Linguiça Hodge Podge
Curry’ed Menudo (Tripe)
Jumped Shark Fin Soup
Carbonnade à la Flamande Hash
Banh Tieu Chiffonade
Dog(ma) Imbottito con Ideologia
Lemon Curry Fool
A recipe for Ms Curry
Curry şiş Kebabs
I have finally gotten around to reading Judith Curry‘s contributions to the climate change debate and I have to say Stewart Shaw’s paraphrasing of the old axiom sums it up best:
“It’s like making sausage. The more you know about what goes into it and how it’s done, the less you like it.“
Insomuch as Ms Curry’s stated objective is to build bridges and “have a civil conversation about climate” I thought it would be interesting to have a look at the Curry phenomenon from a conflict resolution perspective. Specifically to look at and assess Ms Curry’s contribution to facilitating civil discourse.
Curry and her take on climate science has been much discussed and vivisected (Curry şiş Kebabs below) and although I present some samplings to illustrate how she deals with contentious issues, I will not be repeating or reviewing the scientific or political perspective. There are far too many threads and Curry’s dissembling has made most of them more convoluted and Byzantine than they needed to be.
What I found is that while Curry claims to want to build bridges, she is going about it with a flame thrower. Her approach, whether intentional or not, is a recipe to make matters far worse, and it’s working!
In her piece Doubt Ms Curry begins her incendiary bridge building by attempting to conflate the the terms “Denier” and “Skeptic”, and does so by referring to them as “labels.” She states “Not only do these labels have nothing to do with science, but the labels are polarizing and are used to denigrate opposing “tribes””
First let’s drop the label “label” as it is a loaded word meant to denigrate the practice of using precise terminology to communicate information.
“Nothing to do with science“? perhaps not, but:
- using precise language accurately is very much a hallmark of science, and arguing for the obverse is not. Why not then also conflate “skeptics” and “AGW crowd”? then there is no division at all! (reductio ad absurdum)
- insomuch as the discussions involving the term “Denier” are not about science per se, but about the ideologically motivated campaign of disinformation to discredit science, how is your point even relevant?
- “tribes“? … interesting “label.”
“Denier” and “skeptic” are not synonyms as has been pointed out both generally and specifically with respect to Curry (and here); they are almost polar opposites. They describe radically different, indeed antithetical, approaches to information and knowledge.
Both exist within the climate debate, and that Denierism is real and rampant within the social discourse about climate is well documented and indisputable.
If one wishes to do away with the term “Denier” the logical and scientific approach would be to show that it is unnecessary, not useful, or is consistently being used inaccurately.
That it would be impossible to do any of the above might be one reason Ms Curry does not attempt it (more likely it never occurred to her).
Regardless, I have some questions for Ms Curry
- Did you not take the trouble to investigate why many people use the term “Denier”? and whether they use it correctly? or did you just launch into a polemic based on your assumptions and biases?
- If so, not a good start for a piece admonishing people for presumably acting on assumptions and biases.
- If not the former, do you not understand the difference between the frauds and hoaxes of Denierism and actual climate science? (there is some evidence for this, but also con).
- If so, not a good start for someone pretending some authority on the subject.
- If not the former, why seek to obfuscate the difference between the two? what possible purpose could it serve other than to grant the Deniers a totally undeserved and false appearance of legitimacy?
- If so, not a good start for someone pretending to be impartial.
- Is there some other explanation for this?
From there “Doubt” goes on:
“A considerable amount of climate skepticism has been fueled by big business, attempting to protect their personal financial interests (e.g. the Koch brothers, ExxonMobil). True, but so what?”
“So what”? the “so what” is that they have not fueled “climate skepticism”, they have bought and paid for an orchestrated campaign of misinformation and fraud, of outright climate change Denial. That is well documented and commonly known, so I have more questions for Ms Curry:
- Where are the published peer reviewed papers that any of these businesses have funded? where exactly is the legitimate scientific skepticism that came out of their frauds?
- Why do you misrepresent this campaign of disinformation and lies as merely ‘promoting scientific skepticism’?
- Are/were you not aware of the extent and nature of their lies and frauds?
- Do you wish to go on record as explicitly stating that lies, frauds and disinformation contribute to healthy scientific debate? You have said so implicitly, how about saying so explicitly?
A little further along we get:
“I’m hoping that this strategy takes the wind out the sails of “support the consensus or you are a skeptic,” making the merchant of doubt strategy  basically irrelevant and labels such as “denier”  unecessary [sic]. Then science can be science again and the politicians can stop waging their political battles through the science and start grappling with the hard problems. We have to start somewhere, lets start here and give it a try.
