Yet another survey conducted by John Cook of Skeptical Science ? Watch what happens to requests for the questions

This is odd. I suppose the strategy of Cook and Lewandowsky is to keep polling until you get the answers you want. Who would have thought there would now be a third survey? Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. reports on the solicitation he received:

Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2012 08:45:15 +0000

From: “Verheggen, Bart”

To: “Verheggen, Bart”

Cc: “Strengers, Bart”

Subject: Survey questions available on PBL website

Dear survey respondent,

Based on requests we received, we hereby make the Climate Science Survey questions and answer options available on the PBL website:

http://www.pbl.nl/en/news/newsitems/2012/survey-on-the-opinions-on-climate-change

With kind regards,

Bart Verheggen, Bart Strengers, Rob van Dorland, John Cook

Regards,

Dr Bart Verheggen

Scientist

………………………………………………………………

Department of Climate, Air and Energy

PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency

Ant. van Leeuwenhoeklaan 9 | 3721 MA | Bilthoven | W.340

PO box 303 | 3720 AH | Bilthoven

Issues related to the role of climate science in society will also receive attention. The results and their analysis will be published on our website and submitted to a scientific journal. We anticipate this study to facilitate a constructive dialogue on the selected issues, between people of different opinion, and to help communicate these issues to a wider audience.

See also:

The questions asked in the survey (PDF, 403 KB)

More information

For further information, please contact the PBL press office (+31 70 3288688 or persvoorlichting@pbl.nl).

Meanwhile. Dr. Tim Ball discovered (after taking the survey) that John Cook was associated with it and wanted to be removed. He writes:  

From: Tim Ball

Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2012 9:52 AM

To:  Anthony Watts

Subject: Heads up

I have had a brief battle with a Netherlands government agency being used to do a survey on climate responses much like the one Lewandowsky did.

When I discovered John Cook (I assume it is the same person) was involved I asked for my contribution to be removed. They refused.

Here are the emails involved. Most recent at the bottom so you can read them in sequence.

Tim Ball

From: Tim Ball

Sent: donderdag 20 september 2012 7:27

To: Verheggen, Bart

Cc: Strengers, Bart

Subject: Re: Thank you for responding to our climate science survey

I would be grateful if you could send me copy of the survey. I don’t want the results, just the survey as circulated.
Thank you
Tim Ball
On 2012-09-20, at 8:10 AM, Verheggen, Bart wrote:
Dear Dr Ball,The initial invitation email with the request to participate in our survey was signed by the same people (i.e. including John Cook), so the information of his involvement should not be new to you. We will not remove any responses from our database.With kind regards,

Bart Verheggen

Here’s the response he got back from Bart Verheggen to that request for a copy of the survey:

From: “Verheggen, Bart”
Subject: RE: Thank you for responding to our climate science survey
Date: 24 September, 2012 5:43:49 AM PDT
To: ‘Tim Ball’
Cc: “Strengers, Bart”
Dear Dr Ball,
We are considering how to reply to your request. This will take a bit of time since we will need internal approval. We will let you know as soon as a decision is made.
Regards,Dr Bart Verheggen

Scientist

………………………………………………………………

Department of Climate, Air and Energy

PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency

Ant. van Leeuwenhoeklaan 9 | 3721 MA | Bilthoven | W.340

PO box 303 | 3720 AH | Bilthoven

“…we will need internal approval.” yet the questions Dr. Ball requested are publicly available online here:

http://www.pbl.nl/sites/default/files/cms/Climate_Science_Survey_Questions_PBL_2012_0.pdf

As a link from the news release about the survey here:

http://www.pbl.nl/en/news/newsitems/2012/survey-on-the-opinions-on-climate-change

So in the same week that Dr. Verheggen makes a publicly available copy of the very same questions Dr. Ball asked for available to Dr. Roger Pielke in the solicitation, he frets about how to make them available to Dr. Tim Ball after he’s already taken the survey! Could there be a more blatant display of lack of integrity?

We anticipate this study to facilitate a constructive dialogue on the selected issues, between people of different opinion, and to help communicate these issues to a wider audience.

See also:

The questions asked in the survey (PDF, 403 KB)

Constructive dialog or manipulation of opinion under the guise of science? Given the Cook-Lewandowsky track record we know so far, you be the judge.

