My Hero

[ UPDATE 3 November 2010 – … and the misnamed and ideologically biased “Sourcewatch” blunders again in it’s own  attack on Judith Curry

My fellow admirers of humans,

Please meet Judith Curry. One heck of a scientist. One gutsy lady. One fine human being.

She is now being denounced around the world by leading science journals, science magazines and top newspapers … and her fellow climate scientists are deadly silent. What is her crime? She wants scientists to do science. She has just posted her Martin-Luther-like-Theses to the “church” door. The crux of Luther’s writings was to decry the sale of indulgences in order to finance the building of St. Peter’s in Rome. His actions led to the Protestant Reformation. The similarities between the Catholic Church Indulgences of 1517 and the IPCC driven Carbon Credits of 2010 seems uncanny.

Here is Judy’s “heresy”: 

“A note to my critics in the climate science community

Let me preface my statement by saying that at this point,  I am pretty much immune to criticisms from my peers regarding my behavior and public outreach on this topic (I respond to any and all criticisms of my arguments that are specifically addressed to me.)  If you think that I am a big part of the cause of the problems you are facing, I suggest that you think about this more carefully.   I am doing my best to return some sanity to this situation and restore science to a higher position than the dogma of consensus.  You may not like it, and my actions may turn out to be ineffective, futile, or counterproductive in the short or long run, by whatever standards this whole episode ends up getting judged.  But this is my carefully considered choice on what it means to be a scientist and to behave with personal and professional integrity.

Let me ask you this.  So how are things going for you lately?  A year ago, the climate establishment was on top of the world, masters of the universe.   Now we have a situation where there have been major challenges to the reputations of a number of scientists, the IPCC, professional societies, and other institutions of science.  The spillover has been a loss of public trust in climate science and some have argued, even more broadly in science.  The IPCC and the UNFCCC are regarded by many as impediments to sane and politically viable energy policies.  The enviro advocacy groups are abandoning the climate change issue for more promising narratives.  In the U.S., the prospect of the Republicans winning the House of Representatives raises the specter of hearings on the integrity of climate science and reductions in federal funding for climate research.

What happened?  Did the skeptics and the oil companies and the libertarian think tanks win?  No, you lost.  All in the name of supporting policies that I don’t think many of you fully understand.  What I want is for the climate science community to shift gears and get back to doing science, and return to an environment where debate over the science is the spice of academic life.  And because of the high relevance of our field, we need to figure out how to provide the best possible scientific information and assessment of uncertainties. This means abandoning this religious adherence to consensus dogma.”

In any other generation this statement of scientific purpose would have been greeted by deafening cheers of approval. However it appears we do not live in normal scientific times. It’s been said that we now live in  politically driven post-normal “science” times.

Well … I say … times, they are a changin’. It’s time for this Hanky Panky behaviour in science to stop … and it now seems it’s beginning to crumble …  

Carbon Credit prices go to zero - flatline - in June 2010.

… thanks to people like Judith.

So let’s lighten up this post a bit with some music from another gutsy lady who has never been satisfied with following a “consensus” behaviour. This racy rhythm and these racy lyrics seem perfectly suited to the racy science times we live in:

Hanky PankyMadonna (1990)

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The National Academies of science in many countries should be standing in ranks, lining up behind Judith Curry … however they have gone quiet, and are nowhere to be seen.

But Judith … you are not alone.

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One Response to My Hero

  1. I agree!

    Judith Curry is simply doing what all scientists should be doing: Seeking to improve our understanding.

    She puts to shame the National Academies, the funding agencies they control, and the consensus scientists standing in line for their next federal research grant!

    Western science and Western forms of government now face a self-inflicted crisis: Loss of public confidence caused by unbridled greed and selfishness and by the abuse of federal science as a tool of government propaganda.

    In the US, immediate action is needed to eliminate the concentration of power without accountability in:

    a.) Anonymous reviews of research proposals and papers, and in
    b.) NAS (National Academy of Sciences) control over US federal research agencies by annual budget reviews for the US Congress.

    We must return to the spiritual foundations of science:

    “Truth is victorious, never untruth.”
    Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.6; Qur’an 17.85

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

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