Willard on Curry

Slightly edited chat transcript. Several interesting points came up.
willard: hello Dr. Tobis
willard’s new status message – home 2:03 PM

me: hey

willard: …
how are you doing?

me: A bit freaked out

willard: you deserve it, you know that

me: deserve to be freaked out?

willard: yes
you should not have made two posts into one

me: agree
but
I did break the ice

willard: lol
that reminds me of my friend
who is still a virgin

me: got the serious people to say out loud what they have all been thinking

willard: that’s not the way to break the ice
a better way is to ask questions
Judith commits the same mistake
she’s not questioning the IPCC
she simply asserts that they goofed
whence all she criticizes is her own reading of what they say

me: well, the question is really what is making her tick; perhaps I shouldn’t have raised it (I knew many would disapprove)
to some extent I disapprove myself

willard: i understand what you’re trying to do, mt
you would sacrifice yourself to save us
JC’s not worth your Christian sacrifice

me: I don’t actually relish being crucified
but she’s a big enough target to be worth taking a little damage

willard: i doubt it
she’s a junior
she can blame her inexperience

me: she is not

willard: you know what i mean

me: she is the chairman of the atmospheric sciences department at a major university

willard: yes

me: if she were not, nobody would pay her the slightest attention

willard: i agree
but that’s not the way to take down a big boss
you have to show respect
bow before the blow
you tried to beat a hand you don’t know
if she can formalize what she means, you’re dead

me: well 1) James agrees with me that she can’t
and James is the real expert

willard: i know

me: 2) if she does I capitulate, and she adds something to the arsenal of thought
so at least there is a helpful result

willard: your reputation will take hit points

me: the chance that she has not made any error at all is zero, I think

willard: i understand
still, these are minor glitches
look
she’s commiting the hermeneutics fallacy

me: too catholic for me
you must explain

willard: she’s overinterpreting
she basically is criticizing one figure
where they don’t spell out what they really mean, formally
so, yes, she’s right at least for saying that it’s not formalized
and perhaps a bit inconsistent
but
if formalizing is a problem
then she needs to offer out to do that
hence the flag
but the flag
is underspecified
what’s the logic behind it?

me: worse
it is inconsistently specified

willard: Nullius in Verba says it’s Bayesian

me: I haven’t read NiV’s position yet

willard: you still can understand what she means, can’t you?

me: Not in a consistent way

willard: if you can, say so

me: As James says
“While it might be possible to reverse-engineer some semblance of sense into some of her statements regarding it, they are mutually incoherent”
that statement by James is a very good summary of what I am saying

willard: i know

me: It is not communication to use the same device to mean different things at different times
willard: facing incoherence, one has a choice
asking questions
pointing out the logical mishaps
staying respectful
if you do this like a gentleman

me: I will be ignored

willard: she can’t respond by saying you’re a thug
she can’t ignore logical arguments for long

me: I can’t be a thug. She’s a department chairman. She has vastly superior powers to my own.

willard: you are rough on her

me: Yes. Rude.

willard: you are judging her
her person

me: Yes. I am afraid you are right.
I am sure she is a pleasant person.
I hate to do this.
But her behavior is so irresponsible that somebody needs to say it.
And since I have less to lose than most, it might as well be me.

willard: i understand, mt
you should call her
it’s important that it gets personal
now that it is
only live voice will make you feel what’s she’s up about
you want to know what she’s looking for, aren’t you?

me: An interesting suggestion
willard: ask her

me: I do not know that she would take the call

willard: yes, she would
she’s a tough one
she can manage confrontation
she won’t be able to resist you
practice your texin accent and she’ll understand that you mean well
no, let’s not dream
at the very least, settle your different in a noble way
share your mutual concerns
you can tell her things that won’t get published
Tom will be furious if you can survive this
you can’t say that i don’t have any argument there

me: I am not sure what objective I have in this proposed conversation

willard: 1. you mean well
2. you wish to understand her pov
3. you think that she lacks a sense of responsibility
you can’t say 1-2-3 over the internetz

me: you just did

willard: chatting is not blogging

me: all I need is your permission to post the transcript

willard: you have it

me: cool.

me: I don’t know whether she thinks she is serious
either a) she really thinks she is making a contribution to statistical reasoning or b) she is being cynical

willard: cross out b

me: I think a is vastly more likely
but others think otherwise

willard: she really is discovering quantified reasoning
scientists are jejeune, sometimes

me: under a we have a1) she is making some kind of sense but nobody with any basis in statistics can make any sense of it or a2) she is making no sense and thinks she is

willard: like athletes who have a big right arm
but no legs
what i mean is the breadth
of humanities
charity
she just discovered Peirce!

me: yes, she is amazingly naive sometimes

willard: that’s how i portray scientists

me: but what is her strength?

willard: she’s naive
brings idealism
forthrightness
purity
nobility of heart

me: ah, yes
I see what you are saying

willard: revolutionary

me: she is a Shakespearean character

willard: you have not reread Hamlet, haven’t you?

me: not recently

willard: i told ya
all is there
all is in Moby Dick too
anyway
yes, she seems to believe that the IPCC is bullying away minoritarian standpoints

me: whatever truth there may be to that
and there may be some
her arguments make no sense

willard: lol
you can’t criticize a nonsensical argument, michael

me: what does that mean?

willard: you can only say it makes no sense
I had to sign out at that point.

Comments:

  1. Part 4: (incl. Nathan v. Steve Reynolds re Annan)—————-407 # Nathan Says:"[re] Judith: 'The estimate of lower bound of most likely 2 isn’t justified based on the uncertainties, some of which aren’t even considered in this paper.'Do you have any published material that supports a lower cliamte sensitivity than 2C, that isn’t wrong ?"[No response from Curry to this, AFAIK]=====================410 Steve Reynolds Says:"[re] Nathan: 'Do you have any published material that supports a lower cliamte sensitivity than 2C, that isn’t wrong ?'The more recent Annan paper I referenced shows reasonable probability below 1.5C. I don’t see how your excuse about that not being the prime purpose of that paper makes it wrong.http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frsgc/research/d5/jdannan/probrevised.pdf"======================415 (and similarly in 305) Nathan Says:"Steve [Reynolds] you have misread the paper. They don’t make the case for 1.5C, some other authors Foster and Gregory (labelled as FG) did some work, and Annan uses their work to come up with the figure you saw…They claim in the work that the climate sensitivity for CO2 and water vapour alone is at least 2 c. To get lower than that all the other feedbacks neeed to sum to something -ve. Something they see as very unlikely."========439 # Steve Reynolds Says:"[re] Nathan's 'I don’t see anywhere in the Annan paper your claim about sensitivity of 'at least 2 c. To get lower than that all the other feedbacks neeed to sum to something -ve. Something they see as very unlikely.'Annan says very specifically a lower bound of 1.2C: 'We should therefore update the expert prior with the likelihood function arising from FG’s analysis of the ERBE data, and present the results in Figure 2. The resulting 5-95% posterior probability interval is 1.2-3.6 deg. C'"================

  2. Part 3:————-306 NewYorkJ summarizes"So in #216, Judith, in an attempt to criticize the IPCC, asserts:'I think that 'very likely larger than 1.5C' is an overstatement of confidence in the model derived sensitivities.'Yet in #283, Judith cites the same Knutti & Hergel article I cited in #265. As Nathan points out in #284, the article states:'The well-constrained lower limit of climate sensitivity and the transient rate of warming already provide useful information for policy makers. But the upper limit of climate sensitivity will be more difficult to quantify.'And indeed, the article shows that the 'very likely' range from a few different techniques generally starts at 1.5 C (higher in some cases), and combining lines of evidence gives a 'very likely' range of 1.5-5 C."—401 Nathan Says:"Judith you didn’t clarify your points on Climate sensitivity, I understand it’s hard to keep up with all the posts going on here, but your posts on climate sensitivty were very confusing. I’ll repeat the post I made @ 286 here…"—————-403 # Judith Curry Says:"Nathan, the paper that i referred to on climate sensitivity did a good job of explaining the different ways that climate sensitivity can be determined, which was a point of confusion for Steve Bloom and one other person. The paper makes the point that the upper limit of sensitivity is difficult to quantify (I agree with that). The estimate of lower bound of most likely 2 isn’t justified based on the uncertainties, some of which aren’t even considered in this paper."

