A psychologist's scathing review of John Cook's '97% consensus' nonsensus paper

Psychologist José Duarte writes: The Cook et al. (2013) 97% paper included a bunch of psychology studies, marketing papers, and surveys of the general public as scientific endorsement of anthropogenic climate change.

Let’s go ahead and walk through that sentence again. The Cook et al 97% paper included a bunch of psychology studies, marketing papers, and surveys of the general public as scientific endorsement of anthropogenic climate change. I only spent ten minutes with their database — there will be more such papers for those who search. I’m not willing to spend a lot of time with their data, for reasons I detail further down.

This paper is vacated, as a scientific product, given that it included psychology papers, and also given that it twice lied about its method (claiming not to count social science papers, and claiming to use independent raters), and the professed cheating by the raters. It was essentially voided by its invalid method of using partisan and unqualified political activists to subjectively rate climate science abstracts on the issue on which their activism centers — a stunning and unprecedented method. I’m awaiting word on retraction from the journal, but I think we already know that this paper is vacated. It doesn’t represent knowledge of the consensus.

I want to note here that the authors are still misrepresenting their 97% figure as consisting of “climate papers”. For an upcoming event, Cook claims “They found that among relevant climate papers, 97% endorsed the consensus that humans were causing global warming.” Clearly, this is false. There is no way we’ll be able to call the above papers “relevant climate papers”. Don’t let these people get away with such behavior — call them out on it. Ask them how psychology papers can be “relevant climate papers”, raise your hand at events, notify journalists, etc. Make them defend, explicitly, what they did. Hopefully, it will be retracted soon. But until then, make them defend what they did. For one thing, Cook should now have to disclose how many psychology and other irrelevant papers were included. In a scenario where retraction wasn’t justified, they would have to rewrite the paper. In this case, the false statements, fraud, and absurd method mandate retraction, and some sort of penance.

Other raters, like Dana Nuccitelli, say it should count as “methods” (which might have excluded it), but that “It’s borderline implicit endorsement though, with all the ‘climate change denial’ phrases.  If you read the paper I’d bet it would be an explicit endorsement.”

Nuccitelli thinks that if a psychology paper uses the phrase “climate change denial”, it might count as scientific endorsement of anthropogenic climate change. We should linger on that. This is a staggering level of stupidity with respect to what would count as scientific evidence of AGW. The implied epistemology there is, well, I don’t know that it has a name. Maybe it’s some kind of postmodernist view of reality being based on belief, anyone’s belief (except for the beliefs of skeptics) — perhaps a grotesque misreading of Kuhn. Even if we thought reality was best understood via consensus, it’s not going to be created by consensus, and the only consensus we would care about would be that of climate scientists. That Marxist or neo-Marxist sociologists pepper their paper with “climate change denial” does not add to our confidence level about AGW — it is not evidence of anything but the ideology of two American sociologists. It doesn’t test the energy balance model, or revise or validate or estimates of transient climate sensitivity. It has no input into our knowledge of AGW. In any case, I’m stunned by Nuccitelli’s behavior in these rater forum pages, and his behavior as a climate science writer – he and Jenny McCarthy should jointly surrender to some sort of authority.

I think some of you who’ve defended this “study” got on the wrong train. I don’t think you meant to end up here. I think it was an accident. You thought you were getting on the Science Train. You thought these people — Cook, Nuccitelli, Lewandowsky — were the science crowd, and that the opposition was anti-science, “deniers” and so forth. I hope it’s clear at this point that this was not the Science Train. This is a different train. These people care much less about science than they do about politics. They’re willing to do absolutely stunning, unbelievable things to score political points. What they did still stuns me, that they did this on purpose, that it was published, that we live in a world where people can publish these sorts of obvious scams in normally scientific journals. If you got on this train, you’re now at a place where you have to defend political activists rating scientific abstracts regarding the issue on which their activism is focused, able to generate the results they want. You have to defend people counting psychology studies and surveys of the general public as scientific evidence of endorsement of AGW. You have to defend false statements about the methods used in the study. Their falsity won’t be a matter of opinion — they were clear and simple claims, and they were false. You have to defend the use of raters who wanted to count a bad psychology study of white males as evidence of scientific endorsement of AGW. You have to defend vile behavior, dishonesty, and stunning hatred and malice as a standard way to deal with dissent.

