The Problem With Lukewarm Climate Group Think

By John O’Sullivan

The question we put to lukewarmers is not so far removed from the question all skeptics pose to alarmists: ‘Are you intellectually lazy or intellectually ignorant?’

Reflect on the following quote by US President John F. Kennedy from his Commencement Address at Yale University on June 11, 1962:

The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie–deliberate, contrived and dishonest–but the myth–persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations.

We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

Kennedy had it right.  We need to let the context guide us and question rote interpretations.  Semantics and sophistry are greatly in play in debates about interpreting climate science and data, interpretations always being contextual and prone to be biased by intent and desires.

It is not intended to be an insult to characterize lukewarmers as ‘lazy’ because what we are all up against is convenience: the ‘go to’ easy option of appeal to authority –  where some ‘expert’ has already done all your thinking for you.

On this let’s examine the sage advice of American philosopher Mortimer J. Adler and how he addresses the problem in his book Intellect: Mind over Matter.

Adler spoke of the vice of intellectual sloth (or laziness). By this he means the avoidance of any use of one’s intellect, which means one’s power to understand and manipulate concepts, beyond what is necessary in order to get through one’s day-to-day life.

Adler warned us that intellectual laziness can easily prove harmful because it is a cop out from due diligence. In this instance,we are all prone to laziness in questioning perceived ‘experts’ who tell us how climate works – no question is more problematic that climate because of its enormous complexity and the vast array of scientific specialisms involved (inc. astrophysics, chemistry, oceanography, thermodynamics, spectroscopy, marine biology, etc).

For if we are diligent we arrive at our opinions and beliefs through an intellectual process, and all of our actions are based on our opinions and belief.

PSI/Slayers believe that since we have the power to discern what is true – thanks to our intellect – then we have a responsibility to apply it thoughtfully.  After publishing ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory’ in January 2011 we were met with instant hostility.

What astonished us was the knee-jerk antipathy towards our book by ‘experts’ who couldn’t even be bothered to read it. We could name many names but for brevity let us take the example of one very prominent lukewarmer, Dr Judith Curry (pictured).

Dr Curry, is an American climatologist and former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

As January 2011 was ending Dr Curry started a debate on her blog, judithcurry.com called ‘Slaying a greenhouse dragon’ which was touted as an open examination of our book. Curry’s piece went viral and elicited 2,518 reader comments.

https://judithcurry.com/2011/01/31/slaying-a-greenhouse-dragon/#comment-35871

At the top of the post Curry declared:

I’ve read Slaying the Sky Dragon and originally intended a rubuttal,[sic] but it would be too overwhelming to attempt this and probably pointless.”

Thereafter Curry (intentionally or ignorantly) mischaracterized the very concept of who and what was intended to be ‘Slayed.’ Curry wrote: “I’m hoping we can slay the greenhouse dragon that is trying to refute the Tyndall gas effect once and for all.” (id above)

Curry immediately and completely reverses our ‘Slayer’ analogy, so the whole concept is presented back to front to her readers. Why did Curry mischaracterize the ‘Slayers’ into being the very ‘greenhouse dragon‘ we say we have slayed?

Is Curry intentionally trying to cloud the debate by misrepresentation of the main metaphors or does this reveal Curry more likely hadn’t even read and understood the book at all?

Curry trips and falls right into the ‘lazy trap’ that Kennedy and Adler warned us about. Some commenters on her log post note her bias and speak out. As a result, it appears comments may have been systematically deleted. This fear is illustrated by an early post from ‘Slayer’ author, John O’Sullivan:

“I have to agree with omnologos on this. By inferring that all those skeptical of the man-made global warming meme (some, like us, skeptical of the greenhouse gas theory, itself) are supposed to be seeking a unified front as if we are a political or military force is, frankly, absurd.
We prefer to leave ambitions to claim a consensus to the post-normal science green brigade; they appear to have abandoned the traditional tenets of the scientific method. Consensus is utterly meaningless- being proven right is the goal even when the so-called ‘consensus’ is adamant we are wrong.
The statement, “I suspect that many undergrad physics or atmospheric science majors at Georgia Tech could effectively refute these chapters” is so funny coming from someone who is “too busy” to do what she infers is such a basic task, herself.”

