Climate Consensus? Nonsense!

by E. Calvin Beisner

July 16, 2014–So, someone privately messaged us saying her friend had posted this article, and she (who messaged us) wondered how we’d respond.

Okay, we give up. We’ll never persuade people like Slate.com’s Phil Plait. Not if this article, and this and this typify his thought processes. His failure to dig a little deeper, as any good journalist should (which suggests how few good journalists there are out there!), indicates a mind closed to evidence.

But for those of you who aren’t closed to evidence, how do we respond?

Plait’s most recent—the first one linked above—claims, “… deniers essentially never publish in legitimate journals.” Well, probably that’s true. Non-existent people don’t tend to publish anywhere at all–not even on blogs. And so far as I know, there are no climate change deniers. There are those who deny (1) dangerous (2) anthropogenic climate change (3) to which the only rational response is drastic reduction in CO2 emissions even if achieving it costs trillions of dollars and perpetuates poverty in the developing world. (That combination is often called CAGW–catastrophic, anthropogenic global warming.) But climate change deniers? I know of none–unless, of course, one counts those who think climate never changes naturally but only in response to human influence.

But do people who deny CAGW “essentially never publish in legitimate journals”? On the contrary, let’s take just ONE example of such a person, Cornwall Alliance Senior Fellow Dr. Roy W. Spencer, Principal Research Scientist in climatology at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, and U.S. Science Team Leader on the Advanced Microwave Remote Sensing program aboard NASA’s Aqua satellites–the only source of uncontaminated, 24/7/365, truly global atmospheric temperature data for the past 35 years.

Roy alone has authored, or co-authored, approximately 30 climate-related peer-reviewed journal papers since 1990 (and at a steady pace, no slow-down in recent years)–and that doesn’t count his many others that are weather- or satellite remote sensing-related. You–hey, even Plait–can see the list here. (For a list of 69 peer-reviewed papers by other authors published before 2007 that challenged various aspects of CAGW, click here. I recall a similar, much larger list that’s more recent, but this is more than sufficient to show that Plait either lied or was ignorant of the truth.)

Next, Plait cites a blog post at that famously objective site DeSmogBlog by James Lawrence Powell claiming that of 13,950 articles published from 1991 through 2012, only 24 “reject global warming.” Powell defined his judgment this way: “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.”

Well, frankly, I do know a handful of scientists (tied to the group Principia Scientific International,) who, on thermodynamics grounds, are questioning the basic theory of global warming, but they are a tiny minority among those who deny or question CAGW. I find their arguments intriguing but, so far, not persuasive.

But Powell has stacked the deck. You have to actually “clearly and explicitly state that the theory of global warming is false or … that some other process better explains the observed warming” to be counted as “reject[ing] man-made global warming.” And if your article has “found some discrepancy, some minor flaw, some reason for doubt,” Powell doesn’t count you as among those “reject[ing] man-made global warming.” But he offers no explanation as to what he means by “discrepancy,” “minor flaw,” “reason for doubt.” Those are highly subjective terms. And if your article discusses “methods, paleoclimatology, mitigation, adaptation, and effects,” Powell counts you automatically as “implicitly accept[ing] human-caused global warming”–indeed, he thinks such is “obvious from the title alone.”

Hmmm. So if I think a natural climate cycle is bringing us into an unusually (but not unnaturally) warm period to which we’ll need to adapt in various ways, I’m counted as accepting “man-made global warming” not because I’ve said so but because anyone who writes about adaptation implicitly accepts it. Wow! Pretty difficult to swim outside that net!
Plait then cites an earlier blog post by himself that in turn cites the famous–or infamous–study by Cook, Nucitelli, et al. that concluded that 97.1% of all climate scientists agree that “global warming is happening and we are the cause.”

But that study was fatally flawed, as demonstrated by Cornwall Alliance Senior Fellow Dr. David Legates (Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware) et al. in their article “Climate Consensus and ‘Misinformation’: A Rejoinder to Agnotology, Scientific Consensus, and the Teaching and Learning of Climate Change,” published in the journal SCIENCE & EDUCATION. They found that Cook et al.’s methodology turned things upside down. Here’s an excerpt from a post about it that summarizes, simply and quickly, the findings of Legates et al. when they re-examined the data behind Cook et al.’s paper. Legates et al.’s paper …reveals that Cook had not considered whether scientists and their published papers had said climate change was “dangerous”.

The consensus Cook considered was the standard definition: that Man had caused most post-1950 warming. Even on this weaker definition the true consensus among published scientific papers is now demonstrated to be not 97.1%, as Cook had claimed, but only 0.3%.
Only 41 out of the 11,944 published climate papers Cook examined explicitly stated that Man caused most of the warming since 1950. Cook himself had flagged just 64 papers as explicitly supporting that consensus, but 23 of the 64 had not in fact supported it.

This shock result comes scant weeks before the United Nations’ climate panel, the IPCC, issues its fifth five-yearly climate assessment, claiming “95% confidence” in the imagined – and, as the new paper shows, imaginary – consensus.

