Ooops! Not all 31 scientific societies actually signed the AAAS ‘consensus’ letter

Recursive Lies and “Scientific Consensus” Letters

Guest opinion by Leo Goldstein

The ”Consensus” Letter on Climate Change (06/28/2016), allegedly signed by leaders of 31 scientific organizations and published on the websites of the AAAS, AGU, AMS, and others, was signed only by some of the participating organizations. This is contrary to the letter itself, the press release and the accompanying article. This sham was revealed by some routine fact-checking and the events triggered by it, and is described in a short paper The Solved Riddle of the 2016 Climate Change “Consensus Letter” , edited fragments from which follow.

Timeline of Events

In early morning of July 6th, I sent fact-checking emails to the CEO of the AAAS and to the top officials and/or media contacts of the 30 other organizations. Appendix B of the paper contains the email exchange with AAAS. The emails asked only about signing the letter, not about its content. Specifically, my email asked whether the letter in question was signed by the listed organizations or their leaders, and asked for an opportunity to see the actual signatures. In its reply, AAAS changed the published allegation that the letter was signed to “reflect the participation of leaders of each of the 31 named scientific societies” (Fact #1). My follow up letter, asking AAAS to confirm that the letter was actually signed, went unanswered.

That same day, a different email (Appendix A) was sent to each of the other 30 organizations. All these emails had substantially the same text, but each organization was contacted separately, usually with copies to multiple recipients within that organization. The organizations were not cc’ed on emails sent to their peers, and were not told that other organizations were contacted, except for the triplet of the Agronomy/Soil Science/Crop Science Societies. 9 out of these 30 organizations answered, and all 9 confirmed that they signed the letter. 5 out of 9 replies flatly denied that there was any pressure to sign, and none indicated otherwise. Some probably thought that the question about the pressure was inappropriate. Thus, all replies and non-replies can be divided into two categories: “yes” and “no answer.” If the respondents acted independently, the 9 positive replies would be a valid statistical sample, confirming the null hypothesis that the letter was properly signed by all participants.

But the respondents did not reply independently, as one might expect from any organization simply asked to confirm its signature on a published document. “Leading scientific societies” might also be expected to think independently, but that’s another matter. Instead, the respondents colluded and coordinated their responses or non-responses in an unthinkable manner. This is evidence of foul play by itself (Fact #2). Honest people do not need to coordinate their answers. This lack of independence also makes it impossible to use statistical methods to infer what answers would be given by the 21 organizations that did not reply.

This routine fact-checking exercise suddenly evolved into an experiment, and its timeline is as important as the questions and answers. The replies started pouring immediately after I sent the questions. In fact, 6 out of 10 replies (including the one from AAAS) arrived within eight hours. Then, an email from the Ecological Society of America arrived, and it was as if a silence spell was cast on the “leading nonpartisan scientific societies.” This is the email:

Thanks [name of the recipient redacted],


Halperin is a climate denier and writes several blogs. Throughout the day, I’ve learned he has contacted many other societies with the same questions. Most are declining to respond to his inquiry.

Your response was good. I hope he won’t email you again. I’m sure he will write a scathing piece on the letter.



[name of the sender redacted]

This email was sent by a PR person (who will be referred to here as “Maura” to protect her privacy) in the Ecological Society of America to its President, and was received by me at 11:57am CT. It is short, but when combined with the timing of the other responses, gives a lot of clues:

– An absolutely innocent fact-checking email, which could have been answered by a clerk, caused sudden agitation in the Ecological Society of America. Before midday, Maura of ESA had not only contacted “many other societies” but had learned of the decision on how to deal with it, or even made that decision.

– “Many other societies” shared this agitation. The staff of these “leading nonpartisan scientific societies” did not ask her who she was, or what the hell she was talking about. Apparently, the self-professed “leaders of major scientific organizations” did not refuse to talk with Maura about their correspondence with an unrelated third party, as any decent person would have done. Instead, they readily shared with her all the information.

– “Most are declining to respond…” was a misleading statement. The timing of the responses (see below) shows that within a few hours of the first email, somebody (possibly Maura) identified this fact-checking exercise as a threat, collected information from multiple recipients, and made a decision not to respond (Fact #3). And many “scientific societies” which did not respond before that decision obediently complied. Like a good military – quick reaction, admirable discipline, and excellent chain of Command, Control, & Communication. But whom does this military serve?

– The alertness of the “consensus guard” is a separate indicator of foul play (Fact #4).

– Finally, Maura revealed the fact of the wrongdoing and her knowledge of it the in the last sentence: “I’m sure he will write a scathing piece on the letter” (Fact #5).

