Quote of the week …about that 97% consensus

qotw_cropped

For those that have heard about that claimed “97% consensus” on global warming from John Cook and the SkS Kidz, here is a thought from the oldie but goodie department:

Mankind will in time discover that unbridled majorities are as tyrannical and cruel as unlimited despots. –John Adams 1793

When they get that large, at 97%, they tend to be as laughable as some of the voting results we see in North Korea:

North Korea Election Results – Kim Jong Il wins 100 percent of vote with 99.9 percent turnout

Whether it be a political majority, a social majority, or a synthesized scientific majority, a majority that large almost always tends to come crashing down once the methodology is examined.

This is probably why author John Cook won’t release the full data to Dr. Richard Tol, who is attempting replication.

 

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38 thoughts on “Quote of the week …about that 97% consensus

  1. This is probably why author John Cook won’t release the full data to Dr. Richard Tol, who is attempting replication.

    Well, why should he release the data to Dr. Tol, when Tol’s aim is to try to find something wrong with it?
    Wait, that sounds strangely familiar for some reason…

  2. Cuba manages similar sorts of near 100% results.

    I know a lot of scientists, but not one believes in CAGW. I would like to meet just one who does, so the 97% figure is just the figment of some sad individual’s imagination..

  3. The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no
    evidence that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view
    of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread
    belief is more often likely to be foolish than sensible.

    – Bertrand Russell, in A History of Western Philosophy,

  4. What is that word again, for when someone deliberately says things that aren’t true because they think it will get them something they want?

    My memory, it’s *sooo* bad.

    But seriously, a community that tolerates this sort of behavior brings shame on itself.

  5. Such majority tyranny was shown by the Aristotelians against Galileo.
    In A Brief History of Eternity, Physicist Roy E. Peacock reports how he discovered that the Liga, a secret conspiracy of academicians, used false accusations to turn Galileo’s friend, Pope Urban VIII to turn him over to the Inquisition and put him under house arrest.
    Peacock, A Brief History of Eternity p 141.; Notes on Science and Christian Belief Ch 1, p 10

    Consider recent news: The IPCC’s new certainty is 95% What? Not 97%??

    Drafts seen by Reuters of the study by the U.N. panel of experts, due to be published next month, say it is at least 95 percent likely that human activities – chiefly the burning of fossil fuels – are the main cause of warming since the 1950s.

    However, von Storch et al. (2013) Can climate models explain the recent stagnation in global warming?

    In contrast to earlier analyses for a ten-year period that indicated consistency between models and observations at the 5% confidence level, we find that the continued warming stagnation over fifteen years, from 1998 -2012, is no longer consistentwith model projections even at the 2% confidence level.

    Lets see, 100% – 2% = 98%.
    Does that mean that we now have a 98% confidence that the IPCC’s 95% confidence is wrong?

  6. For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are more often influenced by the things that ‘seem’ than by those that ‘are’.

    Machiavelli

    I think that’s where 97% of the 97% problem originates.

  7. Okay SteveC, now that you said that I’ve got to quote those esteemed modern philosophers from the Great White North:

    “Living in the limelight
    The universal dream
    For those who wish to seem

    Those who wish to be
    Must put aside the alienation
    Get on with the fascination
    The real relation
    The underlying theme”

  8. remember the old adage:

    There are three types of lies: Lies, damn lies, and statistics

  9. It’s well to remember Einstein’s comment that 1,000 scientists can believe a theory but it only takes one experiment to prove it wrong.

    The 97 percent, or 95 percent, or x billion percent, or whatever the hell it is, is nothing but the standard logical fallacy of argumentum ad verecundiam. “Oh, everybody else believes it, therefore it must be so,: or “Authority says it is, therefore it is.” Even as the disproof is smacking them upside the head.

    I presume the fungi that came up with these percentages never took philosophy in college.

  10. Its no joke , the cartoonists; lapdog next paper is that 110% of all scientists agree, such is their depth of support , and he as the data to prove it . Just don’t ask for it .
    And why not after all as reality gets further away from the claims , the IPCC is more sure its ‘right’

  11. Whether it be a political majority, a social majority, or a synthesized scientific majority, a majority that large almost always tends to come crashing down once the methodology is examined.

    Unfortunately, close examination of the methodology is rare when voters with regard to global warming, like on many other topics, do not usually have the equivalent of 30 minutes of decent study. However, even though about no job (scientist, physician, engineer, driver … or voter) can be done well with so little training or education, self-styled elites are often far worse with intentional dishonesty and not having the interests of mankind at heart, so democracy can remain (paraphrasing Winston Churchill) the worst form of government except for all of the others which have been tried.

