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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Denier weirdness: 97% irony - deniers deny the science about the science

Sou | 2:29 PM Go to the first of 13 comments. Add a comment

On undermining public support

...Previous research has shown that four key beliefs about climate change—that it is real, human caused, serious and solvable—are important predictors of support for climate policies. Other research has shown that organized opponents of climate legislation have sought to undermine public support by instilling the belief that there is widespread disagreement among climate scientists about these points—a view shown to be widely held by the public. Ding et al (2011) Nature Climate Change

Key fact: global warming is primarily due to increased CO2

...When asked how to address the problem of climate change, while respondents in 1992 were unable to differentiate between general “good environmental practices” and actions specific to addressing climate change, respondents in 2009 have begun to appreciate the differences. Despite this, many individuals in 2009 still had incorrect beliefs about climate change, and still did not appear to fully appreciate key facts such as that global warming is primarily due to increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and the single most important source of this carbon dioxide is the combustion of fossil fuels. Reynolds et al (2010) Risk Analysis 

Plausibility that climate sensitivity is above 4.5°C remains high 

...Across groups, the non-interactive disjunction is used, assuming that when several scientific theories compete, they cannot be all true at the same time, but at least one will remain. This procedure balances points of view better than averaging: the number of experts holding a view is not essential.
This approach is illustrated with a 16 expert real-world dataset on climate sensitivity obtained in 1995. Climate sensitivity is a key parameter to assess the severity of the global warming issue. Comparing our findings with recent results suggests that the plausibility that sensitivity is small (below 1.5 °C) has decreased since 1995, while the plausibility that it is above 4.5 °C remains high. Ha-Duong (2008) International Journal of Approximate Reasoning

Energy conservation is becoming increasingly important (1991) 

To avoid the risk of global warming energy conservation is becoming increasingly important. Gruber and Brand (1991) Energy Policy

Crazed deniers rant and rave and reject science

Anthony Watts and his fringe followers deny the fact that there is an overwhelming consensus among climate scientists that humans are causing global warming. In fact, since the middle of last century, our actions have probably caused all the global warming observed.

Deniers don't just want to deny the fact that we are causing global warming, some of them even want to deny that the world is warming and that an increase in greenhouse gases warm the world and even, in some cases, deny basic chemistry - that burning fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide.

Science rejected on political grounds

Most HotWhopper readers know that deniers who frequent fringe conspiracy blogs like Anthony Watts' WUWT are utter nutters. They'll do and say anything to reject science. It doesn't have to make sense or be consistent.

The quotes above are from abstracts that were collated by John Cook and his colleagues in their search of the Web of Science database to see what was in the research papers about climate change and global warming.

Anthony has found some wacky PhD candidate from somewhere in Europe the USA, who's supposedly studying psychology, and who is an ideological denier of climate science (archived here).  José Duarte is an extremist right wing ideologue. Not just a libertarian but a nutty libertarian. He quotes a bunch of papers, including the above, and cries "fraud", "retraction" (archived here).

José's excitable and irrational. He was most irate that "The editor of ERL, Daniel Kammen, personally promoted the paper [Cook13] on his blog". He hilariously claimed that "The people doing the reading were militant political activists on the issue of AGW".  Militant...political...activists. What a nutter. Here are the affiliations of the authors of Cook13:

  • Global Change Institute, University of Queensland, Australia 
  • Skeptical Science, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia 
  • School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, Australia 
  • Tetra Tech, Incorporated, McClellan, CA, USA 
  • Department of Chemistry, Michigan Technological University, USA 
  • Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, UK 
  • Department of Geography, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada 
  • Department of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University, USA 
  • Salt Spring Consulting Ltd, Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada 

Not an army, navy, or airforce affiliation among them :) I'll venture to guess that to the young denier activist Jose, it's not just every climate scientist on the face of the earth who is a "militant political activist", it's everyone who accepts science - that is the majority of people who know anything about the subject are all "militant political activists". (If only there were more people taking action to mitigate global warming.)

I've listed below the papers José complains about, together with the category they were put in and the level of endorsement. The link goes to the paper in each case. The details are from the page on that has the abstracts and other details about the papers.

Remember, the researchers were only categorising the abstracts of the paper and did not see the title, the authors, the journal name or the full paper. [Fixed: I'm told by a very reliable source that the researchers did see the title. Sou 31 Aug 14] Therefore, before you decide whether you'd agree with the category or the endorsement level, read the abstract in isolation of everything else. I've added a link to the paper after the title in each case.

