Heresy and the creation of monsters by Professor Judith Curry MUST READ
This IMO is a very important article, on a par with the resignation letter of Harold 'Hal' Lewis.
Why? Because of who wrote it, and what she says.
Heresy and the creation of monsters
October 25, 2010
by Judith Curry
The title of the article itself is rather astonishing. The Wikipedia defines heresy as: “Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma.” The definition of dogma is “Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization: it is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from.” Use of the word “heretic” by Lemonick implies general acceptance by the “insiders” of the IPCC as dogma. If the IPCC is dogma, then count me in as a heretic. The story should not be about me, but about how and why the IPCC became dogma.
When I first started reading the CRU emails, my reaction was a visceral one. While my colleagues seemed focused on protecting the reputations of the scientists involved and assuring people that the “science hadn’t changed,” I immediately realized that this could bring down the IPCC. I became concerned about the integrity of our entire field: both the actual integrity and its public perception. When I saw how the IPCC was responding and began investigating the broader allegations against the IPCC, I became critical of the IPCC and tried to make suggestions for improving the IPCC. As glaring errors were uncovered (especially the Himalayan glaciers) and the IPCC failed to respond, I started to question whether it was possible to salvage the IPCC and whether it should be salvaged. In the meantime, the establishment institutions in the U.S. and elsewhere were mostly silent on the topic.
Let me preface my statement by saying that at this point, I am pretty much immune to criticisms from my peers regarding my behavior and public outreach on this topic (I respond to any and all criticisms of my arguments that are specifically addressed to me.) If you think that I am a big part of the cause of the problems you are facing, I suggest that you think about this more carefully. I am doing my best to return some sanity to this situation and restore science to a higher position than the dogma of consensus. You may not like it, and my actions may turn out to be ineffective, futile, or counterproductive in the short or long run, by whatever standards this whole episode ends up getting judged. But this is my carefully considered choice on what it means to be a scientist and to behave with personal and professional integrity.
Let me ask you this. So how are things going for you lately? A year ago, the climate establishment was on top of the world, masters of the universe. Now we have a situation where there have been major challenges to the reputations of a number of scientists, the IPCC, professional societies, and other institutions of science. The spillover has been a loss of public trust in climate science and some have argued, even more broadly in science. The IPCC and the UNFCCC are regarded by many as impediments to sane and politically viable energy policies. The enviro advocacy groups are abandoning the climate change issue for more promising narratives. In the U.S., the prospect of the Republicans winning the House of Representatives raises the specter of hearings on the integrity of climate science and reductions in federal funding for climate research.
What happened? Did the skeptics and the oil companies and the libertarian think tanks win? No, you lost. All in the name of supporting policies that I don’t think many of you fully understand. What I want is for the climate science community to shift gears and get back to doing science, and return to an environment where debate over the science is the spice of academic life. And because of the high relevance of our field, we need to figure out how to provide the best possible scientific information and assessment of uncertainties. This means abandoning this religious adherence to consensus dogma.