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BEST climate joke: Hockey Stick fight at the you’re-not-OK Corral

By Joe Romm  

"BEST climate joke: Hockey Stick fight at the you’re-not-OK Corral"


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Curry repeats Muller’s smear that paleoclimate reconstructions were ‘dishonest’, and NASA’s Schmidt eviscerates her (again)

BEST is now a joke, officially, thanks to Dr. Judith Curry.  Sure, B.E.S.T.  seemed laughable from the start — see “Richard Muller, Charles Koch, Judith Curry and the implosion of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study (BEST).”

How could an effort to restore  the supposedly lost credibility of the global temperature record be run by one climate confusionist (Muller),  have as its sole ‘climate expert’ perhaps the leading confusionist (see “Curry abandons science“), and be funded in part by the world’s  biggest funder of climate disinformation!  And  I haven’t even blogged on the head-exploding conflict of interest of having Muller, who runs a for-profit climate consulting business, installing his daughter as B.E.S.T. project manager when she is the CEO of that business!

But that’s not funny.  What’s funny is that Curry had been advertising herself as some sort of a peace-making, I’m-ok-you’re-ok, why-can’t-we-all-just-get-along bridge builder among scientists — a reconciler, as it were (see “Fred Pearce jumps the shark“).

Now, however, she has devoted an entire post at her blog Climate etc. — judithcurry.com — to defending Muller’s claim (in this youtube clip) that “hide the decline” means the paleoclimate re-constructors of the Hockey Stick were “dishonest.”  For the record, the House of Commons vindication of climate scientists involved in the stolen emails  explicitly stated:

… insofar as we have been able to consider accusations of dishonesty””for example, Professor Jones’s alleged attempt to “hide the decline”"”we consider that there is no case to answer.

Similarly, Michael Mann has  been through multiple vindications that specifically looked at all of these e-mails.  See also RealClimate (here).

NASA’s Gavin Schmidt  showed up on Curry’s blog to make some incisive comments, and, with Curry’s help, demonstrated that, using her standard, her own work is “dishonest.”  Curry also made clear that her days of reconciliation are over.  She has gone native — or, rather, gone tribal — the full disinformer, as they say.

WattsUpWithThat has, typically, tried to make Schmidt look bad with one piece of not-terribly-damning quote mining, but  I will endeavor to pull out all of the relevant comments (including some by Curry and others).  The whole post and comment chain  is only worth reading if you like unintentional humor and ‘credibility seppuku’:

Gavin | February 22, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Reply

You have gone significantly over the line with this post. Accusations of dishonesty are way beyond a difference of opinion on how a graph should be displayed.

If you thought that a single, smoothed graph of estimates of paleo-temperature told the whole story of paleo-climate reconstructions is far more a failing at your end than it is the authors involved. How can a single graph say everything that can possibly be said?

Summary graphs are by their very nature, summaries. The graphs you pick out were summaries of various estimates of what paleo-temperature estimates from the literature were. It is therefore not surprising that they show only the reconstructions where the authors had confidence that the reconstructions were actually of the temperatures.

Problems with modern divergence – which only applies to the Briffa et al curve in any case – are issues to be dealt with in the technical literature, as they still are.

The quote from the emails on the ‘dilution of the message’ was related to a completely different issue – the fact that Briffa et al’s initial reconstruction did not have very much centennial variability at all (the version of the graph that was being discussed is here: http://climateaudit.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/ipcc_tar_zero.png ). You are being misled if you think that is related.

One can have a difference of opinion in how to present a graph, and that depends entirely on what point you want to make. If you want to make a point about multi-decadal temperature changes in the past, it makes sense to include estimates of those temperatures and the uncertainties. It doesn’t make much sense to include annual estimates, or seasonal estimates, or parts of the curve that the originators think doesn’t reflect actual temperatures (for whatever reason). The only issue is to ensure that the graph is sufficiently documented so that these choices are clear (which in the WMO report they were not sufficiently so, but were fine in the IPCC graphs).

But to ascribe a difference of opinion to dishonesty is to remove yourself from any sensible discussion on the topic. Perhaps if I was to find a graph in one of your papers which I thought didn’t show some aspect of the data I was interested in, and then accuse you of dishonesty? Would you react well to that? This is exactly the same.

How can you claim to be building bridges, when you are so busy burning them?

curryja | February 22, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Reply

Gavin, the field does not need any more summary graphs of this nature. They have done an enormous disservice to climate science and its credibility. Continuing to defend these kinds of graphs is beyond anything I can understand. Leaving out that data and putting a “likely” confidence level on conclusions from that data is bad science, anyway you slice it. If you don’t like dishonest, try misguided and pseudoscience. There is no way this is defensible scientific practice. I really hope we don’t see any more of these kinds of graphs, in the AR5 or elsewhere. I’ve tiptoed around this one long enough, I’m calling it like I see it.

