87 Is The New 97

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

There’s a new survey out by the Pew Research Center folks that’s getting lots of press. Much of the coverage mentions the following claim that the claimed 97% consensus is real but it’s only 87%. The survey reports a:

• 37-percentage point gap over whether climate change is mostly caused by human activity – 87% of AAAS scientists say it is, while 50% of the public does.

So what’s not to like? Well, the first oddity of the study is that we have absolutely no guarantee that the scientists are … well … scientists.

mad scientist

The study was done “in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)”. Here’s the description from the Pew Center of the method used:

The survey of scientists was conducted online with a random sample of 3,748 U.S.-based members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) from September 11 to October 13, 2014. AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society, and includes members from all scientific fields. Founded in 1848, AAAS publishes Science, one of the most widely circulated peer-reviewed scientific journals in the world. Membership in AAAS is open to all.

Sounds good … until you realize that not only is membership in AAAS “open to all”, but in addition anyone who subscribes to Science magazine is a member of AAAS … and for years Science magazine has been a strong supporter of the hypothesis that “climate change is mostly caused by human activity”, whatever that might mean.

So we are already dealing with a self-selected group of people, many of them not scientists, who read a magazine that for years has strongly supported the “anthropogenic global warming” (AGW) hypothesis.

But wait … it gets worse. For starters, you’d think that the Pew Research folks would have made a selection of scientists that weren’t subscribers to a magazine that has an axe to grind. And you’d also think that they would have picked … well … scientists.

But failing both of those, once the Pew Center folks had foolishly chosen to sample from AAAS members, surely they would make their own random selection of the AAAS membership? … well, think again. Their methods section cited above goes on to say:

A simple random sample of AAAS members was selected for participation by the staff of AAAS.

At this point, I’ve got to assume that the good folks at Pew have lost the plot entirely. They let the staff of the AAAS, a group which by and large seems to have swallowed the climate koolaid without demur, choose a “random sample” of which “scientists” the Pew folks would interview. Yeah, that’s the ticket, that inspires confidence …

And it gets worse yet, because the self-selection increases:

A total of 19,984 members were mailed a letter requesting participation in the survey.

And out of those, how many were actually sampled?

A total of 3,748 members completed the survey for an overall response rate of 18.8%.

Then there’s the matter of the poorly worded question. They asked if “climate change is mostly due to human activity”, with 87% of “scientists” saying yes versus 50% of citizens. I hate this kind of vague question, with no time frame on it, no definition of “climate change”, and no definition of “mostly”. For example, the IPCC defines “climate change” as being human caused … but under the general definition, the climate has been changing forever. This means that the well is poisoned before we even start. And what period of time are they talking about? The last ten years, during which there has been no statistically significant warming? The last century? The period since industrialization? And is 51% “mostly” or not? A vague question like that means nothing even if the rest of the survey had been handled perfectly.

I gotta say … I used to respect the Pew Research folks, and I’ve looked at their methods in other studies without finding much that seemed odd.

But this survey? On my planet, this one goes directly into the circular file … at the end of all of that, I gotta figure that their study is 87% horse feathers, and 13% unicorn-generated methane …

Best to all, and don’t believe everything you read.

w.

AS ALWAYS: If you disagree with someone, please have the courtesy to QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS YOU DISAGREE WITH so that all of us can understand the exact nature of what you object to.

And in the interests of full disclosure, I am a member of AAAS … but somehow they didn’t ask my opinion. I figure my invitation got lost in the mail …

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211 thoughts on “87 Is The New 97

    • I realize this study was intended as a representative sample of “scientists” …. but the small share of respondents with potential domain specific experience seems somewhat surprising.

      • Alan,
        You are no doubt correct, but the entire point of a survey of this type is to provide the basis for an ‘Appeal to Authority’ argument.
        Clearly, if you’re building an Appeal to Authority argument, the question of who is granted Authority status is relevant.

    • Scott
      You have hit on the most telling item, the fact that 1802 were from the Bio/Medical sciences and further there were 333 from the Social sciences and policy fields. Please, someone tell me how a neuroscientist or political scientist or sociologist or any number of scientists from any of the fields have knowledge greater than the general public.
      On any of these poll, I would rather see the “attribution” issue pinned down a little and perhaps force the respondent to check off their views of the AGW/Natural Variability split by quintile or decile. Someone who would say 40% for AGW has more in common with the guy who checks off 60% than he would with someone at 10%, or any number of combinations. Yet the “majority” dichotomy puts them n the “warmist/consensus” vs “denier” camp.
      Pew is pretty well respected on many social and political issues. I am surprised they did such a sloppy job with this one. I doubt the new 87% can be welcomed by the warmists. It will just get the public confused and start losing confidence in the 97% which has been drilled into the public consciousness. If we really want to confuse them, then the 52% for the American Meteorological poll ought to be publicized too. And a few others that will get the public to think “Hey, what is going on here anyway?”
      Yes, exactly. What is going on here anyway?

    • hmmm. I’m over 65; primary discipline is bio-engineer (biomedical + engineering), graduate degree also in math/computer science, lots of study in physics + chemistry, AND I’m a registered member of the public.
      How many votes do I get?
      What’s behind Door #3? – Bernie Sanders
      I’ll refrain from expressions about surveys.

    • I noticed long ago that amongst the most ignorant of high-handed dismissers of sceptics are scientists whose field has little or nothing to do with climate changes and why they happen.
      Their supposed expertise in one scientific field seems to give them the illusion that they know more about a scientific field of which they know nothing (and can’t be bothered to find out) than a well-read lay-person who knows a great deal more about the subject.

      • Agreed – and let’s face it, the majority of “skeptics” are more knowledgeable about “the science” than even some of the “climate scientists”. Or maybe the word “some” should be “most”.

  1. From The Pew Research Center:
    Our methods
    “We’re committed to meeting the highest methodological standards—and to exploring the newest frontiers of research.”
    Our people
    “We are led by Michael Dimock and have a staff of more than 130 people. Our experts combine the observational and storytelling skills of journalists with the analytical rigor of social scientists.”
    Contact Michael Dimock
    http://www.pewresearch.org/contact-form/#Michael-Dimock
    It looks like Pew have let themselves down, according to their own standards. Use the link above to set them straight.

    • “… analytical rigor of social scientists.”
      I am guessing that they are presenting this as a positive attribute…?
      By restating the “Our people” blurb as “Storytelling as associated with low-end analysis” they have easily met their own standard.

    • Sasha,
      Thanks for that link. Will do. I subscribed to Science for more than 20 years, so I can throw that back at them.
      The problem is this: none of these publications or professional societies allow members to contact one another. They tightly control their membership information. What happens, then, is that a simple majority of their boards spin everything.
      If I were writing the question, it would be more like this:
      Human CO2 emissions are the primary cause of global warming.
      True / False (Circle one)

      Next, I would provide for plenty of advance discussion prior to the polling. Both sides need to give their input. Then let the membership vote.
      But if they did that, they would have a high risk of getting a result that they do not want. So they play games like this.
      It is all propaganda, with a thin veneer of legitimacy. In every fair, moderated, public debate between believers in man-made global warming (MMGW) and climate skeptics, the skeptics won every time. So the alarmist clique stopped debating. Now their focus is on having their lemmings post their MMGW narrative non-stop online, and using sound bites in the media. The fact that they feel they have to do that, instead of standing toe to toe and hashing it out in public, shows us they have plenty to hide.
      They have lost the debate. Now it’s all propaganda like this. That tells thinking people who is right, and who is playing games.
      This isn’t something new for Science. For similar reasons I cancelled my long time subscription in the late 1990’s. Does that mean I’m no longer a scientist?

  2. http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00172.1
    In 2012, a total of 22 state and extension climatologists were selected through a purposive sample to represent main outlets of publicly available and location-specific climate information in the region. Nineteen of these climatologists completed a pre-interview survey that included the climate change question (see Wilke 2013). Consistent with the many disciplinary scientists in the two USDA-NIFA projects, over 90% of the climatologists agreed that climate change is occurring while none believed that it is not occurring (Table 1). Fifty-three percent [10 of 19] attributed climate change primarily to human activities.
    An online survey of about 1600 private and public agricultural advisors was conducted in 2012 in four states (Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Nebraska) in the Midwestern United States. Three-quarters of these advisors believed that climate change is occurring, with 12% [197 of 1,605] of them believing that it is mostly caused by human activities (Table 1).
    Extension educators are a unique set of agricultural advisors who serve to connect and translate research from universities to farmers in order to decrease risk to the farm enterprise and increase productive capacity and resilience. Typically, Extension educators have at least a Masters degree and are trained in agronomic sciences, which may not include climate sciences.Almost 75% of the Extension educators [239 respondents] believed in climate change, with over 19% [46 of 239] attributing climate change mostly to human activities (Table 1).
    —–
    For meteorologists, the percentages are also low (~25%) for primary human attribution. (see below)
    For geologists, the percentages are about 50/50 for primary human attribution. (see below)
    —–
    http://www.climatechangecommunication.org/images/files/TV_Meteorologists_Survey_Findings_(March_2010).pdf
    Only 31% of 571 meteorologists surveyed (2010) who are members of the American Meteorological Association and National Weather Association agree that global warming is “caused mostly by human activities.”
    —–
    http://www.climatechangecommunication.org/images/files/2011_Mason_AMS_NWA_Weathercaster_Survey_Report_NA_doc_pdf%281%29.pdf
    Only 19% of 430 responding meteorologists surveyed (2011) who are members of the American Meterological Society and/or the National Weather Association believe the climate changes due to “mostly human causes.”
    —–
    http://soapbox.geology.utoronto.ca/Members/miall/miall_bib/pdfs/ISI-000261047300007.pdf
    In a Canada-wide survey of earth scientists (geologists) conducted in 2007, it was found that “57% agree (17% strongly, 40% somewhat) that climate change within the last few decades has been driven primarily by human or anthropogenic influences.”
    —–
    http://www.gsa.org.au/pdfdocuments/TAG%27s/TAG%20167WEB.pdf
    An independent poll of members of the [Australian Geological] Society (conducted in 2010) showed that a majority (53% of 626 members who responded) did not agree with the Society’s position statement [that climate change is primarily caused by humans]. The Executive then agreed to withdraw that statement from the Society’s website, but by then it had been picked up by other websites and continues to be freely available.

    • “Only 19% of 430 responding meteorologists surveyed (2011) who are members of the American Meterological Society and/or the National Weather Association believe the climate changes due to “mostly human causes.”
      One of those is me(I had the AMS and NWA seals when I was on television).
      To discredit our view, I often hear “well you guys are not climate scientists and only forecast weather”
      At the University of Michigan, in our cloud physics, atmospheric radiation and other classes, they didn’t have a section for meteorology and one for climate. It’s the same atmosphere and same physical laws. Students going on to meteorology or careers in climate science had the same undergrad classes.
      My opinion on the disparity of opinion on this topic between meteorologists and climate scientists is the meteorologists must reconcile models and reality every single day. There is no group that observe the actual atmosphere more comprehensively……….in the real world.
      Climate scientists can use theories and models and projections that are wrong for decades because they period to actually reconcile reality vs projections is so distant as to never face authentic accountability.
      I heard this joke a few times about climate scientists(just a joke) from a group of meteorologists.
      Climate scientists and climatologists are just meteorologists that couldn’t forecast the weather.
      That said, Climate scientists in general have more PHD’s than meteorologists so more academic learning.
      However, I don’t care if you are the smartest man on the planet or have numerous degrees that taught you every theory known in physics and the atmosphere. I still know more things about the real atmosphere, especially with respect to the models that predict it from 33 years of comprehensive observations and analysis of the global atmosphere.
      That’s exactly why the % of meteorologists drinking the cool aide is lower.

      • I’ve posted this link to Nir Shaviv’s blog several times. His post agrees with you 100%
        http://www.sciencebits.com/AR5-FirstImpressions
        According to the AR4 report, the “likely equilibrium range of sensitivity” was 2.0 to 4.5°C per CO2 doubling. According to the newer AR5 report, it is 1.5 to 4.5°C, i.e., the likely equilibrium sensitivity is now known less accurately. But they write: “This assessment reflects improved understanding”. How ridiculous can you be?
        …One reason for the lack of improved understanding could be incompetence of the people in the field. …
        I think the real reason why there is no improvement in the understanding of climate sensitivity is the following. If you have a theory which is correct, then as progressively more data comes in, the agreement becomes better. Sure, occasionally some tweaks have to be made, but overall there is an improved agreement. However, if the basic premises of a theory are wrong, then there is no improved agreement as more data is collected. In fact, it is usually the opposite that takes place, the disagreement increases. In other words, the above behavior reflects the fact that the IPCC and alike are captives of a wrong conception.”

    • kennethrichards,
      As time passes, we learn more. Your group with the slight majority blaming human emissions was polled on 2007. But your later group, polled in 2010, shows only a minority agreeing that human emissions are the primary cause. The following year that minority dropped to only 19%.
      Then there is Planet Earth, which continues to chug along in stasis, neither warming nor cooling. That has been going on for close to twenty years now, and every year that passes makes it harder for the alarmist clique to promote their MMGW narrative.

  3. Well, I know about 20 scientists (including myself).
    None believe in CAGW. However, most believe AGW is real, but almost certainly not significant nor dangerous, and all ask the same question: “How can you possibly hope to quantify it?”
    We all recognise climate change is happening, but this is not something which suddenly started around 1950, as it has been ongoing for over 4 billion years.
    As for the study, like so much in ‘climate science’, you lift up the stone and look underneath and there is usually little or nothing there which is relevant, after the spin and hyperbole have been removed.

  4. Climate questions:
    Q.20F1 Which of these three statements about the earth’s temperature comes closest to your view?
    -The earth is getting warmer mostly because of human activity such as burning fossil fuels
    (50% public – 87% AAAS)
    -The earth is getting warmer mostly because of natural patterns in the earth’s environment
    (23% public – 9% AAAS)
    -There is no solid evidence that the earth is getting warmer
    (25% public – 3% AAAS)
    -Don’t know/Refused
    (2% public – 1% AAAS)
    Q.21AF2 From what you’ve read and heard, is there solid evidence that the average temperature on
    earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades, or not?
    Q.21BF2 Do you believe that the earth is getting warmer [mostly because of
    human activity such as burning fossil fuels/mostly because of natural patterns in the earth’s
    environment]?
    Q.21AF2 From what you’ve read and heard, is there solid evidence that the average temperature on
    earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades, or not?
    Q.21CF2 Do you think that we just don’t know enough yet about whether the Earth is getting warmer or
    do you think it’s just not happening?
    Q.23 From what you’ve heard or read, do scientists generally agree that the earth is getting warmer
    because of human activity, or do they not generally agree about this?
    -Yes, scientists generally agree that the Earth is getting warmer because of human activity
    -No, scientists do not generally agree that the Earth is getting warmer because of human activity
    -Don’t know/Refused
    http://www.pewinternet.org/files/2015/01/PI_Science-and-society_012915.pdf

    • The Q.23 you give above is essentially asking the respondent to summarize what has been reported, which is not the same thing as what the respondent believes at all.

      • James
        January 30, 2015 at 12:16 pm
        The point is that if you ask an atheist “does the bible say god exists” you will get a 100% yes.
        Now ask ‘does god exist’ and you will get a 100% no.
        The question, at best, determines whether the literature has been read and understood and cannot be used to determine anything about what the respondent believes.

  5. If I’m reading it correctly they only asked the FIRST question – Q.20F1 – to both AAAS members and the public. The remaining questions were only asked to the public. A single question about climate to the AAAS respondents – how ridiculous. Yet we’ll be hearing about “scientists say 87% consensus global warming is real and humans are the primary cause”
    What a load of crap.

  6. 97% of the people I come across, who have an opinion on MMGW, are just regurgitating headlines. So the real success of the Warnists is to mainstream the possession of an opinion. As an alternative, ask someone about the existence of Quarks or some such and you might get nasty stares.

  7. I still say that asking “climate scientists” if AGW is real is the same as asking Catholics if the Pope is real. You’re still not going to get 100%, but close…
    Okay, so this needs a climate “science” treatment:
    87% of 18.8% selected respondents responded, so that’s… 87 * 18.8 = 1635.6, 50% of the general public agreed, so that’s 817.8, the warmest year on record is now 2014, add that for 2831.8, with a confidence of 38%, so 1076.084 (we’ll round that one), and the margin of warming is 0.02K, which results in 21.52. And double that, to get the universally accepted answer of 42.
    Feel free to nominate me for Nobel Peace Prizes or grants or whatever.

    • I can’t imagine anyone graduating from college in the last 25 years with a degree in the “climate science” fields if they had a hint of skepticism when they were finished. Talk about indoctrination. If the undergrad went to his advisor and said they wanted to do their thesis in falsifying AGW, they would have quickly been transferred over to the School of Medieval Lithuanian Literature with a note to the receiving Dean “Give this kid something to do. He has too much imagination and scientific inquisitiveness to fit into our program.”

      • That still requires faith… these days, with CG, actors, shadowy groups attempting to gain control of religions and institutions, can you honestly say there is tangible proof of the existence of a Pope?

      • To be a Marxist, you must believe in Marx. I don’t think the Pope does that, especially as Atheism in a key component in Marx.
        There are varieties of Communism that are not Marxist.

  8. “Best to all, and don’t believe everything you read.”
    I don’t.
    Specifically, what was written above, because it contains more fallacies than words!

  9. There is a point when #’s, , %’s , ~’s. margin’s, may be’s, etc etc just make my head spin, and this is one of them, wouldn’t just using 79% instead of 97% have been easier? (just do a 180 spin?).

  10. Its really simple, for example 100 people (the whole group) are asked a question , out of those 50 say yes and 50 say no . Therefore, you can say that 50% of whole group say yes.
    However , and its a big however , when you do not know the size of whole group you cannot say what percentage any number of people is of the whole group.
    How many climate ‘scientists’ are there , answer we do not know . In fact, there is no even an agreed definition of what a climate ‘scientists’ is. Given it has been used as a term to describe railway engineers to failed politicians to people whose weather knowledge is little better than looking at a pine cone to see if it will rain . Then you can see that the whole group could be massive in size or it could be a lot smaller if you could have an agreed definition. However, in both cases its ‘unknown’, therefore you cannot know what percentage of the whole group any number of people is.
    You should give people credit when they done a good job , and one thing that the alarmists have done a ‘good job’ in is their ability to make a claim that has much value as ‘nine out of ten cats prefer’ sounds like it actually has a meaning.
    And that is before we get to the not inconsiderable problem of what it is they agree to and how strong is that agreement.

    • Good catch, Brandon. So just as with climate science itself and the lack of progress in narrowing the bounds of the “climate sensitivity”, after years of work and study we’re back where we started …

    • Brandon says:
      is 87% really the new 97%?
      Yes. The ‘97%’ was so utterly preposterous that they are now backing and filling. It’s a climbdown.
      What I would have done if I were their Minister of Propaganda is to fabricate a number like 61.8%, or 57.5%. Something at least believable at first glance.
      But, NO-O-O-O-O, as Mr. Bill would say. They had to go and make their new invention a whopping ‘87%’.
      That is still a preposterous number, which only the True Believer climate cult will buy into.

    • Willis Eschenbach, thanks. I was shocked to discover that post. It clearly shows Dana Nuccitelli interpreting the Cook et al data in one way (using the approach he described before the ratings were done), a way he since vehemently criticized people for using, presumably because it contradicts the false story Cook et al are promoting about their work (that they found a 97% consensus saying humans cause 50+% of the observed global warming).
      dbstealey, normally I would take issue with a comment suggesting people have fabricated results. However, in this case, I can’t. John Cook spent time examining his data set prior to coming up with the rating criteria. He discussed the nature of his data set in his forum. He even discussed how the criteria would affect the results (ensuring the number wouldn’t be too high by over-representing “skeptic” papers under his criteria). And as that post of mine shows, after they discovered their stated approach to examining their data would give embarrassing results, they changed it.
      So yeah, I think calling his results fabricated is understandable.

  11. Then there’s the matter of the poorly worded question. They asked if “climate change is mostly due to human activity”, with 87% of “scientists” saying yes versus 50% of citizens.
    As human activity includes laying mega tons of concrete and tarmac and the irrigation of millons of square miles of agricultural land, it would be difficult to avoid the conclusion that we’ve affected the climate.

    • As I keep asking alarmists, “What exactly is it that you think I’m denying?” They rarely have a coherent answer, because they’re not usually even sure what it is that they believe in.
      To say that we’re not affecting local climate would be ridiculous. But the “believing in” aspect has the unspoken assumption that what is happening is “bad”, or “destructive”, or “catastrophic”, while all of the things that go along with it are simply not happening (accelerating sea level rise, dangerous warming, horrible droughts, horrible floods, increased cyclonic activity, etc.)
      I can show people charts until the cows come home, they simply refuse to look at them.

      • “What is it that you think I’m denying?”
        ——————
        Asking a simple question like that can quickly turn a situation volatile.