Category: Mitigation

Biomass Fuel Use, Burning Technique And Reasons For The Denial Of Improved Cooking Stoves By Forest User Groups Of Rema-kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary, Bangladesh (link to paper)
Authors: Chowdhury, Msh; Koike, M; Akther, S; Miah, Md (2011)
Journal: International Journal Of Sustainable Development And World Ecology
Category: Mitigation
Endorsement Level: 3. Implicitly endorses AGW without minimising it

Initial Public Perceptions Of Deep Geological And Oceanic Disposal Of Carbon Dioxide (link to paper)
Authors: Palmgren, Cr; Morgan, Mg; De Bruin, Wb; Keith, Dw (2004)
Journal: Environmental Science & Technology
Category: Mitigation
Endorsement Level: 3. Implicitly endorses AGW without minimising it

Climate Change And Climate Variability: Personal Motivation For Adaptation And Mitigation (link to paper)
Authors: Semenza, Jc; Ploubidis, Gb; George, La (2011)
Journal: Environmental Health
Category: Mitigation
Endorsement Level: 3. Implicitly endorses AGW without minimising it

Promoting Energy-conservation In Small And Medium-sized Companies (link to paper)
Authors: Gruber, E; Brand, M (1991)
Journal: Energy Policy
Category: Mitigation
Endorsement Level: 3. Implicitly endorses AGW without minimising it

Category: Impacts

A Strategy And Protocol To Increase Diffusion Of Energy Related Innovations Into The Mainstream Of Housing Associations (link to paper)
Authors: Egmond, C; Jonkers, R; Kok, G (2006)
Journal: Energy Policy
Category: Impacts
Endorsement Level: 3. Implicitly endorses AGW without minimising it

Category: Methods

Hierarchical Fusion Of Expert Opinions In The Transferable Belief Model, Application To Climate Sensitivity (link to paper)
Authors: Ha-duong, M (2008)
Journal: International Journal Of Approximate Reasoning
Category: Methods
Endorsement Level: 3. Implicitly endorses AGW without minimising it

Category: Not climate related

Now What Do People Know About Global Climate Change? Survey Studies Of Educated Laypeople (link to paper)
Authors: Reynolds, Tw; Bostrom, A; Read, D; Morgan, Mg (2010)
Journal: Risk Analysis
Category: Not climate related
Endorsement Level: 1. Explicitly endorses and quantifies AGW as 50+%

Support For Climate Policy And Societal Action Are Linked To Perceptions About Scientific Agreement (link to paper)
Authors: Ding, D; Maibach, Ew; Zhao, Xq; Roser-renouf, C; Leiserowitz, A (2011)
Journal: Nature Climate Change
Category: Not climate related
Endorsement Level: 3. Implicitly endorses AGW without minimising it

José's depth of research - 10 minutes!

"I only spent ten minutes with their database" says Jose. "...I'm not willing to spend a lot of time with their data, for reasons I detail further down...." I don't believe he only "spent ten minutes". He went looking for stuff. And if he really only spent ten minutes with their data base up till the 28 August 2014, then on what grounds did he write his diatribe on the 22 July this year? And on what did he base his opposition to the fact there is an overwhelming consensus in his rants at Judith Curry's blog? (Okay, those were all based on pure, unadulterated ad hom attacks mixed with a lot of disinformation, not on any examination of the paper itself.)

I can believe he's "not willing to spend a lot of time with their data". He'd find he couldn't dispute their findings and that wouldn't do. Not at all.

If he worked at the rate of 8 abstracts in ten minutes, Jose could rate all 11,944 abstracts in about six weeks, working eight hours a day, five days a week. He'd rather not.

He's not very good at research, that is clear. He flies off the handle before doing it. And the little he does is very poor. For example, Jose wrote:
I discovered that the following papers were included as endorsement, as "climate papers", again in just ten minutes of looking. They are classified as either implicit or explicit endorsement, and were evidently included in the 97% figure:

No, José, not all of them were included in the 97% figure. Two of the papers he listed were very clearly marked for the category "not climate related". And it's not as if Jose could have easily missed that point, because he wrote:
In Table 1, page 2, the authors claimed that social science papers were classified as "Not climate related" and not included as endorsement cases. This is a false claim, and the authors should be investigated for fraud. (There were some papers that were classified as "Not climate related" in my quick search, but the above papers were not -- they were classified is implicit or explicit endorsement.) 

