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  • Judith Curry Resigns Her Faculty Position.

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on January 5th, 2017 (All posts by )

    The world of Climate research lost a great academic figure as Judith Curry resigns her tenured faculty position at Georgia Tech.

    She has figured largely in the climate debate as a skeptic in global warming.

    I have retired from Georgia Tech, and I have no intention of seeking another academic or administrative position in a university or government agency. However, I most certainly am not retiring from professional life.

    Why did I resign my tenured faculty position?

    I’m ‘cashing out’ with 186 published journal articles and two books. The superficial reason is that I want to do other things, and no longer need my university salary. This opens up an opportunity for Georgia Tech to make a new hire (see advert).

    The deeper reasons have to do with my growing disenchantment with universities, the academic field of climate science and scientists.

    She has endured considerable abuse from the alarmist side. She is called a “heretic” in the alarmist circles.

    over the past year or so she has become better known for 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 such as Climate Audit, the Air Vent and the Black¬board. Along the way, she has come to question how climatologists react to those who question the science, no matter how well established it is. Although many of the skeptics recycle critiques that have long since been disproved, others, she believes, bring up valid points

    So, she might have a point. However:

    The experts broadly agree that it will take massive changes in agriculture, energy production, and more to avert a potential disaster.
    In this context, figuring out how to shape the public debate is a matter of survival. If people and governments are going to take serious action, it pretty much has to be now, because any delay will make efforts to stave off major climate change much more expensive and difficult to achieve. But the COP15 climate negotiations in Copenhagen last December ended in a watered-down policy document, with no legally binding commitments for countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    See, she is risking our lives with her skepticism ! Therefore, it doesn’t matter who is right ! It’s too dangerous to wait to see if the alarmists are correct. We must dismantle civilization.

    Curry ventured onto a blog run by Roger Pielke, Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado who is often critical of the climate science establishment, and onto Climate Audit, run by statistician Steve McIntyre. The latter, Curry adds, “became my blog of choice, because I found the discussions very interesting and I thought, ‘Well, these are the people I want to reach rather than preaching to the converted over at [the mainstream climate science blog] RealClimate.'”

    It was here that Curry began to develop respect for climate outsiders—or at least, some of them. And it made her reconsider her uncritical defense of the IPCC over the years. Curry says, “I realize I engaged in groupthink myself”—not on the hurricane paper per se but more broadly in her unquestioning acceptance of the idea that IPCC reports represent the best available thinking about climate change.

    The Nature article is interesting in showing how she began to look outside the closed academic world and saw some light. Now, she has given up on the academic world. One commenter points out an important fact.

    Never forget Wright Brother did a better job than Langley with a much smaller budget.

    My own skepticism began with the email scandal at East Anglia University.

    Late on the night of of November 19, news broke on PJM and elsewhere that a large amount of data had been stolen from one of the major climate research institutions by an unknown hacker and made available on the Internet. The institution is the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit, home institution for Dr Phil Jones and one of the world’s centers of research into anthropogenic global warming (AGW), or “climate change.”

    The hackers released about 172 megabytes of data, and we can be sure examining it closely will take some time. But after a few days, certain things are beginning to become clear.

    The data appears to be largely, perhaps entirely, authentic.
    The emails are incendiary.
    The implications shake the scientific basis for AGW, and the scientific reputations of some of AGW’s major proponents, to their roots.

    It has taken 7 years for the whole edifice to collapse. Meanwhile, Michael Mann is attempting to hold the lid on the scandal with a defamation lawsuit.

    Climate science is politicized from top to bottom. One of the nastier spats occurred in 2012 when Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) policy analyst Rand Simberg intemperately denounced Pennsylvania State University climate researcher Michael Mann as “the Jerry Sandusky of climate science.”* Sandusky, of course, was the Nittany Lion football coach convicted of child molestation. Simberg was critiquing the fact that the Penn State had just exonerated Mann of accusations of scientific misconduct. Columnist Mark Steyn piled on in the National Review declaring that the university’s “‘investigation’ by a deeply corrupt administration was a joke.”

