Calling all UK Skeptics – Free Talk with 97% Bias – plus the ability to ask questions

UPDATE: It’s a double feature, Mann will be there too, see below

From the University of Bristol: Dogma vs. consensus: Letting the evidence speak on climate change

19 September 2014, 6 pm Victoria Rooms, Queens Road, Bristol, BS8 1SA

In this Cabot Institute public lecture, we are pleased to present John Cook, Global Change Institute, University of Queensland and owner of the Skeptical Science blog, in what promises to be a fascinating talk.

In 2013, John Cook lead the Consensus Project, a crowd-sourced effort to complete the most comprehensive analysis of climate research ever made. They found that among relevant climate papers, 97% endorsed the consensus that humans were causing global warming. When this research was published, it was tweeted by President Obama and received media coverage all over the world, with the paper being awarded the best article published by the journal Environmental Research Letters in 2013. However, the paper has also been relentlessly attacked by climate deniers who reject the scientific consensus. Hundreds of blog posts have criticised the results while newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and Boston Globe have published negative op-eds. Climate denial organisations such as the Global Warming Policy Foundation and Heartland Institute have published critical reports and the Republican Party organised congressional testimony against the consensus research on Capitol Hill. This sustained campaign is merely the latest episode in over 20 years of attacks on the scientific consensus on human-caused global warming. John Cook will discuss his research both on the 97% consensus and on the cognitive psychology of consensus. He will also look at the broader issue of scientific consensus and why it generates such intense focus from climate deniers.


You must register for this event.

This event is free to attend and open to all.  Please contact if you have any accessibility requirements.

The event will run from 6 pm – 7.30 pm.  Please ensure you are seated by 6 pm.


Note: I registered since I’ve always wanted to come to England anyway, and this was as good as an excuse as any…plus I have many questions to ask. Note also that while the event is free, there are a limited number of tickets available.

All that is required is an email address and name. The ticket was delivered by email as a printable PDF – Anthony


UPDATE:  Guess I’ll be staying longer. I just registered for this one too:

Cabot Institute Lecture: The Hockey Stick and the climate wars – the battle continues

23 September 2014, 6 pm The Victoria Rooms, Queen’s Rd, Bristol, BS8 1SA

In this special Cabot Institute lecture, in association with Bristol Festival of Ideas, Michael E Mann will discuss the science, politics, and ethical dimensions of global warming in the context of his own ongoing experiences as a figure in the centre of the debate over human-caused climate change.

Dr. Michael E Mann is Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute. He is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center. He is author of more than 160 peer-reviewed and edited publications, and has published books include Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming in 2008 and The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines in 2012. He is also a co-founder and avid contributor to the award-winning science website


This event is free to attend and open to all but you must register to attend.  We expect this event to be very popular so we encourage you to register as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.  If you can no longer attend this event, please email so that we may reallocate your ticket.


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A starting point would be to point out that his categories are skewed. 3 and 5 are not equvivalent, since the definition of 3 is so wide that the definition include neutral papers.


Skeptics obviously will not be given much rebuttal leeway. The most effective would be to distribute a short set of reasonable criticisms outside the venue to attendees before the talk.

Of course, there is plenty of time to invite a speaker from the Heartland Institute for this event.
This way there will be true academic discourse available for attendees. But I am told that this doesn’t exist in the UK any more. I hope to be proven wrong by the University of Bristol.
Should I hold my breath? Or will that hasten my demise too!!!

John Cook knows that denier is a derogatory label in the climate debate, since before he started Skeptical Science.
John Cook in 2007
JC’s Law
There’s a famous rule Godwin’s Law which predicts the inevitable eventuality when fierce online debate rages:
“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”
Apparently in a flame war, there’s no greater insult than comparing your opponent to Nazis. I’ve been following the global warming argument closely of late and I’ve noticed both sides often fulfill Godwin’s Law. Global warming advocates liken skeptics to Holocaust deniers (akin to a Nazi). Skeptics compare Al Gore’s public awareness campaign to Nazi-like propoganda. It’s lazy debating – why discuss the issues with facts and logic when you can easily write off your opponent with a derogatory label?
I’ve noticed a similar event occurs when cricket fans argue online about Australian cricket. It’s even happened several times on cricket-blog recently over SquashBallGate. So it’s time for cricket to have its own version of Godwin’s Law which I’ve rather unimaginatively title “JC’s law”:
“As an online discussion involving Australian cricket grows longer, the probability of invoking Australia’s convict past approaches one.”
yet Cook still uses ‘climate deniers’ in 2014

John West

So if you’re a “denier” with say a physics/engineering/chemistry/geology/meteorology degree you aren’t qualified to speak on climate, but if you’re a drank the kool-aid cartoonist you’re qualified not only to speak on climate but on cognitive psychology as well?


Science does not work by consensus. the claim of 97% consensus was debunked so many times I fail to see why you are still touting the idea.
No sceptic denies climate change only the mechanism by which change happens and the associated processes.


The mighty brains of the University of Bristol don’t even know the past tense of ‘to lead’. So it looks as though Cook is on their intellectual level.

Bloke down the pub

Not too far from me, so if Anthony can make the effort I’m sure I can. Anthony, let me know if I can be of help while you’re in the area.


Interesting as the research continued and they did not fine “that many” #1 papers.
Finally they had to few that they did not report on it at all, and merged #1 #2 and #3.
As Monkton pointed out #1 was only 0.05%
Dana Nuccitelli
I thought category #1 was our response to that criticism – in addition to ‘x’ percent of papers endorsing AGW, ‘y’ percent endorse AGW as the primary cause of the observed warming.
Then there’s the future phase of the TCP where we do a survey of climate sensitivity papers to prove there’s a consensus on that issue as well. That’ll really kill the deniers.
2012-03-06 09:37:13
Andy S
So far, I haven’t had that many category #1 papers.
One step at a time. If we force skeptics to say that they never denied AGW, just “CAGW”, then that will be progress in itself, since many of them will have to get in the low sensitivity corner with Lindzen and so on. That’s when the climate sensitivity Plan B will kick in.
Since the BEST study, I have noticed relative silence on the part of skeptics with regard to the temperature record and urban heat islands. Of course, “no-significant-warming-in-the-past-decade” is still alive as an idea but that meme should die after a couple of hot years.
This is trench warfare, not a Blitzkrieg.
2012-03-06 10:57:09
John Cook
Dana, yes, category #1 addresses the “amount of human contribution” argument but TCP doesn’t address climate sensitivity at all. If TCP has deniers conceding AGW, we should pin that on them because for sure they will try to back away from that afterwards and go back to “it’s not us” arguments.
I haven’t seen that many category #1 although I will say I’ve seen a helluva lot more category #1 than I’ve seen category #4, #5 or #6 combined.

David Smith

Just stand outside the venue handing people copies of that infamous picture of John-boy in Nazi uniform, with text that explains the photo came from Cookie’s own site. The text should also highlight the obviously deliberate link between the use of the name ‘deniers’ and odious Holocaust deniers. That should make attendees think about the agenda-driven odd-ball they are coming to see.
If people think my suggestion would be an over-reaction, I think it’s “all gloves off” as far as JC and his SkS clowns are concerned.

John Catley

I’m certainly going to attend this.
Perhaps the “deniers” will make up a goodly proportion of the audience and confound Mr Crook.
I’m certainly going to take my vuvuzela just in case.


from the kidz secret, secret forum:
So far, I haven’t had that many category #1 papers.
I haven’t seen that many category #1 although I will say I’ve seen a helluva lot more category #1 than I’ve seen category #4, #5 or #6 combined.
This underscores the value in including the category “humans are causing >50% of global warming” as I think it will be interesting to see how many papers come under this option (yeah, yeah, DAWAAR). Here’s the full article:
Well it was “interesting” wasn’t it Captain Cook ( sorry, should that be Sturmbandfurher.Cook, are we dressing up today?).
So tell us why didn’t you report the “interesting” results in your prize winning paper. 0.05% #1 results, wasn’t it?

It just seems a bad idea to emit CO2 to see a cartoonist talk on a subject he doesn’t understand at an institution which just cannot see anything too debasing for itself.
I’ll pass.
But if you’re in the uk Anthony I’ll come and say hi. Just, not to seek the self-portrayed Nazi.

oops…I used the wrong word 🙂 – stuck in moderation. I stand by my comment…it simply described a historical occurrence.


Mods, OK the first post had the D word in the quoted text, but what blocks the second one, I was trying not to upset the system. Is thier domain name a trip too ?
It makes it pretty hard to quote and discuss these idiots if everything they say and their names are spam triggers.
[Reply: Sorry about that. Many times even the moderators do not know what trips the WordPress spam filter. This is one of those times. ~ mod.]

Hot under the collar

They managed to use the denier / denial tag three times just in the introduction to a lecture, not biased much?
Now that the talk has been ‘outed’ do you think he will turn up?

David Smith

John Cately:
“I’m certainly going to take my vuvuzela just in case.”
Brilliant! 🙂
Made me start laughing in the middle of a restaurant whilst surfing on my phone. Scared the other customers.


Anthony, was it wise to announce your attendance? I think there might be some organised defenses put in place by the “Planet Savers” and it could become unpleasant, no doubt with articles appearing in The Guardian and elsewhere about a few brave souls battling the forces of darkness, etc.
REPLY: Well if they put up a blockade, they’ll out themselves for the imperious holier than thou fools that they are – Anthony


The content of thier discussions I quoted above shows they were very excited about the prospect of publishing the count #1 catagory endorsements…. until they counted them :
Failure to accurately report findings is scientific f_r_a_u_d . Isn’t that sufficent to demand retraction of thier “prize winning” paper?


Are we allowed to turn up in “fancy dress” ??


It’s worse than we thought….!


“Dogma vs. consensus: Letting the evidence speak on climate change”
– plus the ability to ask questions
Judging by the fact that they got the D-word in three times in introducing the event, I would not count on getting the chance to ask too many ‘awkward’ questions, like how many #1 endorsements did you manage to find in 12000 papers?

I wish I could go!

Hot under the collar

Greg says:
“Are we allowed to turn up in “fancy dress” ??”
Can’t bear the thought of Anthony dressed in a “300” outfit being run over by “mein fuhrer Cook” in his tank. ; > )


I wasn’t aware that John Cook spent his entire life studying cognitive psychology and was an expert in the field.

Waste of time. it will be lectures with ignorance and ignoring.

Bill H

Hot under the collar says:
July 16, 2014 at 5:26 am
They managed to use the denier / denial tag three times just in the introduction to a lecture, not biased much?
Now that the talk has been ‘outed’ do you think he will turn up?
This will most likely sum up their claims in total.. BUT YOUR A DENIER will be the basis for all thier claims. I am willing to bet that questions must be prearranged and will be tightly controlled.
I get a laugh out of any talk Mann would give on “ETHICS” ….. Where is my head hitting wall smilie when I need it… The same Michael Mann who told investigators what evidence was relevant ( and what they could use against him) in his indictment of ethical misconduct at Penn State….
Two so called scientists who have no clue what ethical conduct is… being heralded as pure by another academic institution…


Barry Woods says:
July 16, 2014 at 5:00 am
“Skeptics compare Al Gore’s public awareness campaign to Nazi-like propoganda.”
I see that you don’t know AT ALL where modern propaganda comes from. Joseph Goebbels cherished his copy of the book Propaganda, 1928, by Edward Bernays. Bernays was a Jew and the nephew of Siegmund Freud and advisor of progressive president Woodrow Wilson. He applied his uncle’s theories to marketing and came up with Propaganda. Which he later, after the term fell out of favor, renamed to PR.
He also became stinking rich through his marketing skills.


I am sure Mike Mann will join in remotely so as not to cause the collapse of the Antarctic and Greenland by jetting to the talk.

Kevin Schurig

Have fun and bring me some butterscotch candies, please.

michael hart

There is another ‘self portrait’ photo of Herr Cook that you could have used, Anthony. You know the one! 🙂


Bristol was the fifth heaviest bombed city in the last war and their university is inviting a moron who dresses up as a Nazi?

Tickets are going to go fast. I reserved mine. I’m hunting for cheap flights to Bristol now.