Climate Consensus and ‘Misinformation’: a Rejoinder to ‘Agnotology, Scientific Consensus, and the Teaching and Learning of Climate Change’ decisively rejects suggestions by Cook and others that those who say few scientists explicitly support the supposedly near-unanimous climate consensus are misinforming and misleading the public.
Dr Legates said:

“It is astonishing that any journal could have published a paper claiming a 97% climate consensus when on the authors’ own analysis the true consensus was well below 1%.”

For a very clear and compelling explanation, see Christopher Monckton’s discussion of it in this video beginning 48 minutes and 35 seconds along. (Monckton’s whole presentation–which begins at 31:50–is informative and demonstrates how the other side consistently misrepresents CAGW skeptics, saying we deny all kinds of things that in fact we affirm.)

But the most fundamental point to make of all this is something Willie Soon, “an astrophysicist and geoscientist at the Solar and Stellar Physics (SSP) Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics” (Wikipedia’s quick bio) and one of the authors of Legates et al., said: “If it’s science, it isn’t consensus; if it’s consensus, it isn’t science.”

The fact is that CAGW alarmists constantly appeal to consensus not because it’s real or even would be scientifically significant if it were (see lots of critiques of the idea here). but because they’re running scared. Observational science is torpedoing the modeling science on which they depend. None of the models predicted the cessation (whether short-term or long-term) of warming in 1997 (leaving us with no warming for at least the last 17 years and 10 months); all call for far more warming from 1980 to the present than has actually happened. That means the models are wrong, and CO2′s warming effect is considerably less than CAGW theory requires, which is why many climatologists and atmospheric scientists around the world are reassessing “climate sensitivity” (how much earth’s atmosphere will warm in response to doubled CO2 concentration, after all feedbacks are accounted for) and reaching much lower estimates than the alarmists (such as the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) have asserted.


 

E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., is Founder and National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

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84 thoughts on “Climate Consensus? Nonsense!

  1. You have to fight fire with fire and tell plait what he is to his face. He is what we brits call a f******. He has apparently some qualification in astronomy i believe. Well astronomy is for the carl sagan’s of this world. Physics and reality are for the feynmans. They call us deniers we call them f***** or better still arts students. Empirical data will win out in the end. It really is what you americans call a slam-dunk.

  2. Is it the consensus that the world is warming? Or is there a 97% consensus among scientists that the risk of warming is greater than, (and the costs of dealing with it less than) othre risks such as, for example, astronomically-origined catatastrophe — comet strike?
    Does Platt think comet strike is NOT a risk? Less a risk than the risk of climate change? Were I to conduct a poll, or survey the literature, among other practictioners of other fields, would ALL or nearly all those participating identify a single greatest risk?

    I doubt that; and I don’t have to reach doubts about climate change itself to doubt the significance of the presumed consensus. What we see is that those who have chosen to devote their lives to one problem are in agreement that that problem is a serious problem. Almost tautological.

  3. “E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., is Founder and National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.”

    A well written and reasoned article from a person and organization that represents irrationality itself.

    Strange.

  4. Phil Plait has associations with larger groups of “skeptics” but not “climate change skeptics” as such, whom he would equate, I expect, with creationists and anti-vaccination believers. The amateur skeptical groups are fascinating although they tend to focus on “debunking” tarot card readers, big foot and the Lochness Monster, and ghosts and goblins. A disproportionate number of them seem to be from ex religious fundamentalist backgrounds, but then somewhat ironically adopt (by way of compensation?), rather fundamentalist perspectives on science.

    But even here it is not easy to categorize the Phil Plaits of the world. Their “bible” is a list of logical fallacies that are meant to be avoided but they seem to have no capacity to apply these rules to their own arguments. As soon as they convince themselves that ‘x’ must be true, their skeptical toolkit goes out the window. Many would have no problem being skeptical of routinely published but poorly designed medical studies, or macro economic theories, or psychological definitions. However they would not see themselves as “medicine deniers” or “economics deniers”. Rather, their fundamentalism seems these days to be focused on all claims ecological, which can never be questioned, even though ecology as a science remains in its infancy.

  5. I bet Plait drives a car, heats/cools his home, uses electricity, and so on, so he must be in DENIAL!

  6. Powell and Plait are particularly odious and slimy climate liars. To them, lying is an art form.

  7. “Hmmm. So if I think a natural climate cycle is bringing us into an unusually (but not unnaturally) warm period to which we’ll need to adapt in various ways, I’m counted as accepting “man-made global warming” not because I’ve said so but because anyone who writes about adaptation implicitly accepts it. Wow! Pretty difficult to swim outside that net!”

    I would disagree with the above quote. If it said: Hmmm. So if I think a natural climate cycle is bringing us into an warm period to which we’ll need to adapt in various ways, I’m counted as accepting “man-made global warming” not because I’ve said so but because anyone who writes about adaptation implicitly accepts it. Wow! Pretty difficult to swim outside that net! I do not see any evidence that what is happening today is any different from what happened during the Minoan warm period, Roman warm period or the Medieval warm period. I would like to see evidence that the long term (last 8,000 years) trend is not cooling.

  8. put 10 experts in a room and you will have 20 different opinions.

    what specifically is the consensus? aren’t we actually talking about a consensus of belief? that some people believe AGW to be true, and others believe AGW isn’t true. How is this any different than catholics and protestants for example, fighting over their religious beliefs?

