The madness of 97% 98% consensus herds

UPDATE: comments welcome on Dr. Richard Tol’s draft paper on this issue, see below. This will be a top post for a day, new posts will appear below this one – Anthony

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

That is from Charles Mackay in his book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds first published in 1841.

I think it is an apt description of the process that led to Cook et al. (2013) Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature because that paper is in fact, a product of a crowd evaluating a crowd. As an example, Dr. Richard Tol has just discovered that using Cook’s own data, the consensus number Cook should have published is 98%, rather than 97%.

Dr. Tol writes in a critique of the Cook et al. paper:

In fact, the paper by Cook et al. may strengthen the belief that all is not well in climate research. For starters, their headline conclusion is wrong. According to their data and their definition, 98%, rather than 97%, of papers endorse anthropogenic climate change. While the difference between 97% and 98% may be dismissed as insubstantial, it is indicative of the quality of manuscript preparation and review.

He shows the Cook data as he compiles it: 

Tol_table1

You’d think such simple elementary errors in data would have been caught in peer review, after all, that is what peer review is for.

I think that there was a goal by Cook and his crowd, and that goal was to match the 97% number that has become a popular meme in the literature and the media. This intent seems confirmed by a recent statement by one of the co-authors, Dana Nuccitilli in a media argument that 97% global warming consensus meets resistance from scientific denialism

However, we have used two independent methods and confirmed the same 97% consensus as in previous studies.

It is that branding of “denialism” by Nucciltelli to Dr. Tol, who is hardly a “denier” on climate change even by the loosest definition, that has given Tol incentive to now start systemically deconstructing the paper. It also lends a window into the mind of the coauthor Nucitelli, who can’t seem to assimilate useful criticisms, no matter how valid, but instead publicly attributes discovery of real errors in the Cook et al. paper to “denialism” rather than the self-correcting process of science. Nuccitelli’s actions suggest to me, a mindset of zealotry, rather than one of discovery. His actions of branding Dr. Tol’s and others valid criticisms, seem to fit the textbook definition of the word:

zealotry_definition

As an aside, it seems truly laughable that the Guardian has created an entire regular opinion column based and named on this 97% number, and it supports that idea that this was the “target number” rather than the number that the actual data would report. Richard Tol has just proven their own data doesn’t even match the title of their paper. Will the Guardian now correct the title?

98_pct_Guardian

Tol goes on to say this about the crowd-sourcing:

The results thus depend on the quality of the volunteers. Are they neutral observers, or are they predisposed to endorsing or rejecting anthropogenic climate change? Did they suffer from fatigue after rating a certain number of abstracts? 12 volunteers rated on average 50 abstracts each, and another 12 volunteers rated an average of 1922 abstracts each. Fatigue may well have a problem. This level of effort by a volunteer could indicate a strong interest in the issue at hand.

Indeed, and he backs this up by saying it is evident in the data:

WoS generates homoskedastic data. Rating made the data heteroskedastic. Sign of tiredness or manipulation.

So which is it? Tiredness or manipulation, or perhaps both? Based on what has been observed so far, I’d say there is a combination, but given the obvious 97% target, more likely it is an unconscious manipulation by the chosen crowd of volunteer reviewers, which included no climate skeptics and consisted of mostly insiders for Cook’s antithetically named website, “Skeptical Science”. Tol goes on to comment:

No neutral person would volunteer to do 1922 tasks. Cook’s data duly show bias: 35% of abstract were misclassified, 99% towards endorsement.

http://twitter.com/RichardTol/status/341086919930830848

To support the idea that bias played a role in reaching the conclusions of the Cook et al. paper, there seems to be a systemic sloppiness in the sampling process, as Tol points out in his critique:

In fact, 34.6% of papers that should have been rated as neutral were in fact rated as non-neutral. Of those misrated papers, 99.4% were rated as endorsements. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the volunteers were not neutral, but tended to find endorsements where there were none. Because rater IDs were not reported, it is not possible to say whether all volunteers are somewhat biased or a few were very biased.

Tol also says this about the 97% scientific consensus claim:

It is a strange claim to make. Consensus or near-consensus is not a scientific argument. Indeed, the heroes in the history of science are those who challenged the prevailing consensus and convincingly demonstrated that everyone thought wrong. Such heroes are even better appreciated if they take on not only the scientific establishment but the worldly and godly authorities as well.

Well known examples of this include the challenges to the theory that Earth was the center of the universe, that infection was spread by surgeons who didn’t wash their hands, that the Earth’s crust had plates that moved, and that gastric ulcers were caused by a bacterial infection, and not stress as physicians once widely believed. As William Briggs writes:

There was once a consensus among astronomers that the heavens were static, that the boundaries of the universe constant. But in 1929, Hubble observed his red shift among the stars, overturning that consensus. In 1904, there was a consensus among physicists that Newtonian mechanics was, at last, the final word in explaining the workings of the [universe]. All that was left to do was to mop up the details. But in 1905, Einstein and a few others soon convinced them that this view was false.

Consensus can also cause disaster, as NASA proved with a consensus of management that solid rocket booster O-rings affected by unusual cold weren’t worth worrying about or that a foam strike during launch wouldn’t damage the wing of the space shuttle and were “not even worth mentioning”.

Clearly, the power of thousands in agreement on scientific consensus can’t stand up to stubborn facts and that is the self-correcting process of science which sometimes works slowly, other times dramatically quickly. Given that consensus by itself means nothing in the face of such facts, it seems to me that consensus is just another manifestation of herd-like thinking as illustrated by Mackay.

From the Amazon summary of Mackay’s insightful book on crowds:

First published in 1841, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds is often cited as the best book ever written about market psychology. Author Charles Mackay chronicles many celebrated financial manias, or ‘bubbles’, which demonstrate his assertion that “every age has its peculiar folly; some scheme, project, or fantasy into which it plunges, spurred on by the love of gain, the necessity of excitement, or the mere force of imitation.” This still holds fast today! Among the alleged ‘bubbles’ described by Mackay is the infamous Dutch tulip mania, the South Sea Company bubble and the Mississippi Company bubble. And what do bubbles do? Why they burst of course.

The Cook et al. paper bubble is about to burst.

UPDATE: Read the draft paper Tol is working on here, comments welcome:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bz17rNCpfuDNM1RQWkQtTFpQUmc/edit

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169 Responses to The madness of 97% 98% consensus herds

  1. Jimmy Haigh. says:

    CAGW is about to burst I would say…

  2. Edohiguma says:

    This is just one of the reasons why the term “social sciences” makes me roar in anger. We’re not scientists. We’re scholars. What far too many of us sell as “science” is more often than not highly biased statistics with ridiculously low sample groups and faulty methods.

  3. Gary Pearse says:

    How’s this for a measure of the bias. 12 were given 50 abstracts each and 12 were given 1922 abstracts each to evaluate. The point that anyone who happily accepts 1922 tasks has to be biased zealot is supported by the arithmetic: (1922-50)/1922 = 0.974, or 97%!!! The zealots were given the abstracts that could possibly be interpreted as pro AGW and instructed to do so, and the others were given abstracts that didn’t mention “global warming” per se.

  4. Camburn says:

    This is a confirmation of Skeptical Science Sydrome. Plain and simple.

  5. Twelve anonymous reviewers, of unknown scientific background, review 1922 pre-screened abstracts for buzz words required to get into the AGW grant gravy train….and this is presumed as science.

    Most curious is Dr John Abrahams rabid support, given he is a professor of mechanical engineering and should have adequate training in thermodynamics to at least have serious doubts about the AGW hypothesis. However, his college is a religiously sponsored institution, and leaders of that religion did invest the institution pension fund heavily in the Carbon credit market. Many on the pro-warming side have no higher motive for promoting the fraud than to preserve their portion of the misspent Carbon endangerment grant funding. The money dog is wagging the science tail.

  6. The same things still run down hill as always.

    At the top the suff if made by The Two Party Evil Money Cult in Washington D.C..

    The Taxes and the Spending are just the creeks, gullies, streams leading to the rivers of the “stuff” that still runs down hill.

    It is not about facts, the rule of law, freedom, individual liberty, it is about Taxing and Spending nothing else.

    Just a new method of the con.

  7. Ashby says:

    That’s one of my favorite books. It’s worth picking up this version:

    Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds & Confusión de Confusiones (Wiley Investment Classics)

  8. Trond A says:

    The famous swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung said something like: When men act in (as) a crowd the consciousness is reduced.

  9. Mike Bromley the Kurd near the Green Line says:

    It still amazes me how wall-eyed the nonsensus crowd is.

  10. pokerguy says:

    “It is a strange claim to make. Consensus or near-consensus is not a scientific argument. Indeed, the heroes in the history of science are those who challenged the prevailing consensus and convincingly demonstrated that everyone thought wrong. Such heroes are even better appreciated if they take on not only the scientific establishment but the worldly and godly authorities as well.”

    Of course this sounds convincing in principal. However, the fact remains that a very strong consensus…one in the high 90′s…must generally be taken by a layperson unsure what of to believe, as likely reflective of scientific validity.

    I’m a full on skeptic, but if it were really shown that 97 (or 98!) percent of scientists were convinced of the validity of CAGW, I’d seriously have to step back and take another look. I don’t think that makes me some sort of easily swayed nincompoop. I think it’s simply common sense.

  11. JJ says:

    “I think that there was a goal by Cook and his crowd, and that goal was to match the 97% number that has become a popular meme in the literature and the media.”

    That much is bltantly obvious. And they not only matched it, they matched it twice – with the abstract ratings and the author’s self assessments.

    And think about that match in the light of the degree of the reported disagreement between those two assessments. They get 97% AGW support from the amateur abstract ratings. But according to C(r)ook, the authors’ self-assessments disagree with those ratings by a minimum of 50% for one group (“no opinion”) and by a minimum of 70% for another group (“reject AGW”). Yet when all the machinations cease, they arrive at 97% AGW support for the author’s self assessments as well.

    One gets the distinct impression that if you fed C(r)ook red noise or baseball scores, he’d somehow arrive at the number 97.

  12. rustneversleeps says:

    “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”
    That is from Charles Mackay in his book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds first published in 1841.

    Hmmm,

    For what it’s worth, it also appears to be from Sting’s song “All This Time”:

    “Men go crazy in congregations. They only get better one by one.”

    I guess the real question is “which is the herd that has gone mad”? Is it those that acknowledge the overwhelming consensus in the scientific literature? Or is it the herd that stamps its little feet and sticks it fingers in its ears trying to avoid that simple fact?
    Inquiring minds want to know…

  13. Nik Marshall-Blank says:

    @Mike Bromley – I don’t understand your comment. who is the non consensus? The AGW is not a consensus…

    The heat is in the oceans
    The CO2 is causing the heat.
    The Sun is not causing the heat, Trenberth says 10-15% is. Oops
    Burning CO2 releases plant fertilisers, greening and therefore CO2 is removed from the atmosphere. But burning CO2 is bad, supposedly. Oops, oops.

    Where’s the consensus? expect against those who know it is a pack of mis-representations of natural events.

  14. DirkH says:

    Edohiguma says:
    June 2, 2013 at 7:50 am
    “This is just one of the reasons why the term “social sciences” makes me roar in anger. We’re not scientists. We’re scholars. What far too many of us sell as “science” is more often than not highly biased statistics with ridiculously low sample groups and faulty methods.”

    Don’t worry. For me you are social engineers.