  3. Part 2:============272 Judith Curry says"I don’t have a lot of confidence in the estimates of climate sensitivity for doubling CO2 and they are widely varying. I do not see any justification for such a strong statement as ["]it is very likely not to be less than 1.5C["], the uncertainties in the estimations cannot support such a statement in my opinion."—————–276 Steve Bloom says"Judy, anything like a 1.5C sensitivity is unsupportable unless you want to throw out some very strong paleo evidence, e.g. the PRISM results for the mid-Pliocene (~325 ppm CO2, +2-3C, +~25 meters SLR, major changes in ocean-atmosphere circulation perhaps including a huge increase in TCs) . A relatively fast transition to such a climate would be bad enough, but those consequences are compounded by the risk of fast carbon feedbacks (e.g. permafrost melt).I am really quite mystified as to how you can discount all of this." ————–281 Judith Curry says"Given these uncertainties and broad range of sensitivity values that have been determined, I do not agree with a cutoff that it is very likely below 1.5C, we just don’t have that much confidence in my opinion. You are placing too much confidence in an individual estimate of the sensitivity."———285 Judith Curry says:"Steve Bloom, see this article re sensitivity. http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdfgives a good broad perspective and summary on the different ways of estimating it, putting into perspective the paleo estimate that you cite"—————-286 Nathan points out to JC:"But then the paper you link to in 283 [now 285] leads us to the understanding that the climate sensitivity is most likely about 3, with a lower bound ‘most likely’ of 2 – The biggest take home message from that paper seems to be that it is the upper limit that is the most difficult to quantify…"

  4. Thank you Steve Bloom (I have finally gone through that thread (link) & exhumed the JC 'sensitivity' comment exchange (summarized in #306)Part 1:============258 Judith Curry Says:"Nathan, climate sensitivity is determined in a number of different ways, and climate models are a key method for determining climate sensitivity. My knowledge on the subject of climate sensitivity is pretty deep. For some basic background knowledge on climate sensitivity, i refer you to a chapter from my textbook…I also refer you to a blog post on this topic that i did…critiquing Lindzen and Choi’s analysis of climate sensitivity…."============263 Nathan says"[re] Judith['s] 'My knowledge on the subject of climate sensitivity is pretty deep' Mine is shallow.So you disagree with James Annan’s take then?If your knowledge is deep, why not write it up in a paper? Why do you arm wave on a blog. Write up why you think climate sensitivity is about 1.5C.The problem I think most people have with the vague assertions you keep making here is that you aren’t engaging with the people doing the work, and you’re not contributing to the science. Can you do no more than these critiques on blogs?"============266 # Nathan Says:"Judith I am confused why you asked me to look at your discussion of Lindzen and Choi?…Doesn’t support your argument for a sensitivity of 1.5CTry this:http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2006/03/climate-sensitivity-is-3c.html"————–267 # NewYorkJ Says:"…the IPCC tends to represent the balance of evidence on climate sensitivity accurately with the appropriate level of uncertainty. See the following useful review article (h/t skepticalscience.com):http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf "

  5. Anna, here. Also see 286 and 306, after which Judy seemed to forget about it, then it's raised again in 401, she responds completely lamely in 403, and the last attempt at a follow-up is in 407. The upshot is that Judy claims to know better than the subject matter experts, but won't explain how. It's all quite lame.

  6. Eli,Focusing on the probability of the Italian Flag makes little sense to me. Please estimate all the future flags that will come out during Michael's blogging career, and provide the odds. We'll see then if we'll bet the house.As Gertrude Stein never said: Epsilon ain't zero. Or so says Paul Samuelson.***Rattus,Yes, it is frustrating. There's no way around that. Talking about what JC should do over the Internetz makes little sense to me.***gryposaurus,I took you as an example, not as a formal model for what one should do. I have enough experience as an editor not to expect Michael to change a iota in his style. There is no need for an extreme makeover here.I'm more interested about long term. Arguing that there's something to be gained by getting personal makes little sense to me. It is simply unwinnable.***Martin,I fail to see the relevance of your question. Evidence or expertise don't exempt you from keeping your eye on the puck. JC is not the puck, what she says is.***DaveMcRae,I understand your concern, but consider that the accusations of bullying make little sense when there is evidence of bullying. Your last sentence commits a tu quoque: being bullied might explain bullying, but never justifies it.

  7. It never ceases to amaze me – how fragile and delicate deniers and their apologists are.If you ask for evidence or tell them their made up rot is rubbish it's convulsions and tears with accusations of bullying. You'd think they would be a little tougher considering the bullying they heap on scientists and researchers etc etc (what Eli said in post #2)

  8. Paging Steve Bloom, I need a permalink.Steve, at NotSpaghetti back in Aug (link) you said"[Curry] also believes that overall sensitivity is probably low, and specifically assert that a Charney sensitivity well below 2C is plausible.In a recent thread at Kloor's I pointed out that recent deep-time paleo work strongly argued against this, and her response was to point me to a recent review paper (Hegerl co-auth) she said agreed with her. I looked and… no, it didn't."I'm not finding this; maybe I'm not googling for the right keywords?(presuming it was Knutti & Hegerl 2008… and oddly, I had the *exact* same experience, with my local climate dove.)

  9. Willard, I'm glad you like my approach :)—Suppose that an indefinite powerful scientist comes down the blog and adjusts Judith's story. The scientist comes up with something meaningful and powerful. However improbable this possibility seems tomany here, it would be good for science. (Entertaining the probability of this gedankenexperiment misses the point entirely.)So gryposaurus must have something wrong in its story. Boohoo, we all hear! Someone corrects it. Does gryposaurus look bad? Not at all! It simply corrects itself, or clarify what it's saying, or else. It just can't lose if it plays like that. That is meaningful discussione to me.—It would appear as if neither of these options will happen, at least from JC herself. In following her blog, I've noticed a number of times where is she is vague. This is probably because she has difficulty with the details and resorts to old talking points that don't support her conclusions about IPCC uncertainty. This is what I am interested in learning. But if you look at the difference between the methods of Micheal's blog post and my questioning, there is not even a question of who was more successful at getting the issue discussed. There may be several factors, most importantly, Micheal is known and is more than an anonymous internet presence. Yet, I also cite Gavin's response to Curry on her blog and I posted, to C-a-S, James Annan's response. I've learned that people are more interested in the dramatic style of Micheal's, than discussing the more substintive details of JC's argument. From reading Micheal on other occasions, he is aware of both of these issues regarding Judith's blog. In all, I cannot advocate my own method over Micheal's, just from looking at the results. Even if the result is short term damage to Micheal's reputation, which I would argue will be minimal no matter what type of smearing Tom F and Steve M continue to accomplish.

  10. I to enjoyed gryposaurus' attempt to engage her. The problem is that she really didn't answer his, very cogent, points. I think that this style on (non) argumentation is extremely frustrating for people who are attempting to honestly engage her. It is much more a political style of argument rather than a scientific or philosophical style of argument.I think that as a scientist, she should be more intellectually honest and admit when the weight of the evidence shows her to be wrong. Instead she insists on clinging to her (guns and religion) position, even when it has be filleted by the evidence.

  11. Michael,Of course, I don't deny there's meaningful science! I could even affirm that there's meaningful science! Any explanation is always better than no explanation at all!I really like that we agree there is meaningful science. That convened, how do we promote meaningful science?I suggest we use meaningful discussion.For example, I really like gryposaurus' approach. As far as I can tell, everything's done properly. Mostly questions. Documentary exhibits. Complete reasonings. Polite confrontation.Notice also the calmness. No crosscheck. No unnecessary roughness. No unsportsmanlike misconduct. (Think of the audience as being the referee.)***Suppose that an indefinite powerful scientist comes down the blog and adjusts Judith's story. The scientist comes up with something meaningful and powerful. However improbable this possibility seems tomany here, it would be good for science. (Entertaining the probability of this gedankenexperiment misses the point entirely.)So gryposaurus must have something wrong in its story. Boohoo, we all hear! Someone corrects it. Does gryposaurus look bad? Not at all! It simply corrects itself, or clarify what it's saying, or else. It just can'tlose if it plays like that. That is meaningful discussione to me.***Suppose now an even mightier scientist comes down the blog, adjust gryposaurus' story, and refutes Judith's authority. Hurray, we allhear!And then comes another more gigantic scientist. And another one. And so on, and on, and on.This time, not only this is meaningful discourse, but it becomes meaningful science.***Trying to publically shame scientist is wrong. It's as simple as that.If one shames and is right, at least one is right. If one shames and is wrong, not only one's wrong, but one shamed. In either case, one is playing a shaming game.Being right never justifies shaming. The shaming player always loses something, in the end. Sometimes, shaming even suffices to lose a winning game.I don't believe you, Michael want to shame anyone. Just make sure that no (well, only one) referee will believe that.I really am starting to wonder who's playing the shaming game here.On the Internetz, all referees get eternal replays.PS: This kind of handbook written by non-Derridian philosophers might be of use for the upcoming meaningful discussion.

  12. "He denies, not the science, but that there could be a meaningful science."I don't think so. I have heard a lot of philosophy in our chats, some quite unfamiliar, but nothing of the radical relativism sort. Maybe he knows better than to wheel Derrida and that lot out when talking to me, but I doubt it. Willard, do you believe there could or could not be a meaningful science?As I see it he just doesn't have much to add in talking to scientists about their specialty. Does that mean he should not take an interest? I think it's refreshing. If only everybody at Watts' took that attitude!

  13. Michael, no, you misread me. Steve Bloom is much closer to getting me.I know that willard is not 'against us'. His wrongheadedness is in a way even more insiduous that that of the deniers. He denies, not the science, but that there could be a meaningful science. He is not like the referee, but like the dog running away with the ball.I have some difficulty explaining this clearly; that difficulty should be a red flag.***> I am concerned about the ad hominem > aspects of my Curry piece, and about > what this does to my reputation, Michael, don't be silly.

  14. But McIntyre and Watts have successfully created a mirage to greet the novice investigator. And it is this mirage that attracted Willard's attention. He is investigating the nature of the construct. And from the point of view of argumentation, it is a fascinating construct.The aspect of human psychology is truly fascinating and revelatory.

  15. "with something of this nature the correctness of the science has to come first"It should. But it doesn't. It doesn't because most people are not in a position to judge the correctness of the science. Lacking deep signals they are forced to revert to shallow ones. So it's just a question of who LOOKS more credible.We rely on the fact that responsible institutions are aligned on the science. Skeptics are happy to play up the standard misinterpretation of "nullius in verba" (which orignally meant 'ignore dogma', not 'trust nobody'), and once institutional support is devalued, can happily play on the field of having nicer personalities, since of course they are happy to treat every goddam thing as equally plausible. Which is what Watts is about, and apparently what Curry is about. While we are forced to be the nasty ones, saying "no", "wrong" even "bzzzt" all the time. But of course, most claims are wrong! True or possibly true claims form a tiny subset of grammatically well-formed assertions. Most things are wrong.Of course, saying most things are wrong is not enough to mark you as an expert. You could easily be a crackpot…Being open to a huge variety of claims, though, has one of two implications: either you don;t know the field or the field is very immature. Entering from outside the field it is very difficult to reach a conclusion on this point, and the agreement of various scientific bodies carries weight only if you trust the scientific establishment.Curry is essentially taking the Watts line, that we know nothing or next to nothing. I'm not sure she has even faced up to the fact that this is what she is saying, but it's implied. Arguing against that position is what we are up against. We have, on our side, the fact that the core arguments are based on strong and mature physical evidence after all. But McIntyre and Watts have successfully created a mirage to greet the novice investigator. And it is this mirage that attracted Willard's attention. He is investigating the nature of the construct. And from the point of view of argumentation, it is a fascinating construct.Even though we may know that its intent and effect is contemptible, newcomers do not. Willard has been watching how both sides perform, and has formed opinions about our polemical weaknesses and strengths more or less independent of the evidence, evidence which he judges himself unqualified to judge.I for one find this perspective very helpful. We may wish everybody understood a great deal more about the science, but that is not going to happen anytime soon.

  16. Well, there is a social interaction involved here, and it can be seen in those terms without any resort to the facts, which seems to be Willard's approach. My view, and I think Martin's (and others), is that with something of this nature the correctness of the science has to come first.We should not forget that Judy is not a unique case and that relevant lessons can be drawn from the others. Does even willard think that being nice to Lindzen e.g. would change his views or approach? After twenty years of flogging variations on the same long-debunked theme, it's finally occurring to people that maybe he shouldn't have such a free hand with publications. I think the reaction time needs to be rather better than that. Judy is actually much less respectable than Lindzen since there seems to be little risk that she'll attempt to justify her views in the technical literature.So now Judy will have her star turn as a witness for Joe Barton and will no doubt be offered the opportunity to state her case on the Wall Street Journal editorial page, but on the science side I hope no one else makes the mistake Steve Schneider did in offering her a platform for her eccentric views.

  17. Willard is more of a referee than a player, and that is a useful role, even though I don't agree with every call.If pressed on policy, I understand he is inclined toward a precautionary principle. He certainly is not a market libertarian. But he is mostly interested in the logic and polemic of the argument, and his detachment is refreshing and inspiring. Sometimes, like Eli, Willard is obscure and can't resist amusing himself while confusing his readers. I wish they'd both tone that down a bit. Sometimes, also like Eli, he is astonishingly and idiosyncratically funny.Martin misreads him totally.This is the first time I've notably disagreed with Martin that I recall. But on this question Martin is really barking up the wrong tree.I worry that this is symptomatic of our polarization, and an unhealthy sign. If you are sure everybody is with you or against you, you run the risk of making sure most people are against you.