    The 97% consensus claim, like the rest of the CAGW movement, consists of slick style breaking down upon reading closely: Doran & Zimmerman 2009 gave 97% “consensus” by 2 poll questions of if temperatures rose since the pre-1800s (Little Ice Age) and if humans have a significant (non-zero) effect on temperature. That is not at all the same as CAGW predictions of an order of magnitude greater temperature increase, nor as having most of the past century’s temperature rise be due to humans rather than the real picture (which includes a match of five peaks and five troughs in sea level rise rates, humidity, cloud cover, and temperature with forcing from cosmic ray flux over the 1960s-2000s period of neutron monitor data as illustrated in http://s24.postimg.org/rbbws9o85/overview.gif ).

  12. And don’t forget that, at one time, at least 97% of ‘experts’ believed that the sun went round the earth – and they had models for that too!

  13. BobM, That’s the best quote I’ve heard in a long time. Sad that it’s so true, but at least we can laugh about it. Right?

  14. The only reason John Cook doesn’t claim 100% like North Korea is that he doesn’t have the ability- like Kim Jong- to fudge the results to the same extent. But he probably believes it is 100% consensus, as only those who agree with him count anyway, which is just what Kim Jong believes. If you only include those who agree with you, or some other such arbitrary selection, you can get 100% of anything.

  15. @X Anomaly –

    The NASA piece – more proof that where there is consensus there is no science, the two being mutually exclusive. The term “scientific consensus” is an oxymoron, rather like “Soviet journalist” or “atheist pope.”

    How far this once proud and worthy agency has fallen.

  16. IT was so nice of them to pin down the time frames for us.. now we simply ask the question of which rate of warming was caused by CO2.. because they are identical…

    The gift that keeps on giving…

  17. @Peter Miller

    Same here. But I know a great deal of academics (and “pedestrians”) that do believe. The 97% figure is simply meant to encourage these believers while simultaneously discouraging outspoken dissent from scientists by frightening them to follow orthodoxy.

  18. When conservative John Howard was PM in Australia the left went on and on about the the “tyranny of the majority” … right up until they got Rudd elected and then suddenly they went very quiet.

  19. Aw, c’mon, folks. 97% seems perfectly reasonable. If it were 99.9% I’d be a tad suspicious.

  20. “wws says: August 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm
    Okay SteveC, now that you said that I’ve got to quote those esteemed modern philosophers from the Great White North:”

    Hey WWS, 2112 :)

    It doesn’t take 100 scientists to prove me wrong, just one fact will do. – Albert Einstein

  21. “Richards in Vancouver says:

    August 20, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Aw, c’mon, folks. 97% seems perfectly reasonable. If it were 99.9% I’d be a tad suspicious.”

    Richards a guess is a plausible excuse too, but truthful data data is better!!

  22. “TonyK says:

    August 20, 2013 at 3:34 pm”

    Indeed. Models and theories, such as the Earth at the centre and the Sun and all other planets in perfectly concentric circular orbits, even though observations, in particular the orbit of Mars, could not be explained by them.

  23. X Anomaly

    “At least our economies are not dependent on climate scientists…….not yet anyway.”

    Nope, they’re dependent on economists and they do a really good job, don’t they?

  24. Further to BobM’s Bertrand Russell’s wisdom, In the words of a practical man of politics, Lord Melbourne (1779-1848), Prime Minister at the time of Queen Victoria’s accession:: “What all the wise men promised me has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass.”
    Plus ca change.

  25. It’s time for rated comments, guys.

    REPLY: Tried it, twice. It was not very popular and there won’t be a third time – Anthony

  26. I’ve had a theory about why they pick on 97% as a figure all the time for these announcements. The amount of naturally occurring CO2 is 97% as opposed to 3% from man made emissions. Therefore it has a ring of truth and believability to it when they say it to the unwary or uninformed that 97% of scientist agree or that 97% of scientific papers agree. It’s not an unbelievable 100% or 99% but just low enough to gain credibility, but seem almost completely certain.

  27. The IPCC does not need to rely on a consensus to convince us its hypothesis is right. All it need do is cite just one peer-reviewed study that demonstrates carbon dioxide emitted from human activity is causing catastrophic global warming and is the key driver of climate change. That is all. Since the IPCC was set up in late 1988, it has never been able to do that.

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