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“How would you describe your specialist knowledge of one or more aspects of physical climate science?”
==============================
There is no answer of “Supreme Being” that most Official Climate Scientists would select!!

more soylent green!

On the face of it, this seems like a pretty good survey.
However, the involvement of Cook and his lot is problematic. There are always issues with participant selection, the differences between those who decide to not respond and those who do, who is solicited, etc.

“Dr Bart Verheggen
Scientist”
Just to let everyone know that we’re doing science here. Excuse me, Science here.
Personally, I also capitalize my profession : John Smith, Bottle Washer

Are you sure Bart Simpson doesn’t deserve to be the third ‘Bart’ on the citation? I’m sure his comment on the survey must have been, succinctly, “Doh!”.

This is a misunderstanding: we conducted a survey in april of this year and have published the questions asked on the web, after requests from some respondents. This survey is no longer active.

kim

Worldwide, psychologists expert at projection sit in awe at this spectacle, and wonder how to safely tap in to the raging torrent of data.
========================

Don Worley

The correct answer to most of these questions is “I do not know”. Of course many will never check off “I don’t know”. So when the results come back, sorted by the professional field of the respondents, those professional fields where dishonest scientists claim to know will be deemed as “most knowledgeable” because they will never admit that they do not know.
Climatologists will be declared the supreme authority on all matters climate and the professional consensus of 100% confirmed.

banjo

i can do science ,me

banjo

Maybe i have a blind spot about this,but i find it difficult to accept psychology as a science.
It seems to fit with crystals,dreamcatchers and astrology.
Having said that i`m willing to be proved wrong.

Scott Basinger

Actually, that’s a pretty good survey. The questions show a fairly deep knowledge of the issues.
The only issue I would have is whether the folks who are completing the survey are doing so with a specific strategic goal which will be some statement like ‘90% of scientists agree’ (with our political goal).
A more interesting result would focus on the specific areas of contention so that those involved in research can focus more strongly on expanding our knowledge in those areas.
I’m not confident, however. With the obviously politically motivated people involved, I would be shocked to see anything constructive coming out of this.

Gary

The survey questions are fairly comprehensive and the responses generally cover the spread of possible opinion. It’s a pretty good instrument for getting an idea of where the thinking is. As always it’s the population of invitees and respondents that determines the value of results. Unless that metadata is made available and explained the results are only a curiosity.

cui bono

Kent Beuchert says (September 26, 2012 at 9:51 am)

Puhleeze. “Culinary Liquid Sanitation Engineer”.

MangoChutney

It has to be a different John Cook or has The Cartoonists involvement been verified?

Bart Verheggen is a frequent blogger on the Dutch skeptics blogs, always defending the undefendable, like Mann’s HS… And he is a Scientist with the huge S, to make a fine distinction between Scientists and the rest of the population…
BTW, Bart Verheggen, we have already another Bart here as alias, be it a skeptic, including that the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is not from human emissions, where I strongly disagree…

pochas

Do we really want to give these clowns any more publicity? That’s what they’re after, you know.

rpielke

I have posted an update from Bart Verheggen on my weblog that clarifies the status of this survey – http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/new-survey-on-climate-science-by-bart-verheggen-bart-strengers-rob-van-dorland-and-john-cook/

Lance Wallace

Here is Bart Verheggen’s description of himself on his blog (http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/about/):
“The ‘debate’ about climate change, as portrayed in the popular media (“Is it real? Is it caused by humans?”), is entirely different from the scientific debate (which is about details; the big picture has emerged quite clearly from the past decades of research: Yes, it’s real. Yes, it’s predominantly caused by humans).”
If Bart is conducting the survey or analyzing its results, would the term “conflict of interest” be too strong?