Gavin | February 22, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Reply

“I’m calling it like I see it”
How brave of you.

My point is that by lowering yourself to insult, you block off all sensible discussion of specific technical points – if you are so certain in your thinking that no further discussion is required, then fine. No more discussion will occur. But it would have been far better for you to have had the character to allow for disagreements without being disagreeable (did you not pick up anything in Lisbon?).

For a useful analogy, let’s take a different figure, say, figure 4 from Webster et al (2005):

This shows a big increase in cat 4+5 hurricanes from 1970 to 2000. But why is it cut off at 1970? Surely it can’t be because the data is poorer prior to that? No, it must be that the pre-1970 data doesn’t support the thesis of the authors, they must be hiding the decline! I insist that the ‘adverse data’ be shown on all graphs, and that anything else is highly misleading. And without any further thought, it must be dishonest – because how is it possible that anyone could have an opinion on how to display data that differs from mine without being dishonest? Pseudo-science!

You see how easy this kind of stupidity is? What is point?

curryja | February 22, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Reply

Good one Gavin, brilliant argument.

Gavin | February 22, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Reply

I’ll let others judge. But your method of argument in the top post and the conclusions you draw can be argued and drawn for any subjective decision about pretty much any presentation of complex data. Once you do it based on your prior prejudices against one set of researchers, the flood gates are open to apply it to anyone. We therefore end up with a situation where any difference of opinion is put down to dishonesty, and the process of objective scientific analysis has been tossed to the wolves.

You see your stance as brave, while in fact it is just lazy. I’m sure your students are proud.

curryja | February 22, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Reply

Brilliant defense. Anyways, I’ll take lazy and prejudiced over dishonest, if you insist.

Curry has no response to Gavin’s devastating evisceration of her entire position.  WUWT, of course, just quoted the opening of Gavin’s second (8:45 pm)  comment without the incisive analogy.  Note that technical explanations for Curry’s choices don’t count, since, of course, the paleoclimate folks have technical explanations for their choices, too.

This thread is also telling:

  • Bart | February 23, 2011 at 7:50 am | Reply

    I initially applauded Curry’s efforts (even though I wasn’t in full agreement):

    But have since concluded that the way she goes about it is counterproductive to her stated goals:

    • curryja | February 23, 2011 at 8:50 am | Reply

      Bart, i’m trying to catch up on responding to comments, you’ve mentioned the “building bridges” issues several times. You seem to think it is primary importance for bridges to be build to scientists involved in the CRU emails. As a climate scientist concerned about the integrity of the climate science, I find it of primary importance to build bridges with the broader community of scientists (including skeptics), the public, and policy makers. I stopped bothering with the RC crowd in summer 2007, when i received an unpleasant email from Mike Mann chastising me over congratulating Steve McIntyre on winning the 2008 Science Webblog Award. It was at that point that I stopped having anything to do with RC (other than my driveby comments about Montford’s book last summer). So I have built a bridge in the form of a platform for dialogue, they can meet me half way or not (pretty much not, the prefer the circling wagons strategy). But that is not the bridge that I am particularly interested in.

      • Bart Verheggen | February 23, 2011 at 9:49 am | Reply


        For it to be a bridge to some outside world, the bridge should remain grounded at the original place as well.

        Your strong and broadbrush accusations towards your professional peers, and the lack of criticism towards empty talking points and conspiratorial thinking
        make you lose that grounding imho. You’re pushing herself away it seems. It’s your choice of course, but I can’t square it with your stated objective.

        I think the core of your argument as I see it (the need for scientists to be less defensive, less circling of the wagons, more introspection, more communication and collaboration with “outsiders”, taking criticism seriously, etc) is important and valid. But the way you go about airing it, with broadbrush accusations towards mainstream science/ists (RC en the IPCC process are squarely in the mainstream), give the impression of a one way bridge, where as you walk along you burn the bridge behind you.

        See as an example how different (e.g. constructive rather than destructive) John N-G voices his criticism. Granted, your criticisms may be stronger, but the way they come across, I tend to think that an increasing number of climate related scientists will be put off by it, at the same time as an increasing number of true skeptics, pseudo-skeptics and conspiracy theorists will cheer you on.

        In effect, your accusatory framing comes across as very tribalist.