Cognition is in large part categorization, and we need more categories to understand and sort people’s views and frameworks when it comes to fresh scientific issues like AGW. If our science category or camp includes people like Cook and Nuccitelli, it’s no longer a science category. We won’t have credibility as pro-science people if those people are the standard bearers. Those people are in a different category, a different camp, and it won’t be called “science”. Those climate scientists who have touted, endorsed, and defended the Cook et al. study – I suggest you reconsider. I also suggest that you run some basic correction for the known bias, and cognitive dissonance, humans have against changing their position, admitting they were wrong, etc. Do you really want to be on the historical record as a defender of this absurd malpractice? It’s not going to age well, and as a scientist, certain values and principles should matter more to you than politics.

If you’re always on the side of people who share your political views or aims, if you’re always on the side of people who report a high AGW consensus figure, no matter what they do, something is wrong. It’s unlikely that all the people who share your political perspective, or all studies conducted by them, are right or valid — and we know that in advance. We need more honesty on this issue, less political malice, better epistemology.

Read the full essay here: http://www.joseduarte.com/blog/cooking-stove-use-housing-associations-white-males-and-the-97

h/t to WUWT reader Randy Hughes


See the Legates paper here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/09/03/cooks-97-consensus-disproven-by-a-new-paper-showing-major-math-errors/

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August 29, 2014 11:17 am

Cook should have invented a more plausible number, like, say, 52%. Because there will never be 97% within any group of thinking people who will believe in any one thing. That just does not happen in the real world.
It is amazing to see the mindless lemmings who will believe anything, so long as it feeds their confirmation bias. Cook could have said 110%, and they would be parroting that number instead.

Bill 2
Reply to  dbstealey
August 29, 2014 11:26 am

I hope more than 97% believe in gravity, or that the earth isn’t flat, for example.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  Bill 2
August 29, 2014 11:28 am

Bill: It doesn’t matter whether you believe in gravity or not.

M Courtney
Reply to  Bill 2
August 29, 2014 11:54 am

I hope so too.
But that’s because most people can see that gravity tends to pull things down.
And why question if the world is round? It doesn’t cost anything.
But 97% of people agreeing to something that is being debated? That’s unbelievable.

Gary Hladik
Reply to  Bill 2
August 29, 2014 12:13 pm

“The Law of Gravity is nonsense. No such law exists. If I think I float, and you think I float, then it happens.”
–Richard Burton as O’Brien, “Nineteen Eighty-Four”

Reply to  Bill 2
August 29, 2014 12:14 pm

Unless there is a theory of ‘man-made’ gravity, billy, I don’t think there’s a problem there.

Reply to  Bill 2
August 29, 2014 12:23 pm

I believe in the gravity of the situation where this kind of partisan crap gets published in a scientific journal in the first place; where it does not get instantly retracted when the malpractice is exposed; where it gets quoted by POTUS to justify stupid policy changes.
Where short-sighted idiots think that the ecological cause can be advanced by throwing the scientific method under a bus, and abandoning any pretence of honesty and integrity.
I’m not sure that 97% of lemmings appreciate the gravity of jumping off a cliff.

James the Elder
Reply to  Bill 2
August 29, 2014 7:57 pm

Gravity gives physical proof of its existence; CAGW, as of now, has not separated itself from natural variability and noise to provide any proof. However, the lack of acorns for two summers and cold-killed hickory nuts littering my yard do lend themselves to make a case for a severe level of regional cooling.

Reply to  Bill 2
August 30, 2014 8:33 am

We measured gravity yesterday and ever since Newton defined it. Alas we still do have to believe in the graviton, which’s existence is hard pin down even now. Even Physics is not so simple.

Henry Bowman
Reply to  Bill 2
August 30, 2014 9:40 am

I’m not so sure that 97% believe that the earth isn’t flat. There are real, actual people who sincerely belive that. Some also believe that the earth is hollow. I am not making this up.

