Dear Michael Lemonick BPSDB
As such I have been hugely disappointed, indeed flabbergasted by the piece you did on Judith Curry. Not by the subject, but by the fact that it promotes a narrative that is largely fiction.
Of the article Climate Heretic: Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues“in Scientific American Stoat said “that article has completely missed the point of the criticism of her.” Actually I’d say it’s far worse than that. It is not simply misguided, it is flat out nonsense.
In your article the scientific community is falsely portrayed as a bunch of small minded bigots who gossip about trivialities and the irrelevant. Their real and legitimate concerns, not to mention substantive critiques of Curry, are ignored. Bad enough to ignore the real story, but to create a fiction as a substitute?
In the Scientific American article and the subsequent “Why I Wrote About Judith Curry” at Climate Central you said:
“… something that annoys, even infuriates, many of her scientific colleagues. Curry has been engaging actively with the climate change skeptic community, largely by participating on outsider blogs … ”
“…stirring up powerful feelings in the climate-science community by questioning the integrity of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and of individual scientists, and by befriending outsiders who are even more critical than she is. …”
I just finished a fairly lengthy post on Curry and looked at what many in the scientific community had to say about her activities over the past year. Frankly no one gave a damn about any of the things you mention (and it would have shocked me if they had).
Why would anyone in the climate science community have cared or care who Judith Curry (or anyone else) talks to, what they talk about, criticizes, hangs out with, or anything else for that matter; it’s irrelevant.
Their one and only concern was whether what she saying was/is accurate and/or presented fairly. In the case of Judith Curry, a great deal of it wasn’t.
Seriously, in my article I list many posts from the science community that make my point; can you provide me with any that make yours? any serious climate blogger or member of the community who gave a a flying fig about any of what you claim? much less enough of them to warrant even mentioning?
I suspect you can’t, in which case why did you write that nonsense? This is not a trivial point. It is the foundation of your piece which continues in the same vein:
“… she has come to question how climatologists react to those who question the science …” Scientific American
The truth is that they react in a reasonable, intelligent, mature manner to “those who question the science.” What get’s them hot under the collar is the lies, frauds, hoaxes, harassment, baseless accusations and other slanders that make up the Denier Canon, a Canon that Curry has been parroting.
Those are the facts, but it’s not what you reported. Instead your frame is the same as that of the Deniers who like to portray the scientific community as semi-paranoid pedagogues who bristle whenever anyone questions their dogma.
“… others, she believes, bring up valid points—and by lumping the good with the bad, climate researchers not only miss out on a chance to improve their science, they come across to the public as haughty.” Scientific American
How about some examples of “good” that the science community hasn’t accepted? specific cases where they have missed out on “a chance to improve their science”? There are none? well why not report that too?
You go on “Few scientists would claim the IPCC is perfect … ” as if the criticisms within the scientific community were rare, mild and/or trivial. In fact they are common, there are many that are serious, substantive, and some like James Annan could be said to border on tiresome with their ongoing critiques.
“Curry thinks it needs thorough going reform. She accuses it of “corruption.” “I’m not going to just spout off and endorse the IPCC,” she says, “because I think I don’t have confidence in the process.
Whispered discreetly at conferences or in meeting rooms, these claims might be accepted as part of the frequently contentious process of a still evolving area of science. Stated publicly on some of the same Web sites that broke the so-called Climategate e-mails last fall, they are considered by many to be a betrayal, earning Curry epithets from her colleagues ranging from “naive” to “bizarre” to “nasty” to worse.” Scientific American
Insomuch as climate scientists publish calls for reform or even scrapping the IPCC entirely (hardly a minor reform) in scientific journals and on their blogs (and as above), criticising it is clearly not a problem within the science community.
That is certainly not the impression one gets reading your piece where your claim is that it is “Whispered discreetly at conferences or in meeting rooms.”
What has gotten Curry flack is her unfounded claims of corruption and tendency to just spout off and condemn the IPCC willy nilly. You have written it up in such a way that it reads as if the epithets are for her daring to criticize the IPCC at all, when in fact they are for her baseless and false criticisms. That is just dishonest of you.
“There are times in the history of science where the consensus has been drastically wrong — in the case of Alfred Wegener, … Barry Marshal …” Climate Central
Oh please; False analogy fallacy much? The Deniers are not the revolutionary intellectual vanguard of a new idea or paradigm, they are the rigid reactionary rearguard of the old orthodoxy, an orthodoxy that thought the planet too big for humans to affect, an orthodoxy now completely discredited and rejected.
If you must look for a ‘Galileo’ on climate issues, then look to Tyndale, Arrhenius, Keeling, etc. You have your pick of champions for ‘the new idea’ as it then was, but please don’t try to pawn off this crop of intellectual stragglers and deadweights as ‘luminaries.
“She did not necessarily agree with the criticisms, but rather than dismissing them, as many scientists might have done, she began to engage with the critics.”
The reality is that “many scientists” are dismissive of the criticisms that are simply idiotic; the whole “global warming is a hoax invented by the UN you forged your data Al Gore is making money Elvis is having my alien baby” that makes up 99% of the Denier chorus. As they should do.
Curry is quite naturally not engaging with those critics either. What would be the point? The scientists have and do respond to many of the criticisms, even many of the more idiotic ones (Hint Realclimate, skepticalscience and everyone they link, and the ones they link, and …).
But that isn’t the impression one gets from how you wrote about it, is it?
You ask “Is it Irresponsible to Discuss Curry’s Views?” Hell no, who cares? No one in the science community since they already constantly discuss these same views quite publicly. Discuss whatever you like. Just do it accurately and honestly. When Curry is demonstrably wrong, say so. Give the real context, not some bogus myth making.
For the most part the article settles down from this point onward, but the damage has been done. The frame is set and although the rest of it is more factual it is naturally going to be understood through that lens by most readers.
Just in case though, the frame is recast at the end:
” … but they reserve their greatest anger for insiders who side with outsiders. By treating Curry as a pariah, Haslam says, scientists are only enhancing her reputation as some kind of renegade who speaks truth to power.”
Her reputation is all the more enhanced when articles like yours fail to note that the reaction of the scientific community is not homogenous, and that the outrage is directed at her falsehoods and errors, not her choice of topics or venue.
“In a sense, the two competing storylines about Judith Curry—peacemaker or dupe?—are both true.”
As documented in my previous post, Ms Curry is no peace maker insomuch as she is merely claiming to be acting as a mediator while actually taking a very partisan and disingenuous position. That leaves dupe, but I don’t think it’s that simplistic either.
And what about that appalling so-called “survey” (so bad some thought it a prank or hoax) … what were you people thinking? and no, Mariette DiChristina’s apologia does not explain it. Regardless, the damage is done.
My question is, what are you going to do to set it right?
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