Skeptical Science conspiracy theorist John Cook runs another survey trying to prove that false "97% of climate scientists believe in global warming" meme

People send me stuff. Even though I’m supposed to be on break, I thought this worth a few minutes to post up. I have redacted the recipient address as well as the exact time stamp, and the suffix code in the URL to prevent the sender from being identified by Cook, and face possible retaliation or harassment. Since Jo Nova’s website has yet again been taken down by a hacking DDoS attack, I felt this to be an important step to protect the recipient.  From the language and pre-selection filters imposed, clearly there is no further doubt about the connection of John Cook’s Skeptical Science effort to the advocacy disguised as science going on at the University of Western Australia with Stephan Lewandowsky. Since this was sent using the University of Queenslands public network resource, it is fair game for posting, especially since no caveats for disclosure of the survey are given in the invitation letter.

I found the methodology of the sample selection quite ridiculous:

Our search of the ISI Web of Science database has found X of your papers published between 1991 and 2011 matching the search phrases ‘global warming’ or ‘global climate change’ (noting that due to the specific search parameters, it’s possible that some of your papers may not be included). It’s not essential that you are an expert in attribution of global warming

With all the caterwauling at SkS by Cook himself and elsewhere about my supposedly “non-expert” involvement in expressing my invited opinion on the PBS News Hour, here in Cook’s world, they simply don’t care if you are an expert or not if you have an opinion on global warming/climate change. Such hypocrisy. I suppose we can call this the “cartoonist clause” since Mr. Cook is a cartoonist by trade.

Of course we all know now (after examining the survey and data) that the 97% of climate scientists believe in global warming meme is predicated on just a few responses in a flawed survey, which you can read about here: What else did the ’97% of scientists’ say?

This survey promises to be no better, as it has a flaw in the invitation process that will induce bias. Here’s why.

The survey appears to be sent only to publishers of papers that have shown up in search phrases for  ‘global warming’ or ‘global climate change’. Cook even concedes that:

“(noting that due to the specific search parameters, it’s possible that some of your papers may not be included).”

So with that criteria, what sort of papers and authors will be excluded? Here’s a short, but by no means complete, checklist of papers and author opinions Cooks sampling method will likely miss:

  • Papers/authors that don’t use those two phrases cook deems important because they (or the journal) feel it politicizes or polarizes the paper.
  • Papers/authors that study other natural variation effects on climate, such as ENSO, solar influences, aerosol influences, volcanic influences, etc. that are only studying those effects and don’t use the terms Cook deems important.
  • Papers/authors that study issues, biases, adjustments of datasets that are only studying those datasets and nuances and don’t use the terms Cook deems important.
  • Papers that study climate models that deal with the methods and performance, and don’t use the terms Cook deems important.

And there are probably more examples that I haven’t thought of.

From my viewpoint, Cook’s methodology is fatally flawed, because the search terms act like a data sieve and results in some pre-selection biases for those authors/papers that don’t think twice about using those terms (which are political hot potatoes) in a  science paper. As a result I would expect a greater numbers of “believers” (to quote the PBS label) than non-believers to be selected.

There’s another bias. Cooks states in the invitation letter:

“Our search of the ISI Web of Science databasehas found X of your papers published between 1991 and 2011 matching the search phrases ‘global warming’ or ‘global climate change…”

This starting condition will of course exclude papers in journals that are NOT part of the ISI database, and there are more than a few. So, it becomes a double bias in pre-selection on Cook’s part. This of course means that some of the journals that do gatekeeping, such as we witnessed in Climategate emails, exclude skeptical authors

Here’s the solicitation:




Sent: xx/xx/xxxx xxxxxx

Subj: Invitation to survey re climate research (closing Oct 12)

Just in case our original email may have gone unnticed, you are receiving this reminder about our invitation to participate in a survey (closing Oct 12) by the University of Queensland measuring the level of consensus in the peer-reviewed literature for the proposition that humans are causing global warming. Our search of the ISI Web of Science database has found X of your papers published between 1991 and 2011 matching the search phrases ‘global warming’ or ‘global climate change’ (noting that due to the specific search parameters, it’s possible that some of your papers may not be included). It’s not essential that you are an expert in attribution of global warming – we are interested in whether your paper explicitly states a position on anthropogenic global warming (AGW), makes implicit assumptions about AGW or has no position. You are invited to categorise the topic of research and level of endorsement in each paper. You will not be asked to supply your private views but merely to categorise your published research. To participate, please follow the link below to the University of Queensland website.

The survey should take around 4 minutes. You may elect to discontinue the survey at any point; your ratings will only be recorded if the survey is completed. The rating must be done in one uninterrupted session, and cannot be revised after closing the session. Your ratings are confidential and all data will be de-individuated in the final results so no individual ratings will be published. You may sign up to receive the final results of the de-individuated survey.

The research, titled The Consensus Project, is being conducted by the University of Queensland in collaboration with contributing authors of the website (winner of the Australian Museum 2011 award for Advancement of Climate Change Knowledge). The research project is headed by John Cook, Research Fellow in Climate Change Communication for the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland.

This study adheres to the Guidelines of the ethical review process of The University of Queensland. Whilst you are free to discuss your participation in this study with project staff (contactable on +61 7 3365 3553 or, if you would like to speak to an officer of the University not involved in the study, you may contact the Ethics Officer on +61 7 3365 3924 or


John Cook

Global Change Institute/University of Queensland

Skeptical Science


And here are screen caps of the introduction and questions:

The drop downs are interesting, first the drop down that tells them what sort of paper it is:

Note the “Not peer-reviewed” highlighted answer. I found this laughable. He’ll accept an opinion from an author of a non-peer reviewed paper, but by the pre-selection filter of choosing only ISI Web of Science accredited journals, that answer will likely never occur. Here’s why:

The Thomson Reuters Journal Selection Process

By Jim Testa, VP, Editorial & Publisher Relations

updated 5-2012

Why Be Selective?

It would appear that to be comprehensive, an index of the scholarly journal literature might be expected to cover all journals published. It has been demonstrated, however, that a relatively small number of journals publish the majority of significant scholarly results. This principle is often referred to as Bradford’s Law.2

Peer Review

Application of the peer-review process is another indication of journal standards and signifies overall quality of the research presented and the completeness of cited references.6 Inclusion of Funding Acknowledgements is also strongly recommended. Not only do they help create a greater context for the journal, these acknowledgements also function as a confirmation of the importance of the research presented.


It seems pretty clear to me a non peer reviewed journal would not be selected (for inclusion in the ISI database). Thus skeptical papers that were forced (by the active journal gatekeeping we have witnessed) into journals that didn’t meet ISI’s criteria or simply were not peer reviewed, likely would not be included in Cook’s survey results.

Though the fact that Cook included “not peer-reviewed” as an option for paper author that he would accept means that he’s now bereft of any rational argument when it comes to peer reviewed -vs- non peer reviewed findings.

Here’s answers the authors could give, which are the same no matter which pulldown is first selected.

This new survey by Cook is yet another flawed and transparent advocacy effort to use predetermined opinion gathering as a public relations tool with the help of a compliant and unquestioning news media.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
September 23, 2012 1:28 pm

And let me guess, it’ll only be sent to a select number of English speaking folks. Well, of course it has to go that way. If you want to cash in on the “global warming” government cash cow, you can’t hold yourself up with proper statistics and translations.
I’m tired of “social sciences” trying to sell statistics as scientific evidence.

