A Skeptical Reply to Dr. Steven Novella’s “Skeptic vs. Denier”

Guest skeptical reply by David Middleton

Dr. Steven Novella‘s NEUROLOGICA blog posts are often featured on Real Clear Science. They are always well-written, I probably agree with him most of the time and when I disagree, I can at least see the logic in his position. I particularly like his series of posts debunking faked Moon landing conspiracy theories, like this one.

Where I usually disagree with Dr. Novella, Dr. Alex Berezow and the other regular authors at Real Clear Science, is on the subject of climate change. Dr. Novella’s latest post is a generally thoughtful effort to distinguish a “skeptic” from a “denier.” I find myself agreeing with much of what he wrote… However, he made one YUGE mistake in his post: He cited Skeptical Science as an authoritative source for the 97% consensus.

Skeptic vs Denier
Published by Steven Novella

The skeptic vs denier debate won’t go away. I fear the issue is far too nuanced for a broad popular consensus. But that should not prevent a consensus among science communicators, who should have a technical understanding of terminology.

[…]

It is not a logical fallacy (argument from authority) to defer to a strong consensus of legitimate expert opinion if you yourself lack appropriate expertise. Deference should be the default position, and your best bet is to understand what that consensus is, how strong is it, and what evidence supports it. Further, if there appears to be any controversy then – who is it, exactly, who does not accept the mainstream consensus, what is their expertise, what are their criticisms, and what is the mainstream response? More importantly – how big is the minority opinion within the expert community.

This is where a bit of judgment comes in, and there is simply no way of avoiding it. There is no simple algorithm to tell you what to believe, but there are some useful rules. Obviously, the stronger the consensus, the more it is reasonable to defer to it. There is always going to be a 1-2% minority opinion on almost any scientific conclusion, that is not sufficient reason to doubt the consensus. But you also need to find out what, exactly the consensus is, and what is just a working hypothesis. Any complex theory will have multiple parts, and it’s not all a package deal.

[…]

That the Earth is warming at a faster rate than has historically been seen is fairly solid, with about 97% of climate scientists (yes, that is the real number) agreeing that this is almost certainly true. That this forcing of the climate is largely anthropogenic is also fairly certain. But the more detailed we get, the less certain we get also. Exactly how much warming will happen in the future, with what climate sensitivity, and with what effects becomes increasingly murky as we try to extrapolate further into the future. Also, what will be the effect of specific policies to mitigate warming is also open for debate.

With this as background, let me propose an alternate definition of skeptic vs denier. Actually, I already did:

– Deniers do not fairly assess the scientific evidence, but will cherry pick the evidence that seems to support their position.

– They will make unreasonable or impossible demands for evidence, move the goalpost when evidence is presented, and refuse entire categories of legitimate scientific evidence.

– They will attempt to magnify scientific disagreements over lower level details as if they call into question higher level conclusions. (For example, biologists might disagree over the details of evolutionary history, without calling into question evolution itself.)

– They primarily focus on sowing doubt and confusion over the science they deny, rather than offering a coherent alternate theory or explanation.

– They will exploit ambiguity (and even create ambiguity) in terminology or employ shifting definitions in order to create confusion or apparent contradiction.

– They will attack scientists personally, and engage in a witch hunt in order to impugn their reputations and apparent motives.

– They will cast doubt on whether or not a scientific consensus exists, attempt to claim that the tide is turning in their favor, or claim that a secret consensus of denial exists but is suppressed. They may also cite outlier opinions as if they were mainstream.

– When all else fails they will invoke a conspiracy theory to explain why mainstream views differ from their own.

In short – being a denier is about your behavior, not your position or even necessarily your credentials. A climate scientist with impressive degrees can be a denier if they act like one, and a lay person can be a skeptic if they act like one. By contrast, how does a legitimate skeptic behave:

– A skeptic will try to understand the scientific consensus and defer, as a default, to superior expertise.

– A skeptic will deviate from the mainstream view only cautiously, reluctantly, and with very good specific reasons grounded in logic and evidence. In short, a good skeptic is humble.

– A skeptic is open to any conclusion, going wherever the evidence and logic leads. Specifically, they will follow the evidence, and not start with a conclusion and then backfill the evidence.

– A good skeptic will not rationalize away contradicting evidence or problems with internal logical consistency, but will modify their opinions accordingly.

– Above all a good skeptic is intellectually honest.

So you are a denier if you behave like a denier, and a skeptic only if you behave like a real skeptic. This is all about process, not any particular position.

This also means that if you call someone a denier you should be prepared to back up that designation with specific examples of how they are behaving like a denier. It is also fair to refer to a position or even movement with the term denier or denial. It’s fair to refer to “global warming denial” as a phenomenon, especially since there is a solid-enough consensus on the basic conclusion that the Earth is warming and humans are causing it that it does create a reasonable starting position that anyone who disagrees is engaging in denial until proven otherwise.

And a lot of this does have to do with the burden of proof. Anyone making a scientific claim carries the burden of proving that claim. However, once a claim has met that burden, to the satisfaction of a vast majority of experts, the burden of proof then shifts to those who would refute the consensus. 

[…]

NEUROLOGICA

There may be a 97 or even 99.9% consensus that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, emissions from fossil fuel combustion are the cause of anywhere from 50 to 100% of the rise in atmospheric CO2 since the mid-1800’s and that humans are responsible for at least some of the observed warming since the end of the Little Ice Age, the coldest climatic era of the Holocene.

However, there is no consensus “that the Earth is warming at a faster rate than has historically been seen.” There is quite a large disagreement on this among the climate reconstruction community.


So, what would it mean, if the reconstructions indicate a larger (Esper et al., 2002; Pollack and Smerdon, 2004; Moberge t al., 2005) or smaller (Jones et al., 1998; Mann et al., 1999) temperature amplitude? We suggest that the former situation, i.e. enhanced variability during pre-industrial times, would result in a redistribution of weight towards the role of natural factors in forcing temperature changes, thereby relatively devaluing the impact of anthropogenic emissions and affecting future predicted scenarios. If that turns out to be the case, agreements such as the Kyoto protocol that intend to reduce emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, would be less effective than thought.

Esper et al., 2005

For that matter, a skeptical analysis of the Fourth National Climate Assessment would conclude the same thing.


6. Temperature Changes in the United States
KEY FINDINGS
1. Average annual temperature over the contiguous United States has increased by 1.2°F (0.7°C) for the period 1986–2016 relative to 1901–1960 and by 1.8°F (1.0°C) based on a linear regression for the period 1895–2016 (very high confidence). Surface and satellite data are consistent in their depiction of rapid warming since 1979 (high confidence). Paleo-temperature evidence shows that recent decades are the warmest of the past 1,500 years (medium confidence).

Page 267

Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), Fifth-Order Draft (5OD) 

“Medium confidence” is equivalent to a Scientific Wild-Ass Guess (SWAG). Which the mainstream media turned into…


Just as troubling were draft findings destined for the quadrennial National Climate Assessment. Scientists from 13 federal agencies found that a rapid rise in temperatures since the 1980s in the United States represents the warmest period in 1,500 years.

USA Today

A “medium confidence” Mannian Hockey Stick became: “Scientists from 13 federal agencies found that a rapid rise in temperatures since the 1980s in the United States represents the warmest period in 1,500 years.”

They based this assertion on one hockey-stick climate reconstruction, Mann et al., 2008.


NCA4 Figure 1.8  Mann et al., 2008.  Even with this Hockey Stick, the modern warming only exceeded pre-industrial natural variability by 0.5° F (0.3° C).  At least they had the decency to clearly identify where they spliced in the instrumental data.


When the uncertainty range of the proxy data is honored, it cannot be stated that the rate of recent warming is unprecedented.


When the uncertainty range of the proxy data is honored, it cannot be stated that the rate of recent warming is unprecedented.

Regarding Dr. Novella’s criteria for differentiating a skeptic from a denier, I only take serious issue with one criterion in each category

I disagree that this makes one a denier:

[Deniers] will attack scientists personally, and engage in a witch hunt in order to impugn their reputations and apparent motives.

When the scientists in question are attacking other scientists personally, engaging in witch hunts and impugning the reputations of other scientists, as the Climategate CRU did, it’s entirely reasonable to fight back.


CRU email #1140039406. This email, dated February 15,2006, documented exchanges between several climate scientists, including the Deputy Director of CRU, related to their contributions to chapter six ofthe IPCC AR4. In one such exchange, the Deputy Director of CRU warned his colleagues not to “let [the Co-Chair of AR4 WGl] (or [a researcher at Pennsylvania State University]) push you (us) beyond where we know is right” in terms of stating in the AR4 “conclusions beyond what we can securely justify.” 

NOAA OIG Report

The CRU’s Keith Briffa was warning his colleagues to not allow NOAA’s Susan Solomon or Penn State’s Michael Mann to coerce them into going along with unsupportable conclusions. This particular e-mail exchange dealt extensively with paleoclimate reconstructions. Briffa also urged his colleagues not to “attack” Anders Moberg, who had recently published a climate reconstruction which actually honored the data and used proper signal processing methods.

Susan Solomon is the NOAA official who claimed that NOAA work related to the IPCC was not subject to FOIA.

Michael Mann was the lead author of the thoroughly debunked original Hockey Stick.

Keith Briffa was the lead author of one of the problematic reconstructions in which “Mike’s Nature Trick” was employed to “hide the decline.”

If personal attacks, witch hunts and efforts to impugn the reputations of scientists makes one a denier… What does that make Michael Mann and Susan Solomon?

I also disagree that a skeptic should “defer, as a default, to superior expertise.”


A skeptic will try to understand the scientific consensus and defer, as a default, to superior expertise.

No self-respecting scientist would ever “defer, as a default, to superior expertise.”

I also strongly disagree with his assertion that the burden of proof (null hypothesis) has been reversed:


It’s fair to refer to “global warming denial” as a phenomenon, especially since there is a solid-enough consensus on the basic conclusion that the Earth is warming and humans are causing it that it does create a reasonable starting position that anyone who disagrees is engaging in denial until proven otherwise.

And a lot of this does have to do with the burden of proof. Anyone making a scientific claim carries the burden of proving that claim. However, once a claim has met that burden, to the satisfaction of a vast majority of experts, the burden of proof then shifts to those who would refute the consensus. 

However, this entirely relies on what the so-called consensus is. If the consensus is that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, emissions from fossil fuel combustion are the cause of anywhere from 50 to 100% of the rise in atmospheric CO2 since the mid-1800’s and that humans are responsible for at least some of the observed warming… Then the burden of proof has generally been met.

If the consensus is this, then the burden of proof has not been met.

And if the consensus is this…

In a lot less than 12 years… The Green New Deal Cultural Revolution will kill more people than Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Rachel Carson… COMBINED!

On the whole, Dr. Novella’s essay is a good effort to take on a tough subject.

References

Esper, J., Wilson, R.J.S., Frank, D.C., Moberg, A., Wanner, H. and Luterbacher, J.  2005.  Climate: past ranges and future changes.  Quaternary Science Reviews24: 2164-2166.

Wuebbles, Donald, et al. U.S. GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH PROGRAM CLIMATE SCIENCE SPECIAL REPORT (CSSR) Fifth-Order Draft (5OD) . U.S. GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH PROGRAM, 28 June 2017, assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3920195/Final-Draft-of-the-Climate-Science-Special-Report.pdf.

185 thoughts on “A Skeptical Reply to Dr. Steven Novella’s “Skeptic vs. Denier”

  1. David, you might have included a detailed deconstruction of Cook’s 97% claim that was shown by Steve McIntyre (IIRC) to be 0.3% as per a meme shared by Joe Bastardi a few days ago.

      • I’m working at an institution that is government funded and largely aimed at climate related sciences. Even here, agreement among scientists is not that high, however, one must not go against the paradigm lest one finds himself without funding/employment.

        So, in a paper/poster a skeptic might use the phrase, “concern for climate climate change…” instead of for example, “climate change will…” because few would argue that the concern is not real. The sad thing is that scientists are becoming jaded from the realization that much of the institution’s work is garbage.

        Skeptics generally do not come out of the closet until they are financially secure and/or upon retirement or close to it. I predict that demographically, we shall see a large increase in skepticism within the next 10 years.

        • “The sad thing is that scientists are becoming jaded from the realization that much of the institution’s work is garbage.”

          That is sad.

          The next thing those people should do is get mad about being duped by the Climategate Charlatans. A small group of “Keepers of the Data” have duped millions of people into believing a lie and have caused all the subsequent insanity we see today.

          As the old saying goes: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

          These people have been fooled about CAGW once. The shame is on the Climategate Charlatans. For now.

          • Then there is the lesser known “Fool me 9 times, and I’m going to blame Trump”.

        • Shearer sez:
          “I predict that demographically, we shall see a large increase in skepticism within the next 10 years.”

          MY REPLY:
          The last thing we need in the climate science world is more predictions !

          Given the brainwashing in schools in the past few decades, and with baby boomers and older people dying off ( who did not get much ‘green’ propaganda in school, except for the need to clean up actual air / water / land pollution in the 1970s ), it would be logical to expect fewer skeptics in the future, especially if the 1850 Modern Warming continues.

          • I wasn’t clear, I meant within the science community, at least in the U.S. You’re probably correct with regard to the snowflake demographic.

            BTW, science is about making predictions but also testing outcomes. Yes, climate science is bold with regard to predictions but fails with regard to considering outcomes.

          • Good point, Richard, but there does seem to be a small natural, but hard percentage of people who resist propaganda and have a sceptical bent. Dissidents in the Soviet Union were the ‘recklessly brave’ members of an otherwise small silent category of propaganda immune people.

            In discussions of the 97% garbage, I nevertheless have expressed the idea here that true natural sceptics probably don’t number more than a few percent. They are greatly feared however by the establishment horde because they tend to be intelligent, well informed and convincing critics.

            Early debates were so decisively won by sceptics that the establishment scientists have actually agreed among themselves to avoid debate with sceptics at all costs. The fact that many of these sceptics have generally no financial support, and often much to lose for their being sceptical, has made them formidable opponents. The only recourse has been to invent Big Oil and other “compromising’ situations to chisel down the dreaded sceptic. Guess what? 97% of the horde goes for this kind of ‘rebuttal’.

