New research: Social scientists look for climate denial – and find it

By Larry Kummer, from the Fabius Maximus website

Summary: The social science literature about climate change includes many oddities. A new hot paper about climate denial adds to that list, and illustrates why the climate policy debate has become gridlocked.

Another social science study of climate deniers makes waves on the Left: “Text-mining the signals of climate change doubt” by Constantine Boussalis and Travis G. Coan in the highly-ranked journal Global Environmental Change, January 2016. The abstract reads like real news…

“…This study contributes to the literature on organized climate scepticism by providing the first systematic overview of conservative think tank sceptical discourse in nearly 15 years. Specifically, we

1. compile the largest corpus of contrarian literature to date, collecting over 16,000 documents from 19 organizations over the period 1998–2013;

2. introduce a methodology to measure key themes in the corpus which scales to the substantial increase in content generated by conservative think tanks over the past decade; and

3. leverage this new methodology to shed light on the relative prevalence of science- and policy-related discussion among conservative think tanks.”

“We find little support for the claim that “the era of science denial is over” — instead, discussion of climate science has generally increased over the sample period.”

The authors execute these goals described in the three bullets with detail and skill. From which they draw the conclusion of the last sentence. But their evidence provides little support for that conclusion; it is almost irrelevant to it. They state their conclusions in more detail. …

1. “The overall level of CTT {conservative think tank} information has grown rapidly over the past decade and a half, reaching a peak during late 2009-early 2010.

2. Topics questioning the integrity of individual scientists and scientific bodies appear closer (semantically) to politics than science, suggesting that claims often consider the hallmark of scientific skepticism are rooted in politics.

3. The era of climate science denial is not over. …

4. CTTs tend to react to the external environment — i.e., they counter claims …”

They provide strong evidence and analysis for their first, second, and fourth conclusions. This post discusses the third. Citations are omitted from the following quotations.

A strong opening followed by a quick shift to denialism

“Climate scientists overwhelming agree that the Earth is getting warmer and that the rise in average global temperature is predominantly due to human activity. Yet a sizeable segment of the American public rejects this “consensus view” and U.S. climate policy remains in a state of limbo. As of early 2015, 1/3 of the American public believes that climate change is not primarily caused by human activity and only 1 in 10 understands that more than 90% of climate scientists agree on the existence and nature of observed global warming. What explains this divergence in views among climate scientists and the American public? What factors promote inaction on comprehensive climate change mitigation policy? These questions have garnered considerable attention in disciplines across the social and behavioural sciences.”

The authors then quickly steer onto the rocks. In the first three pages they say …

· “One prominent explanation investigates the influence of a “well-funded and relatively coordinated ‘denial machine’” in shaping the public’s understanding of climate science. …

· Specifically, the environmental movement is viewed as promoting social change, the denial countermovement is viewed as preserving the status quo …

· Viewed largely as an extension of the conservative movement in the U.S., organized climate denial was born out of the deep pockets of conservative foundations and corporate interest groups committed to promoting free-market principles and rolling back government intervention in all aspects of the economy …

· It is within the shift from direct to indirect challenges to environmental policy that the full importance of CTTs in the denial countermovement comes into view.

· … as the engine of information in the “denial machine,” CTTs are the agents actually responsible for “framing the field” of AGW. Communications research repeatedly emphasizes the sensitivity …

· As such, CTTs arguably provide the ‘“connective tissue’ that helps hold the denial countermovement together”. …

· CTTs transform this material base into information, generating the narrative of climate denial; …

· Nevertheless, despite a general understanding, considerably more research is needed to fully specify the linkages between key actors in the denial countermovement and longitudinal data is necessary to test dynamic theories of organized climate scepticism.”

This is powerful but devoid of meaning since the paper never defines “denial”. The literal meaning of “denying” science or “denying” climate change constitutes serious but easy to prove changes (perhaps libelous if made without evidence). Silence on this key point is inexplicable. Where were the reviewers?  (For more about defining “denial” see this note.)

The closest they come to a description is the following, paraphrasing “Challenging Global Warming as a Social Problem: An Analysis of the Conservative Movement’s Counter-Claims” by Aaron M. McCright and Riley E. Dunlap in Social Problems, November 2000 (ungated copy) …

“Overall, the analysis suggests that climate scepticism during this period {1996 and 1997} centred on three major counter-claims:

1. the evidentiary basis of global warming is weak or wrong,

2. global warming would be beneficial if it was to occur, and

3. global warming policies would do more harm than good.”

This is low-grade science. Look at the first item. Global warming is not a binary condition, and it exists as past warming (data) and future warming (forecasts). The coding system McCright and Dunlap ignores both factors. It does not distinguish between questioning data (the magnitude of past warming, including pre-instrument data) and forecasts (the likelihood and magnitude of forecasted future warming).

McCright and Dunlap give brief quotes, but name only the source — no date, title, or URL to allow verification. The quotes lack any context; readers cannot tell if they refer to past warming over millennia, centuries, or specific decades of the past or future. Without that we do not know if this is “flat earth” pseudoscience or a discussion of cutting-edge forecasts of models. Whatever the physical scientific basis of the conservatives cited, McCright and Dunlap give us sloppy social science.

Boussalis and Coan do “Topic Interpretation”

They give little evidence supporting their conclusions about climate “denial”. Their elaborate data collection produces no data of such specificity.

They provide a small number of quotes, but often in misleading fashion. For example they give an excerpt from “Temperatures Flat Despite Record Rise in Emissions” by James M. Taylor of the Heartland Institute, 11 November 2011 — carefully sculpted to look wrong. Here is a better excerpt (in no rational sense is this denial of science or warming).

“In light of the 2010 emissions data, global carbon dioxide emissions have risen by fully a third since the year 2001, yet global temperatures have not risen over the past decade. Global warming activists contend carbon dioxide emissions are the sole or primary factor in global temperature changes, yet global temperatures show no change despite a 33% increase in global carbon dioxide emissions. The fact that global temperatures are not rising despite such a significant increase in carbon dioxide emissions provides validation of skeptical arguments, not a cause for heightened alarm.

“… The real-world disconnect between carbon dioxide emissions and global temperatures is one of the factors that argues strongly against such a scenario, however. Temperatures have risen merely 0.2 to 0.3°C during the past third of a century and have not risen at all during the past decade.”

They also quote statements “challenging the agreement of scientists” that “emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is leading to a rise in global temperatures”. For example, this from “You Call This Consensus?” by Joseph Bast of the Heartland Institute, 7 July 2011. It is accurate; the authors imply but do not show otherwise.

“Contrary to what you read repeatedly in daily newspapers or hear on television, most scientists do not believe there is a “scientific consensus” that man-made climate change (often labeled anthropogenic global warming, or AGW) is or will be a catastrophe. … It is important to distinguish between the statement, which is true, that there is no scientific consensus that AGW is or will be a catastrophe, and the also-true claims that the climate is changing (of course it is, it is always changing) and that most scientists believe there may be a human impact on climate (our emissions and alterations of the landscape are surely having an impact …”

The headline IPCC statement — the subject of so many surveys proving almost total concurrence by climate scientists — concerns anthropogenic warming since 1950. Are there any studies showing a consensus of climate scientists about the likelihood of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming?

Also, the authors appear unaware of the peer-review literature about past climate change, as when they cite these as evidence of conservative’s denial machine in action …

“Appeals to long-term natural cycles in temperature, as purportedly demonstrated by the Roman and Medieval Warm periods, are also common.”

“Many documents also suggest alternative climate forcing inputs such as the sun or cosmic rays.”

They do not give an example. However, the Roman and Medieval Warm periods are historical fact, although the sparse temperature record has prevented definitive determination of their geographic scope.

As for the sun, there is a large peer-reviewed literature suggesting that it has a large effect on climate (see the papers listed in section 7), although AR5 gives it little credence (“There is very low confidence concerning future solar forcing estimates, but there is high confidence that the TSI RF variations will be much smaller than the projected increased forcing due to GHG during the forthcoming decades.).

This tour has only covered the first four pages, with five more to go. However these give a representative view of the paper’s methods and accuracy.

A last note: about sources

The authors cite a wide range of sources, including activists’ publications (e.g. of the Union of Concerned Scientists, mostly non-scientists) and their websites — such as Skeptical Science, despite its history of providing false information (example here). Typical of their sources is “Organized Climate Change Denial” by Riley E. Dunlap and Aaron M. McCright in The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Societyclip_image001 (2011, copy here). It is a literature review (as usual, citing many papers by activist groups).