  15. sunsettommy says:

    It is time for a refesher course on what the Scientific Method is something Dana and Cook needs to see in this media presentation:

    Feynman on Scientific Method.
    http://www.globalwarmingskeptics.info/thread-2184.html

  16. marissa says:

    The 97% is obviously a fiction, the scientists need to stand up and express their opposition

  17. Henry Galt says:

    As penance for my being double-dumb on a previous thread I reiterate what I posted earlier. Please note the dates as well as the claims:

    Thu, 2012-11-15 10:26

    “” I searched the Web of Science for peer-reviewed scientific articles published between 1 January 1991 and 9 November 2012 that have the keyword phrases “global warming” or “global climate change.” The search produced 13,950 articles. “”

    “” I read whatever combination of titles, abstracts, and entire articles was necessary to identify articles that “reject” human-caused global warming. To be classified as rejecting, an article had to clearly and explicitly state that the theory of global warming is false or, as happened in a few cases, that some other process better explains the observed warming. Articles that merely claimed to have found some discrepancy, some minor flaw, some reason for doubt, I did not classify as rejecting global warming. Articles about methods, paleoclimatology, mitigation, adaptation, and effects at least implicitly accept human-caused global warming and were usually obvious from the title alone. John Cook and Dana Nuccitelli also reviewed and assigned some of these articles … “”

    What I couldn’t achieve with reading skills such as these gods amongst mortals display.

    This shyster is claiming is that the three of them read “” … whatever combination of titles, abstracts, and entire articles was necessary to identify articles that “reject” human-caused global warming. “” out of @13,900 articles……

    In less than a week.

    I base my estimate on the dates and allow some slack for the ‘writing’ of the piece of garbage surrounding the central strawman.

    Link to follow for the interested (I wont add it here as it, quite rightfully, triggers the shit-fliter)

  18. pokerguy says:

    “The 97% is obviously a fiction, the scientists need to stand up and express their opposition.”

    Many have, but it does no good. I keep hammering away on the need for an actual, statistically valid survey to counter this 97 percent canard, but no one seems interested. More enjoyable I guess, and far easier to sit back and complain about biased surveys, and gullible warmists, and to quote noble sounding observations about the nature of science.

    The truth is that 97 percent number would be compelling if real. It needs to be efficiently and legitimately countered.

  19. Ryan says:

    Anthony(or Tol), what do you think the real number is? Why not do a quick survey or two of your own? If the 97% number really is so far off then it should be fairly easy to demonstrate that instead just taking potshots from the sidelines.

  20. sparky says:

    dear rustneversleeps, perhaps you should go outside and ask a member of the public they might be able to tell you…..

  21. Henry Galt says:

    rustneversleeps says:
    June 2, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Again with the misnomers.

    Your inquiring mind would find that nearly ALL the ‘papers’ show evidence of warming or produce claims from modeling.

    A very few use ‘simple, centuries old physics’ to show a greenhouse effect may warm the planet as CO2 is increased.

    NONE produce empirical evidence to show that our addition to the carbon budget caused any of that warming.

    It really is that simple. Billions upon billions spent and we are no nearer being able to blame CO2 for the small, benign warming during the 20th century.

    What a waste. What a crying shame. What a travesty.

  22. John M says:

    Why not do a quick survey or two of your own?

    Could you imagine Ryan as the owner of a trucking company where one of his drivers just drove into a school bus? A reporter starts investigating and Ryan says “Hey, why don’t you buy your own trucks and learn how to drive them!”

  23. megawati says:

    97 pct, 98 pct; such figures definitely ring a bell…

    Ah yes, those official Soviet bloc election results that always made us laugh back then, just before their whole criminal system imploded.

  24. Latitude says:

    ,,,and 97% of scientists said these drugs were safe…………

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

  25. Tony says:

    Politics uses the word “consensus” and suspecting number from polls to backed their position … is science heading there too?

  26. Myrrh says:

    [snip - off topic slayers junk science - mod]

  27. Jay says:

    This is just a case of people doing what they have been paid to do.. Its like hit men complaining that killing people is illegal.. Its true, but has nothing to do with that envelope stuffed full of money and that job that has just been paid for..

    So you double down on the idea that you are a professional and do what you have to do, knowing full well that your name could be the next name if you dont watch your step..

    The underworld has peer / pal review as well..

  28. - don’t start off with trying to get 97%
    “You don’t use science to show that you’re right, you use science to become right.”
    SCIENCE. It works, bitches.
    Richard Dawkins actually quoting the 2008 words in XKCD Webzine by Randall Munroe

  29. RACookPE1978 says:

    Ryan says:
    June 2, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Anthony(or Tol), what do you think the real number is? Why not do a quick survey or two of your own? If the 97% number really is so far off then it should be fairly easy to demonstrate that instead just taking potshots from the sidelines.

    See, no skeptic needs to cite such a government-needed, government-mandated majority of government-paid government-workers using government-sorted government-grants …. to suit a government-propaganda effort to control the population’s energy and gain 1.3 trillion in new taxes.

    All ANY skeptic needs to disprove the religion of CAGW is one fact or one paper that falsifies the theory. (And, for example, http://www.co2science.org has over 900 papers showing the MWP did in fact exist with temperatures greater than, well before man’s CO2 was a factor in the global.) Einstein, when attacked by government-pleasing “scientists” in the mid-30′s said bluntly just that: “All they need is one fact ..”

    BUT, what no skeptic has is the government’s propaganda machinery of its mass media, Hollywood’s exposure, and the liberal/socialist government’s combination of a corrupt, immoral university faculty that is desperate for funding, and a corrupt political body desperate to spend its money to exploit such a desperation..

  30. Nigel S says:

    A London company prospectus from the time of the ‘South Sea Bubble’ (about 1720).

    ‘A company for carrying out an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is.’

    It was ever thus…

  31. Russ R. says:

    @pokerguy:

    You wrote “I’m a full on skeptic, but if it were really shown that 97 (or 98!) percent of scientists were convinced of the validity of CAGW, I’d seriously have to step back and take another look.”.

    The problem is, the “consensus” doesn’t make any mention of the “C” in “CAGW”. It revolves only around the “GW” and the “A”. (And as it happens, I’m in agreement on both those.)

    In other words, the “Consensus” is a lot narrower than you presume it to be. It makes no mention of “catastrophic” anything.

    So maybe you should “step back and take another look”. Go re-read the “Consensus” literature: Oreskes (2004), Doran and Zimmerman (2009), Anderegg et. al (2010) and now Cook et al. (2013). Then please show us where any consensus was demonstrated relating to A) future warming, B) impacts of that warming, C) policy actions.

    You’ll find no consensus whatsoever. The entire “consensus” argument is a supreme shifting of goalposts.

  32. Bruce Cobb says:

    rustneversleeps says:
    June 2, 2013 at 8:37 am

    No, the real question is; What is it about CAGW that needs to claim consensus, even where none actually exists? If the science were truly sound, wouldn’t it speak for itself?
    Inquiring minds want to know….

  33. Mike Haseler says:

    Ryan says: “Anthony(or Tol), what do you think the real number is? Why not do a quick survey or two of your own? If the 97% number really is so far off then it should be fairly easy to demonstrate that instead just taking potshots from the sidelines.”

    A much better survey is to assess all papers mentioning the impacts of global warming and look for any that mention the benefits of warming. This is how I decided whether the subject as a whole was biased or impartial. The result was that of the first 50 papers I picked at random, only one partly mentioned a benefit in passing. In other words something like 98% of papers are 100% biased and 2% are very largely biased.

  34. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov of Turkmenistan must be a popular guy http://www.rte.ie/news/2012/0213/312252-turkmenistan/ as he got 97% of the vote in the latest election.
    Of course the result of today’s use of consensus science can at times show similar numbers.
    No manipulation involved?

  35. Myrrh says:

    The madness of crowds doesn’t let little inconvenient science facts get in the way of the delusion. The delusion is their blanket, their warm thermal blanket wrapping itself around them where from under its cover snuggled tight they argue with great passion against each other on the degree of warming given them by their trace blanket which is practically 100% hole in the atmosphere.

  36. JJ says:

    pokerguy says:

    Of course this sounds convincing in principal.

    It is not “convincing in principal”. It is the definition of science. “Scientific consensus” is a contradiction in terms.

    “However, the fact remains that a very strong consensus…one in the high 90′s…must generally be taken by a layperson unsure what of to believe, as likely reflective of scientific validity.”

    Nonsense. It is not true that the layperson must accept that the opinions of scientists are representative of scientific validity, and they very frequently do not. In fact, they frequently counter the overwhelming majority opinion of scientists to reject good science, let alone the politicized crapfest that is ‘climate science’.

    I don’t think that makes me some sort of easily swayed nincompoop. I think it’s simply common sense.

    Common sense is not science. Science was created specifically to correct the common failings of common sense. Reverting to common sense is to abandon science. That is OK, so long as you understand that is what you are doing. Appealing to “scientific consensus” is to abandon science, while pretending not to. You are not a “full on skeptic” if you do this.

    I keep hammering away on the need for an actual, statistically valid survey to counter this 97 percent canard, but no one seems interested.

    Apart from legitimate lack of interest, it simply is not possible. One cannot perform a statistically valid fallacy. In order to complete the survey you suggest, for example, one would first have to define the population to be surveyed. On what scientifically valid basis would that delineation proceed?

    There is none. What you are suggesting is an exercise in politics. If you are going to do that while invoking the imprimatur of science, then stick to the science. The typical layperson is perfectly capable of understanding that it is not the opinions that scientists hold that matter, but the reasons why the scientists hold those opinions. And they are also quite capable of understanding that “scientific consensus” is frequently wrong, as well as the specific ways in which ‘global warming’ is both non-scientific as well as demonstrably wrong.

    We do not need to teach the layperson to accept anti-science and logical fallacy in order to prevail politically, and irrespective of that we should not.

  37. Bruce Cobb says:

    If the claim was that 100% of scientists supported the idea of the existence of the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster, I would expect the evidence to be readily available, and I would still look at said evidence, if nothing other than out of sheer curiosity.

  38. Mike jarosz says:

    Who do you believe? Alarmists are supported by big government progressives who believe in redistribution of wealth(carbon taxes don’t do squat for the planet) and the skeptics who are searching for the truth under peril, with no financial reward at the end. Mercenaries versus the volunteers.

  39. Nick in Vancouver says:

    97% is just like “42″ they knew its was the right answer they just didn’t know what the correct question was. Apologies to Douglas Adams who is a far superior writer of fiction.

  40. mark fraser says:

    Or like our friend Norm, who kept nodding off during a game of charades. Each time he awoke, he’d say “Missouri!” as a guess. You may have been past the Cascade motel on the way to Mt. Baker – the site of this most memorable weekend party.

  41. ferdberple says:

    Gary Pearse says:
    June 2, 2013 at 7:59 am
    (1922-50)/1922 = 0.974, or 97%!!!
    ===========
    You are onto something. 1922/(1922+50) = 97%

    This strongly suggests that the reviewers were purposely divided into two groups.to arrive at the 97% answer. The answer of 97% was COOKed from the start.

  42. Latitude says:

    pokerguy says:
    June 2, 2013 at 9:08 am
    The truth is that 97 percent number would be compelling if real. It needs to be efficiently and legitimately countered.
    ===============
    no it doesn’t….LOL

    The fact is after all these decades….they are still trying to convince people that it’s real

  43. I have now uncovered the difference between 97% and 98%. The reported data have a rate 4 (7970 abstracts). Apparently, the original data have rates 4a (7930) – no position – and 4b (40) – uncertain. They shifted the 40 into the denominator.

    Meanwhile, Dana N is loudly complaining that I unfairly accuse them of not fully reporting their data.

  44. Jeff L says:

    Although I appreciate the deconstruction of this 97 % rubbish, it does take to focus away from the fact that science isn’t done by consensus. Even if it was 100%, it still doesn’t mean the science is right.

  45. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    Richard Toll,

    can I ask you what the order is of the abstracts that you show rolling statistics on? Is it the Year-Title-order from Cook et al’s data file?

    Thanks!

  46. Jim G says:

    Lemmings operate by some unknown type of consensus when they swim out and drown. The “lemming instinct”, as we always called it, appears to be alive and well in climate science. Even rats, another rodent, will depart a sinking ship. Lemmings, maybe not so much. I think we need to change the operative word from “warmists” to lemmings.