        • curryja | February 23, 2011 at 9:58 am |

          Bart, if this stuff hadn’t already been going on for 15 months, with absolutely no efforts by the people who wrote the emails to correct the record and work towards addressing the underlying problems, I would be more sympathetic to your approach. In the meantime, the public credibility of climate science remains in tatters. To infer that my failing to be kind to Gavin et al. and give them the benefit of every doubt is associated with my joining the tribe of Sky Dragons or whatever they should be called, is way off the mark.

        • Bart Verheggen | February 23, 2011 at 11:20 am |

          Judith, you writing in response to my comment “If”¦, I would be more sympathetic to your approach.” sounds like you’ve given up on building bridges?

Curry is like a non-bridge over troubled waters.

And finally, here’s  Gavin (after Curry explains why she went over to WUWT to tell them Gavin had been commenting on her blog):

Gavin | February 23, 2011 at 10:11 am | Reply

I find it kind of interesting that you characterise my comments as ‘defending the team’. What I am ‘defending’ are the norms of scientific dialogue. The point is that scientific dialogue has evolved a number of standards to ensure that scientific disputes can get resolved as objectively as possible. One of those norms is that you assume good faith when discussing technical details. Another is that you stick to the science and avoid personalising issues. And yet another is that you stay away from attributing motive and malice to people who disagree with you.

While those norms certainly don’t exist in politics or more generally in the blogosphere, neither of those spheres are charged with actually finding out what is happening on the planet. For that, somewhat more self-discipline is required.

Your guns-a-blazing, caution-to-the-winds accusations of malfeasance and misconduct, like Steve McIntyre’s before you, are simply poison to grown-up discussions of real issues. You appear to be well aware of that, and yet continue to indulge in it – even to the point of touting for partisan comments. One can therefore safely conclude that you are not actually interested in grown-up discussions of real issues. So be it.

Hear!  Hear!

Anyway, I’ve got some talks to give.  Have at it.

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50 Responses to BEST climate joke: Hockey Stick fight at the you’re-not-OK Corral

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    Can’t add much to Gavin’s typically incisive comments, but Curry’s remark that “the public credibility of climate science is in tatters” is of interest. She should have gone on to note the reason: groundless assaults from the likes of Fox News, Steve McIntyre, and Curry herself.

    Climate science does not have a dubious reputation among universities and those charged with studying and evaluating the data. Curry’s comment is a tribute to the fossil fuel propaganda machine, not a description of the work or statements of scientists.

  2. That BEST crowd is straight out of “Get S.M.A.R.T.”

  3. Former Skeptic says:

    Two quick points:

    - This fantastic website should be read by everyone who still believes that Curry is a “serious” climate scientist.

    - Anyone wants to bet when Curry will be on the Fox News Channel as their resident “climatologist”? I say it’ll happen by this summer.

  4. L. Carey says:

    I can only say that it appears the 7 step plan I outlined at Michael Tobis’ place last November, whereby J. Curry could rise from relative obscurity to fame and wealth seems to be proceeding nicely. I repeat the text of the previous post below.


    “…[M]y 2 cents is that JC has indeed decided to pursue a new career track that is a lot more fun than, you know, actually doing science and teaching, by monetizing her perceived expertise. It works like so:

    1. Actual climate scientist makes critical claims about climate science on denier websites and starts making allies with prominent deniers. (Interestingly, scientist makes noises about how she was briefly treated as a “rock star” over her hurricane paper – yearning for a return to the public spotlight, maybe?)

    2. Visit semi-prominent ‘teach the controversy” website (CoS) and chat up the moderator (KK) with provocative statements that play to his own worldview. 2a – vanish when rational people start asking what the heck you’re talking about.

    3. Visit prominent “warmist” websites (e.g., Real Climate) and make highly provocative semi-incoherent drive-by comments (making sure not to respond when rational people tell you why your rambling comments are misleading non-sense, but building up your “cred” with deniers by taking on “the keepers of the orthodoxy” – e.g., Gavin). Talk about “peace-making” while selectively criticizing scientists and talking up prominent “citizen-deniers”.

    4. Start your own blog and proceed to accelerate making statements that are both increasingly outlandish (e.g., high priests of the IPCC, etc.) and/or incoherent. Be sure to pointedly ignore rational comments by those knowledgeable and published in technical climate fields (e.g., Eric Steig and James Annan).

    5. Get written up as a “heretic”, thereby scoring the bonus of somebody else highlighting the all-important meme of “climate science as a religion”. Associate with prominent “there’s a lot of uncertainty but I expect it won’t be so bad” talking heads, such as RPJ and Revkin.

    So far, so good – now the tricky part. Since said scientist is second tier (at best) in her field but has a reputable academic position and has no problem getting published, she must somehow trigger at least the appearance of ostracism, retribution and tyranny at the hands of the “high priests of climate”.

