Judith Curry abandons science
But I’m glad the GOP chose her as a witness for a climate hearing
NOV 11, 2010
My one-time lecture-circuit companion, Dr. Judith Curry, Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, has now taken the crown as the most debunked person on the science blogosphere, which is quite a feat considering the competition. But she invites debunking by her tendency to make scientific-sounding pronouncements without having actually read the relevant literature, and then backing down the minute she is challenged by someone who has or who has actually contributed to that literature.
And then there’s her tendency to libel people, such as this whopper in an interview by Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle: ...
Without Reading, Contrarian Climate Scientist Judith Curry Bashes Chris Mooney’s New Book On The Republican Brain
Chris Mooney - APR 2, 2012
When Storm World came out, it is no exaggeration to say that Curry gave it a rave review. I want to quote in full from her Five Star endorsement at Amazon.com, which is entitled “Science writing at its very best.” Bear with me, this will all become very relevant; and I’ve bolded a few important parts: ...
... After Storm World came out, Curry also invited me to speak at Georgia Tech, where she works.
So imagine my surprise when I came across this post at Curry’s blog, about my new book The Republican Brain. Unlike Storm World, Curry admits she has not read the book. Nevertheless, she cites a variety of critics — none of whom seem to have read the book, either — and uses labels like “neurotrash” and “neurobabbling” to describe what, she seems to think, I am up to.In the process, Curry repeats a common but fundamental misunderstanding of the research on the psychological or biological underpinnings of ideology — suggesting that I’m claiming that “a defensive ideology is hardwired into [conservatives’] brain.” Nope. Wrong.
Continuing her misunderstanding of the subject matter, Curry posed a classic false choice:
Multiple choice test: Republicans are more skeptical than Democrats about climate change because:
a) A defensive ideology is hardwired into their brain
b) A growing distrust of scientific institutions because of the politicization of science
First, and to repeat, there is no “hardwiring.” That is not the ‘psychology of ideology’ thesis. But there is such a thesis, and it is based on a great deal of research.
Second and more important, the conservative distrust of science is America a combination of both conservative psychology and also developments in the political environment. This is something I explain in detail in the book that Curry has not read. It is also something I explain in a new item at Salon.com.
To draw an analogy with the hurricane climate debate, these sorts of errors are roughly on par with saying that global warming ‘caused’ an individual hurricane (nonsense), and with saying that if we have a quiet hurricane season, then there must be no global warming, or no global warming effect on hurricanes (nonsense). The hurricane-climate issue is scientific complex and characterized by uncertainty, and so is the psychology-politics issue — but that doesn’t mean there isn’t serious science on both topics, or a need to report on it.
I fully expect dismissive reviews from ideologues who have not read my book, and from contrarians who don’t want to admit what the science has to say about political ideology. But from someone who has called my previous work “science writing at its absolute best”, and extolled me for grasping “the nuances of the breadth of scientific arguments and uncertainties”?
I am not asking Curry to suddenly become an expert in political psychology. All I’m asking is this: Doesn’t a writer who, in your own words, practices “science journalism at its absolute best,” merit a more, shall we say, engaged treatement?
Too busy to dig for more just now, but there’s plenty, just gotta poke around.