Skeptical Science kidz channel Inigo Montoya in new 'consensus' paper

All you can do is laugh.

Brandon Shollenberger writes at Lucia’s about the new Fuzzy Math consensus “proof” paper from the ever entertaining John Cook at Skeptical Science, rated with the help of 27 of the SkS kidz club. The method is simple:

“Each abstract was categorized by two independent, anonymized raters.”

With a simple premise like that, what could go wrong? Well for starters, they don’t seem to understand what the word “independent” means. Shollenberger continues:


That makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is that people would make topics in the SKS forum like:

Does this mean what it seems to mean?

second opinion??

how to rate: Cool Dudes: The Denial Of Climate Change…

That’s right. The “independent” raters talked to each other about how to rate the papers. This must be some new form of independence I’ve never heard of. I’m not the only one thrown off by this. Sarah Green, one of the most active raters, observed the non-independence:

But, this is clearly not an independent poll, nor really a statistical exercise. We are just assisting in the effort to apply defined criteria to the abstracts with the goal of classifying them as objectively as possible.

Disagreements arise because neither the criteria nor the abstracts can be 100% precise. We have already gone down the path of trying to reach a consensus through the discussions of particular cases. From the start we would never be able to claim that ratings were done by independent, unbiased, or random people anyhow.

One must wonder at the fact an author of the paper calls the work independent despite having said just a year earlier, “we would never be able to claim” it is independent. Perhaps there is some new definition for “never” I’m unaware of.

And it gets even more hilarious. Read it all at Lucia’s.

For those who don’t know Inigo Montoya:


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The cartoonist would have become a great social scientist.

Mark Nutley



This is disputing the wrong question. There is no doubt about that the scientific literature is dominated papers that accept global warming. The question that scientists should have been asked if there was consensus on the magnitude of the needed action. Is it indeed sufficient to eat tofu, drive Toyota Prius and vacation in space ( once a year or it will need more? Perhaps cutting back our living standard to the level of the Pennsylvania Amish. If it is the later, would the danger of global warming warrant that level of sacrifices.


I do not think that word means what you think it means….


Sorry but when I saw the words “independent” and “John Cook” “Skeptical Science ” I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.He’s a tryer you’ve got to give him that at least LOL.. trying ever ones patience with this clap trap.


I’m waiting for: “I’m not skeptically-oriented”.
(Swordfight scene)

David Ball

C’mon Sarah Green, you’ve made the first step. Now, if your willing to go a little further,….

David Ball

your -> you’re


Perhaps the quality of Cook’s studies could be improved by the use of simple objectivity enhancing tools we all learned about in grade school. For example:


The fact that they choose their “reviewers” exclusively from the readers of a warmist propaganda site also argues against the “independance” of the reviewers.


Beyond the blatantly contrived nature of this “study”, lurks another issue. Even if the data was 100% fairly assessed, it would still be wrong.
Science doesn’t stand still. Papers are published to either confirm those that came before them, or to bring forward new information that might change the interpretation or even debunk entirely previous papers. More recent papers carry more weight (or should) than do older papers because they are predicated on additional information that the older papers didn’t have available at time of writing.
My understanding is that this study was done on papers ranging in time from 1991 to 2011. Let’s put that in a more meaningful context. In 1991 most people had never heard of e-mail, much less used it. How valid would a paper written in 1991 about the influence of postal unions be today? There were many books and papers written in 1991 about the information age. I challenge anyone to find a single one that predicted the existence of Google or blogs and is remotely relevant in today’s technical environment. Leading edge thought on the information age in 1991 is not only irrelevant in the context of modern technology, most of it would seem rather laughable today.
By the same token, papers from 1991 are simply not relevant. Temps were, in fact, increasing at that time. They didn’t peak until 1998. The fact that they had peaked and were starting to fall wasn’t really obvious in the data for a good ten years after that. In brief, the bulk of the papers in this study have insufficient data to be relevant in the current context, and many of them are just as laughable today as articles in the early 1990’s about the continued power of postal unions, and how corporations may one day have the ability to store as much as a gigabyte of data for less than $50,000.


Orwell brought us, in 1984, the notion of the allowing only good or double-good has possible opinions on Big Brothers acts or words . These guys just follow on in that tradition , and has in 1984 its sign of weak arguments and the overuse of BS that they have to resort to it in the first place.


Nothing like picking your own jury.