 Straw Man argument – There never was such a position, so refuting it is inane and pointless (except as a strategy to trivialize your opposition by misrepresenting them). The position has always been “Accept OR refute the science [not the consensus]; if you can’t refute it then say so” (and by the way, you are parroting Denier talking points again).
 The Merchants’ strategy is to create doubt by pretending certainty, including certainty about inadequacies in the science that do not in fact exist … a strategy that you Ms Curry, have started to use liberally.
 As long as there is Denial and Deniers the term will continue to be useful.
 A Disney movie hockey Mom/Coach’s “gosh golly kids, let’s do it” is no substitute for an actual strategy based on techniques that actually work to resolve conflict, which this clearly isn’t.
Ms Curry’s “strategy” is nonsense.
Put bluntly, it boils down to dismissing the concerns of the climate science community and accepting the lies and frauds of the Deniers at face value. Even some of her supporters acknowledge the double standard.
This is not an actual, sincere attempt at conflict resolution; it is a disingenuous attempt to get one side to capitulate by misrepresenting them as intractable and unreasonable while misrepresenting the other as reasonable and legitimate. It is a partisan ploy trying to masquerade as mediation (but then she is just parroting the Denier talking points). It’s a lie.
And on it goes. These examples of vacuous dissembling and disingenuous remonstrating seem to be pretty typical of her idea of mediating conflict and creating dialogue.
From there Curry launches into what she says is an attempt to quantify scientific uncertainty with her Italian Flag model of classifying the scientific evidence. It makes no sense at all as far as anyone can determine.
Michael Tobis put it “Somebody has to call “horseshit” here, and it might as well be me”, although James Annan trumped him with “While it might be possible to reverse-engineer some semblance of sense into some of her statements regarding it, they are mutually incoherent.”:
In my opinion what she really seems to be doing is trying to cloak her own subjective opinions in some sort of mantle of seemingly objective and scientific respectability. The method did not determine the conclusion, the conclusion determined the method. It seems to be a prime example of “motivated reasoning.”
Curry seems to have no compunction about going off half-cocked, making wild claims about the science itself that are demonstrably false. Quite disturbing to see in a scientist.
“she has stated multiple times that she believes if we can not confidently attribute early 20th century climate change then we can not confidently attribute late 20th century climate change. I’m sorry to be blunt and with all due respect to her CV, this is grossly illogical”
As she is actually a climate scientist this is doubly disturbing. Indeed a consistent habit of Curry’s seems to be that of charging into discussions while having little or no idea what she is talking about, and that is the kinder version. A more cynical interpretation would be that of deliberate misrepresentation (ie lying) to make her main point.
Examples include (but by no means limited to):
- misrepresenting the claims about Wegman and making unfounded counter accusations;
- unsubstansitated (and hence hypocritical) claims of conspiracy and faith based science in the IPCC report;
- uninformed critiques (and here) of Tamino & “the Hockey Stick”;
- solar forcing.
The failure to respect one’s opposition enough to know the topic while still demanding to be treated as an equal in the debate is simply arrogant. All the more so when making serious accusations about other peoples honesty, integrity and ability, as she has done.
Ms Curry explains her position:
“When I refer to the IPCC dogma, it is the religious importance that the IPCC holds for this cadre of scientists; they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC. Who are these priests of the IPCC? …. This advancement of their careers is done with the complicity of the professional societies and the institutions that fund science. Eager for the publicity, high impact journals such as Nature, Science, and PNAS frequently publish sensational but dubious papers that support the climate alarm narrative.
While the IPCC priests loudly cry out against the heretical skeptical scientists and the dark influences of big oil and right wing ideology that are anti-science … ”
Nothing inflammatory about that … other than it being a bunch of non-specific, baseless, hysterical accusations of corruption, dishonesty, opportunism and what have you. Just plain old honest ” accusatory framing, based on mere innuendo and speculation.”
And again with “Some people were getting their papers rejected because they disagreed with the IPCC.”
Which people? what papers? what are the specifics? There are none of course. How could there be? it’s a complete and total fabrication.
And again “she is also very good at refusing to define her terms or clarify her open-ended smears on the integrity and judgment of climate scientists — no matter how often you ask.”
No worry though, because Curry never mentions specifics so she will never accept accountability for any of it, never have to demonstrate that she has the slightest idea of what she is talking about, all the while maintaining that it has never been refuted.
Any time that someone does manage to get hold of something specific or tangible Curry merely disavows it and changes her stance ie does not acknowledge having been wrong, but rather pretends her error wasn’t what she actually meant or wasn’t the real point, aka moving the goal posts.
Of her comments on Montford’s book she states “Note, this is off the top of my head“; more plausible deniability? whatever she said isn’t what she meant, nor will what she now says be what she really means if you are able to demonstrate that it is nonsense, and besides, you missed her real point which she hasn’t made yet.