That's a strong and wrong allegation. All you need to do is go to the SkepticalScience search facility and you'll find that two of the papers that Jose included in his list were clearly categorised as "not climate related" - here and here. Therefore they weren't included in the 97%.

Now what would be the result if Jose were to remove the other six studies from the 3896 endorsing the human cause of global warming (out of 4014 abstracts that were classified as taking a position on the subject)? You'd get 3890 out of 4008, which is still, you guessed it:


Deniers cannot disprove the findings, and won't even try!

And do deniers really and truly doubt that almost all the science points to the fact that humans are causing global warming? Why don't they provide evidence that a quarter, a third, half the scientific papers dispute this? Why can't they prove that even 10% of scientific papers dispute this.

Because it's not so!

Why don't they do their own research? Because they know they'll find that at least 97% of scientific papers that attribute a cause of modern warming, show it to be human activity.

From the WUWT comments

Max Roberts reckons all psychologists are stupid and untrustworthy, except for those rare beasts who reject the findings of experts and deny the undeniable:
August 29, 2014 at 3:21 pm
Finally, a psychologist with intelligence, analytical skills, and integrity.
Most of us do pointless crap (I have a PhD in psychology, university lecturer in a small useless provincial university for over 20 years, the sort of place that turns out a constant stream of political ‘scientists’ and sociologists who then go off to trash the world).
I always say: social psychology is trivial answers to interesting questions, cognitive psychology is interesting answers to trivial questions.
Its people like this who can buck that trend. 

pokerguy is easily persuaded to believe what he believes, no matter how nutty his beliefs are:
August 29, 2014 at 4:20 pmThis is splendidly written, brilliant, passionate, dripping with common sense and integrity….and extremely persuasive. Any remaining supporters of the nutters who authored this “paper,” should bow their heads in shame.

Eamon Butler is incapable of doing his own research, but he can ask a question:
August 29, 2014 at 3:05 pm
Just so I’m clear, but apart from Cook’s and the Doran/Zimmerman surveys, are there any other studies that conclude the 97% result? I’m sick to death of this nonsense being pushed down my throat as though it was supposed to be proof of CAGW. I’m sure you have all seen the ”97% of engineers and the dodgy bridge” analogy. I ask those promoting this rubbish, from which survey are they referring to? Most haven’t got a clue of it’s source let alone the controversial background.
This is a very damning rebuttal of the Cook fraud. Thanks to Jose for this. Hopefully criminal charges will soon follow. I won’t hold my Co2 laden breath.

Here are some other studies for you, Eamon, since you aren't familiar with climate science yourself (or you wouldn't need such studies, you'd know):
  • Oreskes, Naomi. "The scientific consensus on climate change." Science 306, no. 5702 (2004): 1686-1686. (link)
  • Verheggen, Bart, Bart Strengers, John Cook, Robert van Dorland, Kees Vringer, Jeroen Peters, Hans Visser, and Leo Meyer. "Scientists’ views about attribution of global warming." Environmental science & technology (2014). (link)
  • Anderegg, W. R., Prall, J. W., Harold, J., & Schneider, S. H. (2010). "Expert credibility in climate change." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(27), 12107-12109. [Added 31 Aug 14 - H/t John Cook] (link)
  • Not to forget the extensive but unpublished research of James Lawrence Powell.
  • or the IPCC reports.

Fred W. Manzo  - his high school science teacher was correct. It's Fred who belongs to the utter nutter fringe group of science deniers. (Fred doesn't know what a personal attack is. And I wouldn't mind betting Fred added the last bit of his quote all by himself.)
August 29, 2014 at 1:50 pm
I did bring up the bias in “97 percent of all scientist say AGW is the most important problem facing humanity” to a High School science teacher. His defense was “that’s impossible. Everyone knows its true and it’s been repeated everywhere.” His implicit position was that only fringe groups dispute such basic scientific thinking. That is, he had nothing but personal attacks to use in its defense.