    Mann’s suit against National Review has been dismissed. The suit against CEI and Mark Steyn can go forward.

    The Obama packed DC Appeals Court has continued the farce. I just hope Steyn and Simberg countersue for costs and time.

    Meanwhile Judith Curry has given up on academia.

    Meanwhile, evidence of academic malpractice continues to accumulate.

    A report released this year by Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers reinforces the disconnect between legal education’s overwhelming focus on legal knowledge and the competencies new lawyers need. A study of more than 24,000 lawyers in 50 states sought to determine the foundations entry-level lawyers need to launch successful careers in the legal profession. The study found “that characteristics (such as integrity and trustworthiness, conscientiousness, and comment sense), as well as professional competencies (such as listening attentively, speaking and writing, and arriving on time), were far more important in brand new lawyers than legal skills.” Yet, again, only in clinical and first-year legal writing courses are there efforts in the law school curriculum to address the “soft skills” so necessary for the success of new lawyers.

    I have watched the evolution of medical schools as the profession “feminizes” and am uneasy but so far the medical schools still seem to turn out competent physicians, albeit with less clinical experience.

    The deterioration of Humanities education at the college level proceeds apace as History is longer required for History Majors.

    The department eliminated requirements in U.S., North American and European history, as well as the foreign language requirement. Thus, it is possible that a student can major in history at GWU without taking a survey course on United States history.

    White man’s history, I guess.

     

    6 Responses to “Judith Curry Resigns Her Faculty Position.”

    1. pouncer Says:

      In specific point of fact, the accusation against Mike Mann that Penn State was asked to investigate was that he had, upon request from colleagues at CRU, deleted emails and relayed the request to another colleague to also delete emails — all such emails subject to “Freedom of Information” queries and all such deletions, or intentions to delete, violation of law. Nothing to do with science, everything to do with document handling. (Penn State reached no conclusion on this issue.)

      Penn State instead chose to explore the question of whether or not Mann was a famous and well-regarded researcher who was successful at fund raising. (They concluded he was.)

      The scientific question about whether or not he had, for instance, “tortured” the data from the “Tiljander Record” (by hanging it upside down and beating it until it confessed, presumably) was neither asked nor answered.

    2. Mike K Says:

      Discovery will be interesting. I just hope the good guys have enough resources to get to court and flay Penn State alive.

    3. David Foster Says:

      Arthur Koestler’s protagonist, Rubashov, in Darkness at Noon:

      “A short time ago, our leading agriculturist, B., was shot with thirty of his collaborators because he maintained the opinion that nitrate artificial manure was superior to potash. No. 1 is all for potash; therefore B. and the thirty had to be liquidated as saboteurs. In a NATIONALLY CENTRALIZED AGRICULTURE, the alternative of nitrate or potash is of enormous importance: it can decide the issue of the next war. If No. I was in the right, history will absolve him, and the execution of the thirty-one men will be a mere bagatelle. If he was wrong …”

      also:

      “We know that virtue does not matter to history, and that crimes remain unpunished; but that every error had its consequences and venges itself unto the seventh generation. Therefore we concentrated all our efforts on preventing error and destroying the very seeds of it. Never in history has so much power over the future of humanity been concentrated in so few hands as in our case. Each wrong idea we follow is a crime committed against future generations. Therefore we have to punish wrong ideas as others punish crimes: with death.”

    4. Brian Says:

      Eisenhower’s farewell address should be required reading for all Americans:
      “Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
      The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.
      Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

      Sometimes non-politicians know what they’re talking about…

    5. Grurray Says:

      Despite wishful predictions to the contrary, La Niña caused temperatures to drop precipitously in 2016 and is still persisting into the new year. Now I see California, which was preparing to ratchet down their economy to stone age levels in order to appease the drought gods, is ringing in 2017 with torrential rain and snow in a ‘once-in-10-year’ storm. Apparently nature didn’t get the memo that white men had permanently changed the weather.

    6. Mike K Says:

      Some interesting discussion of climate shenanigans.

      Especially interesting is a link in one comment,

      The number of temperature measuring stations in the northern areas have declined sharply to past 30 years.