  9. Kozlowski says:
    July 16, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    “E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., is Founder and National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.”

    A well written and reasoned article from a person and organization that represents irrationality itself.

    Strange.

    Creation and Creationism are not the same thing if that’s what you’re hinting at.

    http://www.cornwallalliance.org/about/

  10. “… deniers essentially never publish in legitimate journals.”

    legitimi non carborundum!

  11. “But climate change deniers? I know of none–unless, of course, one counts those who think climate never changes naturally but only in response to human influence.”

    Michael Mann

  12. “… deniers essentially never publish in legitimate journals.”

    But see Solomon’s book, The Deniers, whose contrarians were all published stars. And see the many papers that undermine, at least obliquely, consensus positions, but whose authors decline to be called skeptics. (That includes many of the notables in Solomon’s book.)

    I think the reason skeptics have to vent elsewhere is mostly because legit journals don’t see their role as providing a forum for debate and critique–about anything. They seem to want to publish findings. Critiques are rare and usually based on new findings.

    It’s understandable that printed journals wouldn’t be suitable for extended debates. What’s needed are more formally acknowledged online debate-sites like Climate Dialog and the new one that J. curry is enthusiastic about.

  13. Plait is the worst kind of ‘scientist’; in that he is of the activist variety. Total discounting of any argument at all that would counter the global warming theory. Not even an ounce of credibility in my book. Its a shame really as he is a prime example of the disintegration of science in the public’s eye. He and his ilk have literally everything riding on the temperature rising. Just a silly silly man.

  14. The Feynman quote comes to mind:

    It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.

    The CAGW theory has not predicted the future using the state of the earth in the past. It’s wrong. Maybe the GCR theory is too. I suppose we will find out. But I suspect that if it does not do well, scientists will learn from it and form a new theory. There is no learning being done by these creeps except to learn that people run in crowds and have manias, and that grant whores feed on that.

  15. Phil Plait’s idiocy explains Slate’s policy of not providing a means of commenting on Slate articles. I wonder how much he’s paid by oil companies to pretend that he’s unaware that there’s no evidence that CO2 causes warming.

  16. Dr. Beisner –
    This link points back to your “Climate Consensus? Nonsense!” posting: “*Here’s* an excerpt from a post about it that summarizes, simply and quickly, the findings of Legates”. I don’t believe you intended to do that.

  17. The link in this sentence:

    Here’s an excerpt from a post about it that summarizes, simply and quickly, the findings of Legates et al.

    takes you to the WUWT home page. I think it needs to be corrected?

    Outstanding article!

  18. An important claim in the original article that was not addressed in the above:

    “…Climate change deniers in politics and in the media are overwhelmingly Republican…”

    True, but the meaning of this completely escaped Plait! There are Republican CAGW believers and Republican skeptics. But there are no Democrat skeptics. The correct conclusion is that the LEFT is the side that has politicised the science and accepts the conclusion for political reasons. The Right judges the issue individually and individuals come to varying conclusions.

  19. Reblogged this on Head Space and commented:
    I could while away the hours, conferrin’ with the flowers
    Consultin’ with the rain.
    And my head I’d be scratchin’ while
    my thoughts were busy hatchin’
    If I only had a brain.

  20. I just read Cook’s 2013 paper:

    Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature

    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/pdf/1748-9326_8_2_024024.pdf

    Paraphrasing:

    Involved in the study were 11,944 climate abstracts from 1991–2011 written by 29,083 authors, published in 1980 journals which matched the topics ‘global climate change’ or ‘global warming’. It was found that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming.

    8547 out of 29,083 authors (29%) were emailed an invitation to rate their own papers 1200 responses (14% response rate) were received. 2,142 papers (18% of 11,944) received self-ratings from 1189 authors (4% of 29,083). Among the self-rated papers that stated a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed the consensus. Among self-rated papers not expressing a position on AGW in the abstract, 53.8% were self-rated as endorsing the consensus. Among respondents who authored a paper expressing a view on AGW, 96.4% endorsed the consensus.

    ———–

    First, I find it amazing that over 97% of those who actually chose to state their position on AGW in their papers took the heroic stance of agreeing with the consensus (sarcasm). Second, even after being specifically asked, over 30% of the authors still refused to endorse “the consensus.”

    Anyway, what exactly is the AGW “consensus”? That human generated CO2 is causing warming? Very few dispute that. However, the public perception is that 97% of climate scientists endorse the catastrophic warming view, the one most PUBLICLY proclaimed.

    The figures I want to know are the percent of climate scientists who endorse the view that AGW will definitely result in CATASTROPHIC warming and the percent endorsing “the consensus” who believe that while AGW exists, the results will NOT be catastrophic?

  21. William Sears,

    Hard to believe that this is the same guy.

    People like Plait and Michael Shermer like to call themselves ‘Skeptics’ as a way to distance themselves from what they perceive as irrational belief systems, ostensibly in the name of ‘Science’. In actuality, they are no more scientific than many of those whom they like to criticize, and generally a lot more religious. It’s just that they put their faith in ‘scientism’ (as opposed to ‘science’). Scientism applauds “consensus” provided that it has a scientific veneer, and it disparages dissent from that “consensus”. Critical, and independent thought is actually strongly discouraged by these “Skeptics” if that critical thought deviates from mainstream scientific opinion.