“The era of climate science denial is not over.”

Boussalis and Coan make four conclusions, but their finding of “science denial” gets the most attention — deservedly so. They identify climate denial by reasoning which is little more than organized prejudice, an inexplicable oversight of the reviewers. Perhaps their conclusion about “denial” is correct, but they make little effort to prove it.

This is yet another of the obviously weak social science studies about climate denial that shape the minds of people on the Left. They like the conclusions and applaud. Criticism from the Right is ignored, presumed inherently invalid — as the authors do with conservatives’ writings in this study.

This is epistemic closure (an extreme form of confirmation bias working within a community), dominating their thinking, as it so often does on the Right. It shows the common culture of Americans, and our blindness — as each sees this in their foes, but not in themselves.

About the authors

Constantine Boussalis is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Trinity College Dublin (personal website here) and holds a Ph.D. in political science. Travis G. Coan is a statistician and Lecturer at Harvard Law School; he has a Ph.D. in political science (C.V. here).

Note: about 24 hours after publication, the names Boussalis and Coan were corrected in six places in the text to remove an “a” and “b” that were attached to their names from a copy/paste of their names from the paper title which carried their affiliation references as superscripts “a” and “b” on their names.

180 thoughts on “New research: Social scientists look for climate denial – and find it

  1. I’m a proud climate denier. It’s presently snowing outside and because I live in Canada, many of my fellow Canadians expect this cold, miserable weather will persist for a while because it’s “winter.” I, however, choose to deny climate and prefer to believe that tomorrow it will be warm and I won’t have to shovel the driveway and sidewalk. Again.

    //Admittedly, so far it isn’t working, but I have hope.

    • There’s no place like home, click, There’s no place like home, click, There’s no place like home, click….Dang….These stupid shoes never work !!!

    • They are treating people who can see through the phoney science as oddities who need to be studied. These ‘academics’ if they are scientists, should be studying why a chicken little panic and the population who accept a phoney future disaster without question is costing us so much of our resources when there is no science supporting it.

      Oops I forgot the finding :)

      • Right on Roger.
        AND.. they continue to say that skeptics are deniers of change, when it only the CAUSE of the claimed change, that most skeptics question. But these morons, go on and about “deniers” of change. They are the ones that need to be studied. These supposedly intelligent researchers start off believing that CO2 is the control knob for climate.

      • Social “Science” isn’t science. Unfalsifiable claims supported by cargo cult methodologies that pretend to be ‘scientific’ abound…

    • I proudly deny that climate change has a scientific definition (at least not one that can be measured with any reliability by scientific observation).

      All that said, this is just a big huge cherry pick. “We’ll examine the interests and political motivations of people who disagree with us, but we’ll not examine the interests and political motivations of organizations or scientists who agree with us.

      More Lewpaper.

      • That said, I do believe it is possible to categorize climate epochs, based on the size and duration of Continental glaciers. But such observations and categorizations nevertheless do not lead us to either the math or the understanding which lets us claim with any certainty why those epochs come and go. If we can’t predict them and then test our predictions for accuracy, we are missing a most fundamental element of true scientific knowledge.

      • These socialist, academic sheep who sit in judgment of “us caged monkeys” and after their studies leave me feeling like I have been slimed with something and need to take a shower to stop my skin from crawling.

      • It very much demonstrates, that as “Social Scientists” they have no knowledge of the scientific method or the arguments that historically followed some scientific claim. Even knowing of the motto of the Royal Society, the reply of Einstein to the (paraphrased) “100 German physicists against Einstein” or Feynman’s explanation of science something like “First guess, look for all evidence whether contrary or not, any fact that contradicts the guess invalidates it so make a new guess”

        As the law states “Ignorance is no defence”.

    • I’m a proud climate denier.

      I don’t deny climate change if that means that the planet’s climate changes all the time. It certainly does and always has. We see natural variation.

      I do deny “Climate Change (TM)” if that means the IPCC definition that Climate Change (TM) means anthropogenic global warming caused by man made CO2 (and only man made CO2!).

      I also hate the label “denier” as it sullies the memory of the many victims of the holocaust to use that label in such an ignorant, political manner.

      By the way, the evidence points to CO2, on net, having a cooling effect rather than a warming effect. But science can’t look at that until the CO2 delusion has passed. (I should live so long as to see that)


      • I have denied the warmist ideology when they express the belief that CO2 is the cause of every evil known to man. (Proven by the thousands of papers, financed with grants, and of course peer reviewed by other grant fakers) Could CO2 be the devils flatulence?

      • “Could CO2 be the devils flatulence?”

        Well, the “CO2 will kill us all” delusion is a religion so it could be their devil is behind it all. :-)

  2. The only real ” Denialists ” are the alarmists that believe that the temperature of the Earth has never been different in the past…

      • Michael Mann. His hockey stick essentially asserts global average temperatures were flat until about 1970 and then spiked up.

        Anyone who asserts that 2015 was “hottest year ever.” I suspect that if you ask the authors of this study “In the 4+ billion year history of the earth is 2015 the hottest year ever” they would say Yes.

      • seaice1 January 13, 2016 at 7:03 am

        “Please show me some” alarmists who believe or say “that the temperature of the Earth has never been different in the past”.

        In the parlance of “mainstream” Climate Scientists, the definition of “climate change” has been changed to “CO2-climate change”, but not specified as “CO2-climate change” when they speak. Therefore according to them, there is or has been no “climate change”, including obviously Temperature changes, before the action of increasing CO2 levels on Temperatures, which they say began in 1950. [But which their failed predictions falsify.]

        In effect, by intentionally defunctionalizing the normal meaning of the term “climate change” – a well known Propaganda Tactic – which used to involve past temperature changes, now they can’t say there has ever been any past climate or temperature change, again according to their own usage. Unless they want to fall prey to the fact that ice-core data shows CO2 changes following/lagging Temperature changes. Or unless they want to say what they really mean by “climate change” = “CO2-climate change”, which they don’t. Therefore they believe “that the temperature of Earth has never been different in the past” – once again, because according to their own usage, there hasn’t been any climate change. They’ve trapped themselves by means of their own ‘brilliant’ Propaganda Tactic, but they won’t admit that either, because Propaganda is all they have left of “Catastrophic CO2-Climate Change”.

      • JPeden. In other words, there are no alarmists that believe temperatures have not been different in the past.

        You claim that whilst they full believe temperatures were very different in the past, they do not think this represents “climate change” because they think this can only involve CO2.

        I presume you fully agree with me that Marcus was invoking hen’s teeth when he talked of alarmists that believe the temperature has never been different in the past. There are no such people.

      • seaice1 January 15, 2016 at 5:42 am

        “JPeden. In other words, there are no alarmists that believe temperatures have not been different in the past.”

        Your conclusion from what I said and the very large world of alarmists is unwarranted. I’m saying that until an alarmist admits/states that what s/he means by “climate change” is actually “CO2-climate change”, it is not possible to know that s/he doesn’t believe “temperatures have not been different in the past”. But all s/he has to do to remove this possibility is to use the correct term for what s/he’s alleging to be causing the alleged climate change since 1950 and the alarmism.

  3. Describing “climate denial” (or “denial of climate science”)

    In a casual search of the social science literature (I do not have subscriptions to social science journals) I found no definitions of “denial”, odd given the large literature discussing it.

    I did find discussions of “denier” in different contexts. Typical of these is this from “Organized Climate Change Denial” by Riley E. Dunlap and Aaron M. McCright in The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society (2011, copy here).

    “The actions of those who consistently seek to deny the seriousness of climate change make the terms ‘denial’ and ‘denier’ more accurate then ‘skepticism’ and ‘skeptic’, particularly since all scientists tend to be skeptics. We will, however, refer to scientists involved in the denial machine as ‘contrarians.’ ” …

    This is vague. “Deny the seriousness of climate change” compared to what benchmark or standard? The seriousness as described in the reports of IPCC or NOAA? The Union of Concerned Scientists or World Wildlife Fund (both so often cited in the “grey literature”. The rants on Skeptical Science?

    This is politics pretending to be social science, a sad commonplace in the social science literature.

    • And if you were ever to find definition of the “D” words, they further obfuscate by creating NEW meaningless constructs. Has any one ever heard the phrase “denial countermovement” before? Is this the ultimate ad hominum; slander someone with a term that sounds horrible and evil, but means absolutely nothing?
      What is the “movement” (note they are not referring to science) of which we are counter?

    • John Brignall at Number Watch said,

      putting ‘climate’ in front of ‘scientist’ has much the same qualifying effect as ‘witch’ in front of ‘doctor’

      I think this could also be paraphrased as,

      putting ‘social (or political) in front of ‘science’ has much the same qualifying effect as ‘witch’ in front of ‘doctor’

  4. “One prominent explanation investigates the influence of a “well-funded and relatively coordinated ‘d*nial machine’” in shaping the public’s understanding of climate science. …

    Here’s the real disconnect in this paper. If the above statement is true, then:


    The public no more reads statements from the GWPF (for example) than it does papers about text mining . If the public is being influenced by a well funded machine of some sort, I want to know exactly how that machine is supposedly communicating to the public. Do we see:

    o headlines in mainstream media?
    o billboards?
    o TV ads?
    o radio ads?
    o newspaper ads?
    o internet advertising?

    No? How then is the public being communicated to? Magic?
    (97% of scientists claim magic doesn’t exist, yet this paper seems to be founded on the principal that it does)

    • It’s funny how the alarmists always squeal about the evil conservative/libertarian (neoliberal!) think tanks funding skeptical studies with freely donated money, yet never discuss how they get massive amounts of government grants based on taxes.

      If an energy company gives a skeptical climatologist $30,000 to fund a study, they’ll be certain to point that out, yet be happy to omit that they got twice as much from taxes taken from the same company.

      • According to today’s newspaper — — a brewery company funded a study on alcohol and violence which apparently said that violent people acted violent when under the influence and non-violent people did not. This attracted a counterblast, as you might expect, with counter-accusations of cherry-picking (how I have come to hate that word). I have no idea where the truth lies in this. It just has a very familiar and very sad ring to it. I thought “the science was settled” that violence was down to your monoamine oxidase inhibitor levels, not your C2H5OH levels (:-); if the science about human reactions to alcohol isn’t settled, how likely is it that the science about complex systems like, oh, climate say, could be settled yet?

    • It’s obvious.
      Ma’ Gaia is part of the “d*nial machine”.
      That or what Abe Lincoln said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
      Their time is just about up?

      • Lincoln left out the crucial part in his statement, the one every politician knows: One need only to fool a simple majority to stay in power all of the time.

    • David,

      That’s an important point. For more evidence, list the alarmist and skeptic websites. One group consists of beautiful professionally designed websites, often with articles by pro writers (often science writers).

      The other are almost all standard website templates with articles written by people with day jobs.

      Which side has the funding? Even the GWPF website looks like a low-budget affair (although not template).

    • It’s worse than you think. If you Google global warming or climate skepticism you will invariable be steered by the overwhelming number of hits toward websites that are partisans on the Pro side of the AGW debate and will notice that some of them like “Skeptical Science” deliberately have names designed to deceive the reader that they are onto a a site that stands in opposition to the status quo of the Global warming debate. So the magic to communicate scientific skepticism has got to be some pretty powerful stuff to see the light of day at all!

      • that some of them like “Skeptical Science” deliberately have names designed to deceive the reader

        Repeated for emphasis. Way back when, I was completely frustrated trying to find climate science sites that were not big on hype and low on science. I finally through “skeptical” into the search term, and that site is exactly where I wound up. A few hours on that site convinced me that is was deliberately constructed for that exact purpose. The question in my mind then became, if the science is so over whelming, why go to so much trouble to dress questionable (at best) material as science?

        It was a sarcastic comment about WUWT on SkS that sent me here. But that was probably a year or more after I started doing my own research that I discovered both Climate Audit and WUWT, neither one via a search engine!

      • Fossilsage,

        “like “Skeptical Science” deliberately have names designed to deceive the reader”

        That’s a great observation about their positioning, one that never occurred to me — an attempt to preempt the “skeptical” position for their own, and de-legitimize criticism of their movement.

        I wrote a post much like this one, examining a sample page at Sketpical Science: Testing Skeptical Science: is Roger Pielke Sr. a climate misinformer?. Their analysis was almost entirely exaggerated or outright false.

        Yet this website is widely cited by public figures (e.g., economists Brad DeLong and Paul Krugman) and even news media (The Guardian) as an authority. That’s successful propaganda! The money invested in SkS — and I suspect it’s well-funded (unlike, for example, Climate Audit and WUWT) — had a good return.

    • Now that is a very good point, and not one I’ve seen made before (or thought of myself). I shall remember it.

    • davidmhoffer:

      Thankyou for making the excellent point that the paper asserts “shaping” of “the public’s understanding of climate science” but presents no evidence of any activity to conduct such “shaping”.

      The omission of any evidence or citation of evidence for the paper’s fundamental statement means the paper is polemical opinion and not a report of research. Any reviewer of the paper should have observed the same important omission as you do and, therefore, should have recommended the paper be rejected for publication unless and until it were amended to correct the omission.

      The omission is so serious a flaw in the paper that the journal, Global Environmental Change, should retract it. But the journal won’t because journals do all possible to avoid the opprobrium of having published a paper so flawed as to warrant retraction.


  5. Little do they know that their own paper will be included in future social science papers with titles like, “Doomsday Prophecies Aren’t Just for Rubes: How So Many People with Ph.D.s Fell for the Greatest Hoax in History”.

  6. I wouldn’t mind so much if there wasn’t a very rich field to be harvested when it comes to sceptics. Why make up a load of tosh when there are genuine facts about how sceptics think and operate? You really have to hope that the planet’s not in danger with this sort of idiot defending mankind.

  7. “only 1 in 10 understands that more than 90% of climate scientists agree on the existence and nature of observed global warming.”

    I believe the response rate on surveys is insufficient to declare 90 percent with any degree of confidence; only in the case you presume the majority of responses is representative of the whole (which I consider unlikely).

    I also see a circularity problem; you don’t get to be a climate scientist without accepting the consensus view (in my opinion), just as you won’t be certified a mathematician if your idea of the Pythagorean Theorem differs from A^2 + B^2 = C^2. Math is easily “proved” and thus a reasonable criteria for certification (granting of degrees and related employment) but climate scientist has no simple “proof” and thus is more signifying agreement with a social norm, namely your degree granting and later the grant granting institutions.

  8. [Comment deleted. “Jankowski” has been stolen by the identity thief pest. All Jankowski comments saved and deleted from public view. You wasted your time, sockpuppet. -mod]

  9. “… The authors cite a wide range of sources ….”

    Fat lot of good that’ll do, because if these authors are every bit as predictable as others I’ve seen, they’ll cite their pals, and the citations ultimately all still boil down to one single source for the accusation about fossil fuel industry-funded orchestration of skeptic climate scientists, as I described in detail right here at WUWT ( ) and at my own blog: “Robert ‘dark money’ Brulle & Other ‘Skeptic-Trashing Environmental Sociologists'” ( ). Regarding the UCS, same single-source wipeout:

  10. Of course they don’t even look at “liberal think tanks (LTT’s) and their denial of science to support their political agenda. Given the theme of this paper, the authors are almost certainly liberals. It’s almost funny that they are so blind to see that both sides of the political spectrum do this. Are there any moderate / unbiased scientists left in academia or have they all been cast out?

    Conclusion: Those living in glass houses should not cast stones

  11. Start by begging the question, then wonder why someone thinks you are being a fool. Assuming the IPCC is a scientific organization, despite history, seems right up there with “have you stopped beating your wife?”.

  12. Maybe these Social Scientist should understand that for Climate Scientist to keep there jobs/funding they must continue to find negative Climate Change impacts. So it makes sense for there to be a “consensus” amongst them. For most non-Climate Scientist, not so much…

  13. Henry Giroux (who is only a little radical) explains the phenomenon:

    In the first instance, I write about what I called gated intellectuals. That is, academics who have become comfortable with the rewards of power and in doing so buy into defining themselves as servants of established power, accepting the transformation of the university in an appendage of the marketplace, and doing what they can to legitimate such a poisonous vision of higher education. They generally are technicians who have no vision and expect very little for their students and are largely concerned about turning research and teaching into acts of commerce. Gated intellectuals have no interest in helping to construct a more just world or using their knowledge and skills to help students and others come to a better understanding of how power works and what it means to inhabit a discourse of rigor, morality, and responsibility. link

    I do wish Christopher Monckton would do his usual excellent job of disassembling the bad logic of these ‘social scientists’.

    • Commie Bob; re: Gated intellectuals
      Thank you for giving a name to what I saw as a bystander in a support role at a public university. They show up every so often in academia at all levels. Sometimes I watched them move up into chair positions only to be their own worst enemy and fly out the door when the next dean took over.

    • I’m an academic. I’m supposed to teach students about the theory and practice of computing. I’m supposed to help them make fewer mistakes. The slogan on my door (thanks to Brian Marick, well known in the software testing world) says “To be less wrong than yesterday.” I don’t KNOW anything about the workings of power; it would be irresponsible of me to teach students about it. I’m very interested in a just world. I tell students a bit about group-think and echo chambers and “nobody likes the bearer of good news” (thanks to Joe Armstrong for that) because it bears directly on their future work. I certainly haven’t “become comfortable with the rewards of power” because I have no power and no rewards to speak of. But I suspect that my scepticism of all political parties and movements means that I would be counted as a “Gated Intellectual” anyway.

      I get really uncomfortable with attacks on academics per se. We’re people. Most of us are just muddling through as best we can. In computing there is an unavoidable lesson. I sometime think it’s THE lesson of doing CS, whether you teach yourself or go to Uni. WE MAKE MISTAKES ALL THE TIME. Computers are merciless at revealing this. There’s a slogan I repeat to my students over and over again: “If it isn’t tested it doesn’t work.” I explain that as “even if you have (by some lucky accident) avoided mistakes, you have no right to BELIEVE that until you’ve checked, and experience teaches us that would be a very very lucky accident indeed.”

      It seems to me that in my country, at any rate, AGW is accepted by both major parties. It is therefore the people who teach AGW who are “servants of established power”. The PM is said to doubt climate change, but what he actually said is that he doesn’t think that temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees; he (says he) does agree that climate change is a real problem. It’s certainly a handy one…

  14. To clarify… If you look for warming, you will find warming. If you look for CO2 as the cause to climate change, you will find CO2 as the cause to climate change. If you look for denial, you will find denial. The bottom line is if you start out looking for a particular result, you are going to find that result (i.e. bias in, bias out).

  15. I quit editing at Wikipedia some years ago, as not worth my time, after a drawn-out discussion about the “denialism” entry.

    The consensus among the Wikipedians was unwilling to give due weight to the sources I cited, which pointed out the blindingly-obvious fact that the term, as defined, might as easily be used as an unjustified pejorative by a scientific or other consensus when it is wrong as it might be used justifiably when dissenters won’t face up to facts.

    For purposes of propaganda, of course. You know, like the word is used in this “study.” Defined? Who needs to define it when conensi (sic) make sure to watch each others’ sixes?

    The article reads as if “denialism” were some kind of documented psychological condition. Yeah, right. Wake me up when the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders includes the term. Because the day it does, we then are in serious trouble.

  16. In one sense, it’s excellent to see the Green/Left movement wasting its time creating these imaginary enemies and devoting so much effort into countering the hobgoblins that they produce. They have to have these make-believe enemies, else how could they explain their complete failure to win the debate over 20 years?

    The downside, of course, is that it’s my taxpayer dollars funding this nonsense.

    • Maclean,

      “The downside, of course, is that it’s my taxpayer dollars funding this nonsense.”

      Let’s not do the same as the climate activists do, criticism by making stuff up. The paper says that this work was funded by a “Research Committee Pathfinder Programme grant” from Trinity College. Excellent disclosure, to be commended.

  17. “The era of climate science denial is not over.”

    Call it what you want. What, exactly, do you propose to do about it? We welcome a healthy discussion of the science. What would you propose?

  18. By using the word “denier” the advocates of AGW are attempting to do what Robert Jay Lifton referred to in his book, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, as “Loading the Language.”

    “The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliché. The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed. These become the start and finish of any ideological analysis. In thought reform, for instance, the phrase “bourgeois mentality” is used to encompass and critically dismiss ordinarily troublesome concerns like the quest for individual expression, the exploration of alternative ideas, and the search for perspective and balance in political judgments. And in addition to their function of as interpretive shortcuts, these clichés become what Richard Weaver has called “ultimate terms”; either “god terms,” representative of ultimate good; “devil terms,” representative of ultimate evil. In thought reform, “progress,” “progressive,” “liberation,” “proletarian standpoints” and the “dialectic of history” fall into the former category; “capitalist,” “imperialist,” “exploiting classes,” and “bourgeois” (mentality, liberalism, morality, superstition, greed) of course fall into the latter. Totalist language, then, is repetitiously centered on all-encompassing jargon, prematurely abstract, highly categorical, relentlessly judging, and to anyone but its most devoted advocate, deadly dull; in Lionel Trilling’s phrase, “the language of nonthought.”” -Robert Jay Lifton: Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism (1961)


    The word “denier” is a thought-terminating cliché, designed purely to terminate the discussion and denigrate any opposition, and that’s why there is no attempt on the part of the aforementioned authors to define it.

  19. This is where social science is seen as non-science – looking for evidence to support a theory is the antithesis of scientific method.

    Not incidentally, this is also why climate science is – mostly – non science. Maybe climate science should be shifted to the social science faculty….. sorry, it already has been!

  20. 1. compile the largest corpus of contrarian literature to date….

    Here’s contrarian literature….We’ve been told for over 30 years…….
    we’re all going to die in I year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years
    Tipping point in 1 year, 5 years, 10 20 years
    Last chance in 1, 5, 10, 20 years
    Global warming, climate change, irritable climate syndorne
    cold, warm, hot, wet, dry, drought, flood, snow, fires, and earth quakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and duck eggs
    and on and on and on….

    No right minded person would even listen any more……..

  21. Putting forth a psychological speculation as to why one’s opponent holds to his point of view is easier than refuting his reasons for it, and will usually garner the support of a large share of one’s audience, in particular the stupid and the corrupt among them.

    • An all purpose type of “appeal to authority” with psychological speculation the “authority” regardless of the subject?

  22. The political framing of calling those who don’t believe in AGW as ‘deniers’ and ‘sceptics’ is really a misrepresentation of what most people believe. I am hoping someday will can be defined by our terms and not theirs. I and an overwhelming amount of people believe in global warming. It has been going on for hundreds of years. AGW is just insignificant. I prefer to be called a climate realist.

  23. Climate scientists overwhelming agree that the Earth is getting warmer and that the rise in average global temperature is predominantly due to human activity.

    but no evidence that climate change is related to fossil fuel emissions.

  24. The “social sciences” are not sciences and never were. They are not an organized body of knowledge that explain human behavior and can predict how people or societies will act. These idiots are merely a reactionary rear guard riding on the coattails of retreating “Climate Scientists” who are hardly better than them. It’s almost not worth our efforts to pay any attention to them.

    • The “social sciences” are not sciences and never were.

      As an engineer who had exactly the same opinion as you I did a degree in social science out of curiosity. As a result I discovered that it was far more organised and scientific than the few miserable apologies for social science that seemed to get headline publicity like this piece. One particular exercise in social science was to produce the most stupid correlation between cause and effect to underline that correlation in itself means nothing. This was won by a student who proved conclusively that AIDS was caused by driving Toyota Landcruisers as sales increases perfectly matched the rise in AIDS in one African country.
      When I found data while running some tests on resistance to interception on military equipment in East Anglia I picked up some files giving some highly disturbing insights on the work of climate scientists. I started to examine the work. Legal reasons prevented any copies or distribution of this data given the way it was acquired. Unlike the study that ultimately led to my social science degree I found the climate files files were the tip of an iceberg in shady dealing and data manipulation that even the worst cowboy building company would shun as unethical.

      • the most stupid correlation
        indeed, it was the social science that pointed out the statistical problems with “selection on the dependent variable” that revealed the problems with “tree ring calibration”.

        Many climate studies are based on selecting those tree rings and other proxies that correlate strongly with modern temperatures. From this many statistical results are derived, such as the hockey stick.

        However, statistics assumes that the tree rings are random. As soon as you start selecting based on a non-random criteria your statistical results are garbage. However, because it “seems logical” climate science continues this bogus statistical (calibration) method to this day.

        Google: selection on the dependent variable

        lost and lots of soft science now understand the problem. However, Climate Science still ignores it.

      • for example:
        “But it still sounds as though these books commit a serious social-science sin – “selecting on the dependent variable.”

        What does this mean? Social scientists tend to believe that if you want to find out if a causes b by studying different cases, you need to be quite careful in choosing the cases. For example, if you want to argue that risk taking leads to business success, you want to look at cases of firms that are risk takers, and firms that are risk averse, and you also want to have cases of firms that are successful, and cases of firms that are failures. If you only study successful risk-taking firms, you’re cooking the books. It could be that there are many more risk-taking firms that are failures out there than successes – but because you’ve only chosen to look at the successes, you have no way of knowing this. You can thus end up providing pretty bad advice.”

  25. “McCright and Dunlap give us sloppy social science …”.
    The phrase “sloppy social science” is simultaneously tautologic and oxymoronic (wooden iron).
    Of course it’s sloppy, it’s scientism i.e. an ‘ attempt to apply “hard science” methodology and claims of certainty to the social sciences, which Friedrich Hayek described … as being impossible’ (Wiki).
    It’s no wonder the ’social science’ faculties are turning out hordes of unemployable leftist statist nitwits (see previous post Lewandowsky’s Psychological Science publishing hoax reaches the media).
    As for so-called “epistemic closure” (closed systems of deduction, unaffected by empirical evidence …Wiki), that eloquently describes only one side of the debate, the alarmist side.

  26. Person hiding behind a title for no apparent reason,

    Larry Kummer writes;

    “The social science literature about climate change includes many oddities. A new hot paper about climate denial adds to that list, and illustrates why the climate policy debate has become gridlocked.”

    Assuming you are Mr. Kummer (which is totally asinine of you to make uncertain in any sense, as far as I’m concerned), I have read several of your posts here and am made extremely suspicious by your repeated use of what to me is blatant propaganda lingo, about a “public policy debate” that is “gridlocked”. There is no such gridlock I am aware of, in reality-land, unless one considers the CAGW clan/gang not getting everything they want; “gridlock”.

    Can you, (in regular English, not mass media double-talk) tell us what the hell is wrong with citizens doing whatever we can to slow.stop what to me is a blatantly obvious power grabbing/control freak agenda for as long as we possibly can? Why are you trying to make it seem like “we” have done something wrong, by not just rolling over and shutting up, so the power grabbers can get on with their agenda?

    • Dear “Mr. Knight” (or whoever you reallyare),

      “I have read several of your posts here .. There is no such gridlock I am aware of,”

      I’ve mentioned this in most posts, and repeatedly in threads. But to repeat again: the public policy debate has locked to the extent that we’re unprepared for the almost certain repeat of past weather, let alone almost certain kinds of climate change (e.g., sea levels rising as they have been for a long time).

      To mention one example: tropical storm Sandy proved the vulnerability of many (most? all?) East coast cities to storms — let alone a cat 3 hurricane. It’s a core national security issue. There is no excuse for this bipartisan failure.

      “what the hell is wrong with citizens doing whatever we can to slow.stop what to me is a blatantly obvious power grabbing/control freak agenda for as long as we possibly can?”

      Rant much? Try responding with quotes, so readers know what you’re questioning.

      • “… tropical storm Sandy proved the vulnerability of many (most? all?) East coast cities to storms — let alone a cat 3 hurricane. It’s a core national security issue. There is no excuse for this bipartisan failure …”.
        That’s an example of the ambiguity which the ‘Editor of the Fabius Maximus website’ employs in his posts here to muddy the waters — what does he mean?
        Does he mean that the way to manage climate risks like tropical storms is to carry out coastal engineering projects and the like or to employ apotropaic magic by cover hillsides with thousands of windmills?
        Is there any chance of a clear unequivocal statement?

      • Chris,

        Cities have prepared for storms for centuries. In NYC that would mean primarily sea walls to keep out storm surge, drainage to remove the rainfall, and other engineering to protect vital below-ground infrastructure (e.g., subways, power stations).

        I did not spell this out because it is obvious. I am confident that almost all WUWT readers know this already.

        But obviously not all.

      • In NYC that would mean primarily sea walls to keep out storm surge
        Absolutely. However, the Executive Branch of the US government would have you believe that coal plant’s are responsible for storm surge, and if we get rid of them their will be no need to build sea walls.

        This is the delusional thinking that the American People reject, because they can see it for the nonsense it is. Instead of building seawalls governments are instead building excuses. They are trying to shift the blame for government inaction to The People having caused the problem by driving cars and heating their houses.

        It is all about pointing the finger. And in the US the executive branch blames everyone else but themselves for their failures. “The buck stops here” appears nowhere in current US policy. Everyone else is to blame has become formal US policy.

      • Fred,

        “Everyone else is to blame has become formal US policy.”

        Yes. In the people as well as our leaders. Here just as on the activist blogs. Not much interest in finding solutions, just “winning”. The essence of gridlock, in traffic as well as policy.

        It might a nice epitaph of America’s role as a great nation: “it wasn’t my fault.”

      • “I did not spell this out because it is obvious. I am confident that almost all WUWT readers know this already.
        But obviously not all …”.
        Dear ‘Editor of the Fabius Maximus website’, regarding the public policy prescriptions to address future climate change, googling ‘obama + climate change + national security’ delivers 17,700,000 results like:
        # President Obama will say the global change in climate will pose a direct threat to our military in a commencement address Wednesday …
        # Obama’s Top Environmental Official on the Paris Attacks and Why Climate Change Threatens National Security  …
        # Obama Says Climate Change Endangers National Security …
        # 22 Times Obama Admin Declared Climate Change a Greater Threat than terrorism …
        # Remarks on Climate Change and National Security. … Climate change adaptation is a key pillar of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, and  …
        It is not obvious, President Obama is using national security as a cover to introduce ‘climate change regulations and taxes by fiat — you know that, your response was disingenuous.

      • That’s OK Mr Editor, I look forward to trying to unravel the obscurantism, tangled reasoning and deliberate amphibology of future posts from the ‘Editor of the Fabius Maximus website’

    • There is no such gridlock I am aware of, in reality-land, unless one considers the CAGW clan/gang not getting everything they want; “gridlock”.

      Here in the US the media generally use the term “gridlock” when Republicans have stopped the Democrats from doing something. The impression they are trying to give is that “gridlock” is bad.
      If we were on a battlefield and the aggressor launched an attack to take what is yours, “gridlock” would only be a bad thing to the aggressor.

      • Would this be the same media that defines “bi-partisanship” as Republicans and Democrats working together to pass the Democrat agenda?

    • Collectivist,

      “To mention one example: tropical storm Sandy proved the vulnerability of many (most? all?) East coast cities to storms — let alone a cat 3 hurricane. It’s a core national security issue. There is no excuse for this bipartisan failure”

      What about the failure of the Government/citizens of New York city/state to prepare themselves for such storms?

      What reason ought any city do anyth9ing to prepare for anything, if by not doing so they can get collectivists like you to shake-down the rest of us for cash to protect them, while accusing us of locking some dopey imaginary grid if we don’t fork over the money without complaint?

      You are a con artist, it seems to me, pimping for the NWO globalists/elitists.

  27. Somewhat on topic, to be juxtaposed against the consensus claims.
    “In a study to be published in The Proceedings of The Royal Society A, researchers found that unanimity should raise questions in situations where there is a lot of prior uncertainty.” and
    “It seems counter-intuitive, it seems that defies logic, but it’s also saying that perhaps if everybody is in total agreement there’s been a collusion or a bias so you have to be careful of that.”

    • Colin,

      Thanks for posting a link to that interesting paper. No danger of unanimity in climate science. The IPCC’s AR5 gives only moderate certainty to most findings.

      To take just one hot issue — I have listed 50+ papers about the cause(s) of the pause. They fall into 12 broad groups. Few agree with each other except in broad outline.

      There is similar debate among climate scientists on scores of other key issues, such as the climate’s sensitivity to CO2.

      Surveys — many of them — find near unanimity about the headline finding of AR5, which is a simple statement about the past. Beyond that it’s the wild west of theories.

      • Larry, you describe what never appears in the public media.

        I was referring to:
        * the science is settled;
        * the greatest moral issue of our time;
        * 97% of scientists agree;
        * various attempts at muzzling dissenting opinion;
        * Climategate revelations of corruption of peer review.

      • Colin,

        That’s an important point! I was looking at the actual state of climate science, which has vigorous debate (as usual, within the “ruling” paradigm”).

        As you note, the public does not see that, as many journalists and activists work to create a facade of consensus — far beyond what actually exists.

        It has been skillfully done. Still, the climate change policy campaign has largely failed.

        But it is like an insurgency: they need only win once. That is their remaining hope, I believe. One big extreme weather event that they successfully blame on global warming — and they panic people into supporting their proposals.

  28. People who have billions in funding complain that people who have thousands in funding can still be heard.

    • Merovign,

      That’s it. You hit the nail dead center.

      @Bill Partin:

      The ‘editor’ is right, especially re: sensitivity to CO2. That’s a key issue.

      If we had a verifiable measurement of AGW, the question of the ‘climate sensitivity number’ to CO2 would be answered. Then everything else would fall into place: accurate temperature predictions could be made. Human CO2 emissions could be translated into rising global temperature numbers, and so on.

      But there are no measurements quantifying the sensitivity number. No one has produced any measurements of AGW, despite the huge carrot of a Nobel Prize, and despite thousands of scientists searching for many decades.

      Conclusion: either AGW doesn’t exist (personally I disagree with that), or AGW is so minuscule that it can’t be measured.

      Either way, AGW doesn’t matter, does it?

      (And to be fair — and probably hated — equally by both sides, I agree with ‘JohnKnight’s’ last comment.)

    • Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.

  29. Who funds these people to deliver such useless tripe? Surely there are enough big issues in political “sciences” that warrant their attention, like overcoming inter-generational unemployment. Oh wait, one’s from Dublin, the other Harvard, no doubt they got value out of their international collaboration (and travel)?

  30. The left has taken over academia. Willful ignorance maintains group think and is now much admired in academic circles. It is indeed a difficult task to maintain a socially required belief while being assaulted on all sides by facts — and those who can do it best are marked for reward and academic advancement.

    Most of the academic left would fit in perfectly in North Korea.

    Eugene WR Gallun

    • Eugene,

      “The left has taken over academia.”

      You raise an important point beyond the scope of this post: how this kind of work arises, and what allows it to proliferate (since it is easily punctured). The social sciences in academia has become a monoculture (but not academia as a whole, as the physical sciences and engineering remain more politically diverse), so groupthink rules.

      It’s a problem made worse by modern tech, allowing insular online “communities” to develop. Some skeptics websites have become like that, with a narrow and rigid view — closed. WUWT is not, probably due to Anthony’s efforts and the wide range of commenters.

  31. The public is not reading pro-denial propaganda well funded by anything or anyone. The public is beginning to notice that the Alarmist message is not backed by real data, is irrational and extremist, is aimed at removing money from the public to fund crazy schemes, and is not in the public interest.
    Denialism commands no headlines in Media, has no newspaper, radio or TV ads, People are just, on the whole, not that stupid that they believe in the Alarmist rubbish.

  32. “Nevertheless, despite a general understanding, considerably more research is needed to fully specify the linkages between key actors in the denial countermovement…”

    They seem very confident of the conclusions they have derived from just a “general understanding.” So if they’re so sure of their conclusions, why is “considerably more research” needed? Obviously, they’re biases have convinced them they’re right before they’ve bothered to gather any real evidence. But how could they get such a paper published when it is so heavy on opinion and speculation and so light on reliable data? It must be that the reviewers shared the same biases. They’re doing the same thing they accuse conservative think tanks of doing. They refuse to think outside of their echo chamber. Is this what science has become now, an opinion popularity contest? If you win by getting the most votes, then science has become nothing more than a beauty pageant.

    • Louis the ONLY way to get such papers published in most journals is to toe the AGW line. It doesn’t matter how good your work is if you don’t do so it will be rejected. You only have to read the Climategate emails to see how much pressure was put on dissenters to supress contradictory work.

      The classic example is the email from Johnathan Overpeck to Keith Briffa where he says
      “I get the sense that I’m not the only one who would like to deal a mortal blow to the misuse of supposed warm period terms and myths in the literature. ”

      The fact that the warm periods have been proven to exist in thousands of peer reviewed papers is irrelevant as its not ‘helpful to the cause’ so they are conveniently dismissed as myths.

    • Louis,

      They seem very confident of the conclusions they have derived from just a “general understanding.” So if they’re so sure of their conclusions, why is “considerably more research” needed?

      richardscourtney and davidmhoffer’s responses are probably more intelligent and appropriate, but the simple answer for “…why is “considerably more research” needed?” is grant money. :)

  33. AGW is difficult to defend in terms of the actual science that is involved. There is no real evidence that CO2 affects climate. If CO2 really affected climate then one would expect that the increase in CO2 over the past 30 years would have caused an increase in the natural lapse rate in the troposphere but that has not happened.

    • increase in the natural lapse rate in the troposphere
      that is precisely the problem. global warming cannot occur without affecting the lapse rate, because the lapse rate directly ties the surface temperature to the amount of energy received from the sun. thus the name change from global warming to climate change, removing the word “global”.

  34. A couple of definitions of science

    the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

    Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.

    Since every definition of science incorporates the idea of through observation and experiment it is not that I deny climate science it is that I reject that the self styled climate scientists have earned the right to be considered as such. As a qualified social scientist as well as electronics engineer I would consider this work to be junk pseudo social science that is totally politically motivated. It would miserably fail everything I was taught in my course. It should not be considered as typical of that discipline.
    I also consider that since climate scientists are first tested on CO2 based climate change their value as a judge of the validity is near zero. I think that anyone who answers climate change questions in an exam with the response that since the temperature data analysis methods fail to meet even the lowest grade engineering standards the theory is by definition junk status will get sufficiently good marks to get any science grant and therefore is excluded from the definition of climate scientist. I do not deny the existence of climate science merely that it is the province of self proven non scientists.

    • David Cage:
      I completely agree with this and previous posts. My observation is that persons with more education, broader and more versatile experience never attack with statements like “sociology is not science” or “PhD in political science – science is in the title only”. All of us who put effort in receiving PhD and who has experience as a scientist have a great respect and understanding. I have no doubt that Dr. Mann, Dr. Shukla, Dr. Schmidt, and these two fine scientists who’s work we discuss are highly educated and very smart individuals who deserved their degrees. What is wrong is that their moral compass is off, as well as the compasses of the overwhelming majority of scientists. All sciences are corrupt as never before. Only few scientists acknowledge this corruption. And also, their acknowledgments always come too late (when they retire and when they are old) and in a form that looks more like a runt rather constructive program. I believe this corruption is a consequence of the corrupt system of science funding. One of the major flaws is that the selection criteria include “usefulness” of the research. NSF, for example, calls it “greater impact”. From the history of science we all know that scientists practically never know what would be use, impact, benefit, or profit of their research. But the system forces them to lie and majority of them do by proposing armageddon, nano-, femto-, atto-, ultra-, dark-, string-, bigbang-, denier type research that will produce results of unprecedented practical importance. Look at these two poor souls that we discuss – one is Assistant Professor and another is Lecturer… Both are probably non-tenured, young and are they in any position to contradict to “90% consensus”? Even older, tenured faculty don’t dare not to comply with the corrupt system since, though they will keep their jobs, they will lose funding, students, respect of colleagues. Whole system for funding of fundamental sciences (including sociology and political sciences that are sciences after all) must be scrapped and replaced with a new system that is corruption resistant. I have no idea of what these new system could be…

  35. It is very telling that they equate ‘Denial’ with challenging the evidence for AGW. When I went to college skepticism and challenging the accepted ‘truths’ were considered a vital part of the scientific method but then of course we engineers were rather scathing about the ‘social sciences’

    • Either you attended college 50+ years ago, or the professors were just pretending to create critically thinking environment. Academia was always rather conservative such that critique and new concepts had to fight way in. However, with current funding system this conservativism turned into corrupt clique rule. The funding distribution is such that any scientist must belong to a clique, hence, no free thinking anymore. Additionally, concept of spiral (dialectic) progress of knowledge when we return to reexamining and modifying or rejecting scientific concepts (including foundational concepts) was substituted with concept of linear upward development in which previously established and accepted concepts are forever adequate – no reexamination is needed or allowed.

  36. “Climate scientists overwhelming agree that the Earth is getting warmer…”

    There is the root of the problem. Starting with a falsehood, moving on to slander anybody that can’t accept the falsehood.

    “and only 1 in 10 understands that more than 90% of climate scientists agree on the existence”

    Typical CAGW propaganda. Goebbels would be proud of them.

    • “Climate scientists overwhelming agree that the Earth is getting warmer…”
      The problem is that the authors of the paper assume that “contrarians” don’t agree the earth is getting warmer.

      The facts are that everyone agrees that the Earth has gotten warmer since the end of the LIA. What people are disagreeing over is what is causing the warming. Is the warming naturally cause, just like the cooling during the LIA (a natural cycle), or is it something else.

      The problem is that almost no Climate Scientists in the past 40 years has studied natural climate change. Everyone has been busy with the IPCC which deals exclusively with Human caused cliamte change.

      And since no one has been studying natural climate change no one can reliably tell us how much climate change is natural and how much is man-made. Instead we have nothing more than guess work. Which is not science, it is belief.

  37. a Ph.D. in political science.
    As they say, if it has ‘science’ in the title then it is not science.

      • Richard Dawkins once made a comment that Scientology, because it had science in the name was possibly worthy of being an acceptable (to him) religion until he investigated and found the “science” part came from “science fiction” of a rather low standard.

  38. “We find little support for the claim that “the era of science denial is over”

    What an utterly ridiculous statement to make in what they want us to believe to be a serious paper. Who on earth ever claimed that “the era of science denial is over?”

    “90% of climate scientists agree on the existence and nature of observed global warming.”

    Why do these silly people regurgitate false statistics that have been proven to be totally inaccurate by so many real research bodies? But we don’t have to look far to find the real reason behind their endless spewing of false data:

    “considerably more research is needed ……”

  39. “…illustrates why the climate policy debate has become gridlocked.”
    The idea that we even need to have a “climate policy” is ludicrous. It boils down to arguing about the weather, and how “we” should respond to it, and any relatively long-term fluctuations. But those are local or regional concerns, not national. California has to decide what it wants to do regarding periods of drought, not whine to the rest of us and try to play the blame game.

    • Bruce,

      “The idea that we even need to have a “climate policy” is ludicrous.”

      You are conflating “climate” (as in “climate policy”) with “climate change” (as in policy to prepare for climate change”).

      Any civilization needs to prepare for the hazards of its climate. That is a national security priority. This means preparing for the almost inevitable repeat of past weather. Due to the gridlock about climate policy (resulting from the campaign for policy to fight climate change), too little is being done. As we see in our response to Katrina and tropical storm Sandy. What other East coast cities are vulnerable to large hurricanes?

      “those are local or regional concerns”

      If only pointing fingers could protect us! America would be the most secure nation in the history of the world. Unfortunately assigning responsibility is not a useful rebuttal to description of a problem.

      We are trusting to luck. it’s not the basis for a great nation’s prosperity. Note that many major European cities have taken large-scale measures to protect themselves against storms.

      • Spending trillions of $$$$ on wind turbines and Solar Panels is not going to protect us from ” weather ” !

      • Editor of the Fabius Maximus website:

        You say in reply to Bruce

        “The idea that we even need to have a “climate policy” is ludicrous.”

        You are conflating “climate” (as in “climate policy”) with “climate change” (as in policy to prepare for climate change”).

        Not so, Bruce is quite right. Everybody needs an infrastructure policy but nobody needs a “climate policy”.

        For example, I live in Cornwall, UK. We in Cornwall have no infrastructure for dealing with snow. But we get snow for a day or so on average about once in five years. It is not worth the costs of the costs of equipment and the personnel to operate it together with their maintenance as a method to deal with snow: it is cheaper to accept the costs of the disruption – and the extraction of travelers stranded on Bodmin Moor – that occurs when snow does fall on Cornwall.

        Yorkshire gets much snow each year and does have infrastructure for dealing with it because that infrastructure is cheaper than the costs of disruption that would otherwise occur from snow.

        If climates were to change then additional snow in Cornwall would warrant Cornwall adopting the infrastructure Yorkshire now has because that would be cheaper.

        And less snow in Yorkshire would warrant Yorkshire adopting the infrastructure Cornwall now has because that would be cheaper.

        Neither of these changes would be instantaneous. There would be years of changing climate before its effects warranted infrastructure change.

        But you say that lack of ‘climate policy’ means

        We are trusting to luck. it’s not the basis for a great nation’s prosperity. Note that many major European cities have taken large-scale measures to protect themselves against storms.

        No. It is not “trusting to luck” to avoid unnecessary costs and to adopt the infrastructure (i.e. “large-scale measures”) warranted by local circumstances.

        Here in Falmouth we don’t have the rapid isostatic rebound which warrants the Thames Barrage to protect London from storm surges. Our lack of demand for a Fal Barrage is not “trusting to luck”: it is our sensible consideration of what is cost effective for us.

        A proper consideration of what would have been appropriate levees (i.e. cost effective infrastructure) would have avoided the New Orleans flood disaster when hurricane Katrina struck the US in 2005. And a ‘climate policy’ would not have helped.


      • Richard,

        You write rebuttals to things I do not say, and ignore what I do say.

        You prefer to call it an “infrastructure policy” to deal with our climate, rather than a “climate policy” expressed through infrastructure (and other means). Whatever.

      • Editor of the Fabius Maximus website:

        You claim I

        You write rebuttals to things I do not say, and ignore what I do say.

        You prefer to call it an “infrastructure policy” to deal with our climate, rather than a “climate policy” expressed through infrastructure (and other means). Whatever.

        Say what!?
        I quoted what you did say and refuted it while ignoring nothing you had said in your post.

        And YOU distort what I wrote in rebuttal. “Infrastructure policy” is NOT “climate policy”.

        Every local government needs to consider all the locally needed infrastructure and how to provide it. I explained why there is no need for a climate policy to exist as part of or as addition to necessary “infrastructure policy”.


      • re: climate policy vs infrastructure
        this really boils down to a matter of definition. As I understand the issue:

        climate policy has very little meaning regionally, because no matter what action any region takes it cannot influence climate in any significant fashion, so any money spent in this fashion is essentially wasted.

        infrastructure however can however directly affect a regions ability to deal with climate, and if climate changes infrastructure changes may well be required. With foresight, very little extra money should be required because infrastructure ages and must be continually replaced. When replaced any changes to climate should be taken into account during the replacement process.

      • ferdberple:

        You say

        infrastructure however can however directly affect a regions ability to deal with climate, and if climate changes infrastructure changes may well be required. With foresight, very little extra money should be required because infrastructure ages and must be continually replaced. When replaced any changes to climate should be taken into account during the replacement process.

        Yes, I said that and I explained why any changes to climate ARE taken into account during the replacement process. As I said of my illustration

        There would be years of changing climate before its effects warranted infrastructure change.


      • Note that many major European cities have taken large-scale measures to protect themselves against storms.
        that isn’t a climate policy. storms are weather. you build infrastructure to limit the damages from weather. however, a large part of this damage is self inflicted. for example:

        farmers used to build their houses and barns on the hill side and farm the river bottom. every year the river would flood and bring new top soil to the fields. the houses and barns were safely above the flood.

        then, the farmer sold the land to property developers and a city was built upon the level farm land at the river bottom because it was flat and level and easy to build on. the city needed to be protected from the river flooding so levees were built alongside the river.

        this is what has been done in many, many places around the world. for example, here in Vancouver the Fraser river in places is 60 feet above the surrounding land, held back by miles and miles of dikes along its banks. and if the levees are not maintained, if the river is not dredged regularly, the river will eventually flood due to silt build up along the river bottom. nothing to do with climate, everything to do with infrastructure.

      • To Warmists and the liberal left, ” Climate Policy ” means more wind turbines and solar panels…NOTHING about infrastructure !

      • Marcus,

        Can you point to some Republicans advocating large scale investment in climate infrastructure? For example, to better prepare East coast cities for storms?

        I don’t mean whining that X should do it, not Y. I mean somehow getting the job done.

        Perhaps our core competency as a nation has become whining about the inadequacies of the “other side”.

      • Fabius, Each East coast city should be preparing for what ever ” WEATHER ” they usually get !! No need for a ” National Climate infrastructure “, whatever the hell that is !!

  40. I’m encouraged.
    Despite apocalyptic scare papers and lecturing and hectoring by the White House and much of the mainstream media, this paper proves that the vast majority of Americans don’t know or don’t care what all the fuss is about. So just think of the enormous hill of persuasion the ‘climate change’ advocates now have to climb. It must be discouraging for them.
    But, unlike a corporate environment where the CEO can fire all those who disagree, ‘climate change’ advocates must deal with a highly dispersed political environment where the employees get to vote. So time is on the side of the skeptics, which is fortunate since, as James Thurber once wrote, “He who hesitates is sometimes saved”.

  41. promoting free-market principles and rolling back government intervention in all aspects of the economy
    wasn’t that one of the founding principles of the United States? didn’t a bunch of tea get dumped into Boston harbor because people in “the colonies” were fed up with King George in England telling them how to live?

    doesn’t the United States have a similar situation today? Where the President has now become the new King, passing rules and regulations by Executive Decree, without regard for the majority will of the People as elected to Congress?

    How is the current situation any different than the “Taxation Without Representation” that led to the American Revolution? The Executive Branch of the Government has become the new King, ignoring the wishes of The People’s Congress.

    hasn’t the King of the United States set himself above the will of The People? He appears to believe he knows better than everyone else, so ignores The People.

    • These Dark Days will be remembered in the future as ” The Age of Liberal Delusions of Grandeur ” !!

    • Poor George, how has he gone down in history as being such an evil ogre.
      Even in those days the sovereign was very much a figurehead but all laws and decrees were issued in his name. Parliament created the tea tax to help pay for the troops who were protecting the colonists, sort of user pays. Parliament was elected by a very small number of electors who obtained their right to vote through property and income qualifications. Very few Britons reached these standards and possibly even fewer colonists. The colonists were being treated exactly the same as most Britons!

      p.s. The tea tax in Britain was about 10 times that that was applied in the colonies because only wealthy people could afford tea. Most people drank ale of one type or another, just like in the colonies.

  42. One of the problems is the field of “climate science” is not really a science. What it is most like is “christian science”. Built within the field is a basic assumption. In the case of christian science the assumption is the existence of God. Within climate science is the assumption of human drivers. In essence, both are religious in their approach to science.

    I no longer refer to “climate science” because of this. I prefer to call it “AGW science” because the “A” is built into all the studies. Once one understands this reality is it any wonder that 97% of climate scientists believe man is the driver of climate?

  43. Important research for findings NOT spelled out in the paper. They agree that CAGW is politically a construct of left wing ideologues to control the world.

  44. conservative think tank
    ivory tower = liberal think tank.

    consider the politically correct group-think of today’s universities, with great numbers of Liberal Arts courses being renamed as “xxxxx science” because without the “science” label there is zero chance of getting work with an Arts degree.

    However, calling something a sciences in no way makes it a science, any more than calling a country the People’s Democratic Republic makes the country a democracy.

    Science is not about drawing pretty pictures and writing noble sentiments, no matter how profound or popular they may seem.

  45. What about Europe or are the authors Nationalists?

    On a posting about Portugal climate change, a note was made.
    The people have had enough of dramatized reports predicting an imminent climate apocalypse just around the corner. According to a Eurobarometer poll conducted in July 2013, a mere 4% of the European population now cites the alleged climate catastrophe as their most pressing concern. Moreover, the number is zero percent in seven European countries, including Portugal.

    A quick research led to me to comment.

    The most optimistic statement made – From the 2011 polling – Half (50%) of all Europeans think that climate change is one of the worlds most serious problems and around one in six Europeans (16%) think it is the single most serious problem.

    Progress is being made. A drop from 16% to 4% in just 2 years.

    And from the June 2011 Special report – pg 14- QB3 From the following list, please pick the five main environmental issues that you are Worried about. (ROTATE – MAX. 5 ANSWERS)
    It is interesting to note the huge decrease of 23 percentage points of climate change since 2007, from 57% to 34%. And that’s top 5 worries.

    In more recent Eurobarometer polling. From 2014 polling – However, Europeans attribute less importance to the remaining five issues: housing (6%, =), the environment, climate and energy issues (6%, =), with the UK hitting that percent also.

    But that question/issue includes environment and energy issues, which inflate the numbers. So in a 2015 poll, they broke out the question a little to It then asks respondents which areas they would like science and innovation to prioritize over the next 15 years, with areas such as job creation, health and medical care, energy supply, education and skills, and the fight against climate change among the issues they are asked to consider.

    In the UK 6% for “fight against climate change” and 10% for energy supply.

    So when the IMF Chief Christine Lagarde say’s “Higher energy prices would prompt people to shift to cleaner fuels or more fuel-efficient vehicles on their own, Lagarde said, adding that they could also allow governments to lower other taxes on consumption or income to reduce the burden on people, or pay down more public debt.”

    Or they may be prompted to just stop believing.–business.html;_ylt=AwrTWf1bb9pTlFkAmZjQtDMD

  46. I miss investigations on why peoble believe in CAGW or just AGW. It is valuable to know why peoble believe in comming catastrophes even when most signs show the opposite.
    This kind of doomsday believe has mostly been restricted to very small sekts, but now even presidents seems to believe. It is very scary, and could need an investigation.

  47. Todd:

    It’s easy to continue condescending attitude like that:
    Biologist…Because math was just too darn hard to be a real scientist.
    Botanist… Because math was just too darn hard to be a real scientist.
    Writer… Because math was just too darn hard to be a real scientist.
    Assembly line worker… Because math was just too darn hard to be a real scientist.
    Lawyer… Because math was just too darn hard to be a real scientist.
    Coal miner …. Because math was just too darn hard to be a real scientist.
    Medical doctor…. Because math was just too darn hard to be a real scientist.
    Massage therapist… Because math was just too darn hard to be a real scientist.

    • Very easy.

      Because one difference between the loser who majored in Poli Sci and all the examples you listed is that the loser who majored in Poli Sci contributes absolutely nothing to the betterment of society. Everyone you listed does.

      Political Science exists for one reason and one reason only. The dissemination of bulls***. Exhibit number one being this faux study.

      • I am so tempted to agree with you. But part of me still hopes that at leas some of them actually contributes.

  48. what?
    climate change denial is organized?
    I refuse to be a part of any organized group that would accept me as a member.
    Dang, now I have to quit.
    And I just got a brand new tin foil hat.

  49. It is worth looking at Stephan Lewandowsky’s survey results – the data that is not the phony analysis. There are two important results.
    First is that the public views climate science like political beliefs, rather than established science. People with strong opinions have divided opinions on politics and climate science, but pretty uniform strong opinions on established science. Results are here.
    Second is that although there that although that although the climate skeptics tend to be more Conservative/Republican/Libertarian, the climate alarmists who frequent the alarmist blogs tend to be dominated by those with extremist left-authoritarian views. Lewandowsky and fellow alarmists tend to view politics and climate science as the same. Their views are correct, so anybody who disagrees with them must be somehow blinkered or telling porkies.
    The above paper projects similar views.

  50. Who knew that climate science bias would lead to a surge in social science research output. As the pub mill turns

  51. How can we debate this topic when the language has been so corrupted, probably intentionally. I have always assumed that the term ‘climate change’ refers only to warming. But that is only half true. Cooling would also qualify as being described as ‘climate change’. How would we describe cooling when it occurs? How would insurance companies assess the liabilities of two drivers involved in an accident if they could not make a distinction in language between the forward and reverse motions of a vehicle? I can’t solve this dilemma because I’m a mere scientist. This should be a research priority for social scientists.

    • This should be a research priority for social scientists.

      Using language not to communicate but to give false impressions just short of outright lies already has been well studied. It’s most commonly seen in advertising and politics.

  52. Not to wish a Lewandowski on anybody, but it might be interesting to consider what moves one toward being what Eric Hoffer called a “True Believer”.

  53. “Text-mining the signals of climate change doubt”.

    So there’s the CO2 kontroll knob on climate change computer models. With that ‘beware of fossil fuels’ sticker on the front.

    Still missing the ‘climate change doubt signals’ filter.

    Maybe next year.

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