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Professor quits job at university over "craziness" in climate science

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posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 10:48 AM
ATS folks that are a little deeper into climate science might know her already, but Professor Dr. Judith Curry, former Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, resigned from her position at Georgia Institute of Technology as of the 1st of January 2017.

Dr. Curry has been speaking about the craziness of climate science for years now through her blog and conferences, and testified in the US Senate warning about the threat of groupthink that is growing within the academic world of climate science.
"Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate Over the Magnitude of the Human Impact on Earth’s Climate."

Despised by some peers, well respected among many others. Judith Curry has always been a rational and refreshing voice in the climate change debate, but now she is stepping away from academia and will pursue a new path.

On her blog Climate Etc. and on Fox she explains why she exactly resigned. Her reasons are very revealing:

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.


At first, I thought the changes I saw at Georgia Tech were due to a change in the higher administration (President, Provost, etc). The academic nirvana under the prior Georgia Tech administration of Wayne Clough, Jean-Lou Chameau and Gary Schuster was a hard act to follow. But then I started to realize that academia and universities nationwide were undergoing substantial changes. I came across a recent article that expresses part of what is wrong: Universities are becoming like mechanical nightingales.

The reward system that is in place for university faculty members is becoming increasingly counterproductive to actually educating students to be able to think and cope in the real world, and in expanding the frontiers of knowledge in a meaningful way (at least in certain fields that are publicly relevant such as climate change).


A deciding factor was that I no longer know what to say to students and postdocs regarding how to navigate the CRAZINESS in the field of climate science. Research and other professional activities are professionally rewarded only if they are channeled in certain directions approved by a politicized academic establishment — funding, ease of getting your papers published, getting hired in prestigious positions, appointments to prestigious committees and boards, professional recognition, etc.

How young scientists are to navigate all this is beyond me, and it often becomes a battle of scientific integrity versus career suicide (I have worked through these issues with a number of skeptical young scientists).

She also has some very interesting things to say about the role of the internet in climate science.

Once you detach from the academic mindset, publishing on the internet makes much more sense, and the peer review you can get on a technical blog is much more extensive. But peer review is not really the point; provoking people to think in new ways about something is really the point. In other words, science as process, rather than a collection of decreed ‘truths.’

At this point, I figure that I can reach more people (including students and young researchers) via social media. Do I pretend to have any answers to all this? No, but I hope I am provoking students and scientists to think outside of their little bubble.

Unfortunately this is yet another sign that the integrity of climate science is under serious threat. The positive thing though is that more and more scientists are are coming forward and no longer accept being bullied all the time for solely trying to pursue true science.

Much respect and thanks for all that Dr. Curry has contributed to the debate of climate science up to this point, and I wish her nothing but the best going forward from here.

posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 10:59 AM
a reply to: snchrnct

Thanks for posting this
Dr. Curry is one of the same voices I recognized in my wade through most of the global warming / climate change doom porn the left has been spouting . I cant say she will be missed as she seems to have a plan to reach and teach more using the www . Having that PC monkey off her back might just be the ticket for us to learn and understand what is really going on in the field .

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posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 11:03 AM
a reply to: snchrnct

I've been saying this same thing for more than 20 years as I was deeply involved with the NRC, universities and the grant programs, she's spot on! If you vary from the government supported path of consensus over science, you are punished, you don't get grants and you are discredited. There is no profit in truth, there is only profit in support of the agenda. Climate science has become a religion unto itself, complete with high priests and a mass of followers who simply ride a bus without knowing the direction, because they profit from herd behavior.

Cheers - Dave

posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 11:04 AM
The catch is that it's not just universities but even professional science groups that are warning of long-term effects of global warming.

posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 11:23 AM
What if we're really not the cause of Climate Change?

posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 11:34 AM
a reply to: bobs_uruncle

Thanks for your insight. Based on your own experiences I'm interested to know whether you believe in the power of the internet (especially social media) and the potential of it to stop this craziness? Or what else could in your opinion counter the dwindling integrity we see in academia, focus more attention on free market solutions? Is there any solution to it at all you think?

posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 12:13 PM
a reply to: snchrnct

Don't mean to be a pain but hasn't his basic idea of schools/universities teaching to pass exams rather than teaching to teach been talked about for years. Yes I know that wasn't his only point but I honestly think it's been talked about for a while at least over here I've seen it mentioned at least half a dozen times in the last two years (all right so it isn't a super lot lol).

With that being said, I do think school curriculum needs to be updated and changed. I know people are gonna bash me for this but I don't think kids enjoy learning half the stuff they do now and some of it they really don't need unless they go for a certain education: Algebra is always the first hit, few kids will need this when they leave school, even at a basic level it's rarely something that's need at least no one I know who've been taught it has needed it. Same with other classes like Foreign Languages, English is one of the top two or three spoken languages so I'm not sure it needs to be taught unless it's a chosen subject. Personally I think they should be replaced with something that effects kids and pupils of today and no I'm not talking iPhone 101 or anything like that. I work in a school and have heard a lot of kids and even some of the teachers say things like "The kids just don't care about Romeo and Juliet. They don't want to read about William Shakespeare" there was on teacher who actually went out and searched for modern versions of those books to teach that he claims were the same basic lessons in both story telling and writing style.