            Regarding the sks 97% lie, there likely is a 97% of people who are going along either as proponents or skeptics and the silent ones will swell the ranks of sceptics when they retire.

        • “..one must not go against the paradigm lest one finds himself without funding/employment”

          I expect some German soldiers had a similar thought process while measuring out the Zyklon B.

          FFS guys, don’t you realise this is EXACTLY how the bastards win the war. You are so F**ing weak, you let the whole of the planet with billions of people suffer becuse you are afraid of losing your job???

          No principles.
          No integrity.
          No speaking out.
          But keeps job.

          Can you really sleep at night living your life like that?

          I thought you thought this was important. It’s not an issue over who left the cheese sandwich in the works fridge is it ?

          If you BELIEVE something is important you are SUPPOSED to speak out and stand up for it.
          Have you read nothing by Jordan B Peterson ?

          And if you know history you will know it is by 10, then 100, then 1000, then 10,000 people speaking up and some taking the hit that the world becomes a better place.

          But I suspect my audience is small here on WUWT.

          Most of you are anonymous armchair pseudo activists, WITH the job. Happy to tiptappy type your little snippets of blog fodder, snack a bit here and there and toe the party line officially with a little smug smile that you know you said something for the cause online.

          Hands up all those who HAVE spoken up and lost their job please – I want a reckoning.

        • “– They will cast doubt on whether or not a scientific consensus exists, attempt to claim that the tide is turning in their favor, or claim that a secret consensus of denial exists but is suppressed. They may also cite outlier opinions as if they were mainstream.”

          • “…the claim of consensus is the first refuge of scoundrels; it’s a way to stifle debate by proclaiming a matter is already settled.”
            Michael Crichton

            “Science is… a game without end. Anyone who decides that a scientific statement can be regarded as verified and doesn’t require further testing, has thrown in the towel and retired from the game.”
            Karl Popper, Austrian-British philosopher

            “The way science is taught in our schools and universities has been corrupted. A government funded Climate Industrial Complex rewards teachers and researchers who promote flawed science that supports the alarmist narrative and punishes those who defy the so-called ‘Consensus’.”
            Tony Heller

            “Whenever you hear that ‘the consensus of scientists agrees’ on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.”
            Michael Crichton

            “Whenever a theory appears as the only possible one, it’s a sign that you neither understand the theory nor the problem it was intended to solve.”
            Karl Popper, Austrian-British philosopher

            “I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”
            Dr. Richard P. Feynman, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics, 1965

          • >>
            “I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”
            Dr. Richard P. Feynman, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics, 1965
            <<

            What a great quote!

            Jim

      • From the September 2018 link:

        How much Climate Change can be averted:

         1% Almost all
        17% Large amount
        42% Moderate amount
        25% Small amount
         9% Almost none
         6% Don’t Know
         1% Won’t be any Climate Change

        Good God, 85% of people actually think we can change the climate. That translates into 85% of people actually think the world can reduce CO2 emissions enough to cause a measureable difference in global temperature.

        • ‘How much Climate Change can be averted:’ That translates into 85% of people actually think the world can reduce CO2 emissions…”. Sorry, 100% of the people responding to the poll fell into the progressive socialist trap. The question should be this: ‘How much CO2 induced Climate Change can be averted

        • The list is predicated on the assumption that mankind has a large impact on the climate. In that case the last 4 entries would be ‘deniers’ and the first 3 would be the enlightened ones, those in the know.

          However, mankind does not have a large impact on the climate. Then only the last entry is a ‘denier’ based on ignorance, because the climate does and always has changed, while nrs 4 and 5 are realists while the first lot are ‘believers’ based on ignorance.

      • Middleton:
        That Cook 2013 chart you posted was great, Mr Middleton.

        I’ve written about the Cook “study”, and wish I had a chart like that before today.

        What I am concerned about is your “thoughts” about Novella:
        “Dr. Steven Novella‘s NEUROLOGICA blog posts are often featured on Real Clear Science. They are always well-written, I probably agree with him most of the time and when I disagree, I can at least see the logic in his position.”

        So I went to Novella’s blog, and the first post was about pilots reporting UFO’s, with an implication they might just be drones, and scolding people who jump to the conclusion they are piloted by aliens.

        I was shocked that anyone would publish such an article and sign their name to it. Most people are afraid of ridicule. I’m glad Novella was not. However, by signing his name, he has revealed EXACTLY who does not know what they are talking about — I have followed the subject for decades.

        Air Force pilots were REQUIRED to file paper reports on UFOs from the late 1940s to late 1960s — over 12,600 reports were filed.

        The pilots didn’t enjoy the reporting requirements, and the requirement was eventually discontinued — the most likely reason is the military could do nothing about UFOs ( since they were capable of such fast flight, and such radical maneuvers, that no jet could catch them, much less hoping to shoot them down. )

        The UFOs were also absolutely quiet, and possibly used Earth’s gravity field for movement, in ways no one today would understand.

        The UFOs were obviously exhibiting characteristics unknown to humans and it made no sense to challenge them, since they were only observing and not harming anyone.

        The US sends spacecraft to other planets to observe — why is it so unbelievable for most people that other living beings in the universe would do the same thing ?

        To suggest trained US military pilots thought drones were UFOs would made no sense for the 1940’s through 1960s and makes little sense today.

        To think that our best pilots are so stupid that they mistake drones,
        at altitudes where drones rarely fly, for UFOs, just makes Mr. Novella sound stupid.

        In fact, after reading one article, about a subject I have studied, I declare he IS stupid about that subject, and should not be trusted about any other subject.

        Watch out for fake “know it all’s” like Novella, Mr. Middleton.

        Note: I have only commented twice before about UFOs, since I began using the internet in 1996, and both times were met with ridicule in the responses. I expect that again. Ridicule is a Saul Alinsky strategy to prevent debate — it is not a debating strategy … unless you are a leftist.

        My climate science blog:
        http://www.elOnionBloggle.Blogspot.com

        • Mr. Middleton:
          Now that I’ve read past the first paragraph of your article, praising Novella, and went berserk, there is absolutely nothing in your article I could argue with.

          It’s easy to read, and I wish all articles here were that interesting. It’s really none of my business whose columns you like, as long as your columns are good. I mean, I like the Three Stooges”, but I don’t want people to judge me by my ‘taste in ‘the theater’ !

        • Your format has changed when writing after many years of writing what looked like poems.

          • My narrow format “poem” was because of a vision problem that can’t be fixed — I didn’t type that way to annoy anyone.

            I typed the last comment, and this one, in a narrow column, proofread it, and then reformatted it before posting it here.

            My blogs are still “poems”.

        • “I’ve written about the Cook “study”, and wish I had a chart like that before today.”

          With all due respect to David Middleton, I don’t think the graphic is so great.

          There is a slice that says, “Implicitly endorses AGW without minimizing it — 24.36%.”

          The wording “implicitly endorses AGW without minimizing it” may be straight from the paper, but that doesn’t mean the wording is accurate. As I pointed out on my blog, there are abstracts included as “implicitly endorses AGW” that do nothing of the kind.

          Here’s my blog post that notes that one of the abtracts that allegedly “implicitly endorses AGW” is actually about what happened to methane hydrates during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.(!) Needless to say, the abstract contained no opinion about anthropogenic global warming (AGW):

          The blatant fraud of Cook et al., 2013

          • Mark,

            I wholeheartedly agree. If you read my Anatomy of a Collapsing Paradigm post, which the graphic is from. I note that the examples provided for “implicitly endorses AGW without minimizing it” and “explicitly endorses AGE without quantifying it,” could be applied to many of my WUWT posts. Yet, I clearly don’t support the consensus, as it appears to have been defined by Cook.

          • This is what I wrote in 2015

            The largest endorsement group was categorized as “implicitly endorses AGW without minimizing it.” They provided this example of an implied endorsement:

            ‘…carbon sequestration in soil is important for mitigating global climate change’

            Carbon sequestration in soil, lime muds, trees, seawater, marine calcifers and a whole lot of other things have always been important for mitigating a wide range of natural processes. I have no doubt that I have implicitly endorsed the so-called consensus based on this example.

            The second largest endorsement group was categorized as “implicitly endorses but does not quantify or minimize.” Pardon my obtuseness, but how in the heck can one explicitly endorse the notion that “most warming since 1950 is anthropogenic” without quantification? This is the example Cook provided:

            ‘Emissions of a broad range of greenhouse gases of varying lifetimes contribute to global climate change’

            Wow! I contributed to Romney for President… Yet most of his campaign warchest didn’t come from me. By this subjective standard, I have probably explicitly endorsed AGW a few times.

        • There are some people who’s mind is so open that their brains have fallen out.
          You appear to be one of these. Even worse, you seem to be proud of it.

        • Who are these “deniers”?
          I read here a quote, eight bullet points, commencing : “Deniers do not…” then “They…”.
          Those eight bullet points match the activities of the Global Warming alarmist fraternity. Is this ironic or what?
          Then about those UFOs. I am a retiring farmer. I once saw a UFO in the sky over our farm. At first I thought it must have been a big balloon, but it stayed too still for that to be likely. After noting its progress for a couple of hours, I worked out that it was the planet Venus, clearly visible in broad daylight in a cloudless sky. The only time I ever saw it. I imagine a few other UFO sightings might have such an explanation.

          • Off topic here, I seek to record another one off farmer’s unexplained observation.
            Just once I saw in the sky seven different halos. About 3 pm on a winter’s day I saw: 1. A short arc in a belt of cloud in the usual position for such a halo in relation to the sun, 2. A similar halo above the sun, possibly having its centre at the horizon below the sun, 3, At one place that halo was divided, a bit like water flowing around a pole, or photos of Jupiter’s red spot when i was a kid,
            4. The Parhelic Circle, which I had never before seen, nor since. My thanks there to Julie Evans at the BOM for explaining that to me, but I’m pretty sure that my Parhelic Circle had double the frequency of mock suns that were described in her example, and 5,6,7 three seeminly randomly located various faintly rainbow coloured arcs of various sizes for which I cannot imagine an explanation. Two, different diameters, were near to but not directly overhead, the smaller a full circle. I don’t recall further details, except that the seventh was of bigger diameter than the ones overhead, and to the south. We are in Australia, about 32 degrees south.

      • David,

        I recall a progress chart posted by Cook showing one researcher from U. of Michigan, I think, who reviewed as many as 300 papers in one day. She was clearly highly dedicated to have put that many hours in during one day. No coffee or bathroom breaks allowed, I suspect.

      • Answer 6: Are retired scientists who no longer need grants. 9

        96+67+38+50+41+9=301

    • Also, it should be pointed out that he uses the false assumption that there is real evidence to support the 97% consensus.

      The “evidence” is two falsely cobbled up graphs and computer models (none of which involve science). One graph depicts CO2 over time, conflating ice core data and volcano data from half a world away (ignoring real chemical bottle data that shows CO2 over time clearly goes up and down quite a lot). Then, they have a graph of dishonestly altered temperature data, aka the Hockeystick Graph, that disappeared the Medieval Warm Period.

      Their main “evidence” derives from their global climate computer models, which are designed to show warming in response to increasing CO2. There are at least 50 major climate factors NOT included in these models and their predictions have been consistently wrong for all the decades of their existence.

      Yep, that’s solid evidence we can all hang our hat on. Not!

    • I take exception to this article as it only discusses skeptics and deniers, as it it is the warmists versus people who do not agree with the consensus. He is conflating warmest with skeptics, as if they are the same people.

      Real skeptics look at all the evidence and check both sides and their conclusions. The consensus warmists go along with the consensus and do not question the conclusions.

      Deniers, a pejorative term meant to denigrate people, are mostly imaginary, as this group includes all skeptics as skeptics DENY, rightly so, the junk science of the consensus and point out the dishonesty, cherry-picking, and collusion (aka Climategate emails) that back the consensus.

      We also come up with conspiracies when the evidence indicates so, as in Climategate—conspiracies are not ” tinfoil hat conspiracies” when they are true. The funny part is the author lists under “denier” many of the things that warmists love to do. The Big Oil funding conspiracy, attacking the character of anyone who disagrees with them, plotting to ruin careers to quiet dissent, etc.

      “They will make unreasonable or impossible demands for evidence, move the goalpost when evidence is presented, and refuse entire categories of legitimate scientific evidence.”
      Warmists move the goalposts all the time, prevaricate, obfuscate constantly, ignore real evidence and science (as in there not really being any greenhouse gases, but radiative gases that cool the planet at night). The total-failure global computer climate models fail to included over 50 major climate factors and focus mainly on a truly very minor factor (if a factor at all), CO2. Talk about cherry-picking your science.

  2. The term “denial” is also used within the Science Skeptic community. For example “vaccine denial”. But that’s not the issue here. The problem is a rejection of critical and skeptical thinking.

    First let me say that I agree with the underlying premise. It is not a logical fallacy (argument from authority) to defer to a strong consensus of legitimate expert opinion if you yourself lack appropriate expertise. Deference should be the default position

    I’ve noticed the self-styled Skeptical Science community (I’m not talking SkS here – I mean the likes of Michael Shermer) often turn their backs on skepticism. They deny ‘argument from authority‘ is a logical fallacy. They are not true critical thinkers. Novella’s basic argument is when in doubt: guess. The safest guess is the majority one. Side with the majority of ‘experts’. This is both anti-critical and anti-skeptical. It is authoritarian.

    Immanuel Kant said that ‘Enlightenment is thinking for yourself‘; daring to be open-minded and to work it out for yourself. Socrates said that it made no sense to accept an argument on the authority of another person – because unless one is able to articulate why you think as you do – you are not actually thinking; you are just echoing other people. That’s what argument from authority means: to echo another person’s thoughts without understanding much about the issue. This is anti-skeptical. It legitimises self-lobotomy. Don’t think for yourself. Don’t do due diligence. Just side with the majority. Burn the witches.

    • Looks like I hurt Steven Novella‘s feelings. I replied to him at his blog but he’s not publishing my reply there. [ He’s published other posts made after mine ]

      This is a sure sign Steven Novella is a fake skeptic. Such people: take ideas from computer gamers without thinking them through, show no sign of open-mindedness, censor ideas and debate, do not debate because they know they will lose, redefine the meaning of ‘critical thinking’ itself to be authoritarian thinking.

