Study: Climate Skeptics Arguments are Demonstrably False

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A lecturer in critical thinking has demonstrated his technique for defeating climate skepticism.

How to use critical thinking to spot false climate claims

February 7, 2018 3.46pm AEDT

Peter Ellerton

Lecturer in Critical Thinking, Director of the UQ Critical Thinking Project, The University of Queensland

Much of the public discussion about climate science consists of a stream of assertions. The climate is changing or it isn’t; carbon dioxide causes global warming or it doesn’t; humans are partly responsible or they are not; scientists have a rigorous process of peer review or they don’t, and so on.

Despite scientists’ best efforts at communicating with the public, not everyone knows enough about the underlying science to make a call one way or the other. Not only is climate science very complex, but it has also been targeted by deliberate obfuscation campaigns.

If we lack the expertise to evaluate the detail behind a claim, we typically substitute judgment about something complex (like climate science) with judgment about something simple (the character of people who speak about climate science).

But there are ways to analyse the strength of an argument without needing specialist knowledge. My colleagues, Dave Kinkead from the University of Queensland Critical Thinking Project and John Cook from George Mason University in the US, and I published a paper yesterday in Environmental Research Letters on a critical thinking approach to climate change denial.

Six steps to evaluate contrarian climate claims

Identify the claim: First, identify as simply as possible what the actual claim is. In this case, the argument is:

The climate is currently changing as a result of natural processes.

Construct the supporting argument: An argument requires premises (those things we take to be true for the purposes of the argument) and a conclusion (effectively the claim being made). The premises together give us reason to accept the conclusion. The argument structure is something like this:

  • Premise one: The climate has changed in the past through natural processes
  • Premise two: The climate is currently changing
  • Conclusion: The climate is currently changing through natural processes.

Check for ambiguity: The argument mentions climate change in its premises and conclusion. But the climate can change in many ways, and the phrase itself can have a variety of meanings. The problem with this argument is that the phrase is used to describe two different kinds of change.

Current climate change is much more rapid than previous climate change – they are not the same phenomenon. The syntax conveys the impression that the argument is valid, but it is not. To clear up the ambiguity, the argument can be presented more accurately by changing the second premise:

  • Premise one: The climate has changed in the past through natural processes
  • Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes
  • Conclusion: The climate is currently changing through natural processes.

This correction for ambiguity has resulted in a conclusion that clearly does not follow from the premises. The argument has become invalid once again.

We can restore validity by considering what conclusion would follow from the premises. This leads us to the conclusion:

  • Conclusion: Human (non-natural) activity is necessary to explain current climate change.

Read more:

By adding unequivocal acceptance of the alarmist claim that recent global temperature changes are occurring more rapidly than can be explained by natural processes, you can overturn skeptic claims that recent temperature variations were mostly natural.

If you want to examine this technique in detail, Professor Ellerton’s study is available here.

What can I say – if your child attends University of Queensland, make sure they sign up to a class in critical thinking delivered by Professor Peter Ellerton.


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Wow. That’s begging the question.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

It is a faulty argument. First they don’t understand the real definition of “Climate Change” as defined by IPCC [AR3] and UNFCCC article 1. Human induced change: this has two broad components, namely greenhouse effect & non-greenhouse effect. Even if greenhouse effect [global warming is a part] is insignificant, in the observed data [as per the network distribution] the non-greenhouse effect is still significant — in satellite data it may be other way. That simply human impact: yes or no has no meaning. Natural variability: yes or no can be easily addressed by techniques suggested in 1966 WMO manual.
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy


In that example, he simply replaced one reasonable Claim with an unfounded Claim. That’s a good strategy as long as the skeptic is not armed with any facts, which deflate it completely.
He also pretends that climate science is too complex for non climate scientists to understand. However, we have the ability to read graphs as well as understand the science—it is only complex when you try to make a climate model that works (as yet not accomplished) and/or a model that ignores all the main climate factors, the latter has to be judged too complicated because its premises cannot be defended..


His “conclusion” is false because it has no predecessor to support it. He has simply thrown it into the mix. That isn’t “critical thinking”. It’s fabrication.
Trofim Lysenko is grinning and rubbing his dead hands together with glee.

Crispin in Waterloo

Dr S
You got that right on the first round. Without a definition of ‘climate change’ the steps are meaningless. What he means is ‘global warming’ and his statements are so poorly constructed I am not even going to analyse them – waste of time.
A better analysis is:
1. Climate alarmism is based on an irrational fear that rising global temperatures threatens the life of humankind in numerous ways, the promotion of which has become an industry that manufactures no useful product.
2. This fear is irrational because the globe has warmed at a similar rate or faster, and no such consequences were observed.
3. There is nothing about our current temperature range which has not been seen before and there were no catastrophic consequences seen from the ‘upside’ temperatures in those times – quite the opposite.
4. Irrational fears are poor bases for guiding expensive financial decisions.
5. Until such time as it can be demonstrated that adaptation is worse and more expensive than imaginary ‘mitigation’ of natural events, no major expense should be made, save in continuing to monitor the planet.
6. Efforts should rather be made to address the causes and mitigation of real pollution and damage to the environment – consequences of industry and agriculture and housing development – which are easily observed and which can be traced to human causes. What we mess, we should clean.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Crispin in aterloo — in support of points 5 & 6:
I presented methodologies for adaptation in agriculture and water resources. This I carried out for several countries in 70s & 80s. The summary of these studies are included in my first book published in 1993 — also published in 1983-84 in international journals.
Regarding the pollution [air, water, soil and food], at Paris meet in 2015, the multinational companies lobbied not to include the pollution aspects in the final draft of agreement. CO2 is not a pollution. This issue I discussed in my later books and scientific articles.

sy computing

“Wow. That’s begging the question.”
Yep. Enough said.

Robert Austin

John Cook co-author. Enough said!

Komrade Kuma

You mean the question of “WTF would a professor of critical thinking ( the greatest oxymoron of the 20th century) know about the science and maths that pertain to climate change?”

