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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Anthony Watts thinks it's April the first at WUWT!

Sou | 3:37 AM Go to the first of 10 comments. Add a comment

This is hilarious if you're into black humour.  Anthony Watts has posted yet another article (archived here) protesting the 97% consensus.  What is it now, is anyone counting?

They didn't ask if it was dangerous!

Here is an excerpt:
The new paper by the leading climatologist Dr David Legates and his colleagues, published in the respected Science and Education journal, now in its 21st year of publication, reveals that Cook had not considered whether scientists and their published papers had said climate change was “dangerous”.
Bloody hell!  What does he think?  That 97% of scientists who've attributed global warming to human activity, that warn of what will happen if we keep doing it, that already are observing Russian heatwaves and Angry Summers and acidifying oceans and signs of the sixth major extinction event and have been warning people for decades about what we can expect - and they are warning the world just for kicks?

What a bunch of utter nutters!

More seriously though, Cook et al didn't make any mention of whether or not climate change was dangerous.  What they did was assess abstracts of scientific papers and categorise them according to the extent to which the abstract attributed global warming to human activity.  Deniers got their knickers in a knot because of a tweet from President Obama to his 38 million followers saying climate change was dangerous, which of course it is.  So this bunch of deniers are complaining about something that Cook et al didn't discuss at all!  They are complaining about a tweet from the President of the USA.  And it looks as if they've published a "paper" about this. Heck.  Maybe there's something to this twitter business!

If the authors of this new paper want to know how dangerous global warming is, I suggest they read the scientific literature on the topic. They could start with the IPCC reports.  There's a new one coming out at the end of the month and I reckon it will have a few hints about how dangerous is global warming.

Peer reviewed? Seriously?

I looked into this a bit more and I have to say it's a tangled mess.  Anthony quotes a "press release" about a new "peer-reviewed paper" in a respected Science and Education journal.  The "paper" is printed as a rejoinder to an article by Daniel Bedford and John Cook in the same journal.  The Bedford and Cook paper is titled: Agnotology, Scientific Consensus, and the Teaching and Learning of Climate Change: A response to Legates, Soon and Briggs and is a response to an earlier paper by those authors that in turn was in response to an original paper by Daniel Bedford.  Apparently and unsurprisingly, Legates, Soon and Briggs misrepresented something else.

My head is spinning! So far there are four papers in this series if I've counted them all.  Bedford followed by Legates, Soon and Briggs, followed by Bedford and Cook followed by Legates, Soon, Briggs and Monckton.  They are bringing out the big guns adding the potty peer, eh what?  If the journal was respected before, it will be respected less now.
In this latest "rejoinder" (which going by the press release, seems not to be a rejoinder at all but a completely new paper), Dr David Legates - a climate science denier from way back has coauthored the paper with a bunch of other deniers including the potty peer, Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, professional disinformer Willie Soon and science denying statistician William Briggs (who took part in the Battle of the DuKEs recently).

Ye gods!  They are getting desperate, aren't they!  Adding Monckton to the mix?  I suppose the peer can finally say he has published a peer reviewed paper that wasn't peer reviewed by himself.  I wonder who on earth peer reviewed it?

To get to the point - in this new paper denier David and three of his mates have signed on to joining the innumerate Christopher Monckton of Brenchley.  Monckton thinks that 3,896 is not 97.1% of 4014.  Now we've got four science deniers insisting that 3896 divided by 4014 equals only 0.003.  Interestingly I mentioned Monckton's disability in this regard earlier today.

From the WUWT comments

Surely even the fake sceptics who flock to Anthony Watts' science denying blog are getting sore heads from tilting at windmills.

Bill Marsh decides to quibble over whether "most" really means "most" or whether instead it means "most" and says:
September 3, 2013 at 9:04 am
I think using the term ‘most’ or ‘more than’ was ambiguous and confusing, i.e. unscientific. The term ‘most’ as used in the paper could mean ‘at least half’ (the interpretation shown above), but, it could also mean ‘more than any other factor’, which is not necessarily ‘at least half’. ‘Most’ could mean ‘plurality’ rather than ‘majority’. That and ‘man made’ contribution to warming comprises several factors besides CO2 – land use changes, Urban Heat, etc are all ‘man made contributions’ to warming.

Steve Keohane says that if all the scientific evidence points to one inescapable conclusion, the conclusion must be wrong:
September 3, 2013 at 8:32 am
‘If it’s consensus, it isn’t science’ says it all.
I have to inform you, Steve.  As a wise man once said:
@wattsupwiththat doesn't get it.  The science isn't strong because of consensus, the consensus is strong because of science.


  1. Yes, I noticed that. The Legate, Soon, Briggs & Monckton paper just seems to have made things up. I actually went through the Cook et al. paper after seeing the Legate paper to see if they had made any strange claims with respect to what they meant by the consensus view, and they hadn't. All explained quite clearly. Very odd, but maybe not surprising. Surprised it got through peer review maybe.

    What struck me was that if the Legate et al. paper had inlcuded (as authors) all those who have published papers in the last 20 years rejecting AGW, the author list wouldn't have been an awful lot longer :-)

    1. It's meant to be a "rejoinder" paper relating to an original paper by Bedford. I have no idea how it snuck through into the journal because it looks as if it's not on topic at all. The journal itself is tiny - not even a handful of editors.

      It will probably get more exposure at Anthony's denier website than it will get from readership of the journal itself.

      Heck, it'll probably get more exposure at HotWhopper than from the journal itself.

      But maybe I'm under-rating the journal :)

    2. The impact factor of the journal is 0.707 which is, to be kind, almost nothing. Its certain to get more exposure on WUWT and HotWopper than in the science community at large. While a very odd choice for a paper on climate consensus, the low visibility of the journal does improve the possibility of having rubbish accepted for publication - anything halfway decent would get into a much better journal which is why low impact factor journals are starved for submissions. I would imagine that a Letter to the Editor in response (if they take letters) would be easily published. Several letters would be a whole issue! I can't believe that one author is described as “Christopher Monckton of Brenchley"! And he can now say he's published in the peer reviewed literature! The ego has been fed, what horrors will it excrete? For the rest of us, it just goes to show how easy it is to get published.

  2. "...followed by Legates, Soon, Briggs and Monckton."

    Reminds me of a song.

    Don't you love farce?

    My fault I fear.

    I thought that you'd want what I want.

    Sorry, my dear.

    But where are the clowns?

    Quick, send in the clowns.

    Don't bother, they're here.

  3. KR

    The Cook et al paper rates agreement on a scale going from "explicit AGW greater than 50%" to "explicit AGW less than 50%" of the cause of recent warming. The Legates et al nonsense appears to be derived almost entirely from Monckton's claims that only the most explicit endorsement counts, and that all other studied papers are part of the numerator - utterly absurd, as the Cook et al paper quite clearly stated that 97% of the papers that expressed an opinion agreed with the consensus. And their data supports that conclusion. I would consider that a deliberate misinterpretation of the Cook et al study parameters on Legates et al's part.


    Regarding consensus, it's worth pointing out that part of the scientific consensus on AGW includes impacts, as per IPCC AR4 Working Group II, "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability".

    There the IPCC states:

    "Even the most stringent mitigation efforts cannot avoid further impacts of climate change in the next few decades, which makes adaptation essential, particularly in addressing near-term impacts. Unmitigated climate change would, in the long term, be likely to exceed the capacity of natural, managed and human systems to adapt. (Emphasis added)

    I believe that could indeed be construed as a consensus judgement of "dangerous".

  4. Monckton will probably claim it as peer reviewed climate science. It isn't, of course. It's a bit of bad sociology.

  5. "Agnotology, Scientific Consensus, and the Teaching and Learning of Climate Change" (Bedford&Cook,2013) is a response to Legates et al 2013, which itself misinterprets Bedford,2010.

    "Agnotology etc." devotes only a dozen lines to a discussion of the original quantifying consensus paper: Cook et al 2013.

    Of the four authors of Legates+3,2013, I would guess that it's Christopher Monckton who has the mind to realize that a paper that is a response to "Agnotology,etc." (Bedford&Cook2013) could be a vehicle for another assault on the quantifying consensus paper,Cook et al 2013.

    And Anthony Watts follows suit with his title: "Cooks '97% consensus' disproven by a new peer reviewed paper showing major math errors."

  6. I can't believe any of you bothered to read it. There comes a point where the reputation of the author is such that you can be certain the content is crap.

    1. Can't say I bothered. I didn't even read all Anthony's article = lol.

      What I find hard to believe is that WM Briggs put his name on a paper with Monckton. I know he's a science denier but still, I thought he had some reputation left that he valued. Guess I was wrong.

      The other two rogues, well they gave up valuing reputation long ago.

    2. So your reputation is more important than science? By the feel of this website, it really does seem so.


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