the great societal consequences of dire warming.  It is still dangerous for me to say such things since I am still funded entirely through NASA.

In a follow up email, he identified the two NASA administrators – both people whom I know and like.

Recall 2007 – the year of the IPCC AR4, the Nobel Peace Prize goes to Al Gore and the IPCC, and the final years of George W. Bush’s administration.  Perhaps this is all so institutionalized under the Obama administration, the issue of trying to publish a contrary paper doesn’t even come up?

Note, over the past five years I have received a number of emails from government scientists who will not pursue certain lines of research for fear of losing their jobs.  I can only wonder how many others are out there who are afraid to speak up about this issue.

JC reflections

I don’t think the main problem is with the individual scientists (for the most part anyways); rather it is the institutions themselves (e.g. the administrators) that are a major part of the problem.

Program managers are trying to build the research budget $$ for their programs; some high profile research with favorable press helps.  At higher levels, Divisional administrators are competing for budget dollars against the other Divisions; tying their research to a national policy priority helps in this competition.  And on and on, up the institutional food chain.

We can’t fix the biases of individual researchers, although institutions can steer their research areas with funding carrots.   I have no idea what it would take to fix any such problems at the major funding institutions; at NSF it would be relatively easy.  NASA and especially NOAA are much bigger challenges.

Somewhere, sometime there needs to be a serious conversation about scientific bias caused by government research funding. I regard Dave Verardo as an important ally in seeking to improve the ethics and reduce bias in climate research.

Is contrary science to be relegated to the ‘gentlemen/women’ scientists that can afford to finance their own research?  More and more we are seeing retired professors and wealthy individuals taking on contrary research.  And of course, this raises the issue that industry funding of contrary research could actually be healthy for climate science.

242 responses to “Conflicts of interest in climate science. Part II

  1. Pingback: Conflicts of interest in climate science. Part II | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  2. George Devries Klein PhD, PG, FGSA

    Bottom Line -this is driven by the current occupant of the White House and his science advisor. It’s called the Chicago way.

    It also explains why papers published dealing with natural variability seem to be coming more from China, the European Union, Russia and India.

    • Your political bias is showing.

      • Perhaps it is Rob.

        Doesn’t make George any less on target.

        I will say again – a President who claims that climate change is the greatest threat to our nation and then buys a beach front house and who uses his own daughters as “victum” cards, claiming their asthma is caused or made worse by carbon pollution is exactly the type of person who would use whatever means necessary to advance his “legacy”.

  3. Once again, of the mouths of babes (undergraduate students), the truth is revealed!

  4. The Climatists want more not less government so it’s doubtful they will ever concede we should less and not more government funding of climatism.

  5. a really great post. thank you

  6. When bureaucracies are built around controlling large flows of money, corruption is (almost always) inevitable.

    Come to think of it, when bureaucracies are built […] corruption is (almost) inevitable. Massive controls have to be in place, but if those controls are partisan (e.g. the MSM), the corruption will just align itself with the partisan agenda of the controls.

  7. Curious George

    Don’t look for a conspiracy. It is only 97% getting rid of 3%. Germany 1933+ again.

  8. “At higher levels, Divisional administrators are competing for budget dollars against the other Divisions; ”
    Wherever we care to look in today’s world there are the bureaucrats, technocrats and unaccountable others fouling the scene. The degradation of human integrity I’ve witnessed over my 65 years can be rather depressing in general but more so in fields of scientific investigation, even though this is not a new problem.

  9. There’s another corrupting aspect that comes from funding. Quite a few years ago I wrote a comment on this site about a research that was recommended to me by my environmentalist and biologist brother in law, “The effects of climate change to the Estonian swamp vegetation”. It was a very good piece of research with just one glitch – there was absolutely NOTHING about climate change. No attribution study. None. So the correct name for the study should have just been “Changes in the Estonian swamp vegetation in the last 20 years”. But would there have been (international) funding without the compulsory climate change thingy? I doubt it… But now, with a title like that, it would probably proudly qualify for the famous Cook 97!

    • Oops. Sorry, it was the good old times and so it was global warming, not yet climate change…

  10. stevefitzpatrick

    Good post. Sadly, these examples of institutional pressure to conform will be dismissed as anecdotal by well known climate scientists, and then ignored. One need only read some of the UEA email messages to see how pervasive the pressure to conform is. There is huge pressure within climate science for people to ‘stay on message’ about global catastrophe, which means, of course, that it is not really science at all, but rather green politics. Defunding is the answer.

    • Steve, I know I’ve said this before but wouldn’t dual funding of competitive (non friendly) studies, to run and report simultaneously, change the game dynamic? The investment is double on the face but automatic ground-truthing produces quality and confidence at the same time. Think about the waste in all the funding of work that nobody trusts, perhaps not even the investigators. Think about the papers that are simply authored to be foundations for political talking points, Cook or Lewandowsky, for example.

    • JCH, Is there any papers by Lindzen, Essex or Lewis that you trust implicitly? But if Bjorn Steven writes the same paper you might give it a 50% trust I imagine. How confident are you in Lewandosky and Cook? Complete trust?

    • Sadly, these examples of institutional pressure to conform will be dismissed as anecdotal by well known climate scientists, and then ignored.

      The very last thing you want known about pressuring conformance, is that you are doing it. You want the tortured conformance to have the appearance of free thinking and integrity.

  11. The effect of the science funding source seems to work through the administrative structure in the way that Thomas Kuhn described. Senior scientists use their positions to enforce discipline in their fields.

    Unfortunately, Kuhn’s descriptive work has been confounded by others as a prescription for how science ought to be conducted. We have lost the insights we once gained from the rejection of continental drift, the precursor of plate tectonics,

    By enforcing consensus at the expense of new knowledge, “… we are placing responsibility for making new knowledge in the hands of those who have the most old knowledge to unmake. The recognition of scientific expertise — the very stuff that enables scientists to build on prior results — at the same time makes scientific judgments inescapably personal and historical, undermining our deepest wishes for knowledge that might somehow be transcendent.” Naomi Oreskes, The Rejection of Continental Drift, Oxford U Press, 1999, p.318.

    We need to reconsider President Eisenhower’s warning that, “In the councils of government,we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.”

    Today we should consider amending this to the “scientific–academic–military–industrial complex”.

    • >Today we should consider amending this to the “scientific–academic–military–industrial complex”.

      That would be the SCAM-I complex, how apropos.

    • Whitehouse: “The bottom line is this: A private company and/or its industry allies should not knowingly lie to the American people about the harms that are caused by its product. No one went to jail in the tobacco case. No one was prosecuted criminally. This was a civil RICO case. All a civil lawsuit does is get people to have to actually tell the truth, under oath, in front of an actual impartial judge or jury, with the ability to cross-examine — which the Supreme Court has described as “the greatest legal invention ever invented for the discovery of truth.”

      What an ignorant clown. If private industry should not lie, maybe presidents shouldn’t lie. (See Obama lie about nobody losing private insurance under Obamacare)

      Whitehouse again: “All a civil lawsuit does is get people to have to actually tell the truth, under oath,” No a civil lawsuit awards damages — in the case of RICO, triple damages.

      Just pathetic that this clown is a Senator.


    • bedeverethewise

      Whitehouse called you a prominent climate denier, perhaps you should press him to name a single scientific fact that you deny.

      • We stand with Dr Curry in repudiating this abuse of language, which is both pathetic, because it’s empty of all meaning, and repugnant, because of dirty connotations of holocaust denial from many. The courage to continue speaking the truth is an example to us all.

      • The phrase is repugnant not only because of the “dirty connotations of holocaust denial” but also because it is making an accusation of dishonesty without providing any evidence. The person is being accused of saying something they know to be false because of an ulterior motive. It is like announcing publicly, but without any evidence to back up the claim, that the accused is “immoral”, “without integrity” and to be dismissed without any consideration of what they have to say because they themselves do not believe what they say.

      • bedeverethewise

        I don’t mind the word denier at all, as long as the person who uses the term can point to a real scientific fact that is being denied.

        Of course that almost never happens and certainly not in this case

      • Just called his office. Got a good ten minutes in w/ mindless staffer . . but he was polite. Theme: Does the Senator really believe that Dr. Judith Curry “denies Climate?” I said, Of course she believes in climate.

        I followed w/. . Did the senator intend to suggest that she doesn’t believe in “climate change?” Of course she believes in climate change.

        . . then, did he mean global warming? Of course she believes in global warming . . well, when it’s occurring (I didn’t bother to mention that’s it’s really not in the current cycle).

        . . then I offered that perhaps he intended to suggest that she doesn’t believe that there might be some human footprint in the global warming? Followed that with, well, as a matter of fact, she’s solidly on record in believing that there is some footprint.

        And on and on, through . . is there any empirical evidence – established scientific observable evidence that there has been any worsening climate change trends since the birth of AGW (1950)? That one invoked a response from him – but he listened when I made the proper references.

        I told him that using the term, ‘denier,’ in this case was unethical – and nothing short of “hate speech.”

        More – but I left it with – Whitehouse should read her resume. And that he should limit the defining of Curry, and others, to “those who are skeptical that the human footprint is large enough to result in catastrophic consequences,” for now.

      • I’ve never heard you deny climate Judith.

        If there’s a term more ridiculous than “climate change denier”, the senator just coined it.

      • That editorial…so pathetic.

        Does this guy deal in anything but ad hominem?

    • Sen. Whitehouse is a Climategate Denier:

      …“Climategate,” a faux scandal whipped up a few years ago by the polluters and their allies to suggest climate scientists were colluding to exaggerate global warming data. Turned out, it was the cooked-up, phony scandal that was exaggerated, and not the data. So-called ClimateGate should actually accurately be called ClimateGateGate.

    • Dr. Curry
      didn’t know you were a “climate denier”
      the whole entire climate?
      you rascal you

    • I have always had an almost automatic respect for teachers, at any level. My uncle, who I admire as much as my dad, is a retired Chemistry Professor. Among the people I remember most are my professors. From undergraduate days up through grad school. Then I read comments such as those of Professor DeMott and have to wonder what happened? Perhaps I was fortunate never to have run into the few bozos who populate the field. (Well maybe I did. I remember sitting in on a friend’s class titles Death Education. Worst professor I’ve ever experienced. The only reason I sat in was due to the extremely high number of hot co-eds. They were there because the class had a high percentage of athletes, as it was a guarenteed passing grade.)

    • Dr. Curry, I read Senator Whitehouse’s article that you linked to, and posted the following comment. I am very curious how you or others feel about doing something like this:

      Senator Whitehouse, I very much support a congressional inquiry, with testimony under oath with criminal penalties for perjury, of the top four or five scientists from both the mainstream climate science consensus side as well as the denier side. Certainly there is enough at stake here to warrant such action. Each of the scientists witnesses are asked two questions, for which they must answer under oath.