Komrade Kuma

ummmm…. is this guy an alter ego for ecoeinzatsgruppenfuhrer Lewandowsky?


“Begging the question” is often taken, especially in journalism, to mean “making a statement that would strongly lead one to ask this further question”, for example: “That begs the question, what would a professor of such and such know about such and such?”
However, in classical logical analysis “begging the question” has a different and more precise meaning, being one of the basic logical fallacies or fundamental errors that one can make in framing an argument. to “beg the question” in this formal sense means to adopt as one of the premises upon which you are constructing an argument that something must be true, a statement that assumes it is true without needing to demonstrated by the argument. In this case “Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes” would appear to “beg the question” in the formal sense. Not what you’d expect from a professor of critical thinking!


Beggars the question
Begging the question is a fallacy in which the premise of an argument presupposes the truth of its conclusion; in other words, the argument takes for granted what it’s supposed to prove.


Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes

Assumption of fact not in evidence.

Y. Knott

– And, “DINGDINGDINGDINGDING! We have a winner!”
Critical thinking from false premises is not only void-by-definition, it’s also a massive waste of time; it all comes back, once again, to “I’m right BECAUSE I SAY I am!”
Thanks, Prof Ellerton, the cheque’s in the mail…

Pop Piasa

So critical indoctrination is the post-modern version of critical thought.
Ellerton obviously believes he is more intelligent than everyone he is trying to propagandize. Having constructive dialogue with this sort a word-twisting, egocentric twit was nearly impossible during my years of education support.

Mickey Reno

Yes, this is one of the saddest arguments made out in the open, in recent history. I can think of worse ones, but then I’d be triggering Godwin’s law arguments, and I don’t want that. This sophistry should make real scientists weep. And tellingly, it’s offered up by the man who dresses up in an SS costume and thinks it’s funny. Why would anyone ever be persuaded by this clown? Poor Queensland.

Crispin in Waterloo

“Assumption of fact not in evidence.”
Acceptance of a lie as evidence.
The statement was so silly as to make one wonder if he even understands he is talking to sentient beings. “Faster than natural” includes having to exceed the Younger-Dryas and the rapid warming in the late 1700’s. Good luck finding that in the modern record.


comment image?w=700
The entire paper is destroyed, that was easy, anyone need toilet paper?

AGW is not Science



Exactly! The appropriate response is “How do we know it’s changing faster than any time in the past?”


*That* John Cook.
I wonder if he brought his N@zi uniform to the U.S. when he moved here.

Clyde Spencer

Yes, the temporal resolution of events is inversely proportional to the time in the past. That is, the distant past is painted with a very broad brush. While the claim may be true, it can’t be stated with certainty and to make the claim at all indicates either that the person is unacquainted with the problem of temporal resolution or that they are purposely making a false statement.

Roger Knights

“And tellingly, it’s offered up by the man who dresses up in an SS costume and thinks it’s funny.”
I’ve read that the image we’ve seen was created in Photoshop by his buddies as a joke (probably to visually suggest that he’s a storm trooper for the environment, or an “ecowarrior”).

John harmsworth

It is an example of thinking non-critically- and with unexamined facts. This guy gets paid for this drivel?
“His statement,” the climate is changing faster than can be explained by natural processes”,is by no means proven.This is the entire basis of his conclusion.
He couldn’t think his way out of a wet paper classroom.
Where does he live? I have some Florida “well watered” land to sell him.

Trigger you beat me to it.
I’ve often looked for ways to explain the fallacy of “begging the question” and John Cook comes up with the perfect example. He even labels the very thing he is trying to establish the “premise”.
Can’t get much more circular than that!
How does someone supposedly an expert in “critical thinking” accept such an absurdity from a co-author?!?


Mental illness. They are apparently prone to hallucinations. That is, they are imagining things that didn’t happen and things said that skeptics didn’t say. They need treatment. Good meds to stabilize them.


It’d be the equivalent argument that AGW theory says that the earth will experience runaway warming and end up like Venus. Fringe Alarmists like James Hansen might believe that but that’s not the widely held belief. Hence dismissing AGW on that premise would be a faulty argument. Cook is a propaganda merchant, nothing more.


No runaway in mainstream theory?
Mainstream theory says that there is a positive feedback. How do you avoid runaway behavior?


A classic logical fallacy used in a paper from a “critical thinking” professor. The state-of-science, it’s worse than we thought.


Nope, science has been on life-support for quite some time now. Many have recognized this reality.


It was in a better way when it was a hobby of the independently wealthy and a side project of military officers. Persons with established livelihoods/careers outside the academic circle, who never needed fear losing research grants over what findings they published.


Their real problem is that they won’t openly debate (and in fact reject) the opposition which makes them look like scam artists. They don’t do this because they would appear embarrassingly like Cathy Newman in the Jordan Peterson interview (don’t Cathy Newman me trending).

Mike Wryley

For a moment I thought it was April 1


The assertion that climate change is occurring more rapidly (warming, meltings, storming) in the current epoch is unsubstantiated driving a flawed syllogism. Bad bad bad.

Martin Mason

There isn’t a shred of evidence that climate is changing faster than previously


What a straw man that is! The rates of warming and amounts in past history MOST certainly match what we see today. Talk about trying to slip a fast one past the goal here! Is that all they have????


Yeah, he leads off with a straw man, then grossly contorts the argument to match his preconceived notions, and pats himself on the back. Utter drivel. Critical stinking, nothing more.


Resolution of data from prior epochs doesn’t support rigorous analysis in favor of your claim.

A C Osborn

We do not need previous Epochs, 1900-1940 will just fine thank you.
If you think that your statement is true I suggest that you study this graph for a little while.


“Resolution of data from prior epochs doesn’t support rigorous analysis in favor of your claim.”
Is one-year resolution good enough for you?

Latimer Alder

Even if the climate were proven to be changing faster than ever before, that of itself tells us nothing about the cause of the change.
That something is ‘unprecedented’ just tells us about our knowledge of the precedents.
It does not mean exceptional or extraordinary or inexplicable or dangerous or catastrophic.
Example: Until about 1830 no human being had ever travelled 30 miles in an hour. Such a speed was ‘unprecedented’. Yet nowadays 500 miles in an hour is commonplace.

Queensland Critical Thinking Project and John Cook …
I did continue reading, but my heart wasn’t in it after that.

An obvious oxymoron – Cook and critical thinking in the same sentence.


“Not only is climate science very complex, but it has also been targeted by deliberate obfuscation campaigns.”
So where is the evidence of deliberate obfuscation? That kind of implies that a “sceptic” knows the actual truth (as seem by the alarmists) but tells deliberate lies and knowingly spreads a corrupted picture to the public. The claim of deliberate obfuscation by sceptics is a smear aimed at diverting the public from some rather inconvenient truths.

Pat Frank

The deliberate obfuscation campaigns are real. They derive from the cabal (2.3 MB pdf) of consensus climate so-called scientists, and their host of irregulars.
See also Tom Nelson’s compilation of damning climategate emails at WUWT here

Individuals on BOTH sides of the political debate like to cut off graphs at a certain date when the data waters down the point they are trying to make. For example, some skeptics started cutting off at 2013 when the El Niño started to kick in, and now that La Niña is starting the warmists are cutting off monthly plots, or use data through 2016. In some cases universities which make available data plots are not updating the data if it’s contrarian to official dogma. This can be quite annoying and its fruitless.


If we are looking for warming caused by CO2, including an el nino muddies the water.


No its not MarkW. Global warming is by definition an average of the weather. If you remove some of the weather you dont like then you’re changing the result to something else. ENSO will almost certainly change its frequency/timing and/or strengths in response to warming so it should be included.If you assume ENSO will be unchanged (by removing its effects) then you’re masking the true trajectory of the climate.
Also…again the El Nino appears to have caused a step change in the earths average temperature. That’s an important point to understand and attempting to mask it reduces understanding.


Another fine example of their accusations against others pointing directly at what they themselves are doing.


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Bryan A

Isn’t that what the MSM Hillary Supporters were doing prior to and during the election

Alan D McIntire

I suspect that most of the obfuscating was done by CAGW worshippers.

John harmsworth

Whether or not there has been obfuscation is irrelevant to any scientific conclusions, so why would he make that statement?
Thinking critically about that leads me to the possibility and likelihood that he includes it as an unscientific appeal to his own credibility. This is, in fact, an obfuscation with regard to actual critical thinking about the issue at hand. Ergo, he is a disengenuous activist as well as a hack at his stated profession.

DeLoss McKnight

RobR “So where is the evidence of deliberate obfuscation?”
Obfuscation: Inconvenient attention drawn to failed predictions.


Very good comment, RobR. You hit the nail right on the head.


John Cook from George Mason University in the US
So, this is the same John Cook, cartoonist and erstwhile “science communicator” from UQ? The same bloke who was involved with Lewindowski in their phony paper about the psychology of skeptics?
The same John Cook who set up a “Skeptical Science” blog within which skeptical views were trashed?
I wonder why he ran away from Oz.


The same John Cook of the 97.1% of 32.6% of climate papers.


Let’s at least get his name right. It’s Stephan Lewandowsky. To remember this, simply rearrange the letters in “what Lysenko spawned.”

Pop Piasa

That would make a cool animation on video as the same letters from “what Lysenko spawned.” are juggled into Stephen Lewandowski. If only the general public were informed enough to understand the historical frame of reference.

Hmmm… my first question is always show me the Lorentz transformation that shows the relative line broadening in the troposphere and stratosphere today compared to the 1950s when line accurate spectrums were first taken in the IR bands by the USAF. The follow up is usually, explain the magnitude of the line broadening and the resulting increased statistical probability of a photon of IR radiation in the appropriate absorption bands being absorbed. Thats good for a start.


Wow! That’s twisting Karl Popper some.
” Human (non-natural) activity is necessary to explain current climate change.”
Big jump! Assuming the climate is changing differently, (which it is not), still leaves a lot of assumptions wide open.

Leo Smith

” Human (non-natural) activity is necessary to explain current climate change.”
Indeed. Better instrumentation that can actually detect short term change, better communications that can ensure that the message that modern climate change is unprecedented, better control of science by taking it out of the hands of educated gentlemen of independent means, and putting it in the hands of public sector employees, or those employed by large multinationals, better siting of weather stations in ears that can become urbanised and show the correct response to that urbanisation as a rising temperature…
How can anyone doubt that ‘climate change’ owes everything to human activity?
It’s just the real averaged global temperatures that haven’t really changed….

Jeff Alberts

There are no “real averaged global temperatures”, only imaginary ones.

John harmsworth

Pretty clear why this guy didn’t choose a science field. He couldn’t do it because he doesn’t think critically.

Crispin in Waterloo

Pretend philosophers are not better skilled than pretend climate scientists. Karl Popper taught for nothing, apparently. This guy should not attempt to debate at the Oxford Club.

Pat Frank

Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes.
And wrong again.
And yet again
Peter Ellerton: not thinking critically about climate.


That’s what the IPCC says. I’m content with that. Not very very rapid, but still can’t be explained without CO2.
Cook still misrepresents skeptics to refute all but alarmism.

Leo Smith

How would know if the global temperature had spiked 0.5C over a 30 year period 10,000 years ago?


Leo. I wouldn’t. But I just skip that as not fully relevant. Unless you show how it happened.


So a global temperature change 10,000 may have been anthropogenic in causation?


The climate has changed in this way before, therefore CO2 is not necessary.
Where is the change that is unique?

A C Osborn

Look at the graph that I posted up post on Historic Sea Level rise, which requires warming to happen and then tell if the rate then is not higher than the the rate now.