Silence DoGood
September 23, 2012 1:32 pm

there are indeed some scary characters that partake in this global warming drivel. They seem to literally stop at nothing to spread their lies

September 23, 2012 1:33 pm

Might be interesting to add a question, if it’s not there already:
“What percentage of your annual income derives ultimately from Taxpayer funding?
(a) More than 50%
(b) Less than 50%”
and analyse the responses by the two answers to this question – in addition to any other analysis, of course …

jonny old boy
September 23, 2012 1:35 pm

I read the words “John Cook”….. then I watched an episode of hawaii 5-0…. WHY ? Because it has more science in it !!! 😉

Lance Wallace
September 23, 2012 1:42 pm

Another bit of self-selection bias: non-zealots will not wish to waste their time on taking a survey.

Mac the Knife
September 23, 2012 1:45 pm

Ugh! Cook is the right name for this type of ‘cooking the books’ polling and data analysis.

David Ball
September 23, 2012 1:47 pm

2 words. Echo and Chamber.

Joe's World(evolutionary progress)
September 23, 2012 1:50 pm

Did theses players suspend Jo Nova???
[Or did those thesis players suspend her? ]

September 23, 2012 1:50 pm

Isn’t it about time that standards were set for opinion surveys? Like for professional opinion polls?
My econometrics lecturer 30 years ago gave a series of lectures on eliminating bias. He concluded that no matter what you might do to eliminate bias, bias may still be present, invalidating any significance tests – and thus the validity of the results. I found that most economics papers up to that point superficially adhered to the most basic tests, with all major empirical papers being overturned in a few years later by somebody doing some proper analysis, or testing the hypothesis against different data sets. There were incentives to do so, as there was many competing views.
John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky are trying every means possible to prevent any adverse criticism of their beliefs by building walls of corrupt opinion polls, that break every rule of questionnaires that I learnt in the first year as an undergraduate. This in the context of preserving a monopoly of ideas, that has failed to produce any significant science in a long time.

Brian H
September 23, 2012 1:54 pm

“with the methods an perfoamce, ” → with their methods and performance

September 23, 2012 1:55 pm

This is like waiting outside a supermarket and asking people with OMO in their shopping trolley if they buy OMO..
The old 9 out of 10 people buy OMO trick.
Only the absolutely DUMBEST people fall for it.
Unfortunately, there are an awful lot of dumb people in the world.

September 23, 2012 1:58 pm

Advocacy disguised as science, that is EXACTLY the term that has been bouncing around by head. Thank you Anthony. That is how they come up with their consensus. All they need is someone that agrees with their political positions and, voila! Climate Scientists.

mike about town
September 23, 2012 1:59 pm

This is an utterly absurd and a blatant politically motivated “study” with clear bias all over it. How can the responders be expected to remain unbiased with a title like that?

Mark Nutley
September 23, 2012 2:00 pm

And no doubt it will be whittled down so over 100% of climate scientists believe in CAGW

September 23, 2012 2:01 pm

The research, titled The Consensus Project, is being conducted by the University of Queensland in collaboration with contributing authors of the website…….

This is the same as a survey held among trades union members asking them whether they deserve a pay rise. John Cook already knows the results of his survey.
On the pages of WUWT I once apologised to John Cook for calling him something like “numb nuts” after Anthony berated me. I take back my apology.
[MODS – snip me if you like, I won’t feel offended]. 😉

September 23, 2012 2:09 pm

John Cook is not a professional opinion poll surveyor and should not be participating in a craft he is not skilled at. Leave that job to Gallup, Pew, Mori et al.
(They said Anthony should not have been interviewed because he was not a climate scientist so sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander)

September 23, 2012 2:13 pm

Maybe they can add the 31,487 signatories of the Petition Project to the data collected for this new survey. It would add sigificantly to the numbers that they’re going to get.

Mike Haseler
September 23, 2012 2:15 pm

Interesting radio program on BBC Analysis about the philosophy of the climate debate: <a href=";.

cui bono
September 23, 2012 2:22 pm

Anthony, can’t you supply a bit more detail on the ‘?c=xxxxxxxxxx’ part of the address without compromising your source?
After all, most of us here have written about ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’, even if it hasn’t been peer-reviewed.
Maybe a little PC program script and we can all helpfully participate in Mr. Cook’s magisterial survey? 🙂

Bob Koss
September 23, 2012 2:23 pm

To: Al Gore
From John Cook
snip …
Our search of the ISI Web of Science database has found zero of your papers published between 1991 and 2011 matching the search phrases ‘global warming’ or ‘global climate change’ (noting that due to the specific search parameters, it’s possible that some of your papers may not be included). It’s not essential that you are an expert in attribution of global warming – we are interested in whether your paper explicitly states a position on anthropogenic global warming (AGW), makes implicit assumptions about AGW or has no position.
snip …
To John Cook
From Al Gore
Over the last 20 years I have produced 100’s of what I like to call papers on global warming which I am eager describe in your survey. I’ll get right on it as soon as my hottie of a masseuse releases my second chakra.
I can’t understand why none of my papers made it into that database.

D Böehm
September 23, 2012 2:24 pm

The “consensus” is clearly on the side of scientists who are skeptical of catastrophic AGW. Nothing John Cook can do will alter the fact that more than 31,400 professionals, all with degrees in the hard sciences — including more than 9,000 PhD’s — have co-signed a statement which reads in part:

The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the forseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth. [source]

Unlike Cook’s sock puppets, the OISM Petition required co-signers to have science degrees, and they had to mail in their signed statement. No emails allowed, because as we know emails and electronic surveys can be gamed. And every signature was vetted, with any illegitimate fakes removed.
THAT is the true scientific consensus regarding CO2: it is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere. More is better. What Cook is attempting to do is use a fake email survey to try and come up with more than the OISM’s numbers. But no matter what he fabricates, his survey has no credibility. None at all.
The OISM Petition was circulated prior to, and in response to Kyoto. No doubt there are a lot more scientists that have changed their minds since then, and become skeptics of AGW. John Cook is flogging a dead horse, and using a dishonest method to manufacture pre-ordained results. Honesty is not in him.

September 23, 2012 2:29 pm

“Out of 1,374 respondents to our survey over 1,657 agree that….”

September 23, 2012 2:30 pm

Seems a bit of a risk, even with a totally biased methodology, to do another dumb survey. 97% is a pretty high benchmark. What if it comes out lower? Then we could conclude that belief is declining?
Oh, silly me, of course the results will be that >100% of climate scientist believe in AGW!

September 23, 2012 2:30 pm

is it normal for UWA to provide email addresses to unpaid vounteers?

September 23, 2012 2:33 pm

@ Joe, re JoNova
JN has been attacked many times using Ddos type attacks.
It was Sunday here yesterday, and her web guy may not have been contactable.
She is trying to move to a more secure server ASAP !!

September 23, 2012 2:36 pm

As the respondent HAS to be on the AGW gravy train to even take the survey.. the result should be 100%.. The way they “selected” that other survey, it should have been 100% as well. 🙂

Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001)
September 23, 2012 2:37 pm

Apart from the fact that Cook’s survey depends on “self-rating” by the papers’ authors, I fail to see how his “results” will address (IMHO) the underlying point of contention. As I had noted in the introduction to my own modest survey**:

It is also worth noting that the MSM have been dutifully churning reports in which “climate change” is declared as the “cause” of the recent spate of “extreme” weather events. What is not mentioned in such reports (nor in the copious profliferation of “scientific” papers over the last twenty years) is that – apart from computer simulations and projections (which can hardly be considered as “evidence” for anything except a reflection of the modellers’ inputs) – there has been no empirical evidence provided which would even begin to suggest that human generated CO2 is the primary cause, driver – or in CliSci-speak “forcing” – of climate change aka global warming aka the greatest threat to the future of our planet.

** Pls. see Survey participation invited: Does fear of CO2 cause extreme voting?
Hilary Ostrov

Green Sand
September 23, 2012 2:38 pm

“The essence of propaganda consists in winning people over to an idea so sincerely, so vitally, that in the end they succumb to it utterly and can never again escape from it.”

R. Shearer
September 23, 2012 2:39 pm

Even if it were true, popularity does not decide theory.

Mike McMillan
September 23, 2012 2:41 pm

Amazing how some things slip into Wikipedia. Try this on for gall.

September 23, 2012 2:42 pm


September 23, 2012 2:43 pm

Surveying climate scientists to give an opinion about global warming is like surveying creation scientists to give an opinion about evolution. There is a strong though not absolute selection pressure against skeptics becoming climate scientists.

September 23, 2012 2:45 pm

@D Böehm says:
Its a pity they don’t include engineering degrees in that list.
Thermal Engineers, Water Engineers, and many other branches of engineering are just as qualified to make a statement. They generally have a broader understanding of how things work than many other faculties.

September 23, 2012 2:48 pm

1st -The way I read this it is a follow up to an original invitation. When was the original invitation sent?
2nd – Me thinks the conclusions have already been written.
3rd – Perhaps this is also, considering the ‘conspiracy’ talk lately from SkS, a way to add to their enemies list by some who may fill this out in good faith.
4th – How did a carttoonist become denier hunter general?

john robertson
September 23, 2012 2:48 pm

Merely to categorise your published research. My immediate take away is John Cook can’t read? Or lacks the comprehension skills to figure out what is before his eyes. Given his behaviour so far inability to comprehend the written word would explain a lot.

September 23, 2012 2:50 pm

ignore that previous… they do accept engineers. just no place on the form to tick BEng.

Mark Wagner
September 23, 2012 2:50 pm

Don’t forget your false positives. I could have written a paper that discusses various matters regarding bovine excrement. But as long as it includes the phrase “global warming” somewhere in the paper, I would receive an invitation to play.

September 23, 2012 2:52 pm

“…winner of the Australian Museum 2011 award for Advancement of Climate Change Knowledge”

That’s in the same league as the top award I won from the Association of Bloggers with the Word Rocket in their Handles.

D Böehm
September 23, 2012 2:53 pm

The OISM Petition was limited to scientists within the U.S. Had it been open to scientists worldwide, the numbers would no doubt be more than double.
The true consensus [for whatever a ‘scientific consensus’ is worth] is entirely on the side of skeptics of catastrophic AGW, and John Cook knows that. Thus, his devious ‘survey’ shenanigans. Didn’t Stephen Schneider approve of lying for the CAGW cause? That is what Cook is doing.

Reg Nelson
September 23, 2012 2:54 pm

It speaks volumes that the Chicken Little’s have to resort to these type of tactics.
If the science was true, if the facts were there, if the data was there, they would never have to resort to this type of subterfuge.
What a sad state science has become. Sadder still is the PBS Ombudsman who admitted that he is spoon fed his science by the MSM.

September 23, 2012 2:54 pm

Your point on gatekeeping is valid.
However the “not peer reviewed” choice could lead to the choice that follows (human attribution) being ignored. Obviously it would waste less surveyee time if they didn’t ask for information that they weren’t going to use, but once they have “not peer reviewed” in that column in the database they can easily drop (or not select) that row.

Steve C
September 23, 2012 2:57 pm

He’s suffering from nominal determinism.
Definitions from the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary:
v.t. Concoct, make up, invent.
v.t. Falsify; alter surreptitiously to produce a desired result.

September 23, 2012 2:58 pm

Guys, It is clear that Lewandowsky and Cook include the filter terms “Climate Change” and others to filter out most of the truly scientific literature on CO2, atmospheric physics, hydrological cycles, carbon cycle, and any other pertinent subject. The fact is that most credible studies in the last ten years to not include the words climate change, which have only recently fashionable by the KoolAide crowd.
Yes, the term does filter out lesser known publications, but the important thing is that It filters out about 97% of science, altogether.
Filtering by the term, “climate change” is a smart move if you can get away with it. If you bothered to listen to Lewandowsky’s self-worship video, he did the exact same thing.
Lewandowsky and Cook have had some shalloow ideas, and this is just another.

September 23, 2012 2:59 pm

So let’s take a look at this Global Change Institute of which this charming fellow is a fellow. Bold face added.

The University established the Global Change Institute (GCI), led by world-renowned researcher Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, [ho hum] to provide a vehicle for collaborative research, learning, engagement and advocacy in major global change issues. ……..
…… Global change encompasses the interactions of natural and human induced changes in the global environment and their implications for society. These changes are occurring at an unprecedented scale and speed. Fundamental global sustainability challenges include issues as diverse as climate change (carbon mitigation and adaptation) ………….

So there you have it. Their starting point is the requirement for carbon mitigation ……… ’nuff said.

September 23, 2012 3:02 pm

What do the Chinese scientists think?
Because future emission depened on the Chinese, Indians and the ‘developing world’ Noy Australiea, UK, Canada, USA..
“..China’s most senior climate change official surprised a summit in India when he questioned whether global warming is caused by carbon gas emissions and said Beijing is keeping an “open mind”
Xie Zhenhua was speaking at a summit between the developing world’s most powerful countries, India, Brazil, South Africa and China, which is now the largest emitter of carbon dioxide, the gas believed to be responsible for climate change.
But Mr Xie, China’s vice-chairman of national development and reforms commission, later said although mainstream scientific opinion blames emissions from industrial development for climate change, China is not convinced.
“There are disputes in the scientific community. We have to have an open attitude to the scientific research. There’s an alternative view that climate change is caused by cyclical trends in nature itself. We have to keep an open attitude,” he said…” (Telegraph)
“..China’s most senior negotiator on climate change says more research needed to establish whether warming is man-made
China’s most senior negotiator on climate change said today he was keeping an open mind on whether global warming was man-made or the result of natural cycles. Xie Zhenhua said there was no doubt that warming was taking place, but more and better scientific research was needed to establish the causes.
Xie’s comments caused consternation at the end of the post-meeting press conference, with his host, the Indian environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, attempting to play down any suggestions of dissent over the science of climate change…”(Guardian)
links here: from the ‘What Else did the 97% of scientists sa’y link in the main article..

September 23, 2012 3:03 pm

Mike McMillan –
not so surprising how some things slip into wikipedia:
22 Sept: CNET: Violet Blue: Wikipedia honcho caught in scandal quits, defends paid edits
High-placed editors at Wikipedia’s U.K. site were caught in a simmering paid-PR scandal. After news broke, one resignation and a little backpedaling has done little to solve the problem.

cui bono
September 23, 2012 3:04 pm

This paper *could* have contained the words ‘global warming’:
Ig Nobel Medicine Prize: Emmanuel Ben-Soussan and Michel Antonietti (France) for advising doctors who perform colonoscopies how to minimise the chance that their patients will explode.

September 23, 2012 3:06 pm

September 23, 2012 3:10 pm

I wonder what the survey results will be? /sarc
Though Jo Nova’s site has been hacked here is Google cache of her compilation back on 2009 of government spending on Climate Change & related research.

“The Climate Industry: $79 billion so far – Trillions to come”
“Billions in the Name of “Climate”
In total, over the last 20 years, by the end of fiscal year 2009, the US government will have poured in $32 billion for climate research—and another $36 billion for development of climate-related technologies. These are actual dollars, obtained from government reports, and not adjusted for inflation. It does not include funding from other governments. The real total can only grow.
In 1989, the first specific US climate-related agency was created with an annual budget of $134 million. Today in various forms the funding has leapt to over $7,000 million per annum, around 50 fold higher. Tax concessions add to this. (See below for details and sources.)
This tally is climbing precipitously. With enormous tax breaks and rescue funds now in play, it’s difficult to know just how far over the $7 billion mark the final total will stand for fiscal year 2009. For example, additional funding for carbon sequestration experiments alone amounted to $3.4 billion in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (not included in the $7 billion total above).”

Not to mention spending by other governments, organisations, public bodies, philanthropists………………the list goes on. They are getting the results they have paid for. If sceptics got this kind of funding and media exposure the (alleged non-) debate would have been over a long time ago.
John Cook is now the climate scientists’ unofficial trades union leader. Follow the money folks, follow the money.>>>>>>>>>>

September 23, 2012 3:10 pm

This screams ‘Confirmation Bias’. He will find the answer he is looking for….maybe. The language may be a little more precise than that used in the discredited “97%” survey….

September 23, 2012 3:11 pm

The Cook made a stew and “Surprise!”
The recipe was made up of lies
The bone and the gristle
Made chewing a thistle
Seem nicer than fingers in pies

David Ball
September 23, 2012 3:13 pm

” despite the fact that you will lose your funding, career, and pension if you answer in the negative, do you think that global warming is real?’

September 23, 2012 3:18 pm

I’m guessing the fact Anthony received this means >100% isn’t going to wash. 🙂
I’m predicting that if Cook&Co(co) don’t get the answer they want the adverse result won’t be published.
Integrity rating: ≤ 0%

September 23, 2012 3:22 pm

Omnologos not likely, but its highly likely that idiots who don’t understand the word “rule” would make some on the server for them.

September 23, 2012 3:23 pm

There will be absolutely no allegation of inbuilt bias (conscious or otherwise) against Cook’s survey. He is an impartial scientist who just wants to find out whether the consensus is on the way down and if his results show that 93% of climate scientists agree on CAGW then he will shout the results wide and loud. (Do I need to put sarc?)

“Modellers have an inbuilt bias toward forced climate change because the cause and effect are clear.”
Gavin A. Schmidt, Michael E. Mann et al.

September 23, 2012 3:36 pm

“(winner of the Australian Museum 2011 award for Advancement of Climate Change Knowledge).”
what a noble award. But it doesn’t beat my second place in the “northwest european golden squirrell award for nutty behaviour” for 3 quarter in 2009.

September 23, 2012 3:37 pm

I love the legal, academic and professional disclaimer you see to get from
the Queensland Government site to move on to the Global Change Institute site:

You are about to leave the department’s website . Access to this next site is made available conditional upon your acceptance of the following express terms.
The Queensland Government, makes no warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of any information, which may be obtained by any person or any entity having access to this site.
The Queensland Government, its employees, servants or agents make no express or implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose or use with respect to any information, data or software included in this site or that may be accessed through this site.
The Queensland Government disclaims all responsibility and all liability (including without limitation, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs you might incur as a result of the information being inaccurate or incomplete in any way, and for any reason.
Do you accept these terms of agreement? If so, proceed to: Global Change Institute (

No editorial emphasis seems necessary !

September 23, 2012 3:41 pm

Why don’t people like John Cook have some scientific or moral ethics? This brazen attempt at manipulation is despicable. No wonder they are losing and becoming very desperate. Ooops! Looks like I answered my question. 😉

Richdo says:
September 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm
Seems a bit of a risk, even with a totally biased methodology, to do another dumb survey. 97% is a pretty high benchmark. What if it comes out lower? Then we could conclude that belief is declining?

I thought the same thing. He cannot get away with saying 100% as we know of climate scientists who would disagree. So he has a choice of 99%, 98%, 97% or less. It’s a tight squeeze and he may need to do some ‘necessary adjustments’ OR we may never hear the results, ever. This is how these brazen scammers work because they know the alleged professional journalists will turn a blind eye.

Ian H
September 23, 2012 3:44 pm

So why doesn’t he just read the papers and classify them himself?
I agree that the selection process is biased. It would be better to take all journal articles within subject classifications relating to atmospheric science rather than search for a specific phrase.
It looks to me also like he has also engineered a very clever weighting bias in there. Couching this as a “survey of papers” gives him an excuse to heavily weight the opinions of those authors who are prolific users of the phrases.
On the other hand I do like the way the endorsements are worded. I wonder how much influence the ethics committee had on the wording of these. They are considerably better than the usual options presented in this kind of survey. It is actually possible to give an honest answer without feeling that you are being forced by unpalatable options to endorse something you don’t agree with.

September 23, 2012 3:51 pm

This ‘research ‘ has all the quality of the ‘nine out ten cats prefer ‘style of approach, or to be honest less quality.

September 23, 2012 3:56 pm

The Global Change Institute at U of Q does: “development of frameworks for educating, guiding and persuading individuals, businesses and institutions of the need for change”.
It’s board head is Social Psychologist Professor Deborah Terry whose research interests are: “attitudes, social influence, persuasion, group processes”.
It’s Director is Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of “the Great Barrier Reef is doomed” fame.
Institute Research Fellow “Mr” John Cook seems to have overcome the dislike he professed for academia after putting his doctorate in Astrophysics to use in sci fi and church pamphlet cartooning (U of Q says “Graphic Design”) . He may well be perfecting the “denier blocking” software he has developed which automatically analyses climate myths and pops up the consensus science answer. (available for iPhone and Android) Apparently an email from a certain “Cognitive Psychologist” alerted him to the fact that:
“Using evidence to ‘back up’ science can actually have the reverse psychological effect on some people”. WUWT regulars can rest easy though: “Cook’s model, however, predicts that this approach will have minimal impact at the extreme end of the ideological scale”…..and we all know about models..

David Ball
September 23, 2012 3:57 pm

AJB says:
September 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm
My family and I LOVE that video!! Is that what androids dream of ?

September 23, 2012 4:09 pm

What a job title….
Research Fellow in Climate Change Communication
No expertise required in climatology, or any of its contributing disciplines.
No expertise required in survey construction or survey research, or in any of the disciplines that rely on it.

September 23, 2012 4:11 pm

measuring the level of consensus in the peer-reviewed literature for the proposition that humans are causing global warming.
Who would be more interested in the “level of consensus” – a scientist, or a propagandist?

September 23, 2012 4:25 pm

As Dana1981 says over at SkepticalScience in the “PBS False Balance Hour – …” post.
However, the amount of warming caused by human greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is known to a high degree of certainty, and these same studies have all found that GHGs are responsible for over 100% of the observed warming over this timeframe (Figure 3).
I see no reason why John Cook and the Skeptical Science team will not be able to find that over 100% of Climate Scientists believe that humans are causing global warming.
Perhaps it will be worse than anyone thought and 150% of Climate Scientists will believe…
Or 200% – Total Catastrophe!!!