      (1) What are the top three pieces of scientific evidence that for you personally, have formed your opinion that human caused CO2 emissions are, or are not, dangerously warming the planet?

      (2) Here is a chart of climate models compared to empirical data for global temperatures that was prepared by Dr. John Christy.…/news…/photo/17798010-mmmain.jpg

      Is this chart accurate? If not, what parts of it are inaccurate?

      Senator, these two simple questions, asked to each of five scientist witnesses from both sides who are under oath, would go amazingly far at getting to the bottom of what is behind all of this “denialism”, while at the same time educating the public at large. It is such a simple thing to do, and would help so much to put an end to this polarizing “war” over the climate.

    • I think the “denial” from a lot of “skeptics” is that the central estimate of the IPCC for sensitivity of 2.5-3 C ECS is even possibly right with any significance, and that is therefore denial of its corollary that near 100% human contribution to warming is possibly right. They would probably not deny that they deny these parts of the IPCC conclusions which puts them in this special class.

      • bedeverethewise

        You’re confusing scientific facts with opinions Jim D. And you’re confusing you’re imagined ‘lot of “skeptics”‘ with real people.

      • What skeptics deny, is that the truebeliever consensus knows what it is talking about, ie the deliberately faked certainty. Maybe they should be RICO’d eh?

    • It seems terribly wrong for you to be called a denier by a person of prominence in a major media source. If there is any merit in such a term its benefits have been lost because it is so widely and inappropriately applied. The scope of the term climate denier as used is ridiculous and inconsistent (A denier if you think IPCC projections might overstate the likely temperature rise but not if you think they understate. A denier of climate if you have doubts about renewable technology. A denier if you think poor polling techniques were used for the consensus numbers.) I can only hope that this instance may help others see the abuse inherent in such labeling. The term denier is regularly used to impugn and denigrate while stifling debate and building an artificial consensus on topics that extend beyond climate.. Those who use this term should be responsible for defining what qualifies as denial and differentiate between normal scientific disagreements and denial.

      Right now it looks like anyone who has a thought or action that might impede the progress or momentum of any climate relate initiative (or the feelings of anyone associated with calls to action) is a denier.

  12. Seems like the states could play a role funding contrary research in policy-relevant areas. Perhaps some bounty-like incentive system could be devised to reward scientists who overturn some federally funded result… Maybe something along the lines of how corporations reward security researchers for finding exploitable software bugs.

    • This is a great idea as a federal policy. Put up a bounty for overturning evidence of federally funded research products if achieved by non-publicly funded research. Even if the bounty was rarely earned it would have an oversight effect.

      Also, all publicly funded research for climate change, or any non-product oriented research, should be public domain within a year of any publications based on it.

  13. “The way to reverse course and to restore trust seems to be to shine a light on bad conduct when it occurs, follow through with substantive corrective action, and for individuals to just say no to going along as part of their own personal integrity”.

    Fine in theory, but the problem is much deeper than “bad conduct”. The system is badly fractured, if not broken, if science is paid off to deliver a predetermined, politically driven result. Scientists may study phenomena and want to find out how something works, but people go into politics to further their vision of the world and how it should be-essentially a predetermined result. The credibility of science gets sold cheap, and the science becomes a means to an end, nothing more. It’s the cynical “Golden Rule”: He with the gold, rules.

      • Ubiquitous arrows and one – way streets,
        high way, low way, mis-nomered freeway,
        ‘go right,’ ‘go left,’ ‘look up,’ ‘look down,.’
        and when I come to a fork in the road,
        may I, like Frost, take the road less traveled,
        would I dare, and could I dare,
        when the arrow says ‘no?’ And
        would we, like lemmings take the leap
        off the cliff – if the arrow says ‘go?’ And
        shall we all, at that last great summons
        that makes us rather bear those ills we have
        than fly to others that we know not of,
        standing before the elevators dark portal,
        obey the requirement to step in,
        go up
        … or go down.

  14. This is a very difficult issue to deal with. Historically often reformers come from the economically secure class, such as Teddy Roosevelt. At an institutional level what is needed I think is something like an Office of Inspector General with adequate mandate and staff to investigate issues of reproducibility, misconduct, selection bias, etc. There is still the problem of how to make this function truly independent. I don’t have any easy answers. Everyone except the wealthy ultimately have a boss and that boss can be biased or himself foolish and gullible or too interested in maximizing their next pay increase or bonus. The higher levels of management tend to be filled by the most ambitious and in some cases the most greedy but that probably won’t change. This is more a request for ideas than an offer of solutions.

    I also do believe that one very big problem is that there has been a diminution of the general level of honesty and respect for truth in Western society especially among middle class professionals. Standards seem to have been abandoned in many fields of endeavor in favor of cultural diversity or some such more inclusive standard. Bertrand Russell knew how corrosive this can be and diagnosed the problem perfectly in his History of Western Philosophy. It is very out of fashion to talk about intellectual modernism and relativism as a grave threat, but it really is a threat and since Russell, its gotten worse in my opinion. As Russell said, he preferred St. Thomas to the Romantics or Thomas Dewey because at least in principle Thomas acknowledged that reason was the method to determine truth. Many older scientists or mathematicians chose their professions in order to answer very personal or religious questions about truth. That was Russell’s motivation certainly. How many of our current crop had those goals?

    Ironically, the advent of the digital age may be contributing to these trends. Demands for rapid responses can often degrade the quality of that response. Also the social milleu of organizations has become more connected and it is more difficult for the perceived skeptic or squeaky wheel to escape the condemnation of his peers.

    • David, you have identified a key factor:

      “Also the social milleu of organizations has become more connected and it is more difficult for the perceived skeptic or squeaky wheel to escape the condemnation of his peers.”

      • Facebook is sort of interesting to watch in this regards. I see certain communities (e.g. the local music community) with their standardized political beliefs and periodic expulsion of heretics (usually over non liberalized political beliefs) as a very strong force toward socialization and normalization of thought and behaviour.
        Not a positive force in my opinion.

      • nickels

        I have seen the same thing on FB. Eventually, people self sort into groups that share the same opinions.

      • Some of my FB friends have diametrically opposed views on some important issues. Few share my interest in policy (alas). Maybe I could get some of your friends …

  15. The evidence is certainly building that climate science has been massively corrupted. Journal bias ( e.g. The Science editor statement). Funding bias. IPCC mischaracterizations. Academic misconduct (e.g. Marcott). Increasingly fiddled data (NASA progressively revised temperature and SLR histories). Junk science (e.g polar bears). Intimidation (Sen. Whitehouse RICO 20, Lennert Bengston). Failure of all major climate science ‘predictions’. Massive subsidies to technologies that cannot provide grid energy solutions because of intermitancy (wind, solar).
    What levels the playing field a bit is the internet, and skilled courageous bloggers like Judith, Steve McIntyre, Paul Homewood, and a few others. They are a channel for archiving facts and analyses contributed by many that might otherwise not see the light of day.
    The political tide is starting to turn. Australia. UK slashing subsidies. A few grid energy disasters (UK and Germany being candidates), a few US SCOTUS rulings on Obama’s extralegal means, return of Arctic ice plus continuation of the pause plus lack of SLR acceleration…. And a massive housecleaning will probably begin. In the US, much depends on the 2016 elections.

    • Rud,

      “In the US, much depends on the 2016 elections.”

      You and others on this blog have made some great points on this post, but that is the bottom line. Obama has veto power and the votes in the Senate to overturn his vetoes are just not there. At the risk of sounding like Donald Trump, :), we need a Rebublican POTUS. The CAGW meme and it’s partner, “sustainable” energy, are part of the Democratic platform – don’t expect any change to come from that party.

      • JW, yup. Unfortunately the Democrats (note, I am independent, not a member of any party since none represent my views) seem to want to play Chicago style politics. Vote early and often. Hence the motovoto, no ID kinds of stuff they advocate. Most recently California.

        One practical (in theory only) solution goes back to the original Constitution and its founding idea on who should be entitled to vote. Yhen, was landowners. Bad, since the laws at the time meant married women did not co own their husbands land, although simgle widows could inherit it. (Martha Washington). My answer is not any citizen of legal age, as now. It is any citizen of legal age who paided net federal income taxes under whatever tax code at the time in either of the two years between federal elections. That way, those on the ‘permanent’ dole are excluded from voting to move my money into their pockets. Voting Citizenship carries responsibilities IMO. Not irresponsibilities. But we go a bit off topic concerning Eisenhower’s warning about federally funded research, which was ‘gravely to be regarded’. Ike was right.

      • “It is any citizen of legal age who paid net federal income taxes under whatever tax code at the time in either of the two years between federal elections.”

        I am for your idea. I would even give a four years, the presidential window in order to have earned enough to pay tax. It would also benefit as a personal incentive, challenging pride and establishing implied expectations for citizenship.

      • Personally Rud I prefer Robert Heinleins model – the franchise must be earned through personal service to the nation. It wouldn’t have to be limited to military service. Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, etc.

      • ristvan:

        Unfortunately the Democrats (note, I am independent, not a member of any party since none represent my views) seem to want to play Chicago style politics. Vote early and often. Hence the motovoto, no ID kinds of stuff they advocate. Most recently California.

        I’m usually with you every step but Yikes! Somebody from Florida criticizing Chicago and California voter registration? Have you forgotten voter roll purges, hanging chads and Bush v Gore? That’s not Chicago style — that’s banana republic style.

        OK, back to the climate topic…

  16. Judith, on your point that administrators faced with funding pressures are a major factor in eschewing non-conformist work: as always, it comes back to the individual. You cannot maintain such a stance if you value your personal integrity and honesty. If you do, you will take the honourable path and face the consequences. Not doing so leads to the extension of the problem, the spread of conformity and the death of science and morality. Values come first.

    • When individuals do not follow the funding, they are replaced with others who will follow the funding.

      • That doesn’t relieve any individual from their own responsibility. I always put values first, and accepted the cost.

      • If the costs are only to yourself, you can make the call and live with it.
        If the costs are also to others there can be conflicting values that can make the choices much more difficult.

      • Alex, we often have to make difficult choices; and some of these might involve costs to others as well as ourselves. That’s something we have to weigh. Strong moral values, honesty & integrity might take you in one direction, less strong, another. If more climate scientists had taken the harder choice, we might be in a better situation overall, and the costs for the dissenters might be less.