The thing that most baffles the science community is that even as Curry is claiming/attempting to hold it, and the IPCC in particular, to a high level of accountability and standards of accuracy, she gives the Denier frauds and charades an uncritical pass. Welcome to the blogosphere, Dr. Curry! does a ‘somewhat’ sarcastic review of this.
She cannot be said to be an apologist since there is no apology. Nor can it really be said to be a double standard since she holds the Deniers to no standards at all.
Her claim is that we benefit by embracing the Deniers because “If only 1 percent of it or 10 percent of what the skeptics say is right, that is time well spent because we have just been too encumbered by groupthink.” Well:
- 1% would be a staggering new high for the Deniers, 10% is just delusional;
- why not continue as the science community already has done, which is to accept the ≤1% when it comes up and reject the 99%+ for the idiotic drivel that it is?;
- why not ask the Denier community to drop the 99%+ that is lies and frauds so that it is easier to take them seriously?;
- “that is time well spent“? no it isn’t. The miniscule contributions that the Deniers have actually made are dwarfed by the damage they have done;
- “too encumbered by groupthink“? yet another Denier talking point (and a “label”) begging the question. Demonstrate it or drop it, but spare us the barrage of baseless accusations.
And that is just “off the top of my head.”
Yet Curry does not seem to be an ideologue sensu much of the Denier community; she mouths the talking points, but lacks the knee jerk frothing hysteria that characterizes them. Nevertheless, by embracing the Denier dogma she is also picking up some of their ideology since the two are inextricably linked; the one follows on the other.
There does seem to be something personal about her virulent antipathy to the IPCC. Her railings against it are extreme (above) and quite illogical. I have no idea what it could be, but given her many other signs of niavite perhaps it is a sense of betrayal. What she took as the true god turns out to be only human and hence must be cast into the pit of fire.
What seems to have happened to Curry looks like a variant of the false dichotomy fallacy, if not A then B. She feels that there are some problems in the science community and the IPCC in particular, therefore she allies herself with the not-science not-IPCC community as a response. Illogical, but not inconsistent.
Regarding Curry’s tirade about the IPCC (Banh Tieu Chiffonade above), climate scientists, and the scientific community in general , do you detect any uncertainty there? any room left for a more charitable interpretation of the IPCC and the scientific community? any hesitation or allowance for the possibility of error?
Of course not. This is not science, which according to Curry is riddled with uncertainty. This is Curry’s ideology and personal dogma, about which she is absolutely certain. No room for doubt or questions there.
The only time the word “doubt” seems to enter her vocabulary is when she is berating others about their supposed shortcomings and apparent unwillingness to conform to her projections of what they should say and do.
Here are some more questions for Mrs Curry.
- If being right merely 1% of the time (still a gross overestimate for the Deneirs, but let’s humour her) is sufficient to justify praise and uncritical acceptance, what should the IPCC’s 99% (98? 99.9?) level of accuracy earn them? Roughly a 100 times more praise? even more uncritical acceptance?
- Or is there some threshold (50%?) beyond which being more right earns you the condemnation and abuse that you have been flinging at the IPCC? If so, what is the level, how was it determined, and what is the reasoning for it? Or is this another Italian Flag? is there a mid-zone where you are neither praised nor condemned?
Bear in mind that we are simply trying to understand the obvious contradictions in your behaviour and speech. Your rampant hypocrisy may be invisible to you, but it is glaring to everyone else.
Some have noted that Curry responds with politeness and more good grace than has been seen in her critics, including themselves.
I do not get any sense of true politeness from Curry; more that she is “correct”
By that I mean there does not appear to be any genuine interest in the point of view or well being of others, merely an adherence to forms in such a way that leaves no obvious cause for offence, but is devoid of actual good will.
I suspect that this superficiality is at least in part a clumsy attempt to avoid personal confrontation and the attendant discomfort, hence pretending the real causes of conflict do not exist.
It is the same time honoured technique whereby families ignore alcoholism, domestic violence, infidelities and diverse other abuses. Wielded by Curry the technique is every bit as effective at problem solving as it always has been.
More to the point, a key thing to note here is that Curry’s tone is consistently dismissive of her opponents positions and points (what Beck describes as “as-common-as-it-is-infuriating hand wave“; nicely put).
She does not take any of it seriously enough to actually address their points, to know what she is talking about, she accepts the climate science critics claims on faith, and certainly never troubles herself to actually understand why the climate science community has concerns about the Deniers.
All of the above communicate a profound lack of respect for the people she is talking to and about. That she does so in a tone that is superior and glib combined with the arrogance of expecting to be treated as an equal in the discussions while not doing the work to earn it is all the more infuriating.