After this communication from Maura, I received only four responses. The first one (from the Geological Society) arrived two days later. The second one was from a Tier 3 organization. The last two, from AGU and COL, arrived five and six days later, and contained virtually identical evasive answers, obviously crafted with great care by PR people.

Raw Data and Intermediate Analysis

The organizations that allegedly signed the letter are very diverse in their sizes, capacities, and relevance to the subject matter. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is in a tier of its own because of its size, visibility, and the respect it used to command a few decades ago. It is unashamedly partisan (AAAS head Dr. Rush Holt Jr. was a Democratic Congressman for sixteen years, 1999-2015) but this is not an exception. Judging by their websites, many of the listed organizations look like branches of the Democratic Party, showcasing its declared and even hidden agendas: LGBT, “diversity,” climate change, Cuba, growing hemp etc.

Tier 1 includes 11 organizations: American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society, American Statistical Association, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, American Chemical Society, American Society of Plant Biologists, Botanical Society of America, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Society for Mathematical Biology, Geological Society of America, and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. With the exception of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership and UCAR, each organization in Tier 1 is a formerly respectable scientific society, possessing all of the following attributes:

– Its science is relevant to the content of the letter

– It claims to prioritize communicating science to the public

– It has significant full-time staff and other organizational resources

The majority of members of these societies understand, or should be able to understand after a few days of study, that both the content and the thrust of the letter in question contradict well-known facts and/or first principles of their respective scientific fields. The Consortium for Ocean Leadership (who would know that the ocean needs leadership?) is not a scientific society, but it is headed by a retired Rear-Admiral. An Admiral does not have to study science, but should be able to recognize enemy action.

Only two out of 11 societies that were classified as Tier 1 – the American Meteorological Society and the Geological Society of America – plainly confirmed that they signed the letter. Remarkably, the Geological Society disavowed the content of the letter simultaneously with its publication, right in the press release:

Geological studies have demonstrated that climate has changed repeatedly in the past and that future climate change is inevitable. Understanding the complex processes involved in climate change is necessary for adaptation and mitigation.

— Jonathan G. Price, Ph.D., CPG, President, Geological Society of America

In its reply, the Geological Society has confirmed both its signature under the letter and its statement flatly contradicting the letter’s content and intent.

Two other organizations – AGU and COL – replied after a long delay with practically identical text (the emphasis is mine):

The American Geophysical Union, on behalf of its members and its volunteer leaders, is pleased to be a signatory on the letter.

The Consortium for Ocean Leadership, on behalf of its member institutions, is pleased to be a signatory to the letter you reference.

This is, of course, no coincidence. The answer was interpreted as yes, but notice was taken of the delay, evasion, coordination, and excessive exertion (Fact #6).

The remaining Tier1 seven organizations (64%) failed to reply. The word “failed” is used because all these organizations declared science communication as one of their priorities, yet they failed to communicate at this opportunity. Of the rest, 67% did not answer.

Analysis & Conclusion

Facts 1-6, as defined above, demonstrate that something was seriously wrong with the letter signing. Nevertheless, multiple hypotheses can be formulated as to what exactly was wrong. Speaking only of the Tier 1 organizations that did not reply, the following hypotheses come to mind:

1) The organizations that did not reply considered my communication unworthy of their attention.

2) They did sign the letter before publication, but their leaders were aware that the content of the letter was a lie and pseudo-science, and were too embarrassed to acknowledge their signatures.

3) They did not sign the letter before publication, or did not sign it at all. This hypothesis does not imply that the leaders of these organizations were not complicit in the publication of the letter. Rather, they tried to have it both ways – to avoid signing it, but to make people believe that they did sign it.

Of course, different organizations might have had different reasons. But their collaboration on this project and willingness to “speak with one voice” suggests that there were similarities between their ways of thinking and acting. Extensive coordination between many of the alleged signers and the hysterical reaction of the ESA prove that the fact-checking received a lot of their attention, and led to a conscious decision to stonewall or dodge. That leaves only hypotheses 2 and 3. I think that the hypothesis 2 (signed, but embarrassed to acknowledge) is correct for some signing organizations. But it is obvious that neither Maura nor her collaborators in other organizations are embarrassed by anything of this sort. Thus, at least for some of the allegedly signing organizations, hypothesis 3 is correct.

Some organizations whose alleged signatures appear on the letter did not sign it prior to its posting, making the letter somewhat like a forgery, as well as contradicting its “consensus” claims.

Final Remarks

The American Physical Society has explicitly rejected the discussed letter: “The American Physical Society did not sign the letter because it was presented as a fait accompli, and there are significant differences between the letter and the APS Statement on Earth’s Changing Climate.” This fact alone refutes the letter’s claim to represent “consensus scientific view.”

Almost every attempt of the climate alarmists to show broad support of scientists led to a forgery, so letter is in no way an exception. One forgotten, but still relevant case was described by Richard Lindzen in his 1992 article Global Warming. The Origin and Nature of the Alleged Scientific Consensus.: “The activities of the Union of Concerned Scientists deserve special mention. That widely supported [in 1992] organization was originally devoted to nuclear disarmament. … Over the past few years, the organization has turned to the battle against global warming in a particularly hysterical manner. In 1989 the group began to circulate a petition urging recognition of global warming as potentially the great danger to mankind. Most recipients who did not sign were solicited at least twice more. The petition was eventually signed by 700 scientists including a great many members of the National Academy of Sciences and Nobel laureates. Only about three or four of the signers, however, had any involvement in climatology. Interestingly, the petition had two pages, and on the second page there was a call for renewed consideration of nuclear power. When the petition was published in the New York Times, however, the second page was omitted. In any event, that document helped solidify the public perception that “all scientists” agreed with the disaster scenario.”

In plain language, somebody in the infamous Union of Concerned Scientists altered the text after it was signed, and published the forged document.

Clarifications & Acknowledgements

I have absolutely no intent to doubt the honesty, integrity, or qualifications of the members of the respective scientific societies. On the contrary, my goal is to underscore that their “leaders” do not represent their members. Unfortunately, media personalities, pseudo-scientists, and well-known frauds keep dressing up as scientists. The media gives star treatment to them and to third-rate scholars. When the blowback comes, the science-ruining politicians and their academic sidekicks will hide behind real scientists as behind human shields. I hope to raise an alert about the desperate situation of American science in general (with the exception of a few areas.) The scientific enterprise was raped by Al Gore, degraded by his appointees behind the back of G.W. Bush, and stomped into the ground by Obama.


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103 thoughts on “Ooops! Not all 31 scientific societies actually signed the AAAS ‘consensus’ letter

    • I’d like to imagine what fact-checking about be for inverse progressives (conservatives if they were progressives in the mirror):
      Claim: Mr X claims the coal industry emits particulates which cause diseases
      Fast-checking: we asked the president of a big coal producer and he said no
      Result: Mr X has PANTS ON FIRE!

  1. Speaking only of the Tier 1 organizations that did not reply, the following hypotheses come to mind:
    You missed out that their administration may be so poor that no one was given the responsibility of replying to your email.

  2. “In its reply, AAAS changed the published allegation that the letter was signed to “reflect the participation of leaders of each of the 31 named scientific societies”
    Rather than “allegation” that should read: falsehood. The published falsehood.

  3. This farce reflects use of the standard tools of climate alarmism, namely deceit and deception. Anything but the truth. Climate alarmism is nothing but a scientifically unsupported political campaign. Always has been, always will be.

  4. “Only two out of 11 societies that were classified as Tier 1 – the American Meteorological Society and the Geological Society of America – plainly confirmed that they signed the letter.”
    Most tv meteorologists stay away from claiming anything about the weather is related to AGW. A beacon of common sense in an ocean of climate ignorance.
    I wonder if the membership of the American Meteorological Society got to vote on this position.

    • Are you kidding? The last thing that any of the upper echelons of these societies wants to do it to permit their ordinary members to vote on their statements of belief.

    • No, we did not. I am a member of both the AMS and AAAS and I have never received any request for my consent or input on this letter or on any of the many statements issued by these Societies on my behalf on the issue of climate. There was a survey of AMS membership at the end of last year, that I participated in and showed that considerably LESS than 97% of AMS membership believes in the CAGW hypothesis.

      • Thanks Mumbles for that detail. Are there any other regular members of the various societies who can confirm they were not consulted on the big letter?

      • I cannot say with 100% certainty that APS did not allow a vote by members, but it could be that I missed it in the deluge of stuff I receive. However, it could be that I am an associate member due to my membership in Optical Society of America, and I don’t receive all that a full member might.
        The political manipulation of learned societies is what led to my quitting APS and AAAS first time around over a decade ago. By the way, I served as a publically elected trustee of a state institution, and false claims made to the Board by activist faculty of this exact sort were common. Apparently there is much less truth seeking among academics than their rhetoric suggests.

      • The political manipulation of learned societies is what led to my quitting APS and AAAS first time around over a decade ago.

        I understand your disdain of such behavior, but would it not have been better to stay and fight for a more objective institution? By simply quitting, you’ve handed them victory.

  5. I left the GSA once they joined the alarmist bandwagon. I know they want their cut of the climate gravy, but I want nothing to do with an organization that falsely speaks for and misrepresents its members.

    • There must be an aphorism that humorously conjoins mice and bureaucrats. How they scurry in panic and confusion when a beam of light illuminates them, something like that.

      • From the not-remotely-humorous department …

        For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. John 3-20

      • TODD F, Robert Burns had a few apposite words. First verse:

        Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
        O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
        Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
        Wi’ bickering brattle!
        I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
        Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

  6. I believe that further research needs to be done on this letter. I would first like to know the political party of all of the signers and the societies/groups in general. I know, I know, that is a no brainer but confirmation and the individuals involved need to be identified publicly. No harm, no foul. The bottom line is that there is clearly emphasis on “non-partisan” in the title of the PR. That is step one. That would be the first article to go out to the media.
    BTW Superb job!!!

  7. I love when the Climate Liars get caught in their own web of lies. Fun to watch them squirm.

  8. Actually NONE of the organizations signed the letter. The document contains the names of the organizations but no signatures. Did they all really agree with the statements in the letter? Without signatures it’s impossible to know. Compare it to the Declaration of Independence which has 56 actual signatures. Those 56 agreed to the statements in the Declaration and affirmed it with a signature.

    • Would I be correct in assuming that the signatories of the Declaration of Independence attached their names in the knowledge that if the Revolution had not succeeded they were writing their own death warrants for treason.
      No such danger exists today , indeed this act of public consensus is widely applauded by the great and the good in academic and political circles , yet the officials of the 31 societies lack the same courage .Strange and rather depressing.

    • “Actually NONE of the organizations signed the letter.” – perhaps, but their signatures were modeled by Michael Mann, and we all know that’s even more accurate than raw signatures, right?

  9. Synthetic consensus works well with synthetic truth and synthetic science, in a modeling sense of course.

  10. I am a retired NASA Langley Research Center scientist (45 years at Langley) that belongs to a group of retirees from Langley that meet once a month for lunch and to listen to speakers. Some speakers are invited, and some are from the retirees group. I have been a CAGW skeptic for quite awhile, and have had some of my thoughts posted on this site. I put together a powerpoint from some of my analysis and parts of several talks by others. Since it was an informal talk, I did not bother to reference where much of the material was from, but some is shown on the slides. The powerpoint is at:
    At the end of the talk I asked how many members of the attendees agreed with my analysis and conclusions. Of the 40 or so attendees, 38 agreed with me. I also asked how many previously were skeptics and how many changed their mind. About 30 were skeptics even before the talk, and about 8 changed their mind from not sure either way or from slightly supporting the CAGW position to skeptic.
    The point is that in a rank and file of even NASA scientists, MOST did not support the CAGW position, and a reasonable presentation flipped most of the rest. I think this is likely true of many real scientists that bother to do due dilligence.

    • Thank you, Leonard. That was excellent. And thank you for your years of service in science.

    • Interesting presentation. I would like to see comments on it from both sides of the debate.

    • Thank you for sharing that presentation. I wish more sources were cited, but it’s full of great pointers. 🙂

    • Leonard, many thanks for that. I have copied and pasted the link and read your presentation with great interest. I see that I can also ask for permission to edit it but I don’t want to do that. I would like, if possible, to be able to save it to my store of CAGW files and presentations. Would that be possible?

      • Leonard , please ignore my request. I have found how to save your presentation. Thank you

    • Exactly. They may not have actually physically signed, but there is no evidence to suggest that any of them did not agree with the content of the letter.

      • Prove that my tiger repelling rock doesn’t work. The burden is on the one making the claim.

      • The burden is on the one making the claim.

        Exactly. So when Halpern says that not all of the scientists actually signed the letter, and then doesn’t provide any evidence to that effect, he’s got a problem. His claims are not supported by his evidence.

    • “but there is no evidence to suggest that any of them did not agree”
      There is no evidence about anything. Some people didn’t respond to his email, so he constructed hypotheses out of thin air. The headline is hypothesis #3.

      • Well, the fact that the claim was changed to remove the “signed” word is fairly strong circumstantial evidence, but it’s hardly conclusive. Certainly not headline-worthy.

      • Feels like the logic and statistics that is used to debunk the 97% consensus by Richard Tol but turned completely about face and upside down. I guess that does not matter though.

  11. Sniff, sniff – Yes, it’s the same foul stench of collusion that I recall smelling from climategate. Integrity, scientific or otherwise, is of no importance to these people when ‘climate change fear’ is being promulgated.

    • Integrity, scientific or otherwise, is of no importance to these people when ‘climate change fear’ is being promulgated.

      Did you notice the lack of integrity in this article? The way the headline makes claims that aren’t supported by the evidence, not even close?

  12. Speaking of the “union of concerned scientists”, this statement is only partially true:
    “That widely supported [in 1992] organization was originally devoted to nuclear disarmament.”
    They were always concerned about disarmament in the west. They never put any pressure on the communists to disarm.

    • Well, let’s be frank, if they had tried, they would have received one-way tickets to S.iberia

  13. Geological Society press release: “Geological studies have demonstrated that climate has changed repeatedly in the past and that future climate change is inevitable. Understanding the complex processes involved in climate change is necessary for adaptation and mitigation.”
    I want all to focus on how ‘climate’ and ‘climate change’ is used. 1st, know that there is Natural Climate Change (NCC) and Global Warming Climate Change (GWCC, written or spoken as Climate Change as it replaced Global Warming – and it was done for a very well crafted purpose). “climate has changed repeatedly in the past” – this is referring to NCC; “and that future climate change is inevitable” – now tell me whether this refers to NCC or GWCC and do you think most people could even spot that differentiation.

    • Because climate has changed in the past, and the future change is “inevitable,” it follows that he was talking about natural climate change because if it were totally attributable to humans, then it would not be inevitable. Further, prefacing future change with the fact that it has changed in the past, implies that the future changes will be for the same reason(s) as past changes. Also, acknowledging there are “complex processes involved in climate change,” suggests that, at best, anthropogenic influences are only a part of the several processes.
      It sounds to me more like a fatalistic view that is a plea for more money to study how to best adapt and mitigate, without actually having to endorse CAGW.

    • You can’t do any better than that? Go back to you favorite echo chambers until you learn how to support your conclusions with some examples instead of just making ad hominem attacks.

  14. “show which ones didn’t…?”
    I think only the APS.
    “The American Physical Society did not sign the letter because it was presented as a fait accompli, and there are significant differences between the letter and the APS Statement on Earth’s Changing Climate.”

  15. This post exemplifies the mistake of overstating an argument. The author alleges that not all of the scientific societies signed the letter, but at best, the facts stated to support those assertions indicate that not all societies confirmed with the author that they signed the letter.
    The author also has some serious deficiencies in analytical ability. Within the same paragraph, no less, the author states that “Facts 1-6, as defined above, demonstrate that something was seriously wrong with the letter signing. Nevertheless, multiple hypotheses can be formulated as to what exactly was wrong. Speaking only of the Tier 1 organizations that did not reply, the following hypotheses come to mind:1) The organizations that did not reply considered my communication unworthy of their attention.”
    This first hypothesis is not a “formulation as to what exactly was wrong” with the signing. It’s a possible explanation as to why nothing might have been wrong with the signing at all. And nothing the author wrote thereafter discounted this possibility that the organizations the author wrote to, who didn’t respond, simply saw no need to answer some random person who shot them an e-mail.
    The author also dismisses too easily the fact that, of the nine societies that did respond, all confirmed signing the letter. At least one of those responses was from a society that was not already a signatory of the 2009 statement. The author illogically states that “if the respondents acted independently, the 9 positive replies would be a valid statistical sample, confirming the null hypothesis that the letter was properly signed by all participants. But the respondents did not reply independently.” This is gibberish. If the societies were conspiratorially coordinating their response to some anonymous person asking whether they signed a letter, I think that such coordination over so trivial a matter would make it more likely that the societies coordinated their original letter to policymakers, i.e. all agreed on the statement. Somehow, the author seems to conclude, based on some scanty evidence of coordination among those respective organizations who confirmed they signed the letter, that there must be at least one organization that did not sign the letter somewhere within the group who did not respond. That makes no sense.
    Nor did the author seem to realize that the quoted statement from the Geological Society of America in no way contradicted the statements in the so-called consensus letter. The quoted statement just didn’t go as far as the statements in the letter to policymakers.
    The real issue here should be in how mealy-mouthed the so called “consensus” statement is. If you parse through its language carefully, the statements about the certainty and severity of human-induced climate change has a footnote appended to it indicating that it reflects, not the consensus of the signatories, but the consensus of the IPCC and some unspecified number of other authorities including a few that are expressly named. Thus, the only thing that the group of 31 societies are actually representing is that “to reduce the RISK OF the most severe impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be substantially reduced. In addition, adaptation is necessary to address unavoidable consequences for human health and safety, food security, water availability, and national security, among others” (emphasis added) and that they quite generously “offer [their] assistance to inform . . . deliberations as [policymakers] seek to address the impacts of climate change.”
    This statement is significantly watered down from the 2009 version of the letter. No longer does the letter claim that “assertions [contrary to the IPCC consensus] are inconsistent with an objective assessment of the vast body of peer-reviewed science.” Nor does the statement continue to say that “there is strong evidence that ongoing climate change will have broad impacts on society, including the global economy and on the environment.” Also gone is that statement that “to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, emissions of greenhouse gases must be dramatically reduced. Essentially, all that’s left in that letter that can be attributed to the 31 societies is that there are scientific papers pinning the blame for observed climate change on CO2 emissions, and that to reduce the risk of the most severe consequences forecast by models, CO2 emissions must be reduced. Even as a die-hard skeptic, I’d have to agree with the literal truth of those two worthless statements.
    This letter is a finely-crafted political statement that says nothing objectively useful, but deceptively seems to.

    • This is the real point: “This letter is a finely-crafted political statement that says nothing objectively useful, but deceptively seems to.” As a result the advocates will be able to claim the science supports catastrophe but the Societies won’t be held accountable if the whole house of cards collapses if the next decade cools.

    • Dear Kurt,
      The article, and the paper on which it is based, make a different argument: the climate alarmists in AAAS and some other places (not only or necessarily scientific societies) committed a forgery in to defend their indefensible position.
      The paper used the timeline of the responses, not only their content. The flow of responses suddenly stopped, then the message from “Maura” arrived and hinted at what happened. The coordination happened among most organizations that did not reply immediately.
      I agree with your remark about “hypothesis 1”, but it does not change the conclusion that this hypothesis cannot explain all failures to reply.
      The coordination between all participating societies should have happened before publication of the letter, but, apparently, did not. The letter was presented to the heads of many societies as a fait accompli (see the APS quote), and not necessarily by AAAS. What transpired between this presentation and publication is shrouded in mystery, but certainly not everyone signed.
      HQs of these societies are in Washington, DC, and that explains a lot.

      • There were no handwritten signatures at all on the second letter – only typed names of specific societies. I agree that this can reasonably be interpreted as a representation that those societies approved of, or in a colloquial sense, signed off on, the content of the letter prior to its being sent to Congress. The fact that the letter was presented as a “fait accompli” to the societies means that the societies were not invited to negotiate or edit the content of the letter, but the absence of coordination in drafting the letter does not logically lead to the conclusion that the AAAS published the letter with the typed name of any society that had not already indicated its agreement to be included as a “signatory.” You’re jumping to that conclusion based on (1) the lack of some societies to respond to you, and (2) some inferential evidence of slight coordination of other societies in how to respond to your inquiry.
        Assume, as a hypothesis, that all of the heads of these societies are global warming zealots who would only be too eager to sign off on that letter, and they do. They get an e-mail from you asking to confirm their participation. One of them contacts a few others to inform everybody that you are one of those evil skeptics, and at that point, being the global warming zealots that they are, most just decide that you’re not worth their time. That’s a perfectly plausible hypothesis, and it presumes the eagerness of each of them to sign off on the statement.
        More importantly, we know from the APS that the letter was presented to them asking for their inclusion, but that they refused for their own reasons. The APS was not included in the list of typed names of participating societies. Doesn’t this suggest to you that the AAAS did not include the names of societies unwilling to sign off on the letter? If your conclusion of forgery is correct, can you explain why the AAAS was willing to add the names of some societies that did not agree to participate, just not the APS?
        Are you somehow assuming that the phrase “fait accompli” means that the letter was presented to the societies with their names already on it and that the AAAS only removed those names if specifically requested? I don’t see how that would be a reasonable assumption.

  16. Appeal to authority is a logical fallacy. I don’t remember the name, but there’s another one that has to do with appealing to the majority (maybe it was “the consensus”).
    It would seem that we might have a new one.
    “Appealing to a consensus that doesn’t exist.”
    or maybe
    “Inflating a consensus that doesn’t exist.”?
    or maybe
    “Politics as usual”?

    • Why don’t we just call it the “nested appeal to authority” – the argument that X must be true because Y says that Z says that X is true.”

  17. Kurt begins with “This post” and ends with “This letter is a finely-crafted political statement that says nothing objectively useful, but deceptively seems to.”
    I presume the “post” is the WUWT article and the letter is the document from AAAS. Right?
    Because the whole expression “climate change” is “a finely-crafted political statement that says nothing objectively useful, but deceptively seems to.” If 47.5% of all scientists say the climate is getting warmer, 47.5% say it’s getting cooler, then there would be a 97% consensus that it is changing, right?
    If 47.5% of all scientists say the climate is getting better, 47.5% say it’s getting worse, then there would be a 97% consensus that it is changing.
    If 47.5% of all scientists say the climate is getting wetter, 47.5% say it’s getting dryer, then there would be a 97% consensus that it is changing.
    It says nothing objectively useful.

    • You’re reading my comment correctly. I have something of a pet peeve about using bad arguments to refute the climate change nonsense. It only provides cheap ammunition for those who falsely sell the fiction that there is a meaningful consensus that CO2 emissions are causing a harmful amount of warming, to misrepresent the legitimate arguments against their dogma.
      As for Richard O’Keefe’s comment below about possible defamation, since climate change is a subject of public debate into which the AAAS voluntarily inserted itself, the relevant standard for defamation is actual malice or knowing disregard for the truth. It’s hard for me to think that this standard would be met here, particularly when the author sets forth his reasoning, however faulty. Obviously, readers can judge for themselves whether the actual facts presented support the author’s putative conclusion that some societies didn’t sign off on the statement.

  18. Any letter like this is necessarily deceptive for the simple reason that agreement of the *leadership* of the societies is not at all the same as agreement of the *members* of the societies. We are talking about the opinions of maybe 31-200 people, few of them expert in climatology, meteorology, or GCMs. I wouldn’t choose a brand of toothpaste on such evidence. However, in all likelihood the letter does reflect the sincere opinion of whoever did sign it.
    This article is deceptive. It states flatly that the claims about the letter are untrue; that it was not signed by everyone it is supposed to have been signed by. But it provides no evidence to support that statement. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. And in this case, the e-mail message the author quotes shows nothing more malevolent than “don’t feed the troll”.
    Now if a “consensus letter” were to be produced at all, the signatories and their staffs *had* to liase with each other simply to get the job done. It is the very reverse of surprising, and the reverse of improper, that they should co-ordinate responses to questions about it. I am surprised that they did not agree to a common response: “yes we signed”. Or if not, I can’t see how a forthright statement of whatever the facts might be and a correction (if one should be called for) would not have served them better than the actual response. BUT that is NOT proof of wrong-doing.
    If I were the author (and if I were Anthony) I would *immediately* seek legal advice about whether this article is defamatory. It says bad things about identifiable people on inadequate grounds.
    This is a wonderful site from which I have learned much.
    And there is plenty of real wrong-doing to expose.
    WUWT doesn’t need articles that damage its credibility.

  19. The level of articles at WUWT continues finding new lows. There is absolutely no proof that any of those societies did not sign the letter. All the rest is just blah-blah. The title of the article is false and deceiving.
    What counts is quality, not quantity. A few more like this one and I will stop visiting. I don’t like being deceived.

    • That may be a little too harsh. I think Anthony has a policy of having a forum to present controversial topics for discussion, and unlike many other sites, posts with flawed facts or reasoning get dissected pretty quickly over here. In fact, many of the posts here do nothing more than present the findings or summaries of research papers by the warmists. Those get treated with the same scrutiny that this post has, so I don’t see much of a difference between this post and say a post that just summarized the latest findings of John Cook and his merry minions about how super-consensusy that scientific consensus on climate change really is. .
      I remember a while back there was some post that theorized some big nuclear reaction at the center of the Earth as being responsible for regulating the Earth’s surface temperature. As I’m sure you can imagine, that went over well among the commentariate (not sure that’s a word) here. Anyway, I don;t really see the trend that you do.

    • This isn’t a court of law where proof beyond a reasonable doubt is required. If I had signed something that I was proud of, I wouldn’t hesitate to admit I had, if asked. Now one could apologize for the non-responders by saying that they have better things to do than answer an email from someone who isn’t a donor to their organization. However, there is circumstantial evidence that those asked about their signatures took the time to correspond with other presumed signatories. So, why be coy? The usual reason that humans avoid answering a direct question is that sins of omission are not viewed as being as serious as sins of commission. That is, a direct lie might catch up with them, whereas ignoring a question can always be explained with excuses. I personally don’t think highly of people who either don’t sign their names to manifestos, or avoid confirming that they have, if asked. This article is just more evidence of the games being played by progressives who are engaged in propaganda.

  20. Aren’t we looking at examples of new lows in science almost every day? Not proper to talk about the present situation?

  21. For some years now I have been heard to opine that “Progressives do not think for themselves, they think for each other.” Proof of concept. Thank you.

  22. On the back of this I’ve sent an email to all 31 American scientific societies asking them to confirm whether they support the widely stated view that the world is spherical, rather than flat.
    So far none have replied, indicating that, contrary to popular belief, the ‘spherical earth’ view does not enjoy widespread support among American scientific societies.
    There should be more of this sort of thing.

    • I sent all the members of Congress an email asking if they refute having personal affiliations with ISIS.
      None of them responded, so I can conclude that all the members of Congress are, in fact, working with ISIS.

  23. That’s an amazingly irrelevant comparison. It’s a good thing the author uses a pseudonym to avoid public embarrassment. No one is demanding public expenditures that will ultimately require trillions of dollars in funding based on the earth being spherical.
    So long, and thanks for all the fish (red herring).

    • The ridiculousness isn’t so much in the validity of the propositions as in the assumption that no response means they must be hiding something. Maybe the presidents of American scientific societies have better things to do than respond to every random email they receive from the public. I’m astonished that 9 apparently took the trouble to do so (all of them confirming the position stated in ‘consensus letter’)..

      • Then they should host the statement on their own website, and such webpages should be indexed.

      • You’ve learned the playbook well: When caught in something ridiculous, obfuscate rather than admit being wrong.
        So if the request came from people with highly credible credentials–perhaps including one or more Nobel laureates rather than “the public”–these scientific societies all should and would respond?

  24. From an outsider’s point of view this entire exercise looks pretty insane, which may be why you got the responses that you did.

  25. So when did scientific critique include critiquing a very obvious non-scientific letter? That letter is not science and was not put out there as scientific inquiry. At best, editorialize it, debate its points, but applying statistical analysis to such a letter is a useless endeavor akin to applying lipstick to a pig.

  26. This is exactly how I got my kids to eat all their vegetables when they were little, I just kept asking over and over, “When are you going to finish eating your peas?” They soon realized that all they needed to do to get me to shut up was … eat them.

  27. “Halperin is a climate denier and writes several blogs. Throughout the day, I’ve learned he has contacted many other societies with the same questions.”
    It is a dead set giveaway that there is something to hide when you can even be bothered checking up with other societies throughout the day. I mean what the hell do you have to hide??

  28. AFAIK (please prove me wrong) nobody seems to get yet that the Powell study ( IS effectively the refutation of Cook 2013 that I have been recently posting.
    His 99.5% is most likely correct. All that actually MEANS though is that only 0.5% of papers that he studied explicitly reject AGW. For a paper to reject AGW altogether means that most likely it’s explicitly stating there’s no GHE or something like that. It would have to be a paper which actually rules out man as a cause of ANY proportion of the observed warming. AGW = Anthropogenic Global Warming. It ONLY means that humans cause warming. It does NOT involve a quantification of how much of observed warming is due to man.
    Warmists misuse the Powell result to try to claim that 99.5% of the literature (and scientists writing it) is/are in agreement that observed warming is primarily (or entirely) the result of mankind. That’s not what the result shows. It’s not what Cook 2013 shows. If the categories in Cook 2013 had been set up correctly, I believe 99.5% would be the result they got too. All it shows is that the 99.5% are in agreement that AGW is real. And all THAT means is that humans can cause SOME warming (proportion of the observed warming due to mankind NOT quantified, i.e could be less than 50%). 99.5% of skeptics would agree with this consensus too.
    That refutation of Cook 2013 again:
    The categories in Cook et al (2013) “explicit endorsement without quantification” and “explicit rejection without quantification” are oxymoronic if the consensus the abstract of a paper supposedly endorses is either:
    a) “climate change is happening and is caused by mankind” (meaning 100% of all observed warming is the result of human emissions) or
    b) “climate change is happening and is caused mainly by mankind” (meaning greater than 50% of all observed warming is the result of human emissions).
    Therefore the consensus Cook et al (2013) claims to have found cannot be either of those, and any subsequent attempts to imply that it is, should be ignored.
    If an abstract contains no indication of how much warming is down to humans (i.e there’s no quantification) then there’s no more reason to put it under “explicit endorsement without quantification” than there is “explicit rejection without quantification”, if the consensus that abstract is supposed to be endorsing or rejecting is either a) or b). If you don’t know the level of quantification in that paper then there’s no way to know whether it endorses or rejects such a consensus. Yet, all papers rated ended up in one of the seven categories, and therefore the consensus being surveyed cannot have been a) or b).
    This only leaves the consensus they found to be “climate change is happening and mankind plays a role” or, as Cook et al put it, “humans are causing global warming” (yes, but how much, of the total observed warming!?). This is unquantified (by which I mean, the percentage of warming due to mankind is unquantified). This means that the categories are, essentially, set up incorrectly in the first place. The only rejection category required would be one in which an abstract rejects humans as a cause of global warming entirely. This would have resulted in a higher consensus percentage, yet would be a consensus that the vast majority of sceptics would agree with anyway.
    The consensus statistic as it stands, from this paper at least, is meaningless.

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