    • Faustino,

      But you are talking about self-sacrifice, putting the good of your country ahead of yourself. How can you expect anyone to risk their own personal welfare like that? I mean, it’s one thing to talk about massive sacrifice to save the planet, when it helps you earn a good income and others pay the real costs. But when it could cost you your income, your status, your power….

      Which is why, of course, most of the outspoken, honest scientists are either emeritus, retired or self funded.

    • Its the frog in slowly boiling water issue. Small issues, not worth jeopardizing your career over. Then some medium sized ones, and you rationalize further, after all those small issues. And then, there’s the mortgage and the kid’s tuition. Etc.

      • It is a perfectly normal human response – a natural consequence of the incentives and constraints.

        Any scientist questioning the consensus, or even entering a discussion with skeptics – like you or Lennert B. – gets pummeled. They call you a heretic (Scientific American), which is interesting given the religious overtones of the word. The bullying of an older gentleman like Lennert B. was shameful.

        My image of a scientist, realistic or not, has been of a brilliant, dedicated, and persistent individual following their own curiosity and delighted by unexpected results. That is why we want them protected from the political vagaries of the world and free to seek understanding unfettered by corrupt individuals chasing money and power.

  17. richardswarthout

    The following excerpt could be applicable to many institutions in America:

    “This lack of confidence in our science infrastructure, to the extent that it exists, seems largely self-inflicted”

    Americans do not trust their government, universities, people of authority, and the media. They believe they are being lied to and screwed. A non-violent rebellion is brewing.


  18. “In recent weeks, several new perspectives on this issue has come to my attention.’

    I am frankly astounded at the tone of this post, suggesting that any of this is new. The perspectives are certainly not new, so I assume it is the identity of those who can finally see those perspectives that is a surprise.

    But that’s what happens when you live in a bubble where everyone agrees with one another, even when it is because they are all being paid from the same source.

    I am not a believer in historical inevitability, but I have always wondered when the youthful tendency to rebel would come up against the reality that rebellion is not allowed once progressives are in charge. Maybe the time is coming.

    • That was my first blush at this, the naiveté at discovering this attitude among undergrads.
      The loss of credibility to science is due to the partisan decision to attack “industry-funded” research and the glee with which left-wing academics and reporters ran with that in all cases, everywhere.
      Of course, basic simple logic dictates that if money corrupts, then money corrupts. The standard academic claim is that the funding they get has no influence on the research, but the funding SHE gets does. Nobody believes that. The even funnier versions is that we’re supposed to be horrified by the Koch’s influence. But not Tom Steyer. We can’t expect someone like Leonardo DiCaprio or George Clooney to overwhelm the awesome communicative power of… Anthony Watts.

  19. The fact that you haven’t seen ‘adversarial’ solutions to the CIMP models tells you all that you need to know. It’s not about falsification. It’s a protection racket.

    • It’s a protection racket.

      Wow So how many climate scientists do you actually know? There are thousands of scientists all over the world doing climate science. Why aren’t any speaking out and calling it a sham, protection racket, hoax or whatever you extreme skeptics are calling it these days. Complex conspiracies are difficult because it usually depends on a large number of people keeping quiet. And with such an important issue like climate change human nature would tell you that someone (if not many) would speak out.

      • LOL! Tell me you didn’t really write that!

      • ‘And with such an important issue like climate change human nature would tell you that someone (if not many) would speak out.’

        You mean like Lindzen, Soon, Curry, McIntyre, and so on, and so forth?

      • I don’t think any climate scientist has called it a racket or a hoax. They may dispute the evidence or the mainstream conclusions. But that’s nothing new in science.

      • Joseph,

        You can’t even define “climate science” in any useful sense.

        Climate is the average of historical weather parameters. Any reasonably intelligent 12 year old can do the calculations.

        Maybe that’s why your “thousands of scientists” aren’t speaking out. They are painfully aware they are unable to provide even one example of a measurable benefit to humanity that their “science” has produced.

        Who wants to admit that a 12 year old child with a pencil and straightedge can peer into the future just as well as the finest “climate scientist” using the most modern technology?

        We need more CO2, not less. Or would you prefer that humankind starves, freezing, in the dark? Try and grow a grain of rice without CO2. Feel free to use as many computers and climate models as you wish.

        Maybe your “thousands of scientists” can help. I doubt it, though.

      • Oh I know, Mike, when I want to get advice about climate science or climate scientists I should go to you.

      • Joseph, turn your argument around. What is the total number of skeptical climate scientists are out there? Hundreds? Would you call that a complex conspiracy? I would say you don’t need the conspiracy explanation when the ideology explanation will suffice. The human tendency is to believe in a cause and interprate the science accordingly. The CAGW and skeptic divisions can easily be explained this way. Your ‘conspiracy’ comment is weak.

      • What is the total number of skeptical climate scientists are out there? Hundreds? Would you call that a complex conspiracy?

        I am not the one claiming there is a conspiracy. But anyway I don’t know why they disagree with the mainstream position. Having a disagreement in science doesn’t mean there must be a conspiracy.

      • Yeah, frog, but ideology doesn’t explain the situation where they are all trying to promote a fraud to achieve political ends. That’s actually somewhat evil or sociopathic, If you think about it. And would be a conspiracy because they work together (eg IPCC) and they would have to overlook all the fraud committed by their peers.

      • Joseph,

        You wrote –

        “Oh I know, Mike, when I want to get advice about climate science or climate scientists I should go to you.”

        Precisely so. You should also come to me of you want advice about phrenologists, or the science behind the luminiferous ether – or the warming properties of H2O, for that matter.

        Alternatively, you could remain with the gullible crowd who believe in unsubstantiated nonsense such as the supposed benefit of reducing CO2 and H2O levels in the atmosphere. No need for conspiracy – shared delusional thinking is a sufficient explanation. It’s happened many times before.

        Maybe you can justify this ongoing lunacy to yourself, but there really doesn’t seem to much benefit to man nor beast, does there?


      • They are all insane or evil, eh?

      • Learn to read Joseph. This post is about why you don’t see more people speaking out.

      • Complex conspiracies are difficult because it usually depends on a large number of people keeping quiet.

        This (climate science) though is about institutional bias, no conspiracy needed.

      • I am still waiting to see evidence for this “institutional bias.” But that’s fine as long as people aren’t accusing researchers or the government of knowingly engaging in fraud.

      • Well people like Mann and the other Climategaters certainly engaged in sciencefraud. And their covering bodies ran whitewash ‘Investigations’ rather than discipline them, which tells us
        – sciencefraud is ok and commonplace (as long as its the politically correct type of course), and
        – since it silently tolerated the Climategaters, this means the whole profession is corrupt, this wasn’t just a few bad apples.

        And given that government is both the financier of climate science, and has a vested interest in its outcome, the rational expectation is that it will be biased (towards alarmism). Which is exactly what Climategate showed.

        The burden of proof is thus overhwhelmingly on those who would argue that government climate science is NOT biased.
        And given that

  20. I agree with Dr. Verardo’s students. All persons develop adaptive filters about whom to trust — friends, relatives, politicians, institutions. We recognize past behavior and self-interest. Despite spin doctors’ hopes, we remember lies, half-truths, exaggerations and other distortions or dishonest behavior.

    At this point, I approach virtually every scientific paper, newspaper article, etc. with skepticism, some authors more than others. Like many others, I have seen far too man unfounded claims, unwarranted certainty, and outright bias to accept assertions unquestioningly.

  21. “I regard Dave Verardo as an important ally in seeking to improve the ethics and reduce bias in climate research.”

    Out of curiosity, how does one “improve” ethics, when ethics are not bounded by an objective norm? Why is integrity more important than any progressive policy? Why is the right to free speech more important than curbing CO2 emissions? Why is the means limited by the ends? I would suggest that modern progressivism’s answer to each of these questions is: it’s not. Steven King got rich writing fiction, why shouldn’t Al Gore and James Hansen?

    I know why I am sure that perverting science to obtain power is wrong. But I am curious how those unburdened by any such objective parameters justify imposing their own ethics on their profession, or society in general?

    Other than personal preference.

    Oh, and I’ve read the “natural law” philosophers of the Enlightenment, thank you very much. All they did was try to find a justification for gaining the benefits of a moral society, without all that annoying religion and morality stuff. Never found any of them terribly convincing, or logically persuasive…as to WHY.

    Nor am I interested in what some old dead white guys had to say about it. What do our resident progressive/liberaltarian/moderate sophisticates think?

    Until you can answer that fundamental question, don’t expect to convince many other people to follow you.

    • Gary, if you live a moral life, you will be free of tensions that beset those who don’t. If you develop wisdom, your will help yourself and others. People are aware of this in you, and respond to it. So your stance has some influence, as I presume you know from your own life. Those who choose to put their values aside out of concern for livelihood, status etc will pay a cost.

      • +1 I hope you are right.

      • “Those who choose to put their values aside out of concern for livelihood, status etc will pay a cost.”

        It’s not putting their values aside, necessarily; values can be re-arranged in true conscience. That’s what makes them values.

        For example, in the 2012 US presidential Republican party debate Gingrich did damage to Romney by accusing him of being a vulture capitalist, the kind of attach usually the opposing liberal party would make. Gingrich re-arranged his values placing his own success as a higher than the cause, his party’s success. Conversely, last night the liberal Democrats, in their debate, chose not to exploit Hillary Clinton’s scandals (under congressional and FBI investigation) for personal gain but instead with a handshake, gave her a dispensation. They can be admired for knowing how to put a cause above personal interest. But so did a minority party in 1933 Germany.

    • Gary, I think most people know the answer to this once they have internalized the consequences of lying. Your credibility is pregressively degraded, it becomes difficult to support a narrative of lies, and it ruins your self-worth.

      As a scientist, your credibility is your keystone. People who lose sight of this, or never realize it, are damaging to us all. It seems, alas, de rigeur these days, to taylor results to funding.

      I work in industry, where honesty is enforced by the fact that your product had better damned well work, everyday, all the time. The real issue here is the lack of consequences for sloppy work. With govt funding, repercussions are non-existent. With a customer, they are real, and immediate.

      • Oh yeah, the invisible hand of the private sector – the customer! :) The customer can take their money elsewhere. We have no such choice with our taxes.

      • “Becker also points out that any social group, insider or outsider, ends by divorcing itself from the group it’s supposed to be serving. “Everyone has an ideal student or audience in mind, and we never get them,” he points out. This makes teachers impatient with students, and jazz musicians suspicious of audiences….This insight turned out to apply to a lot more than marijuana smokers. “My dissertation supervisor, Everett Hughes, loved the idea that anything you see in the lowly kind of work is there in privileged work, too, only they don’t talk about it,” he says. “Later on, he went to the American nurses’ association and they hired him as a consultant, and he said, ‘Let’s do some real research: why don’t you talk about how nurses hate patients?’ There was a shocked silence and then someone said, ‘How did you know that?’ ”

        Fracking customers!

  22. Why not go cheap if you can’t get funding?

    What’s most lacking in climate research is something called contemplation, which is free. Of course, concentrated, sequential thought is the hardest thing in the world – as a lazy toff I avoid it! – but it works for those willing to try it and it doesn’t cost. Maybe contemplation of climate could occur outdoors, so things don’t get too abstract and climate can break all the rules you made for it right in front of you and all about you. Confusing and contradictory reality rather than Nino/Nina/Neutral on a screen.

    When one looks at the massive, glaring and often deliberate oversights and the outrageous assumptions of Publish-or-Perish climate science, a dose of steady contemplation is just what’s needed.

    No charge!

  23. “This lack of confidence in our science infrastructure, to the extent that it exists, seems largely self-inflicted.” This is exactly right. When the leaders in a field allow institutional integrity to be bent or broken, because they agree with a particular outcome (or wish to avoid the trouble of going against the mainstream) then the institutions weaken their own ability to speak with authority. To the extent that they still have institutional authority, then science as an institution suffers, too.

    Most mainstream scientists would applaud Einstein’s response to “A Hundred Authors Against Einstein.” When asked about this collection, he responded, “If they were right, it would only take one.” Yet we see many climate scientists twist themselves around just a little, to justify reliance and promotion of a consensus meme. Most scientists would applaud data transparency and rigorous criticism of results, as a way to ensure robustness of outcomes. Yet those on the “right” side who fail at this are disturbingly uncriticized by the mainstream. Most scientists would disallow any results that are based on incorrect methods, whether the statistics misapplied in the hockey stick studies, or the recent tendency to publish model outcomes as if they were empirical studies. But in climate science it seems that “consistent with previous work” is enough to pass muster, regardless of the methods used.

    The damage is subtle, and small for any individual incident. It is easy for even very good scientists to bend a little here or there; usually without even awareness that they are doing so, I imagine. But the cumulative effect is quite corrosive and hard to correct.

  24. Germany appears to have become a hotbed of nonConsensus papers. One might ask Notrickszone how this has come about in the country with such a history of green governance. Is the funding mechanism different or the culture?

    Methinks culture explains more. A strong ego and support for thinking for yourself post WW2 in Germany. In the US, “blocking for the quarterback” is a major male custom, but requires people to set aside their personal views for the benefit of the :game” – football or the climate change industry, both.

  25. “This lack of confidence in our science infrastructure, to the extent that it exists, seems largely self-inflicted.”

    Who knew that being a lackey for a climate crazy venture capitalists would lead to bad science, and, bad behavior in support of that bad science?

    Any good that may come from sincere exhortations by the climate cabal, pales when the costs to mankind is factored into the current & ongoing rhetoric spewed by opposing voices. What doesn’t make sense today is not likely to be any clearer tomorrow. It is only smoke from the exhaust of the Catastrophic Climate Change Cabal. Too bad EPA doesn’t regulate such foul smelling utterances.

  26. Another excellent post; thank you Judith.

    All this has been going on for the 25 years I’ve been involved and then following.

  27. Great post, Judith. It’s a story that’s been going on for a lot longer than the 25 years observed by Peter Lang.
    When big money started going into science during the Manhattan Project – IGY – Apollo eras, many scientists had taken effective vows of poverty to pursue their love of science. But the subsequent graduating classes, born into lavishly funded Big Science, readily adapted to “Science for Hire” (as did some old-timers). One old-timer who didn’t adapt is James Lovelock, who, in an interview with The Guardian after Climategate broke
    had this to say:
    “I was utterly disgusted. My second thought was that it was inevitable. It was bound to happen. Science, not so very long ago, pre-1960s, was largely vocational. Back when I was young, I didn’t want to do anything else other than be a scientist. They’re not like that nowadays. They don’t give a damn. They go to these massive, mass-produced universities and churn them out. They say: “Science is a good career. You can get a job for life doing government work.” That’s no way to do science.”
    A century earlier Albert Einstein was even more blunt, making a rather unflattering distinction between science for hire and science for curiosity and love of discovery. In 1909, after a productive stint in the Swiss Patent Office, he was appointed associate professor at the University of Zurich. “So, now I too am an official member of the guild of whores.” he wrote to a friend. (“Einstein in Love: A Scientific Romance”, Dennis Overbye, Viking, 2000, page 163)

  28. Judith

    I was interested in the passage here;

    ‘About 7 years ago, I was at a small meeting of NASA-affiliated scientists and was told by our top manager that he was told by his NASA boss that we should not try to publish papers contrary to the current global warming claims, because he (the NASA boss) would then have a headache countering the “undesirable” publicity. I inferred from this that the real problem was the large amount of funds NASA obtains from claims of dire climate change, and that suggestions to the contrary threatened those.’

    As you know I read a lot of science papers for my own research. I remember saying to you privately on a number of occasions that many of the papers were poorly written, very dense, tedious and often seemed to come to the opposite conclusion to where the narrative had been heading.

    In other words, the references to man being the cause of warming seemed contrived when compared to the information that had been set out. I remember in particular saying this about one scientist at the Met Office whose conclusion was substantially at odds to their argument.

    We can only speculate as to how many papers would have been written putting a different complexion on climate change if the funding issue was not so critical and how the ‘97% agreement’ would subsequently play out.


  29. When I worked in research at CSIRO (about 20years ago), I saw some disturbing politicisation at the lab manager and up level – not only were research projects that “fitted” the cause de jour of the time more likely to go forward, even when on pure merit they didn’t deserve it over other projects, but one manager (highly regarded in the field – he even had an effect named after him) suggested re-cycling old, unpublished research and using the grant money for work he really wanted to do, but was not feasible to get funded in the then-current political environment. I won’t name names because I believe that he was trying to “work the system” in a good cause, but I have no doubt that others would not hesitate to game the system for their own advantage, and that such fiddling would eventually degenerate into soviet union style farce.
    This was one of reasons (but not the main one) why I resigned.
    It can only have gotten worse, I fear.

  30. Pingback: Más sobre la supuesta “financiación bastarda” de los escépticos de la alarma del clima |

  31. If these people who feel they are being suppressed give their ideas to Judith or other contrarians, then they could get them out to the public anonymously, or they could anonymously post their ideas on some blog. Climate Etc, Climate Audit and WUWT should be more proactive in asking these people for their ideas rather than just hinting that there is something out there that will never see the light of day. And the contrarian sites definitely need some fresh ideas because what we see so here far with sun spots and ocean cycles just doesn’t cut it, so its a win-win.

    • Ah, you mean like the decreasing numbers of tornadoes and hurricanes? The fact that the Stratosphere Stopped cooling and began warming again? That the tropical hot spot has never appeared? That winters are getting Longer, Colder, Snowier in Exact opposition to the pronouncements of the IPCC and many CAGW adherents over the past three decades? The fact that corals can handle slightly lower pH with no problem, as recent papers have demonstrated? A score and more of papers which show ECS and TCS as being lower than anything the CAGW crowd’s models have come up with?

      How much more do you need?

      • Yes, those and planetary periodicities, cosmic rays, UHI, all that stuff. It would make it more entertaining, if nothing else. Then the skeptics can try to sort out the garbage from what they might be persuaded to believe and make a contribution that way. It’s a good use for these sites.

    • If these people who feel they are being suppressed give their ideas to Judith or other contrarians, then they could get them out to the public anonymously, or they could anonymously post their ideas on some blog.

      In other words, the ClimateGate Gang wins again…

      If contrarians really are being prevented from publishing valid research findings, then giving the info to a public blog guarantees that it will never enter the peer reviewed literature since it will have already been made public. Given that a big part of the debate revolves around the relative lack of articles critical of the climate consensus in peer reviewed journals, suppression of conflicting data is a big deal.

      Of course, an exception to the blackout rule against skeptical blogs occurs when their results are stolen without attribution by “mainstream” researchers. Then again, I guess that’s not really an exception after all.

      • A good idea will find its way to publication. We have seen some journals that will publish anything, but you may need to go to eastern Europe or China or environmental science for their journals, and some have taken that route. A controversial paper gets lots of citations, and some editors really like that.

      • Curious George

        Professor Lewandowsky is a real fountain of good ideas.

    • So what Jim D implicitly suggests is that all/most tax money keeps being dedicated to CO2 alarmism no matter what the facts, and that any other ideas whistle dixie.

  32. I think a problem is also normal (and sotimes harsh and opinionated) scientific debate immediately being picked up by climate science deniers as undermining everything about climate science. This may indeed hamper scientific progress and debate but is largely the fault of polarised debate instigated by the deniers and not any abnormal funding bias.

    • I agree that those who back CAGW are often harsh and opinionated. And a lot of the things they claim are very Definitely undermined by the growing mountain range of evidence against CAGW.

    • pkohonen, maybe the polarisation results from people like you labelling other people as “deniers”.

    • pk,

      It’s not too late for you to make a difference – stamp out that pesky defiance!
      Join the the climate Stasi and jump in for the big win!

      Brown shirts, don’t make it!
      Brown shirts, don’t make it!
      Quit school, don’t fake it!

      Be a loyal plastic robot
      For a world that doesn’t care!

    • Yes that’s quite right pkohonen. The fact that climate funding is one-sided due to the funder (government) having a vested interest in the outcome, does not hamper science. Whereas people who question science do hamper it.
      I do truly love our brave new world.

  33. “Somewhere, sometime there needs to be a serious conversation about scientific bias caused by government research funding.” – JCclearly the answer is no funding.

    We just need to get back to the good old days, when ‘citizen scientists’ * did most of the research.

    * – moslty a small elite of people, almost all men, with independent financial means, or a patron.


  34. Most of the major advances in astronomy have been made by highly dedicated amateurs. Why should climate be any different? There is so much drama within climate science institutions because of the all pervading political pressures, as well firmly ingrained assumptions about fundamental climate dynamics that could so easily be totally wrong, that I have zero hope of them reaching a eureka moment in really understanding climate. In fact they are already getting beaten to it by those not burdened so.

  35. The most important issue is that any funding source should not even try to influence the direction and the content of research, especially fundamental research. All research labs I know pretty well (Philips NatLab, Xerox labs, Bell Labs) have disappeared or lost fundamental creativity when the industry managers structured (large parts of -) the research program to their wishes. Research structured by the EU has always been singularly useless, apart from diverting tax money to the participating companies. I hazard the guess that government structured research will always be useless, because civil servants have no idea of what is important or where the frontiers are. The reasons why CEOs and the like want to structure research always start with saving a little money they think can be better used by the product divisions. Wrong! If product divisions become less profitable they should be structured, not the future of the company. Funding is necessary, of course, but program direction is wrong.