Rant ended? Yh I think so lol

posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 12:21 PM
But her position isn't as scary of feed for the Culture of Fear. It dies for that gooey doom porn stuff.
edit on 8-1-2017 by IgnoranceIsntBlisss because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 12:25 PM
a reply to: snchrnct

From the sources I can find, Curry appears to say "I don't know" and "No one knows for sure" and is against political prescriptions for climate change rather than gives ANY conclusions on global climate change or causation of variability (i. e. whether man-made or not). Looks like Curry has continually done consulting for fossil fuel companies since 2007 and, like others who were investigated last year by Congress, may have conflicts of interest. In the case of Curry and the other scientists, I think financial disclosure is important and shouldn't be a big deal for scientists who are focused on data collection and assessment, not influencing policy.

For example, when people were concerned about second-hand smoke, tobacco companies funded research that concluded such smoke was harmless. If the fossil fuel companies are funding and encouraging scientific "results" most people should have that information as well when weighing the statements of scientists possibly compensated to provide proof, regardless of the conclusions. Consensus does not always indicate conspiracy by the majority, especially when factoring in objective data.

If you are doubtful about climate science, take a few weeks this summer and work with a biologist/geologist in one of America's National Parks. These scientists are so deep in their subject they barely have time to report statistics or trends. Look at the carbon capture stations, assess the data yourselves. Look at the wildlife population variabilities and the sharp changes in the past 20 years, check out the terrain shift underway and the disappearing glaciers (check out Grasshopper Glacier - - the source is a local newspaper whose owner is a conservative Republican BTW). Get some hands-on info and weigh it against political rhetoric and press releases.

Curry's perspective in the following interview mirrors my own a few times, in regards to what can be done to address the problems of increasing carbon in the atmosphere: nothing at this point. The most urgent action required is that humanity agrees change is happening, then we can move forward to prepare for a different climactic future (one without as much biodiversity or fresh water, for example), assessing what the consequences may entail.

"All we can do is be as objective as we can about the evidence and help the politicians evaluate proposed solutions," she says. If that means doing nothing, "I can't say myself that that isn't the best solution."

And this is where Curry parts company most clearly with her peers. For example, the leading scientific organization for earth scientists, the American Geophysical Union, says in a position statement that climate change "requires urgent action." It concludes that despite some uncertainties, there's no scenario where climate change will be inconsequential.

Curry's dissent from this position is as much about the economics as about the science.

"I have six nieces and nephews who have recently graduated from college," she says. "Not easy finding jobs in this economy. Are we going to jeopardize their economic future, and we don't know if they're going to care and if this is going to matter?"

Of course doing nothing to address climate change is actually doing a lot. Carbon dioxide levels are growing fast in the atmosphere and are destined to double or triple over pre-industrial levels. Curry acknowledges that.

"I don't know how concerned I should be about it — on what time scale that might happen, whether that's 100 or 200 years, what societies will be like, what other things are going on with the natural climate," Curry says. "I just don't know what the next hundred or 200 years will hold, and whether this will be regarded as an important issue. I just don't know."

Advocates for action say we shouldn't run that experiment on our planet. Curry's response?

"Well, I think the experiment is going to happen whether people say we should run it or not. We're not going to convince China and India and other developing countries not to burn fossil fuels."

By now, of course, Curry has strayed far from science and deep into public policy. But like all of us, she does have a personal point of view. And hers, at root, is not about science; it's about individualism.

"I walk to work, I drive a Prius, I'm a fanatic about turning lights off and keeping air conditioning high and heating low, so I try to personally minimize my own carbon footprint. But in terms of telling other people what to do, I don't have any big answers."

(BTW I think China will soon stop burning fossil fuels in order to decrease any reliance on Trump's US for coal:

Accepting the facts of climate change is not so much "doom porn" as it is objective reality. How we face a world with increased climate variability, how we prepare, build resiliency into our agricultural systems, or water-supply systems, etc. will determine how we and future generations either adapt to a changed world or suffer the consequences. Curry just doesn't seem (for whatever reason) to be a scientist/individual who can grok the bigger picture and understand preparation rather than prevention.

posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 12:26 PM
a reply to: Dwoodward85

I think that a someone like a John Taylor Gatto could and should be the guy to turn the educational system in the proper direction

posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 12:36 PM
a reply to: Dwoodward85

Firstly, she's referencing Universities, not public schools.