  22. This is a new psychological ailment.

    It is called “Observationitis” .

    Consensus pronouncements, as we have viewed over the last few years, are just a symptom of denial of such.

    Observationitis = When you realize your theory is flawed and the observations directly related to your theory, tell you so, and it is terribly painful!

    Just sayin, they have medication for that now days :-)

    Oh the pain!

  23. I think it’s telling that the best example of a credible CAGW-denying scientist is a person who, not coincidentally, doesn’t even believe in evolution. What a joke.

    REPLY: Neither did Newton or Galileo, (both highly religious men) yet nobody seems to have any trouble accepting their views – Anthony

  24. Phil Plait, consume with gusto, and your stomach will soon think your throat’s cut.
    ======================

  25. July 16, 2014
    E. Calvin Beisner says:

    ” His failure to dig a little deeper, as any good journalist should (which suggests how few good journalists there are out there!), indicates a mind closed to evidence.”
    ————————
    Where are the bards?

    Upon a time, when history began,
    The record of our people’s joy and strife
    Was fashioned by the talents of a man
    Who wove a lyric tapestry of life.
    He stood up proudly in an era rife
    With hardship, sculpted history from deed,
    Wielded our tribal customs as a knife,
    To carve conventions each of us must heed.
    What maker stands to sing our heroes now?
    How have our poets let it come to pass
    That their sacred obligation became
    Greed for recognition so low and crass
    That lyrics and lies are to them the same?
    Listening to the self styled avant-garde
    I wonder: What has become of the bard?

  26. “John M says:
    July 16, 2014 at 5:39 pm
    Kozlowski,

    So if the mere mention of “creation” sets you to howling, you must get a real hoot out of this guy.

    James Hansen: Our children and grandchildren; the other species on the planet; and creation.”

    Rest assured I was not howling, it wasn’t a full moon :)

    It’s not ‘creation’ per se. I googled “The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation” and came to this page:

    http://www.cornwallalliance.org/about/statement-of-faith/

    I felt that a well reasoned article was compromised by the authors association.

    I don’t think religion has any place in the arena of science. Just my personal opinion. Beyond that I thought it was a good article.

    In particular I liked the succinctness of the first paragraph of the response. CAGWers try to paint skeptics as ‘denying science’, and the author rightly pointed out that there is nuance involved. How much, how bad, what are the real causes and to what degree. That point cannot be made enough times because the media echoes the same purposeful misunderstanding as the original article.

    To be clear: I believe those who reject CAGW for religious reasons, are on par with eco-loons who think Gaia is getting revenge on us for harming the planet. They did not come to their position through reasoning. Right answer, wrong path.

    I don’t know if it matters. It might.

  27. Dan Teller says:
    July 16, 2014 at 6:30 pm
    I think it’s telling that the best example of a credible CAGW-denying scientist is a person who, not coincidentally, doesn’t even believe in evolution. What a joke.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>.

    I think it is telling that the worst criticism people like Dan Teller can come up with regarding Roy Spencer’s opinions on climate science is that he doesn’t believe in evolution. What a joke.

    The guy designed and built instrumentation that from an orbit in space can measure the temperature accurately at various altitudes in the atmosphere. The enormity of that technical challenge cannot be expressed in words. That he achieved it suggests he has a pretty darn good understanding of atmospheric physics. Trying to direct attention away from this is a tacit admission that you have no argument to make in regard to his science.

  28. Plait is not a journalist. He is an astronomer by education, IIRC, and got some measure of fame by writing an obvious book about moon landing hoax “theories.” Of course, he seems to think this made him an expert in all things (though he needs to consult with Mann regarding things statistical). His ignorance of topics outside of astronomy is stunning, so it is not a surprise journalistic ethics aren’t on the list of things he actually understands.

    Mark

  29. Dan Teller says:

    July 16, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    I think it’s telling that the best example of a credible CAGW-denying scientist is a person who, not coincidentally, doesn’t even believe in evolution. What a joke.
    ____________________________

    Perhaps you could explain the linkage of evolution to climate for us.

    TIA

    Regards Ed

  30. What gets me about Plait is that when writing about astronomy, he’s always gaga about a single discovery that “turns everything we know on its ear! Isn’t science awesome? Having to completely adjust your worldview based on new evidence…. wonderful!” But when he writes about climate science “It’s all settled, there will never be any new evidence and just shut up you denier!”

    Quite the disconnect.

  31. Phil Plait does a reasonably good job of explaining astronomical phenomena. He exhibits leftward political leanings and, as seems typical of this mindset, considers those who disagree with him to be benighted inferiors with questionable motivations. Despite advising people to treat opponents with respect https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrFRbGjUtJk he insists on doing just the opposite with the denier label. He’s clueless to this hypocrisy even though it’s been brought to his attention. This attitude might stem from his reveling in his status with the ComicCon and the James Randi skeptic crowds and association with the pop culture celebrities he often name-drops in his blog.

  32. Uh Dan? Dan Teller?
    I’ve got a question.

    Is it possible for people who don’t believe in evolution to learn how to drive a fossil fuel powered car?