  36. Here is one example sent to me on the suppression of viewpoints [edited for anonymity]

    “Roger, You have a club, who is constantly in awe of your ability to calmly bring reason to an awful situation. I truly wish I could publicly be more supportive, but I don’t have the job security to allow me to do so. Please understand how much I appreciate the thankless role you have carried forward.”

    • I frequently get these kinds of emails also. rarely I get a more detailed explanation of the problem, such as provided by scientist X

      • Can you name a “skeptic” paper that couldn’t get published and should have been? Can you name an area or topic in climate that can’t get any funding? I know you say “natural variability” doesn’t get enough funding, but a google search tells you there are thousands of papers on the topic.

      • @Joseph, “Can you name… Can you name…” Ah – a clear position: “This isn’t really happening, and I don’t have to believe it until you provide evidence. Various scientists who feel that they have to hide their opinions isn’t evidence; they are deluded and probably don’t really exist anyhow.”
        Similar argument: Where’s your proof that blacks in America are oppressed? I don’t care how they feel about it. Show me one concert pianist who is obviously a great pianist but can’t find a job, then I’ll believe you. Or one black physicist who has done Nobel Prize-worthy work (judged by me) but can’t get it published.

      • Well let’s see, Joseph. Here are some full text Google Scholar search results for the period 2011-2015.
        “Greenhouse gas” over 89,000 articles.
        “Greenhouse gases” about 48,000
        “Carbon cycle” about 22,000
        “Solar variability” and “global warming” about 1,100 results.
        “Pacific decadal oscillation” and “global warming” about 2,600 results.
        Seems like pro-AGW bias to me. It is not that no research is being done on natural variability, just that it is dwarfed by AGW research, roughly by two orders of magnitude.

      • Perhaps you and Roger could compile a post that consists only of emails such as these. Edited for anonymity, of course.

      • I imagine the identity of Scientist X would be of interest to both Republicans and Democrats. The Republicans to expose “green” bias in government research and the Democrats to expose the indentity of the whistleblower. What’s the odds that your emails will be subpoenaed?

      • My paper on natural variability is being suppressed. Maybe I shouldn’t have sent it to places like GT and UAH. Some mean scientists said their funding would be endangered by papers that prove it’s worse than the consensus thought.

      • Those are interesting search term combinations you chose. Greenhouse gases is pretty broad and the sun/pdo and warming are pretty narrow. What do you expect to see?

      • And regarding solar and how much interest there has been in the scientific community, I found this study from 2003 which I have excerpted.

        The magnitude of the Sun’s influence on climate has been a subject of intense debate

      • Joseph, Steve McIntyre has posted several that got rejected, as only one example. Perhaps you have not read the climategate emails on how this works? Or Marsha McNutt’s statement about her Science policies?
        You need to get out and about more.

      • Steve McIntyre has posted several that got rejected, as only one example

        I am sure every scientist has had some that got rejected. What were they on? How many journals did he submit them to? Why were they rejected?

      • It’s more than simple suppression of a particular alternative viewpoint. It is also the corruption of the supposedly “blind” peer review system, the substitution of subjectivity for objectivity in scientific endeavor, blatant control of the timing of releases for maximum favorable impact, the behind-the-scenes execution of personal vendettas, etc.

        In other words, it’s a real conspiracy that’s been sustained for years and has continued even after exposure of several key figures in the Climategate emails. The only lesson these bad actors seem to have learned is “don’t get caught again.”

        Why would any honest person NOT want to ostracize these reprobates?

      • Joseph
        Do you honestly believe that where the funder of a science has a vested interest in the outcome, institutional bias is not a forgone conclusion?

        As tobacco companies were to smoking research, then, barring some miraculous conspiracy of integrity, governments must surely be to global warming research.

      • His papers and his theory are garbage. So yes, his NASA managers were resistant to paying him to publish garbage.

        I know you’ll want to make the stretch from that to NASA would resist a quality paper, but there is lots of evidence that is not true.

        For instance, Josh Willis published the oceans had cooled.

    • Well, where are the usual suspects here? Willard, Joshua, Appell, Anders? Michael, I saw you above, making some snide comment that didn’t address the main issue.
      What do you-all say? I very much doubt that you support the suppression of these scientists.
      So do you claim that this is just manufactured out of whole cloth by Drs. Curry and Pielke [which was my impression of how you dealt with these claims till now]? Or that it’s so rare as to be irrelevant, unlike their impression? We treat our negroes just fine, and it’s too bad some of them don’t know it.
      Or, you can just wait and post on a more comfortable topic.

      • It’s difficult to come to a general conclusion based on hearsay and very narrow evidence

      • “It’s difficult to come to a general conclusion based on hearsay and very narrow evidence.” In other words, you’re fine with ignoring it; after all, you don’t mind too much.
        But you pay a price. Non-partisan people know that this field of science has been captured by partisans. The partisans are happy, of course. They shouldn’t be: The cost is that the science they do gets ignored by the rest of us. We don’t trust partisans, and we can’t trust them.
        Then they talk about “better communication”, and “Merchants of Doubt”. Leave me alone, politicians.

      • You do not know anything has been captured. Check your throat for a hook, line, and sinker.

      • “You do not know anything has been captured. Check your throat for a hook, line, and sinker.” In other words, you’re claiming that Curry and Pielke are flat-out lying. Do you know that, or have reason to suspect it, or is it just that people of their type never tell the truth?
        Good luck convincing anyone that you are capable of objective judgment here.
        If you would respond, “This would be terrible, and unacceptable, but I can’t be sure it’s as bad as you say. Is there any way to get more evidence?” That would be a perfectly good answer and would augment your creds as a seeker of truth. I haven’t seen one such response yet from the usual suspects. It has all been, “No one has to pay attention to this until you prove it first, and I like it better that way.”
        Sorry to belabor the point, but people who talk like this on color issues are known as racists.

      • Sorry to belabor the point, but people who talk like this on color issues are known as racists.

        And people who talk like this about the risks of CO2 are known as deniers.

      • No, I saying they have provided no evidence.

      • John Carpenter

        “I haven’t seen one such response yet from the usual suspects. It has all been, “No one has to pay attention to this until you prove it first, and I like it better that way.”
        Sorry to belabor the point, but people who talk like this on color issues are known as racists.” – M Aarrh

        Funny thing, they are using the same argument ‘skeptics’ make about CO2 and AGW… i.e., No evidence that CO2 causes warming because you can’t reproduce it in a lab….

        It is not unusual for ‘realists’ to deride ‘skeptics’ for making the ‘no evidence’ or ‘not enough or the right kind of evidence’ or ‘poorly acquired evidence’ arguments and yet in this case are completely comfortable with using it when it suits there need.

        IMO it is not akin to color issues and racism because color is not something you can easily conceal. (I find it closer to homophobia if you want to make such comparisons)

        It appears more likely they have no trust in what Judy or Roger say on the matter. This allows the rational needed to discard the examples as fabrications or irrelevant… because there is no evidence, just hearsay. Once the inconvenient idea that some climate scientists maybe be in a ‘closet’ about how they understand AGW differently from the consensus is rationalized away… then it’s back to sweet bliss.

        Perhaps a more scientific way of looking at it would be… it is likely some number of scientists feel ‘coming out’ would be net harmful to them in some way and so choose to remain aligned with the consensus science. The ‘number’ of such individuals becomes the interesting and relevant question. Judy and Roger have received some unknown number of statements and have offered a couple as examples. I trust their word for it. So is the number of others likely to be of any significant amount? Draw your own conclusion.

      • This allows the rational needed to discard the examples as fabrications or irrelevant… because there is no evidence, just hearsay. Once the inconvenient idea that some climate scientists maybe be in a ‘closet’ about how they understand AGW differently from the consensus is rationalized away… then it’s back to sweet bliss.

        No it’s difficult to draw a conclusion one way or the other. And if true, it’s almost impossible to draw a general conclusion based on a few anecdotes. There may be some bad actors, but that doesn’t mean there is some systemic problem with climate science or climate scientists.

      • Since my name was invoked…

        I don’t think that Judith or Roger are lying. And I certainly have no evidence of such.

        And I don’t doubt that some scientists feel intimidated about openly advocating for views that run against the grain, but…

        Before drawing some general conclusion about prevalence and pattern, I do think that some evidence is needed. Trying to draw general conclusions from unrepresentative samples is a hallmark of confirmation bias.

        I also don’t doubt that some scientists who support “realist” views feel intimidated by the vitriol that are heaped upon other “realists” by “skeptics.”

        If we assume that in general, there is some influence of cultural cognition on how scientists formulate their views (and it is pretty much a given that “skeptics” make that assumption about “realist” scientists), then we should try to ascertain whether or to what degree the “skeptic” scientists who report a sense of intimidation are influenced by cultural cognition.

        My sense is that in the general, both sides in the climate wars derive some reinforcement from seeing themselves as noble victims who are suffering from the intolerance, lack of morals, lack of scientific integrity, etc., from scientists whose views on climate change are different than their own. Often, IMO, that pattern looks to me like the kind of self-victimization that the Heterodox Academy folks feel is so dangerous to our society.

      • I rather doubt the smeared NASA scientists quite agree with the way they have been smeared. They have no voice, by intention.

      • Clown. Nobody was smeared, unless Curry and Pielke are lying. That is the assumption in your claim that NASA scientists have been smeared. You seem to be very unhappy here. Try realclimate, where NASA scientists have a voice.

      • When they cannot defend themselves, they’re smeared.

      • No, clown. If the report is true, there is no smear. NASA scientists are welcome to come on here and whine about it. Or they can just let anonymous little chumps make their case for them.

      • JCH, In a sense you are correct in their innocence; they are good people at heart, are loving, caring and conscientious. The problem is in human nature. You shouldn’t need evidence that power corrupts; you should understand that it does.

        Systems need to be designed with checks in place. Although by nature people engaged in lawful conduct consider themselves “good,” driven by wanting to be appreciated by their superiors, colleagues and public, like chaotic systems, it can be predicted that there will emerge friendships, cliques, larger causes. And, there will be a defensiveness to outsiders who “don’t understand” and thus would misuse information to criticize “good work” and thus there must be concealment, internal loyalty and at time a temporary rearrangement of one’s good values for the sake of friendships, loyalties and causes.

        What competition is to free enterprise, a watchful eye of skepticism is government enterprise. There should be bounties for what McIntyre and McKitrick accomplished.

      • By the weight of evidentiary platitudes, hang ’em high.

        Didn’t a NASA scientist named Ferenc disprove the greenhouse theory?

