Saturday, November 06, 2010

Where's the beef, Curry?





.....





What, after a title like that, you expect some content too? Oh, ok then. Here goes.

This post was supposed to be a response to Curry's much-awaited attempt to resuscitate her "Italian Flag". She first said she'd write something on Tuesday, then it became Friday, now it is promised for some time over the weekend. Maybe.

It seems she is far too busy to deal with this minor issue (which underpins, or rather undermines, every quantitative statement she has made regarding the purported failings of the IPCC analysis). Too busy throwing up increasingly hysterical blogorrhea about the "high priests of the IPCC". One of her recent gems is to use the fact that some headline-writer used the term "heretic" to describe her (which she is clearly thrilled by) as evidence that the IPCC is dogma-ridden. Because the definition of heresy is opposition to dogma. When faced with such incisive logic, what can we do but bow down before her genius? Well, "point and laugh" springs to mind too.

She is even recycling the Santer thing. She doesn't seem to realise that (as Jonathan Gilligan points out) this story is ancient discredited history and her attempts to bring it up again only show how completely vacuous her position is.

Back to the flag, or should I call it a shroud, as its only value seems to be in wrapping the corpse of her case. She seems to think that replying to our criticisms (me and me again echoing mt) is beneath her, as we are only insignificant people well off her radar and she really wants to attract the attention of those with "stature" such as Gavin Schmidt and Joe Romm. Well, the topic of of probability in climate change is very much my turf, and the fact that she doesn't seem to realise that reflects rather more on her (complete lack of) engagement and understanding with the field, than it does on me. Don't take my word for it, let Google Scholar be your guide, here and here. Yeah, I know I'm not really a major player in the great scheme of things, but compared to her I am (on this topic). My apologies if providing actual evidence frightens those who prefer the new style of content-free verbiage.

She's really building up quite a history of throwing up vague or demonstrably wrong claims, then running away when shown to be wrong. Here on the no-feedback climate sensitivity, for example. Gryposaurus took her to task here on aerosols and D&A (based partly on comments from Gavin) and found her response lacking. Here is Eric Steig refuting her absurd claim about the IPCC that "they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC." Her eventual response (which had to be dragged out of her through repeated challenges that she kept on ducking) was merely to dismiss it as an "anecdote", even though one single case serves to refutes her claim. Well, I don't think I got quite such a rapturous response as Eric did, with my attempts to improve the AR4 drafts, but I certainly didn't get trampled and discredited either - merely made to feel mildly unwelcome, which I find tends to happen when I criticise people outside the IPCC too. But they did change the report in various ways. While I'm not an unalloyed fan of the IPCC process, my experience is not what she describes it as. So make that two anecdotes. Maybe I'm an "insider" too, in her book :-) If she ever deigns to address the substantive point on probability, maybe she can let me know, but I'm not holding my breath. Her main tactic seems to be throwing up layers upon layers of an increasing shaky edifice as quickly as possible hoping that no-one will notice that the foundations are collapsing as quickly as people can read.

Silver lining: even Keith Kloor seems to be getting frustrated with her (eg here and his other comments on that post).

Update 7 Oct: Might as well add another classic Curry failure to come up with any content on this thread here culled from RC, where she starts off by puffing the Montford Delusion book and when "her" points are demolished, promptly disowns them as not really her opinions at all, just something she read somewhere. And here is the car-crash that is her promotion of Wegman that she rapidly backtracks from. I'm sure there are more. To be honest it's a bit of a pain tracking these various conversations across several blogs comment threads with low signal-to-noise, which is partly why I'm not joining in with them much.

21 comments:

P. Lewis said...

I was intrigued enough to go seek what meaning is attached to the colours on the Italian flag, flags being hot on symbolism.

Apparently there are a number of possibilities.

Chief among them appears to be that green symbolizes hope, white represents faith and red signifies charity. So, perhaps Curry is hot (tsk, tsk) on faith, and not too hot on hope and charity.

Yet another symbolism that might be attached to the flag arises from "Ancient and Heraldic traditions":

White - peace and honesty
Red - hardiness, bravery, strength & valour
Green - hope, joy and love and in many cultures have a sacred significance.

Hmm. Perhaps Curry is the new honest broker after all?

Lazar said...

"though one single case serves to refutes her claim"

After much foot dragging she did concede the point, though she hasn't amended the text. Her proffered replacement is not much better...

"my statement should have said “never tolerated (except for Eric Steig)”"

... strange how she makes such confident stts about a population from a possibly non-random sample from a single institution... given her concerns over characterizing uncertainty and overconfidence 'n all

Anonymous said...

Another gem:

"By stating my opinions openly and engaging with skeptics, I’ve pretty much committed professional suicide in terms of my climate “peers.” Well if that is the case, I’m redefining my peer group to be the broader scientific community that is outside this particular system."