Secondly, and I think more importantly, a part of our educational problem is that we don't put as much emphasis on math and English as we should. English is the most prominent language in the world, yes, but that only emphasizes the need to be able to communicate effectively in English. No one is going to approve a grant proposal that begins with "Their is a big neede for more re-searching in the area of neuron enteractivities under influence of magnet fields."

Math as well is a major benefit to everyone from a farmer to an engineer. Not just algebra, but I believe every single student who graduates high school should be able to handle simple calculus. That goal is achievable if the subject is taught well, but math is typically seen as the class coaches teach so they can get hired to generate sports income. Of course, given that attitude, kids aren't taught math well. The result is that kids show up for college unable to even understand the lectures and either flunk out or switch to less demanding majors.

Knowledge is never useless if it exists.

My accolades to Dr. Curry for standing up to the status quo.


posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 12:41 PM
a reply to: monkeyluv

...and how exactly in your mind does all agreeing to one another help restoring the lack of integrity and boost a better understanding of the climate system? Many scientists and activists (often a problematic combination in this respect) simply accept the AGW theory that is being pushed by the UN and the likes without researching the topic themselves. If all would take a step back and look deeper into the science, I'm sure more scientists would come forward and start asking some serious questions and demand some serious answers.

If one either blindly accepts what's told or puts his/her self-interest above the integrity of science, it's then that problems start to arise. That is precisely what we are witnessing now and for the past decades within the climate debate. The danger of falling into the trap of groupthink and "hereticacy" (I just made that word up) then becomes very real. This is exactly what Dr. Curry warned us about during her testimonial, and throughout the years on her blog.

When there is so much disagreement and large knowledge gaps about the extremely complex science of climate change, read: the role of natural variability vs. human impact, why not give much more room and funds to the "other side" as well? Wouldn't that be a logical move if we are genuinly interested in getting to the bottom of it? I know why... it's not really about the science, but about money, political power and control.

posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 12:47 PM
Truther movement for climate science vs somewhat deceptive program that still might yield positive results.
This one is tough for me to vote on since some of the efforts could help coastal communities with the problem of Hurricanes, and lowering emissions is good for the climate.
What they are asking us to do though is exaggerate the problem to bring in more funding that might not be allocated where it is needed.
Maybe they are thinking this is a good testing point for the kind of critical thinking that helps in the real world.
What will become of these climate science graduates that pay tuition for these climate science courses?

posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 01:37 PM
a reply to: snchrnct

Its one of the many ways in which TPTB control "anti-establishment" speech.

'Brilliant and ethical' English professor 'loses his job' at top U.S. university after posting a series of 'anti-Israel' Tweets.

A pro-Palestinian college professor's tenure offer at the University of Illinois was rescinded after he made anti-Israel tweets about the war in Gaza.

edit on 8-1-2017 by gladtobehere because: wording

posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 04:40 PM
a reply to: TheRedneck

I agree with you completely, I wasn't talking about getting rid of ALL math subjects though. I just meant that Algebra isn't something that most pupils will need to know in their future lives and that it could be removed and the same for English, yes teaching it properly and how to best use the English language is right but again I was talking more foreign languages as not really being needed.

posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 05:59 PM
a reply to: Dwoodward85

Ah, I see now where I misread that. My apologies.

I tend to agree that foreign language courses are pushed a bit too hard. I like the fact that my daughter had to learn one (Spanish), but really, she hasn't used it since high school and barely can speak it at all now.

A lot of people have trouble with the differences between various levels of school; I know I did. I despised high school, and that caused me to delay college. When I did go back to a community college, I loved it! The things that drove me nuts in high school (the authoritarian attitude and mediocrity of instruction) were gone. When I transferred to a University, things changed again... the classes became more detailed and more difficult, but more enjoyable because real-world issues were discussed along with theory. Grad school was another huge leap; I was not just a student, but expected to solve complex issues on my feet, including real-world limitations.

Every step was a step up and more fun than the last one.

The OP is right, though. A large part of grad school surrounds grants and research. These are the makers and shakers of tomorrow trying to strut their stuff, and they typically do awesome work. But when the political requirement for specific results is injected into the equation, it takes the fun out and actually prevents many talented people from continuing. Those who do often find themselves indoctrinated into a world where specific results mean more than truth, leading to intellectually dishonest scientists.

That's my biggest concern: the damage being done to science itself in the name of Global Warming. Without the unimpeded search for truth, science is nothing more than propagandized opinions of the faithful.


posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 06:05 PM
Uh oh...I hope she is prepared to suffer through the Church of Climatology's "disconnection" punishment.

posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 06:42 PM
a reply to: queenofswords

She has been battling these forces for years now, I'm sure she'll be fine!

posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 08:14 PM
a reply to: snchrnct

It wasn't pushed by the UN but by different organizations. For example, check out the NAS.

posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 08:50 PM
Who would have thought going against facts would be looked down apon by Universities and their staff? I am sure she will be fine running away to FOX like she did for her post retirement interview.

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