Hans Labohm

It may come as a surprise to you but some Dutch climate sceptics have been consulted in the preparation of the survey. The relationship between AGW protagonists and antagonists in The Netherlands is somewhat more relaxed than in other countries. There are frequent and respectful contacts.
Even Fred Singer was invited by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) to lecture in its major Buys Ballot Conference Room.
To my mind the questions of the survey were very to the point, sophisticated and reflect the most important points of divergence between the two camps.
I don’t know the outcome of the survey. Neither do I know the composition of the group of scientists who have participated in the survey.
I do know, however, the scientists (professional climatologists) who have authored the survey. On substance I profoundly disagree with them. But I have not any doubt about their scientific integrity.
This exercise is therefore completely different from that of Cook and Lewandowsky.
It would be wise to wait to pass judgement until the results are published.
Hans Labohm

P. Solar

Having Cook’s name attached to the project does not inspire any confidence ( or credibility). However, to be fair, the questions do seem comprehensive and unbiased.
This seems like a much more serious survey questionnaire. Remains to see how they selected their respondents and whether there is still the selection bias issue so blatant in Cook’s own project.
It is also possible that since they replied to Ball on 24th saying they were considering how to deal with his request, they decided to make the list public. This is not inconsistent with the email to Pielke Sr on 26th. Don’t be too quick to accuse people of lack of integrity.

Sam the First

“Dr Bart Verheggen
Scientist”
What genuine scientist would so describe himself?
S/He’d put PhD (Physics) or whatever the qualification was.
Please… these people are beyond ridilculous

Lance Wallace

The survey is described here (http://www.pbl.nl/en/news/newsitems/2012/survey-on-the-opinions-on-climate-change) as “To this end, an international survey is being held among scientists who have published about global warming. Also invited are people who publicly have raised criticisms against climate science.”
So did they contact the site that probably has more people “raising criticisms against climate science” than any other? Anthony? Got your April emails handy?

Given that SkS is little more than a rubber wallpapered room for delusional lunatics, I often wonder why serious people give it so much oxygen.
I asked two pertinent questions, my posts were snipped to pieces and I was shown the door.
Anthony, why do you waste your time on this site?

BTW I’m an ecologist by training

Sean

Here’s some help with your email sig Bart…
Dr Bart Verheggen
Jackass

Hello Hans,
Some time ago we have met… The problem with this survey is partly that no skeptics are involved in the “steering committee”, only strong AGW adepts, which makes several skeptics rather suspicious. But the main problem is the presence of John Cook, whose scientific integrity is not really to be build on. Something the other members of the committee may not have known, but which makes that no skeptic will see the results as not manipulated, no matter how integer the other members are (which they are, even if, like you, I strongly differ with several of their opinions).

Hans Labohm

Dear Ferdinand,
I don’t know Cook. But I know the other three ‘cooks’. Again, I profoundly disagree with them on substance. But I have no doubt about their scientific integrity.
I was informed that the whole exercise started to investigate the correctness of the dogma: ‘The science is settled. All scientists agree’. Visitors of this website know that that is not true. But the IPCC could pretend that it was, beacuse there was no peer-reviewed article to refute this misinformation. Let’s hope that the outcome of this exercise will prove once again that this dogma is incorrect.
Of course, the Oregon Petition Project and the list by Marc Morano, as well as some German polls have convincingly proven that there is no consensus, but these have not been published in peer-reviewed literature and thus could be conveniently ignored by the IPCC.
Let’s hope that there is no wiggle room this time.

Tom in Florida

Kent Beuchert says:
September 26, 2012 at 9:51 am
“Dr Bart Verheggen
Scientist”
Just to let everyone know that we’re doing science here. Excuse me, Science here.
Personally, I also capitalize my profession : John Smith, Bottle Washer”
Reminds me of the world Ocean Expo 1975 held in Okinawa where the Russians had an exhibit that I went into. All of their guys manning the pavilion had badges with their names and the designation “Expert”. Never found out what they were expert in (most likely intelligence gathering as there several American bases and thousands of troops stationed there at that time).

Dan King

This is off-topic, but very funny. Noah Smith blogs on economics, and has compiled a bestiary of trolls that afflict the econoblogs. With some rewording, this is applicable to climate science – especially the section labeled “Scientists.”
http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/econotrolls-illustrated-bestiary.html
Enjoy.

I think the questions are good as far as they go and the variety of possible responses is realistic. However, if I were a sceptical “climate” scientist or in a related field or an informed but sceptical layman I would be VERY wary about putting my considered responses into the hands of people like Verheggen and Cook. They have form and in view of their past disparagement of people who do not agree with their world view they are untrustworthy as the designers, recruiters and interpreters of this survey. It should be in the hands of an objective polling organisation. And even then, how can an unequivocally fair sample of people in and around climate science be constructed?

I think it is impossible to look at this Lewandowsky work and not see the push to gut the concept of scientific knowledge as known since the Enlightenment in favor of a scientistic (in the Hayek use of word) social systems thinking use. Believe it or not I am dealing now with school districts implementing K-12 practices based on the Club of Rome’s notorious Limits to Growth from 1976. Even CoR repudiated the book but its use in the classroom creates desired future attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviors so in it comes anyway.
http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/we-need-a-radical-change-in-our-mode-of-consciousness-even-a-new-sense-of-being-human/ is a good summary of this unified science approach in K-12 to gut Western science as traditionally understood, redesign the economy to reject fossil fuels, and control human behavior. All going on right now all over the world through K-12 mandates emanating from the UN ultimately.
And sunlight is the only disinfectant that can possibly stop this manipulation and theft of minds and our tax money. As you can imagine Big Business largely sees this as a chance for a Corporatist economy where they lock in their current places at the table.
This is the world and future Lew and others are building at our expense.

If you think it is a “neutral” survey — have a look at 13:
Which of the following best describes your view of global average Sea Level Rise (SLR) since pre-industrial times?
1) SLR has accelerated gradually to the current multi-decadal trend of ~3 mm/yr
2) SLR has been steady (~2 mm/year)
3) SLR has been small (<1 mm/yr) and steady for thousands of years
etc.
Is that just a way to get accelerated/accelerating into the discussion when drawing a curve with acceleration might be a stretch — but could be "negotiated" or "justified"?
There are other "interpretable" questions…

Bart (Verheggen)

To expand on my previous comment:
We undertook a survey in March/April of this year (which, as Hans Labohm mentioned upthread, had been previewed by a variety of people with different viewpoints). Some respondents, e.g. Timothy Ball, asked to see the questions again. After internal consultation, we decided to publish the survey questions on the institute’s website, so that they are viewable to all. We are still contacting the survey respondents to inform them of the questions being available to view. I informed Dr Ball of this as well, to follow-up on my earlier email to him.
Our email to all respondents, informing them of the fact that the survey questions are available on the web, was apparently misunderstood to mean that we were again soliciting responses to a survey; this is however not the case. Roger Pielke Sr had already put a notice about the survey on his blog, which he has since updated after an email clarifying that this is an inactive survey, to which he had previously responded.

Lance Wallace

Hans, this is what you actually said:
“This exercise is therefore completely different from that of Cook and Lewandowsky.”
Cook is one of the Gang of Four here. How did he get in? Did he take part in designing the survey? Providing ideas on which blogs to invite in, perhaps using a different name entirely so that people can’t find it in their emails two years later? Advising on presenting two different surveys to the two different groups so that no comparison can be valid? Inquiring minds want to know…

Billy Liar

Hans Labohm says:
September 26, 2012 at 11:04 am
But I have not any doubt about their scientific integrity
They must be pretty gullible to involve a man with an overt obsession in their research team.

Billy Liar

Hans Labohm says:
September 26, 2012 at 12:12 pm
I was informed that the whole exercise started to investigate the correctness of the dogma: ‘The science is settled. All scientists agree’.
I wonder why John Cook became an author?
Too much naivete on display.

Redoing polls until you get the ‘right’ answer is well known here on this side of the pond. The European Union always does this with referendums on its ‘treaties’ – for which read diktats.
Vote ‘no’ and you get to go again until you vote ‘yes’. Vote ‘yes’ and you never get another chance!

D Böehm

Bart Verheggen,
Do you not understand that by not having a single scientific skeptic in your group, you lose all credibility?
It does not matter how perfect your questions are. By excluding scientific skeptics, and by inviting a mendacious propagandist like John Cook, you will be endlessly ridiculed, and deservedly so.
Why are you so frightened of having skeptical scientific input? You would be widely praised if you put together a group of 50/50 skeptics and alarmists to formulate the questions. Only someone who has his conclusions in mind prior to a survey would use your entirely like-minded group.

wayne

Does science itself hinge, in any manner, on the results of this or any other survey? No. Move along.

Ray

“Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2012 08:45:15 +0000
From: “Verheggen, Bart”
To: “Verheggen, Bart”
Cc: “Strengers, Bart”
Subject: Survey questions available on PBL website
Dear survey respondent,…”
What kind of person sends emails to himself first and then Cc’s others???