      • Alan Robinson,
        There are lots of fun questions like that:
        “What is the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere?”
        Answer: Four hundreths of one percent; or 4 parts in 10,000, up from 3 parts in 10,000 over the past century; or, 0.00004 of the air is CO2. If China puts lots ‘n’ lots more CO2 into the air, it might eventually go as high as 0.00005. Yikes!
        Or:
        “How much have global temperatures risen in the past century?”
        Answer: Only 0.7ºC. But temperatures have changed naturally by TENS of degrees in the past, with no human emissions to blame for it.
        But don’t talk down to anyone! Explain that it’s just alarmist spin by the rent-seekers, who have been cashing in on the MMGW scare. Ridicule those self-serving scientists — and remind folks that the UN is behind it, pushing for their ‘carbon tax’. Because it really is us against them.

    • I agree . Every human activity from the late Stone Age onward has affected the environment and the climate . Even if one accepts the more moderate AGW position of 2C / doubling of CO2 , we should still ask ourselves if the damage of the human activity causing that change outweighs the gains to society and the individual.
      We do this all the time . Take the introduction of the motorcar as an example. Its appearance on the roads led to immediate increase in death and injury , but it also led to an increase in individual freedom , more efficient transport of goods , etc . This is still the case and 100 years later societies around the world have decided that the gains from cars and trucks outweigh the human risks and costs except in specific urban areas .
      It could be argued that the disadvantages of a carbon based economy are greatly outweighed by the benefits to quality of life . This is the attitude currently adopted by a significant proportion of the population, despite the incessant propaganda to the contrary .
      This attitude does not of course exclude the use of renewables where sensible and other options impractical.
      (BTW: I appreciate that what I have said contradicts the Stern report and that I have absolutely no qualifications in Social Science .)

  12. There’s only so much climate. If you add climate to some places then you must be getting less climate in other places. Be thankful you are not in a place with no climate at all.

  13. If I spit in the ocean, I have “affected the climate”. Whatever effect man has had on “the climate”, it can’t be sussed out of the noise. It can not, and has not been measured. It can only be guessed at. So, it all boils down to belief, not science. These sorts of polls are garbage in garbage out. They are worse than useless.

  14. It’s strange that the kind of evidence that people seek for cAGW is surveys of opinion.
    Most physical sciences seeks evidence of the physical type – observations.
    It is the social sciences that believe their constructs are socially created – without observable physical reality independent of the social milieu.
    Do the AAAS say why they thought this measure was appropriate?

  15. I posted this long ago, but I think it is still relevant. An overheard converstation:
    I heard once there are lies, dam lies and then there is statistics. I never could figure out why lying about dams was so bad, but I think I got the point. Anyway, I read a report recently about people who don’t believe global warming is going to end the world unless we do just what the ones who know best tell us. I think the word for those people who don’t believe is “deniers”.
    Anyway this report said that statistically being a denier is correlated with being a creationist. Another one I read a while ago said that being a denier is correlated with being a conspiracy theorist. It was true because statistics said it was. Then I remembered the one that said statistically there was a 97% consensus that climate scientists believe global warming is going to end the world and all. Well that seemed really cool and the headlines on the reports of the studies sounded like the truth was out there, I mean it was just settled and if you were a denier of that then you were just a nut.
    Now, I am really into the climate thing, okay, and I just always wanted to do something to contribute to climate science. Not the icky part, the part about physics and chemistry and isotopes and measuring and observing stuff, for that you have to be an honest to goodness Qualified Climate Scientist (QCS). I know that. I thought maybe I could do the part about how true climate science is, like how people believe it, you know, using statistics.
    So I asked a friend of mine who is for real a QCS if he thought I could do the part about consensus. He said, sure, as long as I stayed away from the hard part and just did consensus it would be okay. He said the guy who did the 97% thing just had a bachelor’s degree in physics, and even though that guy isn’t a Qualified Climate Scientist, it was okay for that guy to do consensus stuff. My friend said lots of the people who do the consensus part are even just engineers, or economists, or psychologists, so it is okay to do it as long as you use statistics. My friend knows I have at least a bachelor’s degree in physics so he knew I could do it too.
    I thought, Great! I told my friend I was so excited about doing climate science.
    But he said, no, no, no! If I tried to do climate science, not just the consensus part, then that would be dangerous. He said I should just do safe, consensual climate science. So I said okay, I will. He told me I would be okay just so long as I made sure to be safe, to use statistics whenever I did consensual climate science.
    I was so excited. I went back to my computer to do some safe, consensual climate science, but when I got there I just kind of stared at the computer. I thought okay, what now? So I called my friend up and asked him. He said I needed data. So I said okay, how do I get data? He said it is easy for consensual climate science, all you have to do is google, no messy instruments or lab things. I said great, thanks, and hung up.
    So first, by googling, I found this site: http://www.isidewith.com/poll/965637 . It asks people “Is Global Warming a threat to the environment?” Yes or No. I thought cool, that’s just what I want. I clicked on the results for different political parties and the numbers (statistics!!) are:
    Party % Yes %No
    Democrat 97 3
    Republican 16 84
    Libertarian 36 64
    Green 97 3
    Socialist 97 3
    It was so fun I found another web site (by googling!) here:http://www.gallup.com/poll/158978/democrats-republicans-diverge-capitalism-federal-gov.aspx that asked Republicans and Republican Leaners (RRL) versus Democrats and Democrat Leaners (DDL) if they liked different stuff like socialism and all. So the numbers (more statistics!!) were
    Group Percent Positive toward Socialism
    DDL 53
    RRL 23
    So now I thought how cool would it be to find out the correlation between liking socialism and believing global warming is a threat to the environment. So I combined the numbers (statistics!) like this
    Party % Like Socialism %Yes GW is a threat
    Republican 23 16
    Libertarian 23 36
    Democrat 53 97
    Green 75 97
    Socialist 100 97
    I had to fill in the numbers for Libertarians and Greens who liked Socialism because the Gallup poll didn’t ask them, just DDLs and RRLs. But I knew just how to do it because I had read a story about a paper about Kriging climate data. Not being a QCS, I don’t know exactly how it works but I think it is like filling in data you don’t have with what you think it should be. So I figured Libertarians are kind of like RRLs so I put in 23% for them liking socialism. Then I figured Greens seemed like halfway between Democrats and Socialists, because I read the UK Guardian sometimes and that’s just how it seems. So I filled in 75% for Greens liking Socialism. I don’t think it is exactly Kriging, so I call what I did blitzfitzkrieging, which I think means lightning fitting attack or something in German.
    So, I put the numbers in Excel and did a correl(%Like Socialism,%YesGWThreat) and wow, the correlation is 0.85 between believing in GW and liking socialism. That’s really high, I think. I remember the creationist study had just 0.25 correlation between “deniers” and creationists and they said that was significant. I was so excited because 0.85 was like so much higher than 0.25 it just has to be true, I mean it is really settled. Next I needed a title for my study so first I thought “Belief in Global Warming is Correlated with Belief in Socialism at 0.85.” But then I noticed that the titles used by the guys who did consensual climate science were a lot shorter, so I just shortened it to “Global Warmists are Socialists.” And it is so cool because the statistics say it is true.
    Consensual climate science felt so good I just couldn’t stop. So I noticed that 97% of each of Democrats, Greens and Socialists believed in global warming being a threat. And then I noticed, like wow, the 97% consensus study got that same number, 97%. So I did a little blitzfitzkrieging and figured the guys who did the ratings for that study were either Democrats, Greens or Socialists and did a correlation between what they believed at first and what they got from their study and OMG, the correlation is 1! I tried to think of a title for my little study on that and after shortening it I figured it should be “Consensus Raters get Results They Believe Already.”
    I called my QCS friend and told him my results and he said I was doing just great. I told him I was going to keep doing consensual climate science every chance I get. He said great and just make sure I was doing it safely. I said I sure am, I am using statistics every time.

  16. I too am an AAAS member, in section W for the Atmospheric Sciences. I don’t remember receiving an invitation. If I had, I would most certainly have participated. So what percentage of the total AAAS membership was polled?
    And I agree that this was essentially an opinion poll. Members were asked what they ‘felt’ was the correct answer, not what they could prove. I’ve said this before, let me reiterate, the vast majority of scientists base their opinions about AGW on what they read in the funny papers, just like the rest of the public. Very few have bothered to read the IPPC assessments, much less the referenced papers that supposedly support its conclusions. The reason a larger percentage of scientists agree with the AGW contention is that they feel they must show solidarity with fellow scientists and this is how they circle the wagons.

    • good point – there will be a bias/wish to believe in the integrity of scientists in other fields. We do not walk down the street accusing people of being liars unless we have evidence; to ask scientists to impune the work of other scientists without evidence is silly, without evidence of dishonesty they can only answer one way,

  17. It must be obvious to the presenters (and survey organisers) that the 18 year hiatus in the measurements of warming is important context. For instance the question Q.20F1 “The earth is getting warmer mostly because of human activity such as burning fossil fuels” sets out to give the impression that warming is happening now, when the fact has not been measured as happening. At what point does omission become the equivalent of deliberately misleading or lying to the public? The question sets up a question built on a fabrication in order to put the answers in the mouths of the people surveyed.
    Whilst driving yesterday I heard a “science” program discussing a new survey conducted by an Oxford University group which they said shows that the numbers of people believing that Extreme weather events are linked to Global warming is growing. They said that people affected by floods in the West Country were more likely to believe in the connection than members of the general public who had not experience the flooding. Again there is lots of evidence that the floods has aggravating factors (they had stopped dredging rivers and the trees in surrounding hills had been cut down etc>)
    The BBC science program was very strong in their advocacy that AGW is becoming more widely accepted and believed by scientists and the public and that this was a very good thing. No where did anyone suggest that the warming had stopped over the last eighteen years. (I did miss the beginning of the program).

    • A little “amuse bouche” from the BBC this lunch time . In London they are reenacting the last journey of Winston Churchill along the Thames , 50 years ago today . According to the BBC commentator :
      ” Now as then it is bitterly cold”
      50 years of relentless global warming , extra 100ppm of CO2, January in London can still be bitterly cold. Are we perhaps just getting too obsessed with a nonproblem ? Is it not more worrying that Putin can fly his bombers close to our south coast with arrogant , indeed sneering , impunity, or that our much vaunted NHS appears close to collapse in some vital areas ?

      • Actually the reporting on Putin is almost as misinformed as the reporting on AGW..Last October I was in Chechnya and Dagestan – the BBC tell us this is the most dangerous place in Europe, they obviously never visit Swansea. Our media are failing us very badly

  18. Didn’t a number of disgusted members also quit because of the CAGW cheerleading, removing themselves from the possibility of being surveyed?

  19. ‘Mostly’ could be any number as long as it’s more than any other contributor to ‘climate change’. So, if ‘human causes’ (which are varied and include a lot more than just industrial CO2) contribute 25% of ‘climate change’ (whatever that actually means) and solar variability 10%, volcanoes 2%, AMO/PDO 5%, etc then ‘Human causes’ are ‘mostly’ responsible.

  20. Exit polling from the past November election offered this interesting result. On the question: “Do you think climate chance (or global warming) is a serious problem?”, 70% of the self-reported Democrats responded “Yes” while 84% of the self-reported Republicans responded “No”. I wonder how the membership of AAAS breaks down by political party.

  21. Most professional scientist get their publications (such as Science an Nature) from their library. They rarely buy an independent subscription. Hence, they are unlikely to be members of AAAS.

  22. Speaking of self-selection, I was recently reading the results of a shareholder’s vote for a public company whose executive receives in excess of $10 million in salary and perks.
    The question asked shareholder’s to approve executive compensation. The shareholders are made up of a large number of mutual funds, insurance companies, and hedge funds.
    Guess what the yes vote was?
    Yup…97%
    I guess all this media crap about outrage over executive salaries is bunk, since we have proof that 97% of a certain population approves.

    • Elmer,
      Exactly right.
      There is only a small clique of self-serving scientists in on the scam. I’ve repeatedly challenged anyone here to produce the names of even 10% of the OISM’s numbers; 3,000 names. They can’t.
      Then I challenged them to come up with a mere 300 names of scientists who contradict the OISM statement. They can’t.
      They cannot produce even one percent of the OISM’s numbers, which absolutely destroys their silly claim of “consensus”. Like every other claim they’ve made, that one has been falsified, too.
      Instead of totally bogus propaganda like this Science BS, give us NAMES! Find scientists who will put their names on a statement contradicting the OISM Petition. Because if the OISM statment is accurate — that CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere — then all their demonizing of ‘carbon’ is stupid.
      It’s no different than finding a $100 bill on the sidewalk, and saying that’s a bad thing. The biosphere is starved of CO2! More is better. CO2 has been up to 20X higher in the past, with no ill effects.
      If they can get more names on a statement contradicting the OISM statement, they win the ‘consensus’ point. But we know they can’t. Like everything else they assert, their claims of ‘consensus’ are a bunch of carp.

    • The UK Met Office did a poll in the wake of Climategate and got nearly all their employees to rubber-stamp it.

  23. In genuine science, it is not enough to say “ew conducted a random sample.”
    You have to say where your list of subjects came from, then the specific randomization/selection process.

  24. Barry,
    What do you suppose a survey of “highly published” authors in the field of nanotechnology might say about the importance of their field? GMO scientists? Plastic surgeons? Munitions manufacturing? Cold fusion?
    Obviously, society and it’s elected officials should make decisions exclusively on the basis of what “highly published” (and self-interested) practitioners in the field say.

    • John M…

      Imagine you are feeling ill.
      You visit 10 doctors, and they examine you and do tests.
      9 out of the 10 say you have cancer, the other one gives you some aspirin and sends you away.
      ..
      What do you do?

      • 9 out of 10 say you have cancer? And they prescribe very expensive medicine (hmm).
        But you don’t feel any different. Would you ask to see the test results?
        You can’t see them. “Why should I show you the test results when you’ll only try and find something wrong with them?”
        The other guy, he’ll show you that there’s nothing unusual going on but the cancer Docs? No. They are screaming for their money.
        So do you pay up or do you ask for the two sides to debate? The cancer Docs won’t debate. It’s not in their interest. The other guy is beneath them.
        So do you pay up?
        And if you pay up this time what else will you be willing to pay for?

      • After nearly eighty years on this planet I have learned that Armageddon scenarios have a compelling fascination for mankind, which leads to irrational judgements. They are always ‘just over the horizon’ for their protagonists, but In reality they are always so far over the horizon that they just don’t seem to happen.
        A second thing that I have learned is that analogies are always flawed and represent a cheap shot in any worthwhile debate.

      • David S
        To elaborate on your analogy:
        5 dentists, 2 cardiologists, and 2 endocrinologist all received a bunch of grant money to offer an unsolicited assessment of your health; they did this with little to no input data (they collected a little bit of spittle that flew from your mouth when you said good morning to them).
        One of the endocrinologists said he didn’t have enough information to make an informed assessment and said that you probably shouldn’t subject yourself to chemo.
        The second endocrinologist said you looked bad and that I should pay him $40k for more tests and you would likely die if you didn’t eat half as much as you currently do (and that your cancer was a contagion… you will pass it on to your grandchildren) … the other doctors agreed with him (knowing that they would also receive more grant money).
        What would do with the two differing recommendations?
        Suing for malpractice and stripping the 9 Docs of their medical licenses would be my preference.

      • 10 out of 10 doctors tried to send me home from hospital after x-rays showed I’d suffered no spinal/cervical fractures resulting from a car accident I was involved in.
        As a long time sufferer of Ankylosing Spondylitis, I knew better.
        That 10 out of 10 doctor quickly left the room after she almost paralysed/killed me.

      • David Socrates…
        But what if you are NOT ILL ???
        Imagine you are walking down a street feeling fine.
        You go to your doctor’s office, get a blood test, blood pressure taken, get a physical, temperature, all the data. Everything’s relatively normal given your previous results, some higher some lower. All perfectly natural changes in your life. The doctor sits down with you and goes over everything, all the numbers, explains his interpretation. He omits no data just because he thinks you don’t need to see it, or it could make you question his opinion. Instead he encourages your questions.
        On the way home you pass some guy on the corner who says he’s a doctor and tells you you have cancer and if you don’t have very expensive therapy you will start having symptoms in 50 years.
        At the next corner is another “doctor” who tells you you have cancer and if you don’t have very expensive therapy you will die in 100 years and your cancer will be inherited by your children.
        You turn on your television and there’s a news report that there’s a cancer crisis going on and its real because they found 9 doctors on the corner outside their studio with terrible predictions of unbelievable cancers…
        What do you do?

      • Why of course you listen to your doctor, because your doctor is an expert in diagnosing the cause AND providing a remedy.
        A climate scientist is an expert in diagnosing the cause. But he has ZERO expertise in providing a remedy.
        Sure he can say reduce c02.
        But he has no expertise in regulation, none in tax, no expertise in evaluating alternative power generation.
        No experience in economics. In treaties. In treaty compliance. no expertise in evaluating the future technologies. No experience in choosing between mitigation and adaptation. None .zip. zero.
        in short, I have no issue listening to experts on the SCIENCE. yup, c02 is a problem.
        Now you want to talk policy? take an example. james hansen. calls for more nuclear.
        is there a climate science consensus on that? Is his solution part of climate science? do 97% agree to that?
        or does the solution belong in the hands of other people. Why is a climate scientist talking about policy?
        Bottom line; climate scientists should just shut up about policy.
        For example. if your doctor said: You got cancer, you should go long on Oil futures, you’d probably tell him to mind his own business and stick to medicine and leave the financial questions to your accountant.
        And if you doctor said ‘but I have the freedom of speech to tell you what I think about policy” you would
        not be out of line to tell him that you pay him to do medicine and quit wasting your money by talking about finance.

      • @Mosher The list of scientist opposing CAGW (and the models and methodology) include Roger Revelle, Hal Lewis and Freeman Dyson as well as Ivar Giaver and Bill Happer. This should give you great pause. These are some of the most able scientists of the 20th century. If you are appealing to authority — they are at least three or four orders of magnitude more authoritative than Hansen and the others. Dyson made a detailed study and gave a fully informed professional opinion.

      • Mosher –
        But climate scientists are diagnosing a non-problem if the Earth isn’t even “ill”. Where’s the proof Earth is “ill” in the first place? Should we believe climate scientists are better equipped to determine Earth’s health and life-sustaining ability than historians, geologists, anthropologists, physicists, biologists, etc..? I don’t see the great bulk of the world’s scientists proclaiming illness in the first place, so why should we believe “climate scientists” are diagnosing anything more important than a hangnail? What doctor has proclaimed Earth to be ill in the first place other than James Hansen the Venus specialist???

    • Absolutely, all important policy decisions should be made by random internet bloggers rather than experts in the field.

      • Since the “random internet bloggers” are being told to foot the bill for the policy decisions, you’re damn straight we should have a say.

        • I didn’t say anybody shouldn’t “have a say”. What is it about this site and straw man arguments?

      • Unfortunately, Harry, they (important policy decisions) are being made that way – based on the random ramblings of the ranters on RC and SkS. But I support DJ Hawkins’s position: as long as I have to pay I’ll choose who I like to make those decisions.

      • Re: strawman argument:
        “Absolutely, all important policy decisions should be made by random internet bloggers rather than experts in the field.”

  25. Best I can figure, with only 1 out of 5 bothering to respond, that implies that 4 out of 5 would have a statistically different composite opinion. I would also guess that those 16,000+ non-respondents do not believe in AGW at all or have a very low belief level, or they would have put their dog in the fight. Looked at from that point of view, I would say there are more people in the general public that still “believe” than do members of the AAAS.

    • ” that implies that 4 out of 5 would have a statistically different composite opinion”

      No, it implies that 3 out of 5 are too busy to respond, and the other one threw the letter away thinking it was junk mail

      • David both you and Tom O are correct. You said 3/5 were to busy to respond…hmm that is like saying the house is on fire but you don’t call the fire department or rather the doorbell rings and its a evangelist . Either way they determined it was not worth their time. And as for the 1/5 who thought it was junk mail; you couldn’t be more right. Very astute of you and that 1/5
        michael

  26. David Socrates,
    Imagine you go to the doctor and your blood pressure is 140/90. He tells you that you must immediately eliminate all salt in your diet and go on blood pressure medication for the rest of your life.
    What do you do?
    Harry Flashman, how about policy decisions be made by policy experts and elected officials? I know climate scientists and their supporters are all geniuses, but I suspect their approach to political policy-making is a bit…self-centered.

    • Just like in my previous post, you get a 2nd opinion…..However, you could follow the example of my post and get 9 other opinions and then make a decision.

        • Hedge
          ..
          Take the aspirin, and get treatment for the cancer
          Yes, treat the cancer. But only IF you actually have cancer.
          “We have been paid 92 billion dollars to study foot cancer in 110 year-old people.
          We think you might get cancer in your big toe in 50 years because you might get a dark spot on your foot in 20 years.
          Therefore we are going to cut off both of your legs. “

          See, there is NO harm from ANY temperature change (natural or man-caused) 2 degrees or below.
          So, “No cancer, no treatment needed. We will not cut off your legs.”
          There is very little harm to very few people in very few places IF temperature increases by 3 degrees in 85 years.
          But, there is great benefits to billions of people worldwide and tremendous benefits to the world’s biologies IF temperatures do increase by 3 degrees in 85 years.
          So, small chances of small harm, but absolute certainty of great good. And that ONLY IF global temperatures do change AND ONLY IF global temperatures do increase because of CO2 increases. Do not cut off off the patient’s head if there is a small threat to the toenail on the big toe.

      • RACookPE1978
        ..
        How many doctors do you need to tell you that you have cancer before you are convinced?
        if 9 out of 10 isn’t enough, do you need 15 out of 16 or 44 out of 47 ?

      • I love it science by analogy. I’ll give it a try. So if you’re getting back surgery and 9 of the 10 surgeons won’t let you see your xrays or MRI reports or tell/show you exactly what’s wrong with your back you’d let them operate?

      • Get the treatment for the cancer?
        That depends on the price if the cancer. What if I’m now infertile?
        It would be like the man who had terrible headaches. Skullsplitters! He’d stand up and agony. He’d sit down and thrumming daggers through the mind.
        Medicine couldn’t help him. Aspirin, no. Codeine, no. Heroin and a whisky chaser, no.
        The same pain he’s had since he was thirteen.
        Eventually he found the world’s leading neurologist. A Dr so eminent his office had a double-door just to fit the letters after his name. And this expert, this genius, he knew a cure. A most desperate cure.
        It seemed his spinal column was being dragged down by the weight of his genitals – this crushed his brain on the edge of the rear of his skull. Agony! It could be cured but with a price.
        He needed to lose his testicles.
        Much consternation. Much quandary. But the poor man was desperate. He said “yes”. And the operation went ahead. Chopity chop.
        Freedom. Like light and laughter and love, such a grace above… no pain. The Dr was right. It worked! Hallelujah!
        He walked out happy as Larry the Happyman. Skipping and whistling – wanting a new life of comfort and calm. He dances past a grocers, leaps past a barbers and waltzes past a tailors. Then he thinks, new man – new clothes. I’ll buy a suit.
        In he walks and requests new threads (he gives his measurements because he knows his own body). But the tailor says “Yes, collar right, waist right but inside leg NO!
        I’ve tailored my whole life and my father and grandfather before and we would know if that was the case – its too short.
        My, oh my. If you wore trousers that length your under-volume would be so crushed you wouldn’t have room for your children’s pre-nursery.
        You’d have to be a eunuch if you wanted to fit those measurements.”
        Can society afford the guess you make?

    • Thanks for the civil reply. I agree scientists of any stripe shouldn’t be making policy decisions, but the experts should be the key people informing those decisions. If policy makers and elected officials are rejecting the mass of scientific opinion because the facts are unpopular with their constituency, that’s a problem.

      • If policy makers and elected officials are rejecting the mass of scientific opinion because the facts are unpopular with their constituency, that’s a problem.

        That’s very unlikely to be the case in China. Or in Egypt. Or even in Mexico, Australia or the UK.
        Every government around the world agree that the correct response to cAGW is nothing.
        They may talk about it. They may watch out for it.
        But they won’t prioritise it. Because it isn’t a problem now. And it may never be a problem.
        Asian dictatorships. Middle Eastern Monarchies. European Social Democracies. North American Republics. They all agree. The science isn’t worth acting on.
        It’s not due to fear of their constituency. It’s just the logical response.

      • Except the “mass of scientific opinion” is that the earth is warming and CO2 is causing “most” of it. That does not suggest any particular policy action. Nor does it say how serious the problem is. In fact, since there are many other more immediate problems, inaction may in fact be the right policy decision. It’s sort of like trying to ban the automobile in 1910 because some people were convinced it would become ubiquitous and lead to all kinds of unpleasantness, without allowing a discussion or consideration of the benefits.
        Climate activists, and indeed, many climate scientists, are too quick to proclaim that a “97% consensus” immediately points to some specific action. Even those who are part of the “97%” and advocate for adaptation over mitigation are demonized and have the “97% consensus” waived at them.

        • I agree, we don’t have certainty that the outcomes of continue greenhouse gases will be catastrophic, at least not in a timeframe that has meaning to humans. But it very well could (yes, I know noone on this site thinks that, you don’t need to tell me, everyone), and since the cost would be essentially infinite at that point, mitigation makes sense.
          I’m also of the opinion that switching to a low carbon society is good for all kinds of other reasons – wind and solar are already cost-competitive fossil fuels for electrical generation in most jurisdictions, and those costs are only coming down as the technology improves. In a few years when the issues around storage are worked out, building new fossil fuel plants is going to be as viable as opening a buggy factory would have been in 1930. It’s only the companies with trillions invested in reserves and infrastructure and their political shills who want to keep the party going until they’ve sucked every last drop out of the planet.

      • Sir Harry,
        If fossil fuel companies go the way of buggy factories so be it. Automobiles didn’t beat out buggies because of government subsidies. They did the job better than buggies.
        When renewables get to that point, they will win. Whether fossil fuel executives are evil or not has nothing to do with it.
        Maybe you should find David Socrates’ witch doctor and have him but a hex on an oil executive.

        • Renewables are already at par with fossil fuels without government support in some places and on track in many others within the next few years. That of course, doesn’t account for for environmental costs and the massive subsidies paid to the oil folks (substantially larger than renewables globally, and noone ever talks about how they need to be eliminated to create a “fair” market.) . Renewables will certainly win, it’s just a matter of whether we get on the train in the west or let Asia own this latest industrial revolution.
          http://cleantechnica.com/2014/10/16/wholesale-grid-parity-achievable-coming-years-says-report/
          http://www.iisd.org/GSI/fossil-fuel-subsidies
          And don’t put words in my mouth – I didn’t say oil company execs were evil; merely that like you and me and most everyone else, they’re self-interested. And my self-interest doesn’t include unnecessarily digging up and burning half the planet and letting our kids worry about the consequences.

      • “It’s only the companies with trillions invested in reserves and infrastructure and their political shills who want to keep the party going until they’ve sucked every last drop out of the planet.”
        Sorry for interpreting that as “evil”. What could I have been thinking.
        If you are of the opinion that renewables are now capable of competing on their own, I hope you will agree with me that they no longer need any special subsidies.
        Please enumerate the subsidies fossil fuel companies receive. I think you will find that most of the worldwide “subsidies” are in fact policies by two-bit dictators to keep consumer gasoline prices low so that they can stay in power. As far as the US is concerned, the “subsidies” include purchases to stock the strategic oil reserves and heating oil support for the poor (over a billion dollars last year). You are welcome to propose those be eliminated.
        I also find your comment about “environmental costs” somewhat puzzling, coming so soon after you spoke glowingly of the automobile making buggy factories obsolete. No doubt, if we’d had an over-educated, under-worked elite class “analyzing” that competition in the early 20th century, buggy factories may indeed have been a good investment. The rest of the economy would, of course, be in the pits.

      • Fine..
        ..
        Then the next time you feel ill, you are free to consult the local witch doctor for help. Bloodletting and leeches will most certainly cure your ills.

      • Not sure how you get from my “I don’t think the Earth has cancer” to “fine, go see a witch doctor.”
        But then you seem to be the type that goes from “CO2 is a greenhouse gas” to “OMG, we’re all going to die” at the drop of a hat.
        Given your disposition, I’d suggest you stay away from the hemlock.

      • OK….let me explain it directly instead of using an analogy.
        ..
        When you have a question about something you are not an expert in, you consult an expert.
        ..
        See? It’s not that complicated.

      • That’s why I occasionally talk to a stock broker.
        I’d be a fool to blindly follow his advice though.
        You seem to be having trouble getting away from the cancer analogy. Not everything is life or death.
        Your mileage may vary.

      • Try this

        Imagine your foot hurts..
        You visit 10 doctors, and they examine you and do tests.
        9 out of the 10 say you have a broken bone , the other one says they’ll have to amputate.
        What do you do?

      • It’s a simple question with a simple answer. I wouldn’t amputate.
        Does the Earth have a broken leg? Can you show me the x-ray?
        Aren’t analogies fun?

      • I’m quite comfortable having the opinion that CO2 doesn’t cause cancer or bone breakage.
        Is your opinion different?

      • David S
        To elaborate on your analogy:
        5 dentists, 2 cardiologists, and 2 endocrinologist all received a bunch of grant money to offer an unsolicited assessment of your health; they did this with little to no input data (they collected a little bit of spittle that flew from your mouth when you said good morning to them).
        One of the endocrinologists said he didn’t have enough information to make an informed assessment and said that you probably shouldn’t subject yourself to chemo.
        The second endocrinologist said you looked bad and that I should pay him $40k for more tests and you would likely die if you didn’t eat half as much as you currently do (and that your cancer was a contagion… you will pass it on to your grandchildren) … the other doctors agreed with him (knowing that they would also receive more grant money).
        What would do with the two differing recommendations?
        Suing for malpractice and stripping the 9 Docs of their medical licenses would be my preference.

      • David First your reply ” Then the next time you feel ill, you are free to consult the local witch doctor for help. Bloodletting and leeches will most certainly cure your ills.” Ahem Bleeding was the established medical practice in the 1700s. Not by “witch doctors”. G. Washington was being treated for a fever he contracted, by the medical experts of the time, their treatment was to bleed him. He died. Next leeches or rather maggots; they were used by doctors for the Confederate States army during the ACW. They did this not out of preference but due to medical shortages. Their records show a decrease in infection rates and an increase survival rates.
        So are we in fact seeing a repeat in treatments? The medical experts of the time called for bleeding as the remedy for ailments real and imaginary . And today modern “climate” experts” diagnose a fever and proscribe “bleeding” as the treatment. Oh and if you wish to compare the fossil fuel industry to the leeches and maggots, just remember how many people survived without having to lose limbs to gas gangrene. We learn as we go David, we learn as we go..
        michael

      • John M says:
        From cancer to a fever. I’ll take it.
        Now we’re on the right track. The original alarmist analogy is bogus, because there is no cause to believe there is any problem. None at all.
        You don’t even have a fever, John M. It’s more like you got a hangnail, and since you’re a little bit crazy you think you should go see a doctor, pronto. You’re referred by your friend Mr. Chicken Little to Dr. Duck, a quack who starts billing you for endless tests — for your hangnail!
        That is an accurate analogy, not the bogus ‘cancer’ scare. There has never been any global harm demonstrated due to the rise in CO2. None at all. The entire climate scare is a giant head fake, promoted by ignorant folks who have bought into the Narrative. Cancer is a real threat; but CO2 is completely harmless. In fact, CO2 has been up to twenty times higher in the geologic past, without causing any problems.
        So the correct analogy of the two is the hangnail. That’s the extent of the problem. The cure is to disregard it. But with the big bucks involved, the global warming scare is being kept on life support. As we see from this article, every year the numbers go more and more toward the skeptics’ view.
        It’s only a hangnail, folks. It isn’t ‘cancer’, except in the fevered imaginations of the alarmist lemmings.

      • David Socrates
        You clearly are as impressed with the prowess of the medical profession as you are with the academics of climatology.
        Not surprising then that all you need for cementing your belief is the knowledge that 87% or 97% are singing from the same hymnal.
        You might or might not be interested to look at historical life expectancy statistics and ponder just how much is contributed by physicians, how much by pharmaceutical companies and how much by civil engineers.
        Whereas a new-born in the US in 1850 had a life expectancy of about half the 76 years of a baby today, a sixty-year old man now only does 5 years better than his counterpart from 1850. That’s according to some experts somewhere!
        I dare say your ten second opinions will likely be very similar; it doesn’t mean they can do a damn thing for you.

  27. This particular poll is probably beyond redemption in every way. However my guest post at Climate Etc. today examines general US poll data on attitudes to climate change, and why folks answer what they do to differently worded questions. It challenges previous analyses by the Consensus-influenced, with psychologist Dan Kahan as a detailed example. The fact that CAGW is a strong culture in its own right explains many climate change poll results, and reveals the high likelihood that a majority of Democrats are *allied* to this culture for political purposes, but don’t truly believe in the narrative of catastrophe themselves. Given that social-science / psychology professionals don’t acknowledge CAGW as a culture, they remain permanently puzzled regarding poll results and fail to see some obvious cultural effects (which their own fields describe adequately outside of the climate domain).
    http://judithcurry.com/2015/01/30/climate-psychologys-consensus-bias/

  28. The 87% number is quoted in todays Nat Silver’s FiveThirtyEighth blog
    “There’s A Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know”

  29. First, the word ‘Mostly’ is misleading. To me it would mean if 51% of warming can be attributed to man. Which I agree with. I think that the issue is land use changes, temperature reconciliation, soot and particulate matter, and possibly the increase in CO2 would all be a factor in the increase in temperature that is MORE than 51% meaning it is ‘Mostly’.
    Has they asked the question ARE YOU CONCERNED about the increase in temperature the answer would be ‘No’.
    This is frustrating because I would then be one of the 87% even though I do not agree that there is 1 ) a concern, or that the temperature is anything more than man’s miscalculation added on top of other factors which may cause an impact.

  30. Purley a PR study. Terrible sampling methodology results in terrible sample and idiot results. Unfortunately it happens all the time even in medical research!

  31. Forget the sloppiness of this Pew poll, and the fact that hypotheses aren’t confirmed via vote, the question still remains whether a majority of scientists think doubling CO2 will cause catastrophic climate consequences.
    Even if one were to assume that 51% of the 0.75º of global warming since 1850 were caused by CO2, this would only be 0.38ºC of warming over the past 164 years. Since CO2’s forcing effect is logarithmic, any incremental increase of CO2 from here on will have less and less of a forcing effect…
    Suppose for the sake of argument, we get another 2ºC (highly unlikely as it would require a trend of 0.24ºC/decade for the next 85 straight years starting from tomorrow) of global warming by 2100, of which, 51% was from CO2. That would only add up to a total of about 1.4ºC of CO2 induced warming from 1850~2100…
    Is 1.4ºC of CO2 induced warming by 2100 considered catastrophic? I don’t think so…
    Political hacks wish to waste $10’s of TRILLIONS on CO2 sequestration policies to avoid 2ºC+ of CO2 induced warming by 2100….
    Color me crazy, but wouldn’t it be mo’ bedda to not waste a DIME and enjoy 1.4ºC of warming, booming economies, higher living standards, rapid 3rd-world economic development, higher crop yields and forest growth and peace on Earth towards men of goodwill, at business as usual fossil fuel consumption???
    Why is CAGW not already in the trash bin by now?

    • CAGW is not in the trash bin yet because it fits the anti-development “humans are a cancer on the earth” philosophy of far too much of the political left. It also gives people a cheap way to assuage their inchoate guilt at being among the 1% richest people on a planet stuffed to the brim with desperately poor people, as they can e.g. bicycle to work and believe that they are saving the planet.
      w.

      • The science of AGW is not “CAGW”…… moving the goal posts doesn’t help your argument.

        • The science of AGW is not “CAGW”……

          Socrates: The science of AGW is ENTIRELY FUNDED BY politicians who need the control that only “CAGW” provides……

      • And it gives politicians a new taxation target to collect more money to cover the increasing subsidy demands of their last few schemes. The really great thing about CAGW for politicians is they are not accountable to actually do anything to stop or slow down climate change because it will take care of itself. It’s not like health care or housing or retirement income where you have real people demanding to get the services they’ve been promised.
        So what if you take the money and the climate continues to warm? No problem; just shift funding away from studies showing how dangerous any change is toward studies showing how everyone benefits from a “managed climate”. If you make up the problem in the first place, it’s a whole lot easier to convince people you’ve also solved it.

      • David Socrates,

        The science of AGW is not “CAGW”…… moving the goal posts doesn’t help your argument.

        But the politics of AGW is “CAGW”.
        If AGW is not catastrophic why bother?
        Most science is interesting. If you pay attention it’s exciting. But policy isn’t affected. Because it isn’t the end of the world.
        But CATASTROPHIC (Arghh!)/AGW is the end of the world. So it needs action.
        No-one minds what’s just in your head – the actions are seen and so the actions – they count.
        There is no moving the of goal posts by identifying catastrophic AGW as AGW in public discourse.

      • M Couirtney
        “But the politics of AGW is “CAGW”.

        If you say so, I prefer not get involved in political discussions.
        “If AGW is not catastrophic why bother?”

        Because a lot of people don’t understand the
        science and are led astray by the politics.
        You post “There is no moving the of goal posts by identifying catastrophic AGW as AGW in public discourse. …..yes there is…..the science of AGW does not include “catastrophe” If you introduce that word to the debate you are politicizing the science. It is best not to include it when discussing the science because it involves value judgements which you know are not a part of the science. .

  32. Inserting the word “catastrophic” into your question is a tried and true method of asking a “leading” question in a polling study. It requires the respondent to do two things which despoil the results of the poll. It requires them to make a value judgement, which the actual science does not address, and it requires the respondent to predict the future which is inexact at best.

    • Then the proper way to handle this issue is to add additional questions worded differently to test bias and its significance. It surely cannot be to maintain a single ambiguous question, and then divine meaning from the results.

      • Kevin Kilty,
        The alarmist cult absolutely must use the qualifier “catastrophic”. The reason is obvious: if they admitted that for whatever reason that global T had risen by only a minuscule 0.7ºC over the past century and a half, how would that continue to shake the taxpayer money tree?
        No, just reading the alarmist comments is all we need to do to see that alarming the public is their deliberate tactic. They must try to scare people with stories of fast rising sea levels, ocean “acidification” wiping out oysters, and disappearing polar ice. Of course, it’s all BS.
        Without their constant false alarms, their grant money would soon be cut. So they continue to beat the ‘runaway global warming’ drum. They have no choice. Their only other choice is to tell the truth. But they can’t at this point. So they lie. It’s in their nature.

  33. Why would any reputable polling agency let the group being polled select a sample within the universe of membership. Never heard of it. The breakdown of participants says it all. Now let’s do a real poll.

  34. I wonder if someone from Pew will respond to Willis’s critique. It would be vastly more interesting than the idiotic tweaking by trolls like David Socrates that are cluttering up this thread (remember, “Don’t Feed the Trolls!”). But I won’t hold my breath. . .
    /Mr Lynn

  35. And PEW itself is an advocacy group with an in-house research effort along the lines of labor union research efforts at labor policy centers. Collectively, they represent advocacy messaging with low-level “research” efforts and press releases of “studies.” It is all third rate research around and inside the beltway conducting questionable work, where frequency of messaging is more important than quality of the effort.

    • This has been my impression of Pew as well… very much in tune with the current meme of “all climate change caused by man”,
      They take online courses in how to most succinctly obliterate history and still be home in time for dinner.

    • Since at least 1998, PEW has maintained a strong advocacy branch, thinly-disguised as “bipartisan”, with a single motive wrt climate change.
      http://www.c2es.org/about/history

      HISTORY
      As the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) builds on an exceptionally strong foundation.
      Founded in 1998 with the support of The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Pew Center was widely recognized in the United States and abroad as a credible, independent force for pragmatic climate action. Named by the University of Pennsylvania the world’s top environmental think tank in 2011 and 2009, the nonpartisan Center was a valued source of information and analysis, an effective bridge between diverse interests, and an established leader in catalyzing constructive business engagement….
      Established a strong social media presence through the Climate Compass blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
      As part of its transition from a private foundation to a public charity, The Pew Charitable Trusts has largely phased out its grant-giving to outside organizations, including the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. In November 2011, the Pew Center was reestablished as the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. A nonprofit, tax-exempt organization under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3), C2ES is supported by a wide range of philanthropic, corporate and individual contributors

    • Pew in Australia
      ‘However, this draft plan was strongly critized by environment groups. Burke, doubtless under considerable pressure from the Australian Greens, which had entered into a deal with the Labor party to form minority government after the 2010 poll, ended up producing a final plan which banned anglers from more than 2.3 million square kilometres of Australian waters. He also distanced himself from initiatives such as wilderness zones and C&R fisheries that he had previously supported.
      This final plan was lauded as a “major victory” by Pew and other environment groups but caused significant disquiet and anger amongst the rec fishing community.’
      http://www.fishingworld.com.au/news/analysis-pew-politics-and-fishing

  36. If I remember correctly Benji (consultant to Mr Watts) may be a voting member.
    If so, I’d like to know how he voted on this poll or am I barking up the wrong tree?

  37. How to get the poll result you want – ‘Yes Minister’ a BBC comedy series.
    Mrs Thatcher said this was not comedy, but a documentary series !!

    Ahh, they don’t make comedy like they used to…
    R

  38. As usual Willis does an amazingly thorough job of probing the facts behind the story. I am amazed Pew research, which I have always respected, fell into the clearly totally invalid AAAS manipulation. Thanks Willis for the well presented facts.
    As usual the commenters on WUWT have broadened, probed and debated the numbers and the meaning of it all with skill and thoroughness.
    Thanks to all involved. I am a better informed and educated person thanks to your efforts.
    The other side of the poll received little notice here and I find it the most interesting. Only 50% of the general public at this point accept the human induced climate change campaign. I think that represents significant progress on the part of all my climate change skeptic heroes. Despite billions of dollars in U.S. government funding, despite total support by one of the two major political parties in the United States, despite the continuing campaign by the United National Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, despite the vigorous efforts of several of our U.S. government agencies (NOAA, NASA, EPA), despite the loud and well funded efforts of AlGore, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club and the total “the sky is falling” support for all of this by the media, only 50% of the general public accepts the alarmist fear mongering.
    I encourage the bright, engaged group that populates WUWT to spread your knowledge via Facebook, Twitter, media comment pages, letters to the editor, blogs, talks to community groups and what ever other means of communication you can find. When we tip the scale of public opinion, the media and politicians will follow. We can eventually correct the bad science behind the climate change hysteria based on the totally failed carbon dioxide greenhouse effect theory.
    And, again thanks for the amazing education your posts and comments provide on this site.

  39. David Socrates
    January 30, 2015 at 9:10 am
    “Try this

    Imagine your foot hurts..
    You visit 10 doctors, and they examine you and do tests.
    9 out of the 10 say you have a broken bone , the other one says they’ll have to amputate.
    What do you do?”
    People that use the doctor analogy are brainwashed, where they don’t understand the situation enough to make an analogy that makes sense.
    The correct analogy would be if 9 out of 10 doctors wanted to amputate because they had computer models that said so…………….and they didn’t even examine the patient! The 10th one uses an examination of the patient to base his diagnosis on………..a splinter that is easily removed.
    The so called 9 out of 10 climate scientist consensus calls for very aggressive actions to treat a potentially catastrophic problem on our planet because of widespread CO2 pollution.
    The skeptic states that CO2 is a beneficial gas which is greening up the planet, causing slight and mostly beneficial warming. The skeptic’s position is based on observations of the real world……….. there is no empirical evidence of dangerous warming, just computer models programmed to show dangerous warming. So it makes no sense to to administer aggressive treatment when the patient is not even sick.

    • Mike Maguire,
      You’ve hit the nail on the head. The alarmist clique likes to use that failed analogy. I say ‘failed’, because the true analogy is this:
      You get a hangnail. It might bleed a little. Then a crackpot friend says, “Hey, you’d better go see a doctor, that might be fatal!”
      Do you go to the doctor? Or do you use common sense?
      The ‘carbon’ scare is the same thing. There has never been any harm identified from CO2, yet the wild-eyed Chicken Little contingent runs around in circles, squawking and telling everyone that the sky is falling.
      What do you do? Waste all your resources on their non-problem? Or do you use some common sense?

  40. Is 87% within the margin of error on the original claim of 97%? If not, then this at least casts doubt on the original claim.

  41. I left the AAAS soon after it and its tabloid rag Science became a propaganda gig for the Holdren crowd. And oh yes, the sight of 2000 AAAS “scientists” rising to give Al Gore a standing ovation after delivering his standard harangue is enough to make you hit the reset button.

  42. Sir Harry Flashman January 30, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Renewables are already at par with fossil fuels without government support in some places …

    How’s about giving us a list of those places. Other than niche markets (e.g. cell phone repeaters on mountain tops) I know of no place that they are at par.

    … and on track in many others within the next few years.

    You’re a bit late to the party on that one, Flash. We’ve been told that here in the US for thirty years, and it’s still not true. You’re just the latest in a long line of folks making that bogus allegation, you can’t even claim novelty.

    That of course, doesn’t account for for environmental costs …

    Yeah, the US and Europe are virtually unlivable because of evil fossil fuels … NOT. Fossil fuels take dirty places and clean them up, not the other way around. Try doing that with wind power.

    … and the massive subsidies paid to the oil folks (substantially larger than renewables globally, and noone ever talks about how they need to be eliminated to create a “fair” market.) .

    Again with this canard. Yes, oil subsidies GLOBALLY are large, because countries like Venezuela and Russia subsidize their oil industries heavily, and sell their oil TO THEIR OWN CITIZENS at pennies on the dollar … which has nothing to do with anything outside their countries. Well, except it means they have to price their exported oil higher in order to make a profit …
    But in the US, it’s the other way around. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2010 fossil-fuel subsidies amounted to $4 billion a year. These included $240 million in credit for investment in Clean Coal Facilities; a tax deferral worth $980 million called excess of percentage over cost depletion; and an expense deduction on amortization of pollution-control equipment. Renewable sources received more than triple that figure, roughly $14 billion. And the same is true in Europe, only more so.(Source)
    And this doesn’t touch the difference in actual energy production. The $4 billion US subsidy to the fossil fuel industry (coal, gas, and oil) comes out at about 35¢ per barrel of oil equivalent produced.
    But because the renewables produce only a fraction of the energy that comes from fossil fuels, the renewable subsidy is no less than $13.12 per barrel of oil equivalent produced.
    So your fairy tale about who gets subsidized the most is simply not true, either in total or per barrel of oil equivalent. And if you want to go talk to the Venezuelans and Russians about how their domestic-only subsidies “need to be eliminated to create a “fair” market” outside their countries, be my guest, and good luck with that … but it has nothing to do with e.g. the sky-high electricity prices in California due to renewable subsidies.
    w.

  43. “So what’s not to like? Well, the first oddity of the study is that we have absolutely no guarantee that the scientists are … well … scientists.”
    Anyone suggest yet that must be that’s why the number is so low.

  44. “Please, someone tell me how a neuroscientist or political scientist or sociologist or any number of scientists from any of the fields have knowledge greater than the general public.”
    They don’t need knowledge. They just think clearly. The logic behind GW is not that difficult.

    • Oh, this should be good! Explain it to us, Mr Logical Clear Thinker.
      Please use clear thinking like you did above:
      Anyone suggest yet that must be that’s why the number is so low.

    • They don’t need knowledge. They just think clearly. The logic behind GW is not that difficult.

      As long as the inconvenient facts and the counter-logic aren’t considered.

      • Since most of the energy reaching the earth is “radiative,” I would think that radiative physics is a darn good place to start.

  45. I wanted to see just who the “scientists” were as soon as I saw only 31% were in favor of fracking. There are legitimate issues with poorly executed fracks, but I could not see how any group could look into the subject in detail and come up with that high of a negative response.
    oh!…. there was no need to know anything about the subject

  46. Climate changes? Check.
    How much has climate changed in the last 10,000 years?
    How much did climate change in the 10,000 years before that?
    Which part do you think humans are responsible for?

  47. The sample size was NOT 3748, it was 19984. The refusal rate was 94.6%, and only 6.1% of those surveyed agreed with the central premise (3261 out of 19984). Surveys that have such a high refusal rate are meaningless, unless you know for a fact that the self-selection aspect of those answering are representative of the whole. Here, you cannot say they are, and indeed, given the political polarization of the issue, you must assume the answering sample is NOT representative, but rather that it is partisan.
    Social scientists and their stinking statistics are trying to cause the demise of science.

    • Here’s their methodology:

      We compiled a database of 1,372 climate researchers and classified each researcher into two categories: convinced by the evidence (CE) for anthropogenic climate change (ACC) or unconvinced by the evidence (UE) for ACC.

      Setting aside the abysmally subjective nature of the criteria, who did the “classification”? Why, Stephen Schneider, among others.
      So all the study shows is that Steven Schneider and his alarmist friends think that a majority of scientists are “convinced by the evidence for anthropogenic climate change” … be still, my beating heart.
      And that passes for “science” in your world? Even without considering their other bogus criteria, does a bunch of climate alarmists sorting papers into two piles and declaring victory make your scientific blood run fast?
      Perhaps that impresses you, Jan, although I’d thought better of your intellectual abilities.
      w.
      PS—Bizarrely, they classified some scientists as both “convinced by the evidence” (CE) and “unconvinced by the evidence” (UCE) … I guess like the Red Queen, they believe six impossible things before breakfast …

      • Good, so why don’t you conduct a study of over 1000 scientists that have published in the field, and find out what proportion of them support the AGW hypothesis, and what proportion reject the AGW hypothesis.
        ..
        You could even publish your results!!!

      • It’s a scientific paper, i.e. they describe their methods, for instance:

        We compiled a database of 1,372 climate researchers and classified each researcher into two categories: convinced by the evidence (CE) for anthropogenic climate change (ACC) or unconvinced by the evidence (UE) for ACC. We defined CE researchers as those who signed statements broadly agreeing with or directly endorsing the primary tenets of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report that it is “very likely” that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for “most” of the “unequivocal” warming of the Earth’s average global temperature in the second half of the 20th century (3). We compiled these CE researchers comprehensively from the lists of IPCC AR4 Working Group I Contributors and four prominent scientific statements endorsing the IPCC (n = 903; SI Materials and Methods). We defined UE researchers as those who have signed statements strongly dissenting from the views of the IPCC. We compiled UE names comprehensively from 12 of the most prominent statements criticizing the IPCC conclusions (n = 472; SI Materials and Methods). Only three researchers were members of both the CE and UE groups

        /Jan

      • Thank you Jan
        ..
        Hey Mike M.

        Look at study from Jan’s post
        ..
        Seems the “doctors” are all acknowledging both the “patients” fever, and it’s cause.
        ..

      • David Socrates January 31, 2015 at 1:01 pm

        Good, so why don’t you conduct a study of over 1000 scientists that have published in the field, and find out what proportion of them support the AGW hypothesis, and what proportion reject the AGW hypothesis.
        ..
        You could even publish your results!!!

        Why don’t I? Because science is not a democracy. Scientific questions are not decided by vote. And as the man said, science is the belief in the fallibility of experts.
        w.

      • Jan Kjetil Andersen January 31, 2015 at 1:18 pm

        It’s a scientific paper, i.e. they describe their methods, for instance:

        We compiled a database of 1,372 climate researchers and classified each researcher into two categories: convinced by the evidence (CE) for anthropogenic climate change (ACC) or unconvinced by the evidence (UE) for ACC.

        Or, as I said above after reading it, Steven Scheider and other alarmists divided them into two piles based on totally subjective criteria.
        Like I said, Jan, I thought better of your intelligence.
        First, such a study is meaningless. As Einstein famously said after 100 scientists signed an objection to his work, “If I were wrong, one would be enough”.
        Second, such appeals to authority are a recognized logical fallacy.
        Third, having dedicated alarmists doing the sorting is a joke.
        Fourth, they have only the most subjective of criteria to do the sorting.
        So I fear I don’t care if “it’s a scientific paper”—it’s not science in any form.
        w.

    • “Publishing in the field”
      Of course the alarmists are spreading their alarm. The whole field–and especially those most active in it–has differentially attracted tree-hugger types who have swallowed the environmental dogma of “two legs bad.” And it has attracted the world-saver type, like Hansen–victims of “the messianic delusion.”
      This point is most clearly seen in the simple science of polar bear ecology, in which the acrobatics and underhandedness of the polar bear specialists group stand out, and which serves as a case study of what’s wrong with the complex science of climatology.
      And, of course, it’s hard for contrarians to get published in that field–their articles must pass a higher bar.

  48. Here’s a collection of past WUWT posts on the 97-Doctors analogy:

    Jim Clarke says:
    September 20, 2013 at 7:03 am
    “…leaked documents seen by the Associated Press, yesterday revealed deep concerns among politicians about a lack of global warming over the past few years.”
    Imagine your doctor expressing ‘deep concern’ when he discovers you are in good health.
    “I am sorry, Mr. Smith, but there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with you. You might think that is great news, but it really sucks for me. I love giving people treatments, having control over their lives and making them pay me an inordinate amount of money, while I get to play the hero, even if my treatments are completely ineffective! That is what I love, and your good health is just really screwing it up for me! So I have decided to start giving you treatment for cancer anyway. While this will be extremely painful for you and very expensive, it will make me and the staff here feel better. Besides, what if you really do have cancer and the tests just didn’t show it? I mean…think of your children, Mr. Smith! Don’t you love your children?”
    M Courtney says:
    November 26, 2013 at 12:06 pm
    A man goes to the Doctors for a routine check-up.
    The Doctor says “You are very sick. We have no time for further tests. We must act now,”
    “But I feel fine. I have no symptoms…”
    “NOW! We must act now! I am an expert, a world renowned highly qualified medical practitioner” Do as I say,”
    “OK. What must we do?”
    “I’m just going to cut off your left leg, your right arm and your genitals”
    “What?”
    “Come on, hurry up, leg or whatever first? Oh, don’t worry I’ll do whatever I want”.
    “Wait, can I have a second opinion?”
    “No time.”
    “But there’s no sign I’m sick. How about I get a second opinion as to whether there’s time for a second opinion?”
    “NO! They are deniers! The ones who disagree with me… they’re paranoid you know… they believe in conspiracies and they are all paid by big business who want you dead…DENIERS!!!”
    The Doctor pauses, and then says in his professional bedside manner, “There is no time. You must just trust and obey.”
    “Trust and obey – it’s the new science way…”
    ockham57 says:
    February 2, 2014 at 11:17 am
    In the US at least, doctor errors (misdiagnosis, unnecessary drugs and procedures and unintended consequences) are the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer.
    http://www.health-care-reform.net/causedeath.htm
    http://chriskresser.com/medical-care-is-the-3rd-leading-cause-of-death-in-the-us
    I use this simple retort, whenever I am accosted with the doctor analogy.
    Jimbo says:
    February 2, 2014 at 1:34 pm
    Gareth in your top comment you said
    Even as a believer in the consensus of climate science, I’ve always been slightly dubious of this medical stat due to my background as a health professional.
    Would you (if you were / are a doctor) prescribe a drug to a patient that was not clinically trialled but tested / trialled using a computer model? The model failed, the drug was administered anyway and the patient got worse. What drug company would be allowed to market THAT drug???? NONE is the answer, yet this is what is being asked of us.
    Gareth Phillips says:
February 2, 2014 at 12:26 pm
………We can’t observe our world and see what would happen in the long term if we did this or that. However, in a medical trial, if a patient was deteriorating before the end of the trial, or if there was a strong correlation between a certain drug and a patients temperature rising we would stop the trial. The correlation may be false, but to continue would be highly unwise.
    Your patient is now stable (no surface temperature rise for 16+ years), a small minority of doctors predict his temperature will fall during the next decade or longer. What if they are right?
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/02/if-99-doctors-said/
    [Tisdale:]
    Imagine you’re running a persistent slight fever. You visit a new clinic. The nurse takes your vitals and enters them into a computer program. A short time after the computer model completes its simulations, the doctor arrives, advises you of the computer-diagnosed ailment, and prescribes controversial high-cost medications and treatment.
    You’re not comfortable with the service, diagnosis, prescription or treatment, so you check out online the computer model used by the clinic. It is proclaimed to be wonderful by its programmers. But, the more you research, the more you discover the model’s defects. It can’t simulate circulation, respiration, digestion, and other basic bodily functions. There are numerous research papers exposing the flaws in the model, but they are hard to find because of all of the other papers written by the model programmers extolling its virtues.
    Of course, you would not accept the computer-based medical diagnosis from a model that cannot simulate basic bodily functions and processes. But that’s the position we’re faced with climate science.
    We need a second opinion for the slight warming the Earth had experienced. Unfortunately, it is not likely to be coming anytime soon, not until there are changes to the political agendas that drive climate science funding.
    Roger Knights: More to the point, “Would you see those 97% if their misdiagnosis rate were 95%?” The actual global temperature is going to fall below their 95%-confidence range this year.
    Andyj says:
    January 17, 2014 at 1:35 pm
    If 97% of climate scientists said I’m under the weather, would I believe them?
    97% of doctors held doubts stomach ulcers could be cured with antibiotics and one of them cut 2/3′s of my dads stomach out. Another 3% were shouted down and reviled for even suggesting bacteria lived in the stomach.
    Andrew30 says:
    January 17, 2014 at 1:09 pm
    If 97 doctors told you …
    Merck had:
    Years of research.
    Peer reviewed papers.
    Computer models for number and distribution of ill effects.
    Medical studies.
    Patient testimonials.
    Favorable publication in scientific magazines.
    Thousands of doctors believing them.
    Millions of people believing them on multiple continents.
    There was a consensus in the scientific and medical community, there was no denying the benefits of Vioxx.
    Then people started to die, too many people. The data on fatalities in the real world did not match the information from the computer models published in the scientific journals.
    The courts in multiple countries uncovered that Merck, their researchers, the reviewers and the scientific publications had been lying and/or had been deceptive the whole time, and that Merck had paid scientific publications to print lies and the scientific publications knew it.
    Pachygrapsus says:
    April 7, 2014 at 6:33 pm
    Re: Heidi Cullen…
    I love the “medical” analogy. We have one Earth. Medical science is built upon millions of independent trials to demonstrate safe and effective practices, and even those treatments are approved only after extensive tests on analogous systems are completed.
    Just a little thought experiment:
    I go to a doctor after experiencing a 0.5C increase in body temperature. The physician explains that it’s caused by too much oxygen, a gas that is known to create heat. The prognosis is grim. My body temperature is projected to increase dangerously and this will cause many of my essential systems to fail, so the doctor recommends the removal of one of my lungs.
    Am I wrong to be skeptical that such a radical procedure is necessary when I’m presenting such benign symptoms? When I learn that my body temperature has reached this level many times before, should I accept the doctor’s assurance that this time is different because he/she ran a simulation on a computer? If I waited a week and my body temperature remained stable, would I be a “medical denier” if I factored that into my decision not to act?
    As far as the 97% consensus, I can’t fit that into a thought experiment because it’s an absurd proposition. With no patients as a reference, no empirical data, and a series of simulations that are inconsistent with my progress so far, it would be impossible to get ANY responsible physician to perform the surgery. The medical analogy fails completely because of that field’s insistence on through research and double-blind trials before any treatment is approved. In fact, climate science has a lot more in common with the marketing of vitamins and supplements being utilized by quasi-medical therapists and nutritionists. (Magnets anyone?)

    THOMAS FRIEDMAN: Let me put it in personal terms. So your son or daughter has a disease. And you go to a hundred doctors. 97% of them, 97 of a 100 say, “This is the cause and this is the cure.” And 3% say, “This is the cause. This is the cure.” That’s what it is on the climate science. 97% of experts say this. 3% say that. And conservatives are saying, “I’m gonna go with the 3%.” That’s not conservative. That’s Trotskyite radical, okay? That you would go with the 3% not the 97%.

    Roger Knights: What if those 97% have been 97% wrong?
    Dudley Horscroft says:
    February 2, 2014 at 6:11 am
    “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong”
    Albert Einstein
    I cannot help feeling that if 99 doctors said you were dead, but you sat up and disagreed with them, this one experiment would have proved them wrong.
    If 97% of climate scientists say that an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide means that the atmosphere’s temperature will increase, and the atmospheric carbon dioxide increases but the atmosphere’s temperature does not increase, this one experiment has proved them wrong.
    wws says:
    February 2, 2014 at 6:54 am
    Yet another counter example: You have a slight fever, you go in for a checkup, and 99 doctors (who all belong to the same club, and whose collective incomes depend upon very expensive treatments) tell you that you MUST have both legs cut off immediately, even though you think you really only need a couple of aspirin.
    I submit that at this point, every rational person will realize that the “Doctors” have become more deadly than any disease they’re claiming to be able to treat, and one’s best option is to ignore them all and take your chances on your own.
    Coach Springer says:
    February 2, 2014 at 6:21 am
    TRG says:
    February 2, 2014 at 5:57 am
    Ok, I’m with you on the part about having a slight fever and using a computer to diagnose it, but the prescribed treatment isn’t just controversial, it’s a bit more like it’s recommending you receive the world’s first brain transplant.
    Zeke says:
    May 10, 2013 at 8:56 am
    Traditionally, patients voluntarily elect to go to a real doctor, with a real illness. Often, they decide not to accept treatment when the cure is far worse than the disease, or when there is a serious risk of death by iatrogenic illness. If the enormous doctor bills are accompanied by irreversible alteration of all body functions and replacement of healthy limbs with prosthetics, because the doctor is an adherent of the Precautionary Principle, the patient rejects any further discussion.
    Dodgy Geezer November 3, 2014 at 3:20 am
    @JoNovace
    You say you would rather trust a specialist like a doctor to tell you what to do.
    What would you do if you took your child to the local hospital with a bad cut on one of his fingers? And the doctor there said that cuts can go septic, so it would be best to amputate the whole arm? And you asked for a second opinion, and the doctor’s colleague agreed, and so did all his students?
    Then when you got home, you looked at the track record of this doctor, and found that that doctor had a track record of losing 3/4 of his patients, and that the hospital had been a small backwater clinic until this doctor turned up and started prescribing amputations, and that now the hospital was booming with international grants from the World Centre for Amputations.
    And that there had been some earlier complaints from the original hospital doctors about unnecessary amputations being prescribed, but that these doctors had been sacked, sued and banned from writing to any medical journals about their concerns….

    • Hmmmn.
      RogerKnights
      Good feedback, good information above about doctors.
      I would like to see ANY member of the CAGE religion follow the simple oath ” First, do no harm. …”
      Rather, half follow the simple Law “First, make money and power by feeding the needs of the bureaucracy in power. Second, secure your retirement and your “need for publication” by following Rule 1.
      Third, when in doubt, cite Rule 1, and claim that 97% of the majority cannot be wrong.”
      The other half simple follow their need for confirmation bias and peer-review pressure. Regardless of what harm is done to the patient in the real world.

  49. To paraphrase a saying – the only poll that matters is the actual weather.
    And so far, the weather “poll” is showing only climate stasis. The climate cult has only faith and not science.

  50. I’m sure we can apply a bit of post normal maths to this and come up with a guess about how many of the non-responders didn’t want to express what could be an unpopular opinion and build a model that shows less than 50 of members are true believers.
    (only a halfhearted element of snark in here, honest)

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