    6. Accordingly, scientist eventually has to start doing stuff so wacky and out-of-bounds that her academic colleagues are forced to take notice, and she must do whatever it takes to push for a confrontation of “truth” (well, hers anyway) against the vicious culture of “tribalism”. For the plan to work, she MUST do whatever it takes to get rebuked, censured, fired, or whatever. This of course demonstrates completely unmerited persecution by the warmist cabal (who must at all costs keep all scientists in their thrall, especially heretic, maverick scientists) — this, of course, is catnip for deniers everywhere, and especially Faux News. Almost payday now.

    7. The brave, truth-telling, heretic, maverick scientist now uses her new-found iconic status with the lipstick on a pitbull crowd to cash in as the “go-to” showpiece “real climate scientist” with a Faux News contract, an eagerly sought participant in numerous “fair and balanced” panels and speaking engagements, hired as a senior fellow with Heritage, AEI, CEI, etc., etc. Followed by the sale of movie rights, an autobiography and a book tour. Voila – from obscure middle class real scientist to famous, well paid climate shill adored by billionaires, corporate behemoths and Tea Partiers alike, in 7 easy steps.

    If this is actually the scenario that is underway, then it is pointless to expect JC to start dialing back the rhetoric and trying to make sense. In fact, just the opposite would be true — to bring such a plan to fruition, she MUST keep getting more and more belligerent, intransigent and just plain nutty, to provoke the essential “persecution” and secure her new-found denier rock star status.

    Thoughts regarding this hypothesis?”

  5. Bob Doublin says:

    WhenI first had the misfortune of finding out who Curry is,I asked here the rhetorical question of whether she was trying to be the Phyllis Schlafly or the Maribel Morgan(author of The Total Woman) of climatology. After reading this post and the Curry Quotes site, I know the answer: she’s trying to be the Anne Coulter of climatology.Just like Lindzen,it’s obvious she only cares about ideology.

  6. RT says:

    I think it is time to explain to the people who fund Dr Curry’s work just what she is up to.

    Curry herself says that her funding sources are:

    “NSF, NASA, NOAA, DOD, (unnamed energy company), World Bank, (unnamed private sector companies that have nothing to do with energy, coal, etc), also an unnamed NGO in Asia”

    My suggestion – maybe our US friends could write to these national funding bodies like NOAA, NASA, NSF, etc expressing their concern about the activities of Dr Curry and requesting that the withdrawal of all funding to the School of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology.

    Dr Curry cant have it both ways – if she is so keen on joining the deniers, then time for her (and her husband) to stop taking funding that could be used by genuine independent climate researchers.

  7. MapleLeaf says:

    Curry says:

    “Anyways, I’ll take lazy and prejudiced over dishonest, if you insist.”

    So is she suggesting that all climate scientists are “lazy and prejudiced” or is Curry volunteering that she is “lazy and prejudiced”? Based on the recent sequence of events I’m strongly inclined to go with that statement applying to Curry. She lost that debate with gavin and Bart, big time, and volunteered some troubling information while she was at it. If Curry had her way, then climate science would be in tatters. Curry certainly seems determined to leave her reputation in tatters.

    Also, this is what Curry posted at WUWT:

    “curryja says:
    February 22, 2011 at 4:55 pm
    For more fun and games with Gavin, see my latest post at Climate Etc……”

    Wow. Pretty sad that Curry thinks this is “fun and games”. Curry is playing games with science and well-being of future generations folks.

    She stopped playing the ball (i.e., science) a long time ago– she is now very much focussed on personalities and rhetoric and web hits.

  8. Sou says:

    Curry has now ‘come out’ even more emphatically, as evidenced by her post on WUWT for deniers to come and admire her ‘work’ and help her bag Dr Schmidt (which request they complied with).

  9. Adam R. says:

    Curry has now fallen to Singer levels of perfidy. Appalling; disgusting.

  10. Sou says:

    @ L.Carey – My view is similar to yours. It’s not 100% clear to me whether she is after money (as from her consulting business, speaking engagements with denier groups etc) or ‘fame’ and political recognition (eg denier libertarians and denier GOP elements). From what she has written, ‘fame’ is a big part of her motivation (eg her description of her epiphany moment on KK’s website).

    I don’t imagine too many people have heard of her or ever will. Deniers don’t like her because she can’t quite bring herself to deny the physics (yet). Her professional colleagues and the general public (if they’ve heard of her) watch with scorn while she continues to make a spectacle of herself.