The delusional seem to dominate at WUWT. Kozlowski  assumes too much:
August 29, 2014 at 1:21 pm
When they retract the paper will Obama retract his citation of the paper?

fobdangerclose has no sense of proportion. He thinks that someone who says he has spent only ten minutes looking at the data and who is "not willing to spend a lot of time with their data", "makes too much sense". And that an extensive study over several months, examining almost 12,000 published abstracts can therefore be dismissed.  Even though it's supported by other studies - and by anyone who's read any climate science. Confirmation bias in action.
August 29, 2014 at 11:33 am
Well you make too much sense and use too many facts to back up your point.
That is just unacceptable to the CO2 cult. 

And deniers wonder why they are ridiculed.

Cook, John, Dana Nuccitelli, Sarah A. Green, Mark Richardson, Bärbel Winkler, Rob Painting, Robert Way, Peter Jacobs, and Andrew Skuce. "Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature." Environmental Research Letters 8, no. 2 (2013): 024024. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024


  1. Sadly, José Duarte is actually American, not European.

    1. My mistake. I'll fix it. Thanks, DS. (I wonder where I got the idea from?)

    2. Why "sadly"? As a European I find it this offensive. ;)

      Of course, an idiot is an idiot, regardless of their location, nationality. etc.

    3. It's sad because, as an American, I cringe every time an American spouts complete nonsense about science. Which means I cringe several times per hour. It's getting old.

    4. Understood, especially given the USA's GDP, largely a result of embracing science and engineering. It's a shame that nutty beliefs, including many aspects of science denial, seem more prevalent than in most of the rest of the developed world.

  2. Take a look further at his website.. It is clear Jose is not a climate denier (whatever that actually means)

    Though he is harshly critical of Prof Lewandowsky's work

    Barry Woods

    1. Barry, re cognitive science, you are obsessed. Get over it. (P'raps it's a sign of a cognitive problem that you can't.)

      As for Jose rejecting climate science, well he sure as hell doesn't act like someone who accepts that virtually all scientific papers on the subject point to the fact that humans are causing global warming. Either your confirmation bias is showing or you haven't read his emotional, factless protest rants.

    2. BTW "climate denier" is not a term I use except by a slip of the keyboard. I'm not aware of any instances where that's happened, but "never say never".

      In this article I did refer to Jose as a climate science denier which he is. If you prefer, you can think of him as a climate science research assessment denier. Or a slightly crazed (crazy?) young man who wants journals to retract every paper he doesn't like, and who shrieks "fraud" on no grounds whatsoever.

    3. I did have a quick look at his website and he does not at first glance come across as a climate denier as this rather random quote I lifted:

      "For example, I think some climate science skeptics simply aren't smart enough -- they're not smart enough to understand climate science or its methods. They'll never understand what these "computer models" are doing, or why calling something a computer model doesn't invalidate it."

      Seems spot on in my view!

      Why he is so vehemently anti the Cook et al paper I cannot understand. It is not controversial enough to generate all that hot air.

    4. I'm not sure whether Jose is a denier or not, but I'm pretty sure he's nowhere near as bright and clever as he seems to think he is.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. "Your level of data denying idiocy was quite a laugh though."

      Chad!? How can my mild comments evoke such vitriol in you towards me? Are you quite OK? I merely said I do not understand why he is so vehement about the paper. To me the Cook et al paper is hardly controversial and however much people like you try and whip up outrage about it does not make me feel any more or less worked up about it. It is what it is and that is what it is.

      I find it a bit ironic that you accuse me of "data denying idiocy" when your appreciation of numbers and statistics is so woefully wanting. Do you really think that you can turn 97% into 0.3% without any reflection on what that means? Can you with a straight face say that only 0.3% of scientists think the climate science is sound? If you can then you are in some very weird state of denial.

  4. Just added this to WUWT. Chances of it being posted? About 50-50.

    "Duatre needs to spend more than 10 minutes on his research. He list eight papers and claims that

    'In Table 1, page 2, the authors claimed that social science papers were classified as "Not climate related" and not included as endorsement cases. This is a false claim, and the authors should be investigated for fraud. (There were some papers that were classified as "Not climate related" in my quick search, but the above papers were not -- they were classified is implicit or explicit endorsement.)'

    He is flat wrong. Two of his eight examples, the last two he lists, were in fact categorised as non-climate related, excluding the other 6 would have no material effect on the numbers.

    So, a failure rate of 25% by the young psychologist, hope his PhD work is better founded in actual data. Pot Kettle Black."


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