September 23, 2012 4:26 pm

But what IF Cook finds 100% of climate scientists agree with his biases, scam survey? What the heck does it mean? I don’t really know but let’s look at what this earlier patent clerk had to say.

“Why 100 authors? If I were wrong, then one would have been enough!”
“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.”
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
“To defeat relativity one did not need the word of 100 scientists, just one fact.”
Albert Einstein

September 23, 2012 4:41 pm

“Why don’t people like John Cook have some scientific or moral ethics? ”
Needs a study. Maybe an investigative reporter might be even better.

September 23, 2012 4:47 pm

Or a private investigator.

September 23, 2012 4:48 pm

They need to break it into four separate questions about the endorsements of:
1) The press release
2) The summary
3) The conclusion
4) Any actual science in the paper
I think we’ve seen papers where 1,2,3 will endorse AGW as 50%+, but 4) would not.

Leo Morgan
September 23, 2012 4:48 pm

I see why they feel the need to conduct a new survey.
Having read your comments on PBS, I think it fair to characterise the results of the previous survey as “97 percent of climate scientists share Anthony Watts’ beliefs on the issues polled.”

September 23, 2012 5:02 pm

In addition to the selection bias, Cook is deliberately seeking agreement to compound or complex questions framed as statements. It is very difficult to respond to a complex question with a simple answer as it generally means accepting the questioner’s biased point of view. Complex questions are mostly used to trick people into admitting something which they would not admit to if they were asked simple questions.
Endorsement 2. asks whether a paper explicitly states any of three separate matters. First that humans are causing global warming, second that global warming is a given fact and third that climate change is a given fact. Would a paper that concurs with all three propositions be written by a believer in CAGW or someone skeptical of CAGW?
Endorsement 6. sets up conflicting alternatives. Either humans are causing minimal global warming or no global warming. These are two separate choices which should not be combined.
A scientist who believed that humans had caused some global warming but was unsure how much could endorse either 2. or 6.
Endorsement 3. explains that a scientist endorsing it accepts that their paper ‘assumes’ greenhouse gases cause global warming without mentioning a human cause. Yet a scientist who chooses this is agreeing that their paper ‘implies’ humans are causing global warming. This endorsement, by not quantifying global warming, is making an unstated assumption that agreeing to it is to agree that humans cause most global warming.
It is curious that Cook uses AGW and not CAGW. It is also interesting that Cook is having to remind scientists to take his survey as this suggests that most have seen it for what it is, ill-conceived, biased nonsense. No doubt, if anyone is foolish enough to complete the survey, it will go into the Lewandowsky statistical jiggery-pokery machine and produce the required results.
No wonder Richard Feynman called sociology a pseudo-science.

September 23, 2012 5:12 pm

I’m going to use their invitation as my template for a totally unbiased political survey:
Our research has found that your posts on our paywalled website contain the words “Family Values” multiple times. Please go to the Conservative Solidarity Project at the Tea Party website and fill out this 4 minute survey. You don’t have to be an expert on the source or foundation of Family Values. This study adheres to the guidelines of the ethical review process of BYU.

September 23, 2012 5:12 pm

There are many aspects of this sort of work providing insights into the development of climate change science mindset that are not only unintended but possibly entirely unconscious to the authors. And this would make the raw data results of interest to those trying to understand the corruption of climate science.
Implicit Endorsement:
What is most striking for me is that both ‘implicit endorsement’ is being assessed and papers on ‘mitigation’ are included. Papers working on mitigation that presume AGW might be telling us something interesting about the success (of propaganda? of fear? of vested interest?) of a corrupting positive feedback cycle in the adjacent applied sciences and social sciences.
I have a report of a conference held in Australia in 1995 (just before the SAR SPM is about to be finalised in Madrid) called “Greenhouse Abatement Measures: No regrets policy now!”. As the title might suggest, paper after paper by agricultural scientists, social scientists etc opening with a statement of presumption of catastrophic AGW. But then there are 5 papers (including the opening ‘oration’) directly addressing the question: Whether AGW? These are all by physical scientists and they are all sceptical except one which is sceptical but lukewarm (at the level of Anthony on PBS). Consider also how IPCC Working Group 2 (impacts) and 3 (mitigation) worked on a presumption of AGW that was not yet established in WG 1 in FAR, nor until after they had completed their part of SAR.
Self-assessment of their papers position on AGW:
This is a very interesting strategic development in the history of such surveys, if not only on account of laziness of the investigator. In my experience interviewing climate scientists caught up in the controversy, many are very careful about what they say when challenged. I can think of a number of two folks I have interview who would not explicitly support the implicit messages in their paper against AGW.
What’s in a name:
In the scientific literature there is an historical correlation between the term “climate change” and AGW.
Prior to the advent of the greenhouse warming scare (and in parallel for some time) the term was “climatic change.”
Oreskes’s 100% consensus:
Prior to the Zimmerman theses was a paper by Oreskes in Science (3Dec2004) where the consensus hypothesis “was tested by analysing 928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords “climate change”.

The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate
analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25%
dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.

However, when others (including Pielke) investigated, they found the assessment overstated the adherence to the consensus. More importantly, no one was able to replicated the 928 set of papers. Finally, Science had to issue a correction that the keyword used was “global climate change,” not “climate change.”

September 23, 2012 5:16 pm

Once again, poor science together with poor grammar. If these people cannot write a coherent and grammatically correct request, how can we be expected to take their thoughts on science seriously?

September 23, 2012 5:35 pm

Considering Thomson Reuters involvement in Point Carbon, Sir Cripsin Tickell of climategate fame, Globemedia’s active green mongering, the latest being ganging with opposition parties to force carbon taxes/cap and trade on Canadians and in doing so hoping to make billions more for the richest family in Canada, Tides friends and so on… Cook’s choice is not innocent.

Pamela Gray
September 23, 2012 5:56 pm

This appears tied to research that has been funded by climate change money pots. It seems reasonable that funds used from these money pots must go to research that must include these phrases in their text. Therefore I am unconvinced that this is a random sample of folks with credentials in meterology and/or climatology. My hunch is that an investigation of the researchers who end up being invited to the party have common funding sources. Huge bias fail in terms of research standards.

September 23, 2012 5:59 pm

I would welcome suggestions of journals, that would accept and publish a paper with the keywords “global warming” or “global climate change” that debunked the myth af man made warming.
Surely (and I know I am stating the obvious) this very approach will introduce massive selection bias into the sample. Who would ever believe this nonsense.
I personally believe that the issue comes down to trying to define who is a climate scientist and who isn’t and that comes down to defining climate as opposed to weather. The key issue here, of course, is how does global temperature perform as a surrogate for climate because global temperature is commonly taken as the surrogate. What they mean by a climate scientist is someone who looks at global temperature change, either by modelling or by impirically and of course temperature is not the whole story.

September 23, 2012 6:00 pm
“Do 97% of experts agree with the IPCC that human CO2 emissions are causing dangerous global warming?”

September 23, 2012 6:01 pm

If I published a paper entitled “The change in stickiness of marshmallows with temperature and the potential impacts on the confectionary industry from climate change” would that make me a climate scientist?