  18. I don't believe Eli (et al) were thinking along the physical threat or death lines, any more than it was a euphemism for reputation. The part that Ei quoted that should be concentrated on is:"if she can formalize"as in, if she can pull a rabbit out of a hat.

  19. I must elaborate. In willard's remark> I am no scientistthe reference isn't to knowledge or understanding, but to attitude. He is a player in an elaborate hoax, a natural-science sokal played for keeps, without the dénouement at the end.

  20. Guys, this is totally off the rails. Willard didn't threaten me. He simply said that IF Curry has a solid response, my reputation would be damaged. I replied by saying that I wasn't worried about that aspect of it.I am concerned about the ad hominem aspects of my Curry piece, and about what this does to my reputation, but the amount of doubt I have that the flag business is very bad is less than epsilon.

  21. "Eli should not have believed his eyes if they can't tell him that death is not the only issue that matters."Death is the consequence of the only important issue, i.e. her ability to formalize her views. So it's obvious that death is not only not the only issue that matters, but that it's not even an issue that matters.So why did you state something that I'm sure is obvious to Eli, and which isn't important?The issue that matters is Curry's ability to formalize her complaints.When challenged, she insists that such details as formalization DO NOT MATTER.She's insisting she's right, even if she can't formalize why she's right. In her mind, her declaration that she's right is sufficient.You support her assertion? That if she asserts that climate science is wrong, then climate science is wrong, regardless of her ability to back up that position with empirical evidence and published work?

  22. "Eli should not have believed his eyes if they can't tell him that death is not the only issue that matters."So what does this mean? She doesn't need to formalize her arguments (which is incredibly charitable on Eli's part, when asked, she simply skates on and says "details aren't important" even though her ENTIRE ARGUMENT is based on her belief that the details are wrong, or her misunderstanding of details).This meta-woo stuff Curry insists is more important than science itself is … just weird.And your endorsement of it … an indicator that you don't understand how lame, wrong, unsupported her arguments are.If you don't like MT's tone … fine. But if you want to insist that the way to make peace with Judith is to ignore her factually ignorant bullshit (politely, I suppose) … eh, I won't go down the "peace in our time" path, but only because Curry has no power within science.Look, she's a liar, pure and simple. She may be lying because she's ignorant, but since her lies are given credence due to her standing as a tenured professor of science, ignorance is of no excuse. Any opinion she gives on the science *must* be backed up by defensible analysis, otherwise she's simply quacking like any other blogosphere denialist, and not as a scientist.

  23. Martin, Michael, Eli is not so sure. If you look at Willard's entire argument it boils down to JC will pull a rabbit out of the hat. (apologies:) The answer is, given that she has been trying to do so now for, what, four months, and only succeeds in digging herself deeper into a hole, Willard, your faith is touching, but no thanks. Michael, when you pointed this out Willard started slip sliding away. In fact, what she is doing is very similar to Steve McIntyre, throwing every possible thing against the wall. Maybe one sticks by accident and then she declares herself a winner.REMEMBER YAMAL

  24. "if she can formalize what she means, you're dead"I think it is very unlikely that she can. The "Italian flag" construct seems to have no deeper thoughts behind it. And it doesn't inspire any confidence in Curry's further musings about uncertainty.Well, I guess this is what post-normal science looks like….

  25. Sure, but some people are describing science by blog as the next wave of science, and think that traditional journals are too closed. Some will go so far as to call it democratization, and anybody opposed hates democracy. Others, like Curry I think, don't go that far. They see it as a way to get around group-think, confirmation bias, etc. She recently commented how blogs that are highly technical tend to avoid the overwhelming mass of clutter and how she thinks her blog is finding the right balance on most posts.Has this issue come up in any other scientific fields, or is it unique to climate?

  26. Regarding the issue of JC offering a more detailed description or defense of her critiques, more recent posts on her site seem to indicate a movement towards science-by-blog (the whole "post-normal" thing), which is not exactly heartening for this. She isn't rejected journal articles of course, but she thinks that there is much good debate on her blog on the technicalities. Exactly where she sees the balance between traditional avenues and blogs remains to be seen and I think that is still in development.

  27. Re the 6th point – JC and I had a long back and forth at Kloor's blog after I objected to her comment asserting that even the "no-feedback sensitivity" number is quite uncertain. I eventually was able to pin her down to agreeing with the basic definition of no-feedback response (uniform temperature increase in the troposphere with nothing else changing) but she still asserted that the value was uncertain, based on some obscure argument concerning energy flows in the troposphere, the complexities of convection, etc.This simply makes no sense; the response issue is purely based on what it takes to restore *radiative* balance, which is determined purely by the composition and temperature distribution; no other energy flows enter into it at all. Does she really not understand this? She cited some early papers that as far as I could tell had no bearing on the issue at all.