Frankly, Curry’s artificial sweetness is cloying and nauseating; unpleasant when first ingested and leaving a bitter aftertaste. It fails to disguise, and insomuch as it is false, accentuates rather than hides the underlying sourness.
Being blunt, she is being rude, arrogant, disingenuous and quite probably dishonest.
Her conscious motives may be as noble and in good faith as some suggest, but her methods most certainly are not.
So what are Curry’s actual methods for “conflict resolution?”
- not taking others seriously, being dismissive of their points without ever addressing them;
- using double standards and being hypocriitcal;
- moving goalposts & other failures to be accountable;
- evading by dissembling, lying and using language to confuse rather than clarify;
- baselessly attacking peoples honesty, integrity and ability
She Evades by being disingenuous, dishonest and insincere.
She does not seem to use any of the behaviours that would actually de-escalate conflict, viz:
Informing: Honestly, clearly and fully stating your own position (and being accountable for it). No hidden agendas or changing it (as opposed to clarifying).
Opening: Sincerely enquiring about and looking into the other position. Honestly seeking to understand it in it’s entirety.
Understanding: Demonstrating and communicating that you have clearly understood the others point of view as they presented it.
Curry’s approach is a case study in how to escalate and exacerbate conflict while trying to appear guiltless. At best she seems to be trying to avoid personal confrontation while pretending the role of mediator, but without doing the actual work of mediation.
The most charitable interpretation is that her understanding of the causes of the conflict is niave and facile; not surprising given that she simply dismisses what the climate science community has to say.
A recipe for Ms Curry
Curry is clearly one of the last people one would ever want to consult on that topic (or on more than a few aspects of climate science it would seem). If Ms Curry really wants to help resolve the conflicts in the climate debate here are some helpful hints for curtailing her campaign of bridge burning:
- actually know what you are talking about;
- do not make unsubstantiated claims or accusations;
- stand by what you have said (easier done if you abide by point #1);
- do not be dismissive, glib or superior;
- as a corollary to point #4, learn some humility;
- treat your opponents points seriously (see point #1) and actually address them;
- avoid double standards, be consistent and apply the same standards to all, and most particularly yourself;
- use language for clarity, not to confuse and obfuscate;
- stop preaching, start listening;
- learn to accept that you may be wrong and the others in the right;
- be honest, genuine and sincere.
Take large amounts of each, mix well, repeat indefinitely.
Curry şiş Kebabs
An alphabetical collection of posts in which Ms Curry has been skewered and grilled:
- A take on Curry
- At Kloor’s and at Curry’s
- Attribution errors
- Beef with Curry
- Can’t think of any more amusing Curry jokes
- Confusionist Judith Curry goes ‘wicked’ and mangles the work of Martin Weitzman
- Curry, part 2: the papers
- Currygate, part 3: the key papers exposed
- Curry, part 4
- Currying confusion
- Curry jumps the shark
- Curry’s Hallowe’en Piece
- Duck Curry
- Favoring Curry
- Hey JC, JC, that’s not alright by me
- Hockey Stick fight at the RC Corral:
- How the mighty have fallen
- Judith Curry advocates for a climate change “Team B”
- Judith Curry: Born Beyond the Shark?
- Judith Curry goes from building bridges to burning them
- Judith Curry on anthropogenic versus natural causes of global warming
- Judith Curry on climate science: Introspection or circling the wagons?
- Judith Curry sticks her neck out
- JC does not understand the internet!
- Judith Curry abandons science
- Judith Curry and the hockey stick
- Judith Curry on ‘dogma’ and ideology
- Judith Curry plants her flag
- Lost in translation
- Maybe it ain’t an act
- More Curried leftovers
- My response to Dr. Judith Curry’s unconstructive essay
- Round in circles with Accelerated warming of the Southern Ocean and its impacts on the hydrological cycle and sea ice?
- “(S)He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense“
- The curious incident of Judith Curry with the fringe
- The Judith Curry Debunking Room is open
- The paradox of Curry
- UnScientific American: In Lionizing Curry, a Lion Loses its Way
- Who’s being naive? Yet more from J. Curry
- Welcome to the blogosphere, Dr. Curry!
- Willard on Curry
1) proving the axiom “Fools seldom differ” Stoat seems to have been the first to have characterised Curry’s gibberish as ‘tripe’ (Stoat has tripe as it’s own, separate category) followed by Coby Beck, but I swear I thought to do so independently.
2) Given Curry’s methods for “reconciliation” Sherman’s March to the Sea was a tempting metaphor for this piece, however Sherman’s Campaign had a certain honesty and forthrightness about its’ purpose and hence was felt to be inappropriate.
We give our consent every moment that we do not resist.
Comments that are not relevant to the post that they appear under or the evolving discussion will simply be deleted, as will links to Denier spam known to be scientific gibberish