Reply to  Bill 2
September 2, 2014 12:25 am

“Believe in” is not a phrase fit for science. “Think that the evidence supports the hypothesis” is better. So far, the theory of gravity appears to not contradict the empirical data and so I would say that the evidence supports the hypothesis.
As far as the Earth being flat or round is concerned, well that is more difficult for an individual to test, compared to gravity. The reason is because the proposed curvature manifests on the large scale, which to most of us is not directly observable, barring the “alleged” photos of Earth from space.
What is the evidence that is apparent to the ordinary person that the Earth is curved? The evidence for gravity is easier to find.
PS, no I do not doubt that the Earth is not flat, I am simply saying that it is more difficult to prove than gravity.
There is an organisation called The Flat Earth Society (they have a website) and they do not appear to be joking when they claim that for them the evidence points not to a round, but to a flat Earth. Worth a read, for many, many reasons.

Owen in GA
Reply to  Bill 2
September 2, 2014 7:35 am

In Beginning Physics classes we routinely convince students from empirical evidence that the Earth is flat. It is a way to hammer home the difference between “locally observable” events and the broader view of the universe as a whole. It is very difficult in a classroom desktop gravity experiment to show curvature effects, and it takes a two story drop with no wind and a high speed camera to show the coriolis effect on a dropped object (the effect is still tiny even then).

more soylent green!
Reply to  dbstealey
August 29, 2014 12:59 pm

Only 4/5 dentists recommend sugarless gum for their patients who chew gum, so 80% should be plausible.
Actually, I think he just wanted to support the other ridiculous studies claiming 97%.

Reply to  dbstealey
August 29, 2014 2:27 pm

But you still have many otherwise seemingly intelligent people quoting the 97% figure. I guess maybe you can fool 97% of the people 97% of the time about the 97%.

Reply to  dbstealey
August 29, 2014 6:03 pm

97% is the marketing magic number. It is high enough that people will believe the hype. No one believes 100% as you always have some nay sayers.
It is not science, it is pure marketing.

4 eyes
Reply to  philjourdan
August 30, 2014 6:30 pm

In Oz the magic marketing number in supermarkets is 97%, fat free. On earth 97 is even more important than the galactic 42.

Reply to  4 eyes
September 4, 2014 4:53 am

In the US, every insurance company touts a “97%” satisfaction rate. With all companies having such a high satisfaction rate, why would any company advertise as so few would switch? It is all marketing.

Reply to  philjourdan
September 2, 2014 12:34 am

If only they had said 95% then they would have had me. But I could never believe in 97%. 100% could work for me, but not 93%. 87% of statistics are made up on the spot after all.

Reply to  dbstealey
August 29, 2014 6:53 pm

97% is really the warning flag. Climate alarmists are so blind to their bias that they see it as strengthening their position that this number matches exactly their previous 97% figure. In practice, though, it just makes it clear how terrified they are of even the slightest crack in the edifice.
How much can we trust them to admit any possible mistake when they can’t even accept a result which is marginally different from what they were hoping it to be? If you take polls, and you ask the same question in a different way, you get different answers. If you ask identical questions in different places, or on different days, you get different answers. The numbers are never the same. But they can’t even admit that the “number” might not be 97%.
If two students sitting next to each other get full marks on a test, the teacher can’t tell if they’re copying because they might just each be getting everything right. But if they start making identical mistakes, it becomes very obvious that they’re copying. Getting “97%” in a climate-consensus survey has become a little like that.

Reply to  dbstealey
August 30, 2014 3:34 am

97% of academics believe in AGW- how’s that?

August 29, 2014 11:33 am

Well you make too much sense and use too many facts to back up your point.
That is just unacceptable to the CO2 cult.

August 29, 2014 11:34 am

Cook claims, “They found that among relevant climate papers, 97% endorsed the consensus that humans were causing global warming.”
This claim, even if specious, is not really the problem. The problem is that politicians and others take it and twist it into “97% of climate scientists agree that we are headed toward climate catastrophe unless we take drastic measures”.

August 29, 2014 11:37 am

“This paper is vacated” should be followed by “This career is terminated”.
At least in my profession.

August 29, 2014 11:38 am

On gravity and the CO2 cult. They do float above all reason and they may see themselves as above gravity also. When in fact it is all just a reflection in a fun house mirror of their own device.

Cold in Wisconsin
Reply to  fobdangerclose
August 29, 2014 9:52 pm

If they float they are witches, and it they drown, they are normal. I think they are witches.

Reply to  Cold in Wisconsin
August 30, 2014 7:35 am

Do they weigh the same as a duck?

Mark Bofill
August 29, 2014 11:42 am

José Duarte,
Thank you. Hope you’re not getting too much professional flak for pointing this out.

Mark and two Cats
August 29, 2014 11:54 am

99.7% of 11,944 climate science papers did not say recent global warming was mostly manmade.
Only 0.5% did.
99.7% + 0.5% = 100.2%

Reply to  Mark and two Cats
August 29, 2014 12:11 pm

Uh, Mark –
You don’t add those two numbers, since they both represent what is supposed to be the same thing, the 0.5% being the correct of the two.
Since 0.5% did say recent global warming was mostly manmade, that means 99.5% did not.
I suppose then, using the “Cooking” methodology, we skeptics can claim that there is a consensus:
99.5% of 11,944 climate science papers did not say recent global warming was mostly manmade.
Not that a consensus is necessarily meaningful, but it sounds good.

Reply to  Mark and two Cats
August 29, 2014 12:51 pm

Mark –
After more careful discussion with your two cats, I now see what you mean.
Maybe it is the new math?

Reply to  JohnWho
August 29, 2014 1:21 pm

Hm thought so…

Reply to  Mark and two Cats
August 30, 2014 6:29 am

As a casual reader of this post I naturally gravitated to the pretty graphic.
The only thing I came away thinking is…
How can someone hope to score “science” points with a graphic that says A + not A = 100.2% ?!?!
I don’t know which number is wrong, but it really needs fixing.

Reply to  Mark and two Cats
August 31, 2014 12:08 pm

It says, “99.7% of 11,944 climate science papers did not say recent global warming was mostly manmade. Only 0.5% did.”
That’s ambiguous, due to poor wording.
What it is intended to mean is, “The claim that 99.7% of 11,944 climate science papers say recent global warming was mostly manmade is untrue. Only 0.5% actually said that, not 99.7%.”
But the more obvious (incorrect) interpretation is, “Of 11,944 climate science papers, 99.7% did not affirm that recent global warming was mostly manmade. Only the remaining 0.5% said that.”

August 29, 2014 11:55 am

So the data was Cooked–quelle surprise.

M Courtney
August 29, 2014 11:57 am

I think some of you who’ve defended this “study” got on the wrong train. I don’t think you meant to end up here. I think it was an accident. You thought you were getting on the Science Train. You thought these people — Cook, Nuccitelli, Lewandowsky — were the science crowd, and that the opposition was anti-science, “deniers” and so forth.

Very true.
That is why the first priority of the Ghost Train Team is to suppress debate and censor opposition.
As long as no-one hears what the argument is they can pretend to be the Science Team. But they will be derailed if they have to steer towards the empirical truth.

Mac the Knife
August 29, 2014 12:19 pm

Excerpt from Jose Duarte’s article:
Let’s retrace our steps..
The above papers have nothing to do, epistemologically, with the scientific consensus on global warming. The consensus only pertains to climate science, to those scientists who actually study and investigate climate. To include those papers was either a ridiculous error or fraud. I didn’t expect this — I expected general bias in rating climate papers. I never imagined they’d include surveys of the public, psychology papers, and marketing studies. In retrospect, this was entirely predictable given that the researchers are a bunch of militant anti-science political activists.

THAT just about says it all, doesn’t it??!!!

August 29, 2014 12:28 pm

Good to see someone in the broader science arena finally waking up to the damage that is being done to the whole of science by this stupidity.
Scientists of the world arise, denounce the fraud that tarnishes all science.

August 29, 2014 12:30 pm

Soo.. How long before this is taken down and an apology issued?

Reply to  RWhite
August 29, 2014 12:38 pm

Highly Unlikely IMHO – after all that would mean SkS might finally be accepting real science and real opinion without applying their own brand of confirmation bias!

Lil Fella from OZ
August 29, 2014 12:37 pm

Great article. The 97% consensus argument was never ever valid!

David, UK
August 29, 2014 12:44 pm

Brilliantly put. Well done for sticking your neck out.

August 29, 2014 12:45 pm

Reply to  Admad
August 30, 2014 4:49 pm

I think we should all submit both of these videos as comments on skepticalscience.com at least 10X/day for at least the next month.

August 29, 2014 12:48 pm

Reply to  Admad
August 30, 2014 4:54 pm

and 20X/day for a month at UKGuardian.com.

August 29, 2014 12:55 pm

I really liked this passage from the original on Jose’s site

When we add the fact that the raters were militant political activists motivated to achieve a particular result from the study, we go home. The normal response might be several minutes of cognitive paralysis over the absurdity of such a method, of such a “study”. ERL should be ashamed of what they did here. This is a disgrace. Political activists rating abstracts pertaining to their political aims? Have we decided to cancel science? Are we being serious? It’s 2014. We have decades and mountains of research on bias and motivated reasoning, scientific research. The idea of humans reading and rating abstracts on an issue central to their ideology sparks multiple, loud, shrieking alarms. A decently bright teenager would be able to identify this method as absurd. This really isn’t complicated. It shouldn’t be happening in the modern world, in modern scientific journals.

August 29, 2014 1:21 pm

When they retract the paper will Obama retract his citation of the paper?

Reply to  Kozlowski
August 29, 2014 3:01 pm

A god does not admit error.

Reply to  larrygeary
August 29, 2014 7:43 pm
August 29, 2014 1:27 pm

The Powell survey has a similar flaw.
Here are a few comments I and others made about such surveys:

Were those attribution studies that examined the cause, or mostly merely impact or mitigation studies that merely endorsed (parroted) the man-made / consensus conclusion? If the latter, which is likely, then So What?

Carl says: May 22, 2013 at 6:54 am
“Implicitly endorsed” just means that someone got a grant to investigate what global warming would do if it happened. Those papers provide information on how politicians give out grant money but have no other use.

Correct. Only “attribution” papers are worthy of inclusion in a consensus of knowledgeable authorities on the question in point. “Me too” “impact” papers should not be included.

Joe says: May 23, 2013 at 1:08 pm
Would I be right in thinking that, as she has a PhD and works somewhere in the field of climate change, she’s probably counted amongst the consensus of “experts”?

Yep, as long as the phrase “climate change” was in her paper & it was peer reviewed.
This is one of the main (but unnoticed) flaws in the “consensus” surveys: They aren’t restricted to papers dealing with the physics and chemistry of “attribution,” but include those on impacts and mitigation, which simply assume (perhaps just for the sake of argument) that AGW or CAGW is true.
This paper of Cook’s is a great opportunity to counterpunch the 97% meme with an accurate survey of a representative sample. It should count only (or separately) “attribution” papers, it should poll authors about the degree of their alarmism (i.e., AGW or CAGW), and it should ask them if their degree of alarm has mitigated in recent years, as new less alarmist papers have come out.
1. Authors of papers not dealing with attribution (e.g., on impacts and mitigation, which are more numerous) may call themselves climatologists, but they do not have relevant expertise on what causes climate change. They’re just bystanders. Only authors dealing with attribution (atmospheric physics and chemistry) should be polled.
2. Papers on attribution written in the last five years are most relevant. Papers that are more than ten years old should be down-weighted.
3. Authors need to be asked the sort of probing questions that the 2007 George Mason U. survey asked, such as how confident are they in climatology’s knowledge-state and projections, how much of a threat do they consider future warming to be, etc. Cook and N. must have been aware of those questions, but deliberately avoided asking them.
Someone should commission George Mason or somebody to do a survey with the points above in mind.
Regarding two “97%” surveys that warmists more often cite, here is a summary of most of their flaws, by WUWT-commenter Robin Guenier:

“Anderegg is more sophisticated than the hopeless Doran. But there’s a basic problem: it’s concerned with whether or not respondents agree that “anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for “most [i.e. more than 50%] of the “unequivocal” warming of the Earth’s average global temperature over the second half of the 20th century”. The only scientists qualified to evaluate that are those engaged in detection and attribution (both difficult and uncertain). Yet the research was not confined to such scientists.
Tol says:
Cook and co selected some 12,000 papers . . . 12,000 is a strange number. The climate literature is much larger. The number of papers on the detection and attribution of climate change is much, much smaller.
Cook’s sample is not representative. Any conclusion they draw is not about “the literature” but rather about the papers they happened to find.
Most of the papers they studied are not about climate change and its causes, but many were taken as evidence nonetheless. Papers on carbon taxes naturally assume that carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming – but assumptions are not conclusions. Cook’s claim of an increasing consensus over time is entirely due to an increase of the number of irrelevant papers that Cook and co mistook for evidence.
atmoaggie says: July 19, 2012 at 11:51 am
I fail to consider researchers that solely publish the hyperbole of future climate (hand waving) to be qualified in relative attribution. Those that just use GCM output to predict the movements of flora, fauna, and viruses, for example, without any questioning of the GCM output, itself, are simply not at all qualified to consider attribution.

Reply to  rogerknights
August 29, 2014 3:54 pm

Re “2. Papers on attribution written in the last five years are most relevant. Papers that are more than ten years old should be down-weighted.”
One can probably still concoct a study using old information showing that the majority believe Y2K is real.

Reply to  rogerknights
August 30, 2014 2:06 am

I fail to see what the age of a paper, per se, has to do with its merit.

Reply to  johanna
August 30, 2014 3:48 am

The temp. plateau has caused some influential recent papers like Otto et al. to downgrade their estimate of climate sensitivity. That, plus the plateau itself, plus the recent willingness to give natural variation more scope (as evidenced in the attempts to account for the Pause) mean that the current consensus should be less unanimous, less certain, and less extreme as to what it’s certain about.

Reply to  johanna
August 30, 2014 5:06 pm

The fact that “research” is done implies that knowledge of the subject isn’t static. The opinions of scientists who’ve published research 20 years ago shouldn’t be expected to have opinions that have remained static over the period.
Maybe Cook should cook a survey of research published in the 70’s and publish a consensus that the earth is entering an ice age.
Does the age of a paper matter?

Michael D
August 29, 2014 1:34 pm

Interesting comment by Geoff Chambers on the Duarte site, including:
[Cook is] a student who got into the University circuit via his collaboration with Professor Lewandowsky, and who then lied to his collaborator Lewandowsky and to me about his collaboration on Lewandowskys’ paper, and then lied again in a paper he wrote with Lewandowsky which tried to hide the lies in the first paper.
I’ve been calling out Lewandowsky and Cook as liars at Chris Mooney’s, the New Yorker, Huffington Post, the Conversation, and anywhere else I can.

August 29, 2014 1:50 pm

I did bring up the bias in “97 percent of all scientist say AGW is the most important problem facing humanity” to a High School science teacher. His defense was “that’s impossible. Everyone knows its true and it’s been repeated everywhere.” His implicit position was that only fringe groups dispute such basic scientific thinking. That is, he had nothing but personal attacks to use in its defense.

August 29, 2014 2:16 pm

I have begun to look at other sites posted in WUWT comments. Most comments on BOTH sides are on the order of “your an idiot.” Some spell You’re correctly.
WUWT’ers know reams of information, and there is only room for a few sentences on those sites, but those few sentences should contain actual scientific content. More of us posting would help.

Eamon Butler
August 29, 2014 3:05 pm

Just so I’m clear, but apart from Cook’s and the Doran/Zimmerman surveys, are there any other studies that conclude the 97% result? I’m sick to death of this nonsense being pushed down my throat as though it was supposed to be proof of CAGW. I’m sure you have all seen the ”97% of engineers and the dodgy bridge” analogy. I ask those promoting this rubbish, from which survey are they referring to? Most haven’t got a clue of it’s source let alone the controversial background.
This is a very damning rebuttal of the Cook fraud. Thanks to Jose for this. Hopefully criminal charges will soon follow. I won’t hold my Co2 laden breath.