September 23, 2012 6:11 pm

Arctic minimum. You have been avoiding the issue for a couple of months now. Please explain.
[Reply: This comment should be on the Arctic ice thread. — mod.]

September 23, 2012 6:12 pm

The main problem with the previous 97% number is (aside from it only representing 75 people) that the questions were very vanilla and did not really ask if MOST of the observed warming was due solely to man-made CO2 AND was going to be catastrophic which are actually the points that most skeptics disagree with.

September 23, 2012 6:18 pm

Putting aside the original political context, Cartoonist Cook brings this song by Paul Simon to mind.

September 23, 2012 6:36 pm

So, run a survey of all scientists who once stated they believe in “anthropogenic global warming” and then ask them if they still believe in AGW? Sounds like all these alarmists have left is deception.
Of course, the results of this survey probably hinges greatly on whether these ‘scientists’ are still hooked up to the AGW grant gravy train $$$ or not.

September 23, 2012 6:37 pm

@ Goldie,
Yes, it would.

September 23, 2012 6:38 pm

Sorry, Mod., please, tell me where the arctic ice thread is.
[Reply: Click here. — mod.]

September 23, 2012 6:41 pm

François says:
September 23, 2012 at 6:11 pm
Arctic minimum. You have been avoiding the issue for a couple of months now. Please explain.

Antarctic maximum. You have been avoiding the issue for a couple of years now. Please explain.
Go away…

Pete of Perth
September 23, 2012 6:42 pm

@ Francois, antarctic maximum. Please explain.

September 23, 2012 6:43 pm

Anthony this Consensus Project is described in the secret forum files though it would appear the method has undergone a major overhaul. Previously they were not contacting any researchers instead themselves doing the categorizing. I would think the secret forum release has had something to do with the change.
Consider these early ramblings from John Cook. He’s speaking here before they’ve even begun to collect data. Some how he knew what the result would be before he even started:
(2012-1-12, bold mine)

Beating the drum on consensus
John Cook
One of the major take-homes I took from AGU was the importance of the public understanding that there’s a scientific consensus on climate change. So consensus is a crucial part of climate communication.
I’ve been working on something to do with consensus with Dana and Jim Powell, that will add something new to the literature on consensus – actually go beyond the existing thinking on consensus. What we’re planning is initially one or two peer reviewed papers, then a crowd sourced online feature. The idea is that this will be an extended campaign, regularly beating the consensus drum and reinforcing the message over time. So 2012 for SkS will be a year about consensus, with SkS making an important contribution and hopefully making an impact on the public perception on consensus. Will post more on this shortly…

Prominent feature
John Cook
I’d suggest hold off on a 97% feature on the homepage. My hope is this will be bigger than Doran 2009 and Anderegg 2010 in communicating not just a 97% consensus but a strengthening consensus. It will become an integral part of the SkS site and provide a compelling alternative narrative to the “crumbling consensus” myth.
The Ding et al study is an inside baseball study for communicators, not a paper for the general public. What it tells us is people don’t support climate policy unless they perceive a scientific consensus. However, what SkS is working on is for the general public.

Timescales and strategies
John Cook
Hard to predict a timescale because the first hurdle is getting this first paper by Jim and myself published – we’re going to submit it over the next week but you never know how long that takes.
Next step is the SkS analysis. I’ll be posting about that on the forum ASAP but need to get myself organised first. The plan is a little fuzzy but probably involves getting a paper published then with the release of the paper, also posting some kind of online feature. I’ll be posting our general plans (not set in stone) on the forum soon and hopefully together we can shape together an effective campaign.
I did think about involving Peter Sinclair and/or Stephen Thomson, trying to help promote the results using video. That’s definitely on the cards. And coincidentally, got into some dialogue with someone at Google over the last few weeks offering to help with visualising of data so we’ve already started working on visualising our results. The preliminary stuff is looking pretty damn sexy.
Just one thing – this is not a survey of scientists. This is a survey of the peer-reviewed literature. Think Oreskes 2004 but with an order of magnitude more data, going much deeper, much broader and using SkS to present the results as an interactive, transparent database. The results don’t just find a consensus – they find a strengthening consensus.
It goes without saying – please don’t share any information about this project with others, this is all very preliminary.

September 23, 2012 6:45 pm

“…Our search of the ISI Web of Science database has found X of your papers published between 1991 and 2011 matching the search phrases ‘global warming’ or ‘global climate change’ (noting that due to the specific search parameters, it’s possible that some of your papers may not be included). It’s not essential that you are an expert in attribution of global warming..”
So many words, so little substance.
“…It’s not essential that you are an expert in attribution of global warming…”, yet we only pulled those papers that used the phrases “global warming” or “global climate change”.
If they aren’t experts in the attribution of global warming, then why were the specific words of “global warming” or “global climate change” used?
“…noting that due to the specific search parameters, it’s possible that some of your papers may not be included…”
So it’s possible that you had released dozens of papers about real science, but we’re only going to look at the ONE paper that used the catch-phrase of “global warming” or “global climate change”. And that may be because you were a co-author.
“…Our search of the ISI Web of Science database has found X of your papers published between 1991 and 2011 matching the search phrases “global warming” or “global climate change”…”
So 100% of their papers were drawn from this specific database with only the words “global warming” or “global climate change” considered. From there, they’ve got to exceed the 97% from the previous survey. Anything less than 97% will be seen as a crumbling consensus, and exactly 97% will make people wonder why the 3% still haven’t been converted.
One last comment (from the e-mail):
“…Your ratings are confidential and all data will be de-individuated in the final results so no individual ratings will be published…”
So while there is a privacy aspect, there is also a method of removing the disciplines they’ve surveyed. There’s no way of knowing how many of the papers come from the “classic” climate science disciplines, and how many from “other” sciences.
Somebody needs to check the ISI Web of Science database, to see how many papers total (“X”), between the years 1991 and 2011, match their word search.
I’ll bet anything that the number you find now, WILL NOT match the numbers listed in their final database.

David Ball
September 23, 2012 6:49 pm

François says:
September 23, 2012 at 6:11 pm
Antarctic maximum. You have been avoiding this issue for a couple of months now. Please explain. 8^D

David Ball
September 23, 2012 6:54 pm

— mod. I know, I will head to the Arctic ice thread.

David Ball
September 23, 2012 6:56 pm

Sorry Anthony, when I rejoined the thread, there were no replies. I always defer to you or the mods. Just havin’ a little fun. Hope you are well.

September 23, 2012 6:57 pm

All the data that’s fit to fabricate.

September 23, 2012 7:18 pm

Cook is no more than making use of Consensus Decision Making tools in ascertaining the consensus that has been previously reached by the ‘right people’ though Consensus Decision Making. Or, for those that are uninterested in such things: Cook is simply applying peer pressure to help reinforce the herd. It’s a Sophist’s play in that should enough people admit, under perceived duress, that they believe in the Jabberwock that they and others will are then more prone to swear that they saw it whiffling through the tulgey wood. And so it comes to be Belief. The only subtle catch is that a myth does not manifest reality as a consequence of uttered nonsense.
There should be no surprise that those whose status, money, and peers depend on AGW — pick a model, any model — will state publicly that they believe in AGW. And there should be no surprise that there are sorts such as Cook playing the faithful sheepdog on the matter. All of which is strictly and purely separate from the notion that an experiment says only what it says. Even if you do offer it greater access to money and women.