  47. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    “Reich.Eschhaus says:
    June 2, 2013 at 10:55 am
    Richard Toll,”

    Oops! Sorry Richard Tol for miswriting your last name!

  48. pokerguy says:

    “You’ll find no consensus whatsoever. The entire “consensus” argument is a supreme shifting of goalposts.”

    You completely miss my point. . No kidding the entire consensus argument is bogus. But try convincing a NYT’s reading, MSNBS watching, Greenpeace contributing left winger of that. The best way to counter this b.s. is to fund and design a statistically valid survey with meaningful definitions. Most of you are either too lazy, or too cynical, or perhaps too dense to understand that.

    Philosophy of science considerations and lofty, misty-eyed rhetoric about heroic renegade researchers are fine. IN the real world, you fight in any way you can. Once more, this is a PR war. It it were really just about the science, the skeptics would already have been declared the winners.

  49. @Reich
    I indeed assume that they rated the abstracts in the order provided. It does not matter for the test, of course: The data generating process implies constant moments and cross-moments.

    I asked John Cook for the time of rating, information they undoubtedly stored as any handbook on surveying says you must.

  50. Gary Pearse says:

    ferdberple says:
    June 2, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Gary Pearse says:
    June 2, 2013 at 7:59 am
    (1922-50)/1922 = 0.974, or 97%!!!
    ===========
    You are onto something. 1922/(1922+50) = 97%

    ferdberple, thank you for correcting my arithmetic. The split between the 12 doing 50 abstracts each and 12 doing 1922 abstracts each certainly must mean something – I could see, say, one super zealot with time on his hands doing 1922 but such an even split with the same way of dividing up the abstracts is highly suspicious all on its own.

  51. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    @Richard Tol

    Thanks Richard.

    Cook et al do mention that ‘Abstracts were randomly distributed via a web-based system to raters with only the title and abstract visible.’ so it should not be the Year (ascending) Title (Alphabetic) order from the file in any case. Could some of the things you see in that order have come about because the character of the abstracts changed over the years?

  52. manicbeancounter says:

    If climate science was so clearly superior to anything written on this blog, then there would be no need for all this stuff about being part of the biggest group of experts, or those who disagree with them are in some way inferior. The “climate community” seems to have stuck in a rut of negative PR. I thought that they needed a help in thinking more positively, so I have suggested three approaches.
    First is to concentrate on the predictive successes of the climate models.
    Second is to show how climate science builds upon the methods used by the greatest scientists.
    Third, is to show proper social concern by recommending policy controls and audits to increase the effectiveness and reducing adverse consequences of policy.

    To encourage this debate, my posting has a title that some will find a little distasteful.
    http://manicbeancounter.com/2013/05/29/three-positive-ways-to-counter-climate-denial/

  53. DrJohnGalan says:

    Another excellent example of this sort of bubble is in the field of cold fusion or low energy nuclear reactions. Since 1989 almost the whole of the scientific community “herd” has thought that “cold fusion” is junk science despite many hundreds of replications of the original experiment that produced anomalous heat. Recently, independent verification of a commercial device called the E-cat has been made public. This must eventually reach the main stream media – all it needs a journalist brave enough to tell the story. However, the herd behaviour of journalists is well known to those who look askance at climate “science”, so I’m not holding my breath.

  54. EF says:


    It is groupthink, they all take the hat at the same time

  55. Gunga Din says:

    So even the error was wrong?

  56. ferdberple says:

    Gary Pearse says:
    June 2, 2013 at 11:09 am
    1922/(1922+50) = 97%
    The split between the 12 doing 50 abstracts each and 12 doing 1922 abstracts each certainly must mean something
    ==============
    hard to see how this could be accidental. even more suspicious the split is 97%.

    Suggests to me that the reviewers were not dividing the studies into pro-con. Rather one group was tasked with finding pro, the other with finding con, and the statistical assumption was made that both groups of 12 were identical. Yet if you have 24 people, the chances of diving them into two identical (unbiased) groups of 12 are in fact low.

  57. Man Bearpig says:

    Perhaps ‘skeptical science’ is the right moniker for Cook and his website.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/skeptical?s=t
    3. denying or questioning the tenets of a religion:

  58. Man Bearpig says:

    Ryan says:
    June 2, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Anthony(or Tol), what do you think the real number is? Why not do a quick survey or two of your own? If the 97% number really is so far off then it should be fairly easy to demonstrate that instead just taking potshots from the sidelines.

    ==============================================
    Nice try, but now it is not important what the true number is. What is important is the fact that the submitted paper may be wrong. It was Cook’s self appointed task to determine what was correct, not Anthony nor Tol.

    It also casts some doubt on the reviewers credentials which should now be checked too because if half of the errors are correct, it shows they have a poor understanding of their field.

    Cook could try again to correct the errors and follow standard statistical approaches to selecting his choice of papers and testing candidates. In fact he may even be given the opportunity soon to correct the errors and address some of the authors complaints about the grading of their papers.

  59. manicbeancounter says:

    Man Bearpig says: June 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Perhaps ‘skeptical science’ is the right moniker for Cook and his website.

    I disagree. John Cook has said

    Genuine skeptics consider all the evidence in their search for the truth.

    A good source for the definition of “skeptic” is the Oxford English Dictionary. There are multiple definitions, but John Cook is in complete disagreement with 100% of the leading experts in the field.

  60. M Courtney says:

    Pokerguy, I think I get your point. And I think you’re not being given a fair hearing here.

    97% consensus has no relevance for the truth; it is not related to science.
    97% consensus has no relevance for the assessment of the truth; it is not related to policy-making.
    But a 97% consensus has great relevance for the disinterested.
    And they are the vast majority.

    Most people have their own affairs. They have their own expertise. They have their own spheres where they can make an impact. If 97% of experts are reported as being in agreement why should the disinterested spend their time researching the issue?
    They have better things to do.

    For evil to triumph all that is required is for good men to do nothing.
    Therefore the reverse is true. For good to triumph all that is required is for evil men to do nothing.
    If you are completely convinced of your rightness (quite unscientifically, of course) it is quite justifiable to persuade the disinterested to look away.

    And, if I understand you correctly, Pokerguy, that is what you are highlighting.
    If so, I think it’s a very good point.

  61. P. Hager says:

    Mackay’s book is available on Project Gutenberg for download.
    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/24518
    It is availanle in HTML, epub, kindle and text formats. Enjoy

  62. JohnWho says:

    @pokerguy:

    I’m a full on skeptic, but if it were really shown that 97 (or 98!) percent of scientists were convinced of the validity of CAGW, I’d seriously have to step back and take another look.”.

    Concur – key words being “if it were really shown”.

    So far, each time it has been claimed, upon further and honest review, it has not been shown to be true.

    Worse, each time the CAGW “consensus” is claimed, the more dishonest the claim appears upon further, honest review..

  63. Keitho says:

    So are we saying Nuccitelli and Cook are basically correct?

  64. Mindert Eiting says:

    This is third-rank research which doesn’t deserve a replication. Some ideas about what I would have done as meta analysis. In stead of collecting thousands of articles by sloppy keyword search, I would begin with defining a number of subject areas. Within these I would make a time stratification. Next, I would take small random samples from publications in the strata. The articles would have been stripped from author names, results, and conclusions. I would give them to a team of experts and ask them to judge the research quality in categories like A-F. Next, I would give the full articles, with author names deleted, to another team for making short assessments of the results and conclusions. The rest would be simple descriptive statistics. If needed, I would devote some attention to the file-drawer problem.

  65. Nullius in Verba says:

    “I keep hammering away on the need for an actual, statistically valid survey to counter this 97 percent canard, but no one seems interested.”

    Look up von Storch and Bray. http://www.hvonstorch.de/klima/pdf/GKSS_2007_11.pdf
    There was an updated one in 2010, I think.

  66. Ken Harvey says:

    I don’t know why they stopped at 97%. With just a little more manipulation they could have made that 107% which might not have bothered the MSM too much.

  67. Scott m says:

    If took decades for washing your hands after autopsies before you deliver babies to take hold. The roman cath church with their consensus that the sun revolved around the earth suppressed Galileo for a long time as well.

  68. Bert Walker says:

    Regarding “Zealotry”: def: Fanaticism, …
    This ubiquitous quote comes to mind,
    “When people are fanatically devoted to political or religious faiths or any other kind of dogmas or goals, it’s always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.” ~ Robert M Pirsig

  69. johanna says:

    pokerguy said:
    “However, the fact remains that a very strong consensus…one in the high 90′s…must generally be taken by a layperson unsure what of to believe, as likely reflective of scientific validity.”

    Well, I’d say that at least 97% of gastroenterologists and researchers in the field used to believe that stomach ulcers were caused by a range of things excluding a bacterial infection – and they believed it for many decades. In fact, there was plenty of evidence that they were wrong, including the ineffectiveness of treatments and idiopathic presentation of symptoms. But, (and these people were far from stupid) they still believed it until Barry Woods proved them all wrong.

    I understand the point that you are trying to make, but I also think that just as many ulcer patients gave up on treatments because they didn’t work, lay people are entitled to believe the evidence of their own experience even in the face of an overwhelming scientific consensus. The story posted today about England’s record-breaking cold spring is a perfectly valid basis for your average person living there to question predictions of runaway warming.

    Frankly, given the early stage that climate science is at, I’d be surprised if 97% of climate scientists agreed on very much at all, if you got down to specifics. Broad statements like “human activity is affecting the weather” are trivially true, but meaningless. When it comes to quantifying and weighting the factors that drive climate, I suspect that there is plenty of variation even within the CAGW “consensus” crowd.

  70. goldminor says:

    pokerguy says:
    June 2, 2013 at 11:05 am
    It it were really just about the science, the skeptics would already have been declared the winners.
    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    I see that M Courtney believes there is merit in your thought. I would also agree. If it was true science, then the study would have ended some years back. The fact that their ‘proven science’ has continued on in the pole position is not good. To read about the 2015 UN agenda that is to be discussed is disheartening on the face of it. Still, I remain hopeful in my own way that the truth through reality will prevail.

  71. philincalifornia says:

    johanna says:
    June 2, 2013 at 2:47 pm
    pokerguy said:
    “However, the fact remains that a very strong consensus…one in the high 90′s…must generally be taken by a layperson unsure what of to believe, as likely reflective of scientific validity.”
    =============================================

    If this were actually science, it would be scientific fraud.

    Many lay people I speak with know the whole thing’s a fraud on its face.

    Why tell us that 97% of blah blah blah believe the evidence blah blah blah. Why not just present the evidence ??

    ….. other than the fact that there isn’t any.

  72. GlynnMhor says:

    Sunsttommy linked:

    http://www.globalwarmingskeptics.info/thread-2184.html

    This is so à propos that I thought it worthwhile repeating it. Feynman decrying hypotheses whose predictions are so vague that they cannot be refuted, saying that if the predictions don’t work, “it’s wrong”, and other delights so applicable to the state of climate science.

  73. alexwade says:

    You can also add the miasma theory to one of the failed consensus science. Although belief in the miasma theory led to proper sanitation, it was not the foul air of sewage that made people sick, but the germs in the sewage that made people sick. This is also an excellent example where correlation is not causation.

  74. gregole says:

    “P. Hager says:
    June 2, 2013 at 1:15 pm
    Mackay’s book is available on Project Gutenberg for download.
    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/24518

    Thanks! I have been meaning to read it for some time. I downloaded a copy and it is high-quality, quite readable, with excellent engravings.
    ***********************************
    That Mankind has some affect on climate is trivially true – so do termites, bacteria, insects, and all the rest of God’s creatures and flora. And if our affect on climate is trivially true, it is trivial. Interesting to ponder to be sure, interesting to attempt to tease-out just what our climate signal is; but trivial.