      • John Carpenter

        “There may be some bad actors, but that doesn’t mean there is some systemic problem with climate science or climate scientists”

        Joseph, this is certainly true, however it does that mean there are no problems either. If you trust what Judy and Roger say about correspondence they received within their community, then there is reason to believe some scientists are pressured, feel pressured or are heavily influenced by their working environment to the point they don’t feel they can pursue certain ideas. This situation seems to be quite possible and the likelihood it doesn’t exist to some extent is remote.

        Realists sided with Hansen when he expressed similar sentiments in years past. He cried that his views were being suppressed and the realists all believed him with little conclusive evidence. Now the shoe is on the other foot and the realist reply is… there is no evidence, so we can’t draw a conclusion.

        IMO it was likely true in both cases… people are emotional.

        Like I said before, by how much? To what extent? What are the numbers involved? Judy says she gets these emails frequently, but rarely this detailed.

        I agree, it is not possible draw conclusions based on what has been provided… but if you trust Judy or Roger, you can’t say there aren’t possibly significant problems either.

      • JCH: “Didn’t a NASA scientist named Ferenc disprove the greenhouse theory?”

        Being contrary to a theory when, your bosses, colleagues and half the public are invested is not as easy.

      • I agree, it is not possible draw conclusions based on what has been provided… but if you trust Judy or Roger, you can’t say there aren’t possibly significant problems either.

        It’s not just a matter of trusting Judy or Rogers, it’s more importantly a matter of trusting the ones making the accusations and the details of what was said in each case. And anything is possible, John. but trying to make the case that it is likely that there are significant problems or even that there is reason to believe it it true and at what scale is virtually impossible based on anecdotes. That doesn’t mean I have dismissed it as not possible, but I will wait for more evidence to draw a conclusion.

    • Punksta, I don’t understand why people would think the government would want there to be climate change and want it to be bad. And apparently almost every government in the world has acknowledged the problem. Do they all have the same agenda?

      • Joseph

        Regardless of what anyone wants or believes, the climate has always been changing and that will continue. You BELIEVE that more CO2 will lead to net negative changes in the climate. There is not reliable evidence to support that belief. There are many claims.

      • There is not reliable evidence to support that belief.

        Well I guess if you ignore and or dismiss the IPCC reports and all the supporting evidence in the published literature, you can make that statement.

      • The IPCC reports are one sided, in favor of AGW, with the other side(s) being amply stated here at CE. And while there is supporting evidence for AGW in the literature there is also plenty of disconfirming evidence. Thus AGW is not confirmed by the evidence.

      • And while there is supporting evidence for AGW in the literature there is also plenty of disconfirming evidence.

        What makes you say that?

      • David

        I would suggest that AGW may well be confirmed, but that is not evidence that said warming is resulting in net harms for humanity overall or for the USA.

        Joseph- the IPCC reports that suggest that future conditions will be worse for humans are based on GCMs that have been demonstrated to be unreliable for most of the conditions they were designed to forecast and to specifically overestimate warming.

        It is very simple. Analysis based on unreliable models are highly unreliable.

      • be worse for humans are based on GCMs

        What the temperature might be may be based on a GCM. But the effects of increasing temperature are based on the science.

        for most of the conditions they were designed to forecast and to specifically overestimate warming.

        Is this your view (which isn’t worth much to me) or is it the consensus view of those who work with GCM and know what they are talking about?

      • Joseph cites the consensus. We have come full circle.

      • How do you suppose I judge the accuracy of Rob’s statement? Should I take his word for it or would it be better to look to what the experts think?

      • “Is this your view (which isn’t worth much to me) or is it the consensus view of those who work with GCM and know what they are talking about?”

        Joseph, do you know how much volcanic eruptions and land use cool the GCMs in hindcasts verus forecasts? Take a guess. Do you know what year the GCMs use as the assumed TOA balanced steady-state? Do you know how they arrived at it?

  37. John Costigane


    It is great to see young students questioning all funding sources in science. They, like us older skeptics, do no buy the consensus message and its so-called certainty.

    The attempt to silence yourself, and followers, is simply an attack on the First Amendment. Luckily, Republicans are rising to the Democrats leftward march. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have both challenged the climate change meme.

    2 phrases ‘climate change’ and ‘nothing new under the sun’ both could describe the actuality. Only the former requires drastic action!

  38. It is hard to maintain value free scientific enquirer in the face of value laden research agendas of those that provide funding. Jerome Ravez said that it is time to dispel the illusion of scientific objectivity [Ravez, J. (2006) The No-nonsense guide to science, Oxford, New Internationalist Publications.]

  39. “And of course, this raises the issue that industry funding of contrary research could actually be healthy for climate science.”

    That is an interesting sentence. Its underlying assumption is that funding by industry is for the purpose of discrediting research by non-industry funded agencies. This is a largely false assumption. Of all the sources of research funding, industry is the one that actually needs valid research results to survive. This, of course, includes research to validate (or invalidate) research by other agencies.
    The often quite loud complaint about industry funded research, especially when it relates to the business of the funding industrial groups, is that it was intended to present a false counter argument against that funded by advocacy and government agencies. However, who else besides the industries negatively or positively impacted by research results have the greatest interest in repeating and validating it? Should evidence of a failure of an attempt to repeat and validate research not be made public?
    For certain, there have been examples of false industry funded research results, though once you get past the knee jerk reference to the tobacco industry, their number pales to those from even big name universities. This web site discusses many issues around honesty and accuracy of government and advocacy funded research.

    • When government funds industry research there seems to be a different standard applied — in contrast to the approach for climate research grants.

      Jerry Taylor’s Niskanen Center has an interesting article on Carbon Capture and Storage funding where it is noted that:

      the Department of Energy is returning $1.27 billion in unspent CCS stimulus funding (out of $2 billion allocated) to the Treasury because none of the four remaining potential recipients had met required milestones by the September 30 deadline to distribute those funds.

      In other words, practical/applied research that fails is cut off. Decades of climate research funding that still cannot answer basic questions? That’s a recipe for a perpetual research gravy train.

  40. At Cato … “Is the Government Buying Science or Support? A Framework Analysis of Federal Funding-induced Biases”

    The purpose of this report is to provide a framework for doing research on the problem of bias in science, especially bias induced by Federal funding of research. In recent years the issue of bias in science has come under increasing scrutiny, including within the scientific community. Much of this scrutiny is focused on the potential for bias induced by the commercial funding of research. However, relatively little attention has been given to the potential role of Federal funding in fostering bias. The research question is clear: does biased funding skew research in a preferred direction, one that supports an agency mission, policy or paradigm?

    • Thank you, RB, for posting my Cato Working Paper. The point Pat and I are trying to make is that the way to root out government funding-induced bias is to identify it rigorously. Bias in science is an active research area, but not government induced bias. It takes work to prove bias, and the Federal system will react to such proofs, especially given a skeptical Congress. But the work comes first.

      For example, in the climate area I am doing a semantic analysis of the USGCRP budget documents. These summarize the $2.5 billion/year US climate research program, which some say is half of all climate research. My results indicate that CAGW is deeply entrenched in these documents, hence in the research itself.

      Complaining is not research. What we need is hard evidence of government funding-induced scientific bias.

  41. Given that federal funding of scientific research ultimately comes from tax receipts, it is interesting to note the biggest tax payers and their average tax payments over the last 5 years.

    2nd place: Chevron – $15.9 Billion
    1st place: Exxon Mobile – 25.2 Billion

    I love their products and, considering all the traffic about me, so do many others!

  42. What’s next? Consensus scientists spitting on skeptics?

  43. A bit of healthy scepticism about science can be good:

    “By the word science, Mr Berthelot evidently means, like all who believe in science, a science that embraces every aspect of human knowledge, harmoniously united, assessed according to its degree of importance and in command of such methods that the data obtained is indisputably true.
    But since there is really no such science, and what is referred to as science is a collection of incidental, totally disconnected items of knowledge which are often completely useless, and not only fail to present the indisputable truth but very often present the most crude delusions, displayed as the truth today and refuted tomorrow, it is obvious that the thing which Mr. Berthelot claims must replace religion does not exist.
    Therefore when Mr. Berthelot and those in agreement with him say that science will replace religion, their assertion is entirely arbitrary and based on a completely unjustified belief in the infallibility of science, a belief quite similar to faith in the infallibility of the Church.”
    –Tolstoy, “What is Religion and of what Does its Essense Consist?” 1902.

    If I were optimistic I would think maybe the student’s distrust of science is thus a revulsion to the latest ‘religious’ fad, that of science’ism.

    Likely there is also an undercurrent of the general move away from objectivity, the relativist push of the post modernist, which troubles me more.

    And, of course, just some good old fashion conspiracy theory thinking as well, plus a bit of truth perhaps.

  44. “Collapse of Antarctic ice shelves could lead to dramatic sea level rise.” ~the guardian

    How reasonable is it to worry about what is going to happen by the end of the century. Michael Crichton address this sort of thinking. It’s bound to be wrong:

    To predict anything about the world a hundred years from now is simply absurd.

    Look: If I was selling stock in a company that I told you would be profitable in 2100, would you buy it? Or would you think the idea was so crazy that it must be a scam?

    Let’s think back to people in 1900 in, say, New York. If they worried about people in 2000, what would they worry about? Probably: Where would people get enough horses? And what would they do about all the horseshit? Horse pollution was bad in 1900, think how much worse it would be a century later, with so many more people riding horses?

    But of course, within a few years, nobody rode horses except for sport. And in 2000, France was getting 80% its power from an energy source that was unknown in 1900. Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Japan were getting more than 30% from this source, unknown in 1900. Remember, people in 1900 didn’t know what an atom was. They didn’t know its structure. They also didn’t know what a radio was, or an airport, or a movie, or a television, or a computer, or a cell phone, or a jet, an antibiotic, a rocket, a satellite, an MRI, ICU, IUD, IBM, IRA, ERA, EEG, EPA, IRS, DOD, PCP, HTML, internet. interferon, instant replay, remote sensing, remote control, speed dialing, gene therapy, gene splicing, genes, spot welding, heat-seeking, bipolar, prozac, leotards, lap dancing, email, tape recorder, CDs, airbags, plastic explosive, plastic, robots, cars, liposuction, transduction, superconduction, dish antennas, step aerobics, smoothies, twelve-step, ultrasound, nylon, rayon, teflon, fiber optics, carpal tunnel, laser surgery, laparoscopy, corneal transplant, kidney transplant, AIDS? None of this would have meant anything to a person in the year 1900. They wouldn’t know what you are talking about.