      • “Looks like I hurt Steven Novella‘s feelings. I replied to him at his blog but he’s not publishing my reply there. [ He’s published other posts made after mine ]”

        My suggestion is to try again (with slightly different wording, so that software doesn’t kick it out as a duplicate).

        Many of my comments have been pretty critical of Steven Novella (e.g., something to the effect of, “…that does not speak well for Steven Novella’s reputation as a skeptic…”) and I’ve never commented on his blog before.

    • “Novella’s basic argument is when in doubt: guess. The safest guess is the majority one. Side with the majority of ‘experts’. This is both anti-critical and anti-skeptical. It is authoritarian.”

      I think that sums up his position nicely.

      And what happens when you side with a majority that is wrong, or a majority that doesn’t really exist? Then you will be led astray, if you side with the majority.

      • I’ve always wondered: why is it the scientists can be humble when it comes to the ability to predict the occurrence of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions (which some of them tried to do in the past without effect), despite the voluminous extent of the data and understanding we have about the earth’s geologic system(s), yet, when we know precious little about the earth’s climate system (in relative terms) and have only started in the past 60 years to delve more deeply (beyond just taking temperatures) into the subject, yet confidently proclaim “consensus?”

        The reasons are clear to me: most of the scientists are interested in the power and control that comes both with their expertise along with the fact that they will have to be at the table when policy prescriptions that affect the lives of billions of people are being discussed and/or (badly) implemented. This is not about “denier” vs. “consensus.” It is about political and economic power and control. Believe me, there are few, if any, conservative scientists in that crowd these days.

      • “And what happens when you side with a majority that is wrong, or a majority that doesn’t really exist? Then you will be led astray, if you side with the majority.”

        Imagine all those people taking antacid tablets to get rid of ulcers because doctors accepted the settled science 🙁

      • Another way to look at this matter is, through whose eyes are you looking, and through whose ears are you hearing?

        Anytime the answer is “not mine” there is a failure to investigate independently. Independent investigation of the truth of any matter takes time, and we have “three score and ten” in which to accomplish that. Spend your time wisely. Don’t waste it on leaves and branches when the trunk may be incorrect.

        The 97% meme is a no-brainer. Check the source methods and the debate is over. There is no such consensus.

        A high sensitivity to CO2 is similarly simple to check: there is no evidence that the atmosphere is sensitive to changes in CO2 concentration. There is little point investigating 50 ways to lower the concentration if doing so won’t make a measurable difference to the temperature, and who says a warmer world is a bad thing? The total farmland would double without the ice. In 200,000 years, maybe that will be the norm.

        Lastly, we are not going away, and the education system will in future be more respectable than it is now so independent investigation will dominate. In those days they will read of our foolishness and be amazed that we can land on Mars and the Moon, but not work out a viable global citizenship model that respects everyone enough to stop killing each other.

        We are quite pathetic, you know.

    • Excellent job Mr Pawelek.
      The vanity he nurtures that won’t allow him to say ‘I don’t know’ when he has no clue
      is the altar upon which he sacrifices reason.
      The form of this classic fallacy is: “Man is too stupid to run his own affairs. Therefore he must submit to the judgement of some other man who can pretend to.”
      Stupid is as stupid does.

    • One of the complications in a field as interdisciplinary as climate science is precisely what it is that experts are expert at. Computer modellers are not experts at hydrology, probably not at atmospheric chemistry, vulcanism or oceanic circulation patterns.

      So what is it you defer to them about?

      Well, if I were reading a tree ring study, I would certainly defer to the scientists expertise in measuring tree rings and almost certainly in how to turn that prxy into a temperature record. What I would be loath to defer to would be how one tree study in e.g. Yamal might impact on climate in Patagonia, Lebanon or Costa Rica.

      If I were reading Dr Spencer on his tropospheric temperature data project, I would respect his knowledge of sensor technology, his data analysis expertise and his comparison of his own data to other data records like GISS. I might not defer to him on solar science without running it past Leif Svalgaard.

      Quite frankly, if I have to decide whether to trust a farmer or meteorology boffin on how potato growing has been the past forty years in Lincolnshire, I ask the farmer. Then I ask his opinions on whether he thinks local climate has affected crop yields. I might not defer to him on those conclusions, but I would not impose any alternative….just remember that the farmer is not a scientist but knows more about farming than weathermen ever will.

      The real difficulty comes in asking whether a bunch of disparate specialist experts are best at holistically synthesising. Where is the evidence that any of them are experts in holistic thinking, research? Most are analytical reductionists…..

      Future projections is where expertise is most needed, skepticism most valuable and systemic due diligence optimal.

      We can all analyse fifty years of past data.

      Can we really prognosticate with any skill?

      Less clear…..

      • Great post. Philip Tetlock wrote a book on political expertise in which he argued, with plenty of examples, that the hedgehog who had deep expertise in a narrow field was a poor political prognosticator compared to the fox who had broad but not necessarily deep expertise. The book caused a lot of hurt feelings, shall we say, among hedgehogs.

      • The term “climate” is not well defined. Wikipedia says “Climate is defined as the average state of everyday’s weather condition over a period of 30 years.” That’s one horrible definition. Is it local or global? Does it change every day, every year, every 10 years? It it a physical quantity with a physical dimension? Is it a collection of physical quantities?

        We can discuss ill-defined terms ad nauseam, and that’s exactly what we are doing.

        • Yes, that’s my favourite hobby-horse too.
          When referring to “climate” change or human influences on “THE climate”, my usual immediate response is –
          “WHICH climate?”
          IIRC it is the World Met. Organization that identifies some 13 or so discrete climatic zones around the planet.

      • Good review of the clisci expertise paradox. What’s even more confounding is the taking of CO2 as the “control knob” and featuring it heavily weighted in climate models with little consideration given to the many agents in the system that retard warming (or cooling) -cloud and thunder cloud formation in response to surface water heating, hurricane formation which ‘vacuums’ up excess heat and chimney’s it up to the strato to itradiate to space and redrop cooled water as rain, enthalpy changes of all kinds, etc. Oh they parametrize it but sprinkle in fudge factors and overstate climate sensitivity to get a prejudged answer that is alarming. Their early efforts resulted in predictions (belatedly redefined as projections which MSM and the throngs of activists who hate their fathers or whatever). This isnt science at all. It’s window dressing for a néomarxiste putsche.

  3. “Real Clear Science” statements have attracted me several times.

    Each time, their articles are disappointments with scientific claims propped up by opinions and beliefs.

    “This is where a bit of judgment comes in, and there is simply no way of avoiding it. There is no simple algorithm to tell you what to believe, but there are some useful rules. Obviously, the stronger the consensus, the more it is reasonable to defer to it.”

    a) Consensus is acceptable, even preferred. Meaning that contrary positions not only have to prove their science, but they have to pander to the consensus while attempting to convince the consensus.
    Consensus at any level is bad science,

    b) deference to consensus is reasonable? Therefore votes on important science should be taken regularly to ascertain consensus?

    It is these kinds of specious sophistry that makes “real clear science” absurd. Opinions are stated, then reasonable sounding, e.g. “simple algorithm” is used to buttress the use of popularity to determine basic science.
    This is where the mysterious sks cooked 97% consensus is slipped in while sounding reasonable.

    Absolutely terrible science gets reasonably justified via real clear science’s false strawman arguments, opinions, shallow and non-science.

    • Scientific consensus generally defines a default position. It doesn’t necessarily make something more accurate or correct.

      And… apart from climate “science,” consensus generally lacks consequences.

      It’s the scientific consensus that the Himalayan Mountains are the result of the tectonic collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates. There is a fairly broad spectrum of scientific opinions about the details, but there is a consensus on the general process. This consensus has no consequences… it doesn’t demand that any action be taken. Skepticism or even denial of this consensus is academic.

      The alleged scientific consensus on AGW is being used as a justification for turning these United States of America into Venezuela. Skepticism or even denial of this consensus is essential to preserving individual liberty and prosperity.

      • So consensuses that don’t have consequences should believed for the hell of it, might as well believe it, because if I do who cares, but conessuses that have consequences have a case for skepticism.
        That sort of thinking doesn’t make too much sense to me.
        One’s thinking processes should not depend the consequences. Catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is wrong because it is wrong, and that is reason enough to be skeptical of it . The fact that the alarmists purpose dire fixes for CAGW, is not a reason to skeptical of the underlying case for CAGW.

        • So consensuses that don’t have consequences should believed for the hell of it…

          Not if there’s a legitimate reason to question it. As I noted earlier…

          If I propose an alternative hypothesis to plate tectonics, the burden of proof is on me, because plate tectonics is a well-established theory. If I propose that the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist or somehow violates the laws of thermodynamics, the burden of proof is on me. If someone proposes to put my industry out of business and bankrupt our nation because there is an alleged scientific consensus about AGW, the burden of proof is on them the demonstrate why they shouldn’t be put in straight-jackets and locked up in padded rooms.

          The scientific consensus regarding plate tectonics is largely academic, particularly to people who aren’t geoscientists. It doesn’t matter whether or not people believe it.

          The genuine scientific consensus that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and the fossil fuel emissions are the cause of at least some of the rise in atmospheric CO2 and some of the warming since the mid-1800’s is also largely academic. It doesn’t matter whether or not people believe it. However, this alleged consensus is being misused by politicians, often with the approval with high profile climate “scientists”.

          Is a genuine scientific consensus an adequate reason to accept a theory? Unless you have the time to reverse engineer everything, it usually is an adequate reason. If the scientific consensus appears to be being used for political purposes, there’s good reason to try to reverse engineer it, even if you have no expertise in the field.

      • Alternately, the great theoretical physicist Richard Feynman defined science as the testing of hypothesis by experiment. All else, he considered “research.” Feynman would have classified “climate science” as “research” — it’s all statistical models whose veracity can’t be directly tested. … The application of logic alone does not necessarily resolve truth from supposition. For example, Newtonian physics is absolutely logical, yet Newtonian physics fails, for reasons the 19th century scientific consensus could not even imagine.

        • The second law of logic is that contradiction falsifies a proposition.
          If you assert that logic is illogical, you are contradicting yourself which falsifies the proposition. You just uttered a falsehood. It is also one of the classic lies, well known and easily shown for what it is – as I just did.

          The application of logic alone resolves truth of any reasonable proposition.
          There is no way to ascertain truth of a proposition except by logic.
          There is no other kind of proof than a logical proof.

          Truth is that which can not be contradicted by logical proposition.
          If newtonian propostions are contradicted even once by anything then it is not the logic that has failed. Indeed, it is the logic that has show there is a proposition that must be false.

          Pro tip:
          Never attempt to use logic to disprove logic. It will corrupt you to your marrow

  4. Do you really believe that Russian temperature records from, say, 1915-1950 are reliable?

    You don’t really expect a rational person to believe that people were making accurate daily observations all over Russia during the Revolution or during the Sieges of Stalingrad and Leningrad or in Ukraine during the famine or all over Siberia?

    Do you honestly believe that Chinese temperature records from, say, 1913-1980 are reliable?

    Do you really expect anybody to believe that accurate daily temperatures were recorded in China during the Revolution or “The Great Leap Forward?”

    Do you seriously believe that Sub-Saharan African temperatures from, say 1850-1975 are accurate?

    Please don’t tell us you think accurate daily temperature recordings were made in Sub-Saharan Africa during any part of the 19th century and most of the 20th.

    Do you really believe that oceanic temperatures from, say 1800-1970 are accurate? ( as we know, the oceans cover 70% of the earth’s surface).

    Do you really believe there were accurate daily temperature observations made in the Bering Sea or the Weddell Sea or in the middle of the Pacific at any time before the advent of satellite observations in 1979?

    Are you kidding me?

  5. Hell, there’s no proof at all that Human CO2 is even having any effect at all.

    All the “warming” has occurred at night, meaning the ground level temperature isn’t dropping off as quickly.

    That’s what WATER VAPOR does.

  6. Science observes events, records data and considers causes and consequences:
    Solar activity in April was slightly down from the last month. The ‘classic’ sunspot count (Wolf SSN) is around 6.5 points while the new SIDC reconstructed number is at 9.1
    Composite graph is here
    SC24 has entered what might be the start of a prolong minimum (possible late start of SC25 too) and there’s no sign of a ‘dead cat bounce’.

  7. Hold on. The term “denier” or “denial” is associated with holocaust denial. It has no place reasoned debate.

    I feel this article is rationalizing something that should be condemned.

    • berple — you’re a denier denier !

      The word “holocaust” is a word that
      is NOT only for defining one holocaust
      in human history.

      The word ‘denial” is a word that
      is NOT only for defining one group
      of people, denying one specific event,
      that obviously happened.

      I take offense at all “language policemen”,
      very common among leftists, but rare
      among skeptics at this blog.

      So, cut it out.

      Generic words that communicate effectively must NOT be censored !

      The climate change cult are science deniers, predicting a climate holocaust since the late 1950s.

      And that’s a fact you can’t deny !

        • How dare those ‘same sex people’ steal the word gay !

          In those old movies, when characters would say they ‘were having a gay time’, just what were they talking about ?

          I demand an investigation !

          Mueller is available.

          • And the song “Gay Caballero” suddenly was robbed of its macho rascality! Hey, isn’t that cultural appropriation that has the libs in a tizzy?

      • “Skeptic” is becoming conflated with “denier” in the media. I don’t know anyone who actually denies a degree or so increase in the last century. Well, plus or minus a probable .3 or .4 UHI error, a questionable .2 aerosol assumption and some homogenization irregularities. So, It appears we need to add “critic” and “cynic” to our lexicon.

        • Not to mention measurement error of +/- .5 degrees [at minimum] for human readings of mercury thermometers. I am continually astonished that climate scientists ignore both reliability and measurement error (one of several factors leading to temperature-estimate-unreliability) in their discussions. It’s not only proxy estimates that are highly unreliable. And to suggest that measurement error for proxies like tree rings is only +/- .06 Deg. C is basically barmy ( how on earth would scientists be able to verify this?)