  33. At this point in time, anyone who claim to give some information about the climate using arguments like the consensus, witch it is the first of many LIES I uncover when I looked into this question, more than 5 years ago…He is just a other patronizing propagandist.
    Its easy to find that their is no consensus even without considering the quality of argumentation.

  34. How is this any different than catholics and protestants for example, fighting over their religious beliefs?

    You can use evidence in a scientific debate. And testability.

  35. [too stupid to print as phrased, sanitized for your protection, feel free to try again -mod]

  36. clipe says:

    July 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Kozlowski says:
    July 16, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    “E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., is Founder and National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.”

    A well written and reasoned article from a person and organization that represents irrationality itself.

    Strange.

    Creation and Creationism are not the same thing if that’s what you’re hinting at.

    ——————–

    From the Cornwall Alliance website:

    WHAT WE BELIEVE
    1.We believe Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power….

    There is no place in science for intelligent design. I wish they had stopped at “creation”, because invoking ID means the argument will be dismissed by most scientists.

  37. How can there be a ‘consensus’ when even the alarmist scientists themselves say they don’t agree on the most important factor-climate sensitivity, which is a very good indicator of what it is all about.

    I followed John Cook’s website for a while until I realised I didn’t want to chase headless chickens who operate without reference to reality, but I did find one bit of curious info relevant to the ‘consensus’.

    One article a few years ago on Cook’s website was quite explicit in saying that scientists don’t agree on climate sensitivity, anywhere from 1.5-4.5 C. They even entertained the notion that it fell outside this range, both higher and lower. Everywhere one goes on the website there is an obsession with consensus dogma, except perhaps when it comes to climate sensitivity.

    I got the impression that there was a disconnect here, one part of their brain is telling them there is no consensus on the most fundamental issue, whilst the rest is saying there is a ‘consensus’.

    This might lead to schizophrenic breakdown, as you cant have one without the other. The only other example of this sort of disconnect I can think of is in 1984, where one had to be ‘incapable of understanding the enormity of what one is being asked to believe’ in order to believe it, that there is a ‘consensus’ when they also frankly admit there isn’t one. The IPCC says much the same thing. Everywhere in the report they make bold predictions and then say they have no idea what the climate sensitivity is. Not so much headless chickens perhaps as tail wagging the dog?, whatever is going on, it doesn’t make any sense. I predict IPCC retractions might come one day, when the body wakes up to the fact that the head, climate sensitivity, is saying something else.

  38. pat says:
    July 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm
    [SNIP OFF TOPIC, which seems to be a problem with you -mod]

    I hope Pat’s future OT posts aren’t blocked. They rarely derail threads. They’re more like a news-crawler ribbon at the bottom of a screen. They are often informative and amusing. Please make a “creative exception” for him. I bet most WUWTers appreciate them. I’ve never seen a complaint about them.

  39. A thorough debunking of Phil Plait’s earlier claims here:

    http://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/2013/07/09/the-global-warming-debate-matt-ridley-responds/

    Although to his credit, he doesn’t repeat the nonsense claims he made in his previous article. He manages to come up with a new set of nonsense claims instead.

    Although one can within minutes debunk his latest nonsense by citing this link:

    http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html

  40. How about we just change the metric to reality.

    Humans have caused about 25% of the global warming that the theory said should have happened by now (maybe 33% but the jury is still out on the last 8%).

    That leaves the theory 66% to 75% not correct. That makes me both, a non-denier and a non-believer.

    And that is just the facts jack.

  41. “I think it is telling that the worst criticism people like Dan Teller can come up with regarding Roy Spencer’s opinions on climate science is that he doesn’t believe in evolution. What a joke.”

    My impression from reading Dr Roy Spencer’s comments on this subject is that he believes in ‘guided’ evolution, i.e., intelligent design or some flavour of it. Which is the also the position of the Roman Catholic Church. Essentially, if you happen to be a theist, this has to be your position, does it not? So if you’re going to attack Roy Spencer on that point, it seems necessary to also argue the case that only atheists can do good science.

  42. People like Phil Pliat use insults and mis-thruths to obscure their poor arguments. Whether it is religious intolerance, Nazism, McCarthyism or other extremism, you start by demonising your the group of people you want to attack, dehumanising them, spread half truths about them.

    It tells more about the type of person Phil Pliat is and none of it is pleasant.

  43. Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter) http://kajm.deviantart.com/journal/About-that-climate-change-consensus-467705897 says:

    A question to all of you who are complaining about religion in this comment thread:

    Whether or not you believe the universe was created by God- what the HELL does that have to do with the physics? Does a person’s belief in God automatically negate the papers they have published in climate science?

    Drop it and move on. This gentleman may be a Creationist but that doesn’t changed the damned FACTS!

  44. Note to Mods- I have NO idea how that link got into my name field- please post that comment ASAP- please? It is kind of useless to the conversation if it doesn’t show up until a hundred comments later.

  45. Interesting field astronomy. Galileo? Might refute his concenus argument. Also interesting regarding the athesist bit. Was it not astronomer Fred Hoyle who famously became a beliver after studying the order of the cosmos?

  46. One’s religious convictions are as irrelevant to science as is consensus (when a consensus is defined as a survey of expert opinion or belief, anyway).

  47. I second rogerknights request to let pat’s postings through.
    They may be OT to the subject under discussion but they do not lead the direction away and they are very topical.

  48. For 1400 or more years the consensus was that men had one less rib than women because it was part of Galen’s published works which were considered authoritative. Galen worked from a model based on Genesis. Galen was refuted by direct observations by Vesalius. And even then Vesalius struggled to overturn the consensus.

    Read about it here http://www.joh.cam.ac.uk/andreas-vesalius-and-challenge-galen

    I so hope that we won’t have to wait 1500 years for observations to overtake speculation in global warming.

  49. I do find it interesting that many so-called reasoned intellectuals today seem to want a uniformity of opinion that would make any totalitarian fantasist jealous.
    Why is it that oppression via Big Brother/overt control is bad, but intellectual consensus via essentially peer pressure is good?

  50. Plait:
    ” It took years, but now astronomers accept that the Universal expansion is accelerating and that dark energy is the culprit.
    Mind you, dark energy is far, far weirder than anything climate change deniers have come up with, yet it became mainstream science in a decade or so.”

    Rather much like that weird CO2 which apparently accelerates global temperature.
    Why would people like Plait, John Cook, and Lord Rees even, want to force themselves into being such sentinels of the AGW conjecture, while the planetary ordering of solar activity and of climate change has been staring them in the face for their whole career? Maybe their intuition knows things that their minds do not..

  51. It’s becoming more and more obvious that the consensus is a political consensus. It is defined by those that belong to it defining themselves as climate change believers, regardless of what they consider the climate sensitivity to be or what they expect to happen in the future.

    It’s getting so that you can call yourself a believer even if all you are predicting is a 2 degree rise over the next 50 years, just so long as you vote blue (or red, if you’re over here in Limey-land).

  52. Reality is, the argument regarding AWG is a continuum. It is not an either/or question, but the false dilemma seems to be a favorite fallacy of the CAGW crowd.

  53. Ron House says:
    July 16, 2014 at 5:49 pm
    There are Republican CAGW believers and Republican skeptics. But there are no Democrat skeptics.
    Sure there are, although I would say many, like myself are disaffected Democrats. Many of us feel as though we’ve been betrayed by our party, and don’t belong to any party. We’re “Independents” now, many of us, but since defeating the biggest, most damaging lie in human history takes precedence over anything else, we have no choice but to vote on that one issue alone, meaning we have to vote Republican whether we wish to or not. I will say this, though; the days of my voting straight Democrat are over forever. Both parties disgust me, but for different reasons.

  54. There is no place in science for intelligent design. I wish they had stopped at “creation”, because invoking ID means the argument will be dismissed by most scientists.

    So the consensus among scientists is that God doesn’t exist? Huh. I wonder what the scientific basis of that believe is. No doubt if Newton were alive today and proposing his law of gravity it would be rejected because he believed in God.

  55. Bill Illis says:
    July 16, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    How about we just change the metric to reality.

    Humans have caused about 25% of the global warming that the theory said should have happened by now (maybe 33% but the jury is still out on the last 8%).

    That leaves the theory 66% to 75% not correct.
    The reality is that there is no evidence we have caused ANY of the actual warming. They could adjust down and fiddle with their carbon-centric models all they wanted to, and they’d still be wrong, because the very basis for their models is wrong.

  56. Bruce Cobb @ 6:47

    There is a lot of evidence that humans have caused warming at the micro-climate level. UHI effect comes to mind. It would be incongrous to think that has zero impact at the global level.

  57. @Brian,
    No, and no.
    A. Micro-climate is not climate. Of course there is a UHI effect. So what? First of all, it’s but a mere drop in the bucket. Cities cover only a tiny, tiny portion of the planet. Secondly, it is likely that agriculture has the opposite effect. In summary, whatever warming effect man has can not be distinguished. It can not be measured. It can only be assumed, or posited. That isn’t evidence.
    B. I never said man has zero warming effect, nor did I need to. All we can say for sure is that man might be having some slight, as-yet unmeasurable warming effect. And there might be ufos, too.

  58. “There is no place in science for intelligent design. I wish they had stopped at “creation”, because invoking ID means the argument will be dismissed by most scientists.”

    The fact that an event could have occurred in one way does not mean that it did occur that way. Hundreds of prison inmates in the U.S. have been cleared by DNA analysis which proved that they were not present to commit the crime they were charged with. Every one of those inmates had a trial where a jury concluded that the evidence presented eliminated any reasonable doubt that the inmate had committed the crime. But their conclusion — based on evidence — was wrong.

    Evolution posits one explanation for the earth and its organisms; intelligent design posits another. Neither absolutely falsifies the other. That more scientists accept one explanation over the other (i.e., have reached a consensus) does not mean the other can be totally discarded. Scientists who dismiss this article’s argument because the author does not accept the evolution “consensus” are no more scientific than scientists who ignore actual observations regarding climate change because they do not fit the CAGW “consensus.”

  59. Bruce -

    @6:47; “…The reality is that there is no evidence we have caused ANY of the actual warming….”

    @7:35: “…I never said man has zero warming effect…”

    There seems to be some inconsistency in your statements.

  60. Tony Hellers (Goddard)’s analyses really are making it look like there was negligible warming in the last 50 years. Certainly compared to the early part of last century. If there is any impact due to 400 ppm CO2 it looks like it is lost in the noise.

  61. @Brian,
    There seems to be an inability for you to understand simple, logical statements. Let me try again:
    The FACT that there is NO REAL-WORLD evidence that we’ve caused any warming does NOT mean that we necessarily have zero warming effect. It most certainly COULD be there, but due to the fact that there are so many natural factors in play which we don’t have a good handle on, like clouds, and the oceans, and the sun, the manmade “signal” if there, simply gets lost.

  62. Black listed actors did not work during the black listing years of the 1950s. Early genetics researchers did not publish (in Russia) during Lysenko science policy domination. And educated people in general did not publish during Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

  63. I love the idea that because someone believes in a creator it automatically excludes them from ever being taken seriously as a scientist. I often wonder how far that stretches. Is someone barred from opining on chemistry because they believe in God? Is an architect or mechanical engineer not to be trusted because they’re Buddhist? Can a practicing Muslim be forbidden from teaching astronomy? I’m pretty sure that more scientists than you think believe in a creator. They just can’t admit it to their colleagues because of people like Kozlowski. People who would blacklist them if they dare mention their beliefs. People who would, if given the chance, strip them of their funding, their position, and their livelihoods. Because they can’t be trusted to be scientists. Simply because of a religious belief – it doesn’t matter if that belief has no bearing on their field – the belief is enough. And why stop there? I’ve seen this story. It doesn’t end well for anyone.

  64. I’m not advocating this, but if anyone should be banned from being taken seriously I think it would be he who believes that incredibly complex, ordered and intelligent beings arose out of blind, random, directionless and chaotic processes.

  65. “But for those of you who aren’t closed to evidence, how do we respond?

    You want to have a rational conversation with irrational people. I don’t believe that ever works.

    I would say to respond with facts, logic, science, and observational evidence, but they have already shown that those are things to be ignored.

    One first step though: do not get in a “climate change” discussion with them. The supposed problem is “global warming due to man’s CO2 emissions”. That is their claim. They must first prove it, which they have not.

    None of the following is proof of CAGW by CO2:

    -Arctic Ice disappearing
    -Glaciers retreating
    -Coral reef bleaching
    -Mt Kilimanjaro losing snow
    -Polar bears doing anything anywhere
    -Some creature or plant facing extinction
    -A change in cyclones/hurricanes/typhoons
    -Droughts
    -Floods
    -Dry rivers
    -Computer models or simulations
    -A “consensus”
    -Al Gore’s movie
    -Etc. causing etc. by etc. reported by etc., etc.

    Just sayin’.

  66. Richard Wright says:

    July 17, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    I’m not advocating this, but if anyone should be banned from being taken seriously I think it would be he who believes that incredibly complex, ordered and intelligent beings arose out of blind, random, directionless and chaotic processes.

    Can’t say I agree with you Richard. Darn near anything could arose out of blind, random, directionless and chaotic processes. One might not be able to predict specifically what might arise, but it would be very difficult to show that something, anything, couldn’t.

    Sort of like the million monkeys and million typewriters thing.

    Well, except the chaos where one might have a million monkeys would probably not go well.

    Probably.

  67. Be kind to me, my first post and all …

    1) About Phil Plait – I find it incredibly ironic that he champions the case where some astronomers challenged the the accepted notion that the expansion of the universe must be decelerating. If the establishment had treated them like warmists treat anyone who disagrees, astronomers would still be wondering why their measurements were so far off.

    2) I believe that an old saying was “If I had 10,000 monkeys with 10,000 typewriters, they would eventually produce all of the works of Shakespeare.” Of course, a little math shows that to not be true. If the entire mass of the universe was devoted to monkeys and typewriters and they had been typing random stuff since the beginning of time, we would likely only have a couple of pages of Romeo and Juliet. The universe will be cold and perfectly spaced long before they could get half way into a single play.
    Similarly, currently accepted theory says the density of the universe at the time of the Big Bang had to be accurate to around one part in 10^59 for us to exist. Weird that we got it right on the first try. Huh? Oddly enough, 1 part in 10^59 of the universe’s mass (including dark matter) seems to be about the mass of a small human. Pretty strange. Think about that if you ever feel inconsequential.

  68. The only “consensus” referred to in Cook’s 2013 study that I can find is stated in the abstract to be, merely, “that humans are causing global warming.” Since CO2 is a proven greenhouse gas and human activity is generating CO2, very few dispute that.

    Undoubtedly, the public PERCEPTION is that 97% of climate scientists endorse the CATASTROPHIC warming view, the one most covered in the popular press.

    The figures I want to know are the most important ones for setting policy, but I don’t see how to obtain them from Cook’s 2013 paper:

    1. What percent of climate scientists believe that AGW will certainly or almost certainly result in CATASTROPHIC warming.

    2. What percent of climate scientists believe that AGW will NOT result in catastrophic warming.

    3. What percent of climate scientists are uncertain whether AGW will result in catastrophic warming.

    WHERE are those figures? Even though science by consensus is not science, those figures, I suspect, would be a more powerful weapon against AGW public hysteria since I’ll bet there are large number of climate scientists who don’t trust the accuracy of current climate models if forced to admit it.

  69. Todd M. says:
    ”Be kind to me, my first post and all …
    Similarly, currently accepted theory says the density of the universe at the time of the Big Bang had to be accurate to around one part in 10^59 for us to exist. Weird that we got it right on the first try. Huh? “

    I’m sorry but there’s no evidence that “we got it right on the first try”. The universe could be an endless cycle of expansion and contraction and this time it just happened to be formed the way that made our existence possible, or the universe could actually be a multi-verse with billions upon billions of opportunities to “get it right”, or (as us theists fancy) God created the Universe with such details in “mind” (perhaps even on the first try as you suggest).

  70. 2) I believe that an old saying was “If I had 10,000 monkeys with 10,000 typewriters, they would eventually produce all of the works of Shakespeare.” Of course, a little math shows that to not be true. If the entire mass of the universe was devoted to monkeys and typewriters and they had been typing random stuff since the beginning of time, we would likely only have a couple of pages of Romeo and Juliet.

    And who would extract out the correct words from gazillions of the meaningless rubbish that they produced? And what meaning would they have if the intelligence doing so did not understand English? When random processes act on codes, be it the printed word, computer code, television signals, etc., information gets lost. All effort is made to protect information from alteration. The replication of DNA also has mechanisms to protect from alteration yet change is the very essence of the theory of evolution. Kind of like having your cake and eating it too.

  71. The post author stated: “Hmmm. So if I think a natural climate cycle is bringing us into an unusually (but not unnaturally) warm period to which we’ll need to adapt in various ways, I’m counted as accepting “man-made global warming” not because I’ve said so but because anyone who writes about adaptation implicitly accepts it. Wow! Pretty difficult to swim outside that.”

    According to the Cook Paper categorization, the post author would NOT be counted “as accepting “man-made global warming”. 

    If any abstract that implied the human contribution to GW were minimal or if a natural mechanism were proposed as an alternative main cause, then the abstract would be categorized as a Level 5 implicit rejection of AGW. 
    The 97 % is the summation of categorization levels 1-3. 

    Let’s review the categorization criteria:

    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article

    Level 1 (“Explicit endorsement with quantification: explicitly states that Humans are the primary cause of recent global warming.)

    Level 2 (“Explicit endorsement without quantification: explicitly states that Humans are causing global warming or refers to anthropogenic global warming/climate change as a known fact.)

    Level 3 (“Implicit Endorsement: implies humans are causing global warming. Eg. Research assumes greenhouse gas emissions cause warming without explicitly stating humans are the cause.”) 

    Level 4a (“No position: Does not address or mention the cause of global warming”)

    Level (4b) (“Uncertain: Expresses position that human’s role on recent global warming is uncertain/undefined ‘While the extent of human-induced global warming is inconclusive…’”

    Level (5) (“Implicit rejection: Implies humans have had a minimal impact on global warming without saying so explicitly E.g., proposing a natural mechanism is the main cause of global warming ‘…anywhere from a major portion to all of the warming of the 20th century could plausibly result from natural causes according to these results’”)

    Level (6): (“Explicit rejection without quantification: Explicitly minimizes or rejects that humans are causing global warming ‘…the global temperature record provides little support for the catastrophic view of the greenhouse effect’”)

    Level (7): (“Explicit rejection with quantification: Explicitly states that humans are causing less than half of global warming ‘The human contribution to the CO2 content in the atmosphere and the increase in temperature is negligible in comparison with other sources of carbon dioxide emission’”)

  72. wooble says:

    “From the Cornwall Alliance website:

    WHAT WE BELIEVE
    1.We believe Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power….

    There is no place in science for intelligent design. I wish they had stopped at “creation”, because invoking ID means the argument will be dismissed by most scientists.”

    Mentioning intelligent design is not necessarily invoking the more formally defined theory of Intelligent Design. Theism among the scientifically literate has a broad range of beliefs concerning evolution from it’s ‘the process that was designed’ through various degrees of ‘guided evolution’ as Will Nitschke puts it above. Personally, I lean toward the process being intelligently designed rather than guided intelligently although I can certainly understand how someone might lean that way considering various aspects of evolution. For example, the HAR regions of our genome being well preserved in all other mammals but the mutation rate being accelerated in human evolution. Undoubtedly, some if not all HAR could be explained by the unique set of circumstances that proto-humans survived; I just don’t know enough about the details of our evolution to make a conclusion and that would seem like “finding God in the gaps” to me. There’s no need to find God in what we don’t know over what we do know. Why aren’t atheists ridiculed and dismissed for believing in abiogenesis when there is absolutely no evidence for it and plenty of evidence for it being impossible? Yes, the evidence for God is scant at best, but there’s a lot more than the evidence for no God, yet for some reason some people don’t seem to see that and are for some reason compelled to ridicule us that do. This I don’t understand.

  73. Question on the Cook crap of 97% which turned out to be only 41 papers of nearly 12k….of those 41 papers, how many of them had the same authors?
    Thank you in advance for the answer.

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