Monday Mirthiness – John’s cooked up Skeptical Science survey

When I was first contacted by Skeptical Science proprietor John Cook about his request to have WUWT host a survey, I asked him several questions because I had misgivings about the design. He refused to answer my questions, and now I know why.  In my opinion, he’s engaging in a fraudulent survey designed to be biased from the start. I find it ironic that Cook the cartoonist and his survey, is now succinctly summed up by another cartoonist.

Josh writes:

Lots of blogs helping John Cook out here, especially Lucia and Brandon over at The Blackboard where Brandon has just discovered that the survey of 12,000 papers, is, in fact, not a survey of 12,000 papers but a selection of papers based on John’s own idea of which should be chosen. Wow.

cooked_survey

CartoonsbyJosh.com

If any journal publishes the (whatever) John Cook serves up in a bowl from this survey, it will be the end of their credibility.

67 thoughts on “Monday Mirthiness – John’s cooked up Skeptical Science survey

  1. “If any journal publishes the (whatever) John Cook serves up in a bowl from this survey, it will be the end of their credibility.”

    Count on a number of alarmist sites and MSM doing just that. Like their hero Gleick, they consider Cook and his site to be an authority on the subject.

  2. If the science and the facts were on their side; then why do they constantly have to “cook the books” so to speak.

  3. BradProp1 says (May 6, 2013 at 9:28 am)

    Is there any other branch of science which has to have propagandists constantly trying to nail it to the dead parrot perch? Only the most pernicious pseudoscience has this mentality.

  4. He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.

    -Friedrich Nietzsche, “Beyond Good and Evil”, Aphorism 146, 1886 (Ref)

  5. Last time I looked, science has never advanced one iota by finding out what the layman
    or experts believe. Surveys have zero relevance in the search for answers in a given scientific arena. Only those who have not the means for advancing the science would ever waste their time
    creating them. The fact that Cook, or anybody, expects respondent attitudes to advance knowledge is prima facie evidence of incompetence.

  6. It reminds me of a comment Tom Lehrer makes
    “Life is like a sewer what you get out of it depends on what you put into it”
    I don’t think I want to see what is in John Cooks bowl thank you

    James Bull

  7. Cook doesn’t need scientific rigor for a Lewandowksy-style paper….. any ol’ turd will do, so long as he gets to say something about “skeptic cognition” as inferior to the scientists themselves and to his fellow Alarmists…… but how will he identify “skeptic” survey takers if they don’t self-identify in the comment space? I wrote that the survey is garbage…. will that qualify me as some kind of skeptic?

    Perhaps Cook wants to study how the papers’ authors differ from the great unwashed in assessments of the meaning of the abstracts. In any case, there are severe peculiarities in how the 10 abstracts are served up for each survey-taker. As Brandon and others are discussing at Lucia’s, they seem to come from a much smaller subset of the 12,000 or so papers announced as part of the project. Only papers self-rated by an author seem to be eligible for this study (presumably the rate of response of paper authors to John Cook is far far below 100%, maybe 10 or 20% if he’s lucky). Will anything useful come out of this project? At least we all get a good laugh…..

  8. Cook, Lewandowsky, Gleick, Oreskes, Doran & Zimmerman, Mann – the intellectual quality of peer-reviewed climate science shines through.

  9. This survey is based on reviews of abstracts. I’m sure readers here can recall a number of papers that contradict the cagw meme, or parts of it, while still trotting out the party line in the abstract.

  10. Watching Lucia and Brandon reverse-engineer the survey algorithm is like watching McIntyre and McKittrick reverse-engineer hockey sticks. They’re all doing it for the challenge. So who’s under who’s microscope?

  11. Let me try that.

    “Recent polling results show that when asked who should be required to enroll in Obamacare, send their children to public schools, disarm, pay twice as much for electricity, and quit eating meat, 85% of Americans responded “Only Congress and the White House.”

    Now I just need to write the questions and ask Texans after 5PM when they get home from work, as opposed to Californians in the middle of the day on their fwee government cell phones which they got by clicking on a gmail ad.