    What Cook and Co have done is come up with a marketing gimmick – call it an advert.
    Here’s a nice (but old fashioned) advert for the cigarette Doctors recommend:
    http://tinyurl.com/lz9hmbu

    Same baloney appeal to authority; just a different time, a different fad, with differing motivations and methods of funding. Yawn.

    But returning to our affect on climate and on the earth:
    http://earthsky.org/science-wire/elevated-carbon-dioxide-making-arid-regions-greener

    Maybe we aren’t all bad us humans?

  75. JabbaTheCat says:

    @ P. Hager, thanks for the Gutenberg link…

  76. rogerknights says:

    As I’ve said in other threads on this topic, a simple step would be to fund George Mason U. to re-do their two prior surveys of AGU & AMU members. Probably additional questions should be asked.

    Also, papers that are not “attribution” papers but impact or policy papers should be marked separately and given less weight.

    Also, more recent papers should be given more weight.

    And of course the “C” question should be distinguished from the AGW question, and the “A” question from the GW question.

  77. rogerknights says:

    PS: Solomon’s book, The Deniers, made a big point of the fact that its “deniers” mostly accepted AGW theory, except in the fields of their own expertise. They took the consensus elsewhere on trust, IOW. So any survey should ask questions about belief in AGW generally vs. in their own field.

  78. Myrrh says:

    rogerknights says:
    June 2, 2013 at 3:59 pm
    PS: Solomon’s book, The Deniers, made a big point of the fact that its “deniers” mostly accepted AGW theory, except in the fields of their own expertise. They took the consensus elsewhere on trust, IOW. So any survey should ask questions about belief in AGW generally vs. in their own field.

    That’s something that I noticed early on in investigating this – it’s primarily because the general fake fisics memes have been introduced into the education system, from where people specialise they will learn real physics, but unless they have a reason to question the other memes in the varied fields they will take these as ‘background basics’.

    This has the added confusion of people arguing at cross purposes because they think they’re arguing about the same physics. Hence the often acrimonious discussions between those who are talking about real gases and the AGW/CAGW’s who think the atmosphere is empty space populated by ideal gas, without either side understanding that these are two completely different sets of basics which produce completely different effects.

  79. Warren says:

    I’d say they should have published 98% simply because that’s what 97.6% rounds to. But, yeah, here’s a statistical scientist telling you there are so many things wrong with this conclusion to begin with, this this becomes an almost mute point…

  80. Philip Mulholland says:
  81. Olaf Koenders says:

    Climate Change grants cause prostitution.

  82. Myrrh says:

    Someone made the point in an earlier discussion about taking information from the abstracts was that in several, iirc, that he checked out the abstract contained ‘confirmation’ of AGW in some form or other, while the body of the research didn’t.

    I’ve read counless papers over the last years which detail real science research and will then add a paragraph or even a line at the end making some reference to its posssible importance in ‘global warming’ or now, ‘climate change’

  83. Konrad says:

    In producing this “study”, John Cook’s idiocy is writ large. Richard Tol has revealed the extent of Cook’s mendacity and incompetence in his flawed methodology. Cook’s idiocy however, is in not understanding that it was the use of terms such as “consensus”, “the science is settled” and “the debate is over”, that sewed the seeds of the inevitable destruction of the hoax.

    Those who understand the importance and purpose of the scientific method know that a primary function is providing a workable method for challenging consensus. Claiming “consensus” was in effect waving a red flag to a bull. The methods used to influence activists, journalists and politicians of limited scientific literacy had the side effect of igniting a global sceptical movement amongst those with higher scientific literacy. This was never going to end well.

    John Cook is not trying to save the AGW hoax through this study. He is not quite that foolish. This appears to be part of an attempt to establish an exit strategy for some of the fellow travellers in the AGW hoax. “We got it wrong, but in our defence there was a consensus.” Sadly, consensus carries no scientific weight. Its political value is also limited if the claimed consensus is only amongst those who started self identifying as “climate scientists” after the start of the hoax. Global warming has been in effect a global IQ test with results permanently recorded on the internet. For those that failed, this claimed consensus will be no defence.

  84. Perhaps they should change the title of their blog from “Skeptical Science” to “Cooked Science”

  85. AnotherView says:

    Jay says:
    June 2, 2013 at 9:42 am
    “This is just a case of people doing what they have been paid to do.. Its like hit men complaining that killing people is illegal.. Its true, but has nothing to do with that envelope stuffed full of money and that job that has just been paid for..
    So you double down on the idea that you are a professional and do what you have to do, knowing full well that your name could be the next name if you don’t watch your step..

    The underworld has peer / pal review as well..”

    Well said!!

    DrJohnGalan says:
    June 2, 2013 at 11:34 am
    “Another excellent example of this sort of bubble is in the field of cold fusion or low energy nuclear reactions. Since 1989 almost the whole of the scientific community “herd” has thought that “cold fusion” is junk science despite many hundreds of replications of the original experiment that produced anomalous heat.”

    Unfortunately, much like a cheap nearly 100% cure for cancer, workable cheap LENR energy technology would rapidly upset the economic applecart inspired by corporate and world power energy structure. I only fore see these kinds of revolutionary/rapid improvements being (effectively) squished before they can have much effect. The technologies “might” quietly slip in temporarily while being accused of fakery/fraud but even then it is hard to believe that they would be allowed to be what would be seen as a ruinative part of the economic pie. I don’t believe that it is ever about the people at the low end but only those ruling corporate and political elites, the rest of us are just along for the ride. As many historical scandals/other examples (and J.Edgar Hoover) have shown, ethics & morality don’t really apply to the upper echelons. I think that those receiving grants in CAGW realize this and many are just going along on the “Right Side”. It’s all rather sad really………..

  86. Gary Hladik says:

    johanna says (June 2, 2013 at 2:47 pm): “Frankly, given the early stage that climate science is at, I’d be surprised if 97% of climate scientists agreed on very much at all, if you got down to specifics.”

    My guess is that at least 97% of both “warmist” and “skeptic” climate scientists agree on the basics that have been experimentally demonstrated, despite the occasional debates that break out on climate blogs.

    The Earth as a whole, however, is a very difficult* system to explore experimentally, so once you get past the basics, opinions differ, so to speak.

    * unless of course you have one or more Earths to use as controls

  87. Gary Hladik,

    “agree on the basics”

    and

    “once you get past the basics”

    Just like to know what you are talking about. Basically.

  88. Theo Goodwin says:

    pokerguy says:
    June 2, 2013 at 9:08 am

    “Many have, but it does no good. I keep hammering away on the need for an actual, statistically valid survey to counter this 97 percent canard, but no one seems interested. More enjoyable I guess, and far easier to sit back and complain about biased surveys, and gullible warmists, and to quote noble sounding observations about the nature of science.”

    A serious survey to find consensus must be based on a set of hypotheses that everyone agrees are the fundamental hypotheses of AGW, CAGW, or whatever interests us. Asking whether manmade CO2 contributes to rising temperatures cannot provide useful information. Learning from a survey based on a series of key hypotheses that seventy percent believe that cloud cover is a negative feedback would provide us with a great deal of information. Learning that ninety percent believe that climate sensitivity is less than one degree would provide us with important information.

  89. Albert Einstein sat in his small office thinking of a street car going faster and faster away from the clock on the city hall across..

    Took him years and years to do the math and it took a solar eclipse to find the red shift and prove it all up.

    Michael Mann sat in his small office thinking first of his “red shift” and the need to spend tax money faster and faster to spread the wealth around hard pressed for facts he dreamed up the hockey stick graf.

    Sort of like that.

    Dream up the lie, Rig the data to fit the lie. Trying to save the time it took Albert etal.

  90. RDCII says:

    I prefer Tol’s observation that consensus isn’t science, except I’d say it stronger…it’s ANT-SCIENCE.

    It has been historically used by scientists to maintain the status quo…to prevent new observations or theories from interfering in careers that have been established based on the status quo. It’s a political concept, not a scientific one, and it can’t be used to find scientific truths. Instead, it is essentially scientific bullying…the science complex’s equivalent of high school peer pressure.

    Based on the material and commentary I’ve read by Dana, it’s the perfect tool for him. Look at how his first response was to try to bully Tol into following the “Consensus” by hitting him with the “D” word. I suspect he was absolutely shocked when Tol didn’t instantly cave.

    This should be the meme: consensus is anti-science.

  91. I think the term “ochlocracy” would be a good fit.

  92. Gary Hladik says:

    Poems of Our Climate says (June 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm): “Just like to know what you are talking about. Basically.”

    Some non-controversial examples would be the spectra of incoming sunlight at the top of the atmosphere and at the Earth’s surface, the Stefan-Boltzmann Law, the measurements of CO2 at Mauna Loa and other sites, the measured emissivities of various materials, the absorption and emission spectra of atmospheric gases, conservation of energy, and so on.

  93. philjourdan says:

    @ pokerguy says: June 2, 2013 at 8:23 am

    If indeed those 97 or 98% had done independent research (which Climategate proved was not the case), then I would be just like you – having to re-examine the contradictions. But all we know from this latest escapade from Cook and SkS is that they WANT to create a crowd sourcing. But cannot even do that to convince their own side (not team).

  94. David Grove says:

    It seems to me that we should agree that 97% of a carefully selected group of papers or authors whose “research” is intended to support the thesis that supports them do in fact support the thesis that supports them. Well, then, this is equivalent to “the science is settled”, particularly since there is no meaningful difference between the 97% reported, and the 100% consensus that could certainly have been claimed with just a little more massaging of the study population.
    The obvious result of that consensus is that no more research is needed to prove the thesis, and the obvious, appropriate response to no more need for research is to cancel all funds for all such “researchers”, who are now completely redundant. Maybe they can find jobs in the Indian railway system.

  95. Douglas6 says:

    A recent empirical study from Yale looks at views on climate change and concludes, inter alia, that “[m]embers of the public with the highest degrees of science literacy and technical reasoning capacity were not the most concerned about climate change.” http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2193133. I wonder how Cook squares his conclusions with this study?

  96. Konrad says:

    Gary Hladik says:
    June 2, 2013 at 6:04 pm
    ——————————————————————–
    In science, it does not matter what 97% believe, even about the basics.

    A basic question. Are radiative gases critical for convective circulation in the troposphere? Yes or no?

    Dr. Spencer – “Yes”
    Konrad – “Yes”

    Doug Cotton – “No”
    Nick Stokes – “No”
    Joel Shore – “No”
    Tim Folkerts – “No”
    Davidmhoffer – “No”
    TonyB- “No”

    There appears to be a consensus. Who is right?

    Another basic question. In a non radiative atmosphere that has gone isothermal, will average atmospheric temperature will be set by surface Tav or surface Tmax.

    Dr. Spencer – “surface Tav”
    Konrad – “surface Tmax”

    Who is right?

    A primary function of the scientific method is to provide a reasonably safe and reliable method for even a single person to challenge prevailing consensus. 97% of planetary scientists can agree on the basics of luna regolith composition. If those 97% believe it to be green cheese, they are still wrong.

  97. Theo Goodwin says:

    pokerguy says:
    June 2, 2013 at 11:05 am

    “Philosophy of science considerations and lofty, misty-eyed rhetoric about heroic renegade researchers are fine. IN the real world, you fight in any way you can. Once more, this is a PR war. It it were really just about the science, the skeptics would already have been declared the winners.”

    The vast majority of us are here in defense of science. Much of politics today is just about PR. What makes the AGW debate different is that participants must stand or fall depending on the quality of their science. I wish the same were true in the politics of free speech, one of many examples. If it were true, I would be heavily engaged in that debate.

  98. Theo Goodwin says:

    johanna says:
    June 2, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    “Frankly, given the early stage that climate science is at, I’d be surprised if 97% of climate scientists agreed on very much at all, if you got down to specifics. Broad statements like “human activity is affecting the weather” are trivially true, but meaningless. When it comes to quantifying and weighting the factors that drive climate, I suspect that there is plenty of variation even within the CAGW “consensus” crowd.”

