Dr. Judith Curry is a major figure in climate science - a frequent publisher in peer-reviewed journals, co-researcher with Dr. Muller's Berkeley Earth Science Temperature (BEST) data set, and chair of Georgia Tech's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. In other words, she's not one of those beastly Deniers like you and me. And she has been slandered by Michael Mann (of "Hockey Stick") fame. Some people have suggested that she sue Mann just as Mann has sued Mark Stein. She isn't, but raises some incredibly important points about the diseased state of the scientific establishment:
All this is becoming quite the soap opera. Apart from the entertainment being provided for the climate blogosphere, there are three really important issues at stake here:
I come down stalwartly on the side freedom of speech and media access to information.
- freedom of speech
- academic freedom
- media access to information
With regards to climate science, IMO the key issue regarding academic freedom is this: no scientist should have to fall on their sword to follow the science where they see it leading or to challenge the consensus. I’ve fallen on my dagger (not the full sword), in that my challenge to the consensus has precluded any further professional recognition and a career as a university administrator. That said, I have tenure, and am senior enough to be able retire if things genuinely were to get awful for me. I am very very worried about younger scientists, and I hear from a number of them that have these concerns. [emphasis mine - Borepatch]
Tenure is an amazing privilege for academics. And now we see in the Mann/UVa case, that the establishment academics are worried about fear of embarrassment by public disclosure and fear that those who dislike their findings will conduct invasive fishing expeditions in search of a pretext to discredit them. Come on, big boy pants please. We are talking about publicly funded research, and a primary concern is supposed to be avoiding embarrassing the scientists?Remember, Dr. Curry is a climatologist. By her own admission, she has precluded further advancement of her scientific career by straying from the "consensus" view in her scientific publications. Only tenure protects her from more draconian retaliation.
For the past decade, scientists have come to the defense of Michael Mann, somehow thinking that defending Michael Mann is fighting against the ‘war on science’ and is standing up for academic freedom. Its time to let Michael Mann sink or swim on his own. Michael Mann is having all these problems because he chooses to try to muzzle people that are critical of Mann’s science, critical of Mann’s professional and personal behavior, and critical of Mann’s behavior as revealed in the climategate emails. All this has nothing to do with defending climate science or academic freedom.
The climate science field, and the broader community of academics, have received an enormous black eye as a result of defending the hockey stick and his behavior. Its time to increase the integrity of climate research particularly with regards to increasing transparency, calling out irresponsible advocacy, and truly promoting academic freedom so that scientists are free to pursue research without fear of recriminations from the gatekeepers and consensus police. [emphasis mine - Borepatch]
This is not the sign that climate science (as practiced in mainstream scientific institutions) is healthy. And this isn't by any means the first time that we've caught a glimpse of the velvet clad iron fist.
This has been happening for a long time.
If there is a "War On Science", then the Empire is striking back. This is really important stuff, and I recommend that you read all of Dr. Curry's post, as well as the one of mine here.
PHRENOLOGY, n. The science of picking the pocket through the scalp. It consists in locating and exploiting the organ that one is a dupe with.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary