The 97% consensus – a lie of epic proportions

To John Cook – it isn’t ‘hate’, it’s pity, – pity for having such a weak argument you are forced to fabricate conclusions of epic proportions

Proving that crap can flow uphill, yesterday, John Cook got what one could consider the ultimate endorsement. A tweet from the Twitter account of the Twitterer in Chief, Barack Obama, about Cook’s 97% consensus lie.

I had to laugh about the breathless headlines over that tweet, such as this one from the Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet:

Wapo_strauss_cook_followers

Umm, no, as of this writing. WaPo reporter FAIL.

Cook Followers Capture

Source: http://twitter.com/skepticscience

But hey, they’re saving the planet with lies, that shouldn’t matter, right? 6535 is the new 31541507 in the world Cook lives in.

Yesterday, in an interview about the Tweet in the Sydney Morning Herald, Cook said:

“Generally the level of hate you get is in proportion to the impact you have,” he said.

No, it isn’t hate, it’s about facts John. This whole story is predicated on lies, and they just seem to get bigger and bigger, there doesn’t seem to be any limit to the gullibility of those involved and those pushing it.

Here’s the genesis of the lie. When you take a result of 32.6% of all papers that accept AGW, ignoring the 66% that don’t, and twist that into 97%, excluding any mention of that original value in your media reports, there’s nothing else to call it – a lie of presidential proportions.

From the original press release about the paper:

Exhibit 1:

From the 11 994 papers, 32.6 per cent endorsed AGW, 66.4 per cent stated no position on AGW, 0.7 per cent rejected AGW and in 0.3 per cent of papers, the authors said the cause of global warming was uncertain.

Exhibit 2:

“Our findings prove that there is a strong scientific agreement about the cause of climate change, despite public perceptions to the contrary.”

I pity people whose argument is so weak they have to lie like this to get attention, I pity even more the lazy journalists that latch onto lies like this without even bothering to ask a single critical question.

Of course try to find a single mention of that 32.6 percent figure in any of the news reports, or on Cook’s announcement on his own website.

Though, some people are asking questions, while at the same time laughing about this farce, such as Dan Kahan at Yale:

Now, Cook has upped the ante, allowing the average person to help participate in the lie and make it their own, as Brandon Schollenberger observes, Cook has launched a new “Consensus project” to make even more certain the public gets his message:

The guidelines for rating [the] abstracts show only the highest rating value blames the majority of global warming on humans. No other rating says how much humans contribute to global warming. The only time an abstract is rated as saying how much humans contribute to global warming is if it mentions:

that human activity is a dominant influence or has caused most of recent climate change (>50%).

If we use the system’s search feature for abstracts that meet this requirement, we get 65 results. That is 65, out of the 12,000+ examined abstracts. Not only is that value incredibly small, it is smaller than another value listed in the paper:

Reject AGW 0.7% (78)

Remembering AGW stands for anthropogenic global warming, or global warming caused by humans, take a minute to let that sink in.  This study done by John Cook and others, praised by the President of the United States, found more scientific publications whose abstracts reject global warming than say humans are primarily to blame for it.

(Update:  some folks aren’t getting the significance of Schollenberger’s findings, using Cook’s own data and code, which have been shown to be replicable at Lucia’s comment thread, Schollenberger finds 65 that say AGW/human caused, but there’s 78 that reject AGW. Cook never reported that finding in the paper, thus becoming a lie of omission, because it blows the conclusion. Combine that with the lack of reporting of the 32.6%/66.1% ratio in Cook’s own blog post and media reports, and we have further lies of omission.)

It’s gobsmacking. But, I see this as a good thing, because like the lies of presidential politics, eventually this will all come tumbling down.

Read Scholleberger’s essay at Lucia’s.

UPDATE: Marcel Crok has an interesting analysis as well here: http://www.staatvanhetklimaat.nl/2013/05/17/cooks-survey-not-only-meaningless-but-also-misleading/

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I pity those gullible enough to fall for this nonsense hook, line and sinker.

Jack

Actually, if you consider recent statements from President Obama, that tweet has nothing to do with him.

From the 11 994 papers, 32.6 per cent endorsed AGW, 66.4 per cent stated no position on AGW, 0.7 per cent rejected AGW
So, of the papers that take a position 97.9% endorse AGW…

philincalifornia

“Consensus” is the new “fraud”.

John F. Hultquist

The Hope and Change guy has time to pay attention to John Cook? We have entered a state of ridiculous, silly, and pathetic. The former has had to admit he doesn’t know what is going on in major branches of HIS administration as those underlings attack the very foundations of the Nation. It is hard to believe someone in the big white house still hasn’t recognized that Cook is a kook.

tadchem
Tucci78

At 8:03 AM on 17 May, Bob Tisdale had posted:

I pity those gullible enough to fall for this nonsense hook, line and sinker.