We don’t even have to go that far back in time to find a comparable rate of warming to today’s. (Pat, i’m pro lazy… ☺) The warming a century ago will suffice. Not only that, it’s a much easier argument to shove down a warmist’s throat. One can even quote Phil Jones…

A C Osborn



“One can even quote Phil Jones”
That’s right. Phil Jones said the warming from 1910 to 1940 was of the same magnitude as the warming from 1975 to the present day. If the warming from 1910 to 1940 is attributed to natural causes, then why should we attribute the same magnitude of warming to anything other than natural causes? Just because there is more CO2 in the atmosphere now than then?
The Earth’s climate is governed by natural variation until proven otherwise. More CO2 in the atmosphere is not that proof.

“Critical” Thinking.
False premises from the beginning.
I find the “Pronoun Debate” very similar to the climate debate lately.
There was an amazing piece in BBC 4 where one Cathy Newman was interviewing Prof Jordan Peterson (a must see interview!) and constantly mis-presenting his views. Even sometime putting it to be exactly the opposite of what he actually says.
Also – are there no nuances in a debate? everything is either black or white?


I’ve read through several expert analyes of that interview and have come to believe the following is the best explanation of what we see happening in that now infamous Chan4 interview.
Essentially what happened to Cathy Newman during her interogation of Dr Peterson were at least 12 distinct instances of cognitive dissonance. When she suffered each episode of acute cognitive dissonance, her inability to reconcile what he said led her to hallicinate (falsly imagine) that Dr Peterson said something that he did not. Those hallucinations were her brain attempting to alliviate her discomfort at not being able to maintain or confirm her bias.

Mike Wryley

What I saw was poor Cathy being outed as a dolt repeatedly, and every time immediately shift gears and return to hammering another lie. There was only one honest, brief moment on her part in the entire interview where her brain was trying to reconcile her reality with the truth, and the cognitive dissonance paralyzed her.
She then returned to her normal mode.
A sobering thing to watch. I plan on buying Peterson’s book.

Leo Smith

The Green brain only sees black and white.


The Green brain can also see white where there is only black and call it a jelly donut.
It’s mental illness all the way down the Green rabbithole.

Nigel S

Not BBC4 but Channel 4 which is a separate although still state funded UK TV station. Prof. Peterson has said that within a minute he realised what was in store and moved into Clinical Psychologist mode. Hence perhaps his ability to sustain 30 minutes of complete BS with a smile which is perhaps the most admirable aspect of the whole circus.
“Tell us about the lobster!”

Yes, C4… it is time skeptics adopted this way of dealing with believers.

Erin Shanahan

“So you’re saying, the climate doesn’t change except naturally and that you hate the planet.”


You see, the Masters of Nuance are the leftists, what with their constant changing and invention of definitions of words and terms. All the better so that you have to constantly adjust to their latest kookery. Shut up and obey!
‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

What happened to the science that says he who makes the claim has to show evidence for it?
The climate alarm industry has NEVER shown evidence that serious global warming is caused by man’s CO2.


Some warming is caused by CO2. It has been shown, but accuracy of this statement (1.5..4.5C/doubling) has not increased in 40 years. That’s a scientific failure.
Thank you Javier and Andy – a very good article. I agree with almost all of it, and have written similar points.
You wrote:
“… after expending billions on the question of climate sensitivity to CO2, we have not been able to reduce the range of possible values, 1.5°C to 4.5° C[3], a factor of 3, in the 39 years …”
The maximum sensitivity of climate to increasing atmospheric CO2 (TCS) is about +1C/(2xCO2), which is NOT dangerous. This was proved by Christy and McNider (1994 and 2017), in which (to prove their point) they attributed ALL the global warming since 1979 to increasing atmospheric CO2.
Using the same assumptions for the global cooling period from ~1940 to ~1977, I calculated a TCS of approx. MINUS 1C/(2xCO2), again not dangerous.
[end of excerpts]
Note that these are full-Earth-scale analyses measured over almost 40 years of data, first of global cooling and then of global warming, with none of the scale-up errors typical of other analyses done at molecular scale. These calculations bound TCS at +/-1C/(2xCO2). The actual range of TCS is probably much less, about +/-0.2C/(2xCO2). Either way, there is no real global warming crisis.

A C Osborn

Where and how has it “been shown” to have actually happened?

Bruce Cobb

Wrong Hugs. Some warming may be caused by increased CO2, but the warming effect (if it exists) diminishes as CO2 levels rise. Furthermore, the warming effect has been shown in the lab, but not in the wild. There are too many variables, and likely, negative feedbacks. The bottom line is that whatever warming effect the increased CO2 has had, or is having, is too small to suss out, and thus, doesn’t matter. It is inconsequential.

Steve Keohane

Arrhenius came up with those numbers over 100 years ago. The latter was his first estimation, finally settling on the former.

Pat Frank

Hugs, “Some warming is caused by CO2. It has been shown,…
No, it hasn’t.

Gary Pearse

Hugs, shown in the lab. But you seem not to be aware that other systems, not in the lab react against changes in the earth system. Example: a pot placed in the tropical hot noon sun will raise its temperature to fairly hot to touch (you can fry an egg on the sidewalk) . On the open sea the surface can’t be heated higher than 30-31C because of 1)evaporation, 2) rising warm air replaced by sinking cool air and cold rainfall. 3) initiating winds 4) initiating currents that move the warm water out….. Herein lies the big problem with climate science – doing an experiment to study climate phenomenon. It’s also what plagues coral research and hosts of other earth matters. You can easily kill fish in a tank that are just fine in the sea which cant be replicated. Ive been wanting to tell you these things for quite a while. Its what is meant by the complexity of the problems of climate.


Lab experiments are closed systems. The Earth as we live on it is about as far from a closed system as you can get.
In the words of an alternate universe Lex Luthor: “Why don’t you put the whole world in a bottle, Superman?”


the dropped context, the hidden premise, the reframing, the counterassertion – but it’s simply to convey one simple semiotic meaning- that of a snarl = disapproval.
you just gotta ask yourself do you care?

John Cook, fellow Australian and the Forrest Gump of science communication.
Guardian article
“I’m a Christian and find myself strongly challenged by passages in the Bible like Amos 5 and Matthew 25”, he wrote. “… I care about the same things that the God I believe in cares about – the plight of the poor and vulnerable.”


Oh [removed expletive]! All that immoral us against them, building strawmen on people, persecuting them, explained now by need to morally pose.
‘Writing about climate change can be dispiriting, to say the least. Even George Monbiot admits to occasional bouts of despair: “There is no point in denying it: we’re losing …” he opined in a Guardian article at the end of last year.’

John harmsworth

Yup. He’s not trying to save the world. He’s trying to get into Heaven. I wonder if he’ll get a lesson in critical thinking when St. Peter tells him he didn’t make the cut.


Strange, then, how the Green platform he rides on seems to do nothing but increase the plight of the poor and vulnerable.
Here’s another Scriptural passage [paraphrased] he should be strongly challenged by: Not everyone who sayeth unto me “Lord, Lord!” shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven, but only they who do the will of my Father who is in Heaven. Many will say unto me on the Last Day, “Lord, Lord, did I not do great deeds, and perform miracles, and cast out demons in thy name?” And I will say unto them, “Depart from me, ye that worked inequity. I never knew you.”

So you’re saying natural processes will wipe out humanity?


Doing a Cathy Newman impersonation I see. Hallucinations don’t become you.

So you’re saying if I hallucinate it, I can become whatever I wish?

Pompous Git

“So you’re saying if I hallucinate it, I can become whatever I wish?”

Indeed this is so; that’s the nature of hallucinations (ideas or belief to which nothing real corresponds). My personal favourite is believing I can play the guitar!


Sure, just click your heels 3 times, and say whatever comes to mind. And “poof”…! you’re a UQ critical thinker. Works for Ellerton apparently. Fanciful imagination and all.

Nigel S

6.5 million views so far in 3 weeks but still some way to go to beat their most popular clip of a weather forcaster saying “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch” correctly which has has 16 million views in 2 years. We are indeed heading for hell in a handcart.


“6.5 million views so far in 3 weeks but still some way to go to beat their most popular clip of a weather forcaster saying “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch” correctly”
How can you be sure he pronounced it correctly? Has anyone ever heard it pronounced properly before this occasion? Inquiring minds want to know.

Pompous Git

“So you’re saying natural processes will wipe out humanity?”

Almost certainly Charles. While humans are smart, Nature has been deleting species for a very long time and is consequently very good at it. 🙂
Even if we somehow manage to avoid extinction, will we still be the same species?


You can’t swim twice in the same river of life. So no, all ends.

Leo Smith

Almost certainly. What, after all is not natural?
And where are Neanderthal man, homo habilis, homo erectus, homo Australis today?
Not to mention the pterosaurs
Natural processes have wiped out far far more species than mankind ever has.
99% of all species known became extinct before man appeared.


The fun fact is, 100% of species where literally invented by humans. The famous T. Rex was given his name millions of year after the last one died. Without humans giving them a generic name, animals and plant would never be member of a “specie”. They would just be a branch in the bizarre genealogical tree of life.
Species don’t live, and cannot be extinct. They exist only in the virtual world of names, where they pop in and out at humans will, and for human use.


Talk about lacking critical thinking skills:
“Current climate change is much more rapid than previous climate change – they are not the same phenomenon. ”
An assertion that is in fact been proven wrong by actual scientists. That is that there is nothing “unprecedented” about the magnitude late 20th century GMST rise.
Furthermore we have to assume that by climate change he is referring to GMST anomaly record. But which record?
Simply making unproven assertions does not prove your argument, unless you are a hallucinating Lunatic Leftist.
The guy (Peter Ellerton) is a carnival barker. Nothing more. And he is apparently prone to hallucinations.


Of course, this thread omits Ellerton’s accompanying hand gestures, which are extremely important to follow his argument.




hi! i’m al gore for global warming!

this is the archetype the activist industry plagiarizes
they are not buying – they are selling.


Obviously Australian academic requirements are lower than I thought.

From what I can gather they have dropped to zero.


If no knowledge is communicated, the standard would be zero. If falsity is presented as truth, the standard is negative.

Geoff Sherrington

As an old Australian scientist, I can but agree and weep.


I think the best way for them to stop the skeptics is to have better, less nuanced, science. Debating tactics, esoteric statistics, personal attacks, consensus claims and advocating expensive and ineffectual solutions are not indicative of strong science .
If it is all about “The Science” then the science needs to be much more convincing. Using debating tactics may win arguments but they never convince. Do better science!


Not that I think better science will advance their cause, rather the opposite in fact.

As soon as you read the name “John Cook”, your brain involuntarily shuts down and closes up for fear of further damage like an internet Virus attack on your computer.


Cook is a mental midget. Visions of self-gradiosity obviously dance in his head… along with many other self-delusions and hallucinations about what others have said.
To fear Cook, is akin to fearing the cockroaches you might see if you turn on the lights, so you don’t turn them on because if you don’t see them, they aren’t there. Nothing to be afraid, only just something to squish.


‘Cook is a mental midget. Visions of self-gradiosity obviously dance in his head… along with many other self-delusions and hallucinations about what others have said.’ so a perfect fit for working in climate ‘sceince’ then.


unequivocal acceptance is fine, if illogical, in religion or politics but in science there is a reason why it’s ‘critical review’ and not measures of belief which are employed.
And of course it is always ‘useful’ , if lazy and dishonest, to mislabel the arguments of your opponents has a means to counter them. With no need for any thinking , critical or otherwise, in this case.

Danny Boy

Whaat? I mean, I don’t need (or have) a college degree to spot the hilarious absurdity of changing the premise arbitrarily to make your argument, AND then claim it invalidates criticism. Is this on?


Yep. Good analysis.
There are also other severely incorrect assertions there about what is climate change. Actually writing that rubbish paper and then calling oneself a critical thinker is in itself quite illuminating to the workings of mental illness.


•Premise one: The climate has changed in the past through natural processes (To the best of our knowledge, climate has been constantly changing due to various factors)
•Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes (If we perceive that the climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes does not necessarily mean that ‘non-natural’ factors are the cause. It could also mean that our understanding of past changes is incomplete, or that some previously undetected natural process has come into play)
Conclusion: Human (non-natural) activity is necessary to explain current climate change. (This is like saying that if the ball is not red, it must be blue.
Unfortunately, including critical thinking and university in the same sentence does not have the ring of truth it may have had a decade or two ago.


These guys are also of the same mindset that professes that one can merely look out their window and see climate change happening, right now. Pure hallucination.


I do think we have enough evidence on more than 50% contribution of CO2 since 1950.


And that evidence is?


We have virtually no understanding of our climate and no understanding of what drives the various cycles we observe. The record of climate even going back a few decades is pretty sketchy (and apparently “wrong”). Yet we know that a single small part of a massively complex and little understood system caused 50% of a temperature rise?
Just not remotely credible. Possible yes, but proven? Not remotely.

A C Osborn

Phoenix44 February 9, 2018 at 2:14 am
Real Climate Scientists have quite a good working knowledge of how the Climate works and practically all of that Science disproves CO2 as being anything other than a very bit part player, if any kind of player at all.

February 9, 2018 at 12:05 am
Could you tell me the sign of the cloud contribution? No one else can.
And after that a magnitude would be good.


“This is like saying that if the ball is not red, it must be blue.”
That style of thinking is a load of balls
(if the ball was green it would have a red center) (:-))

Phineas Sprague Jr

The most complex, mind numbing obtuse theory in order for it to be scientific must make a falsifyable prediction. Most people no matter how challenged can read the prediction and check reality against the prediction. “There will be no ice.”” The sea level is rising four inches “” the temperature will rise” and so on. ” there will be more…less…the same. If the prediction has no skill it doesn’t matter how complex and difficult to understand if it is unable to successfully predict then about any one can discern a problem and no one should use it.


Yeah that is why mainstream climate science is no longer science. Science (as a method discovering physical truths) left the building so to speak, when those claiming every observable phenomenon was evidence supporting their theory.
Climate science went down the rabbithole of pseudoscience.

John harmsworth

That is actually what bothers me most about this subject. Whatever the AGW crowd of clowns does will not effect the climate one iota. It will burn up great gobs of money without any benefit to anyone, especially the poor of the world. But it is a vastly corrupted science, and science is a thing I hold dearly for its ability to change the world for the better by seeking truths. They are doing science great damage.

Jack Miller

This looks like the same thing I read a couple of days ago on SCIENCEALERT : These 6 Easy Steps Can Debunk Any Climate Science Denier
Go on, give it a try!

The assertion we cannot study climate data for ourselves and cannot comprehend statistics is false. We are not studying climate physics. We are studying the climate record data. This is not physics. This is statistics. We can also test the validity of predictions, and if all are false, we can conclude that those making the predictions don’t have a credible claim on climate to make and apparently don’t understand what is going on.

Climate is a large population of different things (data), and so the claim that it is one ting that is changing is gibberish. So the assertion is false. It could be changing by dozens of metrics at dozens of rates, and still his assertion would be false because he presumes it is one thing with one rate of change.

Extreme Hiatus

Alllrighty then. Guess that’s it. I was blind to the ambiguity. My thinking was incorrect. OK.
I hope this ‘study’ gets massive publicity. It is bound to work as well for their cause as Hillary’s ‘basket of deplorables’ did for her.


Did anyone need to read past ‘John Cook from George Mason University’ before determining that the study was a load of hogwash?
Because “If we lack the expertise to evaluate the detail behind a claim, we typically substitute judgment about something complex (like climate science) with judgment about something simple (the character of people who speak about climate science).”

Man Bear Pig

If true, the rules must apply to all claims, including AGW, but it makes it worse for him.
Premise one: The climate has changed in the past through natural processes
Premise two: The climate is currently changing
Conclusion: The climate is currently changing through CO2
Definitely faulty logic, conclusion: A Straw Man

There is evidence of rapid climate change in proxies that was greater than recent times. I can’t find the exact quote but Tom Karl once stated less than twenty years ago that the greatest warming rate was 100 years ago, since gone with changes to global temperature anomalies. We had a hiatus when the amount of emissions was an order of magnitude more than 100 years before and then a dubious adjustment by a team led by Karl. What little evidence of recent warming being unprecedented is extremely dubious and its now a logical fallacy to contradict it? You can get away with anything if you argue like that.


Here’s a quote from Phil Jones. This may be what you are thinking about.
It is only since 1950 that anthropogenic forcing (human GHG emissions) has really taken off. Professor Phil Jones, former director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, admitted in an interview on the BBC in 2010 [12], that “for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different.”
end excerpt
Even the Climate Change Charlatans have to admit that our current weather is NOT unprecedented; that it warmed just as much in the past without the help of CO2.

I found one from 1989, although I think that there is more recent comment from him. Tom Karl said in an interview that all the
global warming was up to 1919 and cooling from 1921 to 1979.
https://www newspapers com
Similar issue – unprecedented is based on differences in rates smaller than adjustments.

“the past”
is the first half of the 20th century,
with a warming period very similar
to the warming period in the second half
of the SAME century !


“the past”
is the first half of the 20th century,
with a warming period very similar
to the warming period in the second half
of the SAME century !”
And then the next century hardly warmed at all.
So the sequence of events is: The temps warm from 1910 to 1940, then it cools from 1940 to 1975, and then it warms from 1975 to 1998 (at the same magnitude as the 1910-1940 warming), and then it practically flatlines from 1998 to the present.

David L

This reminds me of the Monty Python segment in “The Holy Grail” where they “logically” deduce a woman is a witch because she weighs less than a duck. But even there they actually make a measurement to confirm their conclusion!!!


Clearly climate change is caused by God.

In the world we can see that at least some things are changing. Whatever is changing is being changed by something else. If that by which it is changing is itself changed, then it too is being changed by something else. But this chain cannot be infinitely long, so there must be something that causes change without itself changing. This everyone understands to be God. link

Logic is wonderful.

Nigel S

‘Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;’

John harmsworth

I don’t know but He sure is good at hiding heat there.

Gerald Landry

Is it a 50/50 Split? Un-abated Industrial Black Carbon emissions, Coal fired power plants, Open air Petroleum Coke piles blowing in the wind, the dominance of Bunker C used to power Ships Vs forest wildfires, Volcanic eruptions, Heat rise from Clear-Cut forests:


Curious how long it took to produce this argument and have it published.
It sees arguments supporting the probability of a soft landing with CO2 increase as being wrong.
Such arguments include an examination of the key planks of the CO2 hypothesis,the existence of a tropospheric hot spot, so small it cannot be measured,an increase in the rate of acceleration of sea level,something the Mayor of Sydney says will lead to sea levels 10 to 20 metres higher by the end of the century. This despite the stubborn refusal of the Port Jackson tidal gauge, right next to the Opera House, to show this.
The failure of a jump in the minimum temperatures seen, say in the Antarctic.
Now this latter has been seriously been muddied by the exercise of our BOM to put up thermometers that refuse to read below 10C.
Not a good look in alpine or Antarctic regions.
An audit, externally made, is overdue.
It is shameful that such thermometers also read instantaneously, so high temperatures are assured.
The reason all this is curious is that a certain Professor is taking a case at law in Australia that reflects on the alleged problem of clearer thinking as well as the scientific problem of reproducability,
The medical case has been made.
In Veterinary Science its happening right now.
Last century digoxin was the go to treatment for congestive heart disease in dogs.
It was found to be fairly useless.
A trial in Europe showed that ‘after load reducers’, ace inhibitors, took the load off the heart and extended a
dog’s active life.
Despite the use of ace inhibitors for decades, two more trials have failed to corroborate the first.
At the moment a cross over trial is on comparing ace inhibitors, pimobendan, diuretics and varying combinations of these.
It is not published.
The science is never settled, at best it evolves.
Its easy to put up straw men and knock them over.
Will these authors and their paper be called by the defence in the forthcoming damages action?
If so, the authors must be prepared for a critical deconstruction, eclipsing peer review.


In paragraph 4.3 of the paper, they correctly quote the ‘hypothetico-deductive method’ syllogism:
P1: If my theory is correct, then I will observe this phenomenon.
P2: I did not observe this phenomenon.
C: My theory is not correct.
I wonder why they do not take the logical step of applying this to the theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming!

Agree. My immediate reaction to this article was that the person attempting to apply “critical thinking” and a “structured argument” is actually going through hypothesis development. Once the hypothesis is developed, there are the additional steps associated with proof, which this “critical thinker” completely misses.


That they are losing this argument says something about the character of their people

Professor Phil Jones Director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) – BBC interview on current vs past rates of change.
“Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical?
An initial point to make is that in the responses to these questions I’ve assumed that when you talk about the global temperature record, you mean the record that combines the estimates from land regions with those from the marine regions of the world. CRU produces the land component, with the Met Office Hadley Centre producing the marine component.
Temperature data for the period 1860-1880 are more uncertain, because of sparser coverage, than for later periods in the 20th Century. The 1860-1880 period is also only 21 years in length. As for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different (see numbers below).
I have also included the trend over the period 1975 to 2009, which has a very similar trend to the period 1975-1998.
So, in answer to the question, the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other”.

“The climate has changed in the past through natural processes.”
This is a proven fact.
“The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes.”
In other words, “climate” never changed in the past as rapidly is it changes “currently”? Really?
To be a “premise” of any kind, this must be proven, and it hasn’t been proven.
Which proves that Peter Ellerton is a professor of sour grapes, nothing else.


It is sophistry. The climate has changed in the past in the same way as now. But we can’t explain that either!

Alan D McIntire

Here’s a link to a PNAS article:
“As the world slid into and out of the last ice age, the general cooling and warming trends were punctuated by abrupt changes. Climate shifts up to half as large as the entire difference between ice age and modern conditions occurred over hemispheric or broader regions in mere years to decades….”

John harmsworth

Sure but if you think critically enough about that ( squint and furrow your little brows), it becomes obvious that there’s no grant money in that.

Applying critical thinking to their correction of Premise two: “The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes”
This is patent nonsense. Taking measurements from proxies which represent tens of thousands of years, the short term changes of century time frames become averaged out creating a “smudged” record which is suggestive of slower rates of climate change. With more sophisticated analytical techniques, the facts change to reveal a history which includes times of rapid changes, often exceeding the rate of change we currently are witnessing.
Critical thinking destroys the arguments used to manufacture the more extreme of the climate alarmism.


“Despite scientists’ best efforts at communicating with the public, not everyone knows enough about the underlying science to make a call one way or the other. Not only is climate science very complex, but it has also been targeted by deliberate obfuscation campaigns.”
Pot, meet kettle, kettle meet pot.

There is almost no science.
Simple lab experiments suggest
a doubling of CO2 will warm the planet
about + 1 degree in 200 years.
End of REAL science.
There are scientists making wild guesses..
There is lots of speculation.
There is a bizarre water vapor positive feedback theory.
But the only REAL science is the simple closed system
lab experiments.
In addition, there is nothing UNUSUAL about
the temperature measurements since 1940
that even suggests natural climate change has ended,
and something else has been “controlling the climate”.
“Climate change” is 99% politics and 1% science.
The runaway warming fairy tale is the biggest fraud
in the history of the planet.

Ian H

This is a joke right?

I guess the scientists who study “climate change” need first to understand the most fundamental aspects of the subject in order to properly advise the public. This problem is probably the main reason for there being such a large number of sceptics within the scientific community: physicists, Chemists and geologists in particular who are unable to follow the details of the climate scientists (mostly geographers) analysis.
For instance observing the graphs published by NAS and HADCRU (UEA) which show unequivocally what the chief scientist (Prof Phil Jones) at CRU recently stated was a “pause” when there has been, as he stated, “no statistically significant warming since 1998” – twenty years. While the increase in carbon dioxide is undoubtedly responsible for serious global warming, it behaves inconsistently in that the nineteen years from 1979 to 1997 showed exertional warming from the increases in CO2, the even stronger increase in greenhouse gases over the past two decades has left us with the “Hiatus” – as described by NASA and CRU. All of this makes it very difficult, even though it remains necessary, to try to convince the classical “skeptic” of the need to reduce CO2 output.
The biggest problem of course in all this, is that NASA and CRU persist in publishing the forecasts of the 120 or so CIM5 models (AOGCMs) which contribute to the IPCC analysis of climate change, showing that the measured temperature of the globe is now far below even the lowest forecast values.
Recently I wrote to most of the scientists in Australia such as those at UNSW CRC Climate Research centre funded by the ARC, David Karoly (a well known meteorologist) Will Stefan (Head of the Australian Climate Change Commuinity

Alan D McIntire

Another problem with the CO2/temperature relationship is that any temperature changes should be proportional to the LOGARITHM of the change in CO2- graphs invariably show temperature vs CO2, which should NOT have a linear relationship


The most depressing thought is that we pay these clowns a handsome salary, to produce this tripe..


Not only is climate science very complex….

Actually climate is very complex; climate science as we know it is very reductionist.

Christopher Chantrill

I’d say there is a little problem with
Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes
It should be:
Premise two: The climate is currently changing at a more rapid rate than can be explained by natural processes using current knowledge.
Because, sports fans, we can never be sure that our knowledge of natural processes is complete.

The average temperature
has barely changed in 137 years.
The current climate is wonderful and getting better
since the late 1600’s cold Maunder Minimum.
From what we know from climate proxy studies,
the past 137 years had an unusually stable climate
and average temperature.
The + 1 degree C. warming claimed most
likely overstates actual warming
because 1800’s starting point thermometers
tend to read low.
In addition, there were very few
Southern Hemisphere measurements
before 1940… and even today, a majority
of surface grids have only wild guess numbers
(no thermometers)
from people who want to see more warming, because
they’ve been predicting lots of warming for decades.
They want their predictions to be accurate,
and they “own” the historical temperature actuals,
so they can “adjust” the numbers whenever they want to.
And “adjust” they do = a huge conflict of interest.
Climate blog:

The new president of Peter Ridd’s university. It is now called John Cook University


The ability to engage in critical thinking evades most proponents of the AGW theory.
Most seem to believe anything that’s said, as long as whoever is saying it “sounds” plausible.
Here is an IPCC Contributing Author recently claiming (in a national radio interview) that the C02 exhaled in human breath is causing “climate change”

James Lett summarized the elements of critical thinking in a 1990 article for the Skeptical Inquirer.
Ellerton’s hobgoblin is this statement: “The climate is currently changing as a result of natural processes.” The implication is that climate change is SOLELY a result of natural processes, a position no rational ‘skeptic’ would take or try to defend, knowing the demonstrated effects on local microclimates of human changes to land use. Given that Ellerton’s diatribe is thus a simple assault on a straw man, he could profit greatly from a study of Lett’s paper.

Alan D McIntire

I’ve given up on the “Skeptical Inquirer”- they’ve gone CAGW nuts. In a recent article they had Michael Mann, of all people, post a rebuttal to a CAGW skeptic, arguing that the recent INCREASE in extreme weather events is a datum in support of CAGW.
In fact, the rate of extreme weather events has trended DOWNWARD an insignificant amount since 1910.

Roger Knights

Here’s something I posted in Tips & Notes on Feb 8:

An organ of the Randi-type Skeptics movement, the Center for Scientific Inquiry (CSI, formerly CSICOP), has selected Michael Mann as one of six new Fellows. See its newsletter #99, here: Its profile of Mann (probably written by himself) is this:
Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and director of the Earth Systems Sciences Center at the Pennsylvania State University. He is likely best known for introducing the visual conceptualization of the progress of climate change with the famous “hockey stick” chart, for which he has become a prime target of science deniers. He is the author of more than 200 peer-reviewed and edited publications, as well as author of three books: The Madhouse Effect (2016, with cartoonist Tom Toles), The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars (2012), and Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming (2008). He has been a contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments of climate science. He is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Congratulations and welcome to our new fellows! The full list of CSI fellows can be found on the inside cover of each issue of Skeptical Inquirer and on the CSI website.

John harmsworth

I’m actually pretty sure he would gain absolutely nothing from it. There is none so blind…


I wish they’d use that critical thinking to stop throwing oranges into an apple basket.

John harmsworth

Gonna borrow that one.

Tom in Florida

“Much of the public discussion about climate science consists of a stream of assertions. The climate is changing or it isn’t; carbon dioxide causes global warming or it doesn’t; humans are partly responsible or they are not; scientists have a rigorous process of peer review or they don’t, and so on.”
The straw man here is the assertion that the arguments are cut and dry, one or the other. He misses the truth that each of these assertions is a combination of each side and the discussion is really about how much each side contributes to the assertion and how much danger that really causes.


Seriously embarrassing as this is my alma mater. I have degrees in Maths and Economics from UQ but that was in the days when all students had to think (clue here i am over 60) as opposed to a faculty of critical thinking where it is clear there is no logical thinking involved. Should I send my testamurs back out of embarrassment?


I have been handily demolishing the arguments of CAGW proponents in debates as of late. I even included a whole CAGW “critique” section in my university class last term (4 sections, 204 students), which focused on debunking the past claims made by these fools. The amount of predicted warming is not happening; not even close…the catastrophic, bad things that were predicted are not happening…agricultural productivity, worldwide, is at an all time high.