September 23, 2012 8:20 pm

John Cook apparently is busy writing papers with Lewandowsky – another just in press … imagine that the authors of the Debunking Handbook getting grant money to do what was essentially, to me, a literature review and a “how to” section at the end.
Others can comment better but I saw little or no science in this paper – pure advocacy, or at least advocacy support.

Misinformation and Its Correction
Continued Influence and Successful Debiasing
Stephan Lewandowsky1,
Ullrich K. H. Ecker1,
Colleen M. Seifert2,
Norbert Schwarz2 and
John Cook1,3

Michael Lewis in Sydney Australia
September 23, 2012 8:21 pm

There has been a recent change of Govt in Queensland to one which is strongly conservative and with a large majority. The U of Q is a “state” university – as are most in Australia. I wonder how long it will take to find budget efficiencies with John Cook’s sinecure – if they realise his section – amongst very many other “leftist retirement villages” exists.

September 23, 2012 8:29 pm

I think John Cook will prove that 97% of the people he knows believe this stuff. Eventually people will realize that this proves he should get out more.
On that basis I see nothing wrong with his work and wish him great success.

September 23, 2012 9:15 pm

Clearly someone is truly angry at Jo Nova for exposing the Aussie carbon fraudsters and their totalitarian methods… The election campaign has already started by the look of it.

September 24, 2012 12:45 am

I mentioned this survey to a friend who is a pathologist at a teaching hospital. His immediate opinion was that if he was a scientist studying the climate, he would not have the time to search through his papers to determine precisely what they had stated, assumed or implied. Therefore he suspected that anyone answering the survey would be simply expressing an opinion
unrelated to the actual words in their papers.
He also said that it would be very unwise for any scientist responding to the survey to believe that their identity would remain private. Remember Gleick.

September 24, 2012 12:53 am

September 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm | TomRude says:
Clearly someone is truly angry at Jo Nova for exposing the Aussie carbon fraudsters and their totalitarian methods… The election campaign has already started by the look of it.
Not surprising, Tom. The socialists here are a particularly nasty and vengeful strain … you just need to look at what we have for a prime minister and the ‘lame’ stream media. All in a day’s work for them.

Chris Schoneveld
September 24, 2012 1:11 am

I can imagine that there are many papers skeptical as well as alarmist that use the term ‘climate change’ rather than ‘global climate change’ or ‘global warming’. All those papers will not be included.

September 24, 2012 1:17 am

@ Pamela Gray:
Pamela, here’s a great tool to help you locate the ‘meney pots’ mentioned above. My blood pressure goes up too much everytime I run this so I have to limit the minutes of viewing! ☺

September 24, 2012 1:26 am

Pamela, try searching for Energy Foundation in that graph. That seems to be near the epicenter concerning AGW.

September 24, 2012 1:40 am

Heads I win, Tails you lose.

P. Solar
September 24, 2012 1:42 am

“The research project is headed by John Cook, Research Fellow in Climate Change Communication for the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland.”
It seems that Cook is not doing research in to Climate Change Communication, as his title implies he is DOING Climate Change Communication.
Perhaps the “ethics officer” should be looking at this misuse of a research project:
“if you would like to speak to an officer of the University not involved in the study, you may contact the Ethics Officer on +61 7 3365 3924 or”

P. Solar
September 24, 2012 1:48 am

The drop down list says it all
“Minimise” means to make as small as possible. Any objective scientist who finds evidience that CO2 attribution is less than 50% had no alternative than to respond that his work is “minimising” the effect, ie an admission of bias.
Any objective and honest scientist (who probalby would not put global warming in the title of his paper in the first place ) would very likely bail out at this stage.

Geoff Sherrington
September 24, 2012 1:49 am

The separation between the science of measurement and the chatter of opinion is being deliberately blurred. Here is an old piece of writing from which all should gain benefit, presuming that they have nor read it & remembered it from before. Pieces like this survive because they contain wisdom and logic. This example can be read by any party that considers itself the wronged party (or the virtuous). Therefore, the main impact of the message is that measurement trumps beflief, as some of us are learning, some ever so slowly ….
A quotation from 1877.
There was once an island in which some of the inhabitants professed a religion teaching neither the doctrine of original sin nor that of eternal punishment. A suspicion got abroad that the professors of this religion had made use of unfair means to get their doctrines taught to children. They were accused of wresting the laws of their country in such a way as to remove children from the care of their natural and legal guardians; and even of stealing them away and keeping them concealed from their friends and relations. A certain number of men formed themselves into a society for the purpose of agitating the public about this matter. They published grave accusations against individual citizens of the highest position and character, and did all in their power to injure these citizens in their exercise of their professions. So great was the noise they made, that a Commission was appointed to investigate the facts; but after the Commission had carefully inquired into all the evidence that could be got, it appeared that the accused were innocent. Not only had they been accused on insufficient evidence, but the evidence of their innocence was such as the agitators might easily have obtained, if they had attempted a fair inquiry. After these disclosures the inhabitants of that country looked upon the members of the agitating society, not only as persons whose judgment was to be distrusted, but also as no longer to be counted honourable men. For although they had sincerely and conscientiously believed in the charges they had made, yet they had no right to believe on such evidence as was before them. Their sincere convictions, instead of being honestly earned by patient inquiring, were stolen by listening to the voice of prejudice and passion.
Let us vary this case and suppose, other things remaining as before, that a still more accurate investigation proved the accused to have been really guilty. Would this make any difference in the guilt of the accusers? Clearly not; the question is not whether their belief was true or false, but whether they entertained it on wrong grounds. They would no doubt say, “Now you see that we were right after all; next time perhaps you will believe us.” And they might be believed, but they would not thereby become honourable men. They would not be innocent, they would only be not found out. Every one of them, if he chose to examine himself in foro conscientiae, would know that he had acquired and nourished a belief, when he had no right to believe on such evidence as was before him; and therein he would know that he had done a wrong thing.
William K Clifford. Originally published in Contemporary Review, 1877. Reprinted in Lectures and Essays (1879). Presently in print in The Ethics of Belief and Other Essays (Prometheus Books, 1999).

Paul in Sweden
September 24, 2012 3:16 am

Will Cook be formally presenting his findings in person wearing a Polar Bear suit or a Rubber Boot on his head?

Mike McMillan
September 24, 2012 3:49 am

Ian H says: September 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm
So why doesn’t he just read the papers and classify them himself?

Because it would take a Solyndra-sized govt grant to get past all the paywalls.

September 24, 2012 3:52 am

I think some good progress can be made in the “survey” field. Here’s what I suggest:
1. Find some sort of neutral/authoritative body to do the survey, in order to encourage participation — and by both sides. And have various pooh-bahs speak out urging members to participate.
2. Have experts in survey technique critique the proposed survey first.
3. Survey segments of scientists separately, and restrict the set of questions asked to the most pertinent ones for that group. For instance,

Survey the 75 Believer scientists in the 97% survey, or the signers of the Copenhagen Declaration.
Or survey the members of the committees of scientific societies that issued endorsements of AGW.
Or survey authors of chapters in the NIPCC, and/or the curators of skeptical blog sites.
Or survey “Fellows” (distinguished members) of scientific societies with some relation to climate.

