Willis Eschenbach’s Reply to Dr. Curry
February 24, 2010Posted by on
I am going to shamelessly grab Willis Eschenbach’s reply to Dr. Curry’s multi bolg article because IMHO you won’t find a more clear refutation of as I put it BS (Willis is more diplomatic then me, I also cut out his long his synopis of Dr. Curry’s letter).
Willis Eschenbach (13:50:31) :
[snipped the digest]
Having made such a digest, my next step is to try to condense it into an “elevator speech”. This is a very short statement of the essential principles of an idea. My elevator speech of Judith’s post would be this.
Climategate has destroyed the public trust in climate science. Initially skepticism was funded by big oil. Then a climate auditing movement sprang up. They were able to bring the climate establishment to its knees because people trusted them. Public and policy makers don’t understand the truth as presented by the IPCC. To rebuild trust, climate scientists need to better communicate their ideas to the public, particularly regarding uncertainty. The blogosphere can be valuable in this regard.
OK, now what’s wrong with this picture?
The biggest problem is in one of the core ideas. This is the claim that the problem is that climate scientists have not understood how to present their ideas to the public. Judith, I respect you greatly, but you have grabbed the wrong end of the stick. The problem is not how climate scientists have publicly presented their scientific results.
The problem is that 71.3% of what passes as peer reviewed science is simply junk science, as false as the percentage cited in this statement. In other words, the lack of trust is not a problem of perception. It is a problem of lack of substance. Results are routinely exaggerated. “Scientific papers” are larded with “may” and “might” and “could possibly”. Advocacy is a common thread in scientific papers. Codes and data are routinely concealed. A concerted effort is made to marginalize and censor opposing views.
And most disturbing, for years you and the other climate scientists have not said a word about this disgraceful situation. When Michael Mann had to be hauled in front of a congressional committee to force him to follow the simplest of scientific requirements, transparency, you guys were all wailing about how this was a huge insult to him. An insult to Mann? Get real. Mann is an insult to climate science, and you, Judith, didn’t say one word in public about that. Not that I’m singling you out. No one else stood up for climate science either. It turned my stomach to see the craven cowering of mainstream climate scientists.
The solution to that is not, as you suggest, to give scientists a wider voice or educate them in how to present their garbage to a wider audience.
The solution is for you to stop trying to pass off garbage as science. The solution is for you establishment climate scientists to police your own back yard. When Climategate broke, there was widespread outrage … well, widespread everywhere except in the climate science establishment. Other than a few lone voices, the silence was deafening. And you wonder why we don’t trust you? Because a whole bunch of you are guilty of scientific malfeasance, and the rest of you are complicit in the guilt by your silence.
And you still don’t seem to get it. You approvingly quote Ralph Cicerone about the importance of transparency … Cicerone?? That’s a sick joke.
You don’t get it. You think people made the FOI requests because we were concerned that the people who made the datasets were the people using them in the models. As the person who made the first FOI request to CRU, I assure you that is not true. I made the request to CRU because I was disgusted with Phil Jone’s reply to Warwick Hughes request for data. Jones famously said:
Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?
When I heard that, I was astounded. I thought, “Well, he’s gonna get his hand slapped hard by real scientists for that kind of anti-scientific statements”. So I waited for some mainstream climate scientist to speak out against that kind of scientific malfeasance … and waited … and waited. In fact, I’m still waiting. I registered my protest against this bastardisation of science by filing an FOI. When is one of you mainstream climate scientist going to speak out against this kind of malfeasance? It’s not too late to condemn what Jones said, he’s still in the news and pretending to be a scientist, when is someone going to take a principled stand?
But nobody wants to do that. Instead, you want to explain how trust has been broken, and figure out more effective communication strategies to repair the trust. You want a more effective strategy? Here’s one. Ask every climate scientist to grow a pair of huevos and get outraged in public about the abysmal practices of far, far too many mainstream climate scientists. Because the public is assuredly outraged, and you are all assuredly silent … and that is extremely damaging to you.
A perfect example is you saying above:
Such debate is alive and well in the blogosphere, but few mainstream climate researchers participate in the blogospheric debate. The climate researchers at realclimate.org were the pioneers in this …
For you to say this without also expressing grave concern about realclimate’s ruthless censorship of every opposing view is more of the same conspiracy of silence. Debate is not “alive and well” at realclimate as you say, that’s a crock. Realclimate continues to have an undeserved reputation that it is a scientific blog because you and other mainstream climate scientists are unwilling to bust them for their egregious flouting of scientific norms. When you stay silent about censorship like that, Judith, people will not trust you, nor should they. You have shown by your actions that you are perfectly OK with censoring opposing scientific views.
The key to restoring trust has nothing to do with communication. Steve McIntyre doesn’t inspire trust because he is a good communicator. He inspires trust because he follows the age-old practices of science — transparency and openness and honest reporting of results.
And until mainstream climate science follows his lead, I’ll let you in on a secret — I don’t want trust in climate science to be restored. I don’t want you learning better ways to propagandize for shoddy science. I don’t want you to figure out how to better inspire trust by hiding your unethical practices in new and innovative ways. I don’t want scientists learning to use clever words and communication tricks to get people to think that the wound is healed until it is actually healed. I don’t want you to use the blogosphere to spread your pernicious unsupported unscientific alarmism.
You think this is a problem of image, that climate science has a bad image. It is nothing of the sort. It is a problem of scientific malfeasance and complicity by silence. The public, it turns out, has a much better bullsh*t detector than the mainstream climate scientists do … or at least we’re willing to say so in public, while y’all cower in your holes with your heads down and never, never, never say a bad word about some other scientist’s bogus claims and wrong actions.
You want trust? Do good science, and publicly insist that other climate scientists do good science as well. It’s that simple. Do good science, and publicly call out the Manns and the Joneses and the Thompsons and the rest of the charlatans that you are currently protecting.
Once that is done, the rest will fall in line. And until then, I’m overjoyed that people don’t trust you. I see the lack of trust in mainstream climate science as a huge triumph for real science. Fix it by doing good science and by cleaning up your own backyard. Anything else is a coverup.
Judith, again, my congratulations on being willing to post your ideas in public. You are rara avis, and I respect you greatly for it.
PS – a “monolithic climate denial machine”?? Puhleease, Judith, you’re talking to us folks who were there on the ground fighting the battle. Save that farrago for people who weren’t there, those who don’t know how it went down.
You can see Willis’ and many other replies over at WUWT:
UPDATE: Anthony has posted up a guest post by Willis dealing with Dr. Curry’s letter. Willis says that it is an expansion on the comment I copied above. You can read Willis’ post here: