Guest essay by Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
Environmental Research Letters ought to have known better than to publish the latest anti-scientific propaganda paper by John Cook of the dubiously-named Skeptical Science website. Here are just a few of the solecisms that should have led any competent editor or reviewer to reject the paper:
- It did not discuss, still less refute, the principle that the scientific method is not in any way informed by argument from consensus, which thinkers from Aristotle via Alhazen to Huxley and Popper have rejected as logically fallacious.
- Its definition of the “consensus” it claimed to have found was imprecise: that “human activity is very likely causing most of the current anthropogenic global warming”.
- It did not put a quantitative value on the term “very likely”, and it did not define what it meant by “current” warming. There has been none for at least 18 years.
- It cited as authoritative the unscientifically-sampled surveys of “consensus” by Doran & Zimmerman (2009) and Anderegg et al. (2010).
- It inaccurately represented the views of scientists whose abstracts it analysed.
- It disregarded two-thirds of the 12,000 abstracts it examined, on the unscientific ground that those abstracts had expressed no opinion on Man’s climatic influence.
- It declared that the one-third of all papers alleged to have endorsed the “consensus” really amounted to 97% of the sample, not 33%.
- It suggested that the “consensus” that most recent warming is manmade is equivalent to the distinct and far less widely-supported notion that urgent action to prevent future warming is essential to avert catastrophe. Obama fell for this, twittering that 97% found global warming not only real and manmade but also dangerous.
Yet the most remarkable conclusion to be drawn from Cook’s strange paper is that the “consensus” – far from growing – is actually collapsing.
A little history. Continue reading