  12. I didn’t realize you had to have gone to school on the ‘little bus’ to qualify for admission to the school of Climate Science. Some years ago they were all restricted to the school of Education.

  13. Lew, Lew, skip to the Lew…
    or, perhaps he’s looking at (for) (CAGW) team flakes?

    Whatever it is, it probably has the same content as
    most of the warmista’s papers….

    Maybe he could use a hockey stick to unclog things?

    You’ve hit the nail on the head (so to speak) Josh…

  14. arthur4563 says:
    May 6, 2013 at 9:45 am

    “Surveys have zero relevance in the search for answers in a given scientific arena.”

    This is precisely the problem. In the social pseudo-sciences, surveys are all they have. It was a social scientist who came up with the consensus of 97%. Lew is a social scientist and Cook is a… well cartoonist. In their ology 101s they took elementary stat manipulation of surveys and when they graduated, this is all they do. They believe this is precisely how science is done (believing theirs is a science). There was even a Nobel Prize given to a gangue of them (note it was a Peace Prize, not a scientific one). The fact that so many of them are dabbling in climate science is a measure of the status of climate science at this time. None of them are dabbling with Schroder’s equation, or Planck’s quantum theory (although these are apropos to a more fully developed climate science I would imagine).

  15. I see what the problem is here. He has his socks on the wrong feet. The port (left) sock should be red, and the starboard (right) sock should be green. No wonder he has everything bass-ackwards.

  16. arthur4563 says:
    May 6, 2013 at 9:45 am

    “….Surveys have zero relevance in the search for answers in a given scientific arena”

    Cook and friends are often deluded, but I doubt they would pretend that this survey advances any understanding of climate science per se. I think they are looking for any kind of sneers and smears they can concoct about “skeptic cognition” compared to the climate science mainstream and CAGW alarmists. Cook will slap together another Lew-style excrescence which purports to show what is wrong with “skeptics” about climate alarmism.

  17. Jimmy Haigh. says: May 6, 2013 at 9:22 am
    None of these guys can be trusted.

    On the contrary, I think they can be trusted absolutely to let politics drive their stance, in the face of every single piece of empirical evidence.

  18. Sorry, I don’t have the time to understand this. Can someone give simplified analogy of what he is doing?

    .

  19. Might I suggest … that WUWT conduct a survey of their own? One with subtly loaded questions designed to show the gullibility of CAGW-believers? It would be fun to see how fast John Cook, etc refuses to take, or link to, OUR survey.

    Actually, it would be fun just to design such a survey. Sort of a group effort, so to speak.

  20. ralfellis-
    “Sorry, I don’t have the time to understand this. Can someone give simplified analogy of what he is doing?”

    He’s pretending to be a scientist instead of a cartoonist, again. Sadly, he seems completely oblivious to the fact that in order to be respected in either field, one actually has to be able to “draw” accurate conclusions that your audience can agree with.

  21. Lucia’s site now gives me (IP x-ed out by me):

    Access Denied
    The owner of this website (rankexploits.com) has banned your IP address (xx.xx.xx.xx). (Ref. 1006)
    • Timestamp: Mon, 06 May 2013 13:42:30 -0700
    • Your IP address: xx.xx.xx.xx
    • Requested URL: rankexploits.com/musings/2013/i-tried/
    • Error reference number: 1006
    • Server ID: FL_15F10
    • Process ID: PID_6a87f54309c03e2
    • User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 10.0; Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; Trident/6.0)

    Was okay yesterday.

  22. If the SQL has “order by rand()” and also “limit 10″, then Cook might think the statement will sort the whole 12,000 randomly and then pick the first 10, which will give a different result each time. I think it will pick the first 10 and then sort randomly, which gives the same 10 each time but in different orders.

  23. Dubya G says:
    May 6, 2013 at 11:34 am
    I see what the problem is here. He has his socks on the wrong feet. The port (left) sock should be red, and the starboard (right) sock should be green. No wonder he has everything bass-ackwards.
    ——————-
    I thought it was red right return?
    cn

  24. If the climate change debate is really based on science, when S. McIntyre demonstrated the cherry picking and the fallacy of the hockey stick that should have been the end of the controversy.Instead the “scientists” that McIntyre have proven to be wrong continued to this day to be idolized by established scientific institutions, universities and other institutions. Natural science is added to the debate to give some semblance of rationality or cover. As the emperor’s clothes story shows, a large portion of the population is beholden to complicated things they dont understand and are too proud to say they dont know it on the fear that most of his fellowmen understood the issue and he could be identified as an ignoramus. In fact there is a religious movement that presents a set of series of partial differential equations to show its belief. If the political leaders were really serious of the natural science behind the climate change debate, they should have appointed a climate scientist like Lindzen instead of a railway engineer to head the study. Natural science is just a diversion, it is just a curtain, it is just a smoke screen to the real reasons behind the climate change policy. While it is important to the skeptics to continue on exposing the non-science or fraudulent claims, it is also important to look at the real reasons behind the policies.

    It is time to study and counter attack the problem from the stand point of social science rather than natural science. For example, there is a principle in natural science that allows group of people to smear their opponents for receiving one cent from a group such as “big oil” and other big end of town but accepts large amount of money from the same source –even putting it openly in their websites. I would suggests it is time for skeptics to get social scientists on board otherwise the skeptics energy, time and resources are diverted, consumed and wasted in the diversionary tactics of intentionally including sloppy natural science researches into the climate change policy debate.

  25. The world of public opinion turns slowly, but turn it will, and then you will hear the howls of indignation as social propagandists like Cook and Lewandowsky find exactly the same tactics used to refute their garbage, but pushed along by a media waking up to the fact they have been used to abuse their readership and society. Its so obvious that they will be, and bear the brunt of, this reversal, as their misdeeds, data manipulation, and skewed scheming are exposed again and again.

    Thats why we need to get behind projects like that of Topher Field and Josh as they provide the public window that will swing the pendulum adding weight to influence and speed the process.

    You really know when you are hitting a nerve, when the usual trolls try and divert threads or shut down sceptic efforts to raise funds for worthwhile projects designed to undo the propaganda spun by the likes of Cook and his merry band of taxpayer funded bottom feeding manipulators and expose their pitiful solicitation of “prestigious awards” garnered for each other to boost their own ego’s.

    Some of the troll efforts are so laughable and obvious. I know my own reaction to the pathetic and repeated efforts of Greg House (you know, that’s not my point Greg!!) Hah, when I see that trolling repetition, I don’t just “want” to donate to Topher’s 50 to one project video, I “must donate” and get off my backside to urge others to do so.

    Same with Josh, we need to support him, and thanks to those that spread the word, along with the ever growing support of a consensus of real scientists, who are heartily sick of these parasites nobbling both science and our economic capacity.

    Thanks Anthony, more power to the voice of the sceptics returning science to a revered place in thinking societies, free of the “white anting” and self seeking propaganda of the team and their fellow travellers.

  26. ralfellis says: Can someone give simplified analogy of what he is doing?

    Hmm.. analogy …. Suppose John Cook was someone who owns a bankrupt restaurant and the only meat he has left is this foul tasting gray stuff called CAGW. Because CAGW is the only thing he has to sell he is taking a survey asking people how they would like their CAGW prepared, fried, baked or boiled – NOT whether or not they like CAGW. Then he can use the survey to advertise the different ways people all like CAGW. when in fact no one likes it at all.

  27. Chuck,

    Red right return IF he’s coming back to port. I’m hoping he’s heading out to sea for a long voyage never to be heard from again.

  28. Mike M,

    I would modify the analogy for what Cooks is doing: suppose that there is some kind of SPAM or “mystery meat” served by this restaurant, long assumed to be healthy, but with no sufficient evidence. Cook does not care to re-assess the evidence for whether this mystery meat actually is healthy, instead he compiles thousands of “recipes” from the Internet which assume the mystery meat is healthy and provide further applications of this BELIEF (new recipes using CAGW “mystery meat”).