Pouncer

I’d like to survey climate bloggers and readers about some other framing issues.
On a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is believe strongly and 5 is doubt strongly, what about the hypothesis
that:
1)The Kerr McGee energy company hired the assasination of Karen Silkwood.
2) The Kennedy family arranged the end of wind power and transmission lines off the coast of Massachusettes.
3) The Cheney commission on Energy in 2002 secretly authorized “fracking” technologies now coming to market.
4) Plutonium wastes are safer in above ground, on-site storage than in long-term underground repositories once transporatation risks are accounted for.
5) The right-of-way along the US federal interstate highway system provides enough acreage for solar collectors to power the entire nation’s electrical needs several times over.

kim

Hans and Bart are invited to discuss the findings about Rob van Dorland found in David Ross’ 12:21 PM link.
===================

AndyG55

Bart (Verheggen) says:
“To expand on my previous comment:”
To recap on every comment here. You have got John Cook involved, your survey will thus be seen as meaningless and flawed and highly biased.
You are a TOTAL FOOL for involving him if you wanted to maintain an appearance of integrity.
The survey is now totally USELESS.. well done… FOOL !!

James

“What kind of person sends emails to himself first and then Cc’s others???”
Well, on this narrow question I can comment. I do this all the time so that I have a copy of the email in my inbox. Sent items are not readily available on my blackberry, so this can make seeing the email easier. Why include everyone else on the Cc: line…no idea.

EternalOptimist

There was a young scientist called Bart
Who developed the statistical art
Of surveying opinion
But he was a minion
Of a well known, well Cooked @rse

Ken Harvey

A survey of peoples’ subjective opinions has no mathematical validity and thus no scientific validity. The same is true if the respondents are scientists or laymen, or whether in the main they are honest within their own lights, or whether they are manipulators. Let’s take just one question and consider it’s implications.
Question Condition
1a What fraction of global warming since the mid-20th century
can be attributed to human induced increases in atmospheric
greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations?
More than 100% (i.e. GHG warming has been partly offset by aerosol
cooling)
Between 76% and 100%
Between 51% and 76%
Between 26% and 50%
Between 0 and 25%
Less than 0% (i.e. anthropogenic GHG emissions have caused cooling)
There has been no warming
Unknown due to lack of knowledge
I do not know
Other (please specify)
Let’s say that I believe that the correct answer is 0. If I tick that box I immediately lump my opinion in with those who think that 25% is the appropriate answer, despite the world of difference between our positions. I am tempted to tick the next box down indicating less than 0% and I may, or may not give in to that temptation. Let’s sat that I believe that the correct answer is 25%. I face a similar problem – I don’t want to be lumped in with the fellow who thinks that the answer is 0. I am tempted to tick the higher box. Similar objections can be raised against most of the questions. If I believe 25% is correct but I also believe that the end justifies the means, then I may well tick 75% – 100%. This is not science and it is not mathematics, but it is what routinely passes as ‘statistics’.
The major fault with the approach is much more fundamental than wide ranging tick box answers. Sources of bias have not been eliminated. The respondents are not random but have been selected! Statistical analysis has fallen at the very first hurdle. Junk science, and you can run it through Excel or Open Office using the most esoteric filters that you can find and you will be left with the junk that you started with..

pochas

Another exercise in political propaganda to be magically transmuted into post-normal scientific “fact.”

Gunga Din

Who needs the questions when you already know what the answers will say?
/sarc

more soylent green!

wayne says:
September 26, 2012 at 12:52 pm
Does science itself hinge, in any manner, on the results of this or any other survey? No. Move along.

There you have. The survey is settled.

AndyG55 says:
September 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm (Edit)
Bart (Verheggen) says:
“To expand on my previous comment:”
To recap on every comment here. You have got John Cook involved, your survey will thus be seen as meaningless and flawed and highly biased.
You are a TOTAL FOOL for involving him if you wanted to maintain an appearance of integrity.
The survey is now totally USELESS.. well done… FOOL !!
########################
Nice way to get scientists to visit WUWT. You want a debate with them, you want to be heard and you call them fools. kinda weird if you ask me.

EternalOptimist

steven Mosher
do scientists regularly get involved in polling or surveys ?