Ralph Kramden

Alarmists always try to confuse the issue by concentrating on the wrong questions. Anthony Watts, Dr. Roy Spencer and others made it clear at the International Conference on Climate Change that no one is denying CO2 is a greenhouse gas and no one is denying the planet is slightly warmer. The question is, “is this anything to be concerned about”? The alarmists say yes and the data say no. So are you going to believe the alarmists or your own lying eyes?

David Smith

From the spiel about the Mann-monster:
“his own ongoing experiences as a figure in the centre of the debate over human-caused climate change.”
Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the crux of Mann’s ridiculous court case with Steyn revolve around Mann claiming he wasn’t a public figure?
This write-up for the talk implies he very much is in the public eye.

I’ve just started to rewrite and condense a long article (original 22 pages, publ. Sept. 2012).
Now I’ll have to accelerate keyboard velocity to get it published before the event, don’t care much for peer reviewing, it wouldn’t pass it anyway.
Abstract states that the decadal temperature variability in the North Hemisphere can be reconstructed from (the) amplification of the solar magnetic (Hale) cycle by the natural oscillations emanating from the Earth’s magnetic field.


I’m still trying to figure out whether they truly believe that there are people out there who deny that there’s a climate…

David Smith, not at all. Michael Mann freely concedes he is a public figure for the suit.


In 2013, cartoonist John Cook lead the Bandwagon Project, a crowd-sourced effort to complete the most comprehensive attempt to take climate researchers for a ride. They found that among relevant climate papers, 97% endorsed the consensus that humans were causing global-climate-change-extreme-disruptive weird-weather-warming followed by a ….long pause.
When this propaganda was published, it was catapulted by President Obama and the media all over the world, with the paper (but not the cartoonist who produced it) being awarded a shiny badge by the journal of Viral-Mental Research Letters in 2013.
In this Crappy Destitute public lecture, John Cook will discuss his research both on the 97% consensus cartoon, and on the cartoon psychology of consensus.
Please attend.


I have just booked both. Very excited at the thought of seeing a legendary giant of the climate change world. Guess I can put up the presence of Cook and Mann for that!


Dogma vs. consensus:
Dogma is a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.[1]
Isn’t “the debate is over” proof that Climate Change is dogma? Isn’t the consensus opinion itself dogma? The authority of the majority?
Consensus is the Dogma of the Majority.

lucia liljegren (@lucialiljegren)
Take a budget flight to London, train from Paddington takes 1h20min, book online ( in advance.
3. prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group: the difficulty of resisting political dogma.
“Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.“
—Steve Jobs, “Commencement Address at Stanford University“ American Rhetoric (delivered June 12, 2005)

David Smith

Fair enough, thanks for the correction.

David Chappell

And the bonus is that presumably Lewandowsky will be there too as Bristol has taken him under its wing. In fact, he’s probably the organising genius behind the project.

heh Anthony – if you make it over, this is my neck of the woods (normally – if I am not in Czech woods)…and I would like to meet you, even briefly. I have registered for the 19th – can’t seem to access the 23rd. Mann overboard. I am scheduled to be in Europe but may make it over in mid-month and don’t want to miss this – even that I doubt very much they will be fielding questions or giving time for discussion. Bristol University is a hotbed of psychologists studying Global Warming Denialism! They were going to come and interview me for their research until they discovered I had an intelligent grasp of climate science and was not denying anything!


University of Bristol

Isn’t that Lew’s Lair too? Why wasn’t he invited to speak as well?

Is Steyn going?

What other theory in science is above question? In what other field of science is “the debate over”? Isn’t this proof that AGW isn’t science?
No other field in science holds that the debate is over. It cannot be. As technology and understanding improves we continually invent new techniques to better predict observations.
The inability of the climate models to predict future climate is evidence that there is room for considerable improvement in our understanding of climate.
The IPCC recognizes that we cannot predict future climate. That such prediction is impossible with current technology due to chaos as per IPCC 2. They call the results of the models projections, not predictions.
Thus the consensus belief that we can predict future Climate is Dogma. It is belief, passed down by authority. The modern equivalent of Papal Infallibility.

Dogma vs. consensus: Letting the evidence speak on climate change
typo in the title. it should be:
Dogma is consensus: Letting the evidence speak on climate change