Pity is entirely the wrong sentiment. Bear always in mind that the people credulous enough to get suckered by this preposterous buncombe are taking political action to violate their neighbors’ unalienable individual rights – to life, to liberty, and to property – by way of government thuggery.
The proper way to regard both the gullible and the fraudsters is hatred.
If these bleating sheep aren’t as worthy of your revulsion and despite as are the schemers who’ve been perpetrating these criminal climatological connivances, then there’s no code of morality to be applied to human affairs in any way at all.

Gary Pearse

lsvalgaard says:
May 17, 2013 at 8:12 am
“From the 11 994 papers, 32.6 per cent endorsed AGW, 66.4 per cent stated no position on AGW, 0.7 per cent rejected AGW
So, of the papers that take a position 97.9% endorse AGW”
Lief, the 66% that took no position count here. They didn’t accept CAGW. It isn’t because they don’t know about it.

Greg Goodman

Perhaps Dr. Lewd ought to do a study on pathological lying in activist “scientists” .

Well whadyaknow? At the same time that John Cook and President Obama are or are not tweeting about 97% of scientists, the very same zombie lie stalks in the UK Guardian, thanks to Dana. Must the full moon!
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/may/16/climate-change-scienceofclimatechange?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487 .

Hooray for COOK ! ! !
The Milly Vanilly, lip-syncing, poser-in-charge is now reading a ‘dog-ate my-homework’ teleprompter message on the Benghazi massacre….the IRS intimidation of the Tea Parties and the AP spy operation….what’s a BHO Twitter worth ? ? ?
Half of BHO Twitter followers are phantom….
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2012/08/obama-has-millions-of-fake-twitter-followers/1#.UZZK8VF0W_E
Just like the phantom SCIENTISTS that “support” this AGW fraud.

Gary Pearse says:
May 17, 2013 at 8:28 am
Lief, the 66% that took no position count here. They didn’t accept CAGW. It isn’t because they don’t know about it.
They didn’t reject AGW. That is what counts. What is missing in the statistics is if those papers even mentioned or discussed AGW and explicitly said ‘we have no position’. I can point you to thousands of papers from the Journal Cell, New England Journal of Medicine, and the like that have no position on AGW [you claim that they count too?]

RockyRoad

Jack says:
May 17, 2013 at 8:04 am

Actually, if you consider recent statements from President Obama, that tweet has nothing to do with him.

Exactly!
I want to know who has hijacked Obama’s Twitter account so he can use pausible deniability later when it’s shown the 97% were completely ignorant about the political consequences of their fuzzy assertions.
Do you think Jay Carney or Valerie Jarrett would tell us?

Greg Goodman

” 0.7 per cent rejected AGW”
That was NOT the question asked in the survey. Ask one thing, report another.
The survey asked whether the abstracts “minimised” AGW. Minimise means to play down. It implies bias.
Clearly no abstract will suggest it is “minimising” anything.
An author asked whether his paper minimises is almost obliged to say no.
A reviewer, without seeing the whole paper cannot assess whether this abstract minimised the evidence.
Like all surveys, it’s a case of asking the questions in the right way so as to get the response that the funder requires.

From the 11 994 papers, 32.6 per cent endorsed AGW, 66.4 per cent stated no position on AGW, 0.7 per cent rejected AGW
So, of the papers that take a position 97.9% endorse AGW…
————————————————————————————————————————–
So, of the less than 4,000 papers that take a position 97.9% endorse AGW wheras over 8,000 papers show 100% of no concern.

Greg Goodman

As someone once said: “Lies, damned lies and statistics”

Nik Marshall-Blank

I don’t think my post at the Guardian will last long.
“Actually of the 11,944 papers reviewed.
66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW
32.6% endorsed AGW
0.7% rejected AGW
0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming.
I think the consensus is no position to write anything about AGW at all.
or 67.1% do not agree with AGW.
I can John “Cook” the numbers too.”

Jim G

lsvalgaard says:
May 17, 2013 at 8:36 am
Gary Pearse says:
May 17, 2013 at 8:28 am
Lief, the 66% that took no position count here. They didn’t accept CAGW. It isn’t because they don’t know about it.
“They didn’t reject AGW. That is what counts. What is missing in the statistics is if those papers even mentioned or discussed AGW and explicitly said ‘we have no position’. I can point you to thousands of papers from the Journal Cell, New England Journal of Medicine, and the like that have no position on AGW [you claim that they count too?]”
What is surprising is that 66% of a “scientific” community which is now, and has historically always been, prone to adopt the the most popular, politically correct theory of the times has opted for “no position” on AGW, in spite of all of the grant money out there and peer pressure to accept it. But at least they will not be subjected to physical burning at the stake, only professional punishments. “Settled science” is religous fervor, not real science.