And it seems to be working:

"Lazar, trust me, the body of climate scientists is much larger than the people you are exposed to in the blogosphere. In fact, I just got an email from someone running for for a council position in a professional society, that wishes he had used my statement for his platform."

Lazar said...

Maybe you and Steig could collaborate on a post... detailing your critical comments... how professionally they were dealt with... what if any changes were made (presumably) as a result... and how satisfied you were with the outcomes...

I think that would provide useful data on how the IPCC process works, warts 'n' all, to outsiders... so we're not taken in by the hyperbole...

gryposaurus said...

Also, I posted a link after she said:

...read the emails...

when pushed on the 'dissenters' point. So I posted an email with Jones and Wigley discussing the dissenters portion of the IPCC. I asked her if this fit her description of what happens to an individual who challenges the IPCC. She didn't respond to that one. I don't really expect her to respond to anything I post, so C'est la vie.

Lazar said...

gryposaurus,

I think that exchange refers to a report by the former U.S. Climate Change Science Program... now Global Change Research Program.

But yeah... Wigley was a contributing author on three TAR chapters and one AR4 chapter... and is a class act imho.

EliRabett said...

Although hard to believe for us lifers, Curry has not been an active participant in the climate blogs until now, and appears unaware of much that is old stuff to us. Unfortunately she has chosen the wrong advisers who are feeding her nonsense, and she has not started to check up on them. As Eli said. . .

willard said...

Grypo,

I have been answered today:

http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/05/no-dogma/#comment-8771

The answer:

> i saw that, couldn’t make any sense of it, which is the main problem I have with mt’s site

Such is life, I guess.

EliRabett said...

Maybe she should try this

http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7521585/

willard said...

:-D

Thank you, Undetached Rabett Parts.

gryposaurus said...

Lazar,
Thanks for that clarification. This email doesn't directly speak to Judith's argument, so I can't expect her to respond to it fairly, although a case could be made that both participants also work on the IPCC and their conversation treats the dissenters fairly. It could squeeze the cadre that much smaller. ;)

David B. Benson said...

Its called the Gish gallop.

James Annan said...

Lazar,

Interesting idea, but I don't think I'd go for that. The IPCC drafts were really "not for public dissemination" (even though freely available, at least at that time) and it would be hard to do a post without explicitly quoting from them. Alluding to some changes (which can be found by people sufficiently motivated) is one thing, putting them up front in a post is another. Especially as they are things the IPCC didn't actually say, in the end!

Mark said...

It shows a certain chutzpah to make a claim, giving no evidence whatsoever, and then dismiss counter-examples as "anecdote"

Michael Welland said...

Since I was the person who initially raised the methodology of evidential reasoning as a potentially valuable approach to capturing and communicating uncertainty in climate science, I would suggest that this is a topic for serious consideration rather than derision.

Yes, the "Italian flag" nickname is vulnerable to satire, but the underlying principle is a powerful one. Rather than operating in a space of 2 components - the chance of something happening and one minus that (by definition, itself unexamined)- it operates in a 3-component space comprising evidence for, evidence against, and a gap in the middle that represents uncertainty/the unknowns.

The mathematical foundation of this methodology has long been established and it is routinely applied in a wide variety of contexts where a thorough means of capturing uncertainty is required. See, for example, http://www.quintessa-online.com/TESLA/ESLGuide.pdf and a quick Google of "evidential reasoning" will demonstrate applications and value.

I am a geologist, not a climate scientist, and have no wish to participate in this blogospheric fray. However, in following some of these threads, and attempting to sort the wheat from the chaff, my preference is for serious treatments of serious topics.

James Annan said...

Michael, if you follow my links to my previous posts, you'll see that I am by no means hostile to the principle of it. My criticism is that Judith Curry's attempts at using it appear incoherent and nonsensical, and she has repeatedly chickened out of explaining what she means by it.

Anonymous said...

James,

Off topic, but I've followed the Annan and Hargreaves (successful IMHO) attempts to pin down the range of climate sensitivity.

I've just come across "Comment on “Using multiple observationally-based constraints to estimate climate sensitivity”" by Henriksson et al 2009 in Climate of the past discussions: http://www.clim-past-discuss.net/5/2343/2009/cpd-5-2343-2009.pdf

Apologies if you've already addressed this, but I can't find the reponse. Could you direct me to where you've responded?

Chris R

James Annan said...

Chris,

You can see our contribution to the discussion at the discussion page of that paper. We haven't decided if it is worth officially responding to, but may do this, especially as some significant changes were made to the manuscript subsequent to the open discussion phase (ie without us being able to debate them, as we were not officially involved as reviewers).

Anonymous said...

Thanks James,

And as I don't think I've ever said it: Thanks to both you and Jules for an interesting (science) and well shot (photos) blog.

Chris.

Lazar said...

hmmm... confusion... still no beef...

James Annan said...

Agreed. There is still nothing there.