  11. Ron Broberg says:

    re L. Carey: Curry has no intention of getting fired or ostracized. She is Joan of Arc and is going to whip individual climate scientists until the sin of Climategate has been scourged from their souls. For their own good, of course, and the good of the climate community. She has embraced her self-appointed role of inquisitor.

  12. dhogaza says:

    I think of her as being the Michael Behe of climate science … though maybe Lindzen already has that spot nailed down.

    Also, apparently she funds her blog out of her consulting business, and a couple of weeks ago I pointed out that the IRS frowns on people writing off hobby activities against their business (this was after she said that the blog serves no business purpose).

    Anyway…odd bird.

  13. sydb says:

    The final judge of Judith Curry will be the climate itself. But when you claim to be ‘anti-establishment’ while pandering to the establishment’s wish to ignore inconvenient truths, you lose all respect. Meanwhile the extremes of the last year, in Russia, Pakistan, Brazil, Shri Lanka, and Australia, are ignored.

    Regimes are toppling in the Middle East and the price of food is at the bottom of the dissent. But it was the climate which destroed harvests in several countries and now threatens China’s wheat harvest too.

    Those who, like Curry, shill for the polluters cannot escape their share of the responsibility for the consequences of that pollution. No doubt, they’ll claim it had nothing to do with them.

    I wonder what will happen when the real climate exodus gets going. We’ll see them as having no right to enter our country-what’s happening to them’s their problem, not ours-whereas they’ll see us as the cause of their misfortune. That will mean they consider us as owing them refuge. I suspect the results won’t be pretty.

  14. Scrooge says:

    Its sad when someone like Curry has to muddy the waters on such an important subject just for ideology. What a waste.

  15. Nick says:

    Ron @10,yes,and she is the latest self-appointed ‘inquisitor’ who does not actually inquire. I hope she can use the Curryquotes site for self-improvement.

  16. catman306 says:

    I swear it’s just something in this Georgia water but we’ve got Paul Broun AND Judith Curry. Maybe she’ll show up for Broun’s hearings on climate change and the EPA. Film at 11.

  17. Lou Grinzo says:

    L.Carey: I think you’ve nailed it. (I somehow missed your post when it first appeared on MT’s site.)

    I’ve seen people speculate that Curry’s cheese has slipped off her cracker, but I don’t buy that for a second. I think she knows exactly what she’s doing, and as Carey points out, she’s right on schedule. In this ridiculous, manufactured non-debate between scientists and deniers, she has carved out a niche for herself as the peacemaker. But she does need to keep the spotlight on herself, which is clearly part of the plan.

    In short: Curry is to climate science as Palin is to politics (or governance). And no, I’m not saying Curry is as ridiculous as Palin is in absolute terms, but compared to her field (especially the A-listers like Mann and Schmidt) she’s operating at about the same anomaly from the mean.

  18. David B. Benson says:

    Are the Koch brothers paying her?

    [JR: No. She says she's not taking money for BEST. But one Koch brother is helping fund BEST.]

  19. John Mashey says:

    re: 18
    I’ve looked in the usual places and have found no evidence of that.

  20. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Curry has carved herself a nice little niche. Whether from crass pecuniary interest or for some obscure psychopathological motivation, who knows or cares. With these denialist apostates from science a sort of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ seems to slowly distort their judgment. Too close and too extended a contact with denialists seems to have a devastating effect on the sufferers’ intellect and moral discernment. A pity, but I suggest Curry be ignored, as well as the others. Too much publicity only encourages them, increases their marketability to the denialist industry and can have no effect on the Dunning Krugerite mob who now adore her.

  21. RT says:

    @ Lou Grinzo 17

    I think you are 100% correct about needing the spotlight. I also think it is best to change the angle of lighting (so to speak) and bring those who fund her School into the debate – dissembling and disingenuity should have financial consequences.

  22. Trent1492 says:

    Richard Muller is going to give a talk at U.C Berkley. The title of the talk is The Current Status of Climate Change – A Non-Partisan Analysis.

  23. Douglas says:

    She went to WUWT to complain about Gavin’s comments? That’s pathetic. I know, she’s been doing this kind of thing for a while now, but…wow. Could it be any more clear where this fork-tongued “peacemaker”s allegiances lie?

  24. Stephane says:

    For a more successful approach to communication in climate science, maybe this article will help :


    I think that the main problem in the US is tied to the feeling that global warming imposes restrictions and constraints which are opposed to Liberty. My feeling, from France, is that Liberty is a very strong value in the US, maybe a too strong value. And opinion, things, perceptions or facts which threaten liberty are strongly, emotionally rejected.

    Therefore, maybe changing the tone and including metaphors to convey the message that doing nothing is restricting the liberty to choose the best course may be more successful?