  28. "She is willing to go so far as to say, OK, GISS does it right, but everyone else does it wrong. She refuses to give in on the point — highlighted with extensive cites from the IPCC itself — that this is only one technique among many (inverse modeling) and that many modeling groups use better methodologies, as the IPCC points out."This isn't skepticism, it's outright denialism …

  29. Steve Bloom:"Re that possible sixth item, she seems to be just expressing confusion rather than asserting something contrary, although we may not have to wait long for that to change."No, it's deeper than that, she's not expressing *personal confusion*, but is claiming that atmospheric scientists are wrong to suggest that it's a relatively simple relationship."Actually it's more peculiar than that. Why didn't she know this 30 years ago?"Because she believes it to be false, though as usual she won't discuss details because these are trivialities that don't impact her larger point, upon which she's always right? :)

  30. Re that possible sixth item, she seems to be just expressing confusion rather than asserting something contrary, although we may not have to wait long for that to change.I know little of this stuff beyond an elementary grasp of the basic terms and their relationships, but Science of Doom seems to be devoted to making all of it comprehensible. IIRC this is pretty basic atmo physics grad textbook stuff, so it's peculiar that Judy, being where she is, didn't crack one open to see what it said, or for that matter just ask one of her departmental colleagues with the necessary expertise. Actually it's more peculiar than that. Why didn't she know this 30 years ago?

  31. OK Steve, you say 4 issues. I've been looking at this one, which might make 5 or 6 – I simply can't work out what she's on about.- October 30, 2010 at 8:11 amBart, people think I am crazy when i say it is not obvious how the 4 W m-2 actually translates into a surface temperature increase. And then they cite the simple formula which is an algebraic relationship between the net radiative flux at the top of the atmosphere and surface temperature. Not convincing at all. – Is it just me? I've been trying to think of a way to reply to this but I keep tripping over my own fingers.Is it the number, is it the algebra, is it rude to cite the basic, classic papers, should I include the more recent stuff summarising all including sensitivity or would that confuse the issue, what?Or is this "they" she refers to someone who's been rude, so that she finds it difficult to take what "they" say seriously? And throws the science baby out with the etiquette bathwater.

  32. With both aerosols and models she's operating outside of her expertise, RN.Anna, just to note that attribution is more a matter of procedure as distinct from a physical quantity and so perhaps should be classed with the uncertainty issue, although the former is prone to more rigorous treatment than the latter.Everyone, willard in particular, should have a look at James Annan's follow-up comment, in which all is made as clear as possible. That's just how to do it IMHO.Speaking of Judy's expertise, I wonder if she has any high-impact sole-author papers?

  33. gryposaurus over at JA's relates an exchange he had with JA regarding what the IPCC said about modeling aerosols. He points out to her that she is wrong and highlights something Gavin said to her in a thread at KK's. She is willing to go so far as to say, OK, GISS does it right, but everyone else does it wrong. She refuses to give in on the point — highlighted with extensive cites from the IPCC itself — that this is only one technique among many (inverse modeling) and that many modeling groups use better methodologies, as the IPCC points out. It seems like she has swallowed the "skeptic" line, and the hook and sinker.

  34. Willard, here's a topical analogy for what Curry is doing: "Obama's a Muslim and wasn't born in the U.S." There's no pleasant way to respond to such things, just a straightforward one: "That's entirely false." When it comes from someone who knows better, or ought to, it's hard not to say: "That falsehood is a lie or a fantasy."

  35. An outsider's view: Judy refuses to address details (like those required to support her assertions), with the exception of throwing around the odd 'fact' that often turns out not to be factual at all. She refuses to accept that she's wrong and doesn't self correct.Unfortunately, details matter. And it's hard to talk to someone who is a cheerleader: "I don't care; I-phone 4". It almost leaves you no choice but to attack on too many levels at once, since there is no single substantive thing upon which a scientist can focus.I do think Willard's suggestions regarding asking questions and talking in person (if indeed the personal [eg motivation] is driving the interest) are good ones. Best of luck.

  36. Willard, I advocate for scientific criticism. The problem is that such criticism is usually watered down by politeness. The scientific content of the criticism needs to be unambiguous. By "tough," I meant unvarnished truth.

  37. Steve,My opinion of the overall scientific works of all these scientists is of no importance.My opinion that matters enough for now to reiterate is that nobody is making you do what you're doing right now, except your sorry self. My overall point is unrelated to tone. It is related to the very idea that there is a need to "act tougher". A criticism that is not constructive is worthless.If science is the problem, the solution lies in science too. I am no scientist.

  38. Willard, to make this discussion a bit more useful, why don't we consider the cases of Christy and Lindzen? People have tried making nice with both of them, to absolutely no avail. IMHO science needs to learn to be tougher with such people.

  39. Willard, tone is important, but physics is more so. Is it not clear to you that Judy really has stepped outside of the science in a variety of ways? Possibly you're not familar enough with the science to know that?Summing up the scientific points on which Judy has gone wrong (others please add/correct):– The surface record is questionable. — Unknown ocean cycles may have driven recent warming instead of GHGs.– Sensitivity is low.The first two are perhaps just reasons for the third, but in any case as far as I'm aware she has provided zip in defense of these points.Willard, please answer me this: The subject matter experts whose work is being implicitly trashed by Judy are supposed to say and do exactly what in response?

  40. Steve Bloom,There is a clear possibility that Judith Curry can state her case more clearly, coherently, and correctly. We have not seen any formal proof that it would be impossible to do that. Asking that we represent uncertainty with a formal apparatus designed for this kind of task is not too much to ask. Criticizing the IPCC is constructive insofar as we can come up with a satisfying apparatus. When that will be done, what will be your excuse to talk the way you do to someone who dedicates her life to a topic you think is important? Remember that you can almost always be wrong. If you're right and show sportsmanship, you'll gain allies.***All of you,Sometimes, I really am wondering how you would react if you were to appear in the same room, out of a sudden.***Michael,Criticizing Judith on so many levels at the same time can't be constructive. The only way out of this is that the two people involved settle this like adults. I don't think you need us for that.Please call her.

  41. What Willard seems to be missing is that a straightened-out analysis by Judy would still have the problem of being based on a scinetific case she's failed to make, indeed can't really make since she's not a specialist in any of the relevant areas. There's a credible way of going about this, which is not just to publish but to recruit reputable co-authors within those specialties; a good example of how to do this right is Hansen's Target CO2 paper of a couple of years ago. A major shoe that has failed to drop on her is that there are very credible people in her department (Kim Cobb e.g.) doing work that stands in direct contradiction to at least a couple of Judy's claims. I wonder how long they're willing to keep their lips zipped. IMHO the next logical step would be to go over Judy's scientific claims in the same manner that has been done with her uncertainty analysis. At least then there'll be a record in one place. Presumably this is what Fuller had in mind when he suggested that Michael "finish the job," yes? :)

  42. "It is all in the search for truth and science that you call Judith incompetent and out of touch.It couldn't possibly be a hatchet job just like the ones you have performed on so many others. How could anyone think that?"Well, given that Judith is showing herself to be incompetent – she repeats silly things like claiming that GCMs are tuned to past temperature data, competence would require that she at least investigate how GCMs work before making claims about how they work. That's strong evidence that MT and the other "mean girls" aren't just being mean.And, of course, Judith has essentially joined you and others in claiming that climategate demonstrates scientific fraud on the part of various high-profile members of the scientific community.Making her a "mean girl" herself, and damned hypocritical about it.And then there are all these drive-by claims – such as "models don't properly account for solar" – which upon which being challenged, she responds by saying "I'm not interested in talking about details, I've got the big picture right".Wouldn't be due to any of that stuff …"You've done the same for all of us, all with the same spirit of sacrifice. Why are we not more grateful?"In your case, for the same reason Michael Behe was unhappy after his cross-examination in the Dover trial …

  43. The depth of your sacrifice is amazing. What does it remind me of? Oh, yes–the Inquisition, where the torturers risked their very souls to bring the damned to Jesus.It is all in the search for truth and science that you call Judith incompetent and out of touch.It couldn't possibly be a hatchet job just like the ones you have performed on so many others. How could anyone think that?We could take a vote. We could ask both Pielkes, Andrew Revkin, Keith Kloor–maybe even I would get a say. You've done the same for all of us, all with the same spirit of sacrifice. Why are we not more grateful? Indeed, why isn't the world of science beating a path to your door to thank you for saving it and all of humanity from the grave threat we pose to you.When you lynch someone, Tobis, remember one thing–you better finish the job.


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