James McKean

The ‘Barack Obama’ twitter account isn’t used by Barack Obama – it’s used by his 501(c)(4) ‘Organizing for Action’ tax-exempt lobbying organization.

Mumble McGuirk

John F. Hultquist says:
May 17, 2013 at 8:21 am
… It is hard to believe someone in the big white house still hasn’t recognized that Cook is a kook.
————————————————————————————————————————-
Heck, they *still* haven’t figured that out about Biden, yet!
Also “Lies, damned lies and statistics” is attributed to PM Ben Disraeli

Warren

The problem is we don’t know if the 66% didn’t address it, accepted it unquestioningly, or what? The possible composition of that 66% is a major question to be asked of this result.

N Bluth

Gobsmaking! Really!!
“This study done by John Cook and others, praised by the President of the United States, found more scientific publications whose abstracts reject global warming than say humans are primarily to blame for it.”
How exactly does the study find that there are more publications that reject AGW then accept it? It clearly states their findings as 32.6% accepting AGW and 0.7% that reject AGW. It is “Fuzzy Math” to think that 0.7 is greater then 32.6. The 66.4% that hold no position do exactly that, THEY HOLD NO POSITION. They are removed from the equation because they do not hold a position.
Also,
“Of course try to find a single mention of that 32.6 percent figure in any of the news reports, or on Cook’s announcement on his own website.”
Your own example shows that the 32.6% is in news reports.

Leif, all the papers that they examined were choosen on the words “global warming” or “global climate change”. That makes that all papers were GW related. But even so 66% didn’t explicitely endorse AGW, which is quite remarkable. The non-endorsing may be because the writers of the paper take that as a given, or don’t have and opinion or do think that it isn’t true, but don’t like to express that opinion in their paper (that could prevent publication). We don’t know, but assuming that there is a 97% consensus, based on not counting papers with an absence of opinion is not really honest…
Further, the whole work was done by reading the abstracts (as was which Oreskes did in a similar test). I have read several works where the researchers show that natural influences were far more important than the models take into account (thus in fact saying that CO2 has far less importance), but in the abstract, the AGW “consensus” was explicitely endorsed (probably because of fear that the paper wouldn’t be published otherwise). Thus in the Oreskes count as good as in this excersize, these are all part of the “consensus”…

Mark Bofill

I’ve always believed that arguing about whether or not there’s a consensus is basically pointless. I mean, so what? So what if there is, so what if there isn’t? It’s completely independent of the truth of the matter anyway. It’s a beauty contest, basically.

Gary Pearse

lsvalgaard says:
May 17, 2013 at 8:36 am
“They didn’t reject AGW. That is what counts. What is missing in the statistics is if those papers even mentioned or discussed AGW and explicitly said ‘we have no position’. I can point you to thousands of papers from the Journal Cell, New England Journal of Medicine, and the like that have no position on AGW [you claim that they count too?]”
The 12,000 papers were specifically selected for their mention of AGW by Cook. And why should we exclude the New England J of M? Psychologists, sociologists, economists, political scientists, ichthyologists, astronomers, railway engineers and cartoonists like Cook are all writing papers on AGW. The 66% has just as much right in there as the others. Indeed, if a survey is responded to on AGW, they do count. My surprise is that any scientists would trust a cartoonist to select the papers and to design a survey – I don’t imagine this happens in solar science.

In Obama’s tweet, he linked to a Reuter’s article on this study which states: “Experts in Australia, the United States, Britain and Canada studied 4,000 summaries of peer-reviewed papers in journals giving a view about climate change since the early 1990s and found that 97 percent said it was mainly caused by humans.” http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/16/us-climate-scientists-idUSBRE94F00020130516
“mainly caused”?? That is clearly a false statement. I have no idea what to do about but it pisses me off.

barryjo

The POTUS approves it?? What could possibly be wrong about it then?

Eric Anderson

So, Lief, you’re suggesting that it is OK for Cook to just focus on a 97% number and throw that out there as though it represented a good sampling of all papers? Or do you think he should have carefully highlighted the fact that only a minority of papers mention AGW in their abstract and that fully 2/3 didn’t mention AGW in the abstract and so, based on the methodology, it is unclear whether or what those papers say about AGW?