    Hope this helps


  25. MarkB says:

    The people that claim public credibility of climate science is in tatters (or something along those lines) are almost always the people who try to tear down climate science…Curry most certainly being one of them.

    Kudos to Gavin and Bart.

  26. _Flin_ says:

    Prof. Curry’s course of action puts her among the select few of skeptics that have actually published in the field.

    Being personally challenged by the likes of Gavin Schmidt in her blog further strengthens her position, even if the argument was pretty one-sided.

    But, let’s face it, Lindzen is 70 years now, and smoking, so who knows how long he will be around as the No.1 skeptic. This position will be vacant pretty soon, and who will take his seat on the Republican side in Congress next to giants like Santer or Alley?

    And if all it takes to achieve that is a bit of vocal escalation and stating your own beliefs, why not?

  27. Orkneygal says:

    So much Sturm und Drang over at that heretical woman’s site.

    Think I’ll stay here for a while in the backwaters of the debate.

  28. RT says:

    Hey, have you seen this? The shill is giving a talk on climate change!

    Are there any people at Berkeley who can attend and give this guy a suitable welcome?


    On March 19, our talk will be given by Prof. Rich Muller, and will be entitled “The Current Status of Climate Change – A Non-Partisan Analysis”.

    Because of its huge economic and political implications, Climate Change is rarely presented without spin. This will be an attempt to do that. I’ll discuss the physics of the greenhouse effect, and the data that indicate global warming. Among key topics are: Copenhagen — why did we fail to get a major treaty? Climategate — what really happened? IPCC standards — and why they are undergoing major revisions. What are the top prospects among the many choices for alternative energy? What kind of example can the U.S. set that could be followed by the rest of the world? I’ll also report on new results of our “Berkeley Earth” project — a detailed re-analysis of the evidence for global warming; see http://www.BerkeleyEarth.org.
    Rich Muller is a Professor in the Department of Physics at UC Berkeley, and Faculty Senior Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. He was named a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellow in 1982. He also received the Alan T. Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation “for highly original and innovative research which has led to important discoveries and inventions in diverse areas of physics, including astrophysics, radioisotope dating, and optics.” In 1999, he received a distinguished teaching award from UC Berkeley. He teaches the popular “Physics for Future Presidents” series of undergraduate lectures at Berkeley and is the author of an associated book, among other books, essays, and articles. He’s also working on a system to view 3-D TV without glasses.

  29. Curry has certainly now earned here place as a fully fledged member of the disunderstander trio that took part in that recent House Science Committee Hearing on Climate Science, the C-SPAN link to video of which has since become defunct.

  30. DavidCOG says:


    > She says she’s not taking money for BEST.

    A loss leader – as per L. Carey’s description (@ 4) of her actions to date + likely direction. It seems inevitable she will be hopping on the dirty gravy train soon enough – if she’s not already on it.

    I’d not seen it before, but http://curryquotes.wordpress.com/ is an astonishing collection. She’s largely indistinguishable from McIntyre, Watts, et al – which is no surprise when we see:

    “The people slagging off on McIntyre, Watts et al. have probably spent no time over at their blogs or made an effort to get to know them personally and understand what makes them tick. Or to talk to the scientific skeptics like Christy, Michaels. Or talk to the libertarian think tanks, like CATO and CEI. Well, i’ve made that effort, and therefore I think I know alot more about the what the “deniers” are really like….”

    There you have it. We all think the deniers and fossil ‘think’ tanks are liars, cranks and propaganda merchants because we haven’t spent time getting to know them. Joe, maybe you could invite a few around for tea and see if that makes their claims any less factually wrong or misleading?!

    Then there are little gems, such as:

    “If what i said was utter nonsense, why is anyone here talking about it, I have 440 comments in 24 hours.”

    W. T. F?! Number of comments on a blog is now a measure of credibility for an argument. Welcome to the new, improved ‘post normal science’!

    @Lou Grinzo – I dunno, I think maybe “Curry’s cheese has slipped off her cracker”….

  31. Kevin says:

    I have a question re “hide the decline.” Wasn’t the exchange in question about how to create a cover illustration for a report by the World Meteorological Society or something? If so, why not concentrate on this fact — that this was not a graph embedded in a scientific paper — it was a pretty artwork for a cover illustration, equivalent to a drawing or cartoon. It would be a different matter if the graph was referenced and referred to in a treatise of ALL datasets.

    Am I misunderstanding this?

  32. dhogaza says:

    Am I misunderstanding this?

    No, you’re not misunderstanding, that was exactly its usage, Kevin, but you’re not hearing that from Curry et al, are you?