Max Roberts
August 29, 2014 3:21 pm

Finally, a psychologist with intelligence, analytical skills, and integrity.
Most of us do pointless crap (I have a PhD in psychology, university lecturer in a small useless provincial university for over 20 years, the sort of place that turns out a constant stream of political ‘scientists’ and sociologists who then go off to trash the world).
I always say: social psychology is trivial answers to interesting questions, cognitive psychology is interesting answers to trivial questions.
Its people like this who can buck that trend.

August 29, 2014 4:20 pm

This is splendidly written, brilliant, passionate, dripping with common sense and integrity….and extremely persuasive. Any remaining supporters of the nutters who authored this “paper,” should bow their heads in shame.

August 29, 2014 4:21 pm

With you on the need for “some kind of penance”, suggest the old British penance they are made to bare their arse in Burton’s window (or other prominent high street tailors ).

Chip Javert
August 29, 2014 4:28 pm

From the article “…The implied epistemology there is, well, I don’t know that it has a name. Maybe it’s some kind of postmodernist view of reality being based on belief, anyone’s belief (except for the beliefs of skeptics) — perhaps a grotesque misreading of Kuhn…”.
How ’bout we just call it “fraud”.

Steve Oregon
August 29, 2014 10:17 pm

This essay would be a cult buster for the Appells and McKibbens out there but they are the walking dead infected with the climate pandemic.

August 30, 2014 3:23 am

I really like the civilised tone in general of WUWT: it allows me to have a level of trust in its articles that I cannot have elsewhere, but the mention above of “professed cheating by the raters” I think is truly misleading. Just to avoid any doubt, I think these 97% consensus studies are not worth the paper they are written on, and the website the link refers to actually illustrates nicely how subjective the ratings are and prone to bias, but Cook and co do not “profess” to “cheating”. Using such terminology undermines the credibility of the article.

M Simon
August 30, 2014 5:08 am

Methodology? Bayesian.

August 30, 2014 5:43 am

This is precisely the tone and mastery of subject I look for when skeptics repond to errors. I believe the IPCC would collapse if this quality became general and could be sustained.

Pamela Gray
August 30, 2014 8:35 am

Calling out someone for lying can be like telling someone who says he or she is “being kind” that what they are doing is actually harmful and untrue. To many more people than we care to admit, methods matter little, it is the result that counts, so they think. This kind of thinking invades the benevolent mind, not realizing the malevolent risk always lurking under the surface of those who think they know better what others should believe. Grand experiments in “populous equality” always begins with benevolence towards the populace. But it only takes minutes of such thinking to bring harm to those they think they are caring for.
This “climate consensus” grand experiment is of the same cloth as all other grand sociological experiments. And they gather round them whole herds of people willing to disregard the lies because the supposed “benevolence” should be supported and not subjected to criticism. However, the history of such experiments should readily prompt vigilance towards the current flavor of benevolence, along with determined efforts to put the brakes on this nonsense and to call to task their supporters, regardless of the well-meaning intent. Why? Therein lies the malevolent risk, not in the instigators but in the supporters.
The author of the scathing review focuses proper attention on those that have given this lie a pass.

August 30, 2014 8:38 am

José Duarte,
Your full post on your site has circumspect insights about the Cook, Nuccitelli, Lewandowsky related work product. You’ve shown it is mere mockery that fails to even mimic science.
Of all that you said, the most interesting aspect of this post and of several of your past posts on the topic of Cook / Nuccitelli / Lewandowsky work product is your frequent references to epistemology, cognition, political bias and problematic philosophies (post-modernism). The interconnection and hierarchy within all philosophical systems involving metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics and myth (aka art) is my greatest interest in discussion of the climate dialog raging for the past ~30+ years. In future posts, I hope to have the opportunity to discuss that aspect of the problematic behavior in the work product of Cook / Nuccitelli / Lewandowsky and how it relates to the broader problematic aspects of much of climate dialog and argumentation.

August 30, 2014 9:13 am

This comes under the heading of OT but not OT (my apologies if someone else has already posted the link).
It comes with the tag “just when you thought they couldn’t sink any lower”. LOLOL
scared kittens
Somehow, I don’t think these ‘scientists’ would have any problem being associated with the likes of Cook and Nuccitelli.

August 30, 2014 10:22 am

Cook’s work is nonsense top to bottom , it does not even make mathematical sense . But that does not matter its now part of the ‘the cause’ dogma and has with Mann stick must be defended by AGW promoters regardless of it many problems . So we can find 10, 100 or 1,000 ways it which it is wrong and end up feeling better about ourselves has we do so. But to his ‘followers’ and those politicians that attach themselves to this nonsense this is not matter at all , they have to much to lose by admitting Cooks work is BS.

Max Roberts
August 30, 2014 3:19 pm

Actually, reading this all again, there is a simple, straightforward message here that can give pause for thought even for moronic political activists like Cook.
Apparently, if you are an economist, sociologist, or psychologist who believes in this stupid religion, you count towards part of the 97%
However, if you are an engineer, physicist or whatever who does not subscribe to this stupid religion, then you are not qualified to express an opinion, for example on the BBC.
This is the sort of inconsistent stupidity that any idiot social scientist can be pinned to the ground on in any public situation, for example at a conference, so take them out and make them squirm.

Reply to  Max Roberts
August 30, 2014 11:44 pm

Apparently, if you are an economist, sociologist, or psychologist, [note 1] who believes in this stupid religion, you count towards part of the 97%
Note 1: “or journalist, lawyer, politician, or sycophant to any of the above….”
But otherwise, your point is well taken Max.
The school of CAGW says the 31,487 signers of the Oregon Petition are unqualified to hold any worthy opinion of climate science and should be ignored. The opinion of English environmental journalists should govern.

Ralph Kramden
August 30, 2014 4:54 pm

No global warming in many years, the climate models have failed and the 97% consensus is debunked, as an Alarmist I can truly say, “it’s worse than we thought“.

Reply to  Ralph Kramden
August 30, 2014 5:14 pm

The really disturbing anti-science reality that’s worse than we thought is the 97% consensus among editors that politics trumps fact in the representaion of scientific topics in their publications.

August 30, 2014 8:45 pm

A very well written attack on the current state of play around climate science. The killer sentence to me is this :
“When did we discover that people who doubt, or only mildly embrace, the rumor of a consensus of researchers in a young and dynamic field whose estimates are under constant revision, and whose predictions center on distant future developments, are “deniers”? “

Reply to  ImranCan
August 31, 2014 8:19 am

It was when some felt it was necessary to call those folks names because everything else in \their belief was failing.

August 31, 2014 7:47 am

The cult will burn the witches, err “deniers”, as long their priests, err politicians and financiers, can extort money for this cause. When the truth finally comes (for whatever reasons- another cold cycle, e.g.) the mob will be led to a new cause and shorn again as the sheep they have always been. As Dorothy Parker once quipped when asked to use “horticulture” in a sentence, “you can lead a whore to culture, but you can’t make her think”. Camp followers, all.

August 31, 2014 8:38 am

Exactly right. A good example is the Forbes climate blog by James Taylor [to comment there, or to read the comments, click on “Comment Now”, then “Expand all Comments”].
The typical alarmist comments are scurrilous. That crowd cannot argue intelligently. Instead, they engage in constant name-calling and insults. It is really amazing how childish their comments are.
The reason is clear: Taylor tells the truth, and the alarmist cult cannot handle the truth. You see the same mindset in many publications. Alarmists are losing the debate, and they can feel it. So they lash out.
Their egos have been thoroughly entwined in the ‘carbon’ scare. Now that the scare is being debunked by Planet Earth [no global warming for many years now], their egos are seriously hurt. So they resort to vile name calling and ad hominem arguments. Actually, it is kind of pleasurable to watch their impotent complaining. Schadenfreude, I guess. ☺

August 31, 2014 10:44 pm

The ‘97%’ paper was written to provide a headline to the mainstream media.
The truth does not matter.
The article simply provided one ‘beat’ in the constant mainstream meda ‘drumbeat’ of global warming/climat change/carbon is bad/more government regulation is needed.
As the facts come out, they: 1) will not be reported, and 2) will be buried under a fresh layer of alarmist articles.

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