    BUT, neither Cook nor anyone else has justified the belief in the value of mystery meat in the first place! Yet, Cook can then point to “thousands of recipes” (abstracts, articles) which somehow are supposed to prove that the CAGW mystery meat is healthy. It might be foul floor scrapings, but Cook won’t care so long as he can analyze how people evaluate “thousands of recipes”……

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystery_meat

  29. Now I realize why “Lew’s Fixation” has a familiar look to it. And that’s not a compliment.

  30. arthur4563 says:
    May 6, 2013 at 9:45 am

    “Last time I looked, science has never advanced one iota by finding out what…experts believe.”

    I understand your point about “laymen”, but come on… experts? I think a very great deal has been learned by finding out what experts believe. JP

  31. Why not do your own survey? You choose the questions and the background material. It may not be scientifically important, but interesting none the less. JP

  32. When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic..

    Thankfully, their selling of this AGW scam is rapidly falling apart because of the ridiculous stunts and shrill churlish arguments they put forward without any true scientific basis. In the near future, the “science” purported by these lazy money-grubbers will shoulder alchemy and phlogiston.

  33. About red right returning [to the harbor]… just a small amplification: the vessel (or airplane) always has red on left (port) and green on right (starboard). The RRR refers to the harbor entrance lights. You want the red one on your right as you enter the harbor (and on your left as you exit).

    I know, I know, who cares… but this could actually save a life (or at least boat damage) someday! (Mostly, it’s just that FOR ONCE I knew something)

    However, since Cook seems to do much of his thinking with his stern… he may (just a 50-50 chance, though, every day) have put his socks on the correct feet in that picture. LOL.

  34. Good work as always, Josh!

    I really liked your including his latest satellite launching device (the high-tech piece of equipment in his pocket). He’s made it 1/10,000,000 of the way to the moon! (just about as far as the US is to making a dent in the global CO2 supply).

  35. Why did you use the wayback machine website when looking up the SkS about page Anthony? Is it because the more up to date SkS about page has inconvenient information? Such as this:

    John Cook, the Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland. He studied physics at the University of Queensland, Australia. After graduating, he majored in solar physics in his post-grad honours year.

    Your argument that John Cook is only a cartoonist falls flat now that you have the up to date info on his academic qualifications.

    REPLY:No it was just that I’ve used that link before. I didn’t have to look it up. Yet, he still lied about his survey, and now I’ve learned (in our private email thread on the issue) that he actually lied to me directly in my email exchange with him. So you are right, it doesn’t matter whether he’s a cartoonist or a something else, what matters is that he’s a liar, and no amount of accolades is going to change that. – Anthony

  36. Mike M says:
    May 6, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    ralfellis says: Can someone give simplified analogy of what he is doing?

    Hmm.. analogy …. Suppose John Cook was someone who owns a bankrupt restaurant and the only meat he has left is this foul tasting gray stuff called CAGW. Because CAGW is the only thing he has to sell he is taking a survey asking people how they would like their CAGW prepared, fried, baked or boiled – NOT whether or not they like CAGW. Then he can use the survey to advertise the different ways people all like CAGW. when in fact no one likes it at all.

    =================

    Good one!

  37. I just took the survey, and what was striking was that every abstract chosen for evaluation was a pro-AGW one, except for one that seemed neutral. I had assumed that roughly half of the abstracts would be on the skeptical side, but this was not the case. It makes me suspicious of the purpose, which would seem to be find skeptics who won’t, out of a grudge perhaps, evaluate pro-AGW abstracts as “strongly pro-AGW” as other people. Or something like that.

    The whole exercise is quite strange, in that one is supposed to evaluate not whether the study actually has anything meaningful to say about the causes of climate change, but only whether the authors seem to assume it does, from the language used in the abstract. Pretty much an “attitudinal” survey, not one about facts and reasoning. And not about one’s own attitude, but about judging the attitudes and/or assumptions of others. Again, very strange, and not very meaningful. One could easily answer the survey questions based on whether the study itself seems to have any relevance to the causes or effects of climate change, which only a few did.