What’s truly hilarious is that it takes their expert categorizers quite a while to collude on what they will claim is the “correct” rating of each paper. However the gullible victim is only allowed to view the abstract without reading the paper to get the same information.
“What number am I thinking of? Sorry, wrong! As a bonus for me, your mistake proves you are an ignorant conspiracy-theory knuckle-dragging scoffer who LAUGHS AT TEH SCEINCE!!1!”

Hot under the collar

OK slightly off topic, except for the laughs….
The Force was with Star Wars fans at the University of East Anglia…
The Police Force that is.
It seems rival Doctor Who and Star Wars fans had a rumble at the UEA.
Finally proof that its all science ‘fiction’ at the UEA.
I wonder how many participants were from the ‘climate’ department?

Christopher Hanley

‘ … Led by John Cook at the University of Queensland, the study has been published today, Thursday 16 May, in IOP Publishing’s journal Environmental Research Letters … ‘.
Cook’s capers wouldn’t bug me so much if I wasn’t forced to pay for them, ditto Lewandowsky.

Ian H

You know you must be on the right side of the question when you discover you are hanging out with a bunch of other Princess Bride fans.


Being a scientist (Plant Molecular biology), I am very jealous with this Mr Cook, who does a completely off limits internet survey, and gets his results published before the period of questioning is finished. I do experiments in the lab, every day, and I have to struggle to get two publications accepted/year, sometimes after severe opposition from the referees, who want entire sets of experiments repeated. Climate science does not qualify for me as science, it’s just humbug. Or a scam.


Can anyone say confirmation bias?

J. Fujita

To borrow from the scene in which Wesley is revived…
Miracle Max: He probably owes you raw data huh? I’ll ask him.
Inigo Montoya: He’s independent. He can’t spin.
Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY independent. There’s a big difference between mostly independent and all independent. Mostly independent is slightly skewed. With all independent, well, with all independent there’s usually only one thing you can do.
Inigo Montoya: What’s that?
Miracle Max: Go through his e-mails and look for the sheep..


Rodents of unusual size DO exist!


Ian H at 3:18. Inconceivable!!!!

I posted this over at Lucia’s site. But it bears repeating:

You have “too” wonder about the competency in WRITING when the reviewers cannot pass basic English: ” an abstract to hard to classify, ”
Gee, was that TOO hard for them?


A survey of 10,000 letters to Santa Claus found that 97% of authors accepted that reindeer pulling a sleigh is the most common means of Christmas present transport around the globe.

Get the list of papers.
They only counted 78 papers as “Rejecting AGW” that means they counted papers authored by Skeptics as either “Endorse AGW” or “No AGW position”.


You’re correct Anthony – all you can do is laugh.
And I am rolling around laughing at just how ludicrous you and all you worshippers sound, as you slide further and further into irrelevance.
If you want to make yourself relevant again, you can join in the debate on the best approach to deal with climate change. But while you keep denying that it is happening, you just make yourself look foolish.


“mandas says:
May 15, 2013 at 7:36 pm
If you want to make yourself relevant again, you can join in the debate on the best approach to deal with climate change. But while you keep denying that it is happening, you just make yourself look foolish.”
Quote of the week?


The fact that they feel the desperate need to ‘prove’ a consensus, and the lengths to which they will go to do so are very revealing regarding the stage of this whole debate.

All you have to do is ask Cook,
“Did you categorize any papers as “Endorse AGW” or “No AGW position” that were written by skeptics?”

mandas says:
May 15, 2013 at 7:36 pm
If you want to make yourself relevant again, you can join in the debate on the best approach to deal with climate change. But while you keep denying that it is happening, you just make yourself look foolish.

Name one person here who denies that the climate changes. One. One name. Just name one.
Behind some of the vanilla monikers here are real scientists (atmospherics, physics, geophysics, geology, climate, etcetera) doing real research work at real science institutions. Some have been doing it for decades. They teach, and present papers.
Isn’t Skeptical Science’s Mr. Painter a former police cop with a “hobby” in climate change he picked up 6.5 years ago in 2006? Or John Cook who got a Bachelors in physics in the 90s then spent 10 years running cricket and cartoon blogs and worked as a web programmer until he got climate change religion three years ago in 2010?
So don’t you waltz over here waving your sparkler like some effeminate cruise director who doesn’t realize he got on the wrong cruise. There’s more science discussed on this blog than Skeptical Science knows exists. You seem incapable of realizing it yourself.

“Another co-author, Dana Nuccitelli of Skeptical Science, said she was encouraging scientists to stress the consensus “at every opportunity, particularly in media interviews”

Poptech says:
May 15, 2013 at 6:45 pm
Get the list of papers.

I agree. Get the list of papers, so we can verify their work. (Like watching paint dry, mind you….)

Who bankrolls Skeptical Science? Rockefeller Brothers Fund?


Ya gotta feel a bit sorry for Cook … he threw away a career in cartooning, to urgently and nobly save the world.
Now it is starting to appear that the world does not need saving, at least not right now, and even if it later does, we have time to do it properly.
I think you will find Mr Cook will only get noisier from now on.

All the news sites where this is being posted are censoring dissenting comments.


mandas says:
May 15, 2013 at 7:36 pm
“…If you want to make yourself relevant again, you can join in the debate on the best approach to deal with climate change. But while you keep denying that it is happening, you just make yourself look foolish…”
You silly man das ( pun deliberate! 🙂 …. you need to read a little more and ramble a little less.
The debate is about how much the climate is warming, and whether this is likely to be catastrophic, and how much man contributes to that warming, and how it (climate) is regulated.
You would do yourself a favour by joining in the debate, rather than taking the simplistic approach that all is known and running around telling us we are doomed.
But, I predict you will come back with the standard non informative content free riposte: “… you think it is a conspiracy!…” and “…well funded oil lobby…” and “…catastrophe… its already too late…..!”.


Poptech says: May 15, 2013 at 8:59 pm
“Another co-author, Dana Nuccitelli of Skeptical Science, said she was encouraging scientists to stress the consensus “at every opportunity, particularly in media interviews”
GOLD !! I always had a nagging suspicion that Scooter was a ‘she’.


“markx says:
May 15, 2013 at 9:16 pm”
Not only did he bin his cartooning career, he gave up studying actual science beforehand?

James from Arding

The ABC (Australian BC) had this on the radio news bulletin this afternoon while we were driving home from Sydney to Arding (600km). Cook was interviewed and I didn’t catch what he said because I was falling about laughing too much. This is an all time low for the ABC. I now have clear evidence of their complicity in this fraud (CAGW). I look forward to when the current federal government is no longer in power and hopefully there are some funding cuts to this overblown mob of windbags. But I don’t suppose they will get the message even then :-(.


Polycritic says:
“……Name one person here who denies that the climate changes. One. One name. Just name one…..”
Wow! That’s just…….. wow!
If any of you truly think that there are people who comment and post here who do not believe that the climate is changing, and that humans are responsible for it, then you are living more in denial than I thought. How about you read some of the comments before putting your fingers to the keyboard next time.
If the debate here was truly about how much the climate is changing, and what to do about it, then I would be 100% behind everything that goes on. But its not.
There are a staggering number of posts that make all sorts of nonsensical claims about things like a coming ice age, or cosmic rays, or sunspots, or its all natural (ENSO, AO, etc), or its all based on flawed models, or its a conspiracy to install a socialist world government, etc, etc. Then there is the cheer squad, which is happy to criticise actual scientific papers without ever having read them. And if you truly think that is not the case, then you have not been paying the slightest bit of attention to what goes on.


@mandas – answer the question first then have your rant.
Name one person here who denies that the climate changes. One. One name. Just name one?


You’ve moved the goal posts with “and that humans are responsible for it”. There are many articles and comments on this site which show that natural processes account for various changes in the earth’s climate. Many others that take the IPCC position but redo the calcuations (frequently coming up with a much lower CO2 sensitivity – one that is more in line with actual temperature data). By taking the un-proven hypothesis that climate change is caused by human action as fact unfortunately leads to actions detrimental to human life and frequently causes more harm than good. If you don’t get the science right first you end up looking foolish and creating a solution to a problem that does not exist – often creating more problems via the rule of unintended consequences.
As to critcism of “scientific papers” – this is how science works. And as to the concensus; to paraphrase Einstein: No number of papers will prove me right, it only takes one to prove I’m wrong.

Surly scientific papers are judged by quality over quantity.

Bill Illis

After reading lucia’s thread, …
It is truly shocking that we are letting people like this dictate important public policy and our energy usage.
I mean we can laugh at the antics that went on behind the scenes here, but these PR exercises produced by dedicated cult-like AGW believers are actually changing how human society is managed.

Henry Galt

Bill Illis says:
May 16, 2013 at 4:30 am
Yep. Head of nail, meet ball of pein.
Note also, as Poptech points out upstream, that everywhere this muck is being spread they are not allowing anyone to filter it. Disturbs the meme old chap. We can’t have that.


There is a fundamental lack of basic understanding at play.

It’s that all too convenient ‘97%’ figure being bandied about.
What is it with warmists and their addiction to the ‘97%’ meme?