    Exactly. How many climate scientists are lined up to embrace Trenberth’s most recent revelation that the heat is hiding in the deep oceans? A scientific survey of opinion on the main hypotheses of climate science would reveal great disagreement.

  99. Txomin says:

    The dictionary definition of bigot is also “A prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own.”

    The bit about “scientific denialism” is pure delusion. Inquiry, no matter how pertinent or misguided, is at the very core of science and, regardless of the scope of the topic under inspection, it is factually impossible for it to constitute a questioning of science as a whole.

  100. Gary Hladik,

    That nonsense talk Gary. Make a serious list of Gary’s basics that all warmists and skeptics agree on, including WHERE THEY AGREE.

    Then we can talk consensus, er, what did you call it? Sheesh….non-controversial!
    This is political nonsense so far.

  101. SAMURAI says:

    The CAGW hoax has endured due to the “C” portion of CAGW not being not being honestly explained by the MSM, politicians and AGW zealots.

    The CAGW-zealot scientists will continue to get their grants and CAGW-zealot politicians will continue to get their “Carbon” taxes as long as taxpayers fail to understand the salient point is whether or not climate sensitivity is OVER 2C.

    With few exceptions, even the most rapid CAGW zealot will admit that if CO2 climate sensitivity falls under 2C, the “debate” is over and CAGW theory is invalidated.

    The Otto et al paper was an excruciating powerful kick to the groin of CAGW zealots as it postulates a best-guess climate sensitivity at 1.3C and was written by 14 authors/coauthors of IPCC AR reports, making it counterproductive to call them “deniers”.

    The fact that there has been no statistically significant warming into the 17th year, despite roughly 40% of all manmade CO2 emissions since 1750 being emitted over the last 17 years, is even more difficult to explain away.

    Given that CO2 is now at 400ppm, which is 43% of CO2 doubling, and factoring in the logarithmic function of CO2 forcing, roughly 50% of climate sensitivity has already been obtained, while the HADCRUT4 anomaly stands at a laughable 0.40C and UAH at an hilarious 0.10C.

    Given these realities, an excellent case for CO2 climate sensitivity being less than 1.0C is not only possible, but highly probable and at this level of climate sensitivity, CAGW belongs on the trash heap of failed theories.

    With the current solar cycle the lowest since 1906, the next solar cycle from 2020 projected to be the lowest since 1645, the PDO in its 30-yr cool phase since 2008, the AMO projected to enter its 30-yr cool phase from around 2020, extreme weather at 100-yr average incidence and a string of cold winters and cool springs all conspire to invalidate the CAGW hoax.

    “Time is on our side”, as the Rolling Stone’s song says.

  102. Climate_Science_Researcher says:

     
    [snip - more Slayers junk science from the banned DOUG COTTON who thinks his opinion is SO IMPORTANT he has to keep making up fake names to get it across -Anthony]

  103. Man Bearpig says:

    manicbeancounter says:
    June 2, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Man Bearpig says: June 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Perhaps ‘skeptical science’ is the right moniker for Cook and his website.

    I disagree. John Cook has said
    —————————
    I meant that people should be sceptical about what they find there :)
    The definition for religion also seems quite appropriate ;)

  104. TeaPartyGeezer says:

    Nullius @ 1:28pm … Interesting paper. Since you found this one, is there any way you could find the 2010 paper and provide a link? NEVERMIND! I found it …
    http://ncseprojects.org/files/pub/polls/2010–Perspectives_of_Climate_Scientists_Concerning_Climate_Science_&_Climate_Change_.pdf

    Konrad @ 5:15pm … Excellent. Good points. Sound reasoning. IMHO.

    David Grove @ 7:27pm … Good point … except now the politicians have it and intend to institute draconian measures which can only diminish our way of life. Like a dog with a bone, they have no intention of letting go.

  105. The longer I look at this paper, the weirder it gets.

    The data say 98%. The paper says 97%. The difference is due to 40 reclassified papers (data hidden). The paper says that those 40 were found in a sample (n=1,000) of the neutral papers (N=7970). They seem to have forgotten to scale up the 40 in the sample to population. Had they done so, the headline number would have been 92%.

  106. Mindert Eiting says:

    pokerguy says:
    June 2, 2013 at 9:08 am

    “Many have, but it does no good. I keep hammering away on the need for an actual, statistically valid survey to counter this 97 percent canard, but no one seems interested. More enjoyable I guess, and far easier to sit back and complain about biased surveys..”

    I have given my answer at 1:22 pm. This kind of research is called meta analysis. The topic is not the misty PR-concept of consensus but research conclusions. We want to know whether certain conclusions depend on subject area, time of research, and quality of research.

    In stead of discussing Cook’s article, based on bad research, or replicating it, skeptics should take the lead and do some good research. For an example, see Donna LF. If we don’t do it, OK, but let’s stop discussing a silly figure.

    The research can be done by a small group in which we determine the subject areas and type of conclusions, take the samples, do the research, compute the statistics, and write the article. We need a small team of experts covering the subject areas.The development could be posted here, making crowd review possible. We could begin with a proposal of research areas as can be found in the IPCC publications. Shall we do it or not?

  107. rk says:

    I have to stand up for Social Science here. This is way beyond the pale. There are standard techniques and statistics for 1. measuring inter-rate reliabilities and 2. achieving good reliabilities before you conduct the rating experiment.. None of this is talked about in the article…just the end percentage fails…then a clean up step.

    Also, i don’t think this would have made it out of Human Subjects Review. Rating this many abstracts is too burdensome to ask people to do. (obviously, their is a quality issue too). That is why we have sampling.

    Based on this i don’t think a good Psych journal would have published it. Not to mention the bias in the raters.

    Beyond that is the odd non-concordance between the high self-rating of AGW vs. the ratings. The raters mostly saw no position taken…but the authors said, sure we are believers!

    I conclude that this is not Social Science, nor Climate Science. it is a rather clumsy attempt at propagandizing the herd of believers…to bolster the troops, so to speak. It is something of an embarrassment that Psychologists took part in this…they really should do a better job.

    But….it does not surprise me that most abstracts would contain some boilerplate about the current AGW….I mean, I think that most funding is based on this or that study of the impact of AGW on biology or something else. And even in critical articles, at the end, they’ll always put a good world in for the dominate theory of today.

  108. rk says:

    Mindert Eiting says:
    June 3, 2013 at 12:32 am

    I have given my answer at 1:22 pm. This kind of research is called meta analysis. The topic is not the misty PR-concept of consensus but research conclusions. We want to know whether certain conclusions depend on subject area, time of research, and quality of research.

    Well, meta-analysis is way more sophisticated. This paper is just a textual content analysis poorly executed…whereas MA statistically combines each studies statistics to determine if the overall body of work is significant or not.

  109. Mindert Eiting says:

    RK: my proposal is meta analysis but we should not make it too sophisticated perhaps. I know a lot about inter-rater reliability but we need quite a big team of experts for the different areas. Apparently, you are interested.

  110. jones says:

    So it’s evener worserer than we thought……..?

    Or worse than that…

  111. Blarney says:

    Frankly, I find all this emphasis on the statistics and calculations in Cook’s paper completely misplaced and distracting from the real issues in this case. Which are two:
    1) The cathegorization of abstracts is skewed towards a greater level of endorsement: a generic statement about the fact that greenhouse gasses emissions contribute to climate change is counted as an explicit endorsement, while results according to which “major portion to none of the 20th century warming could result from natural causes” is to be classified as “implicit rejection”. (Table 2.)
    2) Classifying the status of the research from abstracts is equivalent to deriving the state of a society from newspaper headlines: there is a disproportionate amount of homicides, rape and violence going on everywhere.

    IMHO, any other flaw in the paper is just secondary compared to these two.

  112. Arun says:

    It may be herd behavior, but I’m not sure pigs towards a trough can be called a herd.
    A herd by any other name should smell as…

  113. Pointman says:

    Dr Tol, whom I wouldn’t classify as a climate skeptic, is actually taking back climate science from the shameless propagandists posing as scientists. He’s to be commended for doing so, though I wish he’d started sooner, as did those science heroes of mine like Michaels, Plimer, Giaever, Lomborg, Dyson et al.

    Incidentally, you can get a free and legal copy of Mackay’s classic at project Gutenberg by following the link at the end of this piece.

    http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/some-thoughts-about-policy-for-the-aftermath-of-the-climate-wars/

    Pointman

  114. CFI says:

    That’s how the Cookie Crumbles

  115. Konrad says:

    Doug Cotton says:
    June 2, 2013 at 10:58 pm
    “Back radiation can indeed slow radiative surface cooling.”
    —————————————————————————
    It’s too late for that Doug. Way too late. The internet remembers. The PSI thing failed. Game over.

    The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
     Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit,
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
     Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

    As I understand it, tears do not work on the Wayback Machine either. ;-)

  116. StephenP says:

    Yet we have this comment from Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, who is hoping to push a bill through Parliament which will force the UK to go carbon free for electricity generation by 2030, just 17 years time, as it will help mitigate climate change! He will need to get China and India on board to go carbon free if he is to have any effect on climate change.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/10095188/Ed-Davey-attacks-papers-who-report-destructive-climate-sceptics.html

  117. Myrrh says:

    Pointman – Replace food staples with biofuel crops and let the food riots begin. Refuse to let the developing world have access to better GM seeds, and let the crops fail. Let them starve.

    It’s GM crops that are starving them. The monopoly of the market forbidding them from saving their own seeds. The GM crops do not give higher yields, they were engineered to withstand the Roundup produced by the same company. Why not question the hype here too?

  118. StephenP says:

    Meanwhile from Roger Harabin at the BBC
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22745578

  119. CFI says:

    My advice is to not let the matter drop, same with the Marcott paper, if these papers stand then science falls.

  120. Keitho says:

    Myrrh says:
    June 3, 2013 at 3:10 am (Edit)

    ———————————————————————————————

    GM crops do not have any monopoly anywhere. They are designed to make the farmer more profitable by reducing the costs of production requiring less water, fertiliser, herbicide and pesticide, while increasing yields. If the farmer voluntarily decides to use the GMO then he may not hold back seed for replanting which is simply the seed producers business model to which the farmer has agreed.

    In the event the farmer wishes to use other, non GMO , seeds such as hybrids he may do so but holding back seeds from those crops results in reduced yields as well. Which is why in those countries where GM crops are banned the farmers by hybrid seeds from Cargill, Monsanto, Syngenta and others rather than simply replant pips from previous crops. They also make him more profitable.

    I fail to understand why GM producers like, say, Monsanto are accused of having monopolies which force farmers into doing their bidding. The farmer always, and everywhere, has a choice. Many choose to be more profitable by changing their own farming methods which often include, where allowed, GM seeds.

  121. Chuck Nolan says:

    rustneversleeps says:
    June 2, 2013 at 8:37 am…………………..

    I guess the real question is “which is the herd that has gone mad”? Is it those that acknowledge the overwhelming consensus in the scientific literature? Or is it the herd that stamps its little feet and sticks it fingers in its ears trying to avoid that simple fact?
    Inquiring minds want to know…
    —————————————-
    First, these inquiring minds must decide which group supports the overwhelming consensus in the scientific literature? and the herd that stamps its little feet and sticks it fingers in its ears trying to avoid that simple fact?
    I believe this is where the argument remains to be debated.
    One group says, “Here’s some evidence which shows man made CO2 might not be the major cause of the global warming indicated in the adjusted temperatures….there may be other factors to explore.”
    While the other group says, “Here’s proof, 97% of scientists say the earth is being destroyed and man is generating the CO2 which is the cause. The lands will flood and dry out; the forests will be set afire by the excess heat from man; there will be no food nor water for consumption as we burn this paradise. We must stop this at all costs, including starving and freezing the poor, covering animal habitats with solar panels and filling the sky with noisy bird shredders. (We just don’t want no dams and nukes).”