    Tempest, meet teapot.

  33. dhogaza says:

    I’ll also report on new results of our “Berkeley Earth” project — a detailed re-analysis of the evidence for global warming; see http://www.BerkeleyEarth.org.

    Yes, it would be good if someone were to attend and report on this. It might be the first exposure to their new reconstruction that we get (they could make it available on their website before the talk, but it’s not there yet).

  34. dhogaza says:

    Note the date on the report, Kevin – it was ‘way back in 1999.

    This is a typical diversionary tactic of the denialsphere – focus on old papers like MBH 98, old documents like WMO 1999, etc, and bleat and scream and whine “fraud! fraud! fraud!” if the least mistake or possibly misleading editorial decision has been made (“cover graphic! all climate science is a fraud!”).

    They’d obviously like to focus on the WMO ’99 report rather than arctic sea ice extent or antarctic sea ice extent, extreme weather events, rising temps, closing of the earth’s energy budget, etc.

  35. Beesaman says:

    “grown-up discussions” well I’d like to see that take place a bit more in quite a few more locations. I guess I’m in for a long wait though when you consider some folks responses. Especially as most of them are being paid for by you and me, the tax payer. Maybe one day science will pull itself out of the indignity of rabid responses and become the thoughtful place it used to be.

  36. Ron Broberg says:

    Stephane: I think that the main problem in the US is tied to the feeling that global warming imposes restrictions and constraints which are opposed to Liberty.

    Yes. That is the heart of it.

  37. Kevin says:

    Thanks for the responses to my question — so makes me think that rather than get tied up about the temp data (tell them to go ahead and duplicate the reconstruction work), while also shouting that the picture in question was a cover illustration on an old report — what editor doesn’t push for a jazzed up illustration to make a book attractive — no one takes those pictures seriously. It is not a graph to communicate data discussed in a new scientific paper. ONLY THEN should they the scientific community already well understonds the nuance of the various reconstructions and the fact there is the divergence problem with the tree rings (if I’ve understood correctly).

  38. MapleLeaf says:

    Beesaman @36,

    You seem to be horribly muddled. Can you be more specific please, b/c the discussions by Curry and her fan base, Watts and his fans and McIntyre and his are the very antithesis of “grown-up discussions” and border on anti-science. Just read the main post for but a few examples.

    Yes, if Curry et al. continue this way we will all be waiting an awful long time for rational, intellectual and constructive discourse. Exclude those disruptive and vitriolic elements though and the problem goes away.

    We can also but hope that one day the sub-par science practiced by and endorsed by “skeptics” and contrarians will be a distant and unpleasant memory.

    Schmidt (in particular) has been too polite in his exchanges with Curry.

  39. Kevin says:

    (sorry — made a hash of previous post — 2nd try) Thanks for the responses to my question — makes me think that rather than get tied up about the temp data (tell them to go ahead and duplicate the reconstruction work), we should shout the following:
    1. The picture in question was MERELY a cover illustration on an old report. People try to put jazzed up illustration on covers to make a book attractive and no one takes those pictures seriously.
    2. It is not a graph to communicate data discussed in a new scientific paper — if it had been, then perhaps opponents would have a valid case. 3. ONLY THEN should we go on about the scientific community already well understands the nuance of the various reconstructions and the fact there is the divergence problem with the tree rings (if I’ve understood correctly).

    The stories/reports on this issue always seem start and end with number 3 without making the first 2 points, which loses the game.

  40. Beesaman says:

    Mapleleaf, maybe you should re-read my post or is it that basic English is not your strongpoint?
    Science does not need acolytes, it needs open minded, civilised human beings who can debate without rancour. As I said, I would like to see that in more places.

  41. MapleLeaf says:

    Beesaman @41,

    “or is it that basic English is not your strongpoint?”

    So much for gown up discussion…..

    “Science does not need acolytes, it needs open minded, civilised human beings who can debate without rancour.”

    I agree– along those lines we do not need the likes of Curry, M&M, Lindzen and Michaels, who are sadly incapable of sticking to the science and who repeatedly elect to engage in rancour, slander and uncivil dialogue.

    I am all for civil, rational and objective discourse, and that needs to start with the usual suspects such as M&M, and now Curry. Otherwise claims of “building bridges” is clearly an empty promise.

  42. Beesaman says:

    Mapleleaf, sorry, I was not sure of your fluency in English with regards to me being horribly muddled.
    As for who is and who is not allowed to debate science, well most of us live in fairly tolerant countries. I would not like to be the one to start making such decisions.