    Now. You tell me you can predict the world of 2100. Tell me it’s even worth thinking about. Our models just carry the present into the future… </blockquote

  45. David L. Hagen

    Systemic warming bias now corrupting original temperature record
    justthefactswuwt notes:

    there is a strong correlation between carbon dioxide increases and adjustments to the United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) temperature record. And these adjustments to the surface data in turn result in large divergences between surface data sets and satellite data sets.

    Problematic Adjustments And Divergences (Now Includes June Data).
    Steve Goddard found USHCN temperature adjustments closely (R^2=0.987) correlated with CO2!
    Prof. Robert Brown at Duke Univ. (rgbatduke) finds systematic warming adjustments to the original temperature data:

    every new version of HadCRUT and GISS has had the overall effect of cooling the past and/or warming the present! This is as unlikely as flipping a coin (at this point) ten or twelve times each, and having it come up heads every time for both products. In fact, if one formulates the null hypothesis “the global surface temperature anomaly corrections are unbiased”, the p-value of this hypothesis is less than 0.01, let alone 0.05. If one considers both of the major products collectively, it is less than 0.001. IMO, there is absolutely no question that GISS and HadCRUT, at least, are at this point hopelessly corrupted. . . .
    GISS is even worse. . . . UHI the correction ended up being neutral to negative. That’s right, UHI . . . ended up warming them instead. . . . The resolution process — if the gods are good to us — will involve a serious appraisal of the actual series of “corrections” to HadCRUT and GISSTEMP, reveal to the public eye that they have somehow always been warming ones, reveal the fact that UHI is ignored or computed to be negative, and with any luck find definitive evidence of specific thumbs placed on these important scales

    This politically tampering with the original temperature data is serious corruption of the scientific method. It is rapidly destroying all respect or confidence in climate “science”.

    David Evans said

    . . . By the late 1990s, lots of jobs depended on the idea that carbon emissons caused global warming.. . .I was on that gravy train, making a high wage in a science job that would not have existed if we didn’t believe carbon emissions caused global warming. . . .We had political support, the ear of government, big budgets. . . .
    By 2025 . . .the world has dutifully paid an enormous cost to curb carbon emissions. Politicians, expressing the anger and apparent futility of all the unnecessary poverty and effort, (will) lead the lynching of the high priests with their opaque models.

  46. Regarding the finding with respect to students, how can we be surprised. Society has taught them to distrust all flows of money to anything. Maybe they should learn some critical thinking skills. No source of funding can ever prove, or disprove, anything.

  47. The chapter “Administrative Encirclement” in John Gall’s _Systemantics_ is an amusing and telling tale of what happens to the research department in any institution.

    There are many updates to the original book but no doubt the chapter remains.

  48. Or maybe it’s the generally poor quality of research carried out by contrarians (the ones that even try, that is) that puts funding agencies and reviewers off, assuming that the claims of Dr. Curry’s anonymous Scientist X are both truthful and being relayed accurately. Call me a skeptic on those last points.

  49. Geoff Sherrington

    In the 1970-80s in the USA, there was a movement that has remarkable parallels to the climate change. There was a prediction that there would be an epidemic of cancers caused by man-made chemicals. This prediction led to a sudden increase in $$$ spending by an Establishment that grew, mainly with federal money, to develop and use rodents and other animals to test many chemicals for mutagenic or carcinogenic properties.
    There was a compliant media, there were important new laws and new bureaucratic processes. The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 is an example. I think it is still on the books in some form or other.
    The climate movement of today has large reliance on CO2 as a control knob and opposite views are dealt with by hostility.
    The cancer epidemic prediction of yester year placed much reliance on its rodent testing.
    The cancer movement failed. As of 2015, we have not seen a cancer epidemic, but we have to suffer the left over regulation and legislation. Why, every student knows that chemicals are harmful and have no place in protection of the environment.
    The main sign of the cancer failure was the conversion of adherents into sceptics. Once several of the main players defected, it was all over. It was also realised that rodent tests could not often be extrapolated to humans.
    Besides, there was still no epidemic building up, which was contrary to the main hypothesis. In parallel, do we see adverse warming effects from the dominant CO2 forecast?
    It is much easier to understand the formation of the dominant Establishment in both climate work and past cancer work when you read “The Apocalyptics” by Edith Efron, ISBN 0-671-41743-6.

    • I remember a bitter lament by a leading cancer researcher and surgeon, who pointed out that cancers from “environmental chemicals” were a minute fraction of one per cent of the whole, but pulled attention and research funding away from the handful of cancers which provide the great majority of cases. A neighbour of mine in the Queensland bush in the ’80s was adamant that her sick cat had come into contact with noxious chemicals; there were lots of dingoes about, his injuries were consistent with a dingo attack, supported by the fact that our cat, who roamed with him, disappeared on the same day he was hurt. But, no, it must be chemicals! Hard to tackle that mindset.

    • If only women had listen to their mothers and eaten their vegetables, then women with breast cancer would not have developed breast cancer.

      “Researchers see the evidence when they compare breast cancer rates in developed nations — like the United States — to rates in less-developed areas. Shockingly, women in developed nations have five times the rate of postmenopausal breast cancers and twice the rate of premenopausal breast cancers as do women in less developed countries.

      Simply put, our unhealthy, stressful habits put us at greater risk.”

      You see, you caused your own breast cancer by your unhealthy living habits.

      One can live with such guilt and self-recriminations as found in main stream media and presumably well meaning sustainability focused women journalists, but, “it ain’t necessarily so. The things that your liable to read in the (journalistic) Bible, just ain’t necessarily so.” Correlations ain’t causation.

      After you have lost weight, changed to a carbohydrate rich diet, cut out all red meat, quit smoking, quit drinking alcohol and, what happens when you do all that? You are in the same risk category as the women who gave the finger to the NY Times health journalist Wells, and lived as long as your co-hort who followed the new regimen. BTW, whatever happened to the power of positive thinking? They met the same fate at the same time.

      Well you see, it is the prevention aspect that is important, right? Not your genes.

      Science, that is, observational science, not the predictive kind, still has a lot more to say than those model guys and gals who seem to say what ought to happen; and then try to explain why it didn’t happen.

      The catastrophe in climate science is those folks who try to predict the future.

      • The notion of guilt and an angry gawd persists – we are naughty and, if not penitent, deserve our fate. It may well be true that CO2 is going to have negative consequences, but this notion that we are somehow sinners needing to buy indulgences is a relic.

        I think I’ll invest in carbon credits. Can we play that game or is that open only to big Al et al?

    • The perception I had re the testing on lab animals was that dosages given wete orders of magnitude greater than the dosage humans would ingest or be exposed to in other ways. Is that an accurate perception?

    • A different point of view (per a TED presentation):

      In the 1950’s, Dr. Alice Stewart thought she had found a solid statistical link between expectant Mothers who had received x-rays and childhood cancers. But while Dr. Stewart was eventually shown to be correct, it took the medical science community over 25 years to achieve a consensus in proving and accepting this linkage.

      For over two decades within the medical and public policy arena, Dr. Stewart was labeled an Alarmist in her Catastrophic warnings.

      • SS

        So the implication is we should immediately believe all wild claims. Dumb.

      • Lol.

        ACO2 is the control knob of the climate. Natural variation has masked the ACO2 signal since 1985. It is no longer doing that. Since the regime change, the warming rate is .04 to .06C per year. Only a return of the miracle Kimikamikase winds can derail it.

      • ACO2 is the control knob of the climate.


        ACO2 is one control know of temperature.

        Temperature is not much of a control knob on climate.

    • Efron’s The Apocalyptics is a seminal work. You really can’t understand “regulatory science” in the U.S. without it.

  50. Apocalypse wow !

  51. Judy: I found this an enormously disturbing post, especially your recounting of the email from Scientist X from NASA.
    Your post came as I was working my way through Dan Ariely’s The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty. His data suggests that dishonesty/lack of integrity/cheating are pretty pervasive in all walks of life – including me. Your simple email narrative drove that point home like a sledge-hammer. It certainly also explains how Lysenkoism can become so powerful or how human beings can do terrible things to others after a few orders or blandishments.
    I also doubt that there are any easy fixes – even at the Institutional level. It always depends on the integrity of individuals and especially a willingness of people to acknowledge their past lapses of integrity. It certainly can be done, but only the real lovers of the truth and science are going to stand up.

    • Dan Ariely’s work puts to sleep the notion that humans are the economist’s rational actors. Instead, we act in predictably irrational ways. I have been recommending his book, “Predictably Irrational”, along with Kahnamen’s, for as long as I have been posting at CE.

      People respond to incentives so, it is wise to pay attention to incentives.

      • justinwonder:
        Ariely’s and Kahneman’s work is interesting. However, I find Ariely’s focus on those who are dishonest as opposed to those who are honest under various experimental manipulations intellectually dissatisfying and highly problematic as a means of understanding dishonest as well as identifying and reinforcing appropriate responses to “temptations”. I would also argue that, in general, the Ariely type of manipulative experiments are problematic as a way at getting at the truth of about literally anything, especially and ironically “honesty”.
        There are real and very common dilemmas involved in addressing the behavior represented in the email from Scientist X at NASA. I see compelling parallels between the manager’s request not to rock the boat and what has just happened at VW. I see the issue as less recognizing the frequency and scope of such behavior and more figuring out how limit its occurrence. Hence my dissatisfaction with Ariely’s research program.

    • betnie1815,

      The conclusion will be an inevitable awakening to the reality that:

      1. Every atom was made in the Sun, and then ejected five billion years (5 Ga) ago in a supernova explosion that birthed the Solar System.

      2. A “conscious and intelligent Mind” that Max Planck realized in 1944 guides invisible force fields from the Sun’s pulsar core to sustain every atom and life in the Solar System now.

      To avoid unnecessary violence and retaliation, it is in the best interest of everyone to find a peaceful resolution to the scientific conflict before the above inevitable conclusion to the drama is reached:

  52. If as some of the warmists claim, RICO is just an investigation and not that big of a deal, I would suggest this compromise. There can be a RICO investigation of fossil fuel companies, and there can be a RICO investigation of Hansenite climate scientists and the universities (or other entities) that employed them.

    In light of the Peter Gleick “investigation” and the Penn State “investigation” and other Climategate whitewashes, I doubt that there would be much enthusiasm for such a compromise. Since warmists don’t want to disclose their emails made as part of public or university employment , it is very hypocritical of them to request a RICO investigation.


  53. remind me, what is peer review for?