    Tell us rusty “which is the herd that has gone mad”?
    cn

  122. FTM says:

    I wonder how many of the people that wrote the papers under review were getting grant money from a govern-mental agency. N.B. We have all been told that enviro-mental research conducted by oil companies is biased. If that’s the case then how is enviro-mental research conducted by governments not biased?

  123. ConTrari says:

    It is a great mystery to me why the number 97% seems to have this almost mystic importance for alarmists. Is it to defend the bad old Doran-paper?

    It looks quite silly to return again and again to this number. Much more convincing if these surveys had varied between for instance 80 and 93%. The propaganda point of massive CAGW-support would have been better made that way. The insistence on 97 only serves to stir up memories of referendums in totalitarian states, where a puny minority was allowed to deviate from the party line, in order to create an illusion of free elections.

    But then, some alarmists have suggested that CAGW is too important to suffer the whims of a democracy.

  124. Chuck Nolan says:

    Latitude says:
    June 2, 2013 at 10:44 am
    pokerguy says:
    June 2, 2013 at 9:08 am
    The truth is that 97 percent number would be compelling if real. It needs to be efficiently and legitimately countered.
    ===============
    no it doesn’t….LOL

    The fact is after all these decades….they are still trying to convince people that it’s real
    —————————————————–
    I consider myself a skeptic when it comes to man made CO2 being the one and only major problem which must be tackled ….. now. The story is fabulous and the solution is a lie.

    I’m not overly concerned if the price we pay for abundant cheap energy (and the happiness this energy brings to humans) is an increase of couple of degrees in temperature and swapping some newly unfrozen usable land for a new coastline. A reasonable man would look at this from a global perspective and say, “If this is their “C” in cagw then it sounds like a win – win situation.”
    I consider myself a reasonable skeptic.
    cn

  125. pat says:

    StephenP -

    Daily Mail has, perhaps, the most hilarious coverage and Cook’s 97% Consensus gets Davey’s nod!

    3 June: UK Daily Mail: Matt Chorley: ‘Blinkered’ climate change deniers accused of ‘dangerous, publicity-seeking, bloody-mindedness’ by Energy Secretary Ed Davey
    The Lib Dem Cabinet minister will use a major speech to condemn those who ‘deny the reality of climate change itself’.
    He will accuse people who argue the planet is not warming are ‘absolutely wrong and really quite dangerous’.
    Mr Davey’s speech comes as he faces fierce criticism from his own party for dropping targets for cutting carbon emissions by 2030…
    Speaking at the launch of a new Met Office climate change service, Mr Davey will argue that ‘healthy scepticism’ about the science of climate change is part of the scientific process.
    But he will blame ‘some sections of the press’ for giving an ‘uncritical campaigning platform’ to people and campaigners who reject the idea that climate change is a result of human activity and some who ‘even deny the reality of climate change itself’.
    Mr Davey will say: ‘This is not the serious science of challenging, checking and probing.
    ‘This is destructive and loudly clamouring scepticism born of vested interest, nimbyism, publicity seeking contraversialism or sheer blinkered, dogmatic, political bloody-mindedness.’
    He claims this ‘tendency’ seize on any scientific uncertainty as proof that green policy and investment in renewable power is ‘hopelessly misguided’…
    Mr Davey will add: ‘By selectively misreading the evidence, they seek to suggest that climate change has stopped so we can all relax and burn all the dirty fuel we want without a care.
    ‘This is a superficially seductive message, but it is absolutely wrong and really quite dangerous.’
    He will highlight a recent survey of over 12,000 peer-reviewed climate science papers which he says ‘provides a startling picture of the consensus that exists in our scientific community’…
    Tory MP Tim Yeo and Labour’s Barry Gardiner have tabled an amendment to set a target to that the power industry will be carbon-free by 2030.
    Businesses, environmental organisations, faith groups and trade unions are all calling on MPs to back the move in a vote.
    However, Chancellor George Osborne has expressed support for a new ‘dash for gas’ instead of a drive toward renewables and other low-carbon technology in the 2020s.
    The Government’s own climate advisers have backed the target to cut emissions by 2030 and said that investing in low-carbon power such as wind farms and nuclear reactors in the 2020s could save consumers billions of pounds compared to relying on gas.
    Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said that the amendment was very important because without it the Energy Bill became ‘a bit aimless’.
    ‘This is the point the investors and business people are making: you’ve got to be really clear about what your route map is and where you want to get to,’ he said…
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2335100/Blinkered-climate-change-deniers-accused-dangerous-publicity-seeking-bloody-mindedness-Energy-Secretary-Ed-Davey.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

  126. pat says:

    almost as funny as Davey:

    3 June: ABC PM: Environmental investment campaign targets fossil fuels
    BILL MCKIBBEN: It’s gone quickly, also, to churches in the United States, but also in Australia, where parts of the Uniting Church have divested their stock in coal companies. Just saying these companies, you know, they’re running Genesis backwards, you know, they’re de-creating this planet, we can’t keep, in good conscience, profiting from the wreckage of the climate…
    SARAH CLARKE: So the maths of climate change is what you’re also saying is not being listened to?
    BILL MCKIBEEN: That’s right. Climate change in essence is a kind of math problem…
    SARAH CLARKE: Looking at Australian politics and an election in September; the Coalition, if it does win as suggested, it will roll back the carbon price. How would that be looked upon internationally, and do you think that really will make a difference?
    BILL MCKIBEEN: I do. I think the fact that Australia has taken a good, bold step on carbon pricing, is something that the rest of the world has noticed. And in the months since, both the Koreans and the Chinese have emulated this and set up carbon pricing schemes of their own.
    So it’s been important, and it would be a clear step backwards, a step out of the 21st Century and back into the 20th, or maybe even the 19th, to just say we can keep pouring carbon into the atmosphere for free…
    http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2013/s3773610.htm

    ——————————————————————————–

  127. Second draft is up. Lucia L showed that there is a validity test (which Cook et al. failed spectacularly) and I got to the bottom of the difference between Web of Science and Scopus.

  128. Sam the First says:

    I expect someone has already posted this – sorry I don’t have time to check but I’m putting it up in case they didn’t. I despair of our idiot politicians, who do no scientific research before inflicting this madness on us all

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/10095188/Ed-Davey-attacks-papers-who-report-destructive-climate-sceptics.html

  129. Layne Blanchard says:

    Michael Crichton on the Eugenics movement:

    …Its supporters included Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Winston Churchill. It was approved by Supreme Court justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and Louis Brandeis, who ruled in its favor. The famous names who supported it included Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone; activist Margaret Sanger; botanist Luther Burbank; Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University; the novelist H. G. Wells; the playwright George Bernard Shaw; and hundreds of others. Nobel Prize winners gave support. Research was backed by the Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations. The Cold Springs Harbor Institute was built to carry out this research, but important work was also done at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford and Johns Hopkins. Legislation to address the crisis was passed in states from New York to California.

    These efforts had the support of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Medical Association, and the National Research Council. It was said that if Jesus were alive, he would have supported this effort.

    . . .

    As Margaret Sanger said, “Fostering the good-for-nothing at the expense of the good is an extreme cruelty … there is not greater curse to posterity than that of bequeathing them an increasing population of imbeciles.” She spoke of the burden of caring for “this dead weight of human waste.”

    Such views were widely shared. H.G. Wells spoke against “ill-trained swarms of inferior citizens.” Theodore Roosevelt said that “Society has no business to permit degenerates to reproduce their kind.” Luther Burbank” “Stop permitting criminals and weaklings to reproduce.” George Bernard Shaw said that only eugenics could save mankind.

    . . .

    Eugenics research was funded by the Carnegie Foundation, and later by the Rockefeller Foundation. The latter was so enthusiastic that even after the center of the eugenics effort moved to Germany, and involved the gassing of individuals from mental institutions, the Rockefeller Foundation continued to finance German researchers at a very high level. (The foundation was quiet about it, but they were still funding research in 1939, only months before the onset of World War II.)

    Since the 1920s, American eugenicists had been jealous because the Germans had taken leadership of the movement away from them. The Germans were admirably progressive. They set up ordinary-looking houses where “mental defectives” were brought and interviewed one at a time, before being led into a back room, which was, in fact, a gas chamber. There, they were gassed with carbon monoxide, and their bodies disposed of in a crematorium located on the property.

    . . .

    After World War II, nobody was a eugenicist, and nobody had ever been a eugenicist. Biographers of the celebrated and the powerful did not dwell on the attractions of this philosophy to their subjects, and sometimes did not mention it at all. Eugenics ceased to be a subject for college classrooms, although some argue that its ideas continue to have currency in disguised form.

  130. Ian W says:

    The 97% argument in action used by UK Energy Secretary
    “‘Blinkered’ climate change deniers accused of ‘dangerous, publicity-seeking, bloody-mindedness’ by Energy Secretary Ed Davey

    Lib Dem minister launches extraordinary attack on his opponents
    Claims climate change deniers are ‘absolutely wrong and dangerous’
    He faces pressure for watering down emissions targets in Energy Bill”

    ……..
    He will highlight a recent survey of over 12,000 peer-reviewed climate science papers which he says ‘provides a startling picture of the consensus that exists in our scientific community’.
    Target: Tory MP Tim Yeo MP, chairman of the Commons Environmental Audit Committee, wants to write tougher targets for 2030 into the Energy Bill

    Target: Tory MP Tim Yeo MP, chairman of the Commons Environmental Audit Committee, wants to write tougher targets for 2030 into the Energy Bill

    It found 97 per cent of the climate experts who expressed an opinion ‘agree that human activity is driving global warming… just three per cent question man’s contribution’.

    The extraordinary attack on his opponents comes ahead of the Energy Bill facing a crucial vote in the Commons.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2335100/Blinkered-climate-change-deniers-accused-dangerous-publicity-seeking-bloody-mindedness-Energy-Secretary-Ed-Davey.html
    (My bolding)

    The interesting part is going to the comments and selecting ‘best rating’ the Energy Secretary does not appear to be getting a lot of support.

  131. klem says:

    It is well known in the marketing world that an uneven number contains more intrinsic authority and is more beleivable than an even number. So 97% is more beleivable than 98%.

  132. cwon14 says:

    What’s disappointing are skeptics who cling to the naive belief (or public persona on the matter, no matter how inwardly false this actually is) the AGW debate is essentially “science”. That many are unwilling to identify with the “right-wing” in their skepticism clearly is an enabler of AGW fanaticism.

    Aside from the fact “97%” can’t quantify any threat of AGW there is the essentially ignored fact that the core AGW science community are largely like minded, academic left (of the Hansen/Mann variety) and there isn’t an objective authority (for example the left-wing MSM) who are willing to discipline the bias culture represented by Cook.

    The “consensus” should be called out on its politics and technical skeptics are essentially weak and in denial for not doing so (many other complex reasons exist for this skeptic reality as well).

  133. Mark Bofill says:

    Pointman, you said this well.

    Dr Tol, whom I wouldn’t classify as a climate skeptic, is actually taking back climate science from the shameless propagandists posing as scientists. He’s to be commended for doing so, though I wish he’d started sooner, as did those science heroes of mine like Michaels, Plimer, Giaever, Lomborg, Dyson et al.

    I applaud Dr. Tol for doing this. I for one am sick of pseudo scientific PR efforts made by the likes of Cook and intended to cause stampedes. Climate scientists need to understand that the late great Dr. Steven Schneider hadn’t just possibly lost his moral compass, he was flat out wrong. If you want to motivate me, you’d darn well better quit worrying about being ‘effective’ and tell me the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, no matter how far over my head you think that truth is. I’m tired of people trying to manipulate me.