  38. The whole idea of ANOTHER survey is sooo ridiculous you have to wonder what he could possibly be thinking.

    But the 12,000 papers required seem to be too much even for this crap….it’ll block the lew!

  39. Cook’s life methodology.

    I am an official.
    Something is correct, only once it passes through the official process. This process is transparent, rigorous, true, and has never been profoundly wrong. There isn’t any possibility that the process can be profoundly inadequate, corrupted, or hopelessly compromised.
    A cause is therefore correct, when it passes through the official process and when it serves officialdom.
    Members of the officialdom are the only people who know the cause correctly.
    Defend the cause, and you defend the official process, as well as officialdom.
    Ignore anything that doesn’t fit the cause, or pass through the process, as it doesn’t fit officialdom.
    I therefore continue to remain a serving official of the officialdom, and the official process.

    He reminds me a little of Fuchs, who despite being a talented scientist, many remarked on how incapable he was of common sense and understanding politics.

  40. I think people are overlooking an important point: crap rolled in glitter is still….glittery! Gotta give him credit for that.

    OK, you don’t, but it is still true.

  41. re: Lewandowsky follies

    This can use some serious ‘Fisking’ for those so inclined:

    (h/t Ruth Dixon at Bishop Hill)

    Scientific Amercan blog spouts Lewandowsky propaganda

    “…Unfortunately it’s not easy to disabuse people of a conspiracy mindset since as the article notes, presenting evidence to the contrary only makes them more convinced of the diabolical success of the supposed conspiracy. The one thing we can do is to at least point out to climate change denialists how their beliefs are in fact conspiratorial. Demonstrate the features that climate change conspiracies share with 9/11 denial and Pearl Harbor revisionism….”

  42. Apart from being a shameless demand for attention from Cook, the point of his survey is now apparent, the Royal Society is running short of Lew paper, desperately short as they are really really full of it.

  43. 1. John Cook’s search was biased. He told Anthony the search was for papers on ‘global warming’ or ‘global climate change’. ‘Global warming’ implies the answer he was looking for.
    2. It is fairly obvious that 12,000 papers with abstracts related to those search terms, regardless of any hidden pseudo-randomisation process, would support anthropogenic climate change; researchers know where their next grant is coming from. What I suspect Cook was hoping to do was to produce a paper headed “Even sceptics recognise that most peer reviewed papers support AGW.”

  44. Writing a poem demands that you start to couple thoughts and words together — hopefully with the thoughts coming first and the words following. What is below is not a poem but rather some thoughts coupled with some words that may, someday, after much work, become a poem.

    “Lewd” Lewandowsky and John Cook-The-Books

    Their time of the month is all of the time
    Two screaming shrews too obsessed to observe
    Even the modest decorums
    Of a pseudo-science

    Drag queens on a runway — and they model
    The fashion of the future — oh, be scared!
    For these would dress our children

    Note the second line that has these three usages — two, too, to. Poets get off on stuff like that.

    I do not know if i will ever complete this poem because, well, writing a poem about turds, no matter how brilliant, is still a poem about turds.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  45. Anthony – you really must stop labelling Cook and his pet website as “unreliable” on the right hand side. Your own experiences must tell you that he (and it) is definitely extremely reliable, as in ‘will always lie cheat and obfuscate’.

  46. My favorite thing about Cook is that he tells the world that “people who are not climate scientists should not be trusted to have an opinion in climate science.” and yet somehow his opinion matters. Its almost like the entire logical process falls apart in his mind and he suddenly tells people that he can be trusted because he is a physicist (except in his main job where he is a cartoonist.) Its ironic that everything he says does not apply to himself or other “climate scientists” because “we can trust him.”

    The logic is just so terrible in that man that I wonder how he can dress himself in the morning. Heck, it would be a miracle if he could actually talk and walk at the same time without falling on his face. (which again ironically wouldn’t surprise me one bit.)

  47. Based on the name of his blog ‘Skeptical’ Science, John Cook should be interested in Don Easterbrook’s recent presentation of the ‘Skeptics’ position to the US senate committee on Energy, Envirnoment and telecommunications.
    It appears, however, John Cook is not interested in science, Cook’s blog’s purpose is to push an agenda, hence his interest in a purposeless, childish surveys as opposed to scientific analysis.

    Easterbrook’s statements are each backed up by data which unequivocally supports the assertion that that based on the paleo record and current temperature changes increase in atmospheric CO2 does not cause significant global warming.
    Comment:
    Easterbrook’s presentation is astonishing.

    http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2013030153#start=627&stop=5945

    Easterbrook’s Presentation to US Senate Energy & Environment Committee
    Preamble:
    Easterbrook notes he has 50 years experience in the climate science, has no political affiliation, and his research is not paid for by big oil. He notes, that data which he provides supports his statements.

    The first slide in Easterbrook’s presentation”

    Slide 1
    “What the news media isn’t telling you
    -Global warming ended in 1998
    – There has been NO global warming in 15 yrs. Global warming from 1978 to 1998 was been replaced by global cooling.
    – The Antarctic ice sheet is growing not melting.
    – Sea level is rising 7 inches per year not 20 ft.
    – Snowfall is not below normal. Four of the past 5 years have set snowfall records.
    – CO2 cannot cause global warming
    – Sever storms are not more frequent than normal
    – The oceans are not acid (William: acidic)

    Slide 2
    Graph (see presentation for details)

    Summary
    Global warming occurred 1915 to 1945 without increase in CO2. (0.174C/decade)
    Global cooling occurred from 1945 to 1977 during sharping increasing CO2, showing that CO2 has nothing to do with global warming.

    Slide 3
    Temperature last 500 years.
    20 periods of warming in the last 500 years that were not caused by CO2.

    Slide 4
    Planetary temperature last 10,000 years.
    Planetary temperatures in the last 10,000 years was in almost all cases significantly warmer than current temperatures.

    Slide 5
    Temperature manipulation 1930 to 2011 (US temperature records)
    Presents original data in record compares 1930 to 2011.
    Easterbrook provides proof that the 1930’s temperature data was changed, adjusted. The multiple adjustments of the temperature data reduced temperature in the 1930s and increase temperatures post 2000.

    Please watch presentation for further details.

    During the presentation Senator Kevin Ranker (D) provides questions using warmist position data and papers. It is interesting to hear Don Easterbrook’s responses.

  48. “Lewd” Lewandowsky and John Cook-the-Books

    Their time of the month is all of the time
    Two screaming shrews too obsessed to observe
    Even the modest decorums
    Of a pseudo-science

    Faux posers, like drag queens on a runway
    Theirs the “Fashionism” of the future?
    These rabid publicity hounds
    Seek to dress our children

    I think I will let it go at that. These guys aren’t worth a good poem.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  49. To be fair, this isn’t as bad as you make it sound.

    Josh says: “papers based on John’s own idea of which should be chosen.”

    The source he cites (Brandon quoting Cook) says “I restricted the search to only papers that have received a “self-rating” from the author of the paper (a survey we ran in 2012) and also to make the survey a little easier to stomach for the participant, I restricted the search to abstracts under 1000 characters. Some of the abstracts are mind-boggingly long (which seems to defeat the purpose of having a short summary abstract but I digress).”

    “John’s own idea” makes it seem like he preselected the papers based upon their conclusions, but that’s not the case. Yes, it is misleading, although I’m not sure how intentional. The papers are randomly selected, and are from the 12,000+ set, but they are also confined to a smaller subset.

  50. Surveys…..

    Ever been stopped to answer one? Nobody gives true answers most of the time

    The climate… 9 out of 10 cat owners said they couldn’t give a toss

  51. Heh, I see Jeff Masters sight (weather underground) has picked up on the survey and the lap dogs are just eating it up!

  52. Heh, I see Jeff Master’s site (Weather Underground) has picked up the survey and the lap dogs are eating it up!

  53. Main stream media members who read this
    have at least the comfort of knowing
    when their children aren’t able to tell
    a hot rock from a cold one,

    they can say they helped their kids not be “too judgemental.”

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