  54. David L. Hagen

    Governmental Bias: Silencing Climate Skeptics
    With Paris hosting COP21 in December, France has silenced its top weatherman for impolitic skeptical view on climate change
    France’s top weatherman sparks storm over book questioning climate change

    Philippe Verdier, weather chief at France Télévisions, the country’s state broadcaster, reportedly sent on “forced holiday” for releasing book accusing top climatologists of “taking the world hostage” . . .
    “We are hostage to a planetary scandal over climate change – a war machine whose aim is to keep us in fear.”
    His outspoken views led France 2 to take him off the air starting this Monday. “I received a letter telling me not to come. I’m in shock,” he told RTL radio. “This is a direct extension of what I say in my book, namely that any contrary views must be eliminated.” . . .
    Mr Verdier writes: “We are undoubtedly on a plateau in terms of warming and the cyclical variability of the climate doesn’t not allow us to envisage if the natural rhythm will tomorrow lead us towards a fall, a stagnation or a rise (in temperature).”
    The 330-page book also controversially contains a chapter on the “positive results” of climate change in France, one of the countries predicted to be the least affected by rising temperatures. “It’s politically incorrect and taboo to vaunt the merits of climate change because there are some,” he writes, citing warmer weather attracting tourists, lower death rates and electricity bills in mild winters, and better wine and champagne vintages. . . .
    What’s shameful is this pressure placed on us to say that if we don’t hurry, it’ll be the apocalypse,” he added, saying that “climate diplomacy” means leaders are seeking to force changes to suit their own political timetables.
    According to L’Express magazine, unions at France Television called for Mr Verdier to be fired, but that Delphine Ernotte, the broadcaster’s chief executive, initially said he should be allowed to stay “in the name of freedom of expression”.

    • Amusing that the critique of his book just highlights the scientific errors, and the corruption; the overconfidence in attribution, the overweening and perverting role of government funding, the emphasis on costs rather than the benefits of warming, and the desperately misplaced trust in the failing and flailing models.

      Damning to the policy so ill begotten out of this bastard monster of science.

  55. One of James Hansen’s claims to fame is that he blew the whistle on the Bush administration’s editing of the science message. But the Bush administration apparently placed no limits on Hansen’s research.

    Under Obama, even the research is tightly controlled. Is this what Hansen really wanted…the “correct” control?

    The Obama administration is limiting the research, composing the message, and broadcasting the message incessantly. Even the National Park Service now has a political-correctness-enforcement department, pushing a provably-false “97% of climate scientists” narrative on informational web pages for kids.

    It’s cloudy whether the totalitarian trend can be turned around.

    • All politics is local, and so is all weather local, and so is the adaptation thereto.

  56. Those interested in how these institutions became so corrupted should research the “Gramscian counter-hegemony”. The overt political takeover of every institution in our society by power mad, half-smart left wing whackjobs is not coincidental. Quite the contrary, it was planned, and hard won over the past 60 years. Climate is but one of many issues being used by these vicious dingbats.

    That’s the saddest part for me. Our enemies aren’t even that smart. Sadly, very few people are deeply knowledgeable about our politics and the history of politics in the U.S. Never is this more true than in the sciences where many simply ignore politics but think they understand it.

    Our goose is cooked. The mask has come off now – we have a Marxist in the White House and an overt socialist leading the primary polls in several states.

    Enjoy the decline. We lost a long time ago when many folks here would have been calling me paranoid or a red-baiter. It’s too late now. One would think there would be satisfaction in being right but it’s just bitter. It’s awful to watch a great society circle the bowl. And if you want to know who’s fault it is, look in the mirror.

    • The Obamocalypse has started. Watch out he might try to stay in power to fight climate change. Burn down EPA headquarters and blame it on a tea partyer or something dramatic like that..

      • Watch out he might try to stay in power to fight climate change. Burn down EPA headquarters and blame it on a tea partyer or something dramatic like that.

        By Jove! I think he’s got it!

    • Many lefties, inspired by the investigative journalism that uncovered Watergate, have become journalists. Others, for whatever reason, became teachers. Nail those two institutions and you got it licked. That’s my just so story and I’m sticking to it.

      For some reason the lefty journalists don’t like bob Woodward as much anymore since he wrote “The Price of Politics”.

      • Enjoy their invigorating pursuit of the missing eighteen and a half minutes of Hillary’s emails.

      • Yes, I understand the journalists and Bernie cheered together at the news of the email investigation. Was that really a debate or a debacle?

      • Watergate was many months of intense daily political drama for me, and now to see the press’s response to this server wiped, like with a cloth. And, worst, I Felt so deep to find him out.

    • I agree with much of this, although I would exactly call OB. a marxist. Black nationalist and radical feminist and therefore certainly not above using revolutionary tactics to those ends, but the term ‘Marxist’ is perhaps a bit loose in this regard:

      Gottfried on ‘Ob not a socialist’:

  57. apologies – spam and moderation filter has been hyperactive. I am traveling, so a little slow to release comments.

  58. Michael Ghiselin’s Intellectual Compromise (1989) took its reviewers aback with its vehemence, but it is pretty insightful about how science incentives can go wrong on a routine basis.

  59. @JustinWonder – My comment was actually directed just at people like you. To think that journalism was overrun with Marxists – who now call themselves Progressives or Social Justice devotees – due to Watergate is exactly the kind of superficial analysis that has let them run the table across most institutions in our society.

    I wonder, did you even bother to Google “Gramscian counter-hegemony”? My guess is that you didn’t. My guess is that you, like most people who aren’t left wing maniacs think don’t have a clue as to how our politics have become what they are. None of this was incidental or accidental.

    I won’t explain it all here but suffice it to say that when WWI and other events in the early/mid 20th century didn’t bring about the revolution, Marxists realized that their worldview was incomplete. Starting at places like the “New School for Social Research” and other denizens of hard core Marxism, an idea was fomented that a cultural revolution was needed that overtook society via infecting its institutions with Marxist ideology. And so it began.

    Consider that Saul Alinsky – who both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were fawning devotees of – instrumentalized a form of politics which gave the radicals a plan for how to accomplish this WITHIN THE SYSTEM. His book, Rules for Radicals is a bible for the generation of leftists no in power across our society.

    That most people on the right or center consider what I’ve said here paranoid or a conspiracy theory or fantastic is a testament to how ignorant they are. The left has won – and the climate change nonsense is merely one of many, many levers they use in our politics to drive their agenda forward.

    If you take me seriously, you may realize that the reason we lose the argument in the public/political space is that facts and reason and truth don’t matter to them. They’ve seen past all those petty conventions due to post-modern, post-structuralist ideas that expressly encourage them to do so, and give them moral justification for doing so.

    It’s too late to wake up, fyi. We’ve already lost. The only chance of making real change will come from revolution, but I don’t think it could succeed.

    All nations come to an end. All societies wax and then wane. Why shouldn’t our society go down the tubes? Enjoy the decline, there is nothing you can do to stop it.

    • All true.

    • My comment was a parody of narrative and just so stories, though the press is full of lefties, as they willingly admit. Thank gawd lefties have been around for a long time or we wouldn’t have Orwell.

    • Scribbler,

      Further clarification: only the Watergate origin of lefties was a fib – lefties predates WG, though I suspect at least some were inspired by the audacity and thoroughness of the WG investigative journalism. We can infer their dominance of the profession by their weak and apologetic coverage of Hillary’s obvious intent to circumvent the law.

      Don’t get your dauber down, it is not too late for people to see the light. I went to the university an ardent leftist – I voted for every Democrat, every tax increase, every environmental law, every public expenditure, and even Jesse Jackson’s “Rainbow Coalition”! I left the university a conservative. One of my student friends even refused to invite me to his regular Fri dorm party because he told me my views were politically incorrect and that I would “piss people off”. It was the first time I had ever heard the term “politically correct” and my friend was absolutely sincere. As a first generation blue-collar university student I was deeply dissapointed by the lack of thoughtful debate. I was also amazed at how spoiled, effete, and just plain dumb some of those rich kids were, and there were many. There is hope.

      Ok, now here comes the humor and sarcasm: when I lose hope I console myself by watching “Red Dawn”! ;)

  60. Denizens may appreciate a radically different perspective from a climate scientist who believes that the risks of AGW are being systematically underplayed due to external pressures…

    …my long-standing engagement with many colleagues in science leaves me in no doubt that although they work diligently, often against a backdrop of organized scepticism, many are ultimately choosing to censor their own research.

    • stevenreincarnated

      It isn’t really a different perspective. It is just from the other side of the spectrum. In other words a denier paid off by big wind. A possible target for future RICO investigations?

  61. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #201 | Watts Up With That?

  62. Reblogged this on Climate Collections and commented:
    NASA Scientist:
    “About 7 years ago, I was at a small meeting of NASA-affiliated scientists and was told by our top manager that he was told by his NASA boss that we should not try to publish papers contrary to the current global warming claims, because he (the NASA boss) would then have a headache countering the “undesirable” publicity. I inferred from this that the real problem was the large amount of funds NASA obtains from claims of dire climate change, and that suggestions to the contrary threatened those.”

  63. I don’t think this is only a problem with conflict of interest in the researcher, the reviewers, and their employers–although that is no doubt quite significant.

    There is an additional problem: good, in-depth review of any technical material is hard, and if you’re going to do it well, you need to be really *motivated* to find any errors of experimental design, of the execution, of the quantity and quality of the data, the handling of the data you have collected, the appropriateness of the mathematical techniques used to analyze the data, the consideration of alternative explanations, and the chain of inferences used to reach the conclusion(s). In other words, an excellent review is almost as much work (or even more work!), and can be argued to be just as intellectually demanding as the production of the work being reviewed.

    I have personal experience in watching highly flawed work pass peer review, even from technically qualified reviewers. Not only is there often time-pressure, but there is social pressure, as well, because the author is a possible future reviewer of one’s own work.

  64. Although Dr. Curry takes exception to the term denialist, certainly she encourages denialists to flock to her blog with their faux victim stories.Like Roger Pielke, jr., she likes to pose as a defender of scientific and academic freedom, while encouraging a Republican control congress to destroy scientists whose views she disagrees with through abusive use of subpoena powers (imagine J.C. having to produce 6 years e-mail & employment records within one week). “…IGES appears to be almost fully funded by taxpayer money while simultaneously participating in partisan political activity by requesting a RICO investigation of companies and organizations that disagree with the Obama administration on climate change,” Smith wrote in a letter to Shukla on Oct. 1.

    Smith told Shukla that he had until Oct. 8 to preserve all of the communications and research from IGES over the last six years, and to hand over a list of all current and former employees, interns and associates, paid or unpaid.”

    Its hard to take seriously the claims of victimization for of denialists when they are backed by the entire fossil fuel industry, Rupert Murdoch, a Republican Party that controls both houses of Congress & 25 state houses, & the militant Consevative Movement.

  65. Pingback: About that settled science...