          • With the proxies, there is also a rather large dating error range. This results in a smoothing of the signal and attenuation of the amplitude. The proxies are basically showing the minimum range of temperature variability.

      • “The word “holocaust” is a word that
        is NOT only for defining one holocaust
        in human history.” – Richard Greene

        No!
        The Holocaust refers to a particular event,* a holocaust is a religious animal sacrifice!

        The connotation of “denier” is Holocaust denialism, the denotation is also pejorative because it no longer means a person who simply denies something; but rather, “especially, someone who refuses to admit the truth of a concept or proposition that is supported by the majority of scientific or historical evidence. – English, Oxford Dictionary”

        *The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was a genocide during World War II…

        • “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

          Attributed to Voltaire, but who really knows? Either way, any law which forbids you to ask questions has to be a worry, regardless of the topic. How soon before climate sceptical research is made illegal, as opposed to just not funded?
          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_against_Holocaust_denial

      • Richard Greene
        You said, “Generic words that communicate effectively must NOT be censored !” However, when words are purposely chosen for the emotional, pejorative effect rather than their accuracy or communication effectiveness, then they do not deserve protection. They should be called out for what they are!

  8. Steven Novella’s description of a Denier, is very similar to my definition of an Alarmist.

    – Alarmists do not fairly assess the scientific evidence, but will cherry-pick the evidence that seems to support their position.

    – Alarmists make unreasonable or impossible demands for counter-evidence, move the goalpost when counter-evidence is presented, and refuse entire categories of legitimate scientific evidence (e.g. real absolute temperatures).

    – Alarmists attempt to magnify scientific agreement (consensus), and claim that the consensus includes statements which are NOT in the consensus (e.g. that 97% of scientists think that global warming is bad).

    – They will exploit ambiguity (and even create ambiguity) in terminology or employ shifting definitions in order to create confusion or apparent contradiction.

    – They will attack Skeptics personally, and engage in a witch hunt in order to impugn their reputations and apparent motives.

    – When all else fails Alarmists will invoke a conspiracy theory, that all Deniers/Skeptics believe that there is a conspiracy.

    ====================

    I have done extensive research into real absolute temperatures.

    Climate scientists, scientists, and Alarmists, refuse to look at real absolute temperatures. They are real absolute temperature Deniers !!!

    Climate scientists, scientists, and Alarmists, think that they can describe the climate of the Earth, with ONE number. They refuse to look at temperature ranges.

    Most locations on land warm and cool by about 10 degrees Celsius per day.

    The temperature difference between winter and summer is often between 20 to 30 degrees Celsius, and can be even greater (e.g. Canada).

    Seasonal warming is about 2,500 times faster than global warming (25 degrees Celsius in 6 months, compared to 0.01 degrees Celsius in 6 months). Climate scientists have hidden seasonal warming, by using temperature anomalies, because seasonal warming makes global warming look weak and puny.

    Who was the “genius” who decided that the Little Ice Age (otherwise known as pre-industrial times), was the perfect temperature for the whole Earth?
    Don’t tell me. Let me guess.
    It was a Climate Scientist, who doesn’t look at real absolute temperatures. A temperature anomaly of zero, makes any temperature looks normal.

    Two simple yes/no questions, that Climate scientists and Alarmists refuse to answer:
    1) Did humans evolve near Kenya, Africa?
    2) Should humans be able to tolerate temperatures similar to Kenya’s?

    Kenya’s temperatures (in degrees Celsius)
    – winter = 14.7
    – average = 21.5
    – summer = 29.1
    Nice and warm !!!

    There is a lot of information about real absolute temperatures, along with maps showing winter and summer temperatures, in this article:
    https://agree-to-disagree.com/rats-north-summer-south-winter

    There is temperature information (average, winter, and summer temperatures), and population data, for 216 countries, in this article:
    https://agree-to-disagree.com/how-hot-is-that-country

    • I really like this one…

      When all else fails Alarmists will invoke a conspiracy theory, that all Deniers/Skeptics believe that there is a conspiracy.

      +42 x 1042

      • ‘When all else fails Alarmists will invoke a conspiracy theory, that all Deniers/Skeptics believe that there is a conspiracy.’

        The irony here is how many Progressives/Alarmists will accuse their oppositions of the most convoluted conspiracies, while sneering at obvious ones.

    • Sheldon…

      “Steven Novella’s description of a Denier, is very similar to my definition of an Alarmist.”

      Pretty much exactly what I was going to say – thanks for saving me the trouble.

    • I would call the alarmists “Deniers of Natural Climate Change,” since they are proposing that human activity controls the climate. Dr. Novella’s description of them seems spot on.

  9. – Deniers do not fairly assess the scientific evidence, but will cherry pick the evidence that seems to support their position.

    – They will make unreasonable or impossible demands for evidence, move the goalpost when evidence is presented, and refuse entire categories of legitimate scientific evidence.

    – They will attempt to magnify scientific disagreements over lower level details as if they call into question higher level conclusions. (For example, biologists might disagree over the details of evolutionary history, without calling into question evolution itself.)

    – They primarily focus on sowing doubt and confusion over the science they deny, rather than offering a coherent alternate theory or explanation.

    – They will exploit ambiguity (and even create ambiguity) in terminology or employ shifting definitions in order to create confusion or apparent contradiction.

    – They will attack scientists personally, and engage in a witch hunt in order to impugn their reputations and apparent motives.

    – They will cast doubt on whether or not a scientific consensus exists, attempt to claim that the tide is turning in their favor, or claim that a secret consensus of denial exists but is suppressed. They may also cite outlier opinions as if they were mainstream.

    – When all else fails they will invoke a conspiracy theory to explain why mainstream views differ from their own.

    Sounds more like a typical “warmist” than a denier.

  10. I got to point 2 of his list … making unreasonable demands of evidence. There is no such thing in science. In fact, evidence is what the process of science is all about.

    With that said, the Alarmist never provided any reasonable evidence to support rejecting the null hypothesis. They came up with their theory based on circumstantial evidence, and installed it as the new null hypothesis and demanded “unreasonably” that skeptics disprove it. So, until the Alarmist actually show some real evidence that their little pet hypothesis has merit, there can’t be any “ deniers”. Ie. A denier would reject evidence of CAGW induced warming, which so far hasn’t been produced.

  11. Why not label anyone taking public funds to study climate as “climate carpetbaggers” or some other derogatory term? It is no different than using “denier”. You have cut off reasoned debate as soon as you start name calling. You are no longer acting as a scientist and your claim to scientific expertise is thus invalid.

    • berple
      We must call the scaremongers: “Science Deniers”.

      Real science is NOT wild guess, always wrong, predictions of the future climate, that have been happening for over 60 years !

      The name “Science Deniers” attacks the junk science directly, and reduces the effectiveness of alarmists using “science deniers” to character attack us.

      It also invited the question: ” Why do you call THEM science deniers ? ”

      And that’s a question we KNOW how to answer !

      If only any leftists would ask it !

  12. Why not label anyone taking public funds to study climate as “climate carpetbaggers” or some other derogatory term? It is no different than using “denier”. You have cut off reasoned debate as soon as you start name calling. You are no longer acting as a scientist and your claim to scientific expertise is thus invalid.

  13. and defer, as a default, to superior expertise.
    ========
    Terrible advise. History has shown time and time again that the experts almost always have it wrong.

    The expert opinion is almost always that the solution to every problem is some form of sacrifice or deprivation. The poor victim most likely to be crucified or burned at the stake is the one suggesting the experts have it wrong.

  14. It is a false equivalence to equate denier and sckeptic.

    The purpose of the word “denier” is to cut off debate. To label your opponent of being unworthy of reply. It has nothing to do with scepticism and the premise behind the original article is bogus. A false premise which leads to a faulty conclusion.

  15. I am disappointed. I do not have to be a scientist or even climate scientist to notice that Dr Novella does not give a concise definition of either skeptic or denier. I have to try and piece one together or deduce it from various statements that he makes.

    While a tiny percentage of people deny that climate changes, many who are labeled “deniers” simply do not believe that climate change is so significant it will be catastrophic for humanity. They do not see huge swathes of grasslands and forests becoming deserts.

    Dr Novella should know from the history of scientific endeavor that consensus and trusting the experts stunts and undermines scientific query. Paul Driessen succinctly stated, “Real science constantly asks questions, expresses skepticism, reexamines hypotheses and evidence.” A real scientist is a skeptic who, if he questions the climate consensus, is labeled a “denier.” We must learn to express ourselves clearly and concisely on the topic of climate change and expose the logical failures of the experts.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/04/29/fake-climate-science-and-scientists/

  16. That “97 percent” lie has certainly gotten a lot of mileage. It should be debunked at every opportunity because every alarmist and his brother uses this Lie as a fall-back position when they have no other answer.

    As for the description given of Deniers and how they behave, it looks to me like he is actually describing the behavior of the alarmists.

    I would like to ask Dr. Novellos just what particular piece of “evidence” it is that has convinced him that humans have caused the Earth’s atmosphere to warm by a detectable level.

    Is Dr. Novellos not aware that the 1930’s were just as warm as today? Or is his vision clouded by Hockey Stick charts?

    Mother Nature caused the 1930’s warmth, even the IPCC agrees with that, yet here we are today with warmth that is no warmer than in the 1930’s so why should we assume that Mother Nature warmed the 1930’s but not the current decades? We should not assume that. A logical, scientific person would have to assume that the current warming, like the 1930’s warming, was caused by Mother Nature until evidence to the contrary is presented.

    I would submit to Dr. Novellos that no evidence to the contrary has ever been presented. The “97 percent” lie, and bogus Hockey Stick charts are not evidence of anything other than fraud, and as far as I know, that’s the only “evidence” Dr. Novellos can hang his hat on. Perhaps he has something else, but it would be a surprise to me.

    Waiting for enlightenment.

    • I apologize for misspelling Dr. Novella’s name in the above post. While writing it I used the spelling in the url, which is why I misspelled it. No slight was intended to Dr. Novella.

  17. Re: defering to authority. I wonder if Dr Novella has ever heard of the medieval philosopher Adelard of Bath, not to be confused with the more widely known French logician Abelard. If not, perhaps he should look him up.

    Adelard wrote about the nature and acquisition of knowledge and the role of authority, received wisdom, as opposed to logic and reason. Nowadays we would add experiment to that. His analysis led him to state that when judging an argument the deference to authority ‘does not even add to the probabilty’ of its truth.

    This fellow Adelard knew that 8 centuries ago. Climate ‘science’ has a bit of catching up to do.

    • I fine this interesting. Can you tell us how Adelard proved he was right, or if he didn’t prove it, what arguments he made in support of it?

  18. Dr Novella leaves out the most important drivers of the climate war between believers, skeptics and deniers. And that is money and control. Free government money flows to those who agree with whatever the current political bias are. So all these definitions of science and how it should work goes out the window when there is a desperate need for that free money. There is also a pattern of hijacking science for political gain and population control. Science and religion have been used in nefarious ways for centuries. So spare me the appeal to authority when I can clearly see that those in authority do not have my best interests at heart. And I don’t need a PhD to know that.

    • Yep. Skepticism or even denial of plate tectonics and/or evolution are academic exercises.

      Depending on how the AGW “consensus” is defined, skepticism or even denial are essential to preserving individual liberty and prosperity.

  19. I find his arguments concerning what he terms “true skeptics” vs “deniers” as highly repugnant, using circular reasoning, and as a blatant attempt to “divide and conquer” the Skeptic community. Fail.

  20. There’s more to the world than the scientific community. As far as I’m concerned, everyone is free to come to their own conclusions. But as soon as you want to pry into MY wallet, you have to convince me.

    I just find the arguments that radical, expensive action to fight climate change to be unconvincing. I don’t even find the arguments that mankind is the proximate cause of the recent warming to be convincing.

    Even if one could convincingly demonstrate that mankind is probably the cause of recent warming, that does not mean that we should do anything about it. It certainly does not mean that we should build wind turbines and raise taxes.

  21. “It is not a logical fallacy (argument from authority) to defer to a strong consensus of legitimate expert opinion if you yourself lack appropriate expertise.”

    “A skeptic will try to understand the scientific consensus and defer, as a default, to superior expertise.”

    “– A skeptic will try to understand the scientific consensus and defer, as a default, to superior expertise.”

    This is simply the logical error of “appeal to authority,” action of controllers all. A lot of the problem (cherry-picking) is which questions to ask. You don’t have to have an MD to question your doctor. This is an educational failure. The emperor has no clothes! Bow down (97% of the time) so you don’t see.

    • “It is not a logical fallacy (argument from authority) to defer to a strong consensus of legitimate expert opinion if you yourself lack appropriate expertise.”

      It’s also not a logical fallacy to question a strong consensus of legitimate expert opinion when such opinion defies common sense – particularly when politics are involved.

  22. Why is there no website where I can go to see the names of the 97% with their explicit endorsement of the alarmist position? It doesn’t seem like it would very difficult to create such a thing. Who wouldn’t what to be associated by name with such an overwhelming consensus? Why hasn’t John Cook put this together? Very curious.

    • Craig you are correct. I have asked in blog comments or on Reddit for the names of all the scientists and those who are marked in the 97% category.

  23. – A skeptic is open to any conclusion, going wherever the evidence and logic leads. Specifically, they will follow the evidence, and not start with a conclusion and then backfill the evidence.

    According to this logic, it would seem many in the climate science community are deniers.

  24. 97% of climate scientists agree that if they came to any other conclusion funding would cease.

  25. “More importantly – how big is the minority opinion within the expert community.” — John Ioannidis more correctly describes the “consensus position” as “the prevailing bias in a field.” Further, he would maintain that minority positions may as a result simply be less- or un-biased positions.

    Attempting to define derogatory words for “people who don’t think as I do” is a silly exercise — non-productive and misguided.

    The idea that the public needs to be told “who” or “what” to “believe” makes a very sad comment on the state of scientific education — even among so-called experts.

  26. It is nice that he’s making an effort to distinguish between a skeptic and a denier. And if we ignore the fact that the word “denier” is a smear, then he even did a plausible job of it.

    BUT…

    They primarily focus on sowing doubt and confusion over the science they deny, rather than offering a coherent alternate theory or explanation.

    Alternate theory for what? He treats this like a university debate instead of a quest for truth. Either humans are causing dangerous warming or we aren’t and how the discussion unfolds is irrelevant.

    Deference should be the default position, and your best bet is to understand what that consensus is, how strong is it, and what evidence supports it.

    He also ignores one basic truth that any honest scientist must admit when discussing CAGW–climate science is a science in its infancy. No one in the field has any right to claim anything with certainty.

  27. Since the good Doctor comes from a neurologic pain background, he is likely onto something. Neurochemically speaking the odd behavior of some of the hysterics or worse, can be attributed to mild psychosis. Neurosis, being pandemic anyway, can be traced with such well known brain chemistry as oxytocin, and others. That warm fuzzy group consensus feeling for example…. The famous “triggered” behavior should be well known to such MD’s.

    The question is has any of his colleagues actually measured some of these indicators in so called deniers or believers?
    This question becomes urgent as now kids are being used, who are likely on standard neurologic drug therapy.

  28. So the guy is another charlatan that is proving he either isn’t bright enough or hasn’t actually bothered to scrutinize climate science.

  29. The Evolution of my climate skepticism/denialism:

    • First exposure to CC/CAGW that I took notice of was Al Gore…so 80% skeptical from the start. Gore = liar until proven otherwise. I’d heard about global warming theory before Al Gore of course but had no position on it…didn’t care enough.
    • NOAA and NASA scientist’s articles in reputable journals indicated a probable AGW problem. So now barely skeptical at all… Only 5-10% skeptical but miserable …The theory they described sounded perfectly plausible which sent me into a state of deep cognitive dissonance (and depression) due to my visceral hate of Al Gore and the Media who were absolutely enraptured by the prospects of AGW.

    (I was already mindful that university scientists were “for sale”…based on many years of exposure to slanted nutrition studies and slanted drug efficacy studies and the like…so I tend to be suspicious there…But I still trusted NOAA and NASA scientists.)

    • The Press and the Democrats carry on their obvious CAGW propaganda onslaught for a few years. Now my low skepticism grew into 75% denialism because of my political bias. I’m looking for anti-AGW stuff now.
    • Michael Mann was caught “cooking” the books with his hockey stick. Why lie/exaggerate if AGW was true?? 90% skeptical.
    • Climategate revealed unscientific behavior and climate Activism among scientists. AND the NOAA and NASA scientists that I implicitly trusted at the start were not only silent about Mann’s propaganda…THEY SUPPORTED IT. 90% skeptical.
    • The CC/CAGW proponents made lots of predictions that sounded absurd and none have come true. Now 95% skeptical
    • The warming from 1910-1940 was identical to the 1970-2000 warming, but the first period was declared ALL natural of unknown cause and the second “duplucate” period was declared ALL unnatural with known attribution (AGW). That was an absurd and stupid claim and just did not work for me at all. 99% skeptical
    • The pause. 99% Skeptical
    • Now, after 18 years, the pause is “ERASED” by adjusting the data (suspicious enough), but then reporting the upper limit of the error bars as the actual data. That just isn’t done. 100% skeptical
    • The UN programs won’t fix the problem using their own data…only transfer wealth. 100% skeptical
    • CC/CAGW advocates are fighting the only technical means of fixing the problem (Nuclear Enetgy) Solidly 100% skeptical
    • GND and renewed vigor in MSM propaganda 100% skeptical and really dug in now.
    • None of the predicted worsening weather patterns are actually getting worse (except that heat waves are getting longer…but it is warmer so no surprise)…but the propaganda says weather events are nearing crisis proportions…100% propaganda…. so100% skeptical.

    Recently…2-3 years:
    • I’ve expected a cooling trend to start by now after the 30 year runup ending in 2000 — from looking at past climate cycles. The pause might be a “warming-nullified” cooling trend…and if warming resumes in another ~10 years without any cooling I’ll reconsider my position. If it cools, AGW is done.

    After earnestly studying the science for 20 years, I’ve concluded that the answer is in the behavior of clouds and ocean circulation patterns (warming/cooling is mostly from ENSO “bumps”) and we don’t understand the clouds and ocean circulation well enough yet and that’s going to take a lot of time to study and unravel…so I’m back to 80% skeptical where I started.

    I’d dearly love to know the absolute truth, but that isn’t possible with the current state of science (lack of basic knowledge and misallocation of funding). Most of the research money goes to CAGW confirmation studies in allied fields like the infertility of toads from warming study, and not into basic climate research where it’s needed.

    • In the 1990’s I was extremely skeptical… Largely based on my education in Earth Science in the late 1970’s…

      Historical geology…

      Suggestion that changing carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere could be a major factor in climate change dates from 1861, when it was proposed by British physicist John Tyndall.

      […]

      Unfortunately we cannot estimate accurately changes of past CO2 content of either atmosphere or oceans, nor is there any firm quantitative basis for estimating the the magnitude of drop in carbon dioxide content necessary to trigger glaciation.  Moreover the entire concept of an atmospheric greenhouse effect is controversial, for the rate of ocean-atmosphere equalization is uncertain.

      Dott, Robert H. & Roger L. Batten.  Evolution of the Earth.  McGraw-Hill, Inc.  Second Edition 1976.  p. 441.

      Meteorology…

      FORECASTING THE FUTURE. We can now try to decide if we are now in an interglacial stage, with other glacials to follow, or if the world has finally emerged from the Cenozoic Ice Age. According to the Milankovitch theory, fluctuations of radiation of the type shown in Fig. 16-18 must continue and therefore future glacial stages will continue. According to the theory just described, as long as the North and South Poles retain their present thermally isolated locations, the polar latitudes will be frigid; and as the Arctic Ocean keeps oscillating between ice-free and ice-covered states, glacial-interglacial climates will continue.

      Finally, regardless of which theory one subscribes to, as long as we see no fundamental change in the late Cenozoic climate trend, and the presence of ice on Greenland and Antarctica indicates that no change has occurred, we can expect that the fluctuations of the past million years will continue.

      Donn, William L. Meteorology. 4th Edition. McGraw-Hill 1975. pp 463-464

      Physical geography…

      The atmosphere’s blanketing effect over the earth’s surface has been compared to the functioning of a greenhouse.  Short-wave sunlight passes as easily through the glass of the greenhouse as through the atmosphere.  Because glass is opaque to the long-wave radiation from the warm interior of the greenhouse, it hinders the escape of energy.

      As a planet, the earth is not warming or cooling appreciably on the average, because it loses as much radiant energy as it gains.

      Kolenkow, Robert J., Reid A. Bryson, Douglas B. Carter, R. Keith Julian, Robert A. Muller, Theodore M. Oberlander, Robert P. Sharp & M. Gordon Wolman. Physical geography today : a portrait of a planet.  Del Mar, Calif. : CRM Books, [1974]. p. 64.

      Funny thing, my Geomorphology textbook was written by Don Easterbrook… and it’s about the only Earth Science textbook I have that didn’t feature such “Big Tobacco-style misinformation.”

      Even funnier thing, my college textbooks were turning a blind eye to the Climate Crisis du jour:

      Then in the late 1990’s, CO2 records from Antarctic ice cores appeared to demonstrate a strong correlation to temperature, Mann erased the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age, and it was really hot in Dallas for a couple of years. My skepticism waned a bit. Then it turned out that the ice core CO2 lagged behind the temperature changes, Mann’s Hockey Stick turned out to be a blunder (if not fraud), and the “pause” began. My skepticism verged on denial.

      Over the past 20 years, paleoclimatology has become my main hobby. Much of the data, data processing and interpretation methods were similar to those of the oil & gas exploration. Ice & sediment cores, climate reconstructions, etc. are all subject to the same signal processing principles as seismic surveys and employ many of the same procedures. I’ve made it a point to try to understand the science from this perspective and it has led me to becoming a skeptical lukewarmer.

  30. Discussion about the meaning of skeptic and denier or the percentage of scientist that support a vague comment with no data, is an attempt to stop real criticize and thoughtful discussion concerning CAGW and AGW.

    I am not skeptical about CAGW.

    Skeptical is the state of mind of a person which might motivate them to investigate CAGW or AGW.
    It is a fact, that there are piles and piles of observations and analysis results that show there is no CAGW and there is almost no AGW.

    1) CAGW Paradox 1:
    Almost no warming in the tropics and thee is no tropical troposphere hot spot.

    It is an observational fact that there has been, almost no warming in the tropical region of the planet.

    The warming that has occurred is high latitude warming with more warming in the Northern hemisphere which is the same regions that have warmed in the past when there was cyclical none CO2 caused warming.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/TMI-SST-MEI-adj-vs-CMIP5-20N-20S-thru-2015.png

    The almost no tropical region warming and the fact that there is no warming in the tropical troposphere at 5 km which is a key amplification mechanism to cause CAGW in addition, supports the assertion that majority of the warming in the last 50 years was not caused by the increase in atmospheric CO2.

    The latitudinal temperature anomaly paradox is the fact that the latitudinal pattern of warming in the last 50 years does match the pattern of warming that would occur if the recent increase in planetary temperature was caused by the CO2 mechanism.

    As gases are evenly distributed in the atmosphere, the potential for warming due to CO2 should be the same at all latitudes.

    The amount of warming is also proportional to the amount of long wave radiation that is emitted to space prior to the increase in atmospheric CO2.

    Now we know that as the earth is a sphere the tropical region of the planet receives the most amount of short wave radiation and hence also emits the most amount long wave radiation. The tropical region of the planet should have hence warmed the most due to the increase in atmospheric CO2.

    http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/images/rad_balance_ERBE_1987.jpg

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/DOUGLASPAPER.pdf

    A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions
    We examine tropospheric temperature trends of 67 runs from 22 ‘Climate of the 20th Century’ model simulations and try to reconcile them with the best available updated observations (in the tropics during the satellite era). Model results and observed temperature trends are in disagreement in most of the tropical troposphere, being separated by more than twice the uncertainty of the model mean. In layers near 5 km, the modelled trend is 100 to 300% higher than observed, and, above 8 km, modelled and observed trends have opposite signs. These conclusions contrast strongly with those of recent publications based on essentially the same data.

    We have tested the proposition that greenhouse model simulations and trend observations can be reconciled. Our conclusion is that the present evidence, with the application of a robust statistical test, supports rejection of this proposition. (The use of tropical tropospheric temperature trends as a metric for this test is important, as this region represents the CEL and provides a clear signature of the trajectory of the climate system under enhanced greenhouse forcing.) On the whole, the evidence indicates that model trends in the troposphere are very likely inconsistent with observations that indicate that, since 1979, there is no significant long-term amplification factor relative to the surface. If these results continue to be supported, then future projections of temperature change, as depicted in the present suite of climate models, are likely too high.

  31. “On the whole, Dr. Novella’s essay is a good effort to take on a tough subject.”

    Other than “that” Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

    His agreeing with ever reversing a null hypothesis on changing climate is his fatal downfall here. When all change for 4 Gy has been unarguably natural until the last 70 years when it suddenly becomes mostly or entirely manmade according to people with vested interests is a reason science demands it not be reversed… ever.
    You cannot make such a fundamental error in the application of the scientific method, and still call it a “good effort to take on a difficult subject”

  32. “Blah, blah, blah, Denier, blah, blah, blah, 97%, blah, blah, blah, Climate Change, blah, blah, blah.”

    Well, Dr. Novella got his talking points in. The rest is just a bunch of words. The assumption that I haven’t studied the math and science and just decided to be a “denier” is ludicrous.

    Jim

  33. “that the Earth is warming at a faster rate than has historically been seen.”

    Lost me right about there.

  34. “emissions from fossil fuel combustion are the cause of anywhere from 50 to 100% of the rise in atmospheric CO2 since the mid-1800’s”

    I thought human activity accounted for anywhere between 3-4.3% of atmospheric CO2. How can this claim be made? By simple math, 4.3% of 400 PPM equates to 17.2 PPM. How do we get to 50 percent of the rise? Are they suggesting that the base CO2 for earth is 365 PPM?

    • Fossil fuel emissions are about 3% of the total *annual* source of CO2 to the atmosphere. Our annual contribution is actually large enough to account for twice the annual rise in atmospheric CO2.

      The difference between CO2 from fossil fuel emissions and those of the biopshere, soil and ocean respiration, is that we are taking carbon out of geologic sequestration and moving it into the active carbon cycle. It has a cumulative effect. We are increasing the total pool of CO2 in the cycle. While individual CO2 molecules have a relatively short atmospheric residence time (5-7 years), it will take much longer for the total pool to shrink back to where is was in 1850 after the net emissions stop, probably 50 to 500 years. No one really knows.

      We have a pretty good handle on how much CO2 we are adding to the cycle. Even though we don’t have a really good handle on the total inventory of natural sources and sinks, the math is the same. It’s a relatively simple mass balance calculation. We know that the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 tracks our cumulative emissions. We don’t know how much of this rise is due to warming from the depths of the Little Ice Age and how much is due to fossil fuel combustion. If the natural sources and sinks are highly variable, our cumulative contribution is probably about 50%. If they’re very stable, our contribution could be 100%.

      From 1780-1960, atmospheric CO2 was rising faster than our emissions…

      After 1960, both our emissions and the atmospheric CO2 accelerated. The Law Dome DE08 ice core has adequate resolution to tell us that this did not happen during the Medieval Warm Period. To some extent the rise in atmospheric CO2, coincident with our accelerated fossil fuel emissions is unprecedented. Greenland ice cores and plant stomata indicate that 300-350 ppm was common during the Early to Mid-Holocene and that 400 ppm spikes were even possible. Most Antarctic ice cores can’t resolve CO2 shifts with durations less than 100 years. So we can’t say that the modern level is unprecedented over the past 10,000 years, much less 800,000 years. However, we can clearly conclude that human activities are at least partially the cause of the rise since 1850 and most, if not all, of the rise since 1960.

      • That’s a good summary of why it’s a reasonable inference to attribute most of the recent rise in CO2 to humans. Also reasonable to say that CO2 has more IR absorption/emission, as compared to most other molecules. It is when we start to hypothesize about how the IR balance works in a complex atmosphere heavy with many things besides CO2, *there* is where we see a ridiculous lack of humility, lack of any ability to take skeptical critique into account.

      • David,
        But, if the oceans stayed a constant temperature, the dissolved carbon compounds would stay sequestered. Warming, whatever the cause, releases CO2 into the atmosphere, analogously to burning fossil fuels, only on a much larger scale! Upwelling is bringing ancient carbon dioxide-rich waters to the surface and introducing it to the atmosphere. The difference is that we can’t attribute the outgassing to humans unless we blame humans for increasing temperatures through other activities such as changes in land use. If CO2 has a significant impact on warming, then the sequestered carbon in the oceans is part of a positive feedback loop. The correlation with the rise in atmospheric CO2 and and anthropogenic CO2 may be a spurious correlation. That is, in the absence of anthropogenic CO2, we might still see an increase in atmospheric CO2.

        • We would still have seen an increase. The degree to which the anthropogenic CO2 matters is mostly dependent on how sensitive the oceans are to temperature changes.

          The Antarctic ice cores, apart from Law Dome DE08, clearly underestimate the oceanic sensitivity to temperature changes.

          This is one of many “details” that the climate science community glosses over and/or ignores.

          • David
            I think that you are agreeing with me, but I’m not sure. Can you point me to a study that addresses the volume of ocean CO2 outgassing versus temperature increase?

    • Tom
      There is good science that challenges this generally accepted assumption in the consensus explanation of the CO2 in the Atmosphere so you are right to question it . Unfortunately it has really been censored. Murray Salby has recorded a valid series of analyses of the evolution of CO2 in the atmosphere in his textbook and several video productions of his lectures. He lost his data, computer programs, and his job.
      ( https://mlsxmq.wixsite.com/salby-macquarie/page-1f )
      Herman Harde worked with Salby and got Harde 2017 published but was denied the ability to defend his work in the journal when it was weekly challenged (https://hhgpc0.wixsite.com/harde-2017-censored)
      Ed Berry produced another review and analysis that showed errors in the IPCC assumptions and methods and concluded Harde and Salby were right. The journal refused to publish with no explanation and two positive reviews that recommended publishing (https://edberry.com/blog/climate-physics/agw-hypothesis/contradictions-to-ipccs-climate-change-theory/)
      Munshi has done analysis of the responsiveness of atmospheric CO2 to human emissions that concludes that it is not discernible yet. (https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/12/19/co2responsiveness/ )
      At the risk of being deemed a denier, I find this body of work credible and convincing that our emissions only caused about 15% or less of the rise in atmospheric CO2 sense the industrial revolution.

  35. That the Earth is warming at a faster rate than has historically been seen is fairly solid, …

    No it’s not.

    …with about 97% of climate scientists (yes, that is the real number)…”

    No, it’s not a real number.

    …agreeing that this is almost certainly true.

    Those that agree do so mostly because they are incompetent by reason of training or incompetent by reason of politics.

    That this forcing of the climate is largely anthropogenic is also fairly certain.

    No, it’s not.

    David, “On the whole, Dr. Novella’s essay is a good effort to take on a tough subject.”

    Not it’s not, David. Dr. Novella started off wrong. He’s merely an asserter; the antipodal analogy of the denier he laments.

  36. I’m neither a skeptic nor a denier when it comes to AGW.

    AGW is a RELIGIOUS belief. I don’t accept it, so I’m an AGW HERETIC.

  37. So, let’s see what’s what in this (yet another) meaningless attempt to divide those who don’t “agree” with the poorly supported “consensus”…

    “– Deniers do not fairly assess the scientific evidence, but will cherry pick the evidence that seems to support their position.”

    This would define the Climate Fascists perfectly, no question; you could argue that, at times, skeptics cherry pick, but often only to sarcastically illustrate the cherry picked garbage produced by the Climate Fascists.

    “– They will make unreasonable or impossible demands for evidence, move the goalpost when evidence is presented, and refuse entire categories of legitimate scientific evidence.”

    Climate Fascists again! Consistently arguing that somebody has to “prove” them WRONG, when they have never provided any evidence of their imaginary catastrophe to begin with! And goalpost moving?! How many time have we heard we “Only have XX number of [years, months, days, etc.] to ACT” in order to “save the planet” from climate Armageddon?!

    “– They will attempt to magnify scientific disagreements over lower level details as if they call into question higher level conclusions. (For example, biologists might disagree over the details of evolutionary history, without calling into question evolution itself.)”

    Not really seeing much of this in the “climate debate” at all…

    “– They primarily focus on sowing doubt and confusion over the science they deny, rather than offering a coherent alternate theory or explanation.”

    Ah this old canard. The “consensus” view is that they can’t “account for” the warming of the climate without including their hypothetical CO2-induced warming, so it must be CO2-induced. In other words, “It’s not a dog, so it must be a cat.” And if you deny it’s a cat, you’re a “science denier.” Sorry, but there’s no logic here absent the GIGANTIC assumption that the supposed “consensus” is well supported science, which it isn’t.

    “– They will exploit ambiguity (and even create ambiguity) in terminology or employ shifting definitions in order to create confusion or apparent contradiction.”

    You mean like “global warming” nee “climate change” or occasionally “weather weirding” or perhaps “climate disruption?!” Misuse of terms such that “climate change” draws association with “caused by humans” through repetition? Climate Fascists again!

    “– They will attack scientists personally, and engage in a witch hunt in order to impugn their reputations and apparent motives.”

    How many skeptics have been fired from positions at universities, from employment at scientific journals, etc. because they didn’t cheer-lead for climate propaganda?! How many times have Wiki pages of skeptical scientists been altered to advertise their alleged belief in Martians in order to discredit them?! How many times have those skeptical of Climate Fascism been accused of being in the pay of “Big Oil” or of denying that smoking is bad for you?! Climate Fascists again!

    “– They will cast doubt on whether or not a scientific consensus exists, attempt to claim that the tide is turning in their favor, or claim that a secret consensus of denial exists but is suppressed. They may also cite outlier opinions as if they were mainstream.”

    Casting doubt on what is (1) Irrelevant; and (2) Untrue, at least to the extent asserted, is “casting doubt” for good reasons, not an attempt to undermine anything meaningful, so what’s the point?

    “– When all else fails they will invoke a conspiracy theory to explain why mainstream views differ from their own.”

    You mean like “Being in the pay of “Big Oil,”” or being “science deniers” or “being funded by the Koch brothers?” Climate Fascists again!

    NOW for some commentary about his overall “classification” ideology…

    “In short – being a denier is about your behavior, not your position or even necessarily your credentials.”

    In other words, he feels that even credentialed scientists can be “rightfully” smeared as “deniers.”

    “A climate scientist with impressive degrees can be a denier if they act like one, and a lay person can be a skeptic if they act like one.”

    And HE (apparently) thinks he is the “judge” of who “acts like” a “true” skeptic. LMFAO

    “By contrast, how does a legitimate skeptic behave:”

    Ah, the artificial air of “legitimacy” – according to the “climate crisis” cheerleaders, in yet another attempt to undermine the opinions of those who disagree with them.

    Now we can examine the “skeptic” “definitions”…

    “– A skeptic will try to understand the scientific consensus and defer, as a default, to superior expertise.”

    What’s so hard to understand? The “consensus” view is that atmospheric CO2 is a powerful climate driver based on some smidgen of optical physics, when all the application of that smidgen of optical physics tells you is what the effect WOULD be IF “all OTHER things” were “HELD EQUAL.” In the real world, that critical caveat does not apply, the feedbacks (from a planet exhibiting long periods of stable climate) are clearly negative, offsetting feedbacks, and no ACTUAL effect of CO2 on temperature has ever been empirically demonstrated. There IS no “superior expertise,” since “climate science” is in its infancy and we have yet to assemble complete plausible explanations for known, past climate changes, much less for what the future holds. As I like to put it, “We have too little information, of too poor a quality, over too short a period of time, to say anything reasonably “scientific” about what changes to the climate are occurring, what the causes are, and what we can expect going forward.”

    “– A skeptic will deviate from the mainstream view only cautiously, reluctantly, and with very good specific reasons grounded in logic and evidence. In short, a good skeptic is humble.”

    If the “mainstream view” wasn’t such a house of cards of garbage data, assumptions, preconceived conclusions, confirmation bias, group-think, statistical manipulation and circular logic, there might be a good deal more who would see it as something worthy of deference. Junk science doesn’t deserve any deference.

    “– A skeptic is open to any conclusion, going wherever the evidence and logic leads. Specifically, they will follow the evidence, and not start with a conclusion and then backfill the evidence.”

    Sounds like the perfect description of the antithesis of the Climate Fascists to me! They DID start with their conclusion and look for nothing other than support for “The CAUSE.”

    “– A good skeptic will not rationalize away contradicting evidence or problems with internal logical consistency, but will modify their opinions accordingly.”

    So this would also be the antithesis of the Climate Fascists, who consistently rationalize contradicting evidence, often denying it is valid or attempting to erase it from history, fail to recognize how consistently they contradict themselves as they twist in the wind trying to blame everything “bad” on human fossil fuel use, and NEVER modify their secular religion to accommodate actual reality.

    “– Above all a good skeptic is intellectually honest.”

    Again, the antithesis of the Climate Fascists, who contradict themselves, attack the character and careers of those who disagree, duck open discussion and debate, and so on.

    “So you are a denier if you behave like a denier, and a skeptic only if you behave like a real skeptic. This is all about process, not any particular position.”

    And from this we can conclude that the Climate Fascists are “Natural Climate Change Deniers.”

    “This also means that if you call someone a denier you should be prepared to back up that designation with specific examples of how they are behaving like a denier. It is also fair to refer to a position or even movement with the term denier or denial. It’s fair to refer to “global warming denial” as a phenomenon, especially since there is a solid-enough consensus on the basic conclusion that the Earth is warming and humans are causing it that it does create a reasonable starting position that anyone who disagrees is engaging in denial until proven otherwise.”

    – Horseshit. The “solid enough consensus” consists of “hypothetical bullshit” coupled with the endless insistence that the hypothetical bullshit is not only factual, but that imaginary and completely unsupported “amplifying feedbacks” will turn the hypothetical effect into a runaway global warming that has never been seen at CO2 levels 17.5 times as high as today’s.

    “And a lot of this does have to do with the burden of proof. Anyone making a scientific claim carries the burden of proving that claim.”

    YES – And WE’RE STILL WAITING FOR THAT PROOF.

    ” However, once a claim has met that burden, to the satisfaction of a vast majority of experts, the burden of proof then shifts to those who would refute the consensus.”

    If the “claim” was “proven” then the “proof” would satisfy ANYONE, not just those whose paychecks are based on it being right. There IS NO BURDEN OF PROOF on skeptics, because the “consensus” claims remain UNproven. And not ONLY UNproven, but POORLY SUPPORTED.

  38. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m denying. And I’m a firm supporter of global warming. I don’t care how it gets done, just so long as it get done.

  39. Steve Novella’s website tells us that he is a medical doctor, an MD, a physician. He is not a Ph.D. degreed scientist.

    It also tells us that Novella is available for public lectures, radio, podcast, or other media appearances.

    Interestingly his two lecture series (both available for sale!): a) “Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us” and b) “Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills”

    Snake oil salesman.

  40. One of these days, someone is going to find my lifeless body lying on the bed, smiling from ear to ear. I’m going out happy that I left behind a f**k-ton of fools. Fools who are incapable of seeing how they have been had over and over and over again by government deceptions. Fools who have no idea that all of these distractions are created just to keep the populace busy and not rebelling against the crime(s) being perpetrated against them. Fools who cannot see the evidence right in front of their eyes. Via con Dios!

  41. Dr Richard Alley of PSU was part of the team that analyzed 100’s of ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica to compare CO2 concentration levels vs Earth’s temperature proxies!

    That group found: Earth’s temperature ALWAYS leads CO2 concentration changes, both on the way up and the way down! Lag can be from 200-800 years on the way up, 400-2,000 years on the way down! Temperature changes DRIVE CO2 concentration changes! Probably ocean outgassing as they warm!

    Any process control engineer can confirm that lagging parameters (CO2 concentration) are NEVER!!!! the driver of the process, it is the resultant! QED – CO2 is not the cause of Earth’s temperature change, it is the resultant! And all the climate scientists (Dr Alley, Dr Mann, et al.) and Climate Change promoters KNOW THIS AS WELL!

    CO2 was picked as the culprit when Margaret Thatcher wanted to break the coal miners strike! Politics trumps science every time!

  42. Not being a scientist, but coming from a science and data background I see the problem being related to communication. The 97% scientific consensus is quite broad because it has no questionable components. However, when journalists and activists invoke the phrase consensus they add in the “it is dangerous” to the scientific definition. Just look at Obama’s quote. I call this the political consensus.

    So I believe in the scientific consensus, but not political consensus. Date I ask if a denier a person that uses the political consensus as their definition in a scientific context?

  43. David,
    I really like the Sheep as the image of blissful consensus. Quite appropriate.

    After reading through Dr Novella’s essay, I can only conclude he has never bothered to read (or has avoided) Dr Michael Crichton’s essay “Why Politicized Science is Dangerous” that he attached as Appendix I to his novel State of Fear.
    The late-Dr Crichton wrote as the second to last final paragraph of that essay, ‘But as Alton Chase, put it,”when the search for the truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power.”‘

    Dr Novella cannot seem to separate what is science from powerful, politically-motivated advocacy and Group-think in regards to climate science. Advocacy and Group-Think each serve their own purpose today in climate science. The political advocacy seeks one thing, raw power. The Group-think seeks to ensure institutional funding is not threatened by a rise of dissenting conclusions via counter-evidence and it uses suppression tactics as a sword to cut down any who threatens the government-sponsored science narrative.

    What climate science has done is create climate porn by simply taking several verifiable “natural truths” (about GHG gases in the atmosphere and CO2 emissions) and wrapped around those an entirely alarmist and highly doubtful alarmist narrative to advance a political, financial, and environmental purpose. It then force feeds this un-scientific propaganda as non-stop, titillating climate porn to a gullible public. It only depends on which group of actors in this purpose it serves as alarmist Climate Change porn is now driven by some 3-way mix of noble cause corruption, rent-seeking, and the quest for political power.

    The time for People of good character to stand-up against this pursuit of power, a pursuit that seeks to destroy the Western democracy and the economic system of free market capitalism, is now.

    • I think he’s genuinely trying to distinguish those who question certain aspects of the science and/or policy responses to the science, from those who simply reject the science entirely. If you read the full essay on his blog, he at least somewhat disagreed with the notion that those who lack PhD’s in climate science and dare question the science are, by default, deniers.

      I give him credit for making the effort… But he clearly is enamored with the notion of “superior expertise”… I think that might be a common trait among academics and some medical specialists. The notion that the null hypothesis has been reversed is also troubling, because it’s so ill-defined in climate science. If I propose an alternative hypothesis to plate tectonics, the burden of proof is on me, because plate tectonics is a well-established theory. If I propose that the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist or somehow violates the laws of thermodynamics, the burden of proof is on me. If someone proposes to put my industry out of business and bankrupt our nation because there is an alleged scientific consensus about AGW, the burden of proof is on them the demonstrate why they shouldn’t be put in straight-jackets and locked up in padded rooms.

      • Debunking claims that past events like Moon Landing, the Holocaust, or 9-11 conspiracies is a different realm altogether versus attempts to debunk skeptical views of future prognostications, that is — physical things that only have claimed future probabilities that arise from human-built, “convenient result” models.

        That is the difference between knowing that when I flip an honest coin, there is 50% chance of heads when we remove the hand covering the result and observe its actual state. If I claim to know with high certainty beforehand it is going to heads, then you’ll know it’s either a rigged coin, or my claims make me a charlatan.

        Dr Novella’s inability therefore to rationally layout the distinction between
        1) a skeptic’s view of future climate scenarios like the 3+deg C catastrophe claims from climate computer models, models that can be made to “sing and dance a jig” however the programmer-bias needs, from
        2) real deniers of fixed, past events (ex: moon landings) that have mountains of physical evidence of their occurrence highlights a serious inability to apply reason on his part.

        We have seen #1) played out so often with “future” claims of pending climate catastrophes that were presented at the time as coming validations of the strong GHE of CC. Prognostications such as imminent Arctic summer sea ice disappearance, end of snow predictions, end of cold winters, collapsing ecosystems. Things that are now in the past and didn’t happen, but yet we never hear guys like Dr Novella call these failed prophesiers out. But now the prophecies simply have learned their lesson and make their prognostications far enough out no one in the present will be around when that expectation date arrives and passes through the uncaring filter of present observation.

        It begs the question, “How many times does someone Al Gore and other climate doomsters, who claim to be using what scientists have told them, have to be wrong to be publicly and finally labeled as charlatans selling snake-oil by the mainstream press?”
        Or in the UK, “How many times does Professor Peter Wadhams on have to be wrong on sea ice for the British press and the BBC to finally tell their readers and viewers what he is, that is: a crank?”

        If Dr Novella really were interested in debunking junk climate conspiracy theories he would have taken on Dr Wadham’s claims of scientists being assassinated by Big Oil.
        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3174599/Have-three-climate-change-scientists-ASSASSINATED-astonishing-claim-Cambridge-professor.html

        But it is only in the skeptic community who they go after for being skeptical of future claims. Even luke-warmers like Dr Pielke, Jr, who try to call them out for failed prognostications on sever weather claims, they then label him a denier, and the Dr Novella’s of science stay silent. If Dr Novella were actually trying to apply a rational voice to the issues, he would be writing essays about this behavior in the media and by certain “climate scientists” giving the denier label to good scientists like Dr’s Pielke Jr, Curry, Christy, Spencer , etc.

        So unlike your high regard for Dr Novella, I find his sort of subjective application of reason applied to contrived future probabilities of climate rather offensive.

        • Verb conjugation does seem to be particularly difficult for Warmunists to comprehend.

  44. Is there any tactic in that list that doesn’t apply to the activities of the Climate Alarmists?

    • “– They will exploit ambiguity (and even create ambiguity) in terminology or employ shifting definitions in order to create confusion or apparent contradiction.”

      Yet, it is the alarmists who have re-defined acidity and bring us statements such as “And the oceans will become even MORE acidic.”

      • Yep. My 1978 stratigraphy and sedimentation textbook explained the process without acidifying anything. 1942’s SJ&F even featured a map of the “dissolving” seafloor long before the climate science community declared it to be dissolving.

        The phrase “ocean acidification” didn’t exist before the mid-2000’s.

        • I believe when I did an online search, the first occurrence of the term OA I found was in 2004.

  45. I define climate luke-warmer more broadly than Real Clear Science.
    In addition to any negative effects from warming being further into the future, I include an overall lesser rate of warming from human activities. This implies that warming includes cycles caused by natural factors, beyond human effects. Although future effects from such natural warming may still need to be anticipated, the implications of what ought to be done currently can be very different.

  46. Strange thing they want everyone to cut there carbon dioxide output, what about each and any other species that exits?

    If they say human caused, then surely them breathing is not helping as that is human caused as you being human?

    Thanks

    Leon

  47. Steve Novella’s website tells us that he is a medical doctor, an MD, a physician. He is not a Ph.D. degreed scientist.

    It also tells us that Novella is available for public lectures, radio, podcast, or other media appearances.

    Interestingly his two lecture series (both available for sale!): a) “Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us” and b) “Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills”

    Physician heal thyself.

  48. CAGW was disproved a decade or so ago.

    We are missing the fun. There are real paradoxes concerning CAGW.

    This is an all in problem. If there is no CAGW and no AGW, then there is something big (concerning the earth) which we are missing.

    The fun is following the observations to a forced solution.

    There are observations and analysis results that show the increase in atmospheric CO2 did not cause the majority warming of the recent warming which is a paradox.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/05/12/22-very-inconvenient-climate-truths/

    1. The Mean Global Temperature has been stable since 1997, despite a continuous increase of the CO2 content of the air: how could one say that the increase of the CO2content of the air is the cause of the increase of the temperature? (discussion: p. 4)

    2. 57% of the cumulative anthropic emissions since the beginning of the Industrial revolution have been emitted since 1997, but the temperature has been stable. How to uphold that anthropic CO2 emissions (or anthropic cumulative emissions) cause an increase of the Mean Global Temperature?

    6. The absorption of the radiation from the surface by the CO2 of the air is nearly saturated. Measuring with a spectrometer what is left from the radiation of a broadband infrared source (say a black body heated at 1000°C) after crossing the equivalent of some tens or hundreds of meters of the air, shows that the main CO2 bands (4.3 µm and 15 µm) have been replaced by the emission spectrum of the CO2 which is radiated at the temperature of the trace-gas. (discussion: p. 14)

    9. The “hot spot” in the inter-tropical high troposphere is, according to all “models” and to the IPCC reports, the indubitable proof of the water vapour feedback amplification of the warming: it has not been observed and does not exist. (discussion: p. 20)

    10. The water vapour content of the air has been roughly constant since more than 50 years but the humidity of the upper layers of the troposphere has been decreasing: the IPCC foretold the opposite to assert its “positive water vapour feedback” with increasing CO2. The observed “feedback” is negative. (discussion: p.22)

    14. The observed outgoing longwave emission (or thermal infrared) of the globe is increasing, contrary to what models say on a would-be “radiative imbalance”; the “blanket” effect of CO2 or CH4 “greenhouse gases” is not seen. (discussion:p. 29)

    All this talk of deniers and skeptics is just an attempt to distract from the real fun which is:

    1. What is the missing CO2 sink and source?
    The solution to the CO2 observation paradoxes requires a’new’ physical source no carbon, not an equation adjustment or a different model.

    If there is a massive source of CO2 or CH4 entering the biosphere there should and is observational evidence of this massive source and its movement through the mantel.

    Analysis (six different observations and different analysis techniques) supports the assertion that humans are only responsible for less than 5% of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2.

    Atmospheric CO2 concentration is unexpectedly tracking to temperature change not anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

    Analysis shows this is only possible if there is a large source and sink of CO2 and that human CO2 emission is responsible for less than 5% of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2.

    2. What is the missing H2O source?
    We know there must be a massive source of primordial/recycled water, as it has been found that there is three times as much water going into the mantel, dragged into the mantel by the ocean floor as it is pushed under continents, than comes out in volcanic eruptions. This is a material balance paradox.

    There needs to be a physical source of new hydrogen entering the biosphere or water. If there is a massive source of new hydrogen entering the biosphere there should and is evidence of this source.

  49. “…. and your best bet is to understand what that consensus is, how strong is it, and what evidence supports it.”

    Sadly he did not take any time to understand what that consensus is.

  50. – A skeptic will deviate from the mainstream view only cautiously, reluctantly, and with very good specific reasons grounded in logic and evidence.

    CLIMATEGATE.

    – Above all a good skeptic is intellectually honest.

    Fortunately no one imposes such demanding standards upon “activist” scientists.

  51. The politics has gone from catastrophic global warming to climate change is bad. Am I a skeptic or denier when I challenge catastrophic forecasts of “the end of the world” in 11 years?
    In Australia we are going to an election where the common mantra seems to be “take action on climate change”, and the only debate is how much and how quickly.
    That means proposals such as 50% renewables, electric cars, no new coal mines, all without any cost/benefit analysis, despite the fact that Australia represents just 0.3% of the world’s population.

  52. I am surprised to read that David Middleton thinks that Dr. Steven Novella writes well or has any admirable ideas. I am yet to see any good writing or run across any admirable ideas in Dr. Stephen Novella’s writings. Whereas when I see an article by David Middleton, I know that it is worth reading on.

  53. Not surprised this guy is an MD. He is essentially espousing what goes on in clinics and hospitals. Doctors will rarely deviate from the procedures set forth by the organization. The reason is clear. They do it to avoid law suits.

    It has nothing to do with science. As a result it appears he knows nothing about science. Most of his claims are outright fabrications.

  54. “defer, as a default, to superior expertise.”

    No. If you have the expertise to see a flaw in the evidence put before you, it’s not overridden by lack of knowledge in climate science. Judith Curry admitted that she defaulted to superior expertise until the Climategate emails surfaced and there are a lot of other climate scientists with less skill in the physical sciences.

    Then there is the honesty. While the Climategate emails piqued my scepticism, it was examples of poor science that made me a sceptic (the original was how most of the 0.6°C of warming since the IR was before 1940 with rate equal to that post 1980 and much greater than post 1998, all adjusted into the forgetatory). I didn’t comb over everything with strong expertise in climate science to find fault with everything. Just enough to doubt that the “scientists” could be trusted to do science ie find evidence that their own assertions might be wrong.

    “Chery picking” is a term were you only accept results that fit your hypothesis. Whenever I see it used to harass someone for noticing the outlier, I see a propagandist rather than an intellectual.

  55. I used to listen to “The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe” religiously (hah!). I dropped it when Steven Novella endorsed Peter Glieck’s fake document troll. It told me enough to know he doesn’t *really* support the scientific method when he thinks fraud is okay to “protect” science.

  56. What bugs me most about this entire discussion is we are asked a yes/no question about the climate. It is an idiotic assertion. Yes/no will it be warmer next week? Will I have a good day? will the sun shine? Quick, yes or no? Do you believe, or are you a denier?

    That in itself is not a rational approach to science, and not HOW science even works. One of the most important elements of science is paring down the question(the hypothesis) to elements that are agreed to by both parties, are as simple as possible, and are accessible to the scientific method (i.e. can be proven or disproven).

    With climate change we have an immense number of theories and predictions, many of which are not subject to the scientific method, and then the question is reduced to a simple yes/no response.

    I refuse to play, sorry. the game is garbage, and only a non-scientist would agree to the ground rules in the first place.

  57. The denier bogey man.
    Novella’s attempt to define the “Climate Science Denier” is his attempt to photograph Bigfoot.
    The Cult members are trained to see “Deniers” everywhere,just as our “Progressive Comrades” always blame the “Vast Rightwing Conspiracy” for their own failures.
    The good Dr shows his own gullibility in his words.
    Perhaps he hopes to become an “Inner circle member” of the Cult of Calamitous Climate?

    The only deniers in “Climatology” are those who deny;
    1 Our history.
    2 Measuring technology and methodology
    3 Error bars and the importance of signal to noise ratios.
    4 The scientific method.
    5 Basic commonsense.

    However , if it makes them feel better about themselves and enables them to congregate with others of their same nature, then the C.C.C serves their needs.

    But to an outside eye,they are still naked and ugly, I cannot “see their fine cloth”.
    Eye bleach will be needed as so many new Emperors strut forth to save us, surreal in their imaginary “intelligence and wisdom”.

    Pointing and laughing is still your only civil defence.

    • – They will attack scientists personally, and engage in a witch hunt in order to impugn their reputations and apparent motives.

      • So when the so-called consensus attacks petroleum geologists and the AAPG personally, and engage in a witch hunt in order to impugn their reputations and apparent motives… does this make them deniers?

  58. How many of the 97% consensus are bone fide scientists who actually work with the global temperature data and / or climate modelilng.
    How many of the 97% consensus have livelihoods that depend on agreeing with the climate conssus storyline.
    Climate modeling is fundamentally based on development and use of deterministic models that are based on / built around independent variables that omit / do not account for known natural forcings… aerosols, solar variability, etc.
    And how do you explain correcting (lowering) historical data (e.g., Karl et. al. / NOAA) to adjust the temperature records to exaggerate recent warming to fit the storyline of current warming post 2010.
    Going back to say, the mid 1980s, I wouild like to see a data set that describes the size of the university and private sector jobs and liberal funding related to climate change. Very large numbers. Some justified but most driven by the projection of doom and gloom based on imperfect modeling / forecast of gloom and doom … rising temperatures and damages.
    IPCC scenarios are presented as a range of future rising temperatures … the presentation of the range of the projections are not measures of accuracy and precision of forecasts … that is only given by comparison of how will history / backcasting plus actual future temperature predictions. IPCC and other statements of the range of model predictions is a nonsense statement… what thjis tells you is how well imperfect models agree with one another not some kind of precision. IPCC intentionally mislead in their reports and Summary for Policmakers in suggesting that this is a meaningful conclusion, leading into urgent calls for some global action. It is chock loaded with proppaganda techniques such as seen in e.g., Nazi Germany.

    We have been down this road many times over the years: Thomas Malthus’ “An Essay on the Principal of Population (1798)”; Paul and Anne Ehrlich’s “The Population Bomb” (1968); and The Club of Rome’s “Limits to Growth” (1972). All had similar failings: faulty models used in making long-term projections of future consumption and production. Malthus might be forgiven for his projection of food vs. population, given the historical context and state of scientific knowledge at the time; I am less sympathetic with Paul and Anne Ehrlich (population) and The Club of Rome (minerals and other resource depletion and the subsequent collapse of the world economy).
    David Hume famously said, “What a peculiar privilege has this little agitation of the brain which we call ‘thought’…. when men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, and given to views of passion without proper deliberation, which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities.”
    All of this has resulted in huge built-in bias to support the storyline – engrained in our politics, mainstream media (read any issue of the NYT, WashPo, The Economist, etc.), and academia, from K-12 instruction to universities and private and publicly funded research. It is not just the cool thing to do, it is also very lucrative – in terms of funding grants and profit opportunities. It is also self reinforcing as the feedbacks encourage more and more of the same.
    Oxford historian Norman Davis outlined five basic rules of propaganda in “Europe – a History,” Oxford Press, 1996, pp 500-501):
    – Simplification – reducing all data to a simple confrontation between ‘Good vs. Bad’, ‘Friend vs. Foe’ and so on.
    – Disfiguration – discrediting the opposition by crude smears and parodies
    – Transfusion – manipulating the consensus values of the target audience for one’s own end
    – Unanimity – presenting one’s viewpoint as if it were the unanimous opinion of all right-thinking people; drawing the doubting individual into agreement by the appeal of “star- performers,” by social pressure, and by ‘psychological contagion’
    – Orchestration- endlessly repeating the same message in different variations.

  59. Sorry, but my BS Meter went off as soon as I saw he agreed with the 97% consensus of “scientists”. After that I stopped reading his essay. My BS Meter is stronger than his, or even yours I think. I have thought this was all BS from the start…
    Sorry, just couldn’t continue reading your article…

    Regards, – JPP

  60. I’m sorry, but Novella is full of c.r.a.p. There is never a place for consensus in science and no one should ever go along with self appointed experts because they haven’t done their homwework. The last time I checked, bumblebees can fly.

  61. He has defined denier and skeptic. How about zealot ? As in climate believer, climate fanatic or climate zealot ?

  62. I see a lot of D word behavior here

    The guys argument is no about positions, it’s about behavior

    • We know all about Alarmist behavior. If only the Alarmists had behaved like actual scientists, we wouldn’t be in this mess. It’s a little like the Nazis “complaining” about Allied “behavior”.

  63. “Deniers do not fairly assess the scientific evidence, but will cherry pick the evidence that seems to support their position.

    It only takes a single contrary observation to cast doubt on a theory or hypothesis. In other words when refuting a theory, “cherry picking” the negative results is the scientific thing to do.

    “They [‘deniers’] primarily focus on sowing doubt and confusion over the science they deny, rather than offering a coherent alternate theory or explanation.

    Refuting a theory or hypothesis does not require an alternative theory. It only requires finding the faults in the theory or hypothesis.

    “A skeptic will try to understand the scientific consensus and defer, as a default, to superior expertise.”

    There is never any requirement to “default” to “superior expertise”, whatever that is.

    “And a lot of this does have to do with the burden of proof. Anyone making a scientific claim carries the burden of proving that claim. However, once a claim has met that burden, to the satisfaction of a vast majority of experts, the burden of proof then shifts to those who would refute the consensus.”

    The burden of proof never “shifts to those who would refute the consensus”.

  64. Novella’s comments would be quite appropriate if he had been talking about the anti-vaccination “skeptics, deniers, whatever”

    In the vaccination wars, the “skeptics, deniers……..” are fairly small in number, are vocal, indulge in personal attacks on those who disagree with them (see this: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-mother-whose-son-died-of-the-flu-says-shes-become-a-target-of-anti/ ) and want the larger society to abandon actions that have seen a major success (smallpox), and almost-success (polio) and a close-to-success (MMR) and their evidence for this position looks somewhere between flimsy and non-existent.

    In the climate wars, it is the majority-mainstream-consensus, who are large in number, who are vocal (and get attention that the anti-vaxxers can only dream about), who indulge in personal attacks on those who disagree with them (no need to quote a source for that one) and who want the larger society to abandon actions that have led to very significant benefits for human society, and their evidence for this position looks somewhere between flimsy and non-existent (to me anyway)

    In the climate wars, the skeptics/deniers include a lot of scientifically literate people (even some who are climate science ex-insiders). And (I think) a most important point is that many (maybe even most) of us never set out to be skeptics/deniers, but were convinced by looking at the arguments and flimsy evidence presented by the consensus.

    Big difference.

  65. The infamous 97% claim greatest success has actual nothing to do with the ‘research’ that went into its creation. But it is found in the BS claim which have come about as result of it .
    The 97% claim at no stage said ‘climate scientists’ a terms that actual has no agreed definition, it was sub-section or a subsection of ‘papers’ over a very limited period where there a ‘some’ evidence of concern . And that at its very best was it .
    That Novella make the claim he does suggest they have simply never read the dam thing in the first place .

  66. Anybody willing to take on Dr. Novella’s ~98% of neurologic MD’s agree we are basically a bunch of chemicals, with some special ones the mind runs on? i.e. take on the Mainstream Drug Culture?
    Somebody ought to remind the good MD that neither chemicals nor neurons can think.
    With the chemical axiom, all arguments become a chemical balance, even when paradocically the Dr. pushes “science-based medicine”.
    Chemical do not do science.
    I think this same basic tenet also drives the hysterical CO2 chemical mania.

    And that is why chemicalistas have a great problem with Galactic Cosmic Radiation.

  67. Listen to the experts – believe all they say. If you are smart you will trust them. Because the experts say that listening to them is what all smart people do. And they will tell you so in so many, many, many words.

    https://youtu.be/AFngmnJ7rZU

    In The Club of Rome’s 1991 book, The First Global Revolution, they stated:

    “In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill. In their totality and their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together.”

    We are constantly innundated to keep us in a state of constant turmoil for their benefit, not ours.

  68. I think Dr. Novella is a good guy, caught up in a movement. I wrote this about him in 2015 while blogging on Judith Curry’s blog, Climate Etc.

    Dr. Steven Novella (Podcaster)

    Steven Novella, a neurologist and assistant Yale professor, hosts an excellent, popular and much beloved podcast with his brothers and friends called The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe. The podcast began in 2005 and they have almost 500 podcasts under their belt. He and his fellow podcasters have been welcomed at various skeptic conventions and they maintain an active discussion board. Dr. Novella has been a strong opponent against anti-vaccine activists and effective supporter of science based medicine.

    The podcast has a mix of skeptical and scientific subjects and an interview with a guest skeptic or scientist. The show criticizes pseudo-science and promotes science. Many of the podcasts have a segment that features James Randi.

    The blend in the podcast content includes the more conventional skeptic topics; exposing junk science, critical thinking and also includes “sciencey” news. In their discussions I’d regularly hear panelists who might laugh at someone gushing excitedly over some potential benefit from a new herb, exhibit the same behavior over some preliminary finding that suggested some improvements in wind power, solar power or battery storage. The double standard suggests they probably would not appreciate this skeptic joke presented as applicable to alternative energy resources as well.

    What they call alternative medicine that’s been proven to work?

    -They call it medicine.

    This pattern of increased uncritical adulation for technological “progress” for alternative energy along with growing environmental fears strengthened by climate ”science” appeared to be a common in many skeptical forums. Over time the feedback between skeptical media and the skeptical population has served to strengthen “climate alarmism” and calls for climate activism while pushing for any dissent from the orthodoxy to be labeled as part of climate denialism. I think Dr. Novella is a bright, honest, capable person who has been shaped by group pressures to be supportive of the “climate consensus”. Michael Mann was a guest on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe in 2013 and Dr. Steven Novella is also a signer of the CSI petition. https://judithcurry.com/2015/06/03/why-skeptics-hate-climate-skeptics/

  69. “It is not a logical fallacy (argument from authority) to defer to a strong consensus of legitimate expert opinion if you yourself lack appropriate expertise.”

    There is a consensus among logicians that an appeal to authority is always a logical fallacy. 🙂

    “They will exploit ambiguity (and even create ambiguity) in terminology or employ shifting definitions in order to create confusion or apparent contradiction.”

    Exposing abmbiguity in terminology is essential for anyone trying to understand any idea. If this is a trait unique to deniers then all real scientists are deniers.

  70. Hi,

    Here are my comments, over at the Neurologica blog, to Dana Nuccitelli about the Cook et al., 2013 paper “Quantifying the Consensus…” that he co-authored with John Cook and others. It starts out by quoting Nuccitelli:

    I’m the second author on Cook et al. (2013) and also a co-author on Cook et al. (2016). Our research is constantly misrepresented, including by Mark Bahner here.

    No, Dana, it’s John Cook and you who have been misrepresenting your research from day one.

    As you know (but Steven Novella and his readers probably don’t) Cook et al., 2013 grouped abstracts into 7 bins, with the following number of abstracts in the various bins. (Note that the number of abstracts in each of the bins isn’t even stated in the paper. Unbelievable!):

    Bin 1 = 64 abstracts
    Bin 2 = 922 abstracts
    Bin 3 = 2910 abstracts
    Bin 5 = 64 abstracts
    Bin 6 = 15 abstracts
    Bin 7 = 9 abstracts

    Bin 4 isn’t presented above, because only bins 1-3 and 5-7 are important to the paper. There are 3896 abstracts in bins 1-3 and 78 abstracts in bins 5-7, adding up to a total of 3974 abstracts. Then there were 40 abstracts rated as “uncertain” with respect to anthropogenic global warming (“AGW”)…3974 + 40 = 4014 abstracts.

    Here’s how you and John Cook in Cook et al. 2013 describe the results of the analysis:
    “Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.”

    The only way to arrive at the “97.1%” value is to include all 2910 abstracts in bin 3.
    But here are just two abstracts that are in bin 3, and which John Cook and you claimed (and continue to claim), “…endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming”.

    “Is the extent of glaciation limited by marine gas-hydrates?”

    Methane may have been released to the atmosphere during the Quaternary from Arctic shelf gas-hydrates as a result of thermal decomposition caused by climatic warming and rising sea-level; this release of methane (a greenhouse gas) may represent a positive feedback on global warming [Revelle, 1983; Kvenvolden, 1988a; Nisbet, 1990]. We consider the response to sea-level changes by the immense amount of gas-hydrate that exists in continental rise sediments, and suggest that the reverse situation may apply—that release of methane trapped in the deep-sea sediments as gas-hydrates may provide a negative feedback to advancing glaciation…(The complete abstract is at the hyperlink.)

    On the nature of methane gas-hydrate dissociation during the Toarcian and Aptian oceanic anoxic events

    “The magnitude and timing of a major rapid negative carbon-isotope excursion recorded in marine and terrestrial matter through the Early Toarcian (Early Jurassic) and Early Aptian (Early Cretaceous) oceanic anoxic events (OAEs) have been proposed to be the result of large methane gas-hydrate dissociation events. Here, we develop and evaluate a global carbon-isotope mass-balance approach for determining the responses of each component of the exogenic carbon cycle (terrestrial biosphere, atmosphere and ocean). The approach includes a dynamic response of the terrestrial carbon cycle to methane-related CO2 increases and climatic warming. Our analyses support the idea that both the Early Toarcian and Early Aptian isotopic curves were indicative of large episodic methane releases…(The complete abstract is at the hyperlink.)

    If you could explain how those two abstracts and the other abstracts in bin 3 “…endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming” I’d definitely apologize and stop writing that John Cook and you are misrepresenting Cook et al., 2013. But you can’t, because it is unquestionably a blatant misrepresentation that those two abstracts and others in bin 3 “endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.”

  71. –A skeptic will try to understand the scientific consensus and defer, as a default, to superior expertise. —

    “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts.”

    Richard Feynman

  72. “It is not a logical fallacy (argument from authority) to defer to a strong consensus of legitimate expert opinion if you yourself lack appropriate expertise. Deference should be the default position, and your best bet is to understand what that consensus is, how strong is it, and what evidence supports it.”
    ___________________________________________________

    There is an easy decision between

    who cares if a rice bag has fallen over in China

    who cares if a bicycle has fallen over in China

    who cares if china buys kuka

    who cares if China buys Putzmeister

    ___________________________________________________

    https://www.google.com/search?client=ms-android-samsung&q=China+buys+Fichtel+%26+Sachs&spell=1&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjKqc-wkojiAhVh-SoKHb67DEUQBSgAegQICRAC&biw=360&bih=560

    https://www.google.com/search?client=ms-android-samsung&biw=360&bih=560&ei=xc7QXNLlFPHDrgSnvLDAAQ&q=China+buys+KuKa&oq=China+buys+KuKa&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-serp.

    https://www.google.com/search?client=ms-android-samsung&biw=360&bih=560&ei=L8_QXKaKLev2qwGdrIGgCQ&q=China+buys+Putzmeister+&oq=China+buys+Putzmeister+&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-serp.

    ___________________________________________________

    That’s the decision.

    Easy.

  73. Hi,

    I just spent considerable time on the Neurologica site discussing “Skeptic vs Denier”. So far, if nothing changes, my final comments on the site were marked as “spam” because I attempted to correct “Rogue Medic,” who is hilariously and incredibly ironically a “denier” of the change in scientific consensus on use of beta blockers for heart failure. (Beta blockers were considered contraindicated for heart failure, and essentially a 180 change in consensus in scientific opinion has happened so that today beta blockers are considered indicated for heart failure.)

    So as it stands at this time, Dr. Steven Novella, a *medical doctor,* is actively promoting disinformation about a medical topic that literally can be one of life or death (by labeling as “spam” accurate comments, and allowing inaccurate comments to stand).

    • I was mistaken. It was software problem that caused my comments to be labeled as “spam.” So it was nothing Dr. Novella did. I was eventually able to get my comments published (after bringing the problem to Dr. Novella in one of his later posts, since my attempts to bring it to his attention in the “Skeptic vs Denier” post had not been successful). My apologies to Dr. Novella.

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