  43. MapleLeaf says:


    Until very recently, scientists have been very tolerant (probably too trusting and tolerant) of those inciting violence against climate scientists, slandering them, and harassing them. I do not think anyone should endorse such unacceptable behaviour, regardless of their position on the science or politics– such behaviour is unacceptable period. And it is perfectly reasonable to expect scientists to eventually stand up to the bullying and intimidation by ‘skeptics’– one can only turn the other cheek so many times.

    Now, if the guilty parties (M&M, Lindzen, Curry, Morano) could town down the rhetoric, vitriol and slander, and speak to and focus on the science, then they are much more likely to be accepted by the scientific community, and also much more likely to make a constructive and positive contribution to the science and ultimately policy. It is really not a lot to ask, but ‘skeptics’ repeatedly fail to do so, and the responsibility for that lies with them and them alone.

    Curry is being disingenuous to claim to be interested in “building” bridges on one hand, while stabbing her colleagues in the back with the other. Lindzen has made similar unsubstantiated accusations, as has McIntyre. Free speech comes with certain responsibilities, and ‘skeptics’ have been avoiding those responsibilities.

  44. Dana says:

    Kevin – note that Curry has also criticized the IPCC (TAR and AR4) in her ‘hide the decline dishonesty’ accusations.

    I looked at the Fourth Assessment Report. They were very explicit about the shortcomings of the northern latitude tree ring data over the past few decades. There was nothing dishonest about it. Quite the opposite, there was a detailed discussion about the ‘decline’.

    I think Bart provided a great description for Curry: “…as you walk along you burn the bridge behind you.”

  45. John Mashey says:

    Are you OK with “drawn and quartered”, “not enough hari-kari knives,” “public flogging” for climate scientists?
    How about dead rat on doorstep?
    How about threats of violence against scientists and their families, including odd phones calls?
    How about having breakfast/lunch with 5 such people, 4 of who got regular death threats for doing research that might save people’s grandchildren?

    How about a response to a world-class researcher who takes the time to post a polite explanation on a (hostile) blog, and is told taht he knows nothing and “fix bayonets.”?

    [I know all these people personally, by the way.]

    Some blogs encourage such stuff.

  46. Beesaman says:

    John, indeed they do. In fact I would ponder upon the negative impact most blogs are having on intellectual debate and the scientific process.
    Indeed it has exposed just how little wisdom some of our higher thinkers do actually have and how poor their communication skills are. But that, maybe, is as it always has been, blogs just expose it more to the wider populace.

  47. John Mashey says:


  48. Marion Delgado says:

    I believe “The Sociopath Next Door” and “The Authoritarians” more every year, John Mashey.

    Martha Stout

    Well, the perfect victim, from the sociopath’s point of view, is the person who is smart enough and capable enough to do him some good in the world and who is also fun to manipulate. How much fun is it to manipulate someone who is stupid and incompetent? Another good person to manipulate is someone of high character, because that is also fun for the sociopath. On the other hand, the sociopath doesn’t want this person to be so savvy that he or she will immediately see him for who he is. He wants the person to be easily enough fooled to stick with him. This can be accomplished by looking for someone who is very, very loyal. Most of us consider loyalty to be a very positive trait—and it is a positive trait. But it also blinds people to some of the traits of the person they’re loyal to.

    – from Interview magazine.

    Bob Altemeyer

    Because of the wheeling and dealing, some regions made headway against their problems as their Elites traded things they did not need for things they did–again unlike the night before when everyone stayed home. But no charity appeared. Nobody got something for nothing. And no commitment to the planet as a whole ever materialized. When the ozone layer crisis broke out, a global conference was held, but nobody put a farthing into the pot to solve the problem.

    – from The Authoritarians (PDF)

    I now no longer attribute to ignorance anything repetitious enough to be sociopathy or authoritarian subservience to sociopathy.

    The difference is, the ones that aren’t paid, or bots, or just doing their political activism duty, would not necessarily rate themselves outrageously high in science knowledge like a D-K victim. Instead, they’d down-rate us – scientists and people with scientific training – and out of sheer tribalism and boosterism. “How can they possibly know what they’re talking about when … [fill in narrative here]?” And a certain percentage, mostly not commenting but going on radio and TV and writing columns and blogs urging others to comment – simply don’t care what the truth is as long as it doesn’t affect their quest for social dominance, material gain, and fame.

  49. Marion Delgado says:

    dhogaza, her post-normal science is the same approach Steve Fuller took at the Discovery Institute:

    “At any point in its history, science could have gone in many directions. The few paths actually taken have been due to ambient political, economic and cultural factors. There appears to be nothing uniquely ‘rational’, ‘objective’, or ‘truth-oriented’ about the activities our society calls ‘scientific’.”