Focusing on such small groups will make it easier to get high participation rates. It will also make it easier to get the job done, if there isn’t a lot of funding provided. IOW, each group can be surveyed in turn, which is a manageable task.
4. Avoid a do-all, too-long survey. Instead, conduct multiple surveys of the same group. One survey might ask about beliefs. (E.g., “What credence do you give to the temperature record portrayed by the hockey stick?”) Another might be a timed knowledge-test about climate-related matters. Another might be a timed test of awareness of what the each side has to say about the other side’s contentions and rebuttals. Another might be about what sort of adaptive or mitigative measures they recommend, and how practical they think such measures are.
5. Perhaps conduct follow-up interviews to flesh out the survey’s findings.

September 24, 2012 4:54 am

The only good thing about Cook’s survey is that it is virtual – at least no trees will be cut down to produce it or paper be burnt when it goes the way of all such utter pieces of nonsense – into the bin…
Such ‘surveys’ do more to highlight the utter blinkered thinking involved than really doing anything to contribute to the debate – in the end it weakens his position and the position of those who support him. We do not forgot and nor does the Internet.

David L. Hagen
September 24, 2012 5:15 am

Re: “You will not be asked to supply your private views but merely to categorise your published research. ”
Because of rabid AGW gatekeeping as exposed in ClimateGate, some authors may state AGW in their paper to prevent it from being rejected and/or to have a better chance at getting future funding, even though they privately have major questions or uncertainties on the level of anthropogenic global warming.

David Cage
September 24, 2012 5:36 am

Edohiguma says:
I’m tired of “social sciences” trying to sell statistics as scientific evidence.
You are being very unfair on social sciences. As an engineer I was skeptical about the value so I did a degree in it in my spare time and found it had much to recommend it. I started to do the same for climate science after picking up a file during some equipment radio emission tests virtually saying do not allow the following questions to be asked in any public forum or even suggested in publicly available documentation and found it to be so prejudiced and unthinking in favour of AGW as to be beneath contempt.
As a social scientist one of the questions I would ask would be “At any time in your career has AGW belief been a topic in any interview for employment or promotion. Since I have actually met some climate scientists squeezed out of the profession for questioning the belief I feel consensus is merely proof of an AGW disbelievers exclusion policy not a proof of integrity of the theory and therefore nothing to be proud of.

September 24, 2012 7:01 am

@ rogerknights
“Another might be a timed knowledge-test about climate-related matters. ”
A study in Sweden on the general public’s opinion on C/A/GW was done in July this year with a fair round of test questions on basic climate issues. The correlation between high belief in (C)AGW and low basic knowledge was clear. It was also clear the low knowledge generally meant providing answers that the state of climate is worse than it actually is. E.g. 50% believed more than 10% of Greenland icecap has already melted (correct answer: 0.3%); 79% believed the polar bear population has decreased in the last 30 years (correct answer: unchanged); 58% believed the number of storms has increased (correct answer: slight decrease), etc.
Maybe even more interesting was also that in spite of the low rate of correct answers people in general stated having both a “fair” or “high interest” as well as “fair” or “good knowledge” of the climate change issues which could be interpreted as support to the “noble cause corruption” meme.
Not surprisingly the highest interest and CAGW worry was stated by people supporting the Environmental party (Miljöpartiet) in Sweden, sadly also with a very low correct answer rate.
Again this study was on the general public opinion and could not be used to draw any conclusions on what scientists think or know about the climate. However, I do think a couple of basic climate knowledge questions would be a really interesting qualifier to any respondents opinion on C/A/GW.
Link to article (google translated):
Link to the study result data (only in Swedish):

September 24, 2012 9:46 am

It’s just a double standard: Warmistas/hype vs Skeptics/truth.
We’ll see how this one plays out in the long run.

Canadian Mike
September 24, 2012 10:23 am

On an unrelated note:
97% of surveyed palm readers truly believe that palm reading can tell the future.

September 24, 2012 11:19 am
September 24, 2012 2:18 pm

David Ball: ” despite the fact that you will lose your funding, career, and pension if you answer in the negative, do you think that global warming is real?’
I’m sure this is the biggest skewer of survey results. The whole of Climate Science has been corrupted, usurped, for long enough now for most of the true scientists of ability and vision to have left, or never joined, while their places were taken by alarmist activists (as Lindzen showed), secondrate scientists on a mission to gain ephemeral, hunky kudos fame and glamour, and a younger generation who never really were taught Scientific Method as we were, who learned a potted stew of all the sciences, spiced with political correctness, “necessary cuts”, “saving the planet”, “health and safety”, and general interference in curricula.
We hear rumours of such departees here. We know of a few like Tim Ball (Wikipedia deleted his bio – their most ruthlessly efficient means of censorship) and David Deming. Probably there are many more than we know about, because losing funding, career and pension has made life harder.

September 24, 2012 4:26 pm

Canadian Mike said (September 24, 2012 at 10:23 am)
“…97% of surveyed palm readers truly believe that palm reading can tell the future…”
I knew you’d say that…

Lance Wallace
September 24, 2012 6:45 pm

Since we know the search terms used, it would be possible to audit the survey by running the same search on ISI and keeping the results for comparison with the published paper. This might come in handy for determining the true response rate.

Jameel Ahmad Khan
September 24, 2012 7:35 pm

I took Lewandowsky’s survey and felt very uncomfortable at what it was trying to get at with questions on what ones understanding (or should we say beliefs) on many issues. The test should have been for the news media to test if its propaganda was successful or not. Here is another test to find conspiracy theorists –
I wonder how many readers everywhere including Lewandowsky, Cook etc etc can ever fail this test. By the way there are tests for finding suspected terrorists and just like this test most people will flunk in that too. Conclusion – no prizes for guessing.

Gunga Din
September 24, 2012 8:08 pm

Jameel Ahmad Khan says:
September 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm
I took Lewandowsky’s survey and felt very uncomfortable at what it was trying to get at …….
Put a little thought into it and I think anyone of us could come up with a “survey” that would reach the conclusion we wanted or that someone paid us to reach.
The most honest surveys out there are probably the ones a business puts our to get information to improve whatever it is they produce.

September 25, 2012 3:12 am

I’d like to see a survey on what percentage of climate scientists work for government organizations, universities, or other organizations which depend on government funds or the hope of carbon trading.
I suspect it is about 97%.

Bob Massey
September 25, 2012 5:20 am

I thought the Science was settled and if so, why another survey ? Which implies that the ball hasn’t stopped rolling yet.
Yet another survey team SkS that will more than likely provide a 97% result. But ! won’t that be a percentage of 97% of 97% of all Climate Scientists result? So if they keep doing surveys they will get closer and closer to zero. We have nothing to fear they are slowly agreeing with us with every survey …he he

more soylent green!
September 25, 2012 6:19 am

So if a biologist publishes a paper that concludes Global Warming will harm the Pika, that will be assumed to support global warming despite the fact that the paper merely assumes global warming is happening, but doesn’t address whether or not it is actually happening?

September 25, 2012 4:01 pm

how aqbout a new meme….”alarmists posing as scientists” to replace the fake sceptic phrase that the alarmists like to trot out?

September 26, 2012 1:02 am

If you ran a similar literature search for a keyword such as “telepathy” and surveyed only those authors who used that word in a publication somewhere, I think you would also find the consensus is that telepathy is a very real phenomenon! Why? Because those who don’t believe in such nonsense don’t waste their time talking about it in scientific literature.

%d bloggers like this: