Anthony Watts places two bob each way** on the 97% consensus. Within the space of 24 hours he is equally convinced:
- there is virtually no scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming. A potty peer named Monckton sez that 3,896 is not 97.1% of 4014. Now he's got even a statistician insisting that 3896 divided by 4014 equals only 0.003. Anthony's not too good at arithmetic either, so he places a bet on Monckton;
- there is virtually 100% consensus that humans are causing global warming. A blogger in the UK called Andrew Montford who lives on a hill with some bishop or other, writes on behalf of the Global Warming Fan Club (a lobby group to agitate on behalf of the much maligned CO2 - it's plant food you know) and sez everyone knows that humans cause AGW, there's no debate. So Anthony places a bet on the Global Warming Fan Club.
Anthony reckons both are equally true. He's got both points of view on his website on the same page on the same day - click for archive No Consensus and archive 100% Consensus. They may be opposite viewpoints but the Right Wing Authoritarian in Anthony is not at all uncomfortable holding two opposing thoughts in his head and simultaneously agreeing with both.
Now the Viscount and the Bishop dweller both agree on one thing, those in positions of authority can't be trusted. And who is arguably the most powerful human being on earth? It's the President of the United States of America. So when he tweets this to his 36,115,998 followers:
Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous. Read more: http://t.co/4lEEBYtVqf
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 16, 2013
Is Cook et al (2013) really Schrödinger's kitty cat?
As those dastardly scientists have discovered:
Distrust and paranoia about government has a long history, and the feeling that there is a conspiracy of elites can lead to suspicion for authorities and the claims they make. For some, the attraction of conspiracy theories is so strong that it leads them to endorse entirely contradictory beliefs...
...The researchers wanted to know if the contradictory beliefs were due to suspicion of authorities, so they asked 102 college students about the death of Osama bin Laden (OBL). People who believed that "when the raid took place, OBL was already dead," were significantly more likely to also believe that "OBL is still alive." Since bin Laden is not Schrödinger's cat, he must either be alive or dead. ...
..."For conspiracy theorists, those in power are seen as deceptive-even malevolent-and so any official explanation is at a disadvantage, and any alternative explanation is more credible from the start," said the authors. It is no surprise that fear, mistrust, and even paranoia can lead to muddled thinking; when distrust is engaged, careful reasoning can coast on by. "Believing Osama is still alive," they write, 'is no obstacle to believing that he has been dead for years."
Deniers are a muddled lot, aren't they.
** A "bob" = 1 shilling, which is roughly equal to ten cents. "Two bob each way" is a bet eg on a horse race that the horse will either win or come in the top three in a horse race. (Australian lingo.)