That same hungry hound that ate the BHO homework on the Benghazi massacre….
the IRS-Tea Party and the AP spy ring stories….
also ATE the BHO homework on statistics, science and history….
can’t help the pride of Punahou Prep School on the difficult subjects of….
math and science….but….here’s some HISTORY to help the poser-in-chief….
posted in archive at Canada Free Press:
“The Vacuum Under the Soetoro Umbrella”
“Housebreaking Your New Euro-snob”
Science LIES are nothing….compared to CREATIVE HISTORY lies.

Henry Galt

Did anyone expect a different outcome from this?
Do you ‘believe’ this is an end to what has been Cooked up out of this?
Do you ‘hope’ we have heard the end of this?
Do you wish you hadn’t participated in this?
We.
Told.
You.
So.

markx

lsvalgaard says: May 17, 2013 at 8:12 am
From the 11 994 papers, 32.6 per cent endorsed AGW, 66.4 per cent stated no position on AGW, 0.7 per cent rejected AGW
So, of the papers that take a position 97.9% endorse AGW…

How many of the ‘endorsements’ consisted of the almost standard one paragraph hat tip saying “…. and (topic of research) will be affected by the predicted warming”…?
Actually, it is quite astonishing that 66% of climate papers would not even venture an opinion on something so central to the existence of most of the researchers involved.
And, on the other hand, I am not surprised at the apparent lack of negative statements on something so politically charged, so politically entrenched, and so critically important to future research grants and employment.
No comment perhaps says a lot in this context.

Gail Combs

lsvalgaard says:
May 17, 2013 at 8:12 am
From the 11 994 papers, 32.6 per cent endorsed AGW, 66.4 per cent stated no position on AGW, 0.7 per cent rejected AGW
So, of the papers that take a position 97.9% endorse AGW…
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
And 66.4 percent were not about to jepardise their jobs/tenure by bucking the Politically Correct stance but were too honest to ourtright lie….
The interesting study would be to see how many of those 66.4 percent were in a bomb proof jobs and therefore would suffer not adverse affects from honesty and how many were not.

Gary Pearse says:
May 17, 2013 at 9:04 am
The 12,000 papers were specifically selected for their mention of AGW by Cook.
No, for their mention of “global warming” and “global climate change”, not AGW nor CAGW. If a paper did not even mention AGW or discuss it [and explicitly stated that the authors took no position] it should not be included in the statistics. But, hey, I realize that sound arguments play no role in this debate. Nevertheless I shall restate the finding as “of papers surveyed that took a position on the issue, 97.9% endorsed AGW [not necessarily CAGW]”. This cannot be argued with, so no need to even try.

Opps….make that “The Vacuum Under the Soetoro Sombrero”
[i’m going to punish my “Post Comment” finger presently]

Resourceguy

And taking a position might incur IRS audits also

Eric Anderson says:
May 17, 2013 at 9:11 am
Or do you think he should have carefully highlighted the fact that only a minority of papers mention AGW in their abstract and that fully 2/3 didn’t mention AGW in the abstract and so, based on the methodology, it is unclear whether or what those papers say about AGW?
He should have said: “of papers surveyed that took a position on the issue, 97.9% endorsed AGW [not necessarily CAGW]“.

Shevva

RIP critical thinking, consensus science is much more helpful to those in charge because it’s easier to tax.

big_e

Circular logic based on selection bias at best. 97% of the expert researchers in the field of Dianteics, believes that Dianteics is true, thus Dianteics is true based on the consensus of researchers who are considered experts in the field of Dianteics. Everybody better go to the Church of Scientology.

stone

@lsvalgaard
Its important to remember that most skeptics position is not that man has no effect but rather than mans effect has been greatly overstated. As wuwt points out if you actually break it down into papers that suggest man is primarily responsible you end up having more papers that flat out reject it. The other papers, for all you know could state the effect (while there) is so low that its negligable (as some do), cooke knows this which only proves his lack of scientific integrity as he is using falsely applied numbers to his advantage.
The other 66 percent of papers count, they are not random papers on unrelated topics, they are specific climate papers selected to be part of the study. Many of these papers while neither rejecting nor accepting agw, attribute changes in climate to other reasons. For example to a paper that shows solar cycles affect and cause changes in climate doesnt prove or dispove agw, it is however proving natural variation exists (something warmists are loathe to admit)

Henry Galt

The lazy man’s route to fame. Jump a bandwagon, shout louder than all concerned, rake in the plaudits, speaking engagements and remuneration. Rinse and repeat.
He took a leaf out of Gore’s book.

All papers dealing with cancer always clearly state that it’s a bad thing in the abstract or title.

pat

What a bizarre study in the first place. How trite. And meaningless.

Just to add my 5 cents, 31,541,507 is the number of followers of Obama, not Cook. That’s made obvious on the original article (http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/obama-gives-aussie-researcher-31541507-reasons-to-celebrate-20130517-2jqrh.html) which Watts didn’t care to link to. Of course is a journalism fail, but one that has nothing to do with climate science of John Cook.
That, IMHO, it a really low blow from Watts and misleading to his readers.
REPLY: Are you purposely mendacious, or just stupid? The WaPo made a false claim, saying:

That tweet, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, led 31,541,507 people to decide to follow Australian climate change researcher John Cook on Twitter.

That’s a false claim, proven by the numbers. And I’m right in calling out WaPo on it. Those people have NOT followed John Cook, they have not “decided” to take action.
Also, I explicitly linked to that SMH article, see:

Yesterday, in an interview about the Tweet in the Sydney Morning Herald, Cook said:
“Generally the level of hate you get is in proportion to the impact you have,” he said.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/obama-gives-aussie-researcher-31541507-reasons-to-celebrate-20130517-2jqrh.html#ixzz2TYt7DOGr

It’s hard to imagine a more inaccurate comment. then again after looking at your Facebook page (linked in your comment), it suggests that maybe you aren’t capable of factual accuracy. – Anthony

Henry Galt

Scooter saw it coming before they named his deplorable adjunct to the Guardian.
Dammit. I nearly looked…
Time-scales? Was her (lol) blog ripped kicking and screaming from the ether before, or after the survey was started?

Laurie Bowen

Yup! “They” say that: “the cream always floats to the top” when “they” always knew (know) B.S. floats too! The rules for telling the difference? . . . . .

pokerguy

Still not getting why the skeptic community doesn’t fight back more directly on this 97 percent nonsense. Seems like a obvious strategy to hire a neutral polling company and commission it to take a valid sampling. TRicky poll to design perhaps, and not cheap, but so what? Why not fight back?

Henry Galt

Daneel Olivaw says:
May 17, 2013 at 9:35 am
Please polish your reading comprehension skills before sticking your feet in your mouth.
Anthony is reporting a report. The report is what is wrong – take it up with the original ‘reporter’ here:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/05/17/obama-tweet-gets-australian-researcher-31-5-million-followers-on-twitter/
P.S. Cook doesn’t ‘do’ climate science.
If you paid 5 cents for that opinion you were ripped right off.

Henry Galt

pokerguy says:
May 17, 2013 at 9:39 am
Would we get Obama to tweet the results?
The WaPo to hold the front page?
The BBC to mention it?
The damage is done. We will be mopping up this spew for a long while.

stone

A more sensical breakdown would be
Of the 1200 papers
0.6 percent attribute man as the primary contributor to gw
32 percent state that man has an affect on climate (but was not the main contributing factor)
66 percent showed affects on climate that had nothing to do with agw
0.7 percent entirely disproved agw
And 0.3 percent were papers that could not be certain

Gail Combs

Warren says:
May 17, 2013 at 8:59 am
The problem is we don’t know if the 66% didn’t address it, accepted it unquestioningly, or what? ….
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Correct because all that was looked at was the ABSTRACT and not the actual paper. Heck you have no idea what the actual scientist(s) thinks of CAGW or AGW without doing a very well designed unbiased BLIND study.
This study shows how the wording of the questions can make a big change in the study results.

How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Survey Data
ABSTRACT
The frequency with which scientists fabricate and falsify data, or commit other forms of scientific misconduct is a matter of controversy…. This is the first meta-analysis of these surveys.
… Survey questions on plagiarism and other forms of professional misconduct were excluded. The final sample consisted of 21 surveys that were included in the systematic review, and 18 in the meta-analysis.
A pooled weighted average of 1.97% (N = 7, 95%CI: 0.86–4.45) of scientists admitted to have fabricated, falsified or modified data or results at least once –a serious form of misconduct by any standard– and up to 33.7% admitted other questionable research practices. In surveys asking about the behaviour of colleagues, admission rates were 14.12% (N = 12, 95% CI: 9.91–19.72) for falsification, and up to 72% for other questionable research practices. Meta-regression showed that self reports surveys, surveys using the words “falsification” or “fabrication”, and mailed surveys yielded lower percentages of misconduct. ….
Considering that these surveys ask sensitive questions and have other limitations, it appears likely that this is a conservative estimate of the true prevalence of scientific misconduct.

Cook’s survey doesn’t say a darn thing about what scientists are really thinking about CAGW especially given the power of group think, peer pressure, political correctness and the almighty $$$$.