It wasn’t just O’Sullivan. Fellow ‘Slayer’ author, Professor Claes Johnson, took issue with Curry’s apparent misrepresentations of our work commenting:

 “Judy: I do not say that radiative transfer plays no role in climate. It would be helpful for the debate if you would read what I write and not freely invent crackpot themes.”Claes Johnson | January 31, 2011 at 8:20 am

While Curry’s background is in the ‘soft’ science of geography, Professor Johnson (pictured) is Sweden’s most cited mathematical expert in peer-reviewed journals . [1] Johnson was particularly targeted by ‘soft’ science academics who jumped on the charge he was a ‘crackpot.’ Curry appeared determined to denigrate Johnson and at the same time avoid openly debating him.

Professor Claes Johnson, in the spirit of honest debate, challenged Curry’s dismissive bias:

“Judy: You say that “I suspect that many undergrad physics or atmospheric science majors at Georgia Tech could effectively refute these chapters I suggest that you actually try this as a take home exam for your students. From your teaching they will understand that Kiehl-Trenberth is wrong but maybe they will find something they think is right. Go ahead! ”  January 31, 2011 at 8:49 am

To the best of our knowledge, Dr Curry ignored Professor Johnson’s challenge. Moreover, the comment O’Sullivan referred to by ‘omnologos’ is not shown. It appears to have been censored. We know this because ‘omnologos’ responds:

omnologos | January 31, 2011 at 8:54 pm |

“Thank you for mentioning me John as my comment has been snipped out.”

Not only is there evidence of Curry’s bias or, shall we say, ‘intellectual laziness’ but Curry, herself, conceded NASA, too was a guilty party. Commenters on her blog talked of the obvious junk science representations of a NASA earth energy budget diagram our book had exposed. Her readers were now questioning Curry on something she and her fellow ‘experts’ had never noticed, as ‘Sam NC’ shows:

“Why did NASA not correct it and mislead the general public for over 10 years with that incorrect diagram?” February 6, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Dr Curry responded:

“This diagram apparently first appeared in a doc designed for K-12 education. The names Eric Barron (currently president of Florida State University) and John Theon were on the doc (back when theon was still employed at NASA and Barron was at Penn State, which places it in the mid 90’s). But I assume this diagram was drawn by a staff person, and Barron didn’t pay close attention. That is the only way I can explain this. Somehow John O’Sullivan spotted this (or at least publicized this). And it sits on a web site to the present day.” curryja  February 7, 2011 at 5:45 am

To which ‘Sam NC’ replied:

“Over the 10 years, this diagram has misled the K-12 students, the teachers, the politicians and the world who visited the NASA site. This is a serious American educational flaw that NASA, Eric Barron and John Theon should be informed to correct the diagram or delete from the NASA website and owe the American Education and the world an apology.” February 7, 2011 at 8:04 am

Of course, we can’t prove Curry is in anyway a conspirator in this wholesale deception we do urge readers to be vigilant and skeptical of not only the alarmist ‘experts’ but these supposed lukewarm skeptics, too. Much to Dr Curry’s credit she ran a follow up blog post in August 2011 in which she publicly distanced herself from her fellow lukewarmers on the nonsense they peddle about ‘back radiation’ heating. Curry admitted:

“Back radiation is a phrase, one that I don’t use myself, and it is not a word that is used in technical radiative transfer studies.” [2]

therein replied:

“Congratulations Judy: You are making progress, after 2500 Dragon comments: So now you agree with me that back radiation is not physics, just a phrase. But it is a phrase that matters, because CO2 alarmism comes from inflating one-way net transfer by a factor of 10 by replacing it with the difference of massive two-way transfer = the difference between upward and downward longwave radiation.”

The manuscript for the new ‘Slayers’ book is currently being edited by our publishers. The above is a sample.

[1] https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=40UhzoMAAAAJ&hl=en

[2] https://judithcurry.com/2011/08/13/slaying-the-greenhouse-dragon-part-iv/#comment-98093

John O’Sullivan is CEO of PRINCIPIA SCIENTIFIC INTERNATIONAL, legally registered in the UK as a company incorporated for charitable purposes. Head Office: 27 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AX. Telephone: Calls from within the UK: 020 7419 5027. International dialling: (44) 20 7419 5027. 

Ref.: https://principia-scientific.org/the-problem-with-lukewarm-climate-group-think/

The atmosphere is warmed by the sun and cooled by convection, CO2 is utterly irrelevant!

That is actually all you need to know.

Ad