My name is Tony Heller (aka Steven Goddard). I’m a professional climate change denier and I use this blog to blow the whistle on myself and sometimes others, too.
If you get a moment, check out Judith Curry’s latest blog post, “Ins and Outs of the Ivory Tower.” In it, Curry relies on her same tired trick of copying and pasting large swathes of text from others and then “reflecting” on how she thinks said person’s thoughts might have important implications for the larger climate debate. It’s a cheap way for her to sound profound without actually needing to be profound.
In her post, Curry shares the wisdom of Bas van der Vossen. As we know, any person with 4 words and a “van” in their name must be a very serious person. Indeed, Dr. Vossen holds a BS in political science, a master’s in philosophy, and a doctorate’s in political theory. What’s this guy known for? Absolutely nothing. Though he did earn a “B” on ratemyprofessors.com.
Curry cites and gushes over one of Vossen’s papers which argues “political activism violates the professional duty of political philosophers.” He also states it is “morally wrong for certain academics to be politically active or engaged.”
OK, well, I guess since there’s probably only about 100 political philosophers in the world that’s not a huge loss. As far as the criteria for who the other “certain academics” are, he says “sociology, political science, economics, gender studies, psychology, and so on.”
Ah, OK, “and so on.” I guess that about covers it.
And what are some examples of these immoral practices that some, but not all, academics should abstain? Vossen gives us eight examples of taboo behavior: “…being a member of a political party, campaigning during elections, making political donations, volunteering in advocacy groups, political community organizing, putting up yard signs or bumper stickers, promoting a political party at dinner parties, generally rooting for one side or another…” Vossen also warns that “activism risks polluting our thought and corrupting our findings.” Though Father Vossen didn’t say so explicitly, I presume academics can escape eternal hell fire through strict adherence to his commandments.
In a blog post on a niche website for libertarians called “Bleeding Heart Libertarians,” Vossen described the monkish political lifestyle he led after coming to the realization involvement with politics was evil:
“I made pretty radical changes to my life after becoming convinced of my thesis of non-activism. I no longer follow the political news, I have tried to distance myself from any sympathies I might have had for parties, movements or politicians (that one was easy), and so on. I highly recommend it.”
Though I guess the changes he made weren’t radical enough to stop him from writing on a blog for libertarians. He hand waves that away by saying, “I have always seen myself as a reluctant libertarian.” Whatever.
So Curry not only feeds us Vossen’s steaming pile of horseshit, she presents his rather radical notions as if they were obvious and self evident. As one of Curry’s star witnesses in her prosecution of scientists who openly advocate for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, we’re expected to just swallow his ideas whole.
So does Curry live up to Vossen’s ideals of the righteous, apolitical academic? Well, first she’s on record as making three contributions to Obama’s campaign. We’ll cut her some slack here though. This was, after all, before she became a holy roller and ran off with the denier cult. So let’s see how she’s done since. Here’s just a small sampling of some of her more recent political activity:
- Cheerleading and endorsement of Carly Fiorina’s climate change statements.
- She has stated her highly evidence-based conclusion that the EPA is “trying to sell [Obama’s clean power plan] as economic and public health issue is a ploy to develop political will for President Obama’s preferred energy policies.”
- After much research and data collection, she came to her highly scientific conclusion that Barack Obama’s Climate Change Fantasy was stupid.
- In the same post, she offered her cold, logic-driven analysis on the problems she sees with Republican and Democratic party approaches to the climate change debate as well as presidential candidates.
- Wrote a blog post entitled “Politics of the 2C.”
- Has repeatedly testified before Congress to try to persuade Congress that doing nothing on climate change is the right policy.
- Hooking up with an extreme right-wing political polemicist to attack climatologist Michael Mann.
As one of Curry’s blog post commenters stated, “You are publicly trying to shape opinion on both the science and policy with your blog, public speaking, and Congressional testimony. And it is all one sided. You are no honest broker. I would call that advocacy and I think most people would see it as advocacy too.”
Judith, may God have mercy on your soul.