  134. Sensorman says:

    Why not harness the might of WUWT and go further than Cook? I’m sure we could drum up maybe 100 times the number of reviewers. Expand out to the “non Global” dataset. Take just a reasonable bundle of abstracts each. Establish clear and unambiguous rules. Yes, I know it’s probably too late (MSM already wringing the most out of Cook), but if done right, could perhaps right some of the wrongs…

  135. Duster says:

    rustneversleeps says:
    June 2, 2013 at 8:37 am

    “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”
    That is from Charles Mackay in his book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds first published in 1841.
    Hmmm,

    For what it’s worth, it also appears to be from Sting’s song “All This Time”:

    Sting was born the latter half of the 20th C, more than 100 years after McCay published Popular Delusions. Anthony’s alllusion is explicitly to McCay. The “97%” has been shot down repeatedly, because among other things, scientists never benefit from “consensus.” If they did, research grants would dry up. “Consensus” would equal “proven,” and in the case of AGW, its clear that short of a human catastrophe, if CAGW is “proven” the only way to prevent it would be to hold World War III. The real consensus lies among non-scientifically trained individuals in the media and easily frightened – I have to include a great many who purport to be social scientists – neurotics who are likely also certain that some specific food or other is the real evil in human health. Any opinion that is so strongly held that it is impervious to empirical reality can be classed as a delusion, so there are undoubtedly many delusionary on both sides of the debate’s fence.

  136. Dana N points out that the main difference between draft 1 and 2 is that “it now references discussions stolen from the hacked SkS private forum”.

    Good research can stand the light of day.

  137. Anthony Watts says:

    @Richard Tol. “Good research can stand the light of day.”

    If SkS would simply release the data gathering methodology you are requesting, the need for using the forum references ends, does it not?

  138. Gary Hladik says:

    Poems of Our Climate says (June 2, 2013 at 8:41 pm): “That nonsense talk Gary.”

    Eh? You don’t think all climate scientists agree on, for example, conservation of energy?

    I can think of a few things all climate scientists don’t agree on, if that will help: so-called “climate sensitivity”, the probability that most measured warming is anthropogenic, the validity of “adjustments” to temperature records, the “robustness” of the so-called “hockey stick”, etc.

    Better?

  139. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    @Richard Tol

    Comment1: Assuming that the reported increase in Neutral (very high) and Endorsing (high) papers over the years is correct as opposed to Rejecting papers (not much change), is the increasing negative skewness you report not to be expected since the data file is ordered by year of publication?

    Comment2: “that the sample of papers that were rated twice is not representative for the large sample that was rated once”. Note in this respect that the response percentage of authors is greater in later years. If the character of papers changes over the years, then unrepresentativeness results.

    Carry on!

  140. @Anthony
    We would learn a lot if only they released all the data.

    The SkS forum discussions, however, reveal that there were complaints about fatigue, that the supposedly independent raters discussed their work with one another, that authors were raters, and that John Cook both ran the survey and participated in it. The last three points violate standard protocols for surveys.

  141. David Cage says:

    Why do you keep knocking the idea of a 97% consensus among climate scientists. Since AGW is the current belief in the profession and to pass the examinations to become a climate scientist one has to accept this as right surely the only question is why the consensus is not 100%

  142. mt says:

    @RichardTol, I’m a little concerned about your windowed analysis. You state that the papers were rated in a random order, how can structure pulled from a windowed analysis be attributed to the rating process rather than the (undefined) sorting from the Web of Science result set you’re working from. I don’t see how the two clusters of AGW rejections you found arose from fatigue or bias during randomly ordered rankings, or that the “unexpected” heteroskedasticity somehow reflects on the raters. For instance, sorting by year would explain skewness result (early papers showed less “consensus”) and possibly the rejection clusters (were they around the IPCC publishing deadlines?)

  143. Skiphil says:

    Richard Tol on p.4 of his second draft points to what I think has been entirely missing from the extremely misleading discussions from Oreskes to Cook: the vast majority of “climate change” related papers take no position and offer no evidence on the genuine ***CAUSAL*** hypothesis of AGW. For the Cook data, Tol reports that corrected analysis shows that ***95%*** of the papers take no position on the AGW hypothesis itself.

    Hype artists from Oreskes to Cook/Nuccitelli are manufacturing a level of “consensus” from the fact that funding and political pressures lead many people to pay lip service to “climate change” and then discuss mitigation or adaptation issues. It is highly misleading to pretend that all the papers which assume AGW are adding anything to the evidentiary, scientific basis. (As a “lukewarmer” I don’t worry too much about whether there might be *some* AGW, but the magnitude and effects may well be exaggerated, misunderstood, and/or hyped for socio-political purposes)

  144. Duster says:

    Gary Pearse says:
    June 2, 2013 at 7:59 am

    How’s this for a measure of the bias. 12 were given 50 abstracts each and 12 were given 1922 abstracts each to evaluate. The point that anyone who happily accepts 1922 tasks has to be biased zealot is supported by the arithmetic: (1922-50)/1922 = 0.974, or 97%!!! The zealots were given the abstracts that could possibly be interpreted as pro AGW and instructed to do so, and the others were given abstracts that didn’t mention “global warming” per se.

    The numbers seem to have multiple problems in the original Cook paper. I can’t seem to find 110 ratings assuming each abstract really was rated twice as the authors explain in the “not” Methodology.* The author say that a final sample of 11,944 abstracts were rated, and that each was categorized twice, once by each by two different raters, but the reported rating numbers indicate that a total 11,834 ratings were made (or some abstracts were really only rated once).

    *Methodology is not merely a catalog of “we did’s,” Those are just methods. A methodology should explain the reasons that specific methods were employed. It should also justify them in the light of expected biases and data collection and quality problems, and place them within a specific scientific perspective. None of that information is there except implicitly, once. They did reportedly screen author names, which might have been to reduce assumptions about “big names,” but that is not stated. Neither do the authors explain why they are doing “crowd source” science, what they understand it be, or what strengths it might have over “standard” science. As science goes, a tossed salad has more methodology.

  145. Billy Liar says:

    97% is the 21st century religious icon of the Church of Global Warming:

    Throughout history, various religious cultures have been inspired or supplemented by concrete images, whether in two dimensions or three. The degree to which images are used or permitted, and their functions — whether they are for instruction or inspiration, treated as sacred objects of veneration or worship, or simply applied as ornament — depend upon the tenets of a given religion in a given place and time.

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

  146. dbstealey says:

    Richard Tol says:

    “The last three points violate standard protocols for surveys.”

    That is true. But this ‘survey’ was produced for propaganda, not as science, or even as a legitimate statistical study. The usual gang will pick it up and run with it, hoping the public will just read the headlines.

    But as science/statistics, it is typical John Cook crap.

  147. Gary says:

    As far as I can tell, Cook, et al., 2013 does not provide information about the training of the raters. In any study of this sort, a rubric or protocol for rating should be provided and the people doing the rating tested for consistency. The Zooniverse crowd-sourcing projects (https://www.zooniverse.org/), for example, provide a bit of training for each of their numerous and very successful projects. This is another failure of the Cook project that Dr. Tol might add to his other criticisms.

  148. AntonyIndia says:

    The Guardian has a science blog today about another historical scientific consensus in the 1940´s regarding genetics ( that was blown out of the water in the 1950´s) which might have been 98%. Read about it here http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2013/jun/03/oswald-t-avery-genetic-science-dna
    Boring bases controlling genetics? No way, it had to be those interesting proteins clearly, who could deny that?

  149. @mt
    Fair enough. The pattern in the data may just be caused by the infrequency of anything but 4. Need to think about this.

  150. JR says:

    From Desmog blog (aka Asshat City)
    [ http://www.desmogblog.com/2013/05/15/climate-denial-s-death-knell-97-percent-peer-reviewed-science-confirms-manmade-global-warming-consensus-overwhelming ]

    Co-author Dana Nuccitelli explains the findings on the consensus:
    ” … 97.1% … 97.2% …
    … We found that about two-thirds of papers didn’t express a position on the subject in the abstract, which confirms that we were conservative in our initial abstract ratings. This result isn’t surprising for two reasons: 1) most journals have strict word limits for their abstracts, and 2) frankly, every scientist doing climate research knows humans are causing global warming. … “

  151. w.w.wygart says:

    I think Anthony has hit the nail fairly square on the head:

    I think that there was a goal by Cook and his crowd, and that goal was to match the 97% number that has become a popular meme in the literature and the media.

    Given the miserable condition of the Cook et al. paper the only real question is how deliberate or how subconsciously self-serving the results are. To put a twist on Naomi Orestes: to what extent was it Cook et al.’s intent to ‘Manufacture Consent~sus’. Why did they not leap to the 98% conclusion? Was it just, as Anthony suggests, to reinforce the “97% of climate scientists” meme that has been floating around for years; to suggest that original ’97% piece of junk’ was correct too; are they afraid that reaching for the ’98%’ figure sounds a little too like shooting for the Moon; or are the holding the 98% figure in reserve for a later date, “It’s worse than we thought!” We’ll probably never know unless someone wants to cough up their emails.

    It’s a pretty sad situation for Science to be in.

    The ‘consensus crowd’ is very unlikely to be shifted out of their current position, basically because they will not formally consider the counter position because they have convinced themselves that there IS NO reasonable cause for doubt. In other words the ‘consensus’ side need make almost NO EFFORT to reinforce their own position while feeling utterly confident in being correct; while on the other hand the skeptical position has to take hour and hours of research to digest, analyze, evaluate, and if necessary refute a single ‘consensus’ point in a scientifically convincing way. Then to add insult on top of personal injury, your ‘consensus’ interlocutor will simply declare you “wrong” without having bothered to do the research necessary to evaluate and refute your position.

    Intellectual laziness.

    The reason I find it impossible to digest Cook et al.’s cooked up 97% figure is that it just does not seem to match reality AT ALL. In the last six years I have read at least fifty peer reviewed journal articles in full, partials and the abstracts for a couple hundred more, hundreds of other scientific articles, encyclopedia entries and essays [as opposed to 'news' articles about the science], and several books. To be a skeptic takes hours and hours of time. I know exactly how much work it is to read an make sense of all of this. It’s really hard to keep up. [don't we all know]
    The 97% figure just doesn’t describe the reality I have experienced – it might if you live in a ‘consensus’ bubble and your only sources of information of the subject are: NPR, the New York times, Scientific American, and Science News. Even if you are a die-hard: RealClimate, Deltoid, Tamino, SkS, consensus type you’ve got to know the 97% figure has no basis in reality because you spend so much of your life refuting the papers of deniers’ “pseudo-science” – tell me does that feel to you like only 2-3% of all that’s out there?

    One thousand-nine-hundred-twenty-two abstracts rated by a single individual??? [sure sounds like a lot when you write the number out] Given a mere three minutes to: carefully read for comprehension, analyze, rate, and tabulate each scientific abstract, that sums to a minimum of ninety-six hours of effort by that ‘volunteer’, not counting breaks, to complete the project – more than two full work weeks – almost three work weeks if you live in France. [actually if you consider that the average French factory worker really 'labors' three hours a day: 32 work weeks] How good could the quality of that individuals efforts be? forget about bias. Did the Cook et al. methodology have any mechanism for screening out people who were skimming though the abstracts, or trying to cram in 96 hours of reading into one 24 hour day?

    Even if the 97% figure were true, or close to being true, it would still prove nothing – except that you can stack cow-pies pretty high if you try, and that skeptics’ assertions that the peer reviewed science has been systematically skewed in favor of ‘consensus’ may be true.

    The only real solution is to hunt out and eliminate bias in the science, where ever it is found, and not to put up with intellectual laziness.

    W^3

  152. w.w.wygart says:

    On a slightly different note.

    Here’s an interesting link to a study of the behaviors of different herds’ thinking over the years by Charles Murray back in 2009.

    http://www.aei-ideas.org/2009/08/the-white-house-and-the-pauline-kael-syndrome/

    The ‘divergent herd’ shown in the diagram probably feel very proud of themselves for their cleverness in diverging so sharply from the rest of society – fine – but the might ask themselves if maybe they have been in their own little bubble too long and their groups’ thinking has become a little too self-referential, and even if they don’t think everyone in America thinks as they do on Global Warming they ought to.

    W^3

  153. Gary Hladik says:

    Konrad says (June 2, 2013 at 7:51 pm): “A basic question. Are radiative gases critical for convective circulation in the troposphere? Yes or no?”

    Ignoring the ambiguity of the question (e.g. define “critical”), I think that Konrad, like Cook, has misclassified some of his “respondents”. For example, I bet Stokes, Shore, Folkerts, Hoffer, and maybe even Cotton would agree with Dr. Spencer on that one. BTW, did Konrad poll these people directly with the above question, or did he deduce their responses from previous discussions?

    “In science, it does not matter what 97% believe, even about the basics.”

    If by “basics” we mean “experimentally demonstrable”, then it certainly does matter. Anyone who D-Nyes (sorry, mods) replicated experimental results, i.e. facts, is an obvious crackpot, unless he/she can supply the “extraordinary proof” required. Mere assertions, however passionate, don’t count.

    On the other hand, for systems not amenable to controlled experiments, e.g. the Earth’s climate system, indeed “consensus” is no guarantee of correctness, especially when “consensus” is manufactured by statistical manipulation, fraud, and–perhaps most important–political manipulation, e.g. government funding. Another dead giveaway is hype, e.g. “coal trains of death”, and (from an idiot on a blog) “fossil fuels kill, period”.

    Going with a true consensus can be useful, though, because it saves a lot of time investigating crackpot ideas. To quote Isaac Asimov, “Though many of the products of genius seem crackpot at first, very few of the creations that seem crackpot turn out, after all, to be products of genius.”

    http://thethunderchild.com/Sourcebooks/Asimov/AisForAsimov/FactandFancy.html

    “Another basic question. In a non radiative atmosphere that has gone isothermal, will average atmospheric temperature will be set by surface Tav or surface Tmax.”

    Konrad’s “poll” includes only two respondents and excludes, for example, the entire IPCC, prominent climate scientists not part of the IPCC, etc. Quoting Asimov again, “People without training in a particular field do not know what to doubt and what not to doubt; or, to put it conversely, what to believe and what not to believe. I am very sorry to be undemocratic, but one man’s opinion is not necessarily as good as the next man’s.”

    http://www.strbrasil.com.br/English/Res/fact.htm

  154. tchannon says:

    Anthony, Ed Davey just played the 97% consensus trick in front of Lawson on BBC R4

    Which 97%?

  155. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    @Richard Tol

    and

    http://discussion.guardian.co.uk/comment-permalink/24047444

    Carry on!

  156. Konrad says:

    Gary Hladik says:
    June 3, 2013 at 1:24 pm
    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    “For example, I bet Stokes, Shore, Folkerts, Hoffer, and maybe even Cotton would agree with Dr. Spencer on that one.”

    How much? ;-)

    “Konrad’s “poll” includes only two respondents and excludes, for example, the entire IPCC, prominent climate scientists not part of the IPCC, etc. Quoting Asimov again, “People without training in a particular field do not know what to doubt and what not to doubt; or, to put it conversely, what to believe and what not to believe. I am very sorry to be undemocratic, but one man’s opinion is not necessarily as good as the next man’s.”

    This reads as the classic “call to authority” argument. This is one of the errors in reasoning the scientific method seeks to circumvent. In establishing the role of “Climate Scientist” at the start of the hoax, those involved have sought to establish themselves as the “authority”. Call to authority only works on those activists, journalists and politicians with poor scientific literacy. (why has it worked on you, Gary?) Science is not a religion, institution or qualification. It is a method, a system for advancing working knowledge using repeatable empirical observations and repeatable empirical experiments. Consensus has nothing to do with it.

  157. Drapetomania says:

    The use of any number ending with 7 is a retail sales technique.
    For some reason, many punters, supposedly, are more attracted to a figure with 7 at the end of it than other numbers.

  158. Brian H says:

    “Systematic sloppiness” is an interesting oxymoron. Sounds like “planned and deliberate error”, to me.

  159. Gary Hladik says:

    Konrad says (June 3, 2013 at 6:51 pm): “How much? ;-)”

    Short answer: probably about as much as Dr. Spencer does.

    Long answer: If you want to know “how much” someone agrees with you, your “poll” should have multiple choice options (e.g. “strongly agree”, “partly agree”) instead of just “yes/no”.

    “This reads as the classic ‘call to authority’ argument.”

    Not surprisingly you’ve totally misread it. When it comes to science, all men are most assuredly not created equal. If Dr. Spencer, for example, were to claim that so-called “greenhouse gases” on balance cool the Earth’s surface, then I’d at least pay attention to his evidence. If a kitchen climatologist who’s just discovered convection claims the same thing, well, he should come back when he has more. Do you, Konrad, actually listen to a potential crackpot with no track record as seriously as you do to a reputable scientist?

    Again, a genuine scientific consensus (not a political one) saves a lot of time. If you haven’t read Dr. Asimov’s essay yet, I highly recommend it.

    “Call to authority only works on those activists, journalists and politicians with poor scientific literacy.”

    Sez who? I reject your authority on the subject. Provide evidence for your claim, and perhaps I’ll listen. :-)

    “why has it worked on you, Gary?”

    For the same reason it has worked on you. Do you verify every scientific fact you’ve been taught? Have you verified the IR absorption spectra of CO2, methane, water vapor, etc.? Have you dissected a dichroic incandescent lamp and verified its advertised method of operation? Scientific “authority”/”consensus” saves a lot of time. Sure, it raises the bar for genuine consensus-busting breakthroughs, but it also raises the bar against far-more-abundant quackery.

    “Science is not a religion, institution or qualification.”

    Actually it’s all of the above (“I have faith in the scientific method”), but scientists can be and have been persuaded by evidence.

  160. Konrad says:

    Gary Hladik says:
    June 4, 2013 at 11:44 am
    ———————————————-
    My “How much?” was actually my response to your “I bet”. Screenshots for the warmist, slayer and sleeper responses to the question upon receipt of stamped envelope. ;-)

    “If Dr. Spencer, for example, were to claim…” Call to authority again?

    “kitchen climatologist” Ad Hominum argument. You have not challenged the physics demonstrated by the experiments. Are you suggesting that if they were conducted in the lab, lounge or patio that they would produce alternate results? (actually only experiment 3 was conducted in a kitchen.)

    “just discovered convection” Ad Hominum again? No. Experiment 3 was simply to illustrate to less informed that energy loss as well as energy input can drive convection in a fluid. Many, including most AGW believers, don’t understand this.

    “potential crackpot with no track record”. Should I tell you which technology museum to find my work displayed in? That may be construed as a call to authority. ;-)

    You argue everything but the science. You have made ad hominum arguments. You have used arguments from authority. You have claimed consensus. These are the very reasons the AGW hoax failed. The use of these very techniques ignited the global sceptic movement that destroyed the hoax and yet you persist?

    The AGW hoax is all but over, but the fallout is only just beginning. In the age of the Internet it is going to be savage. The activists, journalists, subsidy farmers and politicians who sought to promote or profit by this hoax are not just up against a few hundred thousand sceptics. They will be facing literally billions of people seeking vengeance who also have instant access to the permanent Internet record of the hoax and its players. It is far, far too late to engineer any “soft landing”.

  161. Konrad says:

    June 2, 2013 at 10:58 pm
    [snip - more Slayers junk science from the banned DOUG COTTON who thinks his opinion is SO IMPORTANT he has to keep making up fake names to get it across -Anthony]

    Anthony! Nooo! Please, please put that one back.

    The post at June 2, 2013 at 10:58 pm is where Doug Cotton tries to “re-brand” PSI by saying -
    “Back radiation can indeed slow radiative surface cooling.”

    That one is a keeper ;-)

  162. Gary Hladik says:

    Konrad says (June 4, 2013 at 9:12 pm): “You have not challenged the physics demonstrated by the experiments.”

    Once again, for the reading-impaired: I don’t challenge the “physics” of your experiments (and I don’t think the IPCC or Dr. Spencer do either). I challenge the extrapolation of such small-scale experiments to the whole earth/atmosphere system in support of your assertion. Your claims are extraordinary, you have not provided extraordinary evidence.

    “You argue everything but the science. You have made ad hominum arguments. You have used arguments from authority. You have claimed consensus. These are the very reasons the AGW hoax failed.”

    1) It hasn’t “failed”. It’s still going strong, unfortunately.
    2) The problem with the alamists’ “consensus” is that a manufactured consensus isn’t one.

    “The use of these very techniques ignited the global sceptic movement that destroyed the hoax and yet you persist?”

    I would argue that it wasn’t the methods of the warmists that provoked the skeptics, it was both the lack of scientific evidence for their claims and the extraordinarily destructive “remedies” they proposed.

    “The AGW hoax is all but over, but the fallout is only just beginning. In the age of the Internet it is going to be savage. [snip hopelessly naive dreams of retribution]”.

    We’ve been here before. I think your vision is…unlikely.

    Look, Konrad, I’m flattered by all the attention, and I do enjoy our discussions (no, really). But again, I’m not the guy you should be spending your time on. Suppose you convert me to your view. So if/when you submit your paper and add, “Furthermore, since I’ve convinced the arch-skeptic GARY, you should fast-track this submission for publication!”, do you think they’ll cut you any slack? You could probably spend your time more profitably gathering that extraordinary evidence I mentioned.

  163. Konrad says:

    Gary Hladik says:
    June 5, 2013 at 12:03 am
    ————————————————————————————————–

    “Your claims are extraordinary, you have not provided extraordinary evidence.”

    No not extraordinary. Just boring gas conduction and fluid dynamics really. The experiments provided therefore don’t need to be extraordinary. Speaking of extraordinary claims, how does this sound? -
    “Adding radiative gases to the atmosphere will reduce the atmospheres radiative cooling ability”
    - not hard to guess why “Travesty” Tremberth wanted the null hypothesis reversed in the case of the AGW claims now is it? ;-)

    “It hasn’t “failed”. It’s still going strong, unfortunately.”

    - The heat is hiding deep in the oceans! It will be back!
    - The warming is being masked by aerosols!
    - Natural variability greater than previously estimated!
    - Climate sensitivity may be less than previously estimated!
    - Did we say 6C? No, no we meant 2C!

    All within the last couple of months? That sounds like the panicked squealing of warmist weasels to me. How does it sound to you?

    “I’m flattered by all the attention”
    As you would be now aware, I don’t waste much time on “Assault Clowns” (PSI), “Snowstormers” or “Popcorn Warriors”. “Sleepers” however…

    “arch-skeptic GARY”

    From a previous thread -
    “I suspect you misunderstand my motivation and entertainment. [...]Sceptics are self motivated. They observe each other and choose an area in which they can contribute. I do not waste energy on debating PSI Assault Clowns. Identifying and outing “Sleepers” is so much more fun ;-)”
    Come on Gary, I even typed it in the clear!

    “and I do enjoy our discussions”

    As do I Gary. As do I. ;-)

  164. Gary Hladik says:

    Konrad says (June 5, 2013 at 1:14 am): “Identifying and outing ‘Sleepers’ is so much more fun ;-)”

    What’s a “Sleeper”?

  165. agfosterjr says:

    I can’t find Monckton’s quotes in the “Environmental Research Letters” or in “Skeptical Science.” Assuming the texts have been altered, were the originals archived? Where? –AGF

  166. Skiphil says:

    Dr. Craig Loehle made a good comment objecting to the whole approach to classifying all “climate change” related papers ala the Cook et al. study:

    http://climateaudit.org/2013